People Who Say It Cannot Be Done Should Not Interrupt Those Who Are Doing It

womensmarch2.jpg“And the little screaming fact that sounds through all history: Repression works only to strengthen and knit the repressed.” — John Steinbeck, ‘The Grapes of Wrath’ (Based on last week’s election results, it’s working!)

Normally, Democrats win districts where the PVI is D+something and Republicans win districts where the PVI is R+something. The higher the "something," the more likely that party will win. But it's not always the case.

Allison Ikley-Freeman's successful campaign for a state Senate seat in Oklahoma last week-- a seat where Trump beat Hillary 61.4-32.7%-- was in a very red district southwest of Tulsa. No one thought she had any chance at all. It's the kind of area where the DCCC always says-- and always wrongly-- that only a rich Republican-lite Blue Dog could win. But Allison is a young progressive who was outspent 3-1, campaigning on a Bernie-like platform. And she's a proud lesbian, married to an African-American. She doesn't fit the DCCC model at all.

There are 5 Blue America-endorsed candidates we're always always being told are in "impossible" races. None of them are as "impossible" as Allison's race was. And all 5 are being run by exceptionally good candidates:

  • James Thompson (KS) R+15
  • Jenny Marshall  (NC) R+10
  • Tom Guild (OK) R+10
  • Derrick Crowe (TX) R+10
  • Dan Canon (IN) R+13

Since Tom Guild was the first person to tell me to watch Allison's race in Tulsa, about a week before the election, I spoke with him about what her victory meant to his race on the other side of the state. He hit the nail on the head:

"We have knocked doors for more than 5 months and visited with thousands of good, hard working, incredible people in our district. They want to earn enough money to pay their bills and provide for their families. They want affordable health care and peace of mind when they or someone they love get sick and need medical care. They want dignity and security in their golden years. They want the heavy burden of college student debt lifted from their shoulders after scrimping for years and burning the candle at both ends to attain their educational goals. Government should lighten our burdens and help us on our journey. Many times today, government frightens decent and honest people by threatening to take away their health care or jobs or affordable loans or programs like Social Security or Medicare that they have paid into for decades. We need to elect people to public office who want to help people and not hurt them. Public servants should make people’s American Dreams attainable instead of throwing roadblocks in their way. I’m willing to do everything in my power to make each person’s dreams a reality. I’m willing to provide a hand up not a cold slap in my fellow Americans faces. Together, we can create positive change in America. To go fast, go alone. To go far, we need to take our journey together and support one another.  We must help each person arrive at their unreachable star and celebrate with them as they achieve this miraculous victory."

Derrick Crowe is running in an Austin/San Antonio district due south of Tom's. "The establishment," he told us, "does not like to be proven wrong about past failures, and when you sign up to run in an ostensibly 'red' district,' the groups in D.C. will tell you that you're crazy. "Too red. Too conservative. Too long since the Democrats held the seat. Too much money on the other side"

Well, we just saw a socialist beat the former speaker of the Virginia statehouse, and a progressive member of the LGBTQIA community win in a solidly #MAGA district. It reminds me of the saying, 'People who say it cannot be done should not interrupt those who are doing it.' Well, we're doing it. The progressive moment is here, the wave is barreling to shore, and people who want to run for office as progressive populists should step forward right now. There will never be another time like this, and you'll never be able to do more good. And when people tell you it can't be done, tell them it's rude to interrupt."

Jenny Marshall is also running in an "impossible" district in the South, held by an entrenched multimillionaire incumbent. The DCCC won't figure it out until the day after election day, but the way things have been going lately, maybe "entrenched multimillionaire incumbent" isn't what voters are looking for right now.

Jenny:

"People wish me luck when I tell them that I am running for Congress against Virginia Foxx. I tell them there is no luck about it, just hard work and a message that people believe in. The people in the 5th are struggling to make ends meet and they want someone who will fight for them. They want someone with the courage to stand up for regular folks and take on out of control corporate greed and Washington lobbyists. As I have traveled the district I have listened to story after story of medical care that is too expensive and jobs that pay too little. I have listened to veterans who can't get the help they need and college graduates saddled with enormous debt. I sit and listen as they pour their life stories out and I can relate. I know what it is like to have more month than money, to worry about health care costs and student loan debt. As we trade stories, I talk about the changes I want to see in Congress and by the end I have another supporter. Over the past 11 months I have met thousands and thousands of people at all kinds of events. The overwhelming message back to our campaign is “run, Jenny run!”  So, I am running, but I am not alone. We are building a top notch campaign team with more volunteers and donations coming in daily so that we can knock every last door in the district to get our message out. I believe that with hard work and our grassroots organizing we will win in 2018." 

Dan Canon is an exceptionally accomplished candidate running in Indiana, a state the DCCC fears and, when they even try-- always run a Blue Dog. Dan is far from a Blue Dog. "We are seeing on the ground," he told us, "genuine excitement for real progressive politics, not just with Democrats and Independents but also with Republicans and those who have never been involved or even voted before. With Indiana's abysmal voter turnout we know that if we get more people to vote, we win. Talking to over 40,000 voters already and registering over 4,500 new voters, we know that one-on-one conversations about progressive policies are what will win this race."

James Thompson was ignored by the DCCC and the Beltway elites when he ran in a special election this year. But he came incredibly close to flipping one of those "impossible" districts, this one in the Wichita area. He's running again and the DCCC is ignoring him again. (Fine... it's an opportunity to elect a real progressive instead of the kind of retrograde Blue Dog that Luhan and Pelosi would prefer.)

