The change I believe in

By:  Katrina vanden Heuvel

When President Obama was elected more than three years ago, many progressives had great expectations for what would follow. Many wanted to believe that one person, in one flying presidential leap, could transform the mess our political system had become. That he, alone, could deliver.

Three years later, progressives have learned the hard way that this isn't, and never will be, the case. Democratic presidents succeed at advancing progressive causes when independent progressive movements push them to do so. Success at the ballot box is not a victory in and of itself. True victory comes when vibrant, sustainable movements create an energy around ideas that the White House has to chase. Those movements can be built on hope, but they are sustained with engagement of the kind that can outlast any given battle, any given term and any given presidency.

This is an idea I sound in my new book,"The Change I Believe In." The book is about the journey I and millions of Americans took, from the exhilaration engendered by Obama's election and the first months of his presidency, through the disappointments and frustrations that have followed. It is, above all, about recognizing how transformational change comes about in a system rigged against it.