Who Decides Who The Candidate Will Be-- Locals Or The DCCC?

Just when we thought the DCCC was finally going to cave and support a real Democrat for Congress, they discovered yet another way to lose in California's newly-blue 25th District. This time, it is Beverly Hills lawyer Brian Caforio, who has absolutely no idea what issues are even important to the people in the district. He lives in Orange County.

Instead of supporting Lou Vince, the grassroots-backed candidate who has been endorsed by the local Democratic clubs (as well as by Blue America), the DCCC has parachuted in a wealthy lawyer because he claims to be able to raise large amounts of money. Sounds like a perfect fit for Steve Israel’s DCCC. No surprise, when the DCCC hatched this scheme, they neglected to talk to a single local activist and unsurprisingly, this week, the Simi Valley Democratic Club and the North Valley Democratic Club, two of the largest clubs in the district, voted unanimously to endorse Lou Vince over Caforio, the DCCC having already pressured Maria Gutzeit to get out of the race.

Please help show the DCCC that they should be fighting Republicans, not progressive Democrats. To make sure Lou has the support he needs to win this June, every contribution made to Lou Vince’s campaign this week (up to $5,000) will be matched.

And, to add insult to injury, the “we don’t get involved in contested primaries” DCCC Western Regional Political Director actually sent Lou an email to say he was making calls to California Democratic Party delegates to encourage them to not submit their pre-endorsement ballots for Lou. He wants to be able to funnel DCCC money to Caforio and Lou winning the CDP endorsement would dash those hopes.

We at Blue America know that Lou is the best bet for taking the Simi Valley/Santa Clarita/Antelope Valley district. A police lieutenant and a veteran, Lou matches the profile of the district perfectly. The hard-working families of the area have already made it clear that they don’t like carpetbaggers. Last cycle, Tony Strickland outraised Steve Knight 5 to 1 and claimed he was the chosen one. Yet, Steve Knight trounced Tony Strickland in the general election because Strickland was a carpetbagger, just like Caforio.

The stakes could never be higher for CA-25. The Porter Ranch gas leak is inside the district and Steve Knight has been noticeably absent. Knight and his Republican Neanderthals want to do away with the EPA, the very agency that should have prevented this disaster. Rather than supporting an agency that keeps us all safe, Knight wants to get rid of it and allow corporations to self-regulate. I think we’ve all seen how well that has worked for Porter Ranch.

While Knight stays cozy in DC, the DCCC has scripted Caforio to hit the issue, claiming he cares about our health and the environment. Problem is, he doesn’t even know what the other environmental problems are in the area and there are plenty. In fact, Ed Begley Jr. and Climate Hawks Vote leader RL Miller, two of the most important environmental activists in California have endorsed Lou because of his environmental stances.

Yesterday Lou told us that:

"The 25th district has numerous environmental issues due to years of Republicans pushing through the agenda of the developers who bankroll their campaigns. The Porter Ranch disaster is just the latest case in a long line of environmental damage that needs to be undone. While Steve Knight continues to have a minimal visibility on the issue, another one of my opponents has been seeking to profit politically from the disaster. With no connection to the district at all, he believes that by snapping some pictures with an unpopular Congressman that he 'knows' the environmental issues. Yet, he hasn’t said a single word about the upcoming Chiquita Canyon Landfill Expansion, which will site the largest dump in the United States within 500 feet of an elementary school in a primarily Latino community. Where is Bryan Caforio on Chiquita? Where was Bryan Caforio 2 months ago? The answer is: ‘not in the 25th District.’”

If Bryan Caforio wins the primary, the DCCC will undoubtedly lose in the 25th District once again, a long pattern of bungling for them. It’s not often we have a candidate like Lou run for an office who could truly have a huge impact on the House floor. Having a former cop stand on the House floor and call for criminal justice reform would be a powerful ally for all progressives in the chamber. Not to mention having a Marine veteran calling for common sense gun measures. Lou certainly has the credibility to speak out on those issues.

