Building A Democratic Leadership Bench-- In Wisconsin


In Friday’s #DemForum, Bernie Sanders reiterated that to be truly successful, Democrats must reinstate the “50 State Strategy.” This letter is about that— rebuilding the Democratic party from the ground up— starting at ground zero for conservative skullduggery, Wisconsin.”

The whole country had a chance to look at Scott Walker a few times over the last couple of years, most recently as he stumbled through-- and then out of-- the Republican presidential primary, where even early backers like the Koch brothers were horrified by his terrible performance. How did this clown even get elected governor of a sensible state like Wisconsin? Well... it all started when he ran for the state Assembly in 1990 and lost to now-Congresswoman Gwen Moore in a landslide. He was only 22 and he figured out he'd have to find a whiter, more bigoted and more right-wing place to run from. So he moved west to the wealthy suburb of Wauwatosa (90% white), ran for its much more conservative Assembly district and won-- five times. He was a union-bashing ALEC member right from day-one and made a name for himself as a right-wing extremist in the state legislature.

In 2002, when Milwaukee County Executive, corrupt, conservative Democrat Tom Ament, resigned over a pension fund scandal, Walker was a shoe-in because voters were eager to punish the Democrats. (No Republican had ever won the office before-- or after). Walker used that position to launch a bid for the governor's mansion in 2010 and won with 52% of the vote.

In 2011 wealthy conservative Democrat Chris Abele-- son of the founder of Boston Scientific-- defeated right-wing Republican Jeff Stone with 61% of the vote. He's not as bad as Walker... but almost. And he wants to run for governor in 2018. Keep in mind, he worked with reactionary Republican lawmakers in the Wisconsin Legislature to subvert the democratically elected school board by giving him the power to close schools, fire teachers, and open charter schools in their place. This piece of legislation would have only moved forward if the County Executive had been willing to use these powers, and Chris Abele stood up and said he would. He also cooperated with the Republicans in the legislature to strip oversight from the democratically elected Milwaukee County board over county land sales. He has sole authority on a number of them, and first used this power to sell prime downtown real estate to the Milwaukee Bucks billionaire owners for $1. (No, I did not forget any additional digits-- one buck for the owner of the Bucks.) And, in an effort to secure public financing for a new Milwaukee Bucks arena, Abele put $80 million of Milwaukee County taxpayer money on the table, and wanted to help pay for it in part by allowing Scott Walker’s state government to collect outstanding property taxes from residents who can’t afford to pay their bills.

Now our old friend, state Senator Chris Larson, is running for this job. Chris, a Milwaukee County native and the youngest member of the state Senate, served as Democratic leader in 2013­-14. He was first elected by defeating conservative Democrat and Scott Walker ally Jeff Plale. The big money was with incumbent Plale, but Chris beat him by knocking on doors and having thousands of conversations with his neighbors. We got to know Chris during his first term in office when he was one of the "Wisconsin Senate 14" who fled Wisconsin to stop Walker’s disastrous "budget repair bill." Chris is campaigning on ending the takeover and privatization of Milwaukee Public Schools and for an array of progressive quality of life issues important to working families. 

"I want to take back the county for the middle class. We have a county executive who campaigned one way and governed another way very quickly. In the past five years he broke promises and broke away from who he was. He’s changed. I think he’s grown out of touch and I think he’s grown more out of touch over the last five years. I think it’s important to have a county executive who is going to be a steward for the county for the long term and actually care for the parks and restore them to greatness and expand transit so that people have access to jobs that’s affordable, and also to usher in a long-term vision that’s balanced. A county executive has to actually listen to people and be responsive to their needs. That’s why the first pledge I made out of the gate was to do a public listening session in each municipality in each year we’re in office, a la Russ Feingold."

The election is in April. If you'd like to contribute to Chris' grassroots campaign, you can do it through the Blue America ActBlue page for Milwaukee County Executive. We promise it goes to an important, just cause.



He’s more than just a walking encyclopedia of politics

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Credit: Chester Simpson
Howie has always had his finger on the pulse of what's happening next. We're extremely lucky to have him working for us every day.

