The Left of 2008, battered by eight years of Bush, overwhelmingly hitched its hopes and its resources to the shining star of a Barack Obama presidency.
Four years later, the Left of 2012 is many different things—embittered, gratified, frustrated, heartened, impatient, wiser—but not, this time, complacent. Most understand that putting Obama in office marks not an end point but a starting point—that any president functions as part of a greater machine, whose levers we must push.
Perhaps no one understands this more than the president himself, who has reportedly responded to the leftist supplicants by quoting Franklin Delano Roosevelt, “Go out and make me do it.” In the pages of In These Times' December issue, progressive leaders—of movements for the environment, for labor, for fair immigration policy, for peace, for education, for campaign finance reform, for the 99%—take up that gauntlet. Here’s how they plan to force Obama’s hand, in the name of real hope and change.