Blue America '18

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Bernie: 'I Detest That Type Of Politics And I Think Most Americans Do'

BLUE_AMERICA_ENDORSE_Levi_Tillemann.jpg"In CO-06 the DCCC decided they wanted a white collar criminal defense lawyer (who has represented payday lenders, fracking companies and defended scammers who have targeted senior citizens) to represent us. What we’ve seen is a textbook case of Washington working to rig a primary. Despite our opponent’s crippling weaknesses as a general election candidate, the DCCC is determined to inflict their candidate upon primary voters by creating facts on the ground." 

You think what the DCCC has done in undermining Laura Moser is unique?
It isn't. It's been fairly standard operating procedure since 2006 when Rahm Emanuel and Steny Hoyer decided they should determine who Democratic nominees should be, not local Democratic primary voters. The only thing unique about the Laura Moser incident was how incompetently it was handled and how embarrassingly public it became. 

More "normal" DCCC interference in local primaries is better illustrated by how they're trying to destroy another progressive, Levi Tillemann, on behalf of yet another corrupt New Dem from the Republican wing of the Democratic Party, Jason Crow, in the Denver suburbs (CO-06). The Republican incumbent, Mike Coffman, is one of the most vulnerable Republicans in the country. Hillary beat Trump 50.2% to 41.3% in this district, which has a D+2 PVI.

Levi, who Blue America has endorsed today, asked if we remember in 2016 when Washington insiders confidently predicted an overwhelming victory for Democrats up and down the ticket? "Well," he reminded us, "that didn’t happen-- we lost, up and down the ticket. Remember how Democratic insiders spoke confidently about 'viability' and tried to stigmatize candidates who challenged the establishment? It turns out those 'viable' candidates weren’t so viable after all. That broken system got us to where we are today. Levi is confident that "we can fix it. This year must be the beginning of something exciting and new. That means two things: First, we must stand for our progressive agenda; Second, we must push back against the backroom Washington dealers who got us here.

This is a guest post from Levi:

Let’s start with the progressive agenda. Before I decided to run, I spent months listening and here’s what I heard people say: too many workers are being squeezed by the modern economy; hard work should mean a good life; the excesses of extreme capitalism and inequality are threatening the American Dream; things need to change. I agreed. 

Like you, I believe: 

  • Universal healthcare is a right  
  • Americans deserve a living minimum wage of at least $15/hr
  • The future of our planet and the U.S. economy requires a transition to renewable energy by 2035
  • All Americans must be treated equally before the law
  • Donald Trump is a criminal (and Democrats need to fight to remove him from office)

Voters are crying out for an economic and social agenda that delivers economic justice and equal opportunity for all. Progressives demand that these policies address the crushing inequality in America today. I’m committed to fighting for that agenda in Washington. 

But we’ll never get there if we don’t push back against Washington insiders. Lobbyists and establishment politicians are trying to slow-walk our fight for equality. They peddle half-truths, influence and big money donations on behalf of candidates and causes that don’t represent you. Those candidates fit the Washington mold-- and that’s not a good thing. They will go with the flow and won’t stand up for what’s right when it really matters. If we keep sending that type of person to Washington, they’ll keep rigging the system against us. That’s exactly what’s happening in CO-06.

This has been going on for more than a year (they have supplied him with staff, data and hundreds of thousands in donations). Last November, the DCCC brought these efforts into the open by designating our opponent as a “Red to Blue” candidate. The DCCC has now embedded full-time field staffers with our opponent’s campaign, they share polling data with him and help secure endorsements. They traffic in lies, rumor and innuendo about our progressive campaign. 

That’s not only morally wrong, it’s not going to help us win a general election. The DCCC has deployed its strong-arm tactics here before... and they don’t work. Let’s take a look at the DCCC’s losing record over the years. 

