Blue America '16

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The Most Important Primaries Of 2018

If you've been with Blue America for enough years, you'll remember the excruciating battles we backed for Donna Edwards, Beto O'Rourke and Matt Cartwright when they took on corrupt old conservative Democrats in, respectively, Maryland, Texas and Pennsylvania. All three, running as reformers and progressives, prevailed. But there is nothing in politics more difficult, no task more painful-- and few as important-- as taking on an entrenched incumbent of one's own party.

Each of those districts was solidly blue and the only possible accountability for bad behavior could come in the form of a primary. No Republican was ever going to beat Al Wynn in Prince George's County (D+28), Sylvestre Reyes in El Paso (D+17) or even Tim Holden in northeast Pennsylvania (D+4).

All three had become untreated cancers on the Democratic Party but the institutional party circled the wagons around each to ward off the reformers. It was very painful for each of them, especially Matt and Donna who were screamed at and lambasted by the Democratic Party leadership. Pelosi and Hoyer raised money for the incumbents and spread malicious and malevolent lies about the challengers. 

Blue America is backing progressives in a dozen primary races, but they're not primaries against incumbents; they're primaries among challengers vying for the nomination to beat a Republican. In an ideal world, every Blue Dog, every New Dem and every unaffiliated conservaDem would have to justify themselves to their voters every two years in issues-based primaries. But this year we've only found 4 so far that we've gotten involved with-- in other words, plausible races against exceptionally bad Democrats by exceptionally good Democrats.

These are the four races:

• FL-23, Tim Canova taking on Debbie Wassermann Schultz
• TX-29, Hector Morales taking on Gene Green
• IL-03, Marie Newman taking on Dan Lipinski
• NY-14, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez taking on Joe Crowley

Crowley, perhaps the most overtly corrupt Democrat in Congress, was the head of the Wall Street-owned New Dems before he was tapped by increasingly feeble-minded Pelosi and Hoyer to run the party after they're gone. It's almost impossible to imagine anything worse happening to the Democratic Party.  Although... Debbie Wassermann Schultz taking over the party-- once a distinct possibility (she's now more likely to take over a prison block)-- might be worse.

Lipinski is just a garden variety Blue Dog: anti-Choice, homophobic, xenophobic, and a pawn of his corporate donors. He's a co-chair of the House Blue Dog caucus and votes far more against crucial progressive legislation with the Republicans than with the Democrats. Gene Green, who represents an impoverished 77% Hispanic district in East Houston, including some of the most polluted areas of America, polluted, we should note by Green's campaign contributors, whose interests he diligently serves.

Dislodging the Republicans from control of the House is everyone's first priority. Getting rid of corrupt Democrats who make the party less attractive to voters who hate the Republicans and who perpetrate the myth that the Democrats can never be better than the lesser of two evils, should also be a priority.

Please consider contributing what you can to the special page Blue America has set up specifically to raise funds for progressive challengers to the worst of the congressional conservaDems. I hope there will be more before the cycle concludes, but this is a pretty impressive group so far.

Hector Morales, for example, is a school teacher in Houston who thinks it's time to hold Green accountable for the pollution that has been making school children in his district sick year after year. "After sitting in Congress for 25 years representing special interests," he told us, "it is beyond time to replace this corporate shill with someone who will always place the people first and will not make a career out of being a member of Congress. We can and will do better in March when we defeat Gene Green in the Democratic Primary for the 29th Congressional District of Texas."

Upgrading the Democratic Party is as essential and banishing the GOP from control of the House. It will help break a cycle where the voters go back and forth on which party is really the lesser of two evils.



Will 3rd Time Be The Charm For MI Dems? Paul Clements Thinks So

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Blue America helped persuade Paul Clements to run for the southwest Michigan congressional seat held by Fred Upton again this cycle. This week one of Upton's top financial contributors, a multimillionaire corporate lobbyist who has written Upton over two dozen checks, decided to run-- as a Democrat!-- against Paul in the Democratic primary. We asked Paul to introduce himself to Blue America members who might not remember him from last year.

