Blue America '16

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What Would It Be Like To Have Your Own Personal Jesus in The Senate?


The Grayson for Senate campaign is getting close to having it's 100,000th contributor. The 100,000th contribution will happen in the next few days. And whoever that 100,000th person is, Blue America will be proud to award them a platinum album as rare in the world of Depeche Mode collectibles, as is Alan Grayson’s "policy of truth" within this corrupt Congress.

The 1991 "Violator" album went platinum in Mexico and Warner Bros Music Mexico, the Depeche Mode label there made a dozen hand-crafted awards and one of those gorgeous plaques is the one that is being given away to the 100,000th donor. Grayson's average contribution is $18.12.

Some people give $1,000 and some people give $5.00 but whatever you contribute to Grayson on our special Depeche Mode “Violator” page doesn't make it more or less likely that you'll be the "winner" of the plaque. Whether the 100,000th person gives $10 or $2,000, he or she will get the plaque.

Alan Grayson is the one of the most valuable members of Congress, if not the most valuable member. He's accomplished more than any other member from either party and has been a leader on issues from fiscal responsibility and peace to health care and consumer protection. He's an independent-minded, brilliant congressman and is very much needed in the Senate to hold McConnell and Schumer to a higher standard.

Grayson's Republican-turned-New-Dem primary opponent, Patrick Murphy, is the top recipient of Wall Street money among any candidate for the U.S. Senate who isn't an incumbent. Murphy pushes Wall Street's agenda in the House Financial Services Committee and the banksters have rewarded Murphy with $1,054,300 so far, the only none incumbent candidate from either party already over a million dollars. Murphy is Wall Street's #1 priority. Grayson doesn't get bankster money. He's dependent on small dollar contributors like us.

The race for the open Senate seat from Florida is one of the most important of the cycle. And this week, any contribution to Grayson's Senate campaign on the special Blue America "Violator" page means you could be the lucky 100,000th contributor and own the very rare, very collectible Depeche Mode Mexican platinum award-- not to mention help Alan win a seat in the Senate where he'll be working alongside Elizabeth Warren, Jeff Merkley and Sherrod Brown.



A Progressive Veteran Will Serve Long Island's Changing Demographics Much Better Than Peter King

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DuWayne Gregory is the presiding officer of the Suffolk County legislature. In 2010, redistricting moved Peter King's Nassau County district significantly east into Suffolk County, a “significantly bluer” part of Suffolk County. Because King is a longtime political ally of Steve Israel the DCCC has never challenged his seat— and discouraged local Democrats who have.

DuWayne enlisted in the Army after graduating from college and earned airborne jump wings, so he’s not intimidated by the gaggle of political hacks in Washington. The newly-drawn second CD is home for Dwayne; but new territory to King. This area saw Obama beat McCain 51-48% and saw the president increase his share of the vote four years later when he beat Romney 52-47%. This district is absolutely ready to flip from red to blue

King has represented the more Republican Nassau County part of the district in Congress since 1992. Some of the garbage Ted Cruz was spewing last week-- patrolling communities where Muslims live-- comes straight from the mouth of Peter King, who has used his position to divide his constituents and demonize Muslim-Americans; calling for surveillance of mosques and claiming— without substantiation of any kind— that "85% of Imams" have been radicalized. This kind of bigotry may work in backward parts of Texas but the South Shore of Long Island is not Texas.

As the most Hispanic of any of the Long Island districts (23% Latino), many NY-02 residents were shocked when they read that their own congressman sponsored a bill to deny citizenship to natural born Americans if their parents were not U.S. citizens. Nor were they pleased to see him sponsoring a bill that called for “English only” in government communications. Needless to say, the bigoted King was not a supporter of the comprehensive immigration bill passed by a wide bipartisan majority in the Senate.

Overall, Gregory’s outlook leads in a very different direction from King's. His concerns are about fighting for the middle class, not maintaining a status quo for the very wealthy and for corporate special interests. His goals are to be part of the congressional team that will increase the minimum wage, guarantee college affordability, increase child care credits, provide healthcare credits for healthcare providers and fight for good paying jobs.

