Ohio Senator Sherrod Brown, on a conference call just now, offered an extensive interpretation of last night’s results in his state. In so doing, he made a strong case for the liberal vision, emphasizing the public’s instincts for fairness, the need to take active steps to fortify the middle class, and the imperative of battling against class warfare. Class warfare from the top down, that is.

Brown’s interpretation is worth dwelling on at some length, because it suggests a very clear path forward for Democrats heading into 2012.

Brown started out by making a historical point that invests the results with newfound significance: “This was the first time in our nation’s history there was a statewide vote on bargaining rights.”

Brown noted that yesterday’s results, when viewed in a historical context, reveal that the middle class didn’t grow organically — and that it doesn’t have organic staying power, either.

“If you pay attention to history, you know that collective bargaining is perhaps the single biggest reason we have a strong middle class in this country,” he said. “It has provided a path to the middle class for hundreds of thousands of workers.”

“The middle class doesn’t happen on its own — and it doesn’t unravel on its own, either,” he said. “Last night Ohio took a very big step towards rebuilding the middle class.”

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