Make MI-06 Part of the Progressive Wave
-by Paul Clements

Will you make 2018 a turning point? My name is Paul Clements and I want to work with you to make a Blue American Congress that passes single-payer health care, funds vocational education, and ensures that financial advisors work for the folks paying them to protect their retirements and not to line their own pockets. 

I am deeply appreciative for the support of Blue America. Will you join me to show DC that we will not stop fighting for progressive values, that we will stand up to Trump and to the big corporations that seem to have bought our party? 

Please join me and Blue America here now.
 
This is my third-time running for the House-- and each time I’ve seen our movement grow stronger. 

Today I work as a professor teaching national economic development and program evaluation. I am also a life-long activist for social justice. As a former missionary kid and Peace Corps Volunteer, I’ve seen how a little assistance and a lot of hard work and political will can turn around economies and challenging social conditions. We need deep changes in our economy-- and I want to help deliver those changes for you.

I’m running for Congress against the climate science denier the LA Times called Congress’ “#1 enemy” of planet earth. He’s the Koch brothers’ ally that Mayday called “one of the most corrupted by big money in Congress.” He’s the guy who personally got the awful Republican health care bill through the House of Representatives: Fred Upton.

I’m running to fix the fundamentals-- to get big money out of politics-- to reform health care, education, and criminal justice-- to increase production in America and rebuild our infrastructure-- to raise the minimum wage-- for American leadership against global warming-- to continue the struggle for racial and gender equality. 

Only grand vision and deep change can get our economy working for the people. Working families in my district are struggling to put food on the table. As our economy has left some people behind, drug and alcohol abuse are rising and life expectancy is actually falling for some demographics. Students mired in debt can’t start their lives. Too many Americans languish in prison for nonviolent offenses. 

Meanwhile, the Republican Party peddles snake oil, pretending lower taxes will solve our problems. But the Democratic Party plays the big money game too. Plenty of Democrats have sold out, or just lack imagination. If we want America to be the democracy that sets the example the world wants to follow, well, we have work to do.

Will you help me get to work for Michigan’s 6th? 

Health care is in crisis, so it is a priority. The fact is, a system based on private insurance doesn’t work for health care. Health care should be a right in America, and experience from other countries shows that with single-payer we can be healthier and pay less.

The cost and complexity of health care is holding American business back-- but so are our education, infrastructure, and criminal justice systems. Good preschool pays for itself 10 times over. Let’s provide it for all our children. Let’s build really good vocational education, and retrain workers who lose their jobs with skills employers need. In the 21st Century a high school degree isn’t enough. Let’s make community college, vocational ed., and public university free for working families. Many rural homes in my district can’t get high speed internet and our bridges are crumbling: America needs a 21st century infrastructure. 

I’m running for Congress because I believe in America and in our future. People struggling economically in my district, people languishing in prison for nonviolent offenses, and the rest of the world all need the American democratic experiment to succeed. But the people who put our current system in place did it for a reason. They did it for profit, and sometimes for power. We won’t turn it around without a fight.

Bernie Sanders built a movement. With his endorsements for my 2014 and 2016 campaigns, I am proud to be part of it. But this movement has just begun. 

Let’s work together to make it happen. Please join me today

I hope you’ll visit my website, clementsforcongress.com, to learn more about my positions and to get involved with the campaign. 

Thank you, 

Paul



No Trump.NoKKK.NoFascist USA!--Win A Signed Green Day Guitar/Help Randy Bryce Beat Paul Ryan

The American Music Awards aren't supposed to be "political," so when Green Day tweaked the words on their new song, "Bang Bang," adding "No Trump, No KKK, No Fascist USA," it may have caught some viewers by surprise. But not iron worker, union organizer and Wisconsin Green Day fan Randy Bryce. "As usual, Billy Joe Armstrong was just a little ahead of his time," he told us when we talked about the upcoming Blue America Green Day guitar giveaway. "I love bands that express their angst in music."