James told us that "Something is only impossible so long as people believe it is so. As long as you believe in your cause and are willing to work, nothing is out of reach. No state is too red. No precinct too Republican. As Nina Turner recently told me, we need to be “hard on issues and soft on people.”

"This battle is not between Republican and Democrat; that is their narrative. The battle for our country’s soul is between the privileged princes of Wall Street/corporate class and the working people of this country. Working people exist in both parties and we need to come together as one to take back the power the billionaire boys club siphoned from us for decades with tax breaks and loopholes. When We the People stand together nothing is impossible."

These kinds of seats, in a cycle like this, is exactly where the DCCC should be making big plays. They're not. But we can. Want to help? Every donation absolutely makes a difference.



Blue America Progressive Candidates Step Up In TX, IA, HI

Blue America endorsed 3 extraordinary new candidates for Congress last week:  

Kaniela Ing in Hawaii’s Honolulu seat, Austin Frerick in the district that stretches across southwest Iowa from the Omaha, Nebraska suburbs through Des Moines, and Lillian Salerno in the north Dallas Metro.

Aside from all being well-experienced progressives, all three have something else in common; all 3 are running populist campaigns shining a light on how monopolies hurt working families. In other words — trust-busters.

Kaniela Ing is the most progressive member of the Hawaii legislature:

“In today’s political climate, no entrepreneur looking to grow his or her business should ever consider voting Republican. The GOP’s pro-oligarchy agenda has rigged the American economy against both workers and the majority of business owners. A handful of multi-national corporation and Wall Street investment firms are seeing enormous gains, while everyday entrepreneurs are being hung out to dry. Now that the GOP controls Congress and the White House, it’s no wonder so many corporations are driving up prices, lowering wages, and shipping jobs overseas. The greatest threat to American innovation, small business, and a resilient economy is the monopolization of industries. Democrats must lead the fight to break apart monopolies and big banks, and build a future economy that leaves no one behind.”

Austin Frerick was an economist in Obama’s Treasury Department and he’s getting well known throughout western Iowa for taking on Monsanto. Monsanto noticed too — and their PAC is helping fund two candidates running against Frerick, a conservative Democrat, Theresa Greenfield, and an even more conservative Republican, David Young.

“I’m seeing this pattern of corruption that made me want to get into this race,” said Frerick. “Who’s going to look out for the farmer who’s facing rising seed costs when an incumbent congressman is beholden to Monsanto’s political action committee and the Democratic candidate is getting campaign contributions from one of Monsanto’s biggest lobbyists?” And Frerick makes a broad case against monopolies that go beyond just seed prices. He talks about cable service, pharmaceutical prices, and craft beer(!!) as universally relatable examples.

“Craft breweries are a great example of innovative new small businesses challenging monopolistic incumbents. More than 98% of all breweries are locally owned small businesses. These are the type of businesses that grow our local economies. But Anheuser-Busch InBev and MolsonCoors sell 71% of all beer in the US and they’ve set out the dominate the industry even more… And what’s happening in the beer industry is a microcosm for our economy at the moment. Economists across the political spectrum agree that monopolies harm small businesses and communities and also lead to higher costs and lower quality for consumers. Let’s allow craft breweries to thrive. If we want local small businesses to have a chance in the modern economy, we have to enforce our antitrust laws and stop barons like Anheuser-Busch from robbing us.”

Lillian Salerno has the same idea. She recently announced her candidacy for Texas’s 32nd Congressional District, which Pete Sessions has represented for 11 terms. A deputy undersecretary for rural development in the Department of Agriculture, she tells voters, “I had a front-row seat on the game being rigged.” She believes antitrust policy can make the economy more dynamic: New business creation has fallen dramatically in recent years, stifled by incumbent behemoths who either buy out or cripple the competition.

All three have competitive primaries in districts that are likely to go blue in 2018 — the one Hawaiian district is certain to stay blue —  so whoever wins the primary will be a member of Congress.

Primaries are crucial, especially because each of these candidates is being opposed by conservative, Republican-lite quasi-Democrats from the Republican wing of the Democratic Party. None of them are wealthy and all three are counting on grassroots help from people like us. I gave; can you consider doing the same?

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

 — Howie, for the entire Blue America team



14 California Republicans Just Handed Their Own Constituents A Big Tax Increase

IssaTrumpLoveScrewingNormalPeople.pngDarrell Issa may regret being Drumpf's BFF when November 2018 rolls around. Just sayin'.

Paul Ryan got a budget bill passed Thursday night, albeit very narrowly-- 216 to 212. Every single Democrat and 20 Republicans voted against it. And if just 3 more Republicans had voted NO it would have failed. Why should they have?

Well, passage allows for a quickie vote on Ryan's tax cuts for the rich-- which includes big tax increases for many middle class families. The worst hit will be middle class families in California, New York, New Jersey and other states with high state and local taxes. In some cases taxes will increase by $25,000 annually. That part of the Trump-Ryan tax bill is referred to as eliminating the state and local tax deduction. Lots of Republican congress members voted "no" in order to protect their constituents from these outrageous tax increases. BUT NOT ONE California Republican did.

