Last week, MoveOn and PPP polled some of the swing districts where the DCCC protects Republican incumbents. The results were breathtaking, especially for media folks who only get their information from Cook and the DCCC. Blue America candidates are on target to beat long-time Republican incumbents and one of the strongest showings was from first-time candidate, Paul Clements, who's running against Fred Upton in western Michigan. Upton is underwater in terms of his constituents' approval. Only 34% approve of his job performance. 53% disapprove. And if the election were held today, only 38% would vote for him, while 51% would vote for a Democrat. While that's really good news for Paul Clements, even better news is that when voters are told that Upton voted for and backs the Tea Party government shut down, his re-elect numbers really go south. Only 36% of those polled say they would vote for him. 56% say they would vote for his Democratic opponent.
Also last week, Paul Clements introduced Bill McKibben, America’s leading activist on climate change, to an audience of thousands in Kalamazoo. This is important because Kalamazoo is the biggest city in Michigan's 6th district, and in 2014 this district will be ground zero in the fight for action on climate change.
This part of Michigan has been represented by Fred Upton for 20 years but when he was first elected he ran as a mainstream conservative. Once Boehner appointed him to head the House Energy and Commerce Committee he transformed himself into a climate science denier and anti-environment zealot: Upton authored and passed through the House a bill to stop the Environmental Protection Agency regulating greenhouse gasses, he tried to stop federal support for clean energy technologies, and the L.A. Times named him Congress’s #1 enemy of the earth.
Clements got into the race because he sincerely believes we need stronger action on climate change. (There is also Upton’s denial of science on antibiotics, his cutting food stamps amidst rising hunger in his district, his votes against women, workers, seniors, the middle class, African Americans, immigrants, and LGBT equality, his vote to shut down the federal government …) Clements is highlighting that Upton changed his views on climate change to get the Energy and Commerce Committee chairmanship-- just one more example of Upton selling out, but in this case literally selling out all of humanity.
McKibben’s talk is the keynote of a 20-event series Clements has helped to organize to raise awareness and understanding of climate change-– the science, the politics, and what each of us can do. Upton is one of the most vulnerable Republicans in Congress but Steve Israel has protected his seat in the past and continues to do so today. Clements environmental series is a key step in building the coalition to defeat him in 2014.
In just the last 3 months, the American Chemistry Council and the American Petroleum Institute spent $340,000 in ads for Upton, and there will be much more where that came from. Defeating Upton will show that to deny climate science is, in political terms, a losing proposition.
Clements needs your help. Blue America is endorsing him for Congress because of his overall progressive vision, as well as for this opportunity to replace Congress' most toxic anti-environment crusader. Please consider contributing to his grassroots campaign here. This is a very winnable race if Paul can compete with the flood of corporate cash Upton has been sucking up.
We are all in this together,
Howie, for Digby, John and the Blue America team