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

BLUE_AMERICA_ENDORSE_PAUL_CLEMENTS.jpg

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



Remember Virginia Foxx? Meet Jenny Marshall, Her Progressive Challenger

Blue America

My name is Jenny Marshall, and I’m running for Congress in North Carolina’s 5th District.  I am a teacher, a wife, a mom to seven kids, an educational advocate, and a progressive who is working to unseat Republican Incumbent Rep. Virginia Foxx.

As a mom and a teacher, I am no stranger to putting others first. I taught in a Title I priority school in Winston-Salem’s urban center.  I spent many nights after school helping struggling students, making sure they had lunch when their accounts were short and winter coats when the weather turned cold. I was always looking for ways to help my students and our community.  My advocacy has never been limited to my classroom-- I have devoted thousands of hours to grassroots organizing for progressive candidates and causes because I believe in a better future for all of us. I’ve invested a lot in this community, so when the worst-case scenario happened last November, I decided that I needed to up my game-- I had to run for Congress.

Foxx has worked to stifle collective bargaining, prevent fair wages, and allow employers to tread on worker’s rights. Most recently, she approved of Donald Trump’s order to roll back Obama-era protections for women and minority workers. Well, I’ve had enough of Virginia Foxx’s attack on American workers, and I think we ought to do something about it. The first order of business is unseating Virginia Foxx and her GOP allies who work in lockstep to disadvantage American workers at every turn.

I chose to run for Congress because there aren’t enough people in office who truly understand the problems that we face as working and middle class Americans. Most of the people in Congress don’t know what it’s like to worry about medical bills or to work a minimum wage job. They are out of touch, and they consistently fail to meet the needs of their constituents. Like many of you, I’m tired of politicians who don’t understand our needs and never bother to ask. 

When citizens all over the country can’t make an honest living off of $7.25, we have a problem. When our student debt has soared to over $1 trillion in the past seven years while the top 25 hedge-fund managers are making more than all of America’s kindergarten teachers combined, we have a problem. When people can’t afford to see a doctor or fill their prescriptions, we have a problem. In my district, over 50% of constituents are low-income or below the poverty level-- that is unacceptable. What’s worse is that the GOP and Virginia Foxx are doing nothing to solve these problems. In fact, they do all that they can to keep systems of inequity alive and well. They have consistently voted against our best interests in order to line their own pockets, and they’ve profited off of our hardships for far too long.

Corporatism and greed continue to empower career politicians like Virginia Foxx to rob the hardworking citizens of this country, and I’ve had enough. If we want to truly fix the problems that surround us, we have to start with repairing the broken and corrupt economy that enforces our country’s most vile systems of inequity. 

But for this campaign to really take off, it has to be about us-- all of us. It has to be about people of color, women, LGBTQ+ folks, immigrants, workers, and parents all working together to turn the tide in the people’s favor. This campaign is about reforming our current system from the inside out to create a collective vision for America’s future that works for all of us. Because right now, under Republican leadership, our future is dim. 

It’s high time we say no more. No more to turning a blind eye to those among us who are struggling. No more corporatism, no more tax cuts for the rich, and no more obscene spending on defense and fossil fuels while programs like Medicaid and social security sit by the wayside. In Washington, we will fight for working families and small business owners. We will fight for economic prosperity, for social and environmental justice, and for the equality of all people. 

When we come together to combat economic injustices, we will propel movements that fight against racism, sexism, homophobia, and other forms of bigotry. Let us not forget that the Prison Industrial Complex exists not only to oppress people of color but to line the pockets of some of country’s wealthiest elite. Let’s remember that while white women make $73 cents on every dollar that a white man makes, women of color make markedly less than that. Let’s be mindful that LGBTQ+ identified people are excluded from non-discrimination ordinances and can legally be refused housing, loans, and other avenues of support in many states and cities. Some of the most obvious social problems stem from one, central source: greedy corporate elites willing to do whatever-- and oppress whoever-- they can to make a profit.

I know that the key to winning is to build a strong, grassroots movement. That’s why I am asking for your support. I need individuals like you to help us win by joining our campaign. I resigned as a teacher to run for Congress. I resigned to stand up for justice and represent the working people and the most vulnerable of our communities. Donate now to invest in our future, and let’s resign to win in 2018!

-Jenny

Howie: if you’d like to follow Jenny's campaign, you can do so on Facebook and Twitter.

