Senator Warren: 'Katie Porter Is The Real Deal'

CA-45 is the heart of Orange County. It includes Irvine, Mission Viejo, Lake Forest, Rancho Santa Margarita... Villa Park and the Anaheim Hills in the north and Coto De Caza in the south. But it doesn't include the home of Mimi Walters, the Republican congresswoman who was elected in 2014. She still lives in posh beachfront neighborhood in Dana Rohrabacher's district and has adamantly refused to move into the district she's supposed to be representing.

Many residents feel it's time for Mimi to go. And this might be the year. She votes in complete lockstep with the unpopular Trump. And Trump did badly in the 45th. Romney and McCain both beat Obama in the district, but Hillary beat Trump  by over 5 points. The PVI has improved from R+7 to a much more manageable R+3.

And this year, CA-45 has an extraordinary Democratic candidate in UC Irvine law professor Katie Porter, endorsed this week by Blue America.

A former law student of Elizabeth Warren's, they co-wrote a book about consumer protection. Warren endorsed her, as have Kamala Harris, Kirsten Gillibrand, Zephyr Teachout and progressive groups like DFA and the PCCC. She has a corporate Dem as a primary opponent backed by the DC establishment but all recent polls show Katie beating him and going on to beat Walters.

Katie hasn't been shy about pointing out that Walters is "one of the 'Big Money 20'--  taking money from the NRA, Big Oil, Big Banks, and a number of powerful special interests." She said she believes that "special interests like large financial institutions, because of Citizens United, now have the ability to spend unlimited money, giving them an outsized and unfair role in our election system.

That is why I am proud that our campaign has pledged not to take any campaign contributions from corporate PACs, big oil, big pharma, big banks, or private charter schools. We believe in running a campaign by example and have raised the resources necessary to run a competitive campaign with contributions from over 10,000 individual donors. I am going to Washington to do what I have done my whole career-- to give voice to the needs of family and to fight for a fair system."

As for policy, Katie is where you would expect candidates backed by Blue America to be. For health care, for example, she told us that she had spent her career  as a consumer protection attorney "studying how one illness or accident can lead a family to financial ruin-- it shouldn't be that way. That's why I will fight for a Medicare for All system in which every American has quality health insurance.

And this is a defining issue in this race. My Republican opponent, Mimi Walters, helped write Trump’s health care law that gutted protections for pre-existing conditions. She was one of the first people that Donald Trump thanked at the White House after the vote. Her vote on the GOP tax plan puts health coverage for 13 million people at risk and will lead to devastating cuts to Medicare and Medicaid. And other candidates in this race have refused to support Medicare for All." 

She has also pledged to voters to take on big oil and the corporate polluters to stop offshore drilling, and that she will "fight to invest in renewable energy development, support high emission standards, and save important environmental protections. Simply put, Washington must act to fight climate change." 

Her field of expertise, consumer protection, is what attracted Blue America to her campaign to begin with. She has literally spent close to 2 decades taking on Wall Street banks and powerful financial institutions that cheat middle-class families.

"Much of my work as a consumer advocate," she told us Friday,

"has centered around the housing crisis that rocked Orange County and many other parts of the country. Before the crisis, I was one of the first to sound the alarm about how the biggest Wall Street banks were preying on homeowners. And when the crisis hit, I was appointed by Attorney General Kamala Harris to work directly with California families who were cheated by the five biggest Wall Street banks. The five banks had promised to help homeowners who had been harmed, and it was my job to hold the banks’ feet to the fire. My team won thousands of victories against the banks, forcing them to pay billions to families. And our work helped tens of thousands of families move forward with their lives... Eight years after the crash, Orange County families still find themselves stuck. Profits again are surging for financial institutions and Wall Street, but middle-class wages are stagnant. And the cost of things that matter most for families-- affording preschool, sending your kid to college, saving for retirement-- are skyrocketing, while the high cost of housing in Orange County is pushing families to the brink."

We all know what we need out of the next Congress-- capable leaders who have shown the ability and willingness to stand up to Trump, the GOP and the powerful special interests. "That," Katie told us "is exactly what I plan to do in Washington." Please consider contributing to her campaign at the Blue America congressional page, here.

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

--Howie, for the entire Blue America team



Why Blue America Endorsed Ellen Lipton (MI-09)

BLUE_AMERICA_ENDORSE_ELLEN_LIPTON.jpgEllen lists 7 core platform items on her website, her priorities: a strong public education system and will always resist efforts to privatize our schools; protecting and expanding Social Security; investing in infrastructure and creating well-paying jobs for our community; universal healthcare for all Americans; raising the minimum wage to a living wage; a woman’s right to choose, and protecting our environment and leaving a healthy planet for our children.​

What most people know about Ellen Lipton, a candidate for the open congressional seat in the Oakland and Macomb county suburbs north of Detroit, is that she founded and was named president of the Michigan Promise Zone Association. The association supports free community college tuition, technical training and certification to Michigan students in selected communities across Michigan, a blueprint for free college tuition across America. Before that she was in the Michigan legislature, fighting for public education and therefore the bane of Betsy DeVos' existence. But if education policy is one of her fields of expertise, infrastructure was one of the motivations that made her jump into the race. We don't always think of potholes as issues in congressional races... but Ellen explains why it is in her district

“POTHELL!” was the big, bold headline splashed across a newspaper recently here in metro Detroit, and no word sums up Michigan’s infrastructure crisis more clearly. Under the headline was a picture of three drivers who’d been stranded on their way to work when they crossed an enormous pothole that had immediately destroyed their tires and rims upon impact. Welcome to pothole season in Michigan, when a daily commute often involves dangerous dodging and swerving to avoid potholes, then dodging and swerving to avoid accidents with other vehicles.  It’s a public safety nightmare.
 
