Blue America '16

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Winning Back A Blue Seat In California Takes A Progressive

"Let's create our own game-- one founded on the ideals of integrity, sustainability, cooperation and realizing the promise of self-government. It's not up to them-- we're the stewards of this democracy." --Katie Hill, Blue America '18 candidate in CA-25

Even the worst Democrats in Congress have caught on to the fact that railing against Trump is profitable. A case can be made that it is Debbie Wasserman Schultz who is responsible, at least as much as Putin or Comey, for installing Trump in the White House. And now she sends e-mails several times a week begging for money by robotically denigrating Trump. Being anti-Trump doesn't mean a politician backs a progressive agenda. Wasserman Schultz, who opposes John Conyers' Medicare-For-All Act, for example, and is still the poster gal for DC corruption, can be anti-Trump 'til the cows come home but that doesn't mean anyone in their right mind should back her against progressive primary challenger Tim Canova.

As you've probably noticed, effective and sincere Resistance Leaders in Congress-- people like Ted Lieu, Elizabeth Warren and Pramila Jayapal-- aren't just sending out fundraising emails for themselves; they've been putting together the foundations for what congressional resistance to Trump and Trumpism looks like. And every one of them has expressly acknowledged over and over that being against Trump isn't the be all and end all to the progressive agenda. It's become a key point Blue America talks about with the candidates we back.

Our newest endorsed candidate, Katie Hill, feels as strongly about it as we do. Her district-- a blue Southern California seat-- is held by knee-jerk, right-wing Republican Steve Knight, a proud TrumpCare supporter.

The district went convincingly for Hillary last year-- 50.3-43.6%. But while Hillary was winning by over 6 points, the DCCC-imported candidate lost by close to 10 points. Another perfect example of an utterly clueless DCCC big-footing into a primary in a district they don't know anything about. They spent about $3.5 million on their Beverly Hills attorney candidate and lost 54.2% to 45.8%. Reactionary Blue Dog Cheri Bustos, vice chair of the DCCC recruitment committee, wants him to run again. I'm sure Paul Ryan, Steve Knight and Kevin McCarthy do as well.

Blue America has just started raising money for Katie Hill today and we hope you'll help her with a contribution towards getting her message out to voters.

She penned the following guest post for us that goes to the heart of why it's so important for progressives to win congressional seats like CA-25. "Our nation stands at a crossroads," she began. "Do we continue down the same self-destructive path we’ve been walking for decades? Or do we blaze a new trail into the future?"

Moving Away From The Politics Of Fear 
-by Katie Hill

Donald Trump is not the problem. He’s the symptom of a damaged political consciousness in America.

Opposition politics have become the new normal. In 2010, Mitch McConnell declared the sole ambition of the Republican Party for “President Obama to be a one-term president.” While Democrats resisted the urge to give in to these schoolyard tactics at first, in 2016 they gave in and centered their entire campaign strategy around personal attacks on Donald Trump, rather than policy.

They played the fear card-- to much less effect-- and it lost. Big time. Which is why now is the time for us to move away from the politics of fear and into an affirmative political vision moving forward.

But what is our vision? We have a great, grassroots resistance that has emerged, but right now, all we’re doing is reacting to Trump’s every move. He is setting the agenda, maintaining the initiative, and we’re screaming on the sidelines.

It’s understandable. Trump is a disaster. He’s doing things that would have been unimaginable in any other time. He is putting our country at risk, going against our every value with every unhinged twitter outburst. We, of course, must resist.

But that’s not enough. We must be more than the anti-Trump party or we fail. Period.

It’s time for us to start screaming this from the rooftops. We can fight Trump at the same time, but we can’t stop looking ahead-- because the fate of our party and, quite frankly, our country, depends on it.