The 2014 Bloodbath
In 2014 one of Colorado’s most impressive leaders, Andrew Romanoff was the Democratic nominee against Mike Coffman.  Leading up to the general election, the DCCC committed to funding Romanoff’s advertising costs during the last weeks of the election. But the DCCC reneged on their promise -- leaving Andrew high and dry.  The DCCC cut the legs out from Romanoff’s campaign and didn’t spend a single cent on the promised advertising.  In other words, the DCCC allowed the GOP and Mike Coffman to demolish Romanoff’s good name and record via TV and radio.  Andrew had no way to fight back. Why? Because he trusted the DCCC. The result was an electoral bloodbath.

The DCCC knows best?
In 2016, the Democratic nominee for CD-6 was Colorado State Sen. Morgan Carroll.  Morgan was an extremely qualified, intelligent and charismatic candidate whose campaign was also tanked by the DCCC. The DCCC wanted to tie Coffman to Trump and that was the entirety of their plan: Tie Coffman to Trump.  

An astute politician with local knowledge, Carroll knew this wasn’t the silver bullet. She had a plan to defeat Coffman that was issues driven and focused on aggressive field outreach. But the DC insiders at the DCCC demanded that Senator Carroll follow their orders and threatened to withdraw financial support unless she did as they said. In the face of those threats, Carroll felt she had no choice but to accept the dictates of unelected, unaccountable DC insiders. Coffman won the election in another landslide.

Blue America is asking for your help in Colorado.

Ever since he realized that the DCCC was jumping on the scale early last spring, Levi and other progressives have called on them to back off and let the voters decide. Unfortunately, that’s not the DCCC way. They’ve doubled down on their candidate, lied about it and done everything in their power to stack the primary deck.

Please consider contributing what you can to Levi Tillemann's campaign by clicking on the ActBlue congressional thermometer on the right.


We can win this one by beating the forces of Insider Beltway corruption-- first the DCCC and in November, the GOP. As Bernie said, in reference to the DCCC Lee Atwater/Karl Rove techniques in TX-07, "I detest that type of politics and I think most Americans do... That is to my mind, absolutely unacceptable. And it’s got to end."

Thanks for always doing what you can to make this a better world,

--Howie, for the entire Blue America team

Senator Warren: 'Katie Porter Is The Real Deal'

CA-45 is the heart of Orange County. It includes Irvine, Mission Viejo, Lake Forest, Rancho Santa Margarita... Villa Park and the Anaheim Hills in the north and Coto De Caza in the south. But it doesn't include the home of Mimi Walters, the Republican congresswoman who was elected in 2014. She still lives in posh beachfront neighborhood in Dana Rohrabacher's district and has adamantly refused to move into the district she's supposed to be representing.

Many residents feel it's time for Mimi to go. And this might be the year. She votes in complete lockstep with the unpopular Trump. And Trump did badly in the 45th. Romney and McCain both beat Obama in the district, but Hillary beat Trump  by over 5 points. The PVI has improved from R+7 to a much more manageable R+3.

And this year, CA-45 has an extraordinary Democratic candidate in UC Irvine law professor Katie Porter, endorsed this week by Blue America.

A former law student of Elizabeth Warren's, they co-wrote a book about consumer protection. Warren endorsed her, as have Kamala Harris, Kirsten Gillibrand, Zephyr Teachout and progressive groups like DFA and the PCCC. She has a corporate Dem as a primary opponent backed by the DC establishment but all recent polls show Katie beating him and going on to beat Walters.

Katie hasn't been shy about pointing out that Walters is "one of the 'Big Money 20'--  taking money from the NRA, Big Oil, Big Banks, and a number of powerful special interests." She said she believes that "special interests like large financial institutions, because of Citizens United, now have the ability to spend unlimited money, giving them an outsized and unfair role in our election system.

That is why I am proud that our campaign has pledged not to take any campaign contributions from corporate PACs, big oil, big pharma, big banks, or private charter schools. We believe in running a campaign by example and have raised the resources necessary to run a competitive campaign with contributions from over 10,000 individual donors. I am going to Washington to do what I have done my whole career-- to give voice to the needs of family and to fight for a fair system."