Something interesting came in the mailbox yesterday from Alan Grayson. We'd thought you might be interested in hearing what he has to say about our Howie Klein:

I was swapping e-mails with Blue America’s Howie Klein today, and the subject of a GOP Congressional seat in the Northeast came up. He knew both Democratic challengers. Knew all about them, in fact. And the same thing would be true of House candidates in the other 434 districts. Howie knows all about them, too.
There are people who actually are paid to know all about Congressional campaigns – Stu Rothenberg, Charlie Cook, Larry Sabato, etc. I’ve read their stuff. Howie knows more than they do.

But Howie doesn’t sell what he knows. Instead, he uses that knowledge to cultivate and nurture progressive candidates all over the country. Blue America will not be supporting those two challengers that Howie knows in the Northeast, because – because – they’re not blue. But other candidates are true blue, and those are the ones who get Howie’s help. The only ones. With Howie in charge, Blue America PAC is the manager of the Progressive Farm Team.
Go Progs! Give me a “P”! Etc.

Join me and Howie Klein now in turning America blue in 2016, by contributing $9 or more to the Blue America PAC >>

You might think that the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) might be doing this. Mais non, as the French would say. Despite having $100 million a year to spend, they don’t know what Howie knows. And for sure, they don’t care the way that Howie cares. Ever since the Rahm Emanuel regime, the DCCC has had a strong built-in bias against progressive candidates. And the DSCC? Don’t get me started. They can’t find their derriere with deux mains. Just look at their record last year.

So progressives really need Blue America PAC. Which is why you should help.

Politics is a team sport. Show your support for progressives all over the country by donating $9 or more to the Blue America PAC >>

At an earlier time in his life, Howie Klein was the President of Warner Reprise records. He knows countless top performers (which is why he sometimes holds contests giving away great stuff like platinum records). He doesn’t have to work anymore. He helps progressives for one reason and one reason only: because he cares.

And if you contribute to Blue America PAC, you not only have Encyclopedia Howie working for you, but you also enlist the support of the pioneering blogger Digby, and John Amato of the website “Crooks and Liars” (dot-com, of course). Because they all share the Blue America dream of making America blue. Not purple. Blue.

Chip in $9 now, and Help Make America Blue >>

Courage,
Rep. Alan Grayson
Candidate for U.S. Senate



Lou Vince Brings the Uptown Funk! (yes, it's a contest)

Before moving to Arizona, Lee Rogers, last cycle's progressive Democratic candidate in CA-25 (Santa Clarita, Simi Valley and the Antelope Valley north of Los Angeles), worked with local Democratic clubs and progressive activists to find a candidate who could win the newly blue district. The locals were excited about Agua Dulce councilman Lou Vince, a former marine and ex-L.A. police officer.

If you think all former marines and ex-L.A. police officers are conservative, you haven't met Lou Vince, a dedicated progressive, and not just on the easy issues. "The banks that were too big to fail are even bigger now," he told us this week. "We need to re-implement the Glass-Steagall Act so that Wall Street can't gamble with Main Street's money. It's not right that Wall Street caused the Great Recession, didn't face any penalties, and is now richer than ever. We need to send a cop to Congress to keep Wall Street in line and put handcuffs on the bankers if necessary."

This week, Blue America is trying to help Lou raise campaign funds. Bruno Mars signed a guitar for us to give away as a thank you for one randomly-selected Lou Vince contributor. The autographed Fender Squier Bullet Stratocaster is a one-of-a-kind that Bruno, a Hawaiian Jewish Puerto Rican superstar signed specifically for this giveaway. So far he has won 2 Grammy awards and has sold over 100 million singles and albums.

Unlike the Tea Party Republican incumbent Steve Knight or the conservaDem also trying to run, Lou Vince is committed to doing something of Climate Change which he calls "one of the most pressing issues of our time. I am undoubtedly the most committed to protecting and safeguarding our environment to ensure our children and grandchildren have a sustainable future. The nation needs to follow California's lead and seriously tackle climate change on the federal level."