  • I, like most Americans on either side of the aisle, believe that our country isn’t broken, but our political system is. The extreme polarization of politics and gerrymandering have turned voters off. Consequently, people who are supposed to be representing all of us only truly represent a tiny minority of those still voting. We need to restore faith and trust in our government and that means enacting meaningful campaign finance reform. Supporting a constitutional amendment to overturn Citizen’s United isn’t enough-- we need to elect people who are willing to regulate themselves as representatives and stand up to the people who hold the purse strings.
  • We must call this rigged system of crony capitalism what it is and do everything we can to address the ever-growing income inequality in America. Our economy gives big banks and big oil massive government subsidies while small businesses struggle to survive or fail. Our health care system bankrupts sick Americans so big pharma and insurance companies can make record profits. Our tax code allows Wall Street bankers and hedge funds, who just a decade ago destroyed the economy, to pay less than half the tax rate a middle-class family would pay. We need to put the system back to work for every American, not just a privileged few.
  • We need to tackle long-neglected social reforms, starting with healthcare. It’s not good enough to just save the ACA, we need to work tirelessly until we ensure that no American must choose between getting the health care they need and putting a roof over their heads. We must deal with the rising rates of mental health disorders and substance abuse, and ensure that we are providing effective, early intervention and treatment to people regardless of their ability to pay. We need massive criminal justice reform. We need to make sure that everyone-- no matter who they are or where they come from-- can afford college or trade school and not come out with a lifetime of debt. We need to address the housing affordability and homelessness crisis that is plaguing so many of our communities. The list goes on-- every one of these issues needs to be talked about, and we can’t afford to wait any longer.
  • We need to be pro-sustainability in every sense of the word. The future of labor goes hand in hand with a progressive, pro-environmental policy. Research shows the growing green economy creates more jobs per unit of energy than the fossil fuel industry. Perhaps one of the biggest perks of a renewable economy is these jobs cannot be shipped overseas. By installing and developing green infrastructure, we will create local and regional projects benefitting the communities nearby. Strengthening local projects and supporting green energy makes for a more sustainable planet, and a more sustainable economy.
  • Finally, it’s time we focused our energy and attention on the cooperative nature of life and governing in America. For far too long, politicians have tried to divide us with polarizing, partisan rhetoric. In the real world, we get things done as families, friends, neighbors and communities, without devolving into a mudslinging circus. Every single day, diverse Americans run businesses together, coach little league together, put on theater productions, run our school districts and cities, support each other, and keep our communities going. If we want to solve the countless problems facing our country right now, we must face them together.

It is time for a more affirmative political movement in our country. We’re not lacking the ideas, innovation or ingenuity; we’re lacking the political will.

Currently, the establishment is more vested in constant re-election campaigning and serving their corporate masters. That’s their game, but they can only play it if we allow them to. I hope you’ll join me on this journey because I know we can do this and we will make our government and our country better, together.



Heroes and Villains

Recently I was getting to know two new congressional candidates running for seats held by Republicans in California. I asked one why he had donated so much money to John Kasich's presidential campaign in 2016. He told me he "used to be" a Republican. And now he wants to be in Congress... as a Democrat? "Ex"-Republicans that were elected last year-- Charlie Crist (FL) and Tom O'Halleran (AZ), for example-- vote overwhelmingly with the GOP against progressive legislation, as "ex"-Republicans almost always do. Both have joined the Blue Dogs and the New Dems, the core of the Republican Wing of the Democratic Party. DO we really want more of that in Congress? I don't; the DCCC certainly does. That's exactly what they want in Congress. And they want you to help pay to put them there.

The other guy, running against a really reprehensible Republican is headed for the Blue Dogs too if he gets into office. When I asked him about healthcare policy he hadn't spent any more time thinking about the issues than Donald Trump had. He wasn't for Medicare-for-All and he quickly turned the conversation to something positive-- his support for the Second Amendment and the important work the NRA does. I'm pretty sure he's better than the Republican he's running against but is that a candidate I want to contribute money to-- or urge you to contribute money to? I don't think so.

After Thursday's 217-213 vote for TrumpCare and all that entails, a tremendous amount of energy was released on the left. It's a shame that much of that energy went to raising money not directly for progressive candidates but to DCCC front operations that will use it for candidates like the ones above.