Trump recently unveiled his infrastructure proposal, and it falls far, far short of what’s needed in Michigan to even begin to solve our infrastructure crisis. Under his plan, states and localities would have to find their own, new sources of revenue to spend on infrastructure to even qualify for federal help. After decades of state disinvestment in infrastructure in MI, Trump’s plan would have little to no impact here, since our local units of government have already been revenue-starved for years and are highly unlikely to be able to come up with new state spending sources. 

Michigan can’t wait for President Trump to get his act together and propose a plan that would actually work for our state. Here are just a few examples of how our infrastructure crisis is negatively impacting our communities every single day:

 

  • Flint water crisis-- Old service lines leached lead into Flint’s drinking water, poisoning an entire community.  These service lines and lead connectors have still not been replaced, four years after the crisis first began to unfold.
  • Fraser sinkhole-- A little over a year ago, an underground sewer line in Fraser collapsed, causing the ground to shift and open up and forcing people from their homes, closing down roads and putting a community in harms way.

 

  • Falling concrete on I-696-- Just recently, drivers along I-696, a major thoroughfare that links Oakland and Macomb counties in the 9th Congressional District, were being bombarded by large chunks of concrete falling from highway overpasses.
  • Heavy rains and E. coli outbreaks-- Every time there’s a heavy rain, levels of E. coli rise along the Clinton River and Lake St. Clair. This shoreline issue can be traced to much of the region still operating on old combined sewer systems in which a single pipe carries sewage from homes and businesses as well as storm runoff coming from street drains.  Such outdated systems mean that during a heavy rainfall, a mix of storm water and sewage spills over from the retention basins to rivers and drains that carry it to Lake St. Clair.

The problems I’ve just described above barely scratch the surface of what our state’s infrastructure crisis entails. Cleary, President Trump’s so-called plan won’t even begin to get the job done when it comes to rebuilding my home state and making it a safe and healthy place for our communities.
 
What’s needed now more than ever is a bold vision for rebuilding our infrastructure, centered on the human side of the issue, and focused on putting people back to work and enhancing peoples’ quality of life where they work and where they live. Such a bold vision would invest our resources in people to produce millions of family-sustaining jobs, raise living standards, reduce inequality, strengthen education, reduce poverty and create a clean, healthy environment. 

It would also mandate a direct public investment in roads, bridges and other public works, as opposed to providing “corporate giveaways” to spur private-sector investment. This direct investment should come in the form of a federal jobs program, through which our country would invest in human capital by putting people back to work rebuilding our roads and bridges, water and sewer systems, schools, airports and veterans’ hospitals, and linking our communities with high-speed internet access.
 
This kind of federal infrastructure program could create millions of jobs immediately, as well as introduce real-world job training for so many young people who are looking to begin careers in the skilled trades. An initiative like this one place great emphasis on jobs that pay a living wage, ensure workplace safety and guarantee racial and gender equality in the workplace. These goals could be achieved by raising benchmarks for prevailing wages in every corner of the country, requiring local hiring to accurately reflect and represent the diversity of the community’s workforce, include robust “Buy American” requirements and prioritize the hiring of veterans.
 
The path to American greatness lies in significant investment in our greatest resource: our people.  A federal jobs program based on rebuilding our country would be proof that America’s complex infrastructure challenges can be met by following the simple principle that public money should go toward the public good.

MI-09 is a reliable Democratic district, which Sandy Levin, who has represented it for three-and-a-half decades, is leaving. His son Andy would like to take over. There are 2 other middle-of-the-road men running as well... and Ellen, the progressive game changer in the race.

So, why have we endorsed Ellen Lipton (MI-09)?

Ellen is part of the progressive grassroots energy that is sweeping the country and she's the kind of leader who won't be satisfied sitting on the backbench taking orders from the party's sclerotic, calcified leadership. Pelosi's, Hoyer's and their team's days are numbered. The congressional Democrats desperately need seasoned, bold leaders like Ellen Lipton to help the party snap out of it before it's too late. Please consider contributing to her campaign here.



Omaha? Blue America Endorses Kara Eastman


Kara Eastman is the newest Blue America endorsee. She's running for the blue-trending Omaha Metro district-- NE-02, currently tenuously held by conservative backbencher Don Bacon. Before she gets to Bacon, she has to beat conservative "Democrat" Brad Ashford, who was a Republican for 38 years, including the first term of the Obama administration.

