Instant Upgrade To Congress Within Grasp

We're entering the last few weeks on the dash to election day. Now is when candidates need financial resources the most.

I want to say a few words about one of the candidates Blue America has endorsed: Carol Shea-Porter of New Hampshire, who has always run grassroots campaigns and always eschewed corporate PACs, even when she was in Congress and lobbyists were interested in giving that kind of money to her. We've known her as long as Blue America exists, a full decade. We endorsed her first run for Congress in 2006 when, despite spiteful sabotage from Rahm Emanuel and the DCCC, she defeated GOP incumbent Jeb Bradley.

When we first met Carol she was a grassroots activist running on an anti-war platform. And a full decade ago she was already peppering her speeches with the not yet commonly used term, living wage.

Those issues frightened Rahm and he recruited a conservative establishment Democrat, Jim Craig, to run. Although Craig had the backing of the DCCC machine and spent $381,290 against her, (more money than she spent in the primary and the general election combined) she kicked his ass because she knew how to run a grassroots campaign and he-- like almost all DCCC candidates-- didn't. She beat him 54-34%.

The DCCC immediately wrote off the district and Rahm called Democratic contributors and told them she had no chance and not to waste their money-- a common DCCC tactic they still use against progressives today. But despite Bradley outspending her almost 4 to 1, she beat him in November 100,899 votes (51%) to 94,869 votes (49%) and beat him again in a rematch two years later, this time with a 54-46% margin.

I was reminded about what a kook Guinta is when I watched the Wells Fargo House Financial Services Committee hearings on Thursday. A member of that committee, Guinta has managed to extort $1,103,948 from the Wall Street interests he's supposed to be protecting the public from. He was, by far, the most unhinged member of the committee when it came to questioning Well Fargo CEO John Stumpf.

Guinta's agenda is unchanging when it comes to Wall Street-- less regulations and a freer hand for banksters like Stumpf to rip off their customers. He aggressively advocates wrecking the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and has voted against it over and over and over. Thursday he asked Stumpf-- no fan of the CFPB by any stretch of anyone's imagination-- how many CFBP agents had been embedded with Wells Fargo. When Stumpf said he didn't know the number of agents, the deranged Guinta invented a Breitbart-worthy conspiracy theory on the spot, accusing Stumpf of plotting with the CFPB to withhold the information from the committee. The other members just rolled their eyes with embarrassment and breathed a sign of relief when Guinta's time expired. And, yes, he's solicited-- and taken-- substantial bribes from Wells Fargo's PAC.

There are virtually no issues on which Guinta hasn't managed to dig himself into a hole that pits him against his own constituents. Carol correctly points out that even on something as important to voters as Social Security, Guinta's crackpot privatization ideas are just plain dangerous to ordinary retirees and future retirees. Without naming him, she said that:

"Republican politicians claim they want to preserve Social Security, they actually don’t... Social Security will have problems paying at today's rate around 2034, but it can be fixed if the Congress would do what Reagan did in 1983-- fix it. Raise the cap to make Social Security sustainable. Right now, people who earn under $118,500 pay tax on every single dollar they earn. People who earn over that do not pay on every dollar, just the first $118,500. It is not fair for lower-income people to pay on all of their earnings while the wealthy pay only on the first $118,500."

Like Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren-- and anyone serious about protecting Social Security benefits-- Carol advocates scrapping the cap so that the wealthy pay their fair share. Guinta wants to just turn Social Security over to Wall Street and let the chips fall where they may-- while his campaign donors make billions in fees and commissions off American workers' contributions.

Guinta barely survived his primary challenge, edging Rich Ashooh 26,229 (46.5%) to 25,580 (45.3%). The latest poll of the district, released this week, shows that most voters dislike Guinta, who has a negative favorability rating (26-47%), with fully 31% rating him as "very unfavorable." And those people plan to vote against him in November.

In a head-to-head matchup, Carol beats him 50-39% and in a five-way vote that includes third party candidates, she's still way ahead, 44-34%. Short version: very good investment if you're thinking about contributing $5.00 or even $500.



Time For Some Real Talk

Friends, just 50 days out, it’s time for some real talk.