The fundraiser will end next Sunday when we select one lucky winner. It doesn't matter how much you contribute, just that you do.

In fact, if you're strapped for cash and can't give, just send a post card to Blue America PAC at PO Box 27201, Los Angeles, CA 90027, and let us know that you want a chance to win the guitar too.



Bao Nguyen: GOP Anti-Immigrant Rhetoric Is Despicable

With Loretta Sanchez running for the U.S. Senate, Orange County's 46th congressional district is will be an open seat in 2016. It's a solidly blue district (D+9) and Obama won it with 59% in 2008 and with 61% in 2012. The district includes Santa Ana, Anaheim and Orange and the voters are overwhelmingly Hispanic-Americans and Asian-Americans. Although there may be as many as 10 Democrats interested in running,

Blue America has endorsed the most progressive of the lot, Garden Grove Mayor Bao Nguyen, an openly gay Vietnamese immigrant who arrived in this country when he was just three months old. I asked him when he made of the anti-immigrant mania sweeping the Republican presidential race. This is what he had to say.

As an American immigrant it disgusts me when I hear how Donald Trump, Jeb Bush, and the other Republican Presidential candidates have been talking about immigrants. It’s despicable, and disgraceful. Immigrants are the backbone of this country. They built this country and continue to add to it in so many ways. I was born in a refugee camp, and came to this country when I was three months old. We didn’t have much-- let’s be honest, we were just poor. But we found a welcoming and supportive community of all nationalities and backgrounds, and with help and hard work, I was able to build a life here in California. But my story is no different from that of millions of immigrants who came to America in search of a better life-- who knew they needed to work hard and play by the rules in order to get a fair shot at the American Dream. We need to celebrate the accomplishments of our immigrant neighbors, and we need to bring everyone out of the shadows, so they can be full participants in the American Dream.
 
But instead, Trump and the rest of the GOP Primary Clown car have started to bang the drums of fear and hate to alienate and divide our nation and it's CITIZENS. As the discourse has gone more and more into the gutter, even the relatively ‘moderate’ GOP candidates have joined this chorus of hate. You may have heard the derogatory term "anchor babies" returning again, as it has in past debates about immigrations. Sadly, Republicans have resorted to an age old tactic to galvanize the extremist fringe of their party, by calling for stricter crackdowns on undocumented immigrants, primarily from Latin America, who they claim are trying to take advantage of America's policy of birthright citizenship under the 14th amendment.
 
Recently the party favorite, Jeb Bush was criticized for using the term "anchor babies" during a conservative radio interview. Governor Jeb Bush has doubled down, telling reporters that he does not believe the term is offensive. "Nothing about what I've said should be viewed as derogatory towards immigrants at all," he said Monday in McAllen, Texas. "I think we need to take a step back and chill out a little bit."
 
I just want to restate, an "anchor baby" is a term to used to define an undocumented immigrant, coming to America with the intention having a baby specifically to take advantage of the Constitution-- it IS a disgusting and derogatory term, period. 

Bush clarified further, saying that he used the term "anchor babies" specifically to refer to fraud in a "specific targeted kind of case" involving mothers who travel to the U.S. only to win citizenship for their unborn children.
 
"Frankly, it's more Asian people."
 
I know that Jeb is just trying to back track his xenophobic statement and not lose the elusive Latino demographic his party hopes to gain in the general election. Let me give some clear and direct advice, all Americans, no mater if their ancestors came from, Latin America, Western Europe, and yes Americans of Asian descent, find your divisive rhetoric abhorrent-- no matter which group of people you are slinging mud at for your own political gains. This is exactly why we need to bring  more people to Washington who can tell the story of the very people that Jeb Bush and Donald Trump are trying to silence. I hope you will support me in my campaign to be that voice.