This is our chance to get a true blue progressive in the House and show the DCCC that it is the grassroots that really matter and that they should start fighting Republicans, not progressive Democrats. That’s why we want to make sure Lou has the support he needs to win this June and why us here at Blue America have decided to “go all in for Lou.” We will be matching every contribution made to Lou’s campaign on this page this week up to $5,000.



Urgent Holiday Gift Match Gives Biggest 2016 Progressive Bang For Buck

What could be a better holiday gift to progressives who are giving their all to reverse catastrophic trends in our political system, economy and environment? This isn't some phony-baloney DCCC/DSCC or Marco Rubio offer.

One of Blue America's most generous annual contributors over many years is putting $2,000 on the table as a matching fund for one progressive candidate on this page. Here's how he describes the candidate:

"How would you like a Bernie Sanders who was:

  • 40 years younger & running for U.S. Senate of a highly diverse major industrial state
  • creating, every time he educates and turns out a voter, a likely Bernie voter in the pivotal Presidential swing state of Ohio (and, in cross-border media markets in 5 other states, Indiana, Michigan, West Virginia, Kentucky and Pennsylvania),
  • Uncompromisingly promoting gun-control, against two opponents, one of whom the NRA rated A+ in his last term in office and the other-- the Republican incumbent, who insists that people barred from buying an airline ticket be allowed to buy military caliber assault weapons
  • raised 72% as much money, through the 3rd quarter 2015, as his universally known opponent, who is known mainly for presiding over Ohio’s massive job losses during and after the 2008 crash
  • based in the most Republican region of his state, leaving maximum opportunity to grow positive name recognition in many Democratic regions, expensively but very cost-effectively.

What a boost to my holiday cheer it is to have discovered P.G. Sittenfeld, and how well positioned P.G. is to employ my donations productively and make Ohio and the entire country a better place in the New Year.”

Blue America endorsed P.G. because of his stands on the issues-- all the issues-- and because his two opponents, Democrat Ted Strickland and Republican Rob Portman, have long conservative, failed voting records that are geared towards establishment special interests, not towards the working families of Ohio. Let's help PG end the year on a high note-- two-thousand dollars from us and two-thousand dollars from our anonymous donor. Here's where you can give PG your contribution and help secure that match for him.



We'll Match Your Donation To #StandWithPlannedParenthood

With Thanksgiving, Black Friday and Cyber Monday having become something of an orgy of over-indulgence, somebody somewhere came up with the idea that the Tuesday after Thanksgiving should usher in the benevolent side of the holiday with a call to give back. They are calling it Giving Tuesday and it seems as though it might be refreshing reset from the endless eating and shopping of the long holiday week-end.

Unfortunately, this past Thanksgiving holiday was not just marked by the usual Walmart brawls and long lines waiting for Best Buy to open. This year we had to endure an act of terrorism perpetrated on our own soil: a man gunned down 12 people, killing three, in a Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado Springs. Afterwards, he was said to have declared "no more baby parts." Those two words --- "baby parts" --- are used by Republican demagogues to describe the practice of life-saving scientific research which uses fetal tissue. It refers to some hoax videos circulated by anti-choice zealots in furtherance of their cause.

It is inflammatory incitement and it did its job this last week-end.

The GOP presidential candidates were all very slow to condemn this murderous attack. And when they did, it was in the most grudging terms possible. Carly Fiorina, the candidate who blatantly lied before 25 million in the GOP presidential debate, describing something that never happened in lurid, graphic detail even went so far as to cast blame on the left for even bringing up the possibility that rhetoric such as theirs may have contributed to this atrocity.

All Blue America candidates are crystal clear on where they stand, both in support for Planned Parenthood and against the NRA which makes it possible for zealots to easily acquire the firearms they use to carry out their deadly missions.