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



Blue America's Newest Endorsed Candidate Derrick Crowe

Blue America

Blue America has been busily vetting new congressional candidates since spring. Sometimes it takes a while since we don't base our endorsements on questionnaires but, rather, on "getting to know" the candidates and what they stand for and what their capabilities are. We've certainly gotten to know Derrick Crowe, our newest endorsee-- a progressive Texas Democrat who is running a campaign based on what he wants to do to represent the interests of TX-21 working families in Congress.

Derrick's perspective on the battle over healthcare is just what we're looking for at Blue America as well: "Health care should be a right in this country, not a privilege. Unfortunately, the bills the GOP has put on the table over the past several months would let us get sick, go bankrupt, and die early just so they and their rich friends can have tax cuts. That’s a stark vision. We have to answer that with an equally powerful vision: an America where everyone gets the care they need, achieved through Medicare For All."

The district stretches from north San Antonio up through a corridor past New Braunfels and San Marcos into Downtown Austin almost to UT,  then west into the Hill Country. It was drawn to minimize the solidly blue Travis County vote, but last year Trump underperformed past GOP nominees and barely won a majority (52.5%) in the district.

Derrick is up against one of Congress' worst-- Lamar Smith, a decrepit Science denier who Paul Ryan put in charge of the House Science Committee, where he has labored to undermine every effort to combat Climate Change. Derrick reminded us that he was also "Trump’s first donor in Congress, and thanks to him and his fossil fuel backers, every year my son has been alive has been the hottest year on Earth. I will not stand by while he ruins my son’s future. Mr. Smith has contributed to and lived off of this ugly, rigged system for three decades while the rest of us paid the price. Well, I’ve got news for him: we’re done paying."

Derrick has a very different vision of Climate Change than Smith, Trump and EPA administrator Scott Pruitt do. "A free, prosperous, just future depends on a stable environment. Climate change is already triggering severe impacts, as the recent draft climate report put it, ‘from the top of the atmosphere to the bottom of the sea.’ Folks in my district have already suffered through one of the clearest examples of a climate-change-driven disaster in the floods of 2015. More is on the way. We must act now to get carbon emissions down by electrifying our energy use, switching to renewables, and ratcheting up efficiency standards. If we do that rapidly, we have a chance to save the future."

My first experience with Derrick goes back to when George W. Bush was president.  Derrick was the organizing force behind Brave New Film's "Rethink Afghanistan" project. What I've learned in all the years since: 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:

"We are organizing around the solid, time-tested values of 'Liberty and Justice. For All.' Those principles are the heart of our democracy, and I’m tired of watching corporate-backed career politicians like Smith drag them through the mud," he explained to me yesterday. "Liberty means that your choices matter. It means that monopolies and corporate bosses can’t kill your small business dreams and pick your politicians for you. Justice means that trillions in financial fraud will send you to jail, a gram of marijuana doesn’t ruin your life, and that when you put in a full day’s work, you get paid a living wage. Liberty and justice for all means we respect every person and relationship, and we don’t target people for deportation or incarceration or harassment based on the color of their skin, their gender identity, or their sexual orientation."

Taking back Congress means making inroads in districts like Texas' 21st,  despite the gerrymandering. With an extraordinary candidate like Derrick it's a winnable seat, especially as more and more independent voters and even mainstream Republicans continue to sour on Trump and his enablers, like Lamar Smith, in Congress.

Please help us welcome Derrick to the Blue America ActBlue page by contributing what you can to his campaign. 

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.



Trump Coddles His Fascist Followers, Claims Incorrectly Charlottesville Violence Was "On Many Sides"

Blue America

There was already trouble Friday night when old-fashioned KKK racists and Nazis and new-fashioned alt-right Trump supporters descended on Charlottesville looking for it. This is something they've been promoting for weeks in the fever swamps of TrumpWorld. On Friday night they were screeching anti-Black and anti-Semitic chants, marching around waving cheap Walmart tiki torches.

Although officially organized by several fascist groups, the League of the South, the National Socialist Movement, the Traditionalist Workers Party, the Fraternal Order of Alt Knights, Vanguard America and Identity Evropa, this was nothing short of a warning from the Bannon wing of the Trump Regime: Trump's supporters are easily roused to violence and that if Trump is removed there will be blood in the streets.

The Attorney General of Virginia, Mark Herring, lectured Trump that "the violence, chaos, and apparent loss of life in Charlottesville is not the fault of 'many sides.' It is racists and white supremacists." And Vote Vets pointed out to him that "Hundreds of thousands of Americans gave their lives fighting the hateful ideologies that fueled yesterday's protests and subsequent violence in Virginia. The president dishonors their memories with his 'many sides' response to yesterday's domestic terrorist attack."