When he was endorsed by New York's Working Families Party, Long Island Political Director Emily Abbott noted that "DuWayne has put politics aside to get things done for working families. Washington needs people like DuWayne Gregory who will fight to ensure that all of Long Island’s families and small businesses have a fair shot to succeed."

In his own communications to Long Islanders, Duwayne stresses his own record of inclusion and vows to go to Washington "to fight for fairness for all Americans by working to bring about justice reform" and to "ensure that no one is treated differently because of their race or economic status when it comes to our justice system." He's one veteran who has every intention of going to Washington to ensure that "the problems with the VA never happen again to our war veterans" and to "work to provide quality healthcare to every veteran in need." Last week, he was endorsed for the seat by VoteVets. 

Peter King's antiquated perspective on women doesn't work in NY-02, not in 2016. He voted against equal pay for women and his anti-choice extremism belies his claims to be a "moderate." Moderates, unlike King, don't oppose women's choice even in cases of rape and incest. "The disparity of pay between men and women doing the same work is unjustifiable and I'll never forget when I'm in Congress that my constituents don't want any part of that," DuWayne told us. "Nor will I ever countenance the government coming between a woman and her doctor or her minister or whomever she choses to consult about her intimate health matters. My opponent talks about government getting off the backs of our people. I don't know how he squares that with his extreme positions on women's choice and his shameful, ideological vote to defund Planned Parenthood."

Once again, the DCCC is trying to give Peter King a free pass. Please help Duwayne Gregory put an end to that right now. If the Democrats are going to win back the House, it's going to be with proven progressive leaders in moderate suburban districts like NY-02.



Wall St. Hopes You Won't Give to Donna Edwards' Money Bomb

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Credit: Edwards Campaign FB

Donna Edwards has been an active and effective part of the progressive community for decades, and one of the most effective and steadfast progressive leaders inside Congress for a progressive agenda that advances the legitimate aspirations of working families. Her opponent in the race for Maryland's open Senate seat, Chris Van Hollen, is another cog in the machine that Thomas Frank was writing about when he lamented to Thom Harmann that the Democratic Party has been turning its back on working families to cater to the special corporate interests, Wall Street and the Top 10%. In 22 days early voting begins for the April 26 primary election.

Goal Thermometer

The financial forces behind the establishment have lined up behind Van Hollen and have bloated his campaign chest. As of the December 31 FEC filing report he had already amassed $6,295,124. Donna's grassroots campaign has brought in $2,166,226. Van Hollen has already outspent her two to one but she leads in the polls by as much as 10%. Unfortunately, Wall Street and other corporate special interests have rushed to his side and he now has ten times more money on hand than she does and plans to swamp the airwaves with more false attack ads she will be unable to respond to.

Schumer has made sure the Financial Sector was aboard Van Hollen's train and it has stepped up to the tune of $390,807 so far, in gratitude to the Ranking Democrat on the House Budget Committee who always made sure the banksters' priorities were covered. Although he is trying to wiggle out of his reactionary positions for the primary, Van Hollen has supported the job-killing trade policies that have devastated American manufacturing and has advocated "saving" Social Security by cutting benefits, the kind of "saving" Paul Ryan and the Republicans advocate under the guise of "compromise."

Last May, the New York Times recognized the Maryland race as "a fight over the future of the Democratic Party... a fight over what a true Democrat should, and should not, be."

Although our top reason for backing Donna is about electing a proven and effective progressive fighter, we're cognizant that if she wins she'll make history as the first African American woman elected to the U.S. Senate from Maryland-- and only the second black woman in the history of the Senate.

The fact that she's taken a pledge to not take a dime from the Wall Street banks; has led the fight against the TPP; has been a strong defender of Planned Parenthood and a woman's right to choose; a leader on equality; and is fighting for every family-- regardless of zip code, has led Blue America to endorse her and to ask you to chip into her money bomb this week.