According to the Omaha World Herald, Ashford voted with the Republicans while in Congress more than all other Democrats except for two. In the Nebraska legislature, he voted for an ultrasound bill and voted yes on LB 1103, a bill that prohibited abortions in Nebraska after 20 weeks. He’s taken contradictory stands on almost every important issue over his long political career. Ashford voted for and against the Dreamers, for and against the Iran nuclear deal, and against the Clean Power Plan rule (SJ Res 24) that established carbon dioxide emission guidelines for power plants. Under Obama, he voted against facets of the Affordable Care Act, in the Nebraska State Legislature he voted for some anti-choice bills, and he has gone back and forth on his stances on the Keystone XL pipeline. People in the district tell me they are unhappy with Ashford’s voting record. They also feel like he is not in it to win it. 

Word on the street is, Nebraskans are looking for someone with energy, with vision and with passion.  Knowing this, even with a record like Ashford’s the DC Dem's establishment candidate enjoys the backing of the entire ‘Republican wing of the Democratic Party’— the Blue Dogs, the New Dems and, of course, the DCCC. 


Kara's primary fight has been based on convincing voters that her pragmatic, progressive stances make her a stronger candidate. We cannot agree more! The Democratic primary election is on May 15.



She told us that with a grassroots campaign focused on field operations, door-knocking, an integrated digital and communication plan, and engaging voters; her campaign is speaking directly to real people. She and her volunteers have knocked on over 25,000 doors already. Women, labor unions (she just received her fourth labor endorsement), activists, and communities of color that have been disenfranchised by conservative candidates and are crucial to winning NE-02. Her bold advocacy is motivating and energizing the Democratic base, and it’s already been recognized in the form of a national endorsement from Climate Hawks Vote and now from Blue America. This is a district that can be flipped.



"Omaha Democrats," said Kara,

"are frustrated. We’ve run the same kind of 'moderate to conservative candidate' at the local, state, and federal level, and we’ve seen them lose over and over again. Even though my primary opponent won by a slim margin in 2014, he lost his re-election bid in 2016. As a matter of fact, he was the only incumbent Democrat to lose to a Republican in the entire country that cycle. Don Bacon, who won by just over one percentage point, now votes in line with the current administration 97% of the time. He’s vulnerable, and all the political prognosticators say that the election is a toss-up. Over the last decade, Nebraska’s second Congressional district is one of the two most competitive in the nation. So why can’t Democrats consistently win here? They don’t ignite the base, and they don’t go out and talk to voters."

She's the first serious progressive candidate to run in Nebraska’s second district and her grassroots campaign has knocked on over 25,000 doors and has gotten voters excited about the race. She told us that,

"the majority of the people we talk to at the doors commit to voting for me. I’m pro-choice, I support common-sense gun safety regulation, I’m passionate about health and environmental protection, and I’ve opposed the Keystone XL pipeline. I will fight for a Medicare for All system because healthcare is a right. I also will fight for debt-free education, because I’m tired of seeing students, even at Metro Community College where I serve on the Board of Governors, drowning in student loans. The U.S. has to compete in a global market by investing in green and healthy housing. Climate change is the number one moral and national security threat to our children, and we need to address it now."

Kara is good on all of our issues and we're excited about her campaign because we see her as someone who will be an aggressive champion for campaign finance reform. "Fixing campaign finance laws and taking lobbyist money out of politics," she said, "will change Washington. I’m proud to have over 1500 individual campaign donors, but I won’t take just any and all corporate PAC dollars. In fact, my fundraising has been neck and neck with that of my primary opponent, even though he’s been in Congress and accepts a large amount of PAC money."


With the strong grassroots campaign that she's built, Kara Eastman can win this swing district. As a social worker with a reputation for getting things done in her community, she's ready to work hard to make real changes in the political system when she gets to D.C. We believe in Kara's campaign and we urge you to contribute what you can. It's strong, idealistic women with real life experience like Kara who are going to change America, not decrepit, recycled, reactionary Blue Dogs dumped upon us by a corrupt establishment. 


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

--Howie, for the entire Blue America team



Up To Bat In March — Progressives In Texas And Illinois

The first two states with 2018 primaries are Texas — March 6 — and Illinois — March 20.

The thing about the Texas primaries is that in most cases they’re going lead to May 22 primary runoffs. So we’re going to be waiting for another couple of months before we know who the candidates we’ll have going up against Republicans for the blue-trending seats in Houston, Austin, San Antonio and Dallas, all of which are likely to deny any candidates 50% on March 6.

It’s a wide open race in west Houston, where award-winning cancer researcher and doctor, Jason Westin, has a bunch of establishment candidates he’s competing with, as well as another progressive. He can use some help.

Same in Dallas, where our candidate, Obama’s deputy undersecretary of rural development for the Department of Agriculture, Lillian Salerno is facing off against two pretty garden variety establishment big money careerists.

One of the Austin candidates, Derrick Crowe, (one of the best candidates anywhere in America) is likely to be forced into a runoff with a multimillionaire Republican, Joseph Kopser, pretending — although not well — to be a Democrat.

My first experience with Derrick goes back to when George W. Bush was still president and he was the organizing force behind Brave New Film’s “Rethink Afghanistan” project. 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.

