I lost in 2000. I was an intern on Capitol Hill and went off to work on the Gore campaign then spent 3 weeks with a placard outside the Supreme Court. So I went back in 2002 to work on the Senate elections: we lost the Senate. In 2004 I spent months for John Kerry in Ohio. And in 2006 I contrived to find the only top 10 Congressional race we lost in a landslide victory year.
Then there was Barack Obama.
I am 100% unapologetic for believing in this man, for celebrating his victories and for evangelizing his campaigns to a British audience. Why? Because Barack Obama is a politician who knows that politics is about big things. And so he has used the presidency to do big things: healthcare, the world’s biggest stimulus, equal pay for women, gay rights for soldiers, out of Iraq.
And his campaigning techniques have been equally revolutionary: a mastery of data, a faith in volunteers, a belief that practicing politics is about science as well as art.
For Ed Miliband, another leader with the potential to redefine the politics of his nation, the challenge to achieve greatness is the same: do big things.
To be like Barack, Ed needs to commit to use the power of his office first as Leader and later as Prime Minister to change the shape of British politics: he needs to turn the Labour Party over to the campaign geeks and the grassroots volunteers that know how to win elections. Then he needs to use Labour’s next majority to achieve big things: a National Care Service, universal child care, renationalised railways, a national jobs guarantee and the living wage.
I’m a true believer in Barack Obama. Tonight he rewarded that faith. Next, it’s Ed Miliband’s turn to show he can dream dreams, win elections and serve his people with equal ambition and success.
I lost for a long time but Obama taught me to believe that a politics of Hope and Change can win. That’s Ed’s test now.