There are 14 Republicans from California in Congress and none of them elected to join their Republican colleagues from New York and New Jersey who staged an attempt to force Ryan to keep the middle class deduction... NOT ONE.

Eric Bauman, Chairman of the California Democratic Party had this to say after the vote:

"In voting for the Donald Trump/Paul Ryan budget bill, every member of the CAGOP 14 voted to raise taxes on middle class and poor workers in Orange County, the Central Valley and all across California... just so they could give a huge tax cut to their billionaire paymasters and to appease Donald Trump. All 14 of them voted to take healthcare away from cancer patients and raise taxes on the rest of us, which they will turn around and hand to their ultra-rich patrons.

Darrell Issa, Dana Rohrabacher, Jeff Denham, David Valadao and the rest of their cronies are not just failing to do their jobs-- they're actively sticking it to millions of their own constituents, and hurting real people in the process. The people of California will not fall for this deceptive tax hike and the California Democratic Party intends to make sure every voter remembers this in 2018.”

All of the Orange County Republicans-- Darrell Issa, Ed Royce, Mimi Walters and Dana Rohrabacher-- are hanging on by a thread, so the collective decision to increase their constituents' annual tax bill is probably a very bad idea.

In fact, even long-shot red districts like CA-50 (Duncan Hunter) and CA-22 (Devin Nunes) look like they could be offering unexpected opportunities: the former because of an unexpected but likely indictment and the latter because of Putin-Gate.

Kia Hamadanchy, one of the progressives running against absentee-congresswoman Mimi Walters:

"It’s remarkable to me how out of touch Mimi Walters remains with the residents of our district. I am out everyday at events, community meetings, and rallies and the support for Trump is abysmal-- and I’m hearing that from Republicans and Independents, too. Yet just this week, Mimi told a reporter that, 'It is very important that Republicans back the President… He stands for what we stand for.' As far as I’m concerned, that means she stands with white supremacists and xenophobes and not the incredibly diverse and vibrant people of the district she is supposed to represent in Washington. If Mimi continues to be Trump’s rubber stamp, I don’t see any way she gets re-elected. She better start looking for her lobbying gig already."

When it comes to kitchen table issues, there is no one in Congress fighting more ardently for working families than Ro Khanna (D-CA). He's very interested in making sure Congress becomes bluer and more progressive. He told us after the vote that

"California Republicans are being forced to cast votes again and against against their constituents. They are having to choose between the people they represent and the Trump/Ryan agenda. As long as we run bold progressives who are rooted in the community and offer a positive vision, we should win many seats in California!

Nor is that tax deduction conundrum the only one of Trump's legislative proposals making reelection for the California GOP delegation look more and more like a long-shot. The Republican ultimate bête noire, ObamaCare, is not a bête noire for millions of California voters-- including in GOP-held districts-- who need it for their families. Efforts to repeal and replace Obamacare would lead millions of Californians to lose health coverage and premiums would skyrocket, according to the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office.

Low-income people that depend on Medi-Cal for their health care, many of whom live in the Central Valley, would be disproportionately affected. Three Republicans represent Central Valley districts that would suffer disproportionately: Denham, Valadao and Nunes.

And there are more issues that find California Republicans on the wrong side of the fence-- from immigration to deadly military equipment being sold for private use. Trump’s polarizing effect on California’s electorate underscores the balancing act for Republicans headed into 2018.

Opportunities like this do not happen every cycle, or even every 4 cycles. We cannot let them get away. Will you contribute what you can today to the candidates on our page for making California more Progressively Blue?

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

--Howie, for the entire Blue America team



The Most Important Primaries Of 2018

If you've been with Blue America for enough years, you'll remember the excruciating battles we backed for Donna Edwards, Beto O'Rourke and Matt Cartwright when they took on corrupt old conservative Democrats in, respectively, Maryland, Texas and Pennsylvania. All three, running as reformers and progressives, prevailed. But there is nothing in politics more difficult, no task more painful-- and few as important-- as taking on an entrenched incumbent of one's own party.

Each of those districts was solidly blue and the only possible accountability for bad behavior could come in the form of a primary. No Republican was ever going to beat Al Wynn in Prince George's County (D+28), Sylvestre Reyes in El Paso (D+17) or even Tim Holden in northeast Pennsylvania (D+4).

All three had become untreated cancers on the Democratic Party but the institutional party circled the wagons around each to ward off the reformers. It was very painful for each of them, especially Matt and Donna who were screamed at and lambasted by the Democratic Party leadership. Pelosi and Hoyer raised money for the incumbents and spread malicious and malevolent lies about the challengers. 

Blue America is backing progressives in a dozen primary races, but they're not primaries against incumbents; they're primaries among challengers vying for the nomination to beat a Republican. In an ideal world, every Blue Dog, every New Dem and every unaffiliated conservaDem would have to justify themselves to their voters every two years in issues-based primaries. But this year we've only found 4 so far that we've gotten involved with-- in other words, plausible races against exceptionally bad Democrats by exceptionally good Democrats.

These are the four races:

• FL-23, Tim Canova taking on Debbie Wassermann Schultz
• TX-29, Hector Morales taking on Gene Green
• IL-03, Marie Newman taking on Dan Lipinski
• NY-14, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez taking on Joe Crowley

Crowley, perhaps the most overtly corrupt Democrat in Congress, was the head of the Wall Street-owned New Dems before he was tapped by increasingly feeble-minded Pelosi and Hoyer to run the party after they're gone. It's almost impossible to imagine anything worse happening to the Democratic Party.  Although... Debbie Wassermann Schultz taking over the party-- once a distinct possibility (she's now more likely to take over a prison block)-- might be worse.

