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.



History Will Remember The Voices of Resistance

As you know, millions of ordinary Americans in every part of this country-- red states, blue states-- are resisting the authoritarian, even fascist, impulses of the new Trump-Bannon-Pence regime. And, so far, that resistance has scored some remarkable victories-- above and beyond February 12th’s planned event in Chicago where hundreds will show up to “moon Trump Tower” at 4pm-- Operation "Kiss Our Asses, Release Your Taxes."

Ordinary people-- even more than the media or elected officials-- forced the Trump Regime to reverse the announced federal hiring freeze for the Veterans Administration. In the last few days several federal judges halted the Trump/Bannon unconstitutional travel ban aimed at Muslims. The massive airport protests last weekend resulted in several Trump cabinet members pointedly overriding #PresidentBannon's horrifying scheme to deport legitimate American residents, including Green Card holders and even Iraqis who fought alongside American soldiers.

An effective boycott coupled with widespread protests led to Uber's CEO dropping out of a Trump advisory council and pledging $3 million and immigration lawyers for its drivers (after 200,000 Uber users dropped the app) and Lyft responded by giving a million dollars to the American Civil Liberties Union to help fight the illegal Trump/Bannon immigration ban. The Resistance made a massive difference to the ACLU, which normally raises 3-4 million dollars a year and took in $24 million in just one weekend of protests!

Meanwhile Obamacare (the Affordable Care Act) has become more popular and respected than ever before, enrollment ads are airing despite Trump's initial orders to take them down and despite ugly Republican efforts, Obamacare had enrolled 9.2 million people before this year's application deadline.

The Health and Human Services, EPA, US Department of Agriculture gag orders were lifted due to tremendous protests and pressure from the public and from members of Congress standing up to Trumpist bullying.

So far, 800,000 scientists have signed up for a march in support of science and against the dangerous “climate change” denial-ism led by crackpots like Lamar Smith (R-TX) and Trump himself. Renewable energy is growing despite Trump-- and is likely to continue to do so.

Reports have been flooding in from everywhere that more and more people of different career/religious/economic/ethnic/gender backgrounds are considering running for political office than ever before. And Reproductive rights activists are pushing for protection at state level.

Trump's approval ratings are the lowest of any president in history at this point in his term. An unprecedented 40% of Americans would already like to see him impeached! And efforts are underway! Governors, state attorney generals, mayors and local officials are standing up to Trump and his toxic agenda and authoritarian policies. Please consider showing the real leaders in Congress that we have their back when they do the right thing and RESIST.

This week, two reporters from entertainment-oriented magazines called to ask me about the effectiveness of popular culture protests against Trump and his policies. Expectations are building for The Grammy Awards shows. More and more artists have been  writing and recording anti-Trump songs. High profile athletic teams-- and many others-- are joining the effort to boycott Trump hotels and his other businesses. Nordstrom and Neiman Marcus dropped Ivanka Trump's fashion collection, citing the brand's poor performance. And this weekend, theaters are absolutely packed with viewers of the just-released and  extraordinary documentary on James Baldwin, the must see film, I Am Not Your Negro, which is the latest asking us to face the racism that continues to plague the heart of America.

Yes, these are dark times and, don't let anyone tell you that the threats aren't colossal. While more resistance and creative forward-moving strategies will be needed, sometimes we have to celebrate our wins. We have to stay vigilant, and seriously take care of ourselves and each other. Activist burnout is a real thing. This is a marathon, not a sprint.

Give thanks for all the others-- known and unknown-- who are shoulder to shoulder with us in this fight. This weekend Blue America has put up a new ActBlue page dedicated to members of the Senate and the House who have been most forceful and effective in their resistance to Trumpism— from Luis Gutierrez, who started the move to boycott the inauguration, something that almost 80 Members of Congress did—- to Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, Ted Lieu and Jerry Nadler challenging Trump's and the GOP's attempts to push their disastrous agendas in Congress. If we've missed anyone, please let us know.



