Focus On What's Hot: Florida


Tomorrow is the first day of early voting for the August 30 Florida primary. As always, the corrupt, self-serving establishment has candidates it's trying to slip in, incumbents like Debbie Wasserman Schultz and even worse garbage, like Patrick Murphy, that they are trying to advance up the ladder.

This is the last great stand of the 2016 Democratic primary season-- where genuine progressives like Alan Grayson and Tim Canova are battling the very worst the Democratic Party has to offer.

Grayson's wife, Dr. Dena Grayson, is the strongest candidate in his old district to beat back a challenge from a very conservative pro-NRA Democratic state Senator. "We progressives, not Republicans or faux-Democrats, are the only ones who are truly committed to helping people," she told us. "The way to turn Florida blue is simple. We need to stop running Republican-lite candidates masquerading as Democrats, and instead, support true progressive who recognize people's needs and will take action to improve their lives."

As the Sun Sentinel put it a few days ago, "A Canova win over Wasserman Schultz would send shockwaves across the country." Those are just the kind of shockwaves the Democratic Party establishment needs and needs badly. This morning Tim was finally able to force Wasserman Schultz into a serious TV debate after she dodged and ducked for months. She was the living, breathing embodiment of why Americans are sick and tired of self-serving career politicians and she refused to answer point blank questions, although at the last second of the debate, the moderator got her to admit she is pro-fracking. Unfortunately, almost 10,000 Democrats in FL-23 have already voted by mail. "Sadly, today, she takes hundreds of thousands of dollars from industries like Big Sugar, Wall Street banks, predatory lenders and private prisons," explained one of Canova's radio ads. "I believe you either represent the corporate lobbyists or you represent the people. You cannot do both."

Alan Grayson, the progressive in the Senate race for Marco Rubio's seat, understands better than anyone what's wrong with Democratic Party politics in his state. He told us yesterday,

“Florida Democrats are demonstrating Einstein's definition of insanity-- they keep nominating right-wing DINOs for statewide office, they keep losing, and they keep expecting that the results will change. They won't. We have now lost 14 out of the last 15 state government campaigns, going back to when Jeb Bush was Governor, because our Democratic voters have absolutely no idea what our candidates will do for them if they are elected. (The only exception was when a Democrat snuck into office because even Florida voters couldn't stomach a GOP candidate for "Chief Financial Officer" who was hopelessly corrupt.)

Florida Republicans promise abortion restrictions, pro-gun laws, cuts in social services, lower taxes and corporate welfare-- and they deliver. Florida right-wing Democrats promise I-don't-know-what, and they can't even deliver on that. As for me, I have promised to improve the lives of ordinary people in Central Florida, and I've delivered on those promises. And I'm the only Democrat to represent downtown Orlando in Congress in the past 42 years. Coincidence? No.”

Now Blue America is asking you to help make sure our slate of Florida progressives make it out of the primaries on the 30th to go on and beat reactionary Republicans like Marco Rubio, Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, Mario Diaz-Balart and Matt Caldwell. You can pick and choose at the Blue America Florida page here.



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



Zephyr Teachout Can Make A Real Difference In Corrupted, Despised Congress

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Credit: AP Images

Wednesday the democratically-run nurses union, National Nurses United, announced their endorsement of Zephyr Teachout for an open, blue-leaning district in the Upper Hudson Valley and the Catskills. It's ironic that the DCCC refuses to endorse in the race, fearing Teachout's independence, progressive perspective and obvious leadership potential. The Nurses Union president, Karen Higgins said that Zephyr "has a proven record of standing-up to special interests and putting people first. We need someone in Washington who we can trust to take on the establishment and fight for health care for all people, confront the great disparities of wealth in this country, and get big money out of politics." You can imagine how a message like that scares DCCC bosses.

Blue America has long championed Zephyr's message for driving big money and corruption out of the electoral process and for working towards a more equitable and just society. We endorsed her run for governor of New York and we endorsed her on the day she announced she's running for Congress-- in a district where she won over 60% of the vote against Andrew Cuomo. Before that she was the first National Director of the Sunlight Foundation, a non-partisan organization that works to make Congress more open and transparent. After the crash of 2008, she helped start an organization to break up big banks that had become "too big to fail" and have damaged community-level small businesses.

Earlier today she told us that "the techtonic plates in American politics are shifting-- there are real dangers if we go the wrong direction, but the shake-up also creates an opening. It is critical time to elect new Congressmembers and down-ballot candidates across the country who are totally committed to greater political equality, economic fairness, and 100% renewable energy. Even more important is a proven willingness to stand up to power-- the only way we are going to get out of the over-reach of billionaires and a few big companies is if millions of people stand up, organize, go door-to-door and vote, not just for the Presidential campaign, but as part of a national campaign to revive democracy and replace corrupt systems with fair ones."

That's a message that should resonate strongly with every member of Blue America. Zephyr's Hudson Valley district is very winnable-- as long as she has the resources to get her message out. Please consider helping her do just that.

And remember, there's no such thing as a contribution too small. In a grassroots race like this-- where she will be facing one of two big-money Republicans, who have already collectively spent over a million dollars battling each other. This race isn't going to be a cakewalk but it's one Zephyr can win and, by so doing, make a significant impact on that den of iniquity known as Congress.




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