When residents know who Randy Bryce is and who Paul Ryan is, Randy wins and Ryan loses. The contributions at this stage of the campaign are mostly to make sure voters do know who Randy Bryce is. And you can make a contribution-- and make yourself eligible to win the Green Day guitar-- right here.

In tribute to Billie's spirit, I took a sleek black Stratocaster guitar (a Fender Squire Bullet Strat) that Green Day autographed for me while I was president of their label and decided to use it to raise some campaign funds for Randy's campaign for the congressional seat Paul Ryan is operating out of. You can see a photo of the guitar, of Randy holding the guitar, on the right in the contribution box.

Everyone who contributes here-- any amount-- to Randy Bryce's campaign has an equal chance to get the "thank you" guitar from Blue America. We'll pick one person at random. If you give $1,000 you get a chance to get the guitar. If you give $10 you get the same chance to get the guitar. (Yes, we're Democrats, not Republicans; that's how we roll. In fact, if you don't have the cash to give and you want the guitar, just send a note to us at Blue America, P.O. Box 27201. Los Angeles, CA 90027 and you'll have the same chance as everyone else.)

Many contributors want to know if their contribution will help. There are no guarantees of course, that Randy will win, but polling shows that the residents of WI-01 want a new Congressmember; Ryan's reelect numbers are only 44%.

When residents know who Randy Bryce is and who Paul Ryan is, Randy wins and Ryan loses. The contributions at this stage of the campaign are mostly to make sure voters do know who Randy Bryce is. And you can make a contribution-- and make yourself eligible to win the Green Day guitar-- right here.

Meanwhile, Connor Touhey, in yesterday's Badger Herald points out that, "in large part due to gerrymandering, Speaker Ryan’s margin of victory in the past two elections was massive. His ability to garner national attention as Speaker of the House makes him popular in the state, especially since many see him as a 'moderate' willing to try and work with Democrats to solve problems. On top of that, any perceived threat to such a big name in the Republican Party will undoubtedly bring in millions of dollars in political contributions. Paul Ryan should be unbeatable, but he isn’t. Despite his position of power, the Speaker’s inability to connect with his own constituents makes him vulnerable.

As a U.S. Representative, Paul Ryan’s first responsibility is to answer to the constituents of his district. I am one of those constituents, and trust me, he has no interest in listening to what any of us have to say.

Seriously, try calling his office. Ten times out of ten you’ll sent to voicemail. Ryan recently held his first “Town Hall” meeting back in Wisconsin, except it wasn’t a public event. Those who wanted to attend had to apply, ultimately leaving the decision on attendees in the hands of CNN. It’s antics like these that leave Speaker Ryan so vulnerable.

Being unable to even speak to those you have elected will irritate just about any constituency, but in a place like Wisconsin, where access to our officials is especially important to us, it’s disgraceful. Add in a stagnant legislative agenda despite a national mandate for Republicans, the farce that is the Foxconn deal and his continuing role as the president’s court jester, and Speaker Ryan’s next race might be the closest of his career, if not the upset many are already predicting. All Democrats need now is a quality candidate to speed up this race.

The thing is, Randy Bryce is a really good candidate. As an army veteran, cancer survivor and iron worker, Bryce represents the kind of person many believe Paul Ryan continues to screw over in Washington. His life experiences give him firsthand knowledge of the military, our healthcare system and everyday life as a blue collar worker from a personal perspective.

Consider that Bryce is the ultimate picture of modern rustbelt American, and he may have a fighting chance. No, seriously, go look at a picture of the guy. Bryce often has this steely expression on his face, with a fantastic mustache, hardhat and work clothes to back it up.

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

--Howie, for the entire Blue America team

You can contribute to our Senate candidates on this page, our House candidates on this page, and to the brave candidates who are challenging a Blue Dog on this page.



New Endorsement-- Dan Canon: "I'm a progressive. I don't try to hide it."