There are some great progressive candidates with compelling biographies and powerful ideas about moving America forward who are running against TrumpCare Republicans in districts Trump lost. Blue America has endorsed several so far-- like Geoff Petzel, who's running against Peter Roskam in a suburban Chicagoland district where Hillary beat Trump 50.2% to 43.2%, and Doug Applegate in the Orange and San Diego county district Darrell Issa calls home and where Hillary won decisively over Trump, 50.7% to 43.2%... and where Applegate came within around 1,500 votes of ousting Issa in 2016. These are widely targeted districts and many groups besides Blue America will be helping in them.

But there are also districts that I like to call Heroes and Villains Districts:
NC-11 is a tough district-- very red... and the base for Freedom Caucus chieftain Mark Meadows, the congressman who turned the first horrible version of TrumpCare into the even worse monstrosity that passed Thursday. The DCCC is ignoring it because Hillary did so poorly there. Trump won it with 63.2%. But Bernie won that district too and would have done far better than Hillary did there. A Bernie organizer, a young farmer named Matt Coffay, founder of the Asheville Our Revolution group, is running against Meadows on a perfect progressive platform. Perfect. Up the road, another former Bernie activist, Jenny Marshall, a public school teacher, is running against another symbol of greed-and-hatred-driven reactionary politics, Virginia Foxx. Again, the DCCC has no interest in the district. And again, it was an area where Bernie excelled and where people are very open to his-- and Jenny's-- ideas. These candidates need and deserve our support.

Another Heroes and Villains situation where the DCCC isn't going to be on our side is down in South Florida, where Tim Canova is once again taking on the burden of holding accountable Debbie Wasserman Schultz, the symbol of all that ails the Democratic Party. "At this difficult time," wrote Tim yesterday, "when we must unite against the dangerous and inhumane policies of the Trump administration, Debbie Wasserman Schultz has reminded us of her central role in preventing progressive reform and bringing on the implosion of the Democratic Party... As long as Wasserman Schultz remains in public life, there will be no party unity-- and that’s because she has learned absolutely nothing from the setbacks and failures that she helped engineer."

We're all angry over the TrumpCare vote, but it's important to remember that except for politicians like Wasserman Schultz wrecking the Democratic Party brand, it's unlikely anything like Trump would have ever gotten anywhere near the White House.

Let's contribute strategically, to solid candidates like Jenny Marshall and Matt Coffay in North Carolina, to Doug Applegate in California, Geoff Petzel in Illinois and Tim Canova in Florida. That's how we make Congress a force for good-- not by electing a pack of Blue Dogs the DCCC hopes to sneak by you.



Pramila Jayapal Did Everything We Wanted-- And Then Some

Last year Blue America introduced you to Pramila Jayapal. We were the first group outside of her home state to endorse her in 2016. And this year-- based solely on what she's done since being elected-- she's the first freshman we're endorsed for 2018. We should all be very proud that we helped Pramila get her message out to the voters in Seattle, who elected her overwhelmingly-- 56% to 38%. She has delivered everything we hoped she would. If you look at ProgressivePunch, you'll see she's the only member of Congress with a lifetime score of 100%. Let that sink in for a moment.

And we didn't go to bat for Pramila just because we know she would vote right. What we saw in her-- and she even more now-- is a LEADER. Since getting to DC, she's been a vocal advocate and a fighter for working families in Washington and across the country. She's held rallies and forums on the topics of healthcare, immigration and women’s rights; she's been in the forefront of the battle for affordable college and has swiftly and fiercely opposed any anti-immigrant legislation that has been introduced by the Trump Regime.

She's been at the center of the resistance against Trump: marching for fairer treatment of women in the Women’s March on Washington, holding the second largest rally in the country to save health care, and taking on the Trump administration over the detentions of immigrants at the Seattle airport during the fallout of the initial executive order that halted U.S. travel for members of certain Muslim-majority nations.

