Stephen Smith’s Progressive Populist Campaign for West Virginia Governor Has Become a Covid-19 Response Program

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  • #297399

    • Total Posts: 6,838

    AS THE coronavirus pandemic upends most aspects of everyday living across the country, political campaigns have abandoned in-person events and transitioned to virtual town halls in efforts to keep their bids afloat. In West Virginia, Stephen Smith, a 40-year-old community organizer running a movement-based campaign for governor, is attempting something even more ambitious.

    The progressive-populist candidate has remade his campaign’s field operation to spearhead a statewide response to the pandemic, filling a void left by Republican Gov. Jim Justice’s administration. Smith’s anti-establishment campaign, known as West Virginia Can’t Wait, had a coronavirus response website up before the state government did and recently released an 11-point policy plan calling for drive-through coronavirus testing in every county, vote-by-mail legislation, and moratoria on evictions and utility shutoffs. “Over the course of 72 hours, we completely reimagined the campaign,” the gubernatorial hopeful, who is running as a Democrat, said.

    Smith’s focus on Covid-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus, comes as elected officials around the country struggle to respond effectively, from President Donald Trump’s constant denials; to state governments, including West Virginia, being slow to respond; to Democratic presidential frontrunner Joe Biden going MIA as it turned into a crisis. Only Sen. Bernie Sanders, despite being slow to address the escalating crisis, has taken on an approach similar to Smith’s, diverting his campaign’s fundraising infrastructure to raising millions for coronavirus response groups.

    The Smith campaign has created an “adopt-a-voter” program, under which campaign volunteers aim to check in with 100 voters who live near them once a week with information about local coronavirus resources and volunteer opportunities, suggestions for how to vote by mail, and offers to hear more about the campaign. The campaign is also working toward recruiting and training 1,000 volunteers on how to check in on their neighbors without leaving their homes, Smith said, covering topics like “‘Where do I get food? Where do I get testing? How do I apply for my unemployment benefits? How do I apply for SBA disaster loans or paycheck protection?’ and on and on and on.”




  • #297414

    Cold Mountain Trail
    • Total Posts: 8,138

    Excellent.  Those who take the lead or benefit the people during the crisis are gonna win over business as usual:

    The “People’s Platform” — a policy platform that was developed through 11,000 conversations between campaign volunteers and voters, over 190 town halls, and then ratified at a convention — includes the creation of a state bank, a wealth tax, full legalization of marijuana, and a “complete reversal of the tax code” that favors working families over out-of-state land holding companies and multinational corporations. “When we win this policy platform, it will mean that we have created an economy in America that does not exist in any other state,” Smith said.

    And business as usual is what the Trump admin is about too.

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