The Illinois primaries later in the month have a more crucial sense of permanence. The candidate with the most votes will face off against the Republican. The race that’s gotten the most attention is in IL-03, the Chicagoland district that starts in the southwest part of the city around Bridgeport and the Stockyards, snakes down through Marquette Manor to Midway, through Palos Hills and to Orland Park, Homer Glen and Lockport just north of Joliet. It’s one of those rare races where an excruciatingly bad entrenched incumbent, Blue Dog Dan Lipinski, is being held accountable for the first time.

Progressives in the district, in the state and across America have backed Marie Newman, who would make a much-needed and excellent addition to the Illinois congressional delegation.

The Republican in the race, Arthur Jones, an admitted anti-Semite is the former leader of the American Nazi Party. No, not every Republican is a Nazi… but it’s funny how they always find a home with the GOP isn’t it? Remember Boehner’s Nazi buddy in Ohio, Rich Iott? Anyway, whoever wins the March 20 primary — the Blue Dog Lipinski or progressive Marie Newman — will be sworn in next January because IL-03 isn’t about to elect a Nazi to Congress.

The district didn’t even vote for Trump. He couldn’t even muster 40% against Hillary, who had been defeated in the district primary by Bernie. Polling shows an extremely tight race and it’s going to be Marie’s field operation that wins this one and sends the DCCC and the Democratic old guard a message that voters are watching what they do and holding them accountable.

The only other candidate endorsed by Blue America in Illinois is Dr. David Gill in IL-13, a sprawling central Illinois district that meanders southwest from Champaign, Normal and Bloomington down through Decatur and Springfield to suburbs north and east of St. Louis. This was Bernie-country in 2016 and he beat Hillary in the district. And Gill is the candidate who has been working on Bernie issues for as long as Bernie has.

Remember, the last time Gill faced off against Republican Rodney Davis, Davis won by just a handful of votes — 136,596 to 135,309, only because left-wing spoiler John Hartman, took 21,319 votes, throwing the election to a crackpot conservative.

His message resonated last time — Help David get that message out to the few voters that got missed. He has three big-money establishment primary opponents who will probably split the establishment vote and allow Gill to face off against Davis in November. He definitely needs financial help for his field operation that will be in full swing in the next couple of weeks.

This week, we’re asking you to consider helping our Texas and Illinois candidates and leave the others for another time — just this week. Let’s make sure the progressives get into the Texas runoffs and into the Illinois general election.

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



Goal: Replacing Devin Nunes In November

RicardoFrancoNunesComrade.pngLet's send our own memo to Devin Nunes: "You're Fired!" Ricardo Franco is a progressive Democrat organizing in the Central Valley to take on who local paper Fresno Bee calls “Trump’s Stooge”. Blue America endorsed him today.

If California is the beating heart of progressive America, how can it be possible that the most powerful leader of Donald Trump's Praetorian Guard hails from the Golden State? I'm speaking, of course, of Congressman Devin Nunes, a man so devoted to the president that he is willing to destroy any institution in the US Government that threatens his Dear Leader.

One would think that a smart Republican would keep a bit of a low profile in a state which only gave Trump 31.6 percent of the vote in 2016, the lowest percentage of any Republican nominee to ever run for president. Not Nunes. Despite the fact that Trump remains mired in scandal and embarrassingly low approval ratings, he has taken the role of Trump defender to such an extreme that his face is now the international symbol for Trumpian sycophancy.

Nunes felt the Trump magic early, traveling around the state with him on Trump Force One during the campaign and becoming an influential foreign policy member of the Trump transition. As the Chairman of the House Intelligence Committee he immediately took it upon himself to run interference for the White House by trying to help Trump make the case for his inane conspiracy theory that the Obama administration had tapped Trump Tower.

He made a fool of himself, pretending that in conducting his oversight duties he had "discovered" proof and had to rush to the White House to inform the president --- only to be revealed to have conspired with Trump staffers in the middle of the night to produce this information. This supposedly led to him recusing himself from the Russia investigation although his continued involvement shows he understands that in the Trump era, rules, traditions, norms and laws are all optional for Republicans.

Needless to say, the recent drama with what's known as "The Nunes Memo" and his announced intention to write many more in which he promises to name names in the Department of Justice, the FBI and the State Department and complete the "purge" of all government employees suspected of being insufficiently loyal to Trump, means he's going to be very busy in Washington over the next few months.

He should be paying a little more attention to what's happening in his district.

Nunes won comfortably in 2016 but that was before he voted for a tax bill designed to wreak revenge on California residents. It was before the Republicans decided to go to war against immigrants and start deporting people who've been living in the state for years. It was before Trump made fun of climate change and ignored the epic fire season that burned thousands of homes in California.It was before Nunes' Dear Leader decided to open oil drilling off California's coast, even as he exempted Florida a state which narrowly voted for him.

Nunes thinks his district is safe for him but everything indicates that 2018 will be a big blue wave referendum on Donald Trump. Being known as what the Fresno Bee recently called "Trump's Stooge" may just motivate a few more Democrats than usual to come out and vote. If they do, he has a problem. The district is 45% Latino, 42% white, 7% Asian and 3% black.