This statement from State Senator Jamie Raskin, candidate for Maryland's 8th Congressional District speaks for all of us:

"The nightmare in Colorado Springs brought together two lethal threats to the American people: the epidemic of gun violence made possible by lax gun laws and the NRA, and the relentless attacks by right-wing fanatics on Planned Parenthood and the right of American women to access basic reproductive health services. Let this outbreak of homegrown terror in Colorado give us the resolve we need to impose civilized gun safety laws in our country and to stop all of the appalling efforts to defund and destroy Planned Parenthood, the largest provider of reproductive health services in the U.S."

In the spirit of Giving Tuesday, Blue America has decided to match the first $1,000 we collect for any candidates on this page and donate it to Planned Parenthood. We want to help the organization in every way we can and that means giving directly but it also means electing leaders to congress who will stand up and fight for women's rights. It is imperative that we do both.

We are at a critical time in American politics. Please consider spending some of your "Giving Tuesday" dollars by donating to the Blue America candidates of your choice and we will double the effort by matching it with a donation to Planned Parenthood.



Who Will Fight Climate Change? Meet Paul Clements


Four years ago, the L.A. Times named Congressman Fred Upton our planet Earth’s number 1 enemy in Congress. He continues to excel. As a climate science denier and chair of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, Upton is the most powerful Representative working to block action to rein in global warming. And now he is putting our Great Lakes in danger as well.
 
Five Republican U.S. Representatives from Michigan, and all Michigan’s Democratic Representatives and Senators just sent a letter to Justin Trudeau, the new Prime Minister of Canada. The letter urges the Canadian government to deny Ontario Power Generation permits to build a giant nuclear waste facility underground, less than a mile from Lake Huron. Nuclear waste remains toxic for tens of thousands of years. No matter how geologically secure they say the site may be, this is too close.
 
Congressman Upton refused to sign the bipartisan letter with his Republican colleagues. He is, literally, placing the Great Lakes in danger to accommodate the short term needs of his campaign donors. It's the way Fred Upton rolls.
 
Upton has received hundreds of thousands of dollars in campaign contributions from nuclear, oil, and natural gas companies. He’s been giving private profits precedence over environmental security for so long, it seems it has just become habit.  
 
Our Great Lakes are a national treasure and particularly a treasure in Michigan; it’s our duty to protect them.
 
And we need to make polluters pay for the costs of their pollution.
 
The environment can’t speak for itself, but it doesn’t forget. We need to hold legislators like Congressman Upton accountable for undermining our collective future. And that has a lot to do with why Blue America has endorsed the progressive Democrat, Paul Clements, running for his southwest Michigan district seat.

This week Paul told us that "In Congress I will work for American leadership in addressing climate change. Next month's conference in Paris won't take us nearly far enough. Without much stronger leadership we can't stop warming at 2 degrees, and maybe this is too high. But dealing with the effects of climate change will also present unprecedented international challenges, and, frankly, our international institutions are woefully unprepared. Without better cooperation we will degenerate into a fortress mentality. I will lead in rising to the challenge."

This is looking like a good year for progressives and clean energy advocates in Michigan. Please consider digging deep and contributing to Paul's grassroots campaign, which you can do here.



DCCC Appears Ready To Do The Right Thing In CA-25


Having failed to find a suitable conservaDem to run in California's CD-25 (Santa Clarita, Simi Valley and the Antelope Valley), the DCCC finally seems to be yelling "uncle" and offering their support to progressive candidate Lou Vince-- but with a caveat: They're indicating they will fund him IF he could fund himself!  

We know that sounds odd, but... it's the DCCC. They're like a bank-- they only give money to candidates who don't need it! So we progressives have to pony up enough money to show that Lou could run a respectable campaign without the DCCC... and then they'll kick in. They've never helped any other Democrats who have run in this district.
 
So why support Lou? He is just the kind of candidate who can win in the just barely blue L.A./Ventura district which has been represented by neanderthal Republican Buck McKeon for as long as anyone can remember and is now being misrepresented by Tea Party extremist Steve Knight. Lou is a cop and former Marine with four kids (2 adopted) and a Masters Degree in Criminology, Law and Society from UC Irvine.