Much of the country was stunned and horrified that after the first death yesterday, Trump was finally forced to say something. But his message was basically to blame both sides, referring to what happened as an "egregious display of hatred, bigotry and violence on many sides."

Many sides of what? The movement he's the titular head of? Politico noted that "white nationalists cited Trump's victory as validation for their beliefs, and Trump's critics pointed to the president's racially-tinged rhetoric as exploiting the nation's festering racial tension."

The organizers had named their weekend of racist rallies, "Unite the Right." Both avowed Nazi Richard Spencer and KKK leader David Duke were present. Duke was quick to declare Charlottesville a "turning point" for a movement that aims to "fulfill the promises of Donald Trump."

When I asked Alan Grayson what he thought of the conflagration he told me that "David Duke said it far beyond my poor power to add or detract. Duke said that the racists are trying 'to fulfill the promises of Donald Trump.' If the hood fits, wear it."

Michael Keegan, President of People for the American Way, spoke for all Americans-- except Nazis and racists, obviously, when he said that yesterday's events were "heartbreaking and infuriating. When Donald Trump was elected president, many of us feared that his election would embolden radical extremists and white supremacists. Today shows that those concerns were entirely justified. Moreover, the President’s refusal to clearly and emphatically denounce a group of Nazis and white supremacists underscores his longstanding willingness to exploit the Right’s most hateful impulses for political gain-- as well as the GOP’s willingness to abide Trump’s tactics of hate in order to push its own ideological agenda. Elected officials should make clear in no uncertain terms that they condemn the hate and racism of the 'Unite the Right' rally and its leaders, and they won’t associate with those who do otherwise. Our thoughts are with the victims of today’s terror attack, as well as with their families and loved ones. I’m grateful for the activists of every race and creed who are standing up for their values every day in nonviolent protest in Charlottesville and across the country. They, not those who spew bigotry and hatred, represent the true American way."

We got in touch with Jenny Marshall, the progressive candidate running in the central North Carolina district represented by bigot Virginia Foxx. "Americans across this country," Jenny told us, "must stand together in condemning the aims of white supremacy and white nationalism. While our government must protect freedom of speech, we, as its citizens, have a duty to reject the violence provoking, hate speech and intimidation shown by the alt-right. Our president and his administration have been silent as our fellow Muslim citizens in Minnesota had their mosque attacked and again during these horrific events unfolding in Charlottesville, Virginia. We cannot wait for his leadership in this matter, as it is obviously lacking. So, now is the time for America's citizens to gather together and resoundingly reject bigotry and racism. We must show the world that love trumps hate."  

We reached out to prominent civil rights attorney is Jim Thompson, who is running for the Wichita-based Kansas congressional seat. We want his eloquent words to be the official Blue America response to the tragedy in Charlottesville:

"My heart aches for those injured in Charlottesville, especially for the families of the three who lost their lives standing up to hatred and protecting our democracy. The thoughts and prayers of myself and my family are with you all. As a civil rights attorney and a U.S. Army infantryman, I have sworn to protect the Constitution against all enemies foreign and domestic. What we witnessed in Charlottesville is no less than a domestic enemy intent on the subversion of our American principles and embracing the evil of terrorism. We saw White Nationalists, Nazis, and the 'Alt Right' claiming to 'Unite the Right' and seeking to destroy equality. They consider themselves superior simply because of the color of their skin and religious preference. They raise their hands in salutes paying homage to Hitler and Nazi principles, which included the killing of millions of men, women and children of different races, colors, religions, and those who did not fit the stereotype of the “master race.” Our grandfathers fought in World War II to eliminate this stain on humanity, and we must continue their fight. In a land where all men and women are created equal and entitled to the pursuit of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, there can be no ultimate peace between the Nazi/white supremacist/'alt right' philosophy of government, and our American values stated in the Constitution. I unequivocally reject their philosophy and will continue to fight all enemies of equality, justice, and the United States of America.

"I embrace our diversity of religion, race, and opinion in this country. However, the right to an opinion does not mean that the opinion is right. When immorality, hatred and intolerance form the basis of an opinion or movement, we must exercise our freedom of speech to identify those who hold that opinion and condemn them and their beliefs. Mr. President, you must lead that charge. I ask you Mr. President to formally and unequivocally reject the alt right movement, white supremacy and Nazi philosophy, and to state their beliefs and philosophies are inconsistent with American values. Contrary to your assertion, there are not “many sides” to this issue, there are only two sides: right and wrong. Mr. President, it is long past time for you to choose which side of the fence you are on because riding the fence will just get splinters in your ass."

