Blue America '18

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KARA!

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Last Tuesday, one of the biggest, most exciting and meaningful victories for progressives was Kara Eastman's win in the Nebraska Democratic primary. She beat Blue Dog and DCCC endorsee Brad Ashford 20,239 (51.43%) to 19,113 (48.57%). ​

It was another case of local Democrats slapping down the DCCC for their pig-headed interference in a local primary. The DCCC attempted to gaslight the district-- that voted overwhelmingly for Bernie in 2016-- telling them they needed to nominate a proven reactionary, "ex"-Republican instead of a woman who ran on many of the same issues that made Bernie so attractive to local, 2nd District Democrats.

With the help of the DCCC, Ashford raised $558,946 and spent $397,194, while Kara raised $355,887 and spent $284,880. Ashford was endorsed by anyone from the Republican wing of the Democratic Party​ the DCCC could round up-- not just the Blue Dogs but the New Dems, Gabby Giffords, the labor unions that do whatever the DCCC tells them and, of course ambitious Blue Dog/New Dem Adam Schiff, who has been traveling around the country using his new-found celebrity to help right-of-center candidates like himself undermine progressive candidates like Kara.

Kara had the support of Blue America and of other progressive forces independent of the Democratic Party establishment, from the Nebraska Unity PAC and Nebraska Grassroots Progressives and the Working Families Party to Climate Hawks Vote, the PCCC, VoteProChoice, local independent-minded unions like the Plasterers and Cement Masons, the Insulators and the Sheet Metal Air Rail and Transportation union, as well as local political leaders like state Senators Tony Vargas and Justin Wayne and Omaha City Council president Ben Gray.

As soon as Kara's victory over Ashford was official, the DCCC removed him from their Red-to-Blue page. But instead of replacing him with Kara, they took NE-02 entirely off their radar.

One of the country's most flippable districts suddenly no longer existed! What happened to Pelosi's spiel about unity? Is it only the unity of progressives backing successful conservative Democrats but not unity when progressives win? Is that unity? And what happened to Pelosi's spiel about how 'we all win when women win?' Instead we hear Pelosi thundering about how 'the DCCC won’t help party nominees unless the conservative establishment backed them.'

When we endorsed her campaign last February, she told us that

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.

I'm the first serious progressive candidate to run in Nebraska’s second district. 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.”

Now Kara needs our help to beat a tougher candidate in November, Republican incumbent Don Bacon, a Trump rubber stamp very much out of touch with voters in the Omaha Metro.

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With the DCCC already signaling they'd rather let Bacon stay in his seat then help a progressive win it, Kara is going to need our help more than ever.

She's a fighter and winner. Please contribute what you can by clicking on the Blue America 2018 congressional thermometer above.

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

Howie, for the entire Blue America team



A New And Better Day In Denver?

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Denver is not a swing district. Obama won it by double digit margins both times he ran and in 2016 Hillary beat Trump there 69–23%. The PVI is a healthy D+21. And in the 2016 caucus Bernie won 14,624 (54.4%) to 12,097 (45.0%). This is exactly the kind of district that should be sending someone to Congress who is pushing the envelope for progressive ideas — for someone on the cutting edge like Alan Grayson, Ted Lieu, Pramila Jayapal, Ro Khanna, Jamie Raskin or Mark Pocan.

Instead Denver has a ho-hum, garden variety Democrat who has a “B” rating from ProgressivePunch and is basically, a waste of a seat, Diana DeGette, who takes money from the corporate PACs that pollute the political environment and isn’t a single-payer enthusiast or anything that will overturn the status quo…or motivate Democratic voters to come to the polls.

Denver deserves better than Representative Diana DeGette — and this year, on June 26, Denver has a golden opportunity to elect someone Much Better: Saira Rao.

I asked Saira about a specific issue that differentiates the status quo Democrats from the cutting edge Democrats: student debt cancellation, a key progressive position.

Saira:
“It’s time to end the insanity of the cost of college tuition in our country and how we are handling the student-debt problem. Although there doesn’t seem to be an easy or quick fix, The College for All Act gets us closer to that place — to the American Dream of attending college and being able to afford it. The bill creates a federal-state partnership where the federal and state government team up to provide families earning up to $125k per year, cover their tuition for public community colleges. It would also cut student-loan interest rates in half for new borrowers.”

But there’s even more that needs to be done and Saira is right on top of it. She told us with great enthusiasm:

A new study just came out published by the Levy Economics Institute of Bard College that shows us a path to digging out of the $1.4 trillion dollar hole we face in Colorado and across the country. The report states that if we eliminate the debt, “44 million Americans who carry it could boost GDP by between $86 billion and $108 billion per year, on average for the 10 years following the cancellation. It would also lower the average unemployment rate by 0.22 to 0.36 percentage points over 10 years and could add between 1.2 million and 1.5 million jobs per year.

In Colorado this legislative session, a bill was introduced to regulate student education loan services. The bill would have forced loan servicers to give students accurate information about their loans. There are over 761,000 Coloradans who owe over $24 billion in student debt. That is outrageous and we need to work with the state government to find a solution so the future generation across the country can get access to quality education, not live in fear of how they plan on paying that will help boost our job force and economy in the process.