But under that blue uniform beats the heart of a true progressive! His website lists progressive positions on everything from combating climate change to reforming our banking system to mass incarceration and immigration. We asked him what he thinks is the most important issue for Santa Clarita, Simi Valley and Antelope Valley residents. This is what he told us:

Climate change is the most pressing issue of our time. If we do not act quickly and decisively, it will soon be too late to take effective action. This is why I applaud President Obama's decision to oppose the Keystone XL project. This is a major victory for progressives and anyone who cares about a clean, sustainable future. But this is just the beginning! We have a race in California's 25th where the difference couldn't be more clear. I will stand up to any issue that poses a danger to our environment and our planet. Congressman Knight has proven time and time again to be more concerned about the interests of fossil fuel companies, not the actual people in his district. We need your help if we are going to work towards a Congress that moves to address climate change, rather than ignore it all together like Congressman Knight prefers to do.

This is a great opportunity to not only pick up a seat but to put a true progressive in it. Lou has been endorsed by two of our favorite hard-working California progressives-- Congressman Ted Lieu and State Controller Betty Yee-- and by Dr. Lee Rogers, who ran in both the last elections. And, of course, by Blue America!

Let's elect Lou Vince! You can donate to Lou Vince's grassroots campaign here.



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



Keith Ellison Tells Bernie "I'll Be There for You"

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Credit: Howie Klein

After Raúl Grijalva (D-AZ), the co-chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus that Bernie founded and was first chairman of, endorsed Bernie last week, I asked a savvy friend of mine on Capitol Hill when some of the other progressives who love the platform Bernie is running on would jump in. She told me that it probably wouldn't happen until after the first debate. Well... Keith Ellison (D-MN), the other co-chair of the Caucus, jumped in Monday afternoon, before Tuesday night's debate. Keith knew exactly what Bernie would say in the debate. It's the kind policy he's been working on himself since he was elected to the state legislature in 2002.

Besides being the second Member of the House to endorse Bernie, Keith is also the first Muslim Member of Congress to endorse the Jewish senator from Vermont! Like Grijalva, he will now go out and speak on behalf of Bernie's campaign as a surrogate, the same way many conservative Democrats like Claire McCaskill, Steve Israel and Kurt Schrader are running around boosting Clinton.

Keith told his hometown paper that "Bernie knows that the power ultimately lies with the American people. And in a time where voter participation is at an all-time low, Bernie has shown that he has the ability to create a renaissance in civic participation by exciting those who are least likely to vote. Having stood with Bernie over the years on many different issues, including the Fight for $15, the effort to ban private prisons, and calling for the end of subsidies for Big Oil, I am proud to stand with him now."

He also said that he endorsed Bernie "because he is talking about the issues that are important to American families... We’ve all seen the massive crowds he is attracting, and I think that is a testament to his message connecting with people-- people we will need to turn out in November. Bernie and I have stood together on progressive values for years. Bernie was a founder of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, and as one of the current co-chairs, we have a shared desire to help Americans who are struggling to get by."

Alan Grayson says he's not taking sides yet and that he'd like to work with either Bernie or Hillary. Yesterday, though, he sent out a letter to his supporters saying that he wanted to tell them "something about Bernie Sanders that you probably didn’t know. He served for 16 years in the U.S. House of Representatives, and for much of that time, Bernie passed more amendments on the Floor of the House than any other Member of the House. That’s right: the one Member who belonged to neither party passed more amendments than any Member who belonged to either party. Good, solid progressive amendments. Lots of them. He was principled, and he was effective."

Blue America added Keith-- as well as, Angela Marx, the progressive Democrat running in Washington's 3rd congressional district (Vancouver and the suburbs north of Portland, Oregon)-- to the ActBlue page dedicated to incumbents and congressional candidates who have endorsed Bernie.

