Swing Left Debbie Stabenow! Your Progressive Voters Have An Independent, Berniecratic Option Now [Opinion]

Establishment Democrats are facing primary opponents of the progressive variety in 2018, but Sen. Debbie Stabenow from Michigan faces an even scarier situation. Stabenow will have a progressive candidate running against her in the general election as an Independent, and she’s a Berniecrat.

It’s too early to say that Marcia Squier, the candidate eyeing Stabenow’s U.S. Senate seat, could win the election. Squier would need more support on her Crowdpac fundraiser, considering that Debbie Stabenow raised $35 million in her last three races, according to WDET.

What Stabenow should be concerned about is Squier splitting the vote. WDET reported that political analyst Susan Demas believes Stabenow’s biggest weakness in Michigan is her support of Hillary Clinton. Clinton lost Michigan during the state’s primary against Sen. Bernie Sanders, and Clinton lost Michigan again in the general election against Donald Trump. Stabenow didn’t just support Clinton, she was all-in for Hillary from the start.

Stabenow will be the Hillary Clinton in the 2018 Senate race in Michigan if she doesn’t transform into a progressive right now.

During a Within Reason interview, Marcia Squier said that she was running against Stabenow for a number of reasons. Part of why she chose to run against Stabenow is the same reason why some progressives will vote for her. She says that Hillary Clinton superdelegates of Michigan betrayed the state’s voters.

Debbie Stabenow was a superdelegate in Michigan.

Stabenow knows that the GOP want her seat badly, and it’s a seat they have a decent chance at winning in 2018. Stabenow might have to face off against the likes of Candice Miller or Rep. Fred Upton. Republican Sen. Cory Gardner of Colorado told E&E Daily that Upton would be an “incredibly powerful voice in Michigan” and that “Michigan is going to be a great opportunity” for the GOP to pick up another seat.

Debbie Stabenow is more progressive than Gary Peters.
Democrats Debbie Stabenow and Gary Peters are Michigan's two senators. [Image by Paul Sancya /AP Images]

If Stabenow wants to keep her seat, she will have to make some adjustments. She will need to welcome progressives with more than lip-service-Progressivism. Right now, right at this moment, Debbie Stabenow needs to actually start fighting for a progressive agenda or she will lose her senate seat in November 2018. Stabenow needs to make public declarations and then be seen working to implement those policies.

Most importantly, Michigan Democratic voters want a single-payer health system in the United States. They want something like Bernie Sanders’ Medicare-for-All or Michigan Rep. John Conyers’ H.R. 676, known as the “Expanded & Improved Medicare For All Act.” Stabenow needs to come right out and call upon her fellow lawmakers to implement this system as a replacement of the Affordable Care Act.

Michigan Democratic voters believe that public colleges should be free. That’s just one reason why Michiganders stood in a one-mile-long line just to see Bernie Sanders speak last year. Stabenow needs to support this plan.

Michigan Democratic voters want marijuana to be legalized. It was almost on the state ballot, but a quick change of statutes foiled the voters’ plans for a 2016 marijuana ballot initiative. Stabenow could fight the issue at a national level. Her opponent will promise to work to legalize marijuana. Michigan voters will love that idea.

Debbie Stabenow’s Independent opponent says that she aligns with Bernie Sanders on domestic policy and with Tulsi Gabbard on foreign policy. Stabenow aligns with establishment Democrats and corporate lobbyists on almost all policies.


Marcia Squier supports the Fight for 15, but according to a recent report from the Washington Post, Stabenow was not among the Democrats who stepped up to support Bernie Sanders’ legislation that would raise the minimum wage to $15 per hour.

“I might be running independent (and without prior federal legislative experience, which is what our fore-fathers intended by the way), but I am not alone,” Squier told the Progressive Ballot. “I am part of an ever-growing Indy Slate of candidates who have risen above the aisle to form a coalition, including at least 6 candidates for US Senate and many more all over the ballot and all across the country. It’s called #YourName4Office2018.”

Stabenow can handle her own. She doesn’t need her Clinton cronies. She doesn’t need to be an establishment candidate anymore. She still has a chance to keep her seat.

If Debbie Stabenow wants to win the election in 2018, she will need to look to Marcia Squier’s progressive platform, and simply duplicate it as her own.

[Featured Image by Andrew Harnik/AP Images]