Lipinski is just a garden variety Blue Dog: anti-Choice, homophobic, xenophobic, and a pawn of his corporate donors. He's a co-chair of the House Blue Dog caucus and votes far more against crucial progressive legislation with the Republicans than with the Democrats. Gene Green, who represents an impoverished 77% Hispanic district in East Houston, including some of the most polluted areas of America, polluted, we should note by Green's campaign contributors, whose interests he diligently serves.

Dislodging the Republicans from control of the House is everyone's first priority. Getting rid of corrupt Democrats who make the party less attractive to voters who hate the Republicans and who perpetrate the myth that the Democrats can never be better than the lesser of two evils, should also be a priority.

Please consider contributing what you can to the special page Blue America has set up specifically to raise funds for progressive challengers to the worst of the congressional conservaDems. I hope there will be more before the cycle concludes, but this is a pretty impressive group so far.

Hector Morales, for example, is a school teacher in Houston who thinks it's time to hold Green accountable for the pollution that has been making school children in his district sick year after year. "After sitting in Congress for 25 years representing special interests," he told us, "it is beyond time to replace this corporate shill with someone who will always place the people first and will not make a career out of being a member of Congress. We can and will do better in March when we defeat Gene Green in the Democratic Primary for the 29th Congressional District of Texas."

Upgrading the Democratic Party is as essential and banishing the GOP from control of the House. It will help break a cycle where the voters go back and forth on which party is really the lesser of two evils.



No Trump.NoKKK.NoFascist USA!--Win A Signed Green Day Guitar/Help Randy Bryce Beat Paul Ryan

The American Music Awards aren't supposed to be "political," so when Green Day tweaked the words on their new song, "Bang Bang," adding "No Trump, No KKK, No Fascist USA," it may have caught some viewers by surprise. But not iron worker, union organizer and Wisconsin Green Day fan Randy Bryce. "As usual, Billy Joe Armstrong was just a little ahead of his time," he told us when we talked about the upcoming Blue America Green Day guitar giveaway. "I love bands that express their angst in music."

When residents know who Randy Bryce is and who Paul Ryan is, Randy wins and Ryan loses. The contributions at this stage of the campaign are mostly to make sure voters do know who Randy Bryce is. And you can make a contribution-- and make yourself eligible to win the Green Day guitar-- right here.

In tribute to Billie's spirit, I took a sleek black Stratocaster guitar (a Fender Squire Bullet Strat) that Green Day autographed for me while I was president of their label and decided to use it to raise some campaign funds for Randy's campaign for the congressional seat Paul Ryan is operating out of. You can see a photo of the guitar, of Randy holding the guitar, on the right in the contribution box.

Everyone who contributes here-- any amount-- to Randy Bryce's campaign has an equal chance to get the "thank you" guitar from Blue America. We'll pick one person at random. If you give $1,000 you get a chance to get the guitar. If you give $10 you get the same chance to get the guitar. (Yes, we're Democrats, not Republicans; that's how we roll. In fact, if you don't have the cash to give and you want the guitar, just send a note to us at Blue America, P.O. Box 27201. Los Angeles, CA 90027 and you'll have the same chance as everyone else.)

Many contributors want to know if their contribution will help. There are no guarantees of course, that Randy will win, but polling shows that the residents of WI-01 want a new Congressmember; Ryan's reelect numbers are only 44%.

When residents know who Randy Bryce is and who Paul Ryan is, Randy wins and Ryan loses. The contributions at this stage of the campaign are mostly to make sure voters do know who Randy Bryce is. And you can make a contribution-- and make yourself eligible to win the Green Day guitar-- right here.

Meanwhile, Connor Touhey, in yesterday's Badger Herald points out that, "in large part due to gerrymandering, Speaker Ryan’s margin of victory in the past two elections was massive. His ability to garner national attention as Speaker of the House makes him popular in the state, especially since many see him as a 'moderate' willing to try and work with Democrats to solve problems. On top of that, any perceived threat to such a big name in the Republican Party will undoubtedly bring in millions of dollars in political contributions. Paul Ryan should be unbeatable, but he isn’t. Despite his position of power, the Speaker’s inability to connect with his own constituents makes him vulnerable.

As a U.S. Representative, Paul Ryan’s first responsibility is to answer to the constituents of his district. I am one of those constituents, and trust me, he has no interest in listening to what any of us have to say.

Seriously, try calling his office. Ten times out of ten you’ll sent to voicemail. Ryan recently held his first “Town Hall” meeting back in Wisconsin, except it wasn’t a public event. Those who wanted to attend had to apply, ultimately leaving the decision on attendees in the hands of CNN. It’s antics like these that leave Speaker Ryan so vulnerable.

Being unable to even speak to those you have elected will irritate just about any constituency, but in a place like Wisconsin, where access to our officials is especially important to us, it’s disgraceful. Add in a stagnant legislative agenda despite a national mandate for Republicans, the farce that is the Foxconn deal and his continuing role as the president’s court jester, and Speaker Ryan’s next race might be the closest of his career, if not the upset many are already predicting. All Democrats need now is a quality candidate to speed up this race.