Bao, who is trilingual in English, Spanish and Vietnamese, earned a B.A. from the University of California, Irvine and while attending college, interned for the White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders. He also holds a master’s degree in Indo-Tibetan Buddhist Studies from Naropa University in Boulder, Colorado, and has a certification in mediation from the Dispute Resolution Program of the Orange County Human Relations Commission. He will offer a unique and valuable perspective on Capitol Hill. When we asked him about the Iran deal, he told us he would vote for it. "From what I have seen this is the only option on the table that keeps Iran from developing a nuclear weapon and at the same time keeps American lives out of harms way. If this deal fails there are fewer non-military options since the international sanctions that were in place are no longer available to us. Frankly, I am disappointed with Republicans who only continue with their policy of opposing anything supported by Obama with no response to what they would do other than sending more Americans to war in the Middle East."

Please consider helping him get his grassroots campaign into position to win this race. One thing I can assure you about Bao-- he will never be a wishy-washy Democrat. He's a fighter and, truth be told, reminds me in some ways of a  young Alan Grayson!



3 More Days Left In Our Ice-T Gold Record Fundraiser For Alex Law


Blue America is at the tail end of a fundraising effort on behalf of Alex Law, the progressive Democrat running against South Jersey Machine incumbent Donald Norcross, brother of notoriously corrupt party boss, George Norcross. Since being installed in Congress by his brother in 2014-- after the corrupt old Machine hack was driven out by scandal-- Norcross has been a dependable vote for many of John Boehner's worst policies. His first vote in Congress was for the Keystone XL Pipeline. And after an AIPAC-funded trip to Israel he returned to Cherry Hill in his district with GOP warmonger Tom MacArthur  in tow  to announce he would vote with the Republicans against the Iran agreement.

Alex Law, the first Democratic congressional candidate anywhere in the country to endorse Bernie Sanders, is as different as a Democrat could be from Norcross. He backs the Iran deal, opposes the Keystone XL Pipeline and is all about helping ordinary middle class Jerseyites fulfill their legitimate aspirations while taking on the big money special interests that call the shots for the the Norcross brothers.

Blue America will thank one randomly selected donor to Alex's campaign on this page by sending them a rare, collectible RIAA-certified gold record for Ice-T's album, O.G., Original Gangster. Ice-T, a resident of New Jersey, is now best known as an actor but in the '90s he was an inspirational rapper who was an early incarnation of what is now called the #BlackLivesMatter movement. 

In Alex's own words, "the #BlackLivesMatter movement is something that expresses the continued frustration around the idea that some people in our society exist under different rules than other people. This is the same kind of frustration that Ice-T's music expressed 25 years ago. I am working to do everything I can to find real solutions to these problems such as unfair drug policy, income inequality, and education disparity. I think we need to legalize marijuana, as it is one of the biggest tools used by over-zealous police forces to imprison young African-American males at a rate astronomically higher than young white males. I think we need to raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour so that people can work at a livable wage. I think we need to make college more affordable for everyone, so that in America, everyone, not just the privileged, have the opportunity to better themselves. The frustrations expressed by the #BlackLivesMatter movement and Ice-T are incredibly real and the problems are daunting. But, I am going to work as hard as I can to help." 

Any contribution for Alex Law's grassroots campaign on our Blue America ActBlue page that comes in before Sunday night at 9PM will make the donor eligible for the thank you gift from Blue America.

As Alex told us last week, "I am running against Donald Norcross in next year's primary because he represents the worst in American politics: catering to special interests, machine political corruption, and voting with the Republicans constantly despite his Democratic district. We are lean and we are grassroots, but ultimately, we will win this election."  

Let's help him do just that.



Honor Social Security’s 80th By Backing Eric Kingson For Congress

NY-24, the congressional district centered on Syracuse New York, is the bluest district (D+5) in the entire country represented by a Republican-- thanks in no small part to the deranged insistence from the DCCC that only conservative DINOs should run there. Obama won the district twice, in 2008 with 56% and in 2012 with 57%, and this cycle a sterling progressive, Eric Kingson, is the Democratic candidate (although the DCCC has been consistently threatening to dig up an unspecified conservaDems to run).