That really is an American game-changer. And we all know that the only way to even consider getting this done is by having leaders in Washington who will fight for us rather than for their big corporate donors.

Colorado Democrats voted overwhelmingly for Bernie — not for Hillary and not for Trump. That wasn’t random. But despite what her constituents wanted DeGette, a Super-delegate went to the convention and voted for Hillary anyway.

When next generation legislation is introduced in Congress by people like Bernie, Elizabeth Warren, Pramila Jayapal, Ro Khanna, Ted Lieu or Mark Pocan, DeGette is always MIA.

The reason Blue America has endorsed Saira Rao is because she’ll be part of that team, not avoiding it.

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Clicking on the 2018 ActBlue congressional thermometer on the left will take you to the Blue America page where you can contribute to Saira Rao’s grassroots campaign.

Helping her win this race is a very worthwhile endeavor and I hope you’ll join us in supporting her.



Joe Crowley Must Be Stopped-- Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Can Do It

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Earlier this week Bernie sent his supporters an e-mail explaining what he hopes to accomplish by barnstorming in Pennsylvania with congressional candidates Jess King and Greg Edwards. He wrote that “if we are going to defeat right-wing Republicans in 2018 and 2020, we need to win in states that Trump won, like Pennsylvania. And, in my view, the only way we win in those states is by supporting progressive candidates who have the guts to defend working-class families — white, black, Latino, Asian American, Native American — and take on the power and greed of the billionaire class.”

And not just in Pennsylvania, of course. He wrote that “Trump represents something we have never seen before in the history of the United States. It is not just that he represents the interests of the wealthy and powerful. It’s that we have never had a president with more authoritarian tendencies than him… The 2018 midterm elections will be long remembered as a pivotal moment in American history because, if we are successful, we can put an end to the disastrous Trump agenda. If we are not, we will have at least two more years of a rapid shift toward authoritarianism, the further normalization of corruption and the continued rise of oligarchy.”

Perhaps his most crucial lines were how “we cannot defeat Trump and the Republican Party with the same playbook, or by supporting the same kind of candidates long favored by the political establishment and financial elite. That is how we got to where we are today.”

The media doesn’t give much coverage to Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a Bernie campaign organizer from the Bronx who’s running for Congress herself now on a very Bernie-like platform — including Medicare-for-all, free public higher education and a federal jobs guarantee that would promise jobs with a $15 minimum wage as well as paid family leave and campaign finance reform.

And maybe that lack of mainstream coverage could be at least partially explained because she’s running for a seat occupied by an “untouchable” political power-monger, Wall Street’s owned-and-operated ‘Queens County machine boss’ Joe Crowley.

29417607_2034866200129523_9204676868849008640_n.jpg“They’ll tell you you’re too loud, that you need to wait your turn and ask the right people for permission. Do It Anyway.” — Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Blue America endorsee for #NY14. Help her win: https://goo.gl/KE3kp9

Crowley isn’t just the most corrupt Democrat in Congress, he’s Nancy Pelosi’s and Stenchy Hoyer’s hand-picked next Democratic House Leader, when Pelosi retires halfway through the next term (as is widely rumored on Capitol Hill).

Alexandria, a Blue America-endorsed candidate, is the first person to challenge Rep. Joseph Crowley in a primary race in 14 years. She’s also the first woman of color to ever run in New York’s District 14, which covers parts of southern Bronx and northern Queens.

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Crowley has a corporate/lobbyist financed campaign war chest of $1,592,362, having raised $2,777,489.

Alexandria has raised $115,653, entirely from grassroots contributions. Please consider helping her stand up to him by clicking on the ActBlue 2018 congressional thermometer.

“I don’t think we win by backing down. I don’t think we win by fading into the background,” said Ocasio-Cortez, rejecting the idea that moderate Democrats have a better chance against Republicans in the midterm elections.

…Born into a working-class Puerto Rican family, Ocasio-Cortez says she understands the challenges working New Yorkers face. Her mother was a housekeeper, and her father owned a small business. The family moved upstate while she was growing up, but she returned to the Bronx after going to school at Boston University, and she now lives in Parkchester.

She is a harsh critic of Crowley, a Woodside native who has represented Queens and the Bronx in Congress since 1998, and denounces his influence on area politics because of his role as chair of the Queens County Democratic Party… “This Tammany Hall system of political machines actually disenfranchises communities because this old-school system of politics exists to prop up the already powerful,” she said.

Crowley has undermined and opposed progressive ideas and positions for years in Congress, when he headed the New Dems, basically, the Republican wing of the Democratic Party. Once he visited his district from his home in Virginia and realized over 70% of the district was made up of people of color, he quickly quit the New Dems and started “changing” his long-held anti-working family positions.

Alexandria is authentic; Crowley will never be.

We are encouraged about what she’s already been able to accomplish — with basically ‘one arm tied behind her back’. Imagine what it would feel like to wake up June 27 to find that the first woman of color candidate ever had taken down a powerful, 14-Year ‘Establishment’ Incumbent who was poised for leadership.