Join The Resistance

A few days ago I flew back from Beijing on Air China and they had a very limited English-language movie library for the 11 hour flight. I watched Roman Polanski's award-winning 2002 film with Adrien Brody, The Pianist, and a less well-known new movie set in Prague, Anthropoid. Both films dealt with the resistance to the Nazis. There was an especially chilling moment in The Pianist in which 3 middle-aged Jewish men are about to be loaded onto a train bound for the Treblinka extermination camp. One says the Jews shouldn't just march to their deaths without a fight and an argument ensues about practicalities and difficulties in mounting such an operation. They and their families all die in the camp. Eventually the Warsaw Ghetto does organize and rise up against the German deplorables.

Anthropoid is about how fiery Czech nationalists murder the Butcher of Prague, SS-Obergruppenführer Reinhard Heydrich, the 3rd-ranking Nazi, a Steve Bannon-like character.

A few weeks ago Luis Gutierrez (D-IL) kicked off a kind of symbolic resistance to Trump when he announced he wouldn't be attending the inauguration. "I really don't feel comfortable standing next to a man as he swears allegiance to this country and president of the United States of America, after he said that Mexicans are murderers, rapists, drug dealers and that that's all we are. I just can't un-hear the despicable, terrible things he said about women, about Muslims, so I won't be standing... When I went to George Bush’s inauguration I didn’t feel he was a threat to my presence in America, to my daughter's presence in America. I want to look at my girls in the face and say, I didn't normalize that kind of speech."

Katherine Clark (D-MA) soon followed and now there are over a dozen members of Congress who have publicly stated that they are not going to be at the inauguration, most notably, civil rights icon John Lewis, who told Meet the Press why he doesn't see Trump as a legitimate president. (Trump struck back yesterday morning by claiming Atlanta is "in horrible shape and falling apart (not to mention crime infested)" and accusing John Lewis of being "all talk, talk, talk-- no action or results." When John Lewis was on the front lines of the civil rights movement, getting his head bashed in by a KKK thug (like Trump's father), Trump was beginning his lifelong criminal behavior of systematically denying housing to prospective tenants based on race.

As progressives, we must resist. We must prepare ourselves for the sacrifices it will take to rescue our country from the gaping maw of fascism it's fallen into.

A growing number of courageous congressmen and congresswomen boycotting the Trump inauguration this week is a symbolic step in that direction. Blue America wants to offer our members an opportunity to show the participants that we support them. Please consider making a symbolic contribution to the reelection campaigns of the members who are taking an early stand against Trumpism.

Two weeks ago, Congresswoman Clark told her constituents that she "had hoped the President-elect would use the transition period and his appointments to change course and fulfill his promise to be a President for all Americans; however, this has not been the case. After discussions with hundreds of my constituents, I do not feel that I can contribute to the normalization of the President-elect’s divisive rhetoric by participating in the Inauguration."

Similarly, Earl Blumenauer told Oregon Public Broadcasting that "Here is a person who ran a campaign that is the antithesis of everything I’ve worked for in public service" and that that attending "not a productive use of my time."

The list of members not attending the Inauguration of hate keeps growing. We're keeping a running tally here.



There is only One Way to Stop Trump

photo credit: Justin Lane/EPA

Blue America hasn't spent precious time since the election asking you to sign petitions for impractical symbolic appeals to the electoral college, or to waste your money on an unwinnable pointless Senate race in Louisiana.

We are very focused on what can be done-- politically-- to break the back on Trumpism. And that focus is, clearly, taking back the House in 2018.

If Trump and Ryan do half the damage they promise, even an incompetent DCCC won't be able to keep the two dozen seats that need to change hands from flipping, effectively put ting the brakes on Trumpism.

Blue America is working daily to recruit solid progressive candidates in districts from coast the coast. You can follow-- and support-- the results of our progress here.

Let me introduce you to one of our first recruits, Jimmy Gomez-- if only they could all be this good!-- a young guy from my neighborhood. When Xavier Becerra was appointed by Jerry Brown to become California Attorney General, my first thought was to wonder if Jimmy could be persuaded to run for the congressional seat. It's a deep blue district and there's no Republican who could ever compete there. Obama got 83% of the vote in 2012.

It's going to be a campaign about who who will be the best Democratic candidate, the one with the best proven vision for the job. Before Jimmy decided to run, I started tweeting about his accomplishments and suggesting that Congress needed his unique combination of heartfelt progressivism and hard-headed ability to work with political adversaries to accomplish his goals. The first "push back" I got came, not unexpectedly, from Sacramento. It was from a top staffer of Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon. "Please," the staffer wrote to me, "don't do this. We desperately need Jimmy here in Sacramento."