Luckily, a great young progressive Latino by the name of Ricardo Franco is running to replace him and Blue America has been happy to endorse him. He's a local businessman whose family has been in the area since 1912 and unlike Donald Trump, whose daddy had to pull strings to get him into the Wharton School of Business, Ricardo got in on his own. He has a keen insight on how to communicate progressive ideas to this traditional region in ways that feel familiar and new at the same time. And while Nunes, who is of Portuguese ancestry, says he "doesn't mind" being called Hispanic but thinks the term is "too broad" Ricardo speaks Spanish and is proud to call himself Latino.

Devin Nunes has been in Washington for 16 years and has lost touch with his community. Today he thinks the only person he needs to please in this world is Donald Trump.

He's going to find out this November that he is wrong.

Ricardo Franco is the future of the Democratic Party and Blue America is proud to support him. If we help him beat Trump's most loyal henchman it would send a powerful message to both parties in Washington that progressives in this country have decided that enough is enough.

Please give what you can to help send Ricardo Franco to Washington.

Thank you for your support.

Digby, for the entire Blue America team



Alert The Media! Tim Canova-Barenaked Ladies Contest, Day One:

Canova Contest Revision.pngTime for "DEBBIE DOWNER" TO GO! Help Tim Canova beat her in #FL23 and you might win this cool prize (see post for details)

Today is Day One of a week long contest on behalf of the Tim Canova congressional campaign in South Florida (FL-23 which starts up at the Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood Airport and works it way south and west through Hollywood to Surfside in the south and Weston in the west).

It's Debbie Wasserman Schultz's safe gerrymandered district. We've contributed a beautiful gold, RIAA-certified  award plaque for the Barenaked Ladies' first U.S. album, Gordon, the album that includes, "Brian Wilson," "Be My Yoko Ono," "Hello City" and the band's smash hit, "If I Had $1,000,000." The album award, which has never been taken out of its plastic wrapping, was originally awarded to Reprise Records president Howie Klein, now the treasurer of Blue America. One lucky donor who gives to Tim's campaign before next Monday-- in any amount-- will be the proud new owner of the Barenaked Ladies' Gold award plaque.

Tim is running on a full-bore Bernie type platform-- issues he has been working on his entire adult life, from campaign finance reform, protecting the environment and ending the war on drugs to reversing income inequality, immigration reform and Medicare-for-All.

As of December 31, the last FEC reporting deadline, Tim had raised $161,996. He's going to need a lot more to defeat a corrupt incumbent who has taken massive amounts of money from payday lenders, private prisons and Wall Street. Please consider helping him reach his first quarter goal here.

Tim told us he finds

“the Barenaked Ladies music to be playful, offbeat and thought-provoking at the same time. On this album, 'If I Had a Million Dollars' is a strange kind of love song for a material world. The message is: 'If I had a million dollars, I’d buy you a house, furniture, a car, I’d buy your love.' Money certainly helps up to a point, but we know that money alone cannot really buy love or happiness. As I listened to this song this morning, I thought what would I do if I had a million dollars?  And I realized I would spend it on exactly what I’ve been investing my limited personal savings in: our campaign to defeat Debbie Wasserman Schultz and our lawsuit to inspect the ballots from our last race. That lawsuit is what prompted local election officials to destroy our ballots in violation of state and federal law. I am not letting this election scandal be swept under the rug, because I know the best way to ensure a fair vote count in our upcoming election is to demand a real investigation and accountability for the fraud and illegal ballot destruction in the last election. With your help, we will raise another million dollars and we will use those resources to keep building our grassroots campaign. This remains the top priority in my life: to defeat a cynical and corrupt political insider who has done so much damage to our country. If I had a million dollars, I would still be fighting to restore democracy."

Primaries against incumbents of your own party are the toughest thing there is in American politics. It's a thankless task, with your own party fighting you every step of the way and moving in to protect their colleague, no matter how corrupt she is. But in this D+11 district there is no other way to hold Wasserman Schultz accountable than to challenger her in a primary. A New Dem, from the Republican wing of the Democratic Party, she hasn't earned a lifetime job, not by a longshot

Please help us replace her with Tim Canova. (You'll find all the "rules" to the contest at the link.)



Two New Blue America Candidates In Philly And Spokane

BrownAhmadendorsement.pngTrading in Bob Brady and Cathy McMorris Rodgers for Nina Ahmad and Lisa Brown will bring up the value of Congress tremendously and across the board. Help them win! https://goo.gl/Mk5bP6

This week Blue America endorsed two inspiring candidates for Congress on opposite ends of the country. Nina Ahmad is running in Philadelphia and Lisa Brown is running for the eastern Washington seat based in Spokane. Yes, they're both women and since 51% of the population this country are women and just 19% of the House are women, its great that two will help right that egregious disparity. But that isn't why we decided to endorse either of them. We endorsed them because they are-- by far-- the best candidates running, regardless of gender.


Tomorrow McConnell has scheduled a vote in the Senate for a 20-week abortion ban that impedes a woman’s right to choose what’s best for her health, denies access to life-saving procedures, and criminalizes medical professionals. Paul Ryan has already gotten it through the House and Trump would love to make a big deal of it in an Oval Office signing ceremony.

