By Norman Solomon
On Sunday, when the New York Times put a "tossup" label on three dozen House races with Democrats running for re-election, there were very few genuine progressives involved. In fact, just three of the lawmakers on the list are members of the Congressional Progressive Caucus. And only one of them is a progressive standout: Raul Grijalva.
With a record of grassroots activism that goes back four decades, Grijalva is the real deal. Since 2003, his presence in Congress -- representing a heavily Latino district in Southern Arizona -- has been a force of nature for progressive advocacy on issues ranging from healthcare and education to war. And immigration.
Now, the forces of xenophobia and bogus "populism" think they smell blood.
Nowhere in the United States is political courage for progressive principles more on the line this Election Day than in the battle to re-elect Grijalva.
Two years ago, he won with a 30 percent margin. This time, the race is very tight for reasons that have little to do with his Republican opponent, a 28-year-old rocket scientist named Ruth McClung.
"Democrats are facing tough races in what they once thought were safe areas around the country," the Los Angeles Times noted over the weekend, "but Grijalva faces an additional burden. He called for a boycott of his state after Gov. Jan Brewer signed a tough immigration law, known as SB 1070, in April."
Much more than "tough," that law -- now largely tied up in court -- is the essence of systematic racial profiling. In effect, it requires police to target Latinos. In response, Grijalva spoke up for human rights.
That's why many right-wing politicians and power brokers have poured several hundred thousand dollars into anti-Grijalva efforts.