As for policy, Katie is where you would expect candidates backed by Blue America to be. For health care, for example, she told us that she had spent her career  as a consumer protection attorney "studying how one illness or accident can lead a family to financial ruin-- it shouldn't be that way. That's why I will fight for a Medicare for All system in which every American has quality health insurance.

And this is a defining issue in this race. My Republican opponent, Mimi Walters, helped write Trump’s health care law that gutted protections for pre-existing conditions. She was one of the first people that Donald Trump thanked at the White House after the vote. Her vote on the GOP tax plan puts health coverage for 13 million people at risk and will lead to devastating cuts to Medicare and Medicaid. And other candidates in this race have refused to support Medicare for All." 

She has also pledged to voters to take on big oil and the corporate polluters to stop offshore drilling, and that she will "fight to invest in renewable energy development, support high emission standards, and save important environmental protections. Simply put, Washington must act to fight climate change." 

Her field of expertise, consumer protection, is what attracted Blue America to her campaign to begin with. She has literally spent close to 2 decades taking on Wall Street banks and powerful financial institutions that cheat middle-class families.

"Much of my work as a consumer advocate," she told us Friday,

"has centered around the housing crisis that rocked Orange County and many other parts of the country. Before the crisis, I was one of the first to sound the alarm about how the biggest Wall Street banks were preying on homeowners. And when the crisis hit, I was appointed by Attorney General Kamala Harris to work directly with California families who were cheated by the five biggest Wall Street banks. The five banks had promised to help homeowners who had been harmed, and it was my job to hold the banks’ feet to the fire. My team won thousands of victories against the banks, forcing them to pay billions to families. And our work helped tens of thousands of families move forward with their lives... Eight years after the crash, Orange County families still find themselves stuck. Profits again are surging for financial institutions and Wall Street, but middle-class wages are stagnant. And the cost of things that matter most for families-- affording preschool, sending your kid to college, saving for retirement-- are skyrocketing, while the high cost of housing in Orange County is pushing families to the brink."

We all know what we need out of the next Congress-- capable leaders who have shown the ability and willingness to stand up to Trump, the GOP and the powerful special interests. "That," Katie told us "is exactly what I plan to do in Washington." Please consider contributing to her campaign at the Blue America congressional page, here.

Thanks for always doing what you can to make this a better world,

--Howie, for the entire Blue America team

Why Blue America Endorsed Ellen Lipton (MI-09)

BLUE_AMERICA_ENDORSE_ELLEN_LIPTON.jpgEllen lists 7 core platform items on her website, her priorities: a strong public education system and will always resist efforts to privatize our schools; protecting and expanding Social Security; investing in infrastructure and creating well-paying jobs for our community; universal healthcare for all Americans; raising the minimum wage to a living wage; a woman’s right to choose, and protecting our environment and leaving a healthy planet for our children.​

What most people know about Ellen Lipton, a candidate for the open congressional seat in the Oakland and Macomb county suburbs north of Detroit, is that she founded and was named president of the Michigan Promise Zone Association. The association supports free community college tuition, technical training and certification to Michigan students in selected communities across Michigan, a blueprint for free college tuition across America. Before that she was in the Michigan legislature, fighting for public education and therefore the bane of Betsy DeVos' existence. But if education policy is one of her fields of expertise, infrastructure was one of the motivations that made her jump into the race. We don't always think of potholes as issues in congressional races... but Ellen explains why it is in her district

“POTHELL!” was the big, bold headline splashed across a newspaper recently here in metro Detroit, and no word sums up Michigan’s infrastructure crisis more clearly. Under the headline was a picture of three drivers who’d been stranded on their way to work when they crossed an enormous pothole that had immediately destroyed their tires and rims upon impact. Welcome to pothole season in Michigan, when a daily commute often involves dangerous dodging and swerving to avoid potholes, then dodging and swerving to avoid accidents with other vehicles.  It’s a public safety nightmare.
Trump recently unveiled his infrastructure proposal, and it falls far, far short of what’s needed in Michigan to even begin to solve our infrastructure crisis. Under his plan, states and localities would have to find their own, new sources of revenue to spend on infrastructure to even qualify for federal help. After decades of state disinvestment in infrastructure in MI, Trump’s plan would have little to no impact here, since our local units of government have already been revenue-starved for years and are highly unlikely to be able to come up with new state spending sources. 