Yesterday Nina, who is running in a Philadelphia district which Bob Brady, the city's Party Machine Boss, thinks he owns, told her supporters that

"the only definition of modern womanhood that I believe is that each and every one of us has the right-- the freedom-- to choose. Whether we want to ensure dinner is on the table at 6pm or decide instead to spend our time as 'nail-biting manophobic hell-bent feminist she devils who shriek from the tops of a thousand tall buildings' [which is how Missouri GOP crackpot Senate candidate Courtland Sykes actually referred to women trying to make the country a better place] we must work together with Americans of all backgrounds and lifestyle choices to solve the real issues facing our nation. Pennsylvania currently has ZERO women in its federal delegation." The Pennsylvania primary is on May 15.

Washington state holds its primary on August 7 but it already looks like the Democrat who will face off against Republican heavy-weight Cathy McMorris Rodgers is former Washington State University chancellor and former Senate majority leader Lisa Brown, an economist. She is running on a progressive platform of ideas that starts with her belief that

"true economic growth and jobs come from investing in people (through education) and in infrastructure. I championed early learning and delivered infrastructure projects to eastern Washington (working with legislators on both sides of the aisle and all corners of the state)."

Interviewing these two women gave me the personal satisfaction of feeling I was talking to people I could learn from and be rallied by. Whether it's net neutrality, affordable college education or marijuana legalization, Lisa and Nina have already been at the forefront of the movements in their states pushing for the most progressive solutions to problems that plague working families.

Lisa has to flip a longtime red district blue, the way it used to be, and Nina has to help a deep blue district throw off the bonds of a corrupt, self-serving machine, two worthy goals for two of 2018's very best candidates!

Please consider contributing what you can to both here.

Like I said, these are two of the best congressional candidates I've run across for the 2018 cycle-- and we have some really fantastic candidates this year. Let's help them make sure they replace two pretty awful, entrenched incumbents.



Who Changed Trump's Mind About Leaving Marijuana Up To The States?

A few days ago, Roger Stone sent out a VICE News article, "The GOP has a marijuana problem only Trump can fix," reminding its readers that Trump said multiple times on the campaign trail that the issue of marijuana legalization "should be up to the states." 

It came as a bit of a surprise when Trump's Attorney General, Jeff Sessions, announced a major policy change last week that under the Trump administration, legal weed isn’t up the states at all. In another rollback of an Obama-era policy, Sessions gave federal prosecutors the authority to pursue marijuana cases at their own discretion, even in places where weed is now legal under state law. Sessions’ move has left several Republican lawmakers and Trump allies fuming. They warn that not only does the president appear to be breaking a campaign pledge and putting himself at risk of alienating a swath of his base, he’s jeopardizing the long-term future of the GOP, since young voters overwhelmingly support legalization. Former Trump campaign advisor Roger Stone, who formed a bipartisan group called the U.S. Cannabis Coalition to push for legalization, was especially irked.

“This is not only bad public policy, it’s bad political policy,” Stone told VICE News. "It’s a vote loser, and it’s inconsistent with what the president promised the American people."

Stone went so far as to speculate that Sessions may have gone rogue and changed the federal marijuana enforcement policy without running it by Trump first.

"I don’t even know if the president knows about this change," he said. "The last time I spoke to the president on this issue, which was a couple months ago, there was no change on this, he was supportive of states’ rights to make their own decision."

Asked about the discrepancy on Thursday, however, White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders confirmed that Trump had changed his mind. "The president believes in enforcing federal law," she said.

Regardless of Trump’s personal beliefs, it’s clear there’s a weed schism within the GOP that could affect the party’s popularity at the polls for years to come. According to Gallup, 64% of Americans overall support marijuana legalization compared to just 51% of Republicans.

As Ted Lieu put it when we spoke with him about it last week, "It’s funny-- but not actually funny-- that states’ rights matter to the Trump Administration and Republicans only when it’s politically expedient. AG Session’s vendetta against democratically legalized marijuana is a humongous waste of federal resources and has proven to be unpopular at the state and national level."

Putting it into perspective last week, Jasper Ward of Green Wave Democrats wrote that "campaigns are what candidates make them about. The double edged sword for Democratic candidates in 2018 is that there are so, so many awful things going on that there are too many things campaigns can be about. The common denominator, of course, is Trump and the Republicans have set the train ablaze and aimed it right at the 99% of Americans tied to the tracks. Trump is insanely and angrily opening the throttle to full speed, and the GOP is standing off safely to the side counting their money and watching it happen." He asserted that "the people who are really going to save America (and maybe the world?) are the challengers out there in red districts and against horrible Democrats like Dan Lipinski and Debbie Wassermann Schultz. They are the ones who are not only going to rush the cabin and stop the train, but because they are not infected by the last two decades of greyscale that has touched everyone in Washington-- including Democrats-- they are going to chart a new path forward for the 2020s."

This week gave us a perfect example of the dichotomy of Establishment DC Dems not doing enough to save the country and Progressive Challenger Dems stepping up to chart the new way forward: When Jeff Sessions announced he was suspending the Justice Department memo that prevented US Attorneys from going after the marijuana industry in legal states, the reactions of most Establishment DC Dems showed why Democrats are in the mess we are in.