The thing is, Randy Bryce is a really good candidate. As an army veteran, cancer survivor and iron worker, Bryce represents the kind of person many believe Paul Ryan continues to screw over in Washington. His life experiences give him firsthand knowledge of the military, our healthcare system and everyday life as a blue collar worker from a personal perspective.

Consider that Bryce is the ultimate picture of modern rustbelt American, and he may have a fighting chance. No, seriously, go look at a picture of the guy. Bryce often has this steely expression on his face, with a fantastic mustache, hardhat and work clothes to back it up.

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

--Howie, for the entire Blue America team

You can contribute to our Senate candidates on this page, our House candidates on this page, and to the brave candidates who are challenging a Blue Dog on this page.



Remember Virginia Foxx? Meet Jenny Marshall, Her Progressive Challenger

Blue America

My name is Jenny Marshall, and I’m running for Congress in North Carolina’s 5th District.  I am a teacher, a wife, a mom to seven kids, an educational advocate, and a progressive who is working to unseat Republican Incumbent Rep. Virginia Foxx.

As a mom and a teacher, I am no stranger to putting others first. I taught in a Title I priority school in Winston-Salem’s urban center.  I spent many nights after school helping struggling students, making sure they had lunch when their accounts were short and winter coats when the weather turned cold. I was always looking for ways to help my students and our community.  My advocacy has never been limited to my classroom-- I have devoted thousands of hours to grassroots organizing for progressive candidates and causes because I believe in a better future for all of us. I’ve invested a lot in this community, so when the worst-case scenario happened last November, I decided that I needed to up my game-- I had to run for Congress.

Foxx has worked to stifle collective bargaining, prevent fair wages, and allow employers to tread on worker’s rights. Most recently, she approved of Donald Trump’s order to roll back Obama-era protections for women and minority workers. Well, I’ve had enough of Virginia Foxx’s attack on American workers, and I think we ought to do something about it. The first order of business is unseating Virginia Foxx and her GOP allies who work in lockstep to disadvantage American workers at every turn.

I chose to run for Congress because there aren’t enough people in office who truly understand the problems that we face as working and middle class Americans. Most of the people in Congress don’t know what it’s like to worry about medical bills or to work a minimum wage job. They are out of touch, and they consistently fail to meet the needs of their constituents. Like many of you, I’m tired of politicians who don’t understand our needs and never bother to ask. 

When citizens all over the country can’t make an honest living off of $7.25, we have a problem. When our student debt has soared to over $1 trillion in the past seven years while the top 25 hedge-fund managers are making more than all of America’s kindergarten teachers combined, we have a problem. When people can’t afford to see a doctor or fill their prescriptions, we have a problem. In my district, over 50% of constituents are low-income or below the poverty level-- that is unacceptable. What’s worse is that the GOP and Virginia Foxx are doing nothing to solve these problems. In fact, they do all that they can to keep systems of inequity alive and well. They have consistently voted against our best interests in order to line their own pockets, and they’ve profited off of our hardships for far too long.

Corporatism and greed continue to empower career politicians like Virginia Foxx to rob the hardworking citizens of this country, and I’ve had enough. If we want to truly fix the problems that surround us, we have to start with repairing the broken and corrupt economy that enforces our country’s most vile systems of inequity. 

But for this campaign to really take off, it has to be about us-- all of us. It has to be about people of color, women, LGBTQ+ folks, immigrants, workers, and parents all working together to turn the tide in the people’s favor. This campaign is about reforming our current system from the inside out to create a collective vision for America’s future that works for all of us. Because right now, under Republican leadership, our future is dim. 

It’s high time we say no more. No more to turning a blind eye to those among us who are struggling. No more corporatism, no more tax cuts for the rich, and no more obscene spending on defense and fossil fuels while programs like Medicaid and social security sit by the wayside. In Washington, we will fight for working families and small business owners. We will fight for economic prosperity, for social and environmental justice, and for the equality of all people. 

When we come together to combat economic injustices, we will propel movements that fight against racism, sexism, homophobia, and other forms of bigotry. Let us not forget that the Prison Industrial Complex exists not only to oppress people of color but to line the pockets of some of country’s wealthiest elite. Let’s remember that while white women make $73 cents on every dollar that a white man makes, women of color make markedly less than that. Let’s be mindful that LGBTQ+ identified people are excluded from non-discrimination ordinances and can legally be refused housing, loans, and other avenues of support in many states and cities. Some of the most obvious social problems stem from one, central source: greedy corporate elites willing to do whatever-- and oppress whoever-- they can to make a profit.

I know that the key to winning is to build a strong, grassroots movement. That’s why I am asking for your support. I need individuals like you to help us win by joining our campaign. I resigned as a teacher to run for Congress. I resigned to stand up for justice and represent the working people and the most vulnerable of our communities. Donate now to invest in our future, and let’s resign to win in 2018!

-Jenny

Howie: if you’d like to follow Jenny's campaign, you can do so on Facebook and Twitter.

You can contribute to our Senate candidates on this page, our House candidates on this page, and to the brave Voices of the Resistance on this page



Blue America's Newest Endorsed Candidate Derrick Crowe

Blue America

Blue America has been busily vetting new congressional candidates since spring. Sometimes it takes a while since we don't base our endorsements on questionnaires but, rather, on "getting to know" the candidates and what they stand for and what their capabilities are. We've certainly gotten to know Derrick Crowe, our newest endorsee-- a progressive Texas Democrat who is running a campaign based on what he wants to do to represent the interests of TX-21 working families in Congress.