We spoke to Angela Marx, a life-long resident of Clark County, where she raised two daughters and is helping raise two granddaughters. She's well-known to the Daily Kos community and when she decided that she would explore running for public office this year, she chose an Occupy Democrats poster which expressed her thinking about America and pinned it to her Twitter page on June 14, 2014. "Today," she told us, "it looks like it could be a Bernie Sanders campaign poster. Which is why, when Bernie Sanders started running for the Presidency, I KNEW he was my candidate... because we both stand for the same thing-- ensuring a better America for all of us. Vote Bernie Sanders for President in 2016, because we ARE #StrongerTogether!

This week we're going to give away this rare RIAA-cerified platinum award for the soundtrack of the TV series Friends.(Shown above.) Please consider giving any or all of the candidates-- as well as Bernie-- a contribution. There is no contribution too small to be appreciated. In fact, we're about to burst through our thermometer goal and most of the donations have been $40 or less.



Progressive Leaders Have Started Endorsing Bernie Sanders

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Credit: Slate.com
For Bernie to succeed as president, he's going to need support from Members of the Senate and the House. If he wins, there will be plenty of institutional Democratic support. Right now, we want to thank progressive incumbents and candidates with the courage to endorse him. It's just starting.

Friday evening Bernie Sanders will be speaking at the DeMeester Performance Center, an outdoor amphitheater that holds 7,000 people, in Tucson's Reid Park. He'll be introduced by the local congressman, Raúl Grijalva, chairman of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, a group that Bernie founded in 1991. Wednesday, Grijalva became the first member of Congress to endorse Bernie's campaign. Friday he plans to make the case for how, in his words, "Bernie is the right leader to fight income inequality, protect our safety net and ensure every American has a stake in the future of our country."

Bernie is the first incumbent to have endorsed Bernie but several progressive candidates for Congress have already decided to bite the bullet and do the right thing. The first candidate to endorse Bernie was South Jersey reformer Alex Law, who's running against the corrupt, conservative Machine candidate, Donald Norcross. Back in August he told us that he was the only congressional candidate in New Jersey who had endorsed Bernie, explaining that "Bernie's thoughts on student loan reform, campaign finance reform, income inequality, raising the minimum wage, diplomacy over war, tax reform, and drug reform resonate deeply with me. His influence is apparent in my policy ideas." He reiterated last night, telling us that:

I am the only Democrat in New Jersey running for office that has endorsed Bernie because I share his progressive values. I share his conviction to address income inequality and to fight corruption in politics. Bernie Sanders is the only Democrat truly committed to addressing campaign finance reform not only in words but in action as he has not accepted Super-PAC support. Whether it's LGBTQ rights, student loan reform, Wall Street reform, drug/prison reform or other issues, Bernie has a vision I agree with. Bernie Sanders is the people's candidate, and I am proud to say I endorse him for President of the United States of America.

The second of Hillary's 3 home state-- Arkansas-- was the scene of the next Bernie endorsement and it came from Robbie Wilson, the congressional candidate in the Fayetteville area. "I take great satisfaction in the fact that I align with Senator Sanders on every issue," he told us. "Most importantly, I agree with the Senator on the subject of overturning Citizens United. There is no greater threat to the survival of the middle class, and no darker bruise on our political structure. Furthermore, this issue goes hand-in-hand with the likelihood that we will need to appoint Supreme Court Justices over the next two presidential terms, and the idea that a Republican President and Congress would steer those appointments is almost too much to bear. Senator Sanders and I also share the same stance on the issues of women’s rights, foreign policy and economics, among others. But in a broader sense, we both believe that our government was intended to benefit all Americans, not to hold down the many in order to appease a few. This is a fundamental theme that is woven throughout the fabric of my platform, and I’m proud to say Senator Sanders reflects these same values."