Blue America

Indiana was Trump country last year, but there is one district, it looks to us, ripe for a red-to-blue flip-- IN-09, which stretched from the suburbs north of Louisville and the Ohio River, due north through Bloomington into the suburbs of Johnson and Morgan counties south of Indianapolis. Freshman Trey Hollingsworth, a complete Trump rubber-stamp, only managed to get 54.1% of the vote last year, seriously underperforming Trump. Next year Hollingsworth is likely to face Dan Canon, the first serious progressive to run in the district in living memory.


As of today, Blue America has endorsed Dan. We asked him to introduce himself-- and we're asking you to consider contributing what you can to his campaign here.

My name is Dan Canon. I’m a civil rights lawyer. You might know me as one of the attorneys on the Supreme Court’s marriage equality case, or the guy who is suing Donald Trump for turning a mob of white supremacists on a peaceful Black protester, or one of the lawyers on the front lines of attacking the White House’s ban on refugees, but today I’m talking to you as a Congressional candidate for Indiana’s 9th District.


"I'm a progressive. I don't try to hide it. I couldn't very well run from it if I wanted to. I've been a civil rights lawyer, fighting for people and causes, for more than a decade. Sometimes those people and causes have been unpopular, or at least controversial... Legal medical cannabis creates jobs, creates revenue, eliminates a black market, and substantially decreases opioid use. Decriminalizing marijuana altogether is the clear path forward-- there is literally no good reason why it shouldn't be legal. However, both Trump and Sessions have been very clear that they want America to go further and further backward, and this Congress is willing to let them lead us there."

When I tell folks I’m running for Congress, the question everyone asks is "Why?" The answer to that question is complicated, but it has a great deal to do with how I grew up. My mother raised me on her own, sometimes working two or three jobs at a time to make sure I was safe, healthy, and well-educated. She made a lot of sacrifices that no one should have to make. But whatever it took, whatever was thrown at her-- my mom stepped up and did more. I dropped out of high school when I was 17, but building on her example, I beat the odds, got my GED, and became the first person in my family to finish college. 


I learned a lot from my mom. I learned about hard work, fairness, dignity, perseverance, and courage. But I also developed an important belief by watching what she went through: we-- as a society-- can do better. We can do better for working people, we can do better for our families, and we can do a better job of taking care of each other.

We can do better. Right now, we have the ability to give everyone the tools and opportunities they need to live their best lives. 

We can guarantee meaningful work to anyone who's willing and able to take it. We can put people to work rebuilding our roads and bridges, creating smart, renewable energy grids, creating public transportation that works, and ensuring everyone has internet access. And we can make sure that if someone works a full-time job, they have the ability to take care of their family, save money, and reinvest in their community.

We can guarantee a safe environment to live in: clean air to breathe, clean water to drink, and secure, reliable housing for everyone.

We can guarantee quality education for everyone-- education that isn't only for the wealthy, and doesn't leave our kids with crippling debt for the rest of their lives.

We can guarantee healthcare as a basic human right. We cannot tolerate one more American going bankrupt or dying because they can't pay a bill.

But this is just the beginning. Our campaign is not only going to be about getting one person elected. It's going to be about changing our culture and fighting our way forward. 



The incumbent in this seat will largely self-fund his campaign from family money. We won’t outraise him, and we don’t need to. We have a better message. But all this costs money. 


Bringing our shared beliefs to Congress will take all of us working together to dispel the lies that we have been fed for years by big business and corrupt politicians who put profits before people. That means spending on data, media, travel, and staff. With our platform we won’t be getting contributions from large corporate interests, so I hope you’ll consider helping out with our grassroots fundraising efforts by donating now. We can only keep going with your support. 


  I hope you’ll visit our website to learn more about this campaign. You can also follow the campaign on Facebook or Twitter

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


--Howie, for the entire Blue America team




You can contribute to our Senate candidates on this page, our House candidates on this page, and to the brave Voices of the Resistance on this page



Winning In The Heartland: Meet Dr. David Gill

Blue America

We want to introduce you to an old friend who's running for Congress in Illinois, David Gill, a life-long progressive in a swing district that Obama won in 2008 and then lost by a handful of votes in 2012. It was the wrong kind of district for Hillary and Trump beat her 49.7% to 44.2%. But in the primaries Bernie swept the district by a landslide, beating Hillary in the biggest of the 14 counties, Champaign 20,581 (65.9%) to 10,542 (33.8%) and outpacing Trump and Cruz combined (17,253 on the same day).

