How We Win and How We Govern: The Dignity of Work


By U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown

Too often, I see pundits and national Democrats act like we have to choose between fighting for our progressive values or winning elections. That’s a false choice — the electability myth is just that, a myth.

Donald Trump won Ohio by almost double digits in 2016. Last year, I won re-election by seven.

I didn’t compromise on women’s rights or LGBTQ rights or civil rights or voting rights. I voted against the Defense of Marriage Act and NAFTA, and against the Iraq War. I have a lifetime “A” from Planned Parenthood and an “F” from the NRA. I stood on a debate stage during my Senate race and told voters that climate change is a defining moral issue of our time and we must act. I went to the Columbus airport and joined protests against Donald Trump’s Muslim ban. I called him a racist, because he is.

And I won.

Elections aren’t about some “electability” calculation — they are about one question: whose side are you’re on? Are you on the side of corporations or workers? Wall Street or consumers? Drug companies or patients?

The theme of my campaign was Dignity of Work. But Dignity of Work is so much more than a campaign slogan. It’s who we are, and how we govern — because when you love this country, you fight for the people who make it work, all people.

Dignity of Work means hard work should pay off for everyone, no matter who you are or what kind of work you do — whether you punch a clock or swipe a badge, earn a salary, or make tips; whether you’re raising children or caring for an aging parent; regardless of your race or gender, and no matter where you live in the country.

It’s about wages and work schedules and overtime. It’s about collective bargaining and healthcare, childcare and economic justice. It’s a progressive economic agenda and a winning message.

Dignity of Work is a value that unites all of us. It says to everyone: we see you, we respect you and we are fighting for you. We are on your side.