There is a very real possibility that this country is going to elect a white supremacist, nationalist demagogue as president of the United States. Yes, it makes no sense. One would think it's impossible. But after watching the media shit show unfold daily, it’s quite obvious that it can happen here. The polls right now are very, very tight.

If it does happen here, on the morning of November 9th we will wake up to a different world. Allies will understand they need to distance themselves from the US and rivals will feel emboldened. Trump's promise of a massive military buildup will be met by an equal build-up all around the planet. Other nations will logically see that the world's only superpower has gone rogue and the post war security regime that we have known for 60 years will probably fall apart all at once.

Even those of us who believe we should find a way to end the American imperial project cannot believe it is a good idea for it to end in chaos at the hands of a torture-loving nationalist who believes that any perceived ”disrespect" demands military action. 

Then there's The Wall, "Operation Wetback" Redux, banning of Muslims,"law and order" and more on top of his standard GOP policy atrocities, including plans to enact a massive tax cut on the wealthy and end virtually all government regulations, the list of which reads like a lobbyist's letter to Santa. He even proposed to end all food safety regulations

And yes, he's a climate change denier and will reject the Paris Climate accords and anything else that seeks to deal with a problem he believes is a hoax made up by China. And of course we know he is a documented racist, misogynist, nativist, xenophobic, anti-semite which is what millions of his most enthusiastic backers like best about him.  That's just for starters. 

And yet, with all that, right now he is tied with the mainstream, center left Democratic candidate who is running for President Obama's third term and has been endorsed by people as diverse as Elizabeth Warren to Warren Buffet to every union and . That is insane. 

Unfortunately, we have a problem within our own ranks: One third of voters 18-29 are planning to vote third party and that could easily make the difference. 

Bernie Sanders has something to say about that:

"Look, I was a third-party candidate. I began my career running as a third party, getting 2 percent and then 1 percent. I'm the longest serving independent in the history of the U.S. Congress, but I think that before you cast a protest vote, because [Hillary] Clinton or Trump will be president, think hard about it. This is not a governor's race. It's not a state legislative race. This is the presidency of the United States."

"If you are a working person, do you really think that billionaires need a large tax break? Which is what Trump is proposing. If you are an ordinary American who listens to science, do you think its a good idea that the President of the United States rejects science and says that climate change is a hoax? I think that if you look at the issues—raising minimum wage, building infrastructure, expanding healthcare—Clinton, by far, is the superior candidate."

It probably won't matter in big blue states if people vote third party. But there's a good reason not to. The Democratic platform Sanders fought for is also on the ballot. Clinton has not repudiated it or run from it and that is to her credit. If a majority of the country votes against her there are plenty of people in the media and both parties who will blame that platform and her embrace of progressive policies for the loss.

As Bernie says:

"Let us elect Hillary Clinton as president and that day after let us mobilize millions of people around the progressive agenda which was passed in the Democratic platform." 

So, that's where we are right now. Clinton is falling in the polls and Trump is rising. There's a very good chance we may wake up on November 9th in a different world if he pulls this off and progressives have the most to lose, especially our most vulnerable brothers and sisters. This isn't politics as usual, friends. This requires all hands on deck.

You can donate through Blue America's Clinton page here. And if you can't do that you can do phone banking from your home or canvas in your neighborhood. I urge all Blue America members to take this seriously and do whatever you can to help Hillary Clinton win this election.



A Clear Choice

Blue America endorsed Bill Ostrander in the 9 person race for the Santa Barbara/San Luis Obispo CA-24 congressional seat. He ran a strong issues-oriented campaign, very much in line with Bernie's political revolution, to which he ascribed. He wasn't left standing on election night and voters in the 24th will have to pick between a garden variety careerist Democrat or a corruption-tainted GOP extremist. There are no good choices there. 

A few days ago, Bill called me and told me he's backing another "Berniecrat" though, Wendy Reed, who made it through the primary and will face off against Republican House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy in November in the district next door. In line with their policy of never challenging GOP leaders, the DCCC has refused to help Reed take on their onerous task. McCarthy, one of the most corrupt members of Congress-- only Paul Ryan has taken more money from Wall Street than he has this year-- has raised $6,727,189 this cycle something like 200 times more than Reed!