David marched with organized labor in Pana, IL on Labor Day "because the fight never ends. As Mother Jones said: 'I know that there are no limits to which the powers of privilege will not go to keep the workers in slavery.' Fighting against those powers requires us to be bold in our demands; that's why I stand for a $15/hour minimum wage and tuition-free public universities, colleges & trade schools. Solidarity forever!"

He was an enthusiastic Bernie activist and the platform he's running on is almost entirely based on the issues he and Bernie have long championed. We asked him to re-introduce himself to Blue America members.

Running On Economic Populism To Take Back A "Trump District" -by David Gill candidate, IL-13

I’m a physician in Emergency Medicine and Family Practice, and I’m seeking the Democratic nomination for Illinois’ 13th district seat in the U.S. House of Representatives. I live in Bloomington with my wife Elaine, and we have six children, two cats, two turtles, and two rescue dogs.

As a doctor, I’m a 25-year member of Physicians for a National Health Program, a group of 20,000 doctors that has been pushing and pushing for single-payer health care here in America. And with the Republicans on the verge of completely messing up health care, the door is going to open very soon for single-payer in this country; and we can take full advantage of this opportunity by having the strong voice of a progressive physician such as me helping to lead the charge.

And as a doctor, I’m also a 20-year member of Physicians for Reproductive Choice.  We must have representatives who stand up for women’s rights at all times, because the opposition is stomping on those rights every chance they get.  I’ve also been a card-carrying member of the American Civil Liberties Union for 24 years-- I was standing beside my friends in the LGBTQ community, standing up for marriage equality, even when such a position was very unpopular. And we must have representatives who will protect marriage equality and who will stand against discrimination of every kind.

I’m also a long-time member of the Union of Concerned Scientists. And we must have representatives who believe in science, who will stand up passionately in the greatest battle in human history:  the fight against climate change. There is no more important battle, because if and when we lose this one, there won’t be any more humans left to battle about anything.

But of course, we have a Congress made up of too many men and women who stand against single-payer and science and civil rights. They take the big money from the insurance industry and the pharmaceutical industry, the arms manufacturers and the oil industry, and then they work on behalf of those corporations. We need representatives who stand against this corporate ownership of our politics and our government, and I intend to work tirelessly to undo the impact of Citizens United, up to and including working to pass a Constitutional amendment stating explicitly that corporations are not people and that money is not speech.

I ran for this seat once before, back in 2012. And my Republican opponent, Rodney Davis, was very lucky that year; for in years that end in a “2”, and only in those years, it’s relatively easy for an Independent to get on the ballot in Illinois, and in 2012 there was a liberal Independent who got on the ballot.  He traveled around the 14 counties of this district, saying all the same things as me, talking about single-payer, campaign finance reform, gay marriage, a woman’s right to choose, and climate change. So I was running against both Rodney Davis and this mirror image of myself. I wound up losing by three tenths of one percentage point, the liberal Independent took 7% of the vote and Rodney Davis went to Congress as an “accidental congressman.”

We intend to reverse that result next year, with the help of citizens from all across the country. Ours is very much a grassroots campaign, fueled by ordinary citizens from all walks of life who want to see a caring, thoughtful healthcare professional fighting for their well-being within the halls of Congress. 2018 does not end in a “2,” so Rodney Davis won’t be protected this time around by some liberal Independent, and I intend to beat him soundly in a two-man race this time, with the support of all those ordinary Americans. 

I invite you to join our campaign, either by volunteering your time and/or making a financial contribution.  You can also visit and like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

____________________________________

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

--Howie, for the entire Blue America team

You can contribute to our Senate candidates on this page, our House candidates on this page, and to the brave Voices of the Resistance on this page




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