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.



Why Is One Of America's Top Cancer Researchers Running For Congress? Meet Jason Westin

The DCCC hasn't seriously contested Texas' 7th congressional district since 1966 when George H.W. Bush beat ultra-conservative Harris Co. District Attorney Frank Briscoe (D) to become the first-ever Republican to represent Houston. It's been a deep red district ever since... or at least until Trump came along and started waking people up. Last year Hillary beat Trump in this R+13 district-- 48.5% to 47.1%. Trump did almost 13 points worse than Romney had done in the well-off, minority-majority west Houston congressional district.

This year there's a crowded primary of Democrats eager to take on Trump and Ryan rubber-stamp John Culberson. Jason Westin's enthusiastic and well-reasoned support for Medicare-For-All differentiates him not just from Culberson but from the other primary candidates running in his district.

Jason Westin for TX07: "The Pew Research Center reported 60% of Americans believe the federal government is responsible for providing healthcare coverage to all Americans. This is an astounding number. Moving to a Medicare-for-all system could do more than just insure all Americans, it could tackle the unsustainable rising costs of prescription medications and healthcare, and even more importantly, make us healthier and more secure. Greater access to care and a real focus on prevention of and finding cures for dreaded diseases, would reduce long term costs and increase American productivity and longevity. We should increase funding for research from public sources and have less reliance on for profit organizations. We have a true opportunity to build upon the legacy of the Medicare and Medicaid platform, and we must seize this moment. America does great things, like leaving our world and setting foot on our moon, why can’t we do great things for something as fundamental as our healthcare?"

After Dr. David Gill (IL-13), Jason Westin is the second politically progressive physician Blue America is backing in 2018. His experience as a cancer doctor has created in him a passionate belief that healthcare in a human right.

Below are excerpts from a guest post he wrote for DownWithTyranny today:

"In my career as a doctor, I’ve seen many incredible things across the full spectrum of the human experience. I vividly remember my first patient that recovered after a critical illness, and sadly my first patient that did not. As an award winning researcher at the top-rated cancer center in the world, I remember my first patient whose cancer went into remission on a clinical trial I designed, wrote, and lead, and others who were less fortunate. Those experiences motivate me to fight for my patients, to find new treatments and new cures, and to refuse to be satisfied with the status quo. The doctor-patient relationship is truly unique: patients share with their doctors things they would not tell anyone else, and in exchange doctors make decisions that determine the fate of their patients’ lives. It is an awesome responsibility.

Unfortunately, my ability to provide the best care for my patients is frequently not up to me. Too often my plans are blocked by a for-profit insurance company denying to pay for my patient’s treatment plan. Most medical practices have a large team dedicated solely to navigating the complex insurance claims approval process, often with seemingly random results. This makes healthcare less efficient and effective. The amount of time, effort, and money wasted dealing with paperwork or appealing denials of universally accepted standard care is truly astounding. How much money is wasted? The Center for Economic and Policy Research calculated that the American healthcare system spends over $100 Billion each year on private insurance overhead costs, 12 times more than Medicare spends on operating costs. This spending is completely wasted money that does nothing to make people healthier. If another industry found that it had a $100 Billion dollar per year inefficiency, it would be corrected faster than Mr. Trump could tweet about it being SAD! But for profit insurance companies have no motivation to correct this waste of their consumers’ money-- it reinforces their stated need for high costs. The bottom line is this: insurance companies are motivated to maximize profits and bonuses for their executives, not to improve our health.

The Affordable Care Act, or ObamaCare, has been a step forward, but still leaves nearly 30 million Americans without coverage. Due to a refusal to expand Medicaid, the uninsured rate in Texas is 16%, the worst in the nation for three years in a row. Career Congressman John Culberson (R, TX-07) voted dozens of times to “repeal and replace” the ACA, and “absolutely” supported and voted for the TrumpCare bill. Sadly, despite seven years of sloganeering, Culberson has no serious solutions to our healthcare system. The ACA is not a perfect solution, but it did slow the rapid growth of healthcare costs. However, it has not impacted medication prices, use of treatments or testing are not of significant value, or lifestyle choices many of us make that lead to poor health. As a doctor, I know that we can do better.