Eventually Jimmy decided he would run-- and Speaker Rendon endorsed him, as did the President Pro Tem of the state Senate, Kevin de León and dozens and dozens of Jimmy's colleagues in the legislature. Monday, L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti weighed in on behalf of Jimmy as have virtually all the progressive office holders in the state.

Tuesday, our old friend, former congresswoman, former Secretary of Labor and current County Supervisor Hilda Solis added her name to the growing list of public servants backing Jimmy. She wrote that "Jimmy Gomez has proven to be the State Assembly's most effective and dedicated champion for working families. He wrote the nation's strongest family leave laws, and stands up for equality in the workplace, in our schools and colleges, and for women's health care. In fact, I've been proud of him from the days he worked for me in Congress, from his years fighting for better health care for all at the United Nurses Association of California and throughout his career in the Assembly. We need him in Congress, protecting the people of Los Angeles, and I'm proud to support him."

Last week I had dinner with Jimmy and his wife Mary in a neighborhood diner. He talked to me about his vision for the people in his district and how he's gone about implementing it in the state legislature. Halfway through I cursed myself for not having a tape recorder. Knowing how busy he is organizing his campaign in a field that grows more and more crowded every day, I asked him if he would write down everything he had just said so I could share it. I think he stayed up later than he wanted to to do it. 

Making The Progressive Reform Agenda Work For Everyone, Including Those Who Need It Most ----by Assemblyman Jimmy Gomez

I’m proud of California because we are a state of firsts . . . we are the first to pass paid family leave, the 15 dollar minimum wage, paid sick days, and groundbreaking climate change legislation to reduce green house gas emissions and preserve our environment for future generations.

Yet, California isn’t perfect. Although our state continues to improve, we still rank last or near last when it comes to a number of social indicators: education, health, economic and environmental.

Why?

Why are the laws that we pass not working the way we intend and why are we not seeing the improvements we would expect to see?

Why are certain parts of the state getting left behind, while others are thriving?

I believe it's because a lot of our laws, policies, and programs are built on a misguided concept that anything that divides the pie equally must be fair and it must be effective in dealing with the problems we are trying to solve.

As we know, that is definitely not always the case.

There is a big difference between what is equal and what is equitable. And policy makers and politicians confuse the two. And just because it is equal doesn’t make it fair. And it definitely doesn’t make it effective.

A good example of this is California’s first-in-the-nation Paid Family Leave program that provides workers with a 55% wage replacement for up to 6 weeks to bond with a new child or care for an ill family member. Although the program has benefited millions of Californians, a Senate Labor committee report found that the people using the program the most were those making $82,000 a year or more, and those who were using it the least were workers making minimum wage or barely above minimum wage. Why is that?

Because it is unrealistic to expect a worker who is already living paycheck to paycheck on 100 percent of their salary to use a program for 6 weeks at only 55 percent of their wages. For many workers, California’s current Paid Family Leave program was simply an illusion. That’s why I authored AB 908, to fix this inequity and ensure all who pay into this vital program can afford to use it, regardless of their income.

Simply, my bill AB908 restructured the Paid Family Leave program and State Disability to increase the wage replacement for workers earning minimum wage to 70 percent, and 60 percent wage replacement for all other workers. This bill ensures that every worker gets the necessary funds to actually use the program and spend time with their newborn child or sick family member. When Governor Brown signed AB908, California was not only the first state to have paid family leave, it also became the first state to have a paid family leave program built on the concept of equity. A program that ensures that every family on the economic ladder gets what they need. And I’m proud of that.

This has been some year for all of us with highlights like helping elect Pramila Jayapal and Jamie Raskin followed by the unspeakable triumph of Donald Trump, something we have to be very clear and very focused in defeating. Don't get distracted; keep your eye on the ball: winning back the House in 2018.

Meanwhile, thanks for all you've done and... have a safe and healthy holiday season. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year from your friends at Blue America.