And the 4th candidate to endorse Bernie-- and this was also Wednesday-- was Tom Guild, running for the Oklahoma City seat. "Bernie Sanders and I are in agreement on the vast majority of the major issues facing America," he said. "He has raised millions of dollars from grassroots activists in small amounts. He is drawing huge and sometimes unprecedented crowds wherever he goes. There are other good and able presidential candidates running in 2016. Bernie is the best of the best. He is the best hope to turn around our country and to fix the broken campaign finance system, address income inequality, reduce mounting college student debt, increase Social Security benefits, protect Medicare, repair our nation’s tattered infrastructure, support public education, raise the wages for American workers, and effectively deal with other pressing matters. America feels the Bern! I support and endorse Bernie Sanders for President of the United States."

Goal Thermometer

Blue America is thrilled that the support from progressives has started coming in and we started a special Act Blue page just for Members of Congress and candidates for Congress endorsing Bernie.

Most Democrats love Bernie's platform and his ideas for making America a more equitable place to love. Even if he's elected, he's going to need supporters in Congress on the same page. We know Grijalva and the whole Progressive Caucus will be there for him but Bernie is going to have Republicans, Blue Dogs and the Wall Street-owned New Dems to contend with, which is why it is so crucial to elect progressives like Alex Law, Robbie Wilson and Tom Guild. Please contribute what you can to these candidates.

And this week, Blue America is going to give away an extremely rare RIAA-certified platinum award for the Friends soundtrack. This was the first-even TV series to win a platinum record (for a million sales) and it included songs by The Rembrandts, REM, Joni Mitchell, the Barenaked Ladies, Lou Reed, kd lang, Paul Westerberg, the Pretenders and the other musicians that contributed songs to the show.

As a way of thanking contributors, we'll randomly select on lucky "winner." There is no minimum-- anyone can win this by contributing on this page. In fact if you want the platinum award but find yourself strapped for cash, just send us a post card (pronto)-- Blue America, PO Box 27201, Los Angeles, CA 90027-- and let us know you want to win too and that you'll contribute some other time if you can.



Walls, Walls Between Us, and a Chance for Steely Dan History

Walls. Wasn’t the Republican hero Ronald Reagan famous for tearing down walls?  Now, another famous Republican would like to build his version of the Great Wall of China on America’s southern border. Competing for the spotlight and citing "legitimate concerns" about security at the Canadian border, Wisconsin’s Scott Walker, before cutting and running, said he'd consider another wall up north. The Atlantic and Pacific Oceans are not walls, but you could place them into the category of "giant moats."  They provide us with distance from the conflicts in Europe and Asia, a kind of "free security" courtesy of geography and plate tectonics.

Continents drift, collide and pile up against each other and make their own walls; and we give them names. Once Denali, then Mount McKinley, and then back to Denali-- to name just one artifact of continental collision in the news recently. People drift too, though a bit faster. They are fleeing wars, violent drug cartels, crushing poverty, radical and murderous extremists, intolerance and oppression. The drifting people are also given names; refugees, undocumented immigrants, migrants, illegals, aliens and wetbacks. Some Republicans would call them rapists, criminals and anchor babies.

What does it mean to progressives that Mr. Trump leads the Republican field? I expect that we are not surprised that many Republicans identify with his divisive and hate-filled message. What should surprise and alarm us is that 39% of voters today identify as Independents, up from 30% in 2004 according to the Pew Research Center.  Although 48% of those Independents lean Democratic and 39% of the Independents lean Republican, the overall increase in the number of Independents means that progressives and Democrats must do a much better job in helping the average voter to see compelling differences between Republicans and Democrats.

Is there something we can learn about America from the refugee and migrant crisis gripping Europe, Africa and the Middle East? The first lesson might be that it takes extraordinary circumstances for people to uproot and leave the familiar to travel hundreds of miles across deserts and open seas. How many people do you know who would willingly pay their last dollars to a Mexican "coyote" to be jammed into the back of a truck or a Libyan smuggler to board a crowded inflatable raft to cross the Mediterranean Sea?

The second lesson is that however tranquil and orderly America appears on most days, fear and deep resentment boil beneath the surface. Mr. Trump knows this. His immigrant attacks have adroitly tapped into a receptive audience. Progressives see another pot boiling when we look at street protests in Ferguson and riots in Baltimore. That is a different pot of poor people, largely African American, who don’t see a place set for them at the American table.