I believe that healthcare is a human right and the best way to fulfill this duty is a “Medicare for all” single-payer system. Medicare and Medicaid cover nearly 125 million Americans, 33% of our population, but more can be done. The United States is the wealthiest nation in the history of the world, but is the only developed country without universal healthcare. Critics will ask “how can we afford a single-payer system?”. I ask, “How can we afford not to change our current approach?”. We spend more than any other country in the world per person on healthcare, over $9000 each year and rising, but rank 28th in healthcare outcomes according to the United Nations. Despite spending this fortune, we rank behind Andorra, Luxembourg, Malta, Cyprus, Brunei, and Solvenia. Why do we pay more for less? The price of prescription drugs, inefficiencies in insurance, and a lack of prevention and cure of chronic illnesses are all a part, and they are only getting worse. The United States healthcare system today reminds me of my patients from the Equal Access clinic: we know that our problems are getting worse, but we feel powerless to act. It is obvious that our current system of rising costs and mediocre outcomes is not sustainable, and the only viable way to improve our health and control our costs for the long term is universal healthcare.

If your doctor continued to use the same failing treatments over and over, you would find another doctor. Our leaders in Washington are elected by the people to lead, and if they refuse lead on healthcare, we should elect leaders who will. I’m running for Congress because I know that healthcare is a human right and that’s worth fighting for.”

My own oncologist, the doctor who saved my life, has worked on research with Jason and she vouches for him and has urged Blue America to help elect him to Congress. I've never known her to be wrong about anything.

Please consider contributing to his campaign here at the Blue America Act Blue page.

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



A More progressive Democratic Party In Rahm's Chicago? Why Not!

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Credit: Slovik

One of the hardest and most thankless tasks in electoral politics is primarying an entrenched incumbent of one's own party. No matter how corrupt and awful the incumbent, the party establishment always rallies round the colleague and heaps abuse on the challenger. If in fact they overcome the odds and win, these challengers become among the most courageous and heroic members of Congress, as former Blue America candidates Matt Cartwright (PA), Hilda Solis (CA) and Donna Edwards (MD) were after they challenged and beat corrupt conservative Democrats who had gone bad.  

Today there's a race like that shaping up in a blue Chicagoland district, (Hillary beat Trump there 55.2% to 39.9%) between execrable far right Blue Dog Dan Lipinski and a constituent who has had quite enough of him, Marie Newman.

Lipinski, who inherited his seat from his father (before most voters even knowing his father had retired) is an anti-Choice fanatic who voted against the Affordable Care Act and has been one of the only "Democrats" in Congress to consistently support Ryan's toxic agenda.

Medicare-For-All? Dan Lipinski is one of the Blue Dogs standing in the way of HR 676, AKA The Expanded & Improved Medicare For All Act, (which has 115 Real Democratic Member co-signers and counting) becoming actual Democratic Party policy. Marie is running on a platform that emphasizes it:

"Health care is a right and shouldn't be dependent on how much money you make," she told us when we talked to her about her campaign."I support Medicare-for-All because every American deserves high-quality health care. As Republicans work to dismantle the little progress we've made towards health care for all, my opponent sits silent... in fact, voting against the ACA. We should be moving forward, not backwards when it comes to health care for all Americans.”

In 12 years as a Chicagoland congressman, Lipinski is still a Tennessean at heart and has been completely detached from his district and his own constituents. Once every two years, he claims to be there for working class voters, but his voting record shows he's done nothing for them and has no understanding of who they are and what they need. He's the ultimate careerist and for him, politics is all about what he can get, not what he can do for his district's residents.

Marie told us that "Working families must be Congress's number one priority. It's time for a set of common-sense policy solutions to ease the burden on middle-class families. That means increasing the minimum wage to a livable wage, making child care more affordable, and improving the quality of education-- from Pre-K to community college."

Dan Lipinski is part of an antediluvian machine and seeks only to please his donors. Marie Newman comes from a very different place, and we're very glad that she's stepped up and pledges to represent actual people who live in her district:

"We all know money in politics has gotten out of control, and I've had the opportunity to witness is firsthand: my opponent gets 70% of his donations from special interests. It's time to reverse the corrosive effects Citizens United has had on our political system and limit the power of corporations in influencing our elections. To practice what I preach, I'm refusing to take any money from corporations."

Last week, Lipinski sat down with Ted Slowik, a respected local journalist with the Daily Southtown. Although Slowik pointed out that the vast majority of Americans-- 89%, in a recent Gallup poll-- consider using birth control to be morally acceptable, Lipinski is so ignorant and out of touch, that he believes birth control is "intrinsically evil."

Isn't it about damned time Democrats in the third district have a chance to elect someone who represents them? This guy is a DINO in two ways: a Democrat in name only and a real dinosaur!

Please join Blue America in supporting Marie Newman's campaign.




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