Derrick's perspective on the battle over healthcare is just what we're looking for at Blue America as well: "Health care should be a right in this country, not a privilege. Unfortunately, the bills the GOP has put on the table over the past several months would let us get sick, go bankrupt, and die early just so they and their rich friends can have tax cuts. That’s a stark vision. We have to answer that with an equally powerful vision: an America where everyone gets the care they need, achieved through Medicare For All."

The district stretches from north San Antonio up through a corridor past New Braunfels and San Marcos into Downtown Austin almost to UT,  then west into the Hill Country. It was drawn to minimize the solidly blue Travis County vote, but last year Trump underperformed past GOP nominees and barely won a majority (52.5%) in the district.

Derrick is up against one of Congress' worst-- Lamar Smith, a decrepit Science denier who Paul Ryan put in charge of the House Science Committee, where he has labored to undermine every effort to combat Climate Change. Derrick reminded us that he was also "Trump’s first donor in Congress, and thanks to him and his fossil fuel backers, every year my son has been alive has been the hottest year on Earth. I will not stand by while he ruins my son’s future. Mr. Smith has contributed to and lived off of this ugly, rigged system for three decades while the rest of us paid the price. Well, I’ve got news for him: we’re done paying."

Derrick has a very different vision of Climate Change than Smith, Trump and EPA administrator Scott Pruitt do. "A free, prosperous, just future depends on a stable environment. Climate change is already triggering severe impacts, as the recent draft climate report put it, ‘from the top of the atmosphere to the bottom of the sea.’ Folks in my district have already suffered through one of the clearest examples of a climate-change-driven disaster in the floods of 2015. More is on the way. We must act now to get carbon emissions down by electrifying our energy use, switching to renewables, and ratcheting up efficiency standards. If we do that rapidly, we have a chance to save the future."

My first experience with Derrick goes back to when George W. Bush was president.  Derrick was the organizing force behind Brave New Film's "Rethink Afghanistan" project. What I've learned in all the years since: He has a visceral understanding of progressive issues and appears to be someone who will be more than just a "good vote" in Congress, but someone-- like Pramila Jayapal, Ted Lieu and Ro Khanna can come forward as a natural thought leader.

He's certainly running his campaign that way:

"We are organizing around the solid, time-tested values of 'Liberty and Justice. For All.' Those principles are the heart of our democracy, and I’m tired of watching corporate-backed career politicians like Smith drag them through the mud," he explained to me yesterday. "Liberty means that your choices matter. It means that monopolies and corporate bosses can’t kill your small business dreams and pick your politicians for you. Justice means that trillions in financial fraud will send you to jail, a gram of marijuana doesn’t ruin your life, and that when you put in a full day’s work, you get paid a living wage. Liberty and justice for all means we respect every person and relationship, and we don’t target people for deportation or incarceration or harassment based on the color of their skin, their gender identity, or their sexual orientation."

Taking back Congress means making inroads in districts like Texas' 21st,  despite the gerrymandering. With an extraordinary candidate like Derrick it's a winnable seat, especially as more and more independent voters and even mainstream Republicans continue to sour on Trump and his enablers, like Lamar Smith, in Congress.

Please help us welcome Derrick to the Blue America ActBlue page by contributing what you can to his campaign. 

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

--Howie, for the entire Blue America team

You can contribute to our Senate candidates on this page, our House candidates on this page, and to the brave Voices of the Resistance on this page.



Why Is One Of America's Top Cancer Researchers Running For Congress? Meet Jason Westin

The DCCC hasn't seriously contested Texas' 7th congressional district since 1966 when George H.W. Bush beat ultra-conservative Harris Co. District Attorney Frank Briscoe (D) to become the first-ever Republican to represent Houston. It's been a deep red district ever since... or at least until Trump came along and started waking people up. Last year Hillary beat Trump in this R+13 district-- 48.5% to 47.1%. Trump did almost 13 points worse than Romney had done in the well-off, minority-majority west Houston congressional district.

This year there's a crowded primary of Democrats eager to take on Trump and Ryan rubber-stamp John Culberson. Jason Westin's enthusiastic and well-reasoned support for Medicare-For-All differentiates him not just from Culberson but from the other primary candidates running in his district.

Jason Westin for TX07: "The Pew Research Center reported 60% of Americans believe the federal government is responsible for providing healthcare coverage to all Americans. This is an astounding number. Moving to a Medicare-for-all system could do more than just insure all Americans, it could tackle the unsustainable rising costs of prescription medications and healthcare, and even more importantly, make us healthier and more secure. Greater access to care and a real focus on prevention of and finding cures for dreaded diseases, would reduce long term costs and increase American productivity and longevity. We should increase funding for research from public sources and have less reliance on for profit organizations. We have a true opportunity to build upon the legacy of the Medicare and Medicaid platform, and we must seize this moment. America does great things, like leaving our world and setting foot on our moon, why can’t we do great things for something as fundamental as our healthcare?"

After Dr. David Gill (IL-13), Jason Westin is the second politically progressive physician Blue America is backing in 2018. His experience as a cancer doctor has created in him a passionate belief that healthcare in a human right.

