What a year 2018 has been for the Progressive Policy Institute, marking – I can hardly believe it – our 29th year as a catalyst for progressive innovation and reform in U.S. politics.
Thankfully, the year is also ending on a high note for our country. Last month’s midterm elections restored a modicum of balance and sanity to our politics, which have been knocked off kilter by the mendacious, chaotic and divisive presidency of Donald Trump. Maybe providence really does look out for the United States after all.
There’s no doubt that PPI has enjoyed a terrific year of growth. We doubled our in-house staff, bringing on creative policy analysts to add new projects on health care, domestic and fiscal policy to our existing portfolio of work on economic innovation, competition, social mobility, trade, public school reinvention and energy and climate policy. We’re also beefing up our roster of talented Senior Fellows, who have and will make important contributions on a wide array of issues including spurring business start-ups, employee ownership, immigration and higher education reform.
PPI also extended its already considerable international reach in 2018. We led several Congressional staff delegations to Europe and either hosted or participated in official meetings and public events in Brussels, Berlin, London and Dublin, as well as Singapore, Vietnam, Japan, Thailand, Chile, Argentina and Finland.
Our activities on the home front picked up as well. PPI hosted numerous Salon Dinners and policy roundtables in Washington, fiscal forums in Philadelphia and Des Moines, and a host of workshops on “reinventing America’s schools” across the country in cities such as Denver, Memphis and Baton Rouge.
I can’t help but wonder whether these two things – PPI’s growth and Democratic gains in the 2018 midterm – are related. Both seem to reflect the resilience and resurgence of something many pundits claim no longer exists — America’s “pragmatic center.” If so, it’s a heartening sign that our democracy’s antibodies are working to counteract populist extremism and demagoguery.
In any event, PPI is reaching out to the Class of 2018, especially the 40 newly elected Democratic Representatives, who have put the party firmly in charge of the House. Almost all of them ran as pragmatic problem-solvers rather than as rigid ideologues, and PPI is developing a series of actionable ideas to help the new class get things done in Washington.
And, in keeping with our “go local” philosophy, we continue to highlight the innovative work of progressive Governors and Mayors, who are solving the nation’s toughest problems from the ground up.
Finally, PPI will again be poised to do what we first did in 1992 – play a key role in defining the terms of debate in the 2020 presidential race. We recently released a national poll that shows how progressives can consolidate an anti-Trump majority by developing a “radically pragmatic” agenda for progressive reform.
None of this, of course, would be possible without the friendship and support of friends like you. Thanks for all you have done to help us succeed and grow. And let’s keep working together toward an even bigger progressive victory two years from now.