She's shown that she's not afraid to lead on issues we care about: Medicare for all, marriage equality-- she was the first member of Congress in Maryland to publicly endorse the idea, far before it was a "safe" position for establishment Democrats-- and she actually took a stand against her own party's Republican-like gerrymandering.

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It's important to remember that Donna’s personal experience is tied to being an African-American single mom who founded the National Network to End Domestic Violence, fought developers in her neighborhood, and won her first race for Congress against a corrupt Democrat bought by special interests. That informs her policy positions and, in a Congress dominated by well-off white males, it matters. We backed her in every race she's ever run and America-- and an increasingly off-the-rails Democratic Party-- need her voice at the table in Washington.



Maria Chappelle-Nadal (D-Ferguson) Ready To Set The House On Fire


A few days ago I was talking with Missouri state Sen. Maria Chappelle-Nadal about the issues that propelled her to take up the usually thankless task of challenging a long-time incumbent from one’s own party. She was talking about a slew of issues centered around equal opportunity, education and income inequality when it dawned on me that she sounded an awful lot like Bernie Sanders in terms of what was motivating her intense commitment to public service.

In Missouri’s 1st congressional district the high poverty areas have the worst school systems, the worst outcomes for students, and the largest number of unaccredited schools. This issue is personal for Maria. As eloquent and articulate as she is now, she was born with a speech impediment. It was 8 years of speech therapy and public school that helped her overcome this disability. Please give what you can to help her take this important House seat away from a deadbeat Rep. who needs to go, Now!

“Maria,” I said, “have you endorsed Bernie?” She said she hadn’t gotten around to it yet because she was so busy talking with constituents in her St. Louis area district about the dangers and health risks inherent in the radioactive waste that’s been dumped near their homes. And when she wasn’t doing that, she was in Springfield leading the filibuster of a Republican attempt to amend the state constitution making it legal for businesses to discriminate against gays and lesbians, under the guise of so-called “religious liberty.”

Friday, when the Republicans shut down the state Senate she found some time to tweet out a Bernie endorsement. It makes plenty of sense because they’re both cut from the same progressive cloth, even if he’s from Vermont by way of Brooklyn and she’s from suburban St Louis.

For many TV viewers around the country, Maria Chappelle-Nadal was the face and the voice of Ferguson. It’s her district and her neighbors and she wasn’t backing down. She was out in the streets being tear gassed for hours along with the other members of the stunned community. “Ferguson,” she said, “taught me ‘silence is violence…’ [and] Ferguson taught me I will not ever be silent when our rules and laws are not respected.”

Ferguson stiffened her resolve to be strong for the under-served residents north of St. Louis and to turn up the heat on the radioactive waste scandal the establishment is trying to bury. She wondered how white voters in her district would feel about her outspokenness and her intensity. The response was overwhelming and positive, black and white voters alike telling her that the same silence that allowed Michael Brown’s death to happen is the same silence that is allowing the radioactive waste problems to happen.

She is passionate about getting federal help to clean up the crisis of radioactive waste which is, in a way, a form of “environmental poverty,” she says. Guess where the landfill sites are? Did you guess black neighborhoods? Ding, ding, ding! Correct. Though they are all over the place. Recently there was a proposal to build the new football stadium on top of one of these sites. The team already practices on top of one of these waste sites! This crisis in the St. Louis area– with its horrifying “cancer-clusters”– isn’t new, it’s been going on for decades. For amost 40 years it’s been widely known how dangerous the situation is. I’m not sure the Maria is even 40 years old, but she knows about it now and it seems as if she will not sleep until something is done about it.

The incumbent congressman, House Financial Services Committee crook, William Lacey Gray, doesn’t give a rat’s ass about public service, and it’s time for him to move on and make way for someone who does– someone who can shake up a somnolent Democratic House caucus in Washington and remind Democrats who they are there to serve– i.e., not themselves and their campaign donors. Blue America is proud to have endorsed Maria Chappelle-Nadal for Congress and we urge you to consider contributing to her grassroots campaign today.



