Thorne Dreyer‘s guest on Rag Radio is Lee Carter. Carter, a red-headed ex-Marine and a democratic socialist, was elected to the Virginia House of Delegates for the 50th District on November 7, 2017. An IT specialist who was endorsed by the Democratic Socialists of America (DSA), Carter beat House Majority Whip Jackson Miller, a deep-pocketed honcho of the state Republican Party, by an astounding nine points.
On the show we discuss how an actual electrical shock kicked off Lee’s career in politics; his winning campaign strategy and the effect of running openly as a socialist in the era of Trump; the inspirational role of Bernie Sanders; the meaning of the Nov. 7 Democratic surge and what the electoral strategy should be moving forward; his plan to focus on working class issues, getting money out of politics, single-payer health care, and Net Neutrality.
Graham Vyse wrote in The New Republic:
“Carter ran openly as a socialist — he and his supporters crooned the union anthem ‘Solidarity Forever’ after their victory — and he won with almost no institutional support from the state Democratic Party… After largely ignoring [Carter] for most of the campaign, [his opponent] sent out mailers comparing Carter to Joseph Stalin and Mao Zedong,”
Clearly, the red-baiting didn’t work.
According to The New Republic‘s Sarah Jones, the left democrats who won around the country on November 7 “exploded the narrow definitions of electability that have long governed Democratic politics. And they showed the key to victory is to show up everywhere and run.”
Carter is one of at least 15 DSA members to be elected to public office in 2017.
Rag Radio is produced in the studios of KOOP 91.7-FM, an all-volunteer, cooperatively-run, solar-powered community radio station in Austin, Texas, in association with The Rag Blog and the New Journalism Project, a Texas 501(c)(3) nonprofit. The host and producer of Rag Radio, Thorne Dreyer, is a prominent Austin-based activist and writer who was a pioneer of the ’60s underground press movement. Visit the Rag Radio Archives.