There is no stronger and no more knowledgeable champion of Social Security anywhere than Kingson. And that's something to especially take account of today, August 14-- the 80th anniversary of the most popular social program in history. "Nothing has done more," Eric tells us, "to advance economic justice for older Americans, persons with severe disabilities, children whose parents die or are work disabled, and surviving widows and widowers. Social Security is the nation’s most effective, popular and efficient (less than 1% in administrative costs!) public innovation. It rendered fear of the poorhouse in old age and necessity of giving up children to orphanages by a surviving parent lacking reliable income relics of the past. It institutionalized retirement for the middle class, not just the rich. Today, 60 million Americans receive monthly benefits, mostly older persons but also 9 million persons with disabilities and more than 4 million children. Extraordinarily popular across all political and demographic groups, Social Security is the poster child for 'government that works.'  It is also valued because it gives expression widely-shared beliefs-- responsibility to care for our parents, children, neighbors and selves; responsibility to work hard and, as a result, a right to benefit from that work; human dignity."

The hard work of progressive organizations like Social Security Works, co-founded by Eric Kingson, stopped the cuts proposed by George Bush, Paul Ryan and the Republican Party by rallying the voices of citizens and exposing the real fraud-- misinformation and deceit perpetrated by ideologues to dismantle our Social Security and Wall Street bankers who want to pull more money out the pockets of the American people.

Truth is, the main things wrong with Social Security are that its vital but modest benefits, averaging just $16,000 a year, are too low; its inflation protection falls short and it doesn’t provide several benefits such as paid family and sick leave. We can and should expand Social Security. We are a rich nation and can afford such expansion by “scrapping the cap” (currently $118,500) on payroll contributions so that millionaires and billionaires pay the same rate on all their earnings; and other modest changes such as counting dividend, interest and other income from assets for Social Security purposes for persons with yearly incomes above $250,000.

"Nothing," Eric told us, "has been more disliked by those wanting to shrink government and turn back our nation’s progress. From Republican presidential candidate Alf Landon charging in 1936 that FDR’s Social Security was a 'fraud on the working man' to the Koch Father and Brothers efforts to dismantle Social Security to Bush’s and the GOP's effort to privatize, and, more recently, to the use of phony austerity politics to legitimate huge cuts, the ideological opposition has been relentless, deceitful and, thankfully, always defeated. And soon we can expect an effort to turn a minor rebalancing between Social Security’s two trust funds-- one that has taken place 11 times before without fanfare-- into a debt-ceiling-like hostage-taking crisis to provide another opening to cutting Social Security, most likely in the lame-duck session following the presidential election."

So, this month, honor Social Security’s 80th anniversary by making a contribution to a real Social Security champion, Eric Kingson, who is running for Congress.

You’ll be getting a committed activist with serious Social Security expertise as scholar, staff advisor to two presidential commissions addressing Social Security and co-founder of one of the nation’s most effective public interest organizations. Eric has worked effectively to stop cuts and help lay a foundation for expanding our Social Security system, an idea that is being advanced by the Sanders, Clinton, O’Malley campaigns. His most recent book-- Social Security Works! Why Social Security Isn't Going Broke and How Expanding It Will Help Us All -- tells how, working together, we can expand Social Security for ourselves, our children and grandchildren. 

Let's help put him into position to keep that expansion in the mind of the Members of Congress who will make that decision. You can support Eric Kingson's campaign on the main Blue America ActBlue page. Three of today's contributors-- chosen randomly-- will get autographed copies of Kingson's Social Security book from Blue America.



Road to Taking Back Congress Starts in WA-08

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Blue America’s last endorsement of the 2014 cycle was Jason Ritchie, the candidate running for the Blue-leaning seat currently held by conservative Republican, Dave Reichert in a district that stretches from the suburbs south and east of Seattle all the way out to Wenatchee and Ellensburg. At the time, Ritchie vowed he would make a concerted effort to win the seat over at least 2 cycles. "I'll be back in 2016 and we're building the infrastructure, identifying the voters, and organizing to win now and in the future." This year, Jason was Blue America's first endorsement.

We’re asking you, again, to consider chipping in whatever you can to help Jason, a stalwart progressive.