Below are excerpts from a guest post he wrote for DownWithTyranny today:

"In my career as a doctor, I’ve seen many incredible things across the full spectrum of the human experience. I vividly remember my first patient that recovered after a critical illness, and sadly my first patient that did not. As an award winning researcher at the top-rated cancer center in the world, I remember my first patient whose cancer went into remission on a clinical trial I designed, wrote, and lead, and others who were less fortunate. Those experiences motivate me to fight for my patients, to find new treatments and new cures, and to refuse to be satisfied with the status quo. The doctor-patient relationship is truly unique: patients share with their doctors things they would not tell anyone else, and in exchange doctors make decisions that determine the fate of their patients’ lives. It is an awesome responsibility.

Unfortunately, my ability to provide the best care for my patients is frequently not up to me. Too often my plans are blocked by a for-profit insurance company denying to pay for my patient’s treatment plan. Most medical practices have a large team dedicated solely to navigating the complex insurance claims approval process, often with seemingly random results. This makes healthcare less efficient and effective. The amount of time, effort, and money wasted dealing with paperwork or appealing denials of universally accepted standard care is truly astounding. How much money is wasted? The Center for Economic and Policy Research calculated that the American healthcare system spends over $100 Billion each year on private insurance overhead costs, 12 times more than Medicare spends on operating costs. This spending is completely wasted money that does nothing to make people healthier. If another industry found that it had a $100 Billion dollar per year inefficiency, it would be corrected faster than Mr. Trump could tweet about it being SAD! But for profit insurance companies have no motivation to correct this waste of their consumers’ money-- it reinforces their stated need for high costs. The bottom line is this: insurance companies are motivated to maximize profits and bonuses for their executives, not to improve our health.

The Affordable Care Act, or ObamaCare, has been a step forward, but still leaves nearly 30 million Americans without coverage. Due to a refusal to expand Medicaid, the uninsured rate in Texas is 16%, the worst in the nation for three years in a row. Career Congressman John Culberson (R, TX-07) voted dozens of times to “repeal and replace” the ACA, and “absolutely” supported and voted for the TrumpCare bill. Sadly, despite seven years of sloganeering, Culberson has no serious solutions to our healthcare system. The ACA is not a perfect solution, but it did slow the rapid growth of healthcare costs. However, it has not impacted medication prices, use of treatments or testing are not of significant value, or lifestyle choices many of us make that lead to poor health. As a doctor, I know that we can do better.

I believe that healthcare is a human right and the best way to fulfill this duty is a “Medicare for all” single-payer system. Medicare and Medicaid cover nearly 125 million Americans, 33% of our population, but more can be done. The United States is the wealthiest nation in the history of the world, but is the only developed country without universal healthcare. Critics will ask “how can we afford a single-payer system?”. I ask, “How can we afford not to change our current approach?”. We spend more than any other country in the world per person on healthcare, over $9000 each year and rising, but rank 28th in healthcare outcomes according to the United Nations. Despite spending this fortune, we rank behind Andorra, Luxembourg, Malta, Cyprus, Brunei, and Solvenia. Why do we pay more for less? The price of prescription drugs, inefficiencies in insurance, and a lack of prevention and cure of chronic illnesses are all a part, and they are only getting worse. The United States healthcare system today reminds me of my patients from the Equal Access clinic: we know that our problems are getting worse, but we feel powerless to act. It is obvious that our current system of rising costs and mediocre outcomes is not sustainable, and the only viable way to improve our health and control our costs for the long term is universal healthcare.

If your doctor continued to use the same failing treatments over and over, you would find another doctor. Our leaders in Washington are elected by the people to lead, and if they refuse lead on healthcare, we should elect leaders who will. I’m running for Congress because I know that healthcare is a human right and that’s worth fighting for.”

My own oncologist, the doctor who saved my life, has worked on research with Jason and she vouches for him and has urged Blue America to help elect him to Congress. I've never known her to be wrong about anything.

Please consider contributing to his campaign here at the Blue America Act Blue page.

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

--Howie, for the entire Blue America team

You can contribute to our Senate candidates on this page, our House candidates on this page, and to the brave Voices of the Resistance on this page



A More progressive Democratic Party In Rahm's Chicago? Why Not!

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Credit: Slovik

One of the hardest and most thankless tasks in electoral politics is primarying an entrenched incumbent of one's own party. No matter how corrupt and awful the incumbent, the party establishment always rallies round the colleague and heaps abuse on the challenger. If in fact they overcome the odds and win, these challengers become among the most courageous and heroic members of Congress, as former Blue America candidates Matt Cartwright (PA), Hilda Solis (CA) and Donna Edwards (MD) were after they challenged and beat corrupt conservative Democrats who had gone bad.  

Today there's a race like that shaping up in a blue Chicagoland district, (Hillary beat Trump there 55.2% to 39.9%) between execrable far right Blue Dog Dan Lipinski and a constituent who has had quite enough of him, Marie Newman.

Lipinski, who inherited his seat from his father (before most voters even knowing his father had retired) is an anti-Choice fanatic who voted against the Affordable Care Act and has been one of the only "Democrats" in Congress to consistently support Ryan's toxic agenda.

Medicare-For-All? Dan Lipinski is one of the Blue Dogs standing in the way of HR 676, AKA The Expanded & Improved Medicare For All Act, (which has 115 Real Democratic Member co-signers and counting) becoming actual Democratic Party policy. Marie is running on a platform that emphasizes it:

"Health care is a right and shouldn't be dependent on how much money you make," she told us when we talked to her about her campaign."I support Medicare-for-All because every American deserves high-quality health care. As Republicans work to dismantle the little progress we've made towards health care for all, my opponent sits silent... in fact, voting against the ACA. We should be moving forward, not backwards when it comes to health care for all Americans.”