Why It's Not All Gloom And Doom Around Here


A few years ago Blue America's list of endorsed candidates had the biggest success rate of any PAC recruiting and endorsing candidates. We beat NARAL, the Sierra Club, the Human Rights Campaign and the League of Conservation Voters that year-- not to mention the NRA and Club for Growth. I laughed when I read the stats. Blue America isn't about picking candidates who will make the PAC look good. Blue America is about endorsing and working with the candidates-- like unlikely winners Donna Edwards, Alan Grayson and Elizabeth Warren-- who will fight for the legitimate aspirations of working families.

Last year, for example, we worked hard to elect Eloise Reyes to Congress in the Inland Empire. The DCCC had their own candidate, corrupt conservative Pete Aguilar. Aguilar won-- and promptly joined the New Dems and ran up one of the worst voting records of any Democrat in Congress. ProgressivePunch-- whose CEO argued with me when I told him how terrible Aguilar would be before the election-- gave him an "F" this year and, according to their algorithm, shows his crucial vote score for his one term to be less progressive than all but 10 Democrats, 2 of whom (reactionary Blue Dogs Gwen Graham and Brad Ashford) are leaving Congress in January.

Meanwhile, Eloise took stock of her loss, learned the appropriate lessons from it and one week ago absolutely clobbered one of the most corrupt conservative Democrats in the California state legislature, Chevron Cheryl Brown, beating her decisively and spectacularly catapulting herself into a position where she can do a lot of good for the working families she represents (who Brown had ignored). We count that as a big Blue America win, even though it isn't something you'll read about in the Washington Post or NY Times or hear about on MSNBC.

Eventually, all the progressive groups came around and endorsed state Senator Pramila Jayapal for an open seat in Seattle and we all worked to raise her the money she would need to win a tough primary and then the general election. Blue America was the first to endorse, and encourage her compelling leadership style, and emphasize it to other national progressives, some of whom whined about how it was "unfair" to take sides because the other candidates were good too. Last week Pramila made history, as the first America with South Asian roots to win a congressional seat.

When Nanette Barragán, a small town mayor and environmental activist, decided to take on the entire stinking California Democratic Party establishment by challenging their handpicked conservaDem candidate to fill a deep blue seat in one of Los Angeles' poorest congressional districts, Digby, John and I invited her to dinner, got to know her and Blue America became one of the first national PACs to endorse her and help make her case and raise her the money she needed to beat the "impossible" odds she faced in beating the establishment-- impossible odds she overcame to win a jaw-dropping victory last week.

Blue America didn't look for candidates who were likely to win; we looked for candidates who had a reasonable chance to win-- with help-- but who would likely be great legislators. We look forward to seeing Ruben Kihuen (NV), Jamie Raskin (MD), Carol Shea-Porter (NH)-- along with Nanette-- and possibly Doug Applegate (ballots in his tight race against arch-villain Darrell Issa are still being counted today) take eventual leadership roles in a House Democratic minority that sorely lacks cohesive and inspiring leaders.

And this was a good year for Blue America in terms of helping build a progressive, activist Democratic bench on the state legislative level. Aside from Eloise, we helped elect Marcia Ranglin-Vassell and Mike Connolly, both of whom beat powerful, entrenched corrupt Democrats to win seats, respectively in Rhode Island and Massachusetts. Stanley Chang-- like Eloise, a 2014 Blue America congressional candidate-- came roaring back this year and beat the last remaining Republican in the Hawaii Senate-- and in the reddest district in Hawaii! Justin Bamberg, our Berniecrat candidate in South Carolina, was reelected and Wenona Benally, another 2014 congressional candidate, introduced to us by Raul Grijalva, won a hard-fought Arizona congressional seat last week. And our Berniecrat legislator in Colorado, Joe Salazar, not only won his state House seat but was already leading the Denver mass anti-Trump protests this weekend.

But before we say thanks for helping make this possible with your generous contributions, I want to point to one more victory-- an old one. When Sheldon Adelson suddenly struck in 2014 in the open CA-33 seat, pouring hundreds of thousands of dollars into a last minute sneak attack, then-candidate Ted Lieu went to Steve Israel at the DCCC for help in responding. Israel flat out refused-- not one dime, not one nickel to answer Adelson's half million dollar SuperPAC. So Blue America did it instead. Ted won, was elected congressional freshman class president, has been one of the most outspoken and successful bipartisan advocates on a series of crucial issues, from cyber-security to peace and climate change, and this weekend was in the news again, standing up against Trump’s "crazy shit", urging concerned Americans to follow him in becoming a supporter of the ACLU, while other congressional Democrats just cower in fear or plot personal career advancement. Ted Lieu-- one of Blue America's best ever investments!