Reichert remains a GOP hack, continuing to vote like a zombie-- backing the Tea Party in their demands to shut down funding for the Department of Homeland Security to obstruct immigration reform, shutting down the government in 2013, suing President Obama and nearly 60 votes cast to gut the Affordable Care Act. Reichert, who may declare his candidacy for governor this year, has a clear record as a cog in the Republican Party obstructionist machine.

Jason’s platform continues to be advocacy of behalf of students in his support of America’s College Promise and reforming the student loan debt machine. Jason is speaking out on the dangers of the Trans-Pacific Partnership and urging his supporters to pay attention to the details of the proposal. Jason says “The challenges of climate change, wage stagnation, income inequality and social injustice will not simply resolve themselves. It’s up to us as progressives to demand change and fight for a more fair future for our country. We must stand up against those who would seek to allow corporate control over our economy and our political system to drive us further into oligarchy. 

Jason told us that "the first duty of a progressive is to counter corporate influence and Big Businesses' corrosive impact on our communities and middle class. This is the fight that I am committed to in 8th Congressional District of Washington State... I believe in fighting for middle class, family wage jobs. I strongly support the Affordable Care Act, I believe earned benefits like Social Security and disability must be protected and I strongly support women's health care choices. Our social safety net must not be weakened, it must be reinforced.

The 8th Congressional District is one of 17 districts nationwide that was won by President Obama in 2012 but has a Republican representative. This district is a winnable, progressive district that we must turn blue if we are going to turn the House back to our side. Inexplicably, the DCCC has abandoned the district entirely, although they have indicated that if Reichert declares he's running for governor, they will have one of their conservatives to primary Jason. So far though, Jason has an open shot for this race. 

His campaign is already underway: "We have phone banks set up across the 8th Congressional District. We are identifying voters, growing our volunteer base and registering new voters every day.” He was a leader of the movement against the TPP in Washington, a state very divided over the trade bill, and he was willing to stand up against corporate Dems. Almost all Dems in Washington, though-- as well as plenty of Republicans and independents-- agree on one issue: the need for environmental protections.

"The 8th Congressional District," he wrote, "is home to some of the most beautiful land in the world. From Snoqualmie Pass to Mount Rainier, we have an obligation to nurture and protect our environment especially from the dangers of global climate change. The Mountains to Sound Greenway run through the heart of the 8th Congressional District and is our responsibility to maintain and preserve. It is an essential part of our commitment to the environment and our promise to future generations. Maintaining this treasure to the region must be our shared goal.” 

"Protecting local wilderness areas is just one part of defending our environment. As many members of the Republican Party continue to deny the existence of climate change, our planet comes closer and closer to the brink of ecological disaster. According to the EPA, rising temperatures are already affecting our local snowpack, stream flows, and forest cover, and we can expect worsening conditions if current trends are allowed to continue. The snowpack that our Cascades store every winter is expected to dwindle, threatening our agriculture, wildlife, and drinking water supply. Increased drought brings increasingly severe summer wildfires, and our already struggling salmon populations wouldn’t be able to survive in their remaining habitats. Pest and weed control are forecasted to become huge problems as well, which spells trouble for our local farmers. Climate change has far-reaching global consequences, and the potential damage to be inflicted on our own communities in particular motivates me to take action."

This flies right in the face of the virulent anti-environmental approach Reichert, a Climate Change denier, has taken. Please consider helping Jason replace Dave Reichert and bring another strong progressive voice to the House of Representatives.



Must See TV From Alan Grayson. Wonderful News!

As you know, Blue America has been trying to draft Alan Grayson to run for Marco Rubio's Senate seat. Nearly 450 of you agreed with us and contributed. Today it paid off: Congressman Grayson announced that he's running! 

He released this video to introduce himself to explain why he's decided to take up the challenge. Alan tells us that he came up from a multi-ethnic working class neighborhood in the Bronx to work his way through Harvard at 16 and became a successful attorney who sued military contractors for war profiteering --- and won. You all know his record as a fierce advocate for working families during his time in the US Congress. 