Please consider giving whatever you can to Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’ campaign today.

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



The Next Speaker Should Be A Real Progressive

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One electoral contest no one discusses outside of DC is the one for the next Democratic House leader, likely to be Speaker. No one discusses it because only Democratic members of Congress get to vote and Pelosi has already handpicked her successor. Who, you wonder? Well, the former head of the Wall Street owned and operated New Dems, the machine boss of Queens and the single most corrupt Democrat in the House.

Yes, the next Speaker, if Pelosi gets her way, will be someone not even fit to be in Congress, let alone lead it, Joe Crowley.

In 2010, while Crowley was on the House Ways and Means Committee, he was dragged in front of the House Ethics Committee for taking bribes from Wall Street banksters and teaching newly elected Democrats how to do the same thing (voting, for example, to end Glass-Steagall and for the reactionary Bush bankruptcy bill to please Wall Street lobbyists, as he did). He was never punished because Pelosi and Boehner came to an agreement that Crowley would be excused in return for 4 Republicans being let off the hook as well, on similar charges. 

She saved his ass... now he demands her throne. 

Since Crowley was first handed his House seat and occupied it in 1999 he's taken in $6,891,051 from the Finance Sector, more than any other House Democrat more than Hoyer, more than Pelosi... more than most senators and more than most Republicans. He's never had a serious election challenge and he's used that money to buy influence and power inside the Democratic Party.

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Blue America is working to persuade an honorable member who is both honest and progressive to run for Leader (likely to be the next Speaker). After talking to many members of Congress, we've come to the conclusion that Ted Lieu (D-CA) is just the person. If you've never heard of Ted Lieu, we have a great video you should watch. (CAUTION: make sure you're sitting down. You may not be used to a Democrat standing up and pushing back at the Trump Regime like Ted does every day.)
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This election is just too important to let a character like Joe Crowley seize it by default.
We've started a Progressive Speaker Fund to help Congressman Lieu run for that office. Are you in?



Happy 420-- Meet Kyle Frenette


Kyle Frenette is the progressive Democrat running for the old Dave Obey seat in northern Wisconsin, currently occupied by Ryan ally Sean Duffy. Frenette is well known in the music industry as the manager of Eau Claire's Grammy-winning Justin Vernon and his band, Bon Iver. His platform includes raising the minimum wage, establishing universal healthcare and making broadband internet a public utility instead of a private luxury. And legalization of marijuana. He thought today would be an auspicious day to lay out his marijuana legalization plank. 

He's pointing out that marijuana's illegal status has caused more harm to American society than its side effects.

"Here in Wisconsin," he wrote, "I know folks who have had to go to extreme lengths to obtain marijuana legally for medicinal use or travel across state lines for a duration of time to use the drug for treatment. This shouldn’t be the case. I envision a future in which my children and their children view the federal prohibition of marijuana the same way we view the prohibition of alcohol today-- strange and unnecessary."

His points line up as sane and rational-- and workable for a rural Wisconsin district:

1- The federal legalization of marijuana would go a long way to ending the opioid epidemic in America. There is no reason marijuana should still be classified as a Schedule I drug along with heroin and ecstasy—not when cocaine, methamphetamine and most prescription opioids, like oxycodone and fentanyl are classified as Schedule II by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA)... I will champion the federal legalization of marijuana to help curb the opioid epidemic and prevent more lives from being lost and families from being ripped apart."

2- Most Americans view marijuana as a relatively safe drug while too many futures are being tarnished due to its criminalization... Our current drug laws are not only counterproductive, they are also racially skewed. While marijuana use is relatively equal across all races, minorities are disproportionately singled out when it comes to drug related arrests... The case for legalization is growing every day. Once elected, I will push to legalize marijuana so that money is no longer wasted and less futures are ruined by the enforcement of unnecessary laws.

3- It’s no question that the benefits outweigh the pitfalls when it comes to the growing and selling of marijuana. Our country’s drug laws are outdated when it comes to marijuana and limit the drug’s economic potential. Economic growth due to the cultivation, sale and taxation of cannabis in states that have adopted legalization prove that it can be a high commodity.

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"In Colorado alone, which legalized the recreational use of marijuana in 2012, the cannabis industry created 18,000 full-time jobs and brought in $2.4 billion in 2015. And when it comes to taxation, it’s reported that that marijuana has more than tripled tax revenue brought in by alcohol in that state. Nationally, at its current rate of state legalization, an estimated $40 billion in economic output is predicated by the year 2021 when it comes to the legal cannabis industry. Why not increase those odds with federal legalization?"

Let’s do everything in our power to elect a new generation of leaders who are not afraid to take a principled stand that is contrary to DC ‘Savvy Democrats’ who assure us the Legalization issue is meaningless (and therefore will not make it a priority when we take back the majority). Please support Kyle Frenette and our other Green Wave Democrats by giving what you can to their campaigns today.

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

--Howie, for the entire Blue America team




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