We need to do something about that, since McCarthy is not especially popular there; now a white minority district, with over 36% Hispanic population. CA-23 includes much of Bakersfield and Lancaster, as well as Tehachapi, Rosamond and lots of wide open spaces and national wilderness preserves that McCarthy wants to sell off to developers, including Sequoia National Park and Kings Canyon National Park.

This morning, Bill sent me this note telling me why he is so enthusiastic about backing Wendy's campaign, over and above just helping her beat the odious McCarthy:

CA-23 is the district next door. The two districts meet at Los Padres National Forest, the Bitter Creek National Wildlife Refuge and at the Carrizo Plain National Monument, space very much valued and cherished by people in both districts and space that Wendy has pledged to protect from rapacious developers. She is a land use planning activist who has worked in the community for 3 decades and, like myself, was immediately drawn to Bernie's values-and-policy oriented campaign. She went back to school to earn a Masters degree in Public Administration and is a land trust founder, and a climate change educator, with experience working with federal, state, county, and local agencies.

I saw a mailer that McCarthy sent out about her called "The Choice Is Clear." It featured a picture of Wendy and Bernie and excoriated her as a liberal. She probably didn't have the resources to create and send out a flier like that herself but I know it brought her a tremendous amount of positive attention. 

I was impressed that her top two platform commitments are (1) to get money out of politics/politics out of government-- as she said, "reversing or superseding Citizens United, eliminating loopholes for contributions, establishing limits for expenditures, excising lobbyists from the halls of government, establishing clear conflict of interest and insider trading restrictions and enforcing them mercilessly, prosecuting patronage at all levels of government, and supporting effective public funding for elections-- to restore representational self-government, and (2) to bring resources to this part of our state to invest in local infrastructure, upgrade the health and safety of our industries, and face the challenges of climate change. These aren't partisan issues and they appeal broadly to people in central California regardless of party ID.

McCarthy was advertising that he is a friend to veterans while he was whipping GOP efforts in Congress to slash Veterans Administration funding and services, and eliminate safety nets for military families. He blamed President Obama for FEMA's denial of services and loans to the Kern River Valley after the Erskine Fire, while he was whipping GOP efforts to slash FEMA funding, staffing, and services. McCarthy and the Republicans even tried to eliminate FEMA as an agency in 2012. 

McCarthy appears to do nothing for central California and nothing for the taxpayers of the 23rd district. That, along with Wendy's reasonable and innovative approach to the problems in our area, ise why I'm asking my supporters and the Blue America members who did so much to help me to contribute to her grassroots campaign today.

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

--Howie, for the entire Blue America team



Bao Nguyen Defies The Media--November Ahoy!


Howie:
In November, voters in Orange County will choose between progressive Democrat Bao Nguyen and unsavory DINO, Lou Correa. Blue America has been behind Bao all year and we're asking for fellow progressives to help raise the money he'll need to get out his message and run his grassroots campaign. Here’s a message directly from Bao:


It’s been a tough and bruising primary season for progressive candidates, from the presidential race all the way down to my race for Congress here in Southern California. But I’m excited to announce that because of your support and the support of Blue America, I’ve placed in the top-two primary system, and we’ll be heading to the general election in November. 

Early in the primary, local pundits had reached a consensus: our progressive campaign for Congress stood no chance against two better-known and better-funded opponents. Even on election night, when only absentee votes had been counted, but nothing from the polls and no provisional ballots had yet been processed, people in the media and elsewhere were already declaring victory for a different candidate. 

But we didn't give up. We knew there were more ballots to be counted, so we sent volunteers to the registrar to make sure every vote was counted fairly. Every day, we climbed up in the vote count and narrowed the gap. Eventually, we passed up our opponent who had supposedly already won, and we haven't looked back.

But the fight isn't over, and we're facing an uphill battle against a much better funded opponent.

What the experts don’t get is that this election was never about who has the most money. It’s always been about hardworking middle and working class families. Washington is broken, and we know that sending another politician who’s in the pocket of special interests isn’t going to fix it.

We need to elect a representative who has a record of fighting corruption, not participating in it. The era of big money, special interests, and corporate lobbyists running Washington is over.

The progressive movement is just beginning. The American people aren’t bought and paid for, so why should our Congress be? Let’s vote for political courage this election. Let’s give ‘em hell

Yours truly,

Bao Nguyen
Mayor of Garden Grove
Congressional Candidate CA 46



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.



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.




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