In addition to her constituent engagement and advocacy, Pramila has already co-sponsored approximately 50 pieces of legislation in her first three months in office on subjects ranging from presidential transparency to immigration rights and deportation relief. She has also introduced three bills aimed at ensuring justice and accessibility for all. The first was introduced in conjunction with Senator Kamala Harris to secure access to legal counsel for immigrants who have been detained. The second, moves to end a program in which state and local law enforcement were made to enforce federal immigration law. The third proposed measure seeks to lower the astronomical costs of prescription medications, protecting access to lifesaving drugs for those who need it most.

As these bills and legislative measures move forward, Pramila continues to dedicate her time to fighting assaults on our moral values and defending our nation’s most vulnerable.

As a freshman member of Congress, Pramila has made it her mission to mount the strongest possible resistance against Trump and his administration. She serves as the vice ranking member of the House Budget Committee, the senior whip of the House Democratic Caucus, the vice chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus and a co-chair of the Women’s Working Group on Immigration Reform. What she's not busy doing is fundraising. But her aggressive efforts on behalf of working families and immigrants had put a target on her back in the eyes of corporate heavy-weights. Republicans don't win in Seattle, but the same forces that back Republicans are trying to recruit a corporate-friendly, conservaDem to run against her. Blue America wants to show her-- and her opponents-- that we love what she's been doing and that we still have her back.

In addition to her congressional leadership roles, she is a member of the House Judiciary Committee, the House Subcommittee on Immigration and Border Security and the Congressional LGBT Equality Caucus. Much of Pramila’s policy work is centered on immigration, environment, equality, education and health care access. She was a forerunning opponent of Trumpcare and is actively involved in seeking clarity regarding the Trump Administration’s relationship with Russia.

Let's help make sure she can keep devoting all her time to what's important for the country and for her constituents.



How To Defeat Steve King-- Make Sure Kim Weaver Beats Him

Maybe you got an email filled with outrage over Steve King's latest racist statement this week. The DCCC sent one out, asking for contributions. There's a problem with that though. Steve King isn't just some loud-mouthed crackpot and bigot; he's an actual congressman from western Iowa. And, the DCCC won't use the contributions they solicit to beat Republican Steve King. They'll waste the contributions trying to elect even more Blue Dog and New Dem garbage-crats like Josh Gottheimer (NJ) and Tom O'Halleran (AZ), on whom they spent $3.5 million and $2.6 million, respectively.

Last year there was a progressive Democrat running against Steve King, the O'Brien County Democratic Party chairwoman, Kim Weaver. The DCCC collected a lot of money by sending out e-mails telling Democrats how horrible Steve King is then, too. How much of the money collected for IA-04 did the DCCC give Kim? ZERO. They did absolutely nothing to help her at all.

The thing is, even without any help from the DCCC, Kim earned more votes than Hillary Clinton in every single county in IA-04-- all 39 of them-- and even won the biggest county in the district! It's worth noting here that Kim out-performed Chuck Schumer's handpicked corporate conservative Senate candidate, Patty Judge, in all 39 counties as well.

This year Kim is taking on King again. And what is the DCCC doing? You probably guessed it-- sending out more letters demonizing King and collecting cash to use to elect more conservaDems while offering nothing at all to Kim Weaver. We're sick of it.

Blue America endorsed Kim this week and we're asking our members to contribute directly to her campaign.

Kim told us that "the most disappointing aspect of the campaign was being told time and again that although I was a 'great candidate,' various organizations declined to support me because I wasn’t 'viable.' Most organizations didn’t even respond to my applications for assistance. Additionally, whenever my opponent would say some new horrific thing, I would get emails after emails from organizations asking for money to 'help defeat Steve King.' Not a single one of those organizations passed along any of that support. King was a big money maker for them, and it appears that he still is."

The DCCC doesn't want to understand that it takes real effort and investment over time to defeat entrenched incumbents like King. It's beyond their scope of endeavor, which is why the House Democrats have hemorrhaged dozens and dozens of members since Rahm Emanuel set his reactionary strategic and tactical ideas into stone.

