EDITORIAL: A vote heard round the world

Connecticut Democratic voters took a dramatic stand that shook the nation in last Tuesday’s primary. Their vote to send Joe Lieberman home and put Ned Lamont in the U.S. Senate changes the political landscape and adds to the growing upsurge in the country.

An uprising of old and new voters in cities and towns across the state said “enough is enough” to Lieberman’s status-quo position of compromise with the policies of the Bush administration.

Connecticut Democrats voted to change the direction of the country. They voted to bring the troops home from Iraq and invest the $250 million a day being spent on the war in universal health care, public schools and good jobs.

They voted against Lieberman’s eagerness to compromise with Bush on Social Security privatization, trade deals and school vouchers.

This vote creates a new standard. It says that bold opposition to Bush and the war is needed to inspire voters and defeat right-wing Republican control of Congress in November.

When Ned Lamont announced his candidacy a little over six months ago, he was 50 points behind in the polls. The campaign took hold like wildfire because it brought hope and offered a mechanism to stand up for change.

“It’s a story of expanding the political process and demanding a real, substantive debate on the things that matter to real people,” said Lamont. “We’ve brought new energy to our democracy. And that’s the type of victory where we all win.”

Many of the campaign leaders are skilled veterans from 25 years of battle against the right wing. They took a bold approach and put in long hours of organizing, door knocking and phone calling, reaching out to new voters and to those who had been ignored.

Lieberman’s support over the years for issues that faced the labor movement, women and environmental groups resulted in split endorsements in the primary. National leaders campaigned on both sides. Now that the primary is over, it is time to come together.

It is a big job to end right-wing Republican control of Congress. Winning the necessary 15 seats in the House and six seats in the Senate will take unity of all labor and people’s forces.

Connecticut voters have the opportunity to defeat three vulnerable Republicans in the 2nd, 4th and 5th Congressional Districts.

Lieberman can contribute toward that effort and take a stand against Bush by listening to the voters and bowing out of his announced run on a “Connecticut for Lieberman” line.

This tidal wave sends a loud and clear message to the country and the world that voters are fed up with the Bush agenda. It is a battle for the heart and soul of America.