Primaries Can Make Miracles. Meet Dave McTeague In Oregon's 5th

Tim Canova, the intrepid Democrat challenging entrenched incumbent Debbie Wasserman Schultz in a deep blue district in South Florida, wrote:

"primary challenges like mine are often the only effective way to force accountability on entrenched incumbents. Here at home, for instance, Florida’s 23rd Congressional District is seen as a safe Democratic seat. My opponent has been reelected over and over, and has never faced a primary challenger, ever! And with no primary challenger in a safely Democratic seat, there is no genuine discussion, much less debate, within our district as to the serious issues facing all of us, and the overall direction of our country."

Progressive activist and labor scholar Amy Dean sees Tim's campaign as a potential game changer: “If his insurgent campaign catches on, it could represent a serious problem for the Democratic Party establishment. It could signal an increasing willingness by grass-roots activists to use primary challenges to place champions for working people in office rather than accept lesser-evil candidates simply because they are incumbents.”

And Tim's campaign isn't the only race where Blue America is backing a proven progressive against an arrogant and out-of-touch incumbent. Alex Law is challenging the entire corrupt South Jersey political machine that has bolstered Chris Christie's administration by taking on boss George Norcross' conservative little brother Donald Norcross, whose first vote in Congress was to back the Keystone XL Pipeline. Missouri state Senator Maria Chappelle-Nadal, one of the heroes of Ferguson, is taking on William Lacy Clay, the kind of typical old school Democrat who has lost touch with his constituents while living the high life with his lobbyist buddies in DC. 

And this week, we welcomed a new challenger on board, Oregon former state legislator Dave McTeague, who is going after a character every bit as destructive and reactionary as Debbie Wasserman Schultz or Lacy Clay-- head Blue Dog, Kurt Schrader, a Republican in every way but the "D" next to his name

Inspired by Bernie Sander's principled campaign and his issues and incensed by Schrader's anti-environmental votes and his backing for the TPP and other job-killing corporate trade policies, McTeague decided it jump back into electoral politics, fully aware of the onerousness of the task of taking on an entrenched incumbent in a primary. But Oregon is one of the highest turn-out states in America-- 63% compared to 52.8% in New York, 51.7% in Arizona, 54.8% in California, 48.45 in Texas and 49.5% in Arkansas-- and the 5th district's voters are well-educated, environmentally-conscious and generally much more progressive than their Blue Dog congressman, who has an "F" rating from ProgressivePunch and a tense relationship with organized labor and with the environmental community. The League of Conservative Voters rates him as the most environmentally-unfriendly Democrat in Oregon's congressional delegation and he has been a big backer of clear-cut logging. The NRA, on the other hand, loves him and supports him-- because Schrader loves them and supports them.

When McTeague jumped into the race at the end of last month-- after attending a Schrader town hall where concerns about the TPP were cavalierly dismissed-- he told residents of the northern Willamette Valley, Salem, and coastal counties from Tillamook to Lincoln that he had joined Bernie's "political revolution to address growing income inequality and the decline of the middle class." He explained his reasons for running in a guest post at DownWithTyranny a few days ago:

These days a lot of voters, Democratic voters too, don’t feel represented by the Washington Establishment and want real change. This is evident in the success of Sen. Sanders’s insurgent presidential campaign, which I strongly support. The incumbent is the Co-Chair of the conservative Blue Dog Caucus. I would be a member of the Progressive Caucus.

I don’t have any illusions about this effort. Running against an entrenched incumbent is like taking on the Death Star in Star Wars especially one with access to a million or more dollars of PAC money.

So why would I do this? Because a lot of Democratic and independent voters want real fundamental change, a political revolution, and they’re not willing to settle for politics as usual. Those Democrats and independents deserve to have a choice just as they have a choice for real change in the Presidential Primary.

My candidacy’s purpose is to provide Democratic primary voters a progressive alternative to the establishment incumbent. I will not accept any funding from any corporate Political Action Committees. I agree with Senator Bernie Sanders we have to overturn our current corrupt campaign finance system to make real fundamental changes.

This community has been fundamental in helping Tim Canova get his campaign off the ground. Let's do the same for Dave McTeague by contributing here at the Blue America Progressive Congress page.




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