There seems to be some lack of clarity regarding how many members the MA House Progressive Caucus can claim; first it was 60, up by two members; now it seems that it’s back to 58, where it was. Nominally, that’s a large number — enough to really throw its weight around and get major things done, like 100% renewable energy by 2035 (or even 2050, too late); or funding the crumbling MBTA; or funding schools equitably and fairly; or universal pre-K; or even changing their own rules so that good and popular legislation doesn’t die in darkness.
Ha ha … no.
“I am personally not impressed at all by the signifier of the House Progressive Caucus,” said Craig Altemose, a progressive activist who is a senior advisor to the climate group 350 Mass. “As a caucus, they are not using their collective power in a visible way to really advance progressive priorities.”
At every step, the House “progressives” heel to Speaker DeLeo, who is not particularly progressive, an autocrat, and seems to have scant legislative ambition. There are enough nominal “progressives” in number that they could get each others’ backs; insist on process reforms, enabling their own stated agenda; and we could be reaping substantive benefits. But they don’t do that.
The title “progressive” will be earned by results. It will not be earned by “sorry, we wanted xyz good thing but we ran out of time.” It won’t be earned by co-sponsoring doomed legislation — when you know the Speaker you enabled will snuff it out. It certainly will not be from putting your name on a roster.
Nobody’s fooled anymore; the voters in Jeffrey Sanchez’s and Byron Rushing’s districts demonstrated that. Show don’t tell.