Michigan can’t wait for President Trump to get his act together and propose a plan that would actually work for our state. Here are just a few examples of how our infrastructure crisis is negatively impacting our communities every single day:


  • Flint water crisis-- Old service lines leached lead into Flint’s drinking water, poisoning an entire community.  These service lines and lead connectors have still not been replaced, four years after the crisis first began to unfold.
  • Fraser sinkhole-- A little over a year ago, an underground sewer line in Fraser collapsed, causing the ground to shift and open up and forcing people from their homes, closing down roads and putting a community in harms way.


  • Falling concrete on I-696-- Just recently, drivers along I-696, a major thoroughfare that links Oakland and Macomb counties in the 9th Congressional District, were being bombarded by large chunks of concrete falling from highway overpasses.
  • Heavy rains and E. coli outbreaks-- Every time there’s a heavy rain, levels of E. coli rise along the Clinton River and Lake St. Clair. This shoreline issue can be traced to much of the region still operating on old combined sewer systems in which a single pipe carries sewage from homes and businesses as well as storm runoff coming from street drains.  Such outdated systems mean that during a heavy rainfall, a mix of storm water and sewage spills over from the retention basins to rivers and drains that carry it to Lake St. Clair.

The problems I’ve just described above barely scratch the surface of what our state’s infrastructure crisis entails. Cleary, President Trump’s so-called plan won’t even begin to get the job done when it comes to rebuilding my home state and making it a safe and healthy place for our communities.
What’s needed now more than ever is a bold vision for rebuilding our infrastructure, centered on the human side of the issue, and focused on putting people back to work and enhancing peoples’ quality of life where they work and where they live. Such a bold vision would invest our resources in people to produce millions of family-sustaining jobs, raise living standards, reduce inequality, strengthen education, reduce poverty and create a clean, healthy environment. 

It would also mandate a direct public investment in roads, bridges and other public works, as opposed to providing “corporate giveaways” to spur private-sector investment. This direct investment should come in the form of a federal jobs program, through which our country would invest in human capital by putting people back to work rebuilding our roads and bridges, water and sewer systems, schools, airports and veterans’ hospitals, and linking our communities with high-speed internet access.
This kind of federal infrastructure program could create millions of jobs immediately, as well as introduce real-world job training for so many young people who are looking to begin careers in the skilled trades. An initiative like this one place great emphasis on jobs that pay a living wage, ensure workplace safety and guarantee racial and gender equality in the workplace. These goals could be achieved by raising benchmarks for prevailing wages in every corner of the country, requiring local hiring to accurately reflect and represent the diversity of the community’s workforce, include robust “Buy American” requirements and prioritize the hiring of veterans.
The path to American greatness lies in significant investment in our greatest resource: our people.  A federal jobs program based on rebuilding our country would be proof that America’s complex infrastructure challenges can be met by following the simple principle that public money should go toward the public good.

MI-09 is a reliable Democratic district, which Sandy Levin, who has represented it for three-and-a-half decades, is leaving. His son Andy would like to take over. There are 2 other middle-of-the-road men running as well... and Ellen, the progressive game changer in the race.

So, why have we endorsed Ellen Lipton (MI-09)?

Ellen is part of the progressive grassroots energy that is sweeping the country and she's the kind of leader who won't be satisfied sitting on the backbench taking orders from the party's sclerotic, calcified leadership. Pelosi's, Hoyer's and their team's days are numbered. The congressional Democrats desperately need seasoned, bold leaders like Ellen Lipton to help the party snap out of it before it's too late. Please consider contributing to her campaign here.

Omaha? Blue America Endorses Kara Eastman

Kara Eastman is the newest Blue America endorsee. She's running for the blue-trending Omaha Metro district-- NE-02, currently tenuously held by conservative backbencher Don Bacon. Before she gets to Bacon, she has to beat conservative "Democrat" Brad Ashford, who was a Republican for 38 years, including the first term of the Obama administration.