Progressives should worry that people struggling for a small slice of the American pie know instinctively that the Democrats care for them more than a party obsessed with keeping taxes low for America’s top 1%. But they doubt the Democrats can actually deliver with a job and the other things they need. Many who we think should be Democrats believe that Republicans have the skill to manage government and create growth and opportunities.

Progressives have heart and progressive ideas are smart. We know it, but we’ll only win when we convince Independents that progressives care about them, we’re not in the pocket of big business, we know how to govern better, and that our ideas make sense and will get working families ahead.

Joseline Peña-Melnyk is a progressive with heart and smarts. She’s the true progressive running for Maryland’s 4th congressional dstrict to replace Donna Edwards. Born in the Caribbean and fluent in Spanish, she is equally at home with the district’s growing Latino population and its longstanding African American majority. She preaches unity, not division.

She’s a doer. As a former prosecutor and defense lawyer, Joseline saw that minorities are over-represented in prison. Thanks to her, a new Maryland law taking effect soon will help remove bias by requiring police line-up administrators to be ‘blind’-- that is, the administrator will not know the identity of the suspect or, if he knows the identity of the suspect, the administrator should not know which line-up member is being viewed by the eyewitness. Research shows that in lineups today eyewitnesses often take cues from the line-up administrator and feel pressure to make a selection. The result of her law should be fewer wrongful convictions and more confidence in the justice system. 

Progressives can be practical too. Joseline led Maryland into the adoption of digital medical records. With doctors sharing a database of patient information there are fewer mistakes, fewer duplicative tests, and less unnecessary expensive care. When a constituent came to her with a family tragedy-- the suicide of a teenage daughter, Joseline was the motivator behind "Lauryn’s Law" to ensure that school counselors have training in recognizing teen suicide risk factors.

Immigrant students with limited English language skills were failing in Maryland schools. Only 55% percent of these students graduate high school, as compared to 77% of the general population. Joseline worked closely with the schools administrations to establish two new high school programs funded in part with $3 million in seed money from a Carnegie Corporation grant to target this achievement gap. She did it because we all win if the next generation is prepared to take their place in our society.

In Congress Joseline will continue pushing smart progressive ideas. She’ll support creating jobs by rebuilding the nation’s failing roads, bridges and sewer and water systems; she’ll keep fighting for affordable education; and she’ll keep protecting the civil rights of the people on the margins and working to get them a bigger piece of the pie.


Please help get Joseline Peña-Melnyk in Congress where she belongs through your Blue America contribution and maybe you'll luck out and win a very special and very rare Steely Dan platinum album award as a bonus. Rolling Stone has called Steely Dan-- Walter Becker and Donald Fagen-- "the perfect musical antiheroes for the Seventies."  Maybe that’s like Reagan being the anti-hero to Trump. I don’t know, but Steely Dan is a complex blend of jazz and rock that is simultaneously intellectually challenging and spiritually, emotionally and physically uplifting. The band sold more than 40 million albums worldwide and were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2001. The particular platinum record we’ll be giving away to one lucky randomly-selected contributor is a super rare collector's edition for Two Against Nature that commemorates RIAA platinum sales certification (1,000,000 albums) and 4 Grammy Awards in 2001-- including Album of the Year. Only a few were made for the band and their associates. This particular one was awarded to Blue America co-founder Howie Klein, then president of Reprise Record, now a devoted Joseline supporter. You can help her win a crowded primary and take a chance on a memorable piece of music history.

The "contest rules" are simple. Just contribute any amount to Joseline Peña-Melnyk's campaign on this page. We're not Republicans so the winner isn't the person who contributes the most. Any amount goes. In fact, if you don't have any cash to spare at the moment and want a chance to win anyway, just send us a post card to Blue America, PO Box 27201, Los Angeles, CA 90027 and you'll have the same chance as anyone else. But do it quickly. The contest is over next Sunday night at 11:59 pm, Pacific Time.




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