Sure, there were a few progressive stalwarts like Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA) and Rep. Beto O'Rourke (D-TX) who were willing to take Sessions on directly. Beto: "After our country has spent more than $1 trillion on the war on drugs, leading the world in the size of our prison population and seeing marijuana just as available today as it was at the start of the war on drugs-- and just as the majority of Americans have come to the conclusion that we must end the federal prohibition on marijuana, and most states have followed suit-- I can't understand how the Trump administration would take us back to the dark ages of the drug war.

Blue America has a new fundraising page for progressive challengers who are actively campaigning for legalization. You can check out-- and hopefully contribute to-- the candidates here.

The progressive candidate in the Illinois race to replace GOP incumbent Rodney Davis, Dr. David Gill, an emergency room physician told us that he’s “amazed by the gall of politicians like Jeff Sessions, who adhere to the concept of 'States' Rights' only when it suits their needs and desires.

“Mr. Sessions is a complete and utter hypocrite. The war on drugs has failed to decrease drug use and has cost taxpayers billions of dollars. Current policy also disproportionately impacts communities of color. It is finally time to legalize, tax, and regulate marijuana. Legalization of marijuana has proven to successfully stimulate the economy in Colorado. This policy will generate billions of dollars in tax revenue and reduce the huge financial burden posed by incarcerating non-violent offenders. As an emergency medicine physician, I rarely see adverse events related to marijuana; in contrast, trauma caused by legal alcohol always keeps my Emergency Room busy."

And Derrick Crowe is the progressive Democrat running in the Austin/San Antonio district where science denier Lamar Smith is retiring. "Marijuana should be legal," he told us, "and Jeff Sessions' obsession with destroying families and communities by jailing people for marijuana offenses is inhumane and puritanical. At the same time that Trump and the GOP are trying to cut people off from their health coverage under the ACA, Sessions is working to end folks' ability to use marijuana to alleviate terrible pain in states that allow medical marijuana. And, at a time when African Americans are almost four times as likely than Whites to be jailed for marijuana use despite similar usage rates, it's a racial justice and criminal justice reform issue. It's clear that there's no level of pain too great or injustice to deep to get in the way of Republicans' efforts to please their donors."

Here’s an idea…call it a ‘no brainer’— Let’s provide positive reinforcement for these candidates.

Let’s make sure the people driving the train are a new generation of leaders who are not afraid to take a principled stand that is contrary to DC ‘Savvy Democrats’ who assure us this issue is meaningless (and therefore will not make it a priority when we take back the majority).

Let’s support Green Wave Democrats!



How About A Nice Piece Of Art For Christmas? Blue America "Gung Ho!" Contest

The wonderful Nancy Ohanian has donated one of her gorgeous signed prints, "Gung Ho," to Blue America to use for raising money for the candidates we've endorsed this year. She would like to see Congress flip from red to blue and so would we... and we know you would too. So this is how this works. Just contribute any amount to any of our candidates on this page. One dollar; ten dollars, $1,000... it's up to you. Split it between all the candidates, give it to your favorite candidate or split it between 2 or 3 candidates... all up to you. (Just not more than $2,700 to any one candidate.)

Next week (Monday, December 17), we'll pick one name randomly and send that person the signed "Gung Ho" print by Nancy. Easy, right? 

This is an especially crucial election cycle. I don't think there's ever been more at stake than now with this madman in the White House and a Congress filled with enablers and cheerleaders. We can't get Trump out of office next November... but we can and will put a check on him by defeating lots and lots of Republicans in Congress, starting with Paul Ryan and working our way down.

And what makes this cycle even more exciting is that there seems to be a mammoth anti-Trump/anti-GOP wave building and intensifying. Every poll this year has show it. And as we saw a few weeks ago in Virginia and last week in Georgia, there are no districts that are too red to flip-- IF the right candidates are running. The men and women on this list are for real progressives of good moral character and with solid work ethics. Most important, these are the people who will make Congress a better place and force Congress to make our country a better place. Please give generously.

And if you want to have a chance to win but find yourself in a tight financial situation, send a letter to Blue America at PO Box 27201, Los Angeles, CA 90027 and tell us you want to be part of the Christmas "Gung Ho" contest (be sure to include your contact info). The FEC demands we make some lawyer language available for our contests. You can find it here.

And one more thing about the progressive candidates Blue America has endorsed so far this cycle. We talk to them-- sometimes for months-- and get to know them and we don't endorse them until we feel as sure as is humanly possible that when they get into Congress they will earnestly endeavor to enhance the lives of working families and make the tough decisions necessary to move our country along in a more progressive direction. Message us on the Blue America Facebook page to let us know if you want more information on any particular candidate.

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

Howie, for the entire Blue America team.



#GOPTaxScam Targets Disabled Veterans

The Republican Tax Scam will have serious, even devastating, consequences for the nearly 20% of Americans who have disabilities-- greater tax burdens and decreased opportunities.

