Yesterday I was a poll worker in Brooklyn. It was the first time I’d done it in a few years, and I have to say it was a happy experience. Part of it was the good cheer and courtesy of my fellow workers and the voters. The other part was my feeling this would be a good day.

It was. I am happy for all the decisive Democratic wins by terrific candidates all over the country — and yeah, even some of the mediocre ones. They have proven we are not all you-know-who’s Nation!

Here is one thing that strikes me about the big winners: they didn’t come out ahead with traditional Democrat talking points.”Trump Sucks!” was not their mantra. Instead, they fought off race- and fear-mongering from GOP opponents and focused their messages directly on voter concerns and needs.

It is these campaigns and their hard-working people that deserve the credit. It re-affirmed my faith in supporting great individual campaigns, candidates and local political organizations that we believe in. Congrats to all!

Also, I now believe those wins should be celebrated regardless of a personal party affiliation. One thing I’ve learned this year is how little that really means. Like all identity politics, the lines are all blurred now.

The campaign I am most heartened by is one most of you heard nothing about. My friend John Bendo, a nuclear engineer by training, won his first-ever political race to the city council in his home town, Long Beach, New York. John is a political independent who ran as a Democrat. Why? Because the Nassau County Democratic Party knew the value of John’s name recognition as a fighter for the rights of Long Beach residents and businesses.

John Bendo won his first bid for public office based on common sense and a reputation for prioritizing residents and businesses. He didn’t hire political consultants.

BUT….Bendo for Long Beach took no money from the county’s political organization or special interest groups. Instead of big donations or direct mail/consulting firms that did relatively little for the money they asked, he assembled a dedicated group of volunteers. They took to the streets of the City by the Sea and did more listening than talking.

As John says: ” I’m so very proud of this grassroots campaign we’ve run. No money from political parties. No high paid consultants or political operatives telling us how it’s done. This thing was fueled by small donations and the tireless work of committed residents. We made it up as we went along.”

Personally, I just regret that my other commitments and distance from those streets kept me from doing more to help. But I did learn something — these are the kind of wins that should be celebrated regardless of a personal party affiliation. One thing I’ve learned this year is how little that really means. Like all identity politics, the lines are all blurred now.

Many of you will get a lot of self-congratulatory emails from national organizations like DNC, DSCC and the like. They will take credit for the wins and ask for money.

I won’t give. Like the RNC, the national Democratic Party remains a dysfunctional, broken apparatus. It won’t fix itself by pumping on its own chest, declaring victory and going hat in hand to Hollywood and Wall Street as before.

John Bendo has been a good friend to me for 30 years. I’ve always respected him. Now he’s inspired me to go beyond complaining. John has re-affirmed my faith that people can be motivated by the right ideas and a practical, realistic focus.

What does that mean for me personally? I don’t know. I’m not sure that a run for office is in the cards, but any ideas will be appreciated.

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