So, from the bottom of our hearts, we want to thank the mind-boggling generosity of the Blue America members who gave-- and then gave again and again-- and helped progressive champions get into office where they are needed more than ever. And, fyi, right now we're busier than ever recruiting progressive candidates to run for what could be a really good 2018 cycle.



Nothing Matters Now But GOTV

I ran into an old friend, a Democratic operative, the other day. He's kind of Old School and when I asked him why contributions this late in the cycle-- after all there are only 10 days until all the ballots have been counted-- are important, his response was sickening. "Walking' around money," he said... "You know, so we can stuff the pockets of the policiticeras or the black ministers or whoever can turn out some late votes." (He mostly works for Blue Dogs and New Dems, so, yeah... that's what you'd expect.)

I decided to ask some of the Blue America candidates what they will do with the last minute money that comes in. I asked the ones I could find-- most are out knocking on doors-- what they would do with another $1,000 between now and Nov. 8.

Tom Wakely, who's running for the central Texas seat held by the science-denying chairman of the House Science Committee, Lamar Smith, would be one of the biggest stories on the cycle if he wins, a distinct possibility now as Trump turns off suburban voters in Bexar, Travis and Comal counties.

"Our campaign," he told me, "has always been about our field efforts and making contact with folks in the district. My job as the candidate has been heavily focused on retail politics. Every bit of support we've received has been directed to literature, signs, gasoline, and the occasional breakfast taco for the hardest working volunteers in Texas. It's about having as many voters to meet or talk to our amazing team. The clock stops at 7PM on November 8th. We won't be stopping anytime before then. We owe that much to our family, our friends, our volunteers, and our supporters. There's no sleep when our future is at stake."

Mary Ellen Balchunis is in a similar position. The DCCC has starved her campaign of the money it takes to run a mass media campaign and she's doing it the old fashioned way-- the way she won her landslide victory in the primary: grassroots politics.

"First, I have been overwhelmed by the tremendous grassroots support for my campaign from progressives across the country," she told me. "With only a little over a week  left before the election, our campaign is running along at full speed. Our amazing volunteers have been knocking doors and phone banking, but they cannot do it alone. Later this week our campaign will be releasing a digital ad and a comparison piece with Pat Meehan and myself to get my message out to even more voters in the 7th District. With the support we've gotten from Blue America and other progressive groups and from our union friends, we will be able to keep our field team going to the last hour on November 8th and push our new ad out to as many voters as possible."

Mary Hoeft's district isn't just the biggest-- and most rural-- district in Wisconsin, it takes up about a third of the state! Door knocking only goes so far to reach voters there. And, like Mary Ellen's and Tom's campaigns, the DCCC hasn't given her a dime, even though the district voted for Obama in 2008 and, until recently, had a long-time Democratic congressman, Dave Obey.

Mary is supplementing her field campaign with radio advertising and she told us that "with just 12 days remaining, every dollar I receive in donations goes toward another commercial. In this part of Wisconsin radio air time costs $15 for 30 seconds.  If you donate $15 to my campaign, another thousand people may hear my ad. It isn't too late to have the name Mary Hoeft for Congress heard!!!  And trust me when I say, YOU WOULD LOVE the nasty ad about Sean Duffy that your money will buy!"

This is probably the last time we'll be asking for contributions for our candidates this year, so please give as generously as you can afford to. Thanks-- and thanks for helping these candidates all year. Now we pray-- and hope people walk into the voting booth thinking about how Trump has made the whole election so ugly!

UPDATE: I just got an e-mail from one of the (REALLY GREAT) candidates we're counting on to lead Congress in a more progressive direction, Pramila Jayapal from Seattle. Her opponent launched an attack ad against her this week and now a superPAC has come in with $285,000 in independent expenditures attacking her on TV-- "so that is a total of over $400,000 in negative TV attack ads on me in the days leading up to the general election," she told me. "We are fighting back in numerous ways, and have gone up with a spot of our own on TV to counter theirs. People have been amazing and stepping up, but I need help." Let's give it to her.




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