As Robyn Powell explained last week to Rewire readers,

"People with disabilities already have massive expenses and far less income, on average, than their non-disabled counterparts. Many of their medical necessities-- such as long-term care and certain wheelchairs-- are not covered by some insurance plans, including Medicare, and can cost an individual tens of thousands of dollars. These services are not just about one’s health; having access to a power wheelchair or in-home care can be the difference between living in an institution or a private residence. Right now, taxpayers may deduct out-of-pocket medical expenses if they exceed 10% of their adjusted gross income. Notably, 8.8 million people-- primarily people with disabilities and seniors, as well as their caregivers-- benefited from this important deduction last year." But to make life a tad more bearable for overburdened private jet owners, Trump's and Ryan's Tax Scam eliminates the out-of-pocket medical expenses deduction.

Los Angeles area Congressman Ted Lieu (D-CA), a veteran and an Air Force colonel is the West Coast regional Vice Chair for the DCCC. He told us that "The GOP tax scam will be a disaster for our veterans and our country. It is particularly disgusting that Republicans have proposed repealing tax credits to hire disabled veterans while at the same time giving billionaires and corporations a huge tax cut. Tax policy is ultimately a statement of priorities-- and Republicans like Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell are showing us what their priorities are, and it isn't our veterans." 

And Lieu is exactly right: the Tax Scam falls especially hard on disabled veterans. Blue America talked to some of the progressive veterans running for Congress, in light of the passage of the Tax Scam in both Houses. 

I wonder if all those self professed Christians in the Republican Party ever think of Jesus' admonition: “That what you do to the least of these, so do you do to me." This morning, Randy Bryce texted us that he had been going over parts of the GOP Tax Scam and one of the parts that infuriated him was how it penalizes veterans wounded in the line of duty. "After serving in the Army I returned home to Southeast Wisconsin," he told us. I saw fellow veterans without homes and I worked hand in hand-- through my union and with the Democratic Party and state government to bring needed assistance their way. That is the best of America and is the America I was proud to protect and serve. Targeting disabled veterans who served their country is especially cruel and unAmerican. Seeing this tax scam try and rip needed services away from my brothers and sisters who served sickens me. We didn't serve to protect a billionaires ability to fly a Learjet on the cheap. We served to protect the best of our American values. These frauds are shameful, and we will repeal and replace their leader in the house, Paul Ryan-- a man who appears to truly enjoy hurting those in need in order to see his billionaire buddies smile."

Doug Applegate, the progressive former Marine colonel running for a a San Diego/Orange County seat held by Darrell Issa: "Once again Veterans get the short end of the stick. The problem lies with the decline of Vets sitting in Congress and voting Veterans’ interests. Don’t just “thank a Vet for their service”; that doesn’t come close to paying the bill. We need to thank Veterans with our votes!"

As Pennsylvania's Tom Prigg put it: "We fought for our country. Some returned home wounded. All we want is the ability to live a good, normal, productive life. To take care of our families. But now Keith Rothfus and the Republican’s new  tax bill will eliminate the Disabled Access Credit and the Work Opportunity Credit  tax credits for businesses who hire disabled people like our vets. This heartless bill not only takes away our wounded warrior’s ability to work and take care of their families, it also takes away their dignity by undermining their livelihood. Keith Rothfus, a congressman who never misses an opportunity for a veteran photo-op, supports this bill that will hurt tens-of-thousands of American Veterans and their families."

Tom's concerns were echoed by all the veteran candidates we talked with. James Thompson is running for the Wichita, Kansas seat, held by Ryan rubberstamp Ron Estes. "Ron Estes is a hypocrite," he told us. "He gives lip service to supporting veterans by showing up to some high profile events to get free media coverage. Yet when the rubber meets the road, and he is given a real opportunity to help veterans, especially disabled veterans, he didn't have their six. He voted in favor of the Republicans’ Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, which will give massive tax breaks to the wealthiest of Americans, like the KOCH brothers here in my district. This is not tax reform, it is tax robbery paid for by robbing disabled veterans to pay the privileged princes of Wall Street. Ron Estes and his ilk, at the direction of these modern day robber barons, removed the Disabled Access Credit and the Work Opportunity Tax Credit. Simply put, the Work Opportunity Credit incentivizes companies to hire disabled veterans, while the Disabled Access Credit allows them to actually hire disabled vets by making it possible for those same companies to afford special accommodations like ramps. Ending these two credits, harms veterans. PERIOD. Veterans need representatives to watch their six, not use it as an opportunity to stab them in the back. I promise every veteran out there, regardless of party, I will have your six, and will lead the way in making sure our countries heroes are taken care of when they go to war and when they return from it. I hope everyone will call and encourage their Senators and Representatives to vote FOR VETERANS by voting no on the #GOPTaxScam."

Jared Golden is the Maine House whip. He told us that: "Bruce Poliquin and his corporate allies in Washington are intent on funding their tax cuts on the backs of our children and disabled veterans. By adding over $1 trillion to the debt, future generations will be on the hook for tax cuts for corporations and the wealthy. Where the tax plan does make up costs are on the backs of the disabled including our wounded fighting men and women. These tax credits are designed to create an incentive for businesses to hire disabled veterans and others with disabilities, I find it morally reprehensible that these laudable and effective tax credits are where Rep. Poliquin and the Republicans in Congress want to find 'savings' so that millionaires and billionaires can buy an extra yacht, or a corporation can move more jobs overseas." 

Please consider helping these military vets with their congressional campaigns by contributing what you can at this link.




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