In 12 years as a Chicagoland congressman, Lipinski is still a Tennessean at heart and has been completely detached from his district and his own constituents. Once every two years, he claims to be there for working class voters, but his voting record shows he's done nothing for them and has no understanding of who they are and what they need. He's the ultimate careerist and for him, politics is all about what he can get, not what he can do for his district's residents.

Marie told us that "Working families must be Congress's number one priority. It's time for a set of common-sense policy solutions to ease the burden on middle-class families. That means increasing the minimum wage to a livable wage, making child care more affordable, and improving the quality of education-- from Pre-K to community college."

Dan Lipinski is part of an antediluvian machine and seeks only to please his donors. Marie Newman comes from a very different place, and we're very glad that she's stepped up and pledges to represent actual people who live in her district:

"We all know money in politics has gotten out of control, and I've had the opportunity to witness is firsthand: my opponent gets 70% of his donations from special interests. It's time to reverse the corrosive effects Citizens United has had on our political system and limit the power of corporations in influencing our elections. To practice what I preach, I'm refusing to take any money from corporations."

Last week, Lipinski sat down with Ted Slowik, a respected local journalist with the Daily Southtown. Although Slowik pointed out that the vast majority of Americans-- 89%, in a recent Gallup poll-- consider using birth control to be morally acceptable, Lipinski is so ignorant and out of touch, that he believes birth control is "intrinsically evil."

Isn't it about damned time Democrats in the third district have a chance to elect someone who represents them? This guy is a DINO in two ways: a Democrat in name only and a real dinosaur!

Please join Blue America in supporting Marie Newman's campaign.



North Carolina Needs Our Help

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We want to make a different kind of case for our two progressive congressional candidates in North Carolina, Jenny Marshall-- who's opposing Virginia Foxx-- and Matt Coffay-- who's up against Freedom Caucus headman Mark Meadows. Normally we'd tell you about how extreme Foxx and Meadows are (and they sure are-- two of the very worst) and how awesome Jenny and Matt are (also a very accurate assessment). But today we want to make a special plea for the great state of North Carolina.

Our sisters and brothers in North Carolina are in deep trouble. As Michael Wines explained in the NY Times last week, the GOP has thrown away the rule book and is undermining democracy more overtly than any state in America ever has. The Supreme Court has ruled twice last month that the state's election laws are overtly racist and unconstitutional. The state's Republican leaders don't care what the Supreme Court says and "since November, when Attorney General Roy Cooper, a Democrat, reclaimed the governor’s office from the incumbent Republican, Pat McCrory, Republicans have redoubled their efforts to keep the levers of state government and state courts in their control."

The state Republican Party is not concerned with the rule of law-- other than their own perverted and unconstitutional laws. “What we’re seeing in North Carolina is an effort at political entrenchment that is unparalleled,” said Allison Riggs, a senior staff lawyer at the Southern Coalition for Social Justice, a Durham advocacy group that sued Republican leaders over the election law. “It requires a complete disregard for the will of the voters and political participation, and a disregard for the independence of the judiciary.”

A special session in December stripped the governor of most power to appoint state employees and university trustees, choose a cabinet without legislative approval and install majorities on state and local election boards. The latter move was stayed, pending a trial.

Now the legislators are taking aim at the state judicial system. In December, after voters elected a Democratic majority to the nominally nonpartisan State Supreme Court, the legislature expanded the jurisdiction of the Republican-led Court of Appeals and made the legal path toward other Supreme Court hearings more tortuous. Last month, Republicans voted to shrink the Court of Appeals by barring replacement of the next three retiring judges, denying Mr. Cooper a chance to nominate successors.

Foxx's and Meadows' districts are very gerrymandered and pretty red, respectively with PVIs of R+11 and R+13. Trump took 57.4% in Foxx's district and 63.2% in Meadows' district. But that had more to do with Hillary than with Republicanism. Bernie beat Hillary in Meadows' district and in every part of Foxx's district except Winston-Salem. These areas are looking for an authentic solution to the problems of working families.

Matt Coffay told us that "Last December, the Electoral Integrity Project-- which has monitored and scored elections in 153 countries-- ranked North Carolina's election integrity score at 58 out of 100. This places us alongside Cuba, Indonesia, and Sierra Leone. But when it comes to our voting districts, we received a 7/100 score. As the Charlotte News & Observer reported, 'North Carolina is not only the worst state in the USA for unfair districting but the worst entity in the world ever analyzed by the Electoral Integrity Project.' The worst in the world. That's where North Carolina stands."

I have hope that the cases currently before the Supreme court-- from both Wisconsin and North Carolina-- alleging unconstitutional partisan gerrymandering will be decided in such a way as to force a fair redrawing of our state's districts. But we have to keep talking about this issue, and keep fighting. When I'm elected to Congress, I intend to be a vocal critic of gerrymandering. Just like our broken campaign finance system, it dramatically endangers our democracy."

 

North Carolina Democrats have been fighting back and organizing, but they cannot do it alone. The political temperature there is on fire-- the people are hungry for the change Jenny and Matt's representation can bring. If possible, please consider making a donation to their campaigns today.




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