Blue America Progressive Ed Markey will face Gabriel Gomez (R) in MA Senate Runoff
Tuesday in Massachusetts progressives made their voices heard. Liberal icon Ed Markey, the Blue America-endorsed candidate beat ConservaDem Stephen Lynch 58- 42% in the primary for the Democratic nomination to replace John Kerry in the U.S. Senate.
Ed Markey would make the PERFECT partner for Elizabeth Warren
It's likely Ed will beat him June 25th. But it's never safe to assume anything. Remember Senator Scott Brown! The good news is that all three Republicans in the primary got fewer votes than Stephen Lynch. But Ed will still need contributions for the big money Republicans are expected to put into this race. You can donate to Ed's campaign on the special page Blue America has for Senate candidates</a>.
That’s why we write to let you know that we will vote against any and every cut to Medicare, Medicaid, or Social Security benefits -- including raising the retirement age or cutting the cost of living adjustments that our constituents earned and need.
More and more Congress critters are signing up to support this venture. In the above video, check out Daylin Leach's (PA-13) response to chained CPI fixes---errrr...I mean cuts to Social Security.
Leach: The last thing we should be doing is fixing Social Security on the backs of the senior citizens who rely on it to survive.
He's a true progressive in every sense of the word and if he's elected--will never vote for cuts against our social safety nets and that includes Obama's proposed chained CPI cuts.
I'll be posting more videos from our Blue America candidates as they come in who are standing up for our senior citizens when many of America's politicians are falling down on the job of protecting working class Americans.
We all often talk about how crucial it is that our political leaders have some kind of inbuilt empathy system for the ordinary working families whose interests they're supposed to be serving. The alternative, as we've seen, is a kind of self-absorbed Ayn Rand Republicanism or, closer to home, the Blue Dogs and New Dems. That's why Blue America is so vigilant about congressional races wherever and whenever they happen. And the next congressional race coming up is for the seat Jesse Jackson, Jr. resigned from, IL-02, with a primary on February 26 and a general election April 9. The second district is very Democratic-- Obama beat Romney 80.7-18.5% and Jackson, who was hospitalized for the entire campaign, was reelected with 63%-- and the winner of the primary next month is all but assured a seat in Congress. Although there are nearly two dozen people running, the two front-runners are progressive state Senator Toi Hutchinson and self described "conservative Democrat" former Congresswoman Debbie Halvorson. It's a majority African American district and Halvorson's hope has been getting as many African-Americans as possible to run to split the vote so she could sneak back into Congress.
Seeking to gauge exactly what kind of empathy we could expect from a Congresswoman Hutchinson, she told us about her grandfather who passed away a few months ago. "He started his career as a door-to-door World Book Encyclopedia salesman. He worked hard, and saved his money so he would have something to leave his children, but he lost almost everything in the financial collapse of 2008. It’s critical that we hold people accountable for our current economic collapse, but I’m grateful that he was able to stay in his home because of his veterans’ benefits and Social Security. I know how important those programs were to our family when my grandfather was passing, and I’ll never support any kind of cuts to programs like Medicare and Social Security that are so critical to so many people."
That's exactly the kind of Representatives we need in Congress. That kind of core attitude manifests itself across a wide spectrum of issues that Members of Congress have to deal with. Let's take the gun safety issues roiling the political elites right now. Sen. Hutchinson is on board with Obama's proposals, of course, but she knows that isn't the solution to a very real problem. "I am a cosponsor," she told us this week, "on two bills in Illinois that would outlaw assault weapons and high capacity clips, but that’s not enough. I know that kids on the South Side of Chicago aren’t being shot by AR-15s. We need to have a larger conversation about how our politics and our government are letting down poor communities that suffer every day under the yoke of violence. The source of crime and violence is hopelessness-- it is a generation of young people that doesn’t see a future, and view crime and gangs as the only path to supporting themselves. It is a generation of young men that can’t find work or a place to live, and crime becomes their only option."