His story is the ultimate realization of the American Dream.  And Grayson wants to ensure that his children and all children have the same chances to succeed in life that he did.  He doesn't short-change the idea that it takes work and dedication.  He is a living example of how important it is to work hard and never give up.  But he knows that the opportunities to make something of yourself are becoming rarer as our nation's wealth and opportunities are concentrated more and more at the top. 

He says:

Where I grew up, you had to work hard just to survive. I’ve met plumbers who could be engineers, truck drivers who could be lawyers, nurses who could be doctors. And I realized that if they had genuine opportunity, unchained by poverty, prejudice, poor health, poor education or discrimination, then we all would be better off. That’s the real American Dream-- to be all that you can be. And when everyone is better off individually, then everyone is better off together.

Grayson is known for his fiery speeches and aggressive critiques of the power elite in the Republican Party. And if there's one thing the Senate Democrats could use, it's a little more fire. But Grayson has also been the most effective member of the House. Yes, you read that right. At a time of tremendous gridlock and pusillanimous impotence, Grayson has proved that he knows how to get things done. 

Grayson, again:

In the past two years in Congress, I have written more bills, passed more amendments on the Floor of the House and enacted more of my bills into law than any other Member of the House-- #1, out of 435 of us. Salon magazine labeled me the most effective Member of the House. Because of all the good we have done, more than 100,000 supporters have given their hard-earned money to our campaign. That’s more than any other Democrat in the House. In 2012, and again in 2014, I was the only Member of the House of Representatives who raised most of his campaign funds from small donors-- not lobbyists, or special interests, or millionaires, or multinational corporations. I don’t work for them; I work for you. I am unbought, and unbossed. I owe nothing to anyone but the People.

Howie says:

Over the years, Alan has been the most beloved Member of Congress by Blue America members and he has been generously supported by our members from his first run for Congress. Helping him get into the U.S. Senate is Blue America's top electoral priority for the 2016 cycle. Chuck Schumer, the de facto head of the DSCC now, grew up in New York City too, but in a solidly middle class family and he went to very non-diverse schools. I know; I was a classmate of his at James Madison in a basically all Jewish section of Brooklyn. Although they both went to Harvard, Schumer had a very different career trajectory, one that led him not into heartfelt service to working families, but into the arms of the Wall Street bankers and Big Business powermongers...Today Schumer is working much harder than either McConnell or Boehner to keep Grayson out of the Senate. 

He's gone so far as to recruit a person who was a Republican during the Bush administration to run against him. Wall Street and the banks are very happy about that. 

Grayson welcomes their hatred. He knows he has a secret weapon: you. He's always financed his campaigns with small donations from Democrats who want leaders with the guts to take on the powerful on behalf of the people. That's Alan Grayson.

Blue America has eagerly retired our “Draft Alan Grayson” page. To send Chuck Schumer a message about the kind of Senator YOU want, please donate here at the brand new “Alan Grayson for US Senate” page.  



Don't Send Flowers

My name is Jacquie and I work with Digby, John and Howie at Blue America. Not sure I need to remind you (they’ve already started…) but you're about to get bombarded with "urgent" (desperate) pleas for end-of-the-quarter contributions from the DCCC, the DSCC, the DNC, and candidates and incumbents far and wide. They use these letters to compile master lists of donors— since all those organizations sell and share their e-mail addresses with... anyone they want to. Let me assure you, we don’t.

Since Howie’s been writing about the process he's going through fighting cancer we've had dozens of beautiful letters from Blue America members, many of whom wanted to know where to send flowers while he's in the hospital. He says he’s very grateful for the warm wishes but he's not allowed near flowers-- not even dried ones-- until his immune system in built back up again.

Howie asked me to suggest something else instead.

All of us were elated about the Supreme Court decision that came down Friday, putting the ultimate constitutional seal of approval on marriage equality. This year, as part of the Blue America candidate endorsement process we ask all prospective candidates about their public stand on LGBT equality, in terms of marriage, work, housing, discrimination. No candidate gets a Blue America endorsement who is wishy-washy or tentative about equality.