2018 is the greatest opportunity we have to defeat Republicans in Congress in decades. But, please, when you want to defeat a Steve King, contribute directly to his Democratic opponent, Kim Weaver. And when you want to defeat a Darrell Issa or a Lamar Smith, donate to Doug Applegate or Tom Wakely, not the a DCCC that will just waste the contributions on their own questionable agenda.

And how do we know how candidates-- like Kim Weaver, for example, are going to be once they get into Congress? One way is to watch closely what they say when they campaign. In explaining the difference between how she and Steve King approach government expenditures-- which, is, after all, one of the most important things a Member of Congress does, Kim stated that "in supporting a budget that will drastically reduce funding for programs like Meals on Wheels and funding for school lunches, Steve King is once again showing how out of touch he is with the people of Iowa. As an advocate for seniors, I know personally how vital Meals on Wheels is to the seniors who make up a large portion of this district. And cutting funding for school lunches? Someone needs to remind Rep. King that he represents a district where one out of every four children rely on that assistance just to eat every day. Standing up for those most vulnerable in our society is a part of who we are as Americans."

The difference couldn't be any clearer. Since the DCCC isn’t, please consider giving what you can to help Kim get her message out to voters in IA-04.



Big Democratic Win Against Trumpism In Delaware Last Night

Last night voters decided to make Delaware the first state to turn a local special election into a referendum on Trump and his incompetent and extremist regime. Democrats won back the majority in the Delaware state Senate by convincingly winning a suburban district in New Castle County. Democrat Stephanie Hansen beat Trump fanatic John Marino by a much wider margin than anyone expected-- or that history predicted. Marino's campaign slogan was "Make Delaware First Again."

Hillary had won the district 54% to 41% and the last time Marino ran for the state Senate seat there he nearly won-- 51-49%. But with both sides focusing on Trump, Hansen benefited from a turn out over double what is normal for a special election. She built on Hillary's win and annihilated Marino 7,314 (58.13%) to 5,127 (40.75%).

There are special elections coming up in Los Angeles, Georgia, Kansas, Montana and South Carolina. In L.A., proven progressive state legislator Jimmy Gomez is running in a wide open primary with 23 candidates, many of whom are decent enough but none of whom have the experience to craft and pass cutting edge progressive legislation like he has. And two of the best-financed of the 23 are shills for the Charter School billionaires. In deep blue districts like CA-34, Republicans aren't a factor-- Charter School shills are the stand in for the GOP.

The other 4 special election districts are all in deep red territory where Trump has given the local Representatives jobs Last night voters decided to make Delaware the first state to turn a local special election into a referendum on Trump and his incompetent and extremist regime. Democrats won back the majority in the Delaware state Senate by convincingly winning a suburban district in New Castle County. Democrat Stephanie Hansen beat Trump fanatic John Marino by a much wider margin than anyone expected– or that history predicted. Note: Marino’s campaign slogan was “Make Delaware First Again."

Current polling shows Jon Ossoff with the most support of any of the candidates in the jungle-style primary coming up April 18. He is likely to wind up in a June 20 runoff against one of the very radical right Republicans, either anti-Choice fanatic Karen Handel, former state Senator Judson Hill or crackpot Trump crony Bruce LeVell. Ossoff, a former congressional staffer for civil rights icon John Lewis, who has endorsed him, is benefiting from a wave of enthusiasm from Georgians and other Americans who oppose Tom Price's and Paul Ryan's plans to repeal the Affordable Care Act and debilitate Medicaid and Medicare.

Blue America has enthusiastically endorsed Gomez in CA-34 and Ossoff in GA-06-- as well as 4 progressives running for winnable Republican-held districts in 2018-- Tom Guild in Oklahoma, Geoff Petzel in Illinois, Tom Wakely in Texas and Doug Applegate in California.

Please consider helping us keep up the momentum from last night by contributing to the campaigns of these progressive Democratic candidates today.




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