Last two times Halvorson ran-- first against Republican challenger Adam Kinzinger who beat her 58-42% and then, after redistricting, in a primary against Jackson last year she lost 71-29%, voters telling her they weren't interested in her kind of corporately-oriented conservative politics. Fellow corporately funded New Dems in DC are pushing her candidacy again this year. Blue America has endorsed Toi Hutchinson and she will be joining us today for a live chat in the comments section (below) at 1pm (CT). If you'd like to help us raise some campaign money for her, please go to the special election page we set up on ActBlue.
Will Halvorson vote with the Democratic leadership on most bills? Sure... but will she fight for progressive values and issues? She never did when she was in Congress before and there's no reason to think she's any better now. She has a record; it isn't very good. Toi has a record too-- and it's a lot better. She worked with Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan to make their state "the first state in the country to mandate the testing of rape kits within 10 days of submission so that survivors of sexual assault can build their case in court. And while the State of Illinois was shredding the safety net in the name of fiscal discipline, I fought to pass a new tax on strip clubs that directed proceeds to help victims of domestic violence get back on their feet."
When the Netroots first appeared in the middle of the last decade, there were a few people who instantly joined up as supporters, benefactors and activists who "got it." But no one got it more clearly than our good friend Debra Cooper, a long time champion of women's rights, New York NARAL board member and Democratic Party activist. From the very beginning Debra understood the power of this new force in American politics and embraced our work and enthusiastically participated in our activities, often to the befuddlement of other experienced organizers who failed to see the potential of our new medium. Debra has been a stalwart supporter of Blue America since its inception and we are thrilled to return the favor by making her our first endorsee of 2013.
Blue America doesn't normally get involved in local races, but a New York City Council seat is not the usual local race ... and Debra is not the usual candidate.
As she says:
I have been an unabashed progressive my entire life. And I have been around long enough to see that it matters is we move forward as progressives and not react backward. If we aren't pushing forward on our agenda, the right wing is pushing us backward. And it goes from everything from women's reproductive rights to social security to the safety net to the issue of gun control. Those issues all matter. We have to push forward, we have to enlarge the conversation to include our solutions and not just react to their solutions.
I have been asked about my lines in the sand. Actually I have lines in quick drying cement. And those lines are about principles --- progressive and democratic principles. Lines in the sand are for tactics and for strategy. They are moveable and they are erasable. Principles are not. They are firm and they are clear. You use lines in the sand to negotiate. And over the long term, as a progressive , if we want to move the conversation in the right direction, we want to make the lines in the sand the same as our lines in cement.
A couple of years back Debra wrote a piece that I've often quoted on my blog because it's so important. She talked about abortion in the language of freedom, which is frankly something I've never heard anyone do before:
For women ALL Roads to freedom and equality - economic equality and most particularly the ability to avoid poverty START with control of their bodies. If they can't control how they get pregnant and when they will have a child then poverty is the result.
There is theory about something called the Prime Mover - the first action or the first cause. Well for women it IS reproductive rights. It precedes everything. It really is simple. Without the abilty to control your own body then you are a slave to everything else.
Frankly sexism, the need to control women's lives by controlling their bodies and the things that arise from it, are endemic to any social structure. It is ever enduring and even when it seems to be quashed it returns in another form. That is the story in the modern era of women's rights. One step forward after a long struggle - suffrage and then a step back. (And no way do I say that women are not complicit in their own subjugation. We are.)
I am reading The Reactionary Mind by Corey Robin. In the epilogue he makes a point of saying that the loss of power and control is what the elite and the reactionary fear the most. More than a specific loss itself the fear the rising volcano of submerged anger and power. And for them it is most acutely felt compulsion for control in the "intimate" arena. That is the most vexing and disturbing of all.
It is why they want to control women. And controlling their reproductive lives is the surefire way to control them.
It is why abortion rights are absolutely central to every other kind of freedom.
Wouldn't it be great to have someone who thinks like this in elective office? She is one of us, a stalwart progressive who has been inspired and motivated by our work --- and your commitment --- to throw her hat into the ring and represent our shared values in elective office.
Hopefully everyone had a chance to rest up during the holidays and take a breather. But the reactionaries never sleep. As Debra says, if we aren't pushing our agenda, the right wing is pushing us backwards. It's time to start pushing.
Please welcome Debra to Blue America for our first chat of the New Year.