According to the Omaha World Herald, Ashford voted with the Republicans while in Congress more than all other Democrats except for two. In the Nebraska legislature, he voted for an ultrasound bill and voted yes on LB 1103, a bill that prohibited abortions in Nebraska after 20 weeks. He’s taken contradictory stands on almost every important issue over his long political career. Ashford voted for and against the Dreamers, for and against the Iran nuclear deal, and against the Clean Power Plan rule (SJ Res 24) that established carbon dioxide emission guidelines for power plants. Under Obama, he voted against facets of the Affordable Care Act, in the Nebraska State Legislature he voted for some anti-choice bills, and he has gone back and forth on his stances on the Keystone XL pipeline. People in the district tell me they are unhappy with Ashford’s voting record. They also feel like he is not in it to win it. 

Word on the street is, Nebraskans are looking for someone with energy, with vision and with passion.  Knowing this, even with a record like Ashford’s the DC Dem's establishment candidate enjoys the backing of the entire ‘Republican wing of the Democratic Party’— the Blue Dogs, the New Dems and, of course, the DCCC. 

Kara's primary fight has been based on convincing voters that her pragmatic, progressive stances make her a stronger candidate. We cannot agree more! The Democratic primary election is on May 15.

She told us that with a grassroots campaign focused on field operations, door-knocking, an integrated digital and communication plan, and engaging voters; her campaign is speaking directly to real people. She and her volunteers have knocked on over 25,000 doors already. Women, labor unions (she just received her fourth labor endorsement), activists, and communities of color that have been disenfranchised by conservative candidates and are crucial to winning NE-02. Her bold advocacy is motivating and energizing the Democratic base, and it’s already been recognized in the form of a national endorsement from Climate Hawks Vote and now from Blue America. This is a district that can be flipped.

"Omaha Democrats," said Kara,

"are frustrated. We’ve run the same kind of 'moderate to conservative candidate' at the local, state, and federal level, and we’ve seen them lose over and over again. Even though my primary opponent won by a slim margin in 2014, he lost his re-election bid in 2016. As a matter of fact, he was the only incumbent Democrat to lose to a Republican in the entire country that cycle. Don Bacon, who won by just over one percentage point, now votes in line with the current administration 97% of the time. He’s vulnerable, and all the political prognosticators say that the election is a toss-up. Over the last decade, Nebraska’s second Congressional district is one of the two most competitive in the nation. So why can’t Democrats consistently win here? They don’t ignite the base, and they don’t go out and talk to voters."

She's the first serious progressive candidate to run in Nebraska’s second district and her grassroots campaign has knocked on over 25,000 doors and has gotten voters excited about the race. She told us that,

"the majority of the people we talk to at the doors commit to voting for me. I’m pro-choice, I support common-sense gun safety regulation, I’m passionate about health and environmental protection, and I’ve opposed the Keystone XL pipeline. I will fight for a Medicare for All system because healthcare is a right. I also will fight for debt-free education, because I’m tired of seeing students, even at Metro Community College where I serve on the Board of Governors, drowning in student loans. The U.S. has to compete in a global market by investing in green and healthy housing. Climate change is the number one moral and national security threat to our children, and we need to address it now."

Kara is good on all of our issues and we're excited about her campaign because we see her as someone who will be an aggressive champion for campaign finance reform. "Fixing campaign finance laws and taking lobbyist money out of politics," she said, "will change Washington. I’m proud to have over 1500 individual campaign donors, but I won’t take just any and all corporate PAC dollars. In fact, my fundraising has been neck and neck with that of my primary opponent, even though he’s been in Congress and accepts a large amount of PAC money."

With the strong grassroots campaign that she's built, Kara Eastman can win this swing district. As a social worker with a reputation for getting things done in her community, she's ready to work hard to make real changes in the political system when she gets to D.C. We believe in Kara's campaign and we urge you to contribute what you can. It's strong, idealistic women with real life experience like Kara who are going to change America, not decrepit, recycled, reactionary Blue Dogs dumped upon us by a corrupt establishment. 