Another part of the screening process is gauging how dedicated candidates are towards protecting and strengthening the social welfare net conservatives have been shredding since Ronald Reagan was president. We look for candidates who fit in with the Elizabeth Warren/Bernie Sanders/Alan Grayson wing of the party; dedicated to expanding Social Security, strengthening Medicare and fighting for the legitimate interests of ordinary working families. Not one of the Blue America-endorsed candidates would compromise away the hard-fought gains that protect the elderly and the most economically vulnerable among us.

We strongly believe that our work here will eventually lead to having a real Congress that represents “We, The People.”

So... instead of flowers for Howie, how about considering helping one or more of the progressive candidates Blue America has endorsed for the 2016 cycle? These are dedicated public servants with vision, not self-serving careerists... and not near and dear to Big Business and Wall Street. Their campaigns are grassroots affairs and they are dependent on small donations to get their messages out.

You can find the whole list of our candidates here-- there are only eight so far who have earned our endorsement. Please give what you can but remember what Howie always says: there is no contribution that is too small.



Women Have Come A Long Way-- Still Plenty Of Work to Be Done


In 1968 Phillip Morris launched a brand and marketing campaign targeting women... for death-- Virginia Slims: "You've come a long way, baby," which later morphed into "It's a woman thing." Women HAVE come a long way since then, a very, very long way. And women have more real economic and political power now than ever in recorded history.

When a clown like Jeb Bush comes out and declares, in public, that unwed mothers should be publicly shamed, women count that against him. He's still collecting tens of millions of dollars from fat-cats who want to see him get into the White House but to women voters... he's dead, and his campaign is floundering and moribund. Bush: "Infamous shotgun weddings and Nathaniel Hawthorne's Scarlet Letter are reminders that public condemnation of irresponsible sexual behavior has strong historical roots."

Last week Ilyse Hogue, president of NARAL and Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers, penned an OpEd for The Hill focusing on Scott Walker's own personal war against women. Walker, they wrote, "has lied to women and he has lied to workers. And those lies have consequences. They have hurt Wisconsin's women, families and workers... When women do better, the economy does better. When the economy does better, women do better. Women and workers are in this together, literally."

None of the Republican candidates are even remotely acceptable on women's issues. And a few days ago, 3 George W. Bush-appointed judges backed up GOP tactics for closing women's clinics and thwarting pro-Choice rulings that go back to Roe v Wade, a ruling that came 5 years after Phillip Morris started running those Virginia Slims commercials!

In 1977 Barbara Mikulski was elected to Congress from Maryland and then ten years later she won a statewide seat for the Senate. When she retires next year, one of the most powerful voices on behalf of women and issues crucial to women and families will disappear from the Senate.

Blue America would like to make sure a voice just as compelling and just as powerful takes that seat-- and the candidate has already been tested-- Rep. Donna Edwards, Maryland's most progressive and most outspoken political leader and chair of the House Democrats' Women's Caucus. 

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We asked Donna if women's issues still need to be watched over so carefully in 2015. Haven't we gotten beyond the outmoded, conservative mentality that places women in an inferior position to men, instead of one based on achievement and equality. 

"It's startling to see the lack of voices of women and mothers-- especially those of color-- represented in Washington," she told us. Donna:

As a single mother who raised a black son on her own, I worry deeply about the issues of race, education, economic opportunity, and justice that impact all our communities. And as a woman, I worry about issues like equal pay for equal work, the rights guaranteed by Roe v. Wade being chipped away by Tea Party Republicans, and childcare costs that are crippling far too many families. 

We need to have serious discussions about our communities all across our country-- especially those that have been historically overlooked or feel left behind. Communities where there are not enough jobs. Where young people feel a sense of hopelessness because they lack economic opportunities. And where people feel like they don't have allies in the fight for progress. 

Here's the thing-- we can make a difference. These issues could be addressed head on by ensuring more mothers, more women of color, and more women of diverse economic backgrounds are in seats of power. That's why this fight is so important.

And that's why Blue America has endorsed Donna, once again, and why we're asking you today to consider contributing to her grassroots campaign, where she faces a gaggle of less progressive men.




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