Freedom is on the ballot in 2024
By Debbie Cox Bultan and Congresswoman Annie Kuster, The Hill
With another election year upon us, it is time for Americans to decide which candidates best represent their values.
As leaders of the nearly 100 member New Democrat Coalition, one of the largest blocs of House Democrats, and NewDEAL Leaders, a group of nearly 200 forward-looking state and locally elected Democrats, we recognize the stark differences between our pragmatic approach to politics and the chaotic, backward tenets of the GOP.
As we look to November 2024, we urge Democrats to unite around a core strategy: Focus on how Democrats are committed to protecting our fundamental freedoms while Republicans work to derail Americans’ most basic rights.
Our groups jointly released our 2024 Freedom Agenda, a comprehensive playbook laying out the guiding principles that will shape our policy priorities into the future. It calls for Democrats to avoid the distractions of the 24-hour news cycle and instead underscore how our Democratic values resonate with Americans in every state and ZIP code.
Our Freedom Agenda focuses on three core American values: freedom of opportunity, freedom in communities, and freedom through democracy.
First, freedom of opportunity refers to the ability of Americans to achieve their dreams, including making deeply personal choices about their health care, whom they love, and where they live. To achieve these goals, Americans must have access to strong local economies, good schools, affordable housing, transportation and high-quality health care.
In Congress, Democrats are fighting for these opportunities through legislation that New Dems helped usher into law, like the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, the CHIPS and Science Act, and targeted funding for child care. State and local leaders are embracing this federal funding, coupling it with state funding to prioritize affordable housing, expand access to broadband, and invest in underserved communities.
At the ballot box, Americans have consistently voted for candidates who prioritize freedom of opportunity while rejecting extremist Republicans. In 2022, we saw voters embrace candidates who are fighting to protect Americans’ ability to make deeply personal health care decisions, including access to abortion. For Democrats, that means fighting Republican efforts to curtail access to birth control and passing legislation like the Women’s Health Protection Act to ensure abortion care is legal and accessible in every state.
Second, Americans deserve the freedom to live in a safe and strong community. Gathering places — from malls to movie theaters to schools — should be free from discrimination and violence, especially gun violence. In Congress, New Dems successfully passed the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act, the most significant gun violence prevention legislation in a generation. Our members will continue to support pragmatic gun safety policies at the state and federal levels.
Freedom in your community also includes access to clean air and drinking water while living without the fear of extreme weather devastating your home. House Democrats passed the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) in 2022 to lower health care and energy costs, and now state and local officials are putting this legislation to work in their communities to strengthen our electric grid, grow the clean energy economy, and create high-quality jobs.
We’re seeing the impact of this legislation across the country. In Phoenix, Mayor Kate Gallego praised the law for bringing high-paying jobs to her city in clean energy industries. Residents are “excited about being able to reduce those energy bills, whether it is solar on your roof or getting a more efficient air conditioner or heat pump,” Gallego said on the law’s first anniversary.
Finally, New Dems and NewDEAL Leaders are deeply committed to protecting and preserving freedom through democracy. We saw in the 2022 midterms how clearly voters rejected anti-democratic, far-right Republican candidates who refused to acknowledge the results of the last presidential election. On the heels of the third anniversary of the Jan. 6 insurrection on our Capitol and as former President Trump continues to tout the “Big Lie” ahead of the 2024 election, it’s more important than ever that we speak out against anti-democratic rhetoric.
From federal legislation such as the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act to state measures in Michigan, Minnesota, and New Mexico, New Dems and NewDEAL Leaders are working to ensure elections are fair, voting is easy, and both parties respect the results — win or lose. We reject the use of violence, whether it is used to harass local election workers or in an attempted effort to prevent the peaceful transfer of power.
It’s clear that at every level of government, Democrats are the true defenders of Americans’ fundamental freedoms, while Republicans are working to take them away.
In 2024, just as we did in 2022, we must demonstrate the stark contrast between Democrats and Republicans. Let’s embrace the pragmatic, solutions-oriented candidates who preserve and strengthen our freedoms and reject those who abandon our values in pursuit of power. The decision couldn’t be clearer.
Annie Kuster represents New Hampshire’s 2nd District and is chair of the New Democrat Coalition. Debbie Cox Bultan is NewDEAL CEO.