Thanks for always doing what you can to make this a better world,

--Howie, for the entire Blue America team

Up To Bat In March — Progressives In Texas And Illinois

The first two states with 2018 primaries are Texas — March 6 — and Illinois — March 20.

The thing about the Texas primaries is that in most cases they’re going lead to May 22 primary runoffs. So we’re going to be waiting for another couple of months before we know who the candidates we’ll have going up against Republicans for the blue-trending seats in Houston, Austin, San Antonio and Dallas, all of which are likely to deny any candidates 50% on March 6.

It’s a wide open race in west Houston, where award-winning cancer researcher and doctor, Jason Westin, has a bunch of establishment candidates he’s competing with, as well as another progressive. He can use some help.

Same in Dallas, where our candidate, Obama’s deputy undersecretary of rural development for the Department of Agriculture, Lillian Salerno is facing off against two pretty garden variety establishment big money careerists.

One of the Austin candidates, Derrick Crowe, (one of the best candidates anywhere in America) is likely to be forced into a runoff with a multimillionaire Republican, Joseph Kopser, pretending — although not well — to be a Democrat.

My first experience with Derrick goes back to when George W. Bush was still president and he was the organizing force behind Brave New Film’s “Rethink Afghanistan” project. He has a visceral understanding of progressive issues and appears to be someone who will be more than just a “good vote” in Congress, but someone — like Pramila Jayapal, Ted Lieu and Ro Khanna can come forward as a natural thought leader. He’s certainly running his campaign that way.

The Illinois primaries later in the month have a more crucial sense of permanence. The candidate with the most votes will face off against the Republican. The race that’s gotten the most attention is in IL-03, the Chicagoland district that starts in the southwest part of the city around Bridgeport and the Stockyards, snakes down through Marquette Manor to Midway, through Palos Hills and to Orland Park, Homer Glen and Lockport just north of Joliet. It’s one of those rare races where an excruciatingly bad entrenched incumbent, Blue Dog Dan Lipinski, is being held accountable for the first time.

Progressives in the district, in the state and across America have backed Marie Newman, who would make a much-needed and excellent addition to the Illinois congressional delegation.

The Republican in the race, Arthur Jones, an admitted anti-Semite is the former leader of the American Nazi Party. No, not every Republican is a Nazi… but it’s funny how they always find a home with the GOP isn’t it? Remember Boehner’s Nazi buddy in Ohio, Rich Iott? Anyway, whoever wins the March 20 primary — the Blue Dog Lipinski or progressive Marie Newman — will be sworn in next January because IL-03 isn’t about to elect a Nazi to Congress.

The district didn’t even vote for Trump. He couldn’t even muster 40% against Hillary, who had been defeated in the district primary by Bernie. Polling shows an extremely tight race and it’s going to be Marie’s field operation that wins this one and sends the DCCC and the Democratic old guard a message that voters are watching what they do and holding them accountable.

The only other candidate endorsed by Blue America in Illinois is Dr. David Gill in IL-13, a sprawling central Illinois district that meanders southwest from Champaign, Normal and Bloomington down through Decatur and Springfield to suburbs north and east of St. Louis. This was Bernie-country in 2016 and he beat Hillary in the district. And Gill is the candidate who has been working on Bernie issues for as long as Bernie has.

Remember, the last time Gill faced off against Republican Rodney Davis, Davis won by just a handful of votes — 136,596 to 135,309, only because left-wing spoiler John Hartman, took 21,319 votes, throwing the election to a crackpot conservative.

His message resonated last time — Help David get that message out to the few voters that got missed. He has three big-money establishment primary opponents who will probably split the establishment vote and allow Gill to face off against Davis in November. He definitely needs financial help for his field operation that will be in full swing in the next couple of weeks.

This week, we’re asking you to consider helping our Texas and Illinois candidates and leave the others for another time — just this week. Let’s make sure the progressives get into the Texas runoffs and into the Illinois general election.

Thanks for always doing what you can to make a better world.
Howie, for the entire Blue America team

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