Randy Bryce Won Tuesday-- Now The Hard Part Begins

Tuesday's primaries in Connecticut, Vermont, Wisconsin and Minnesota added up to a very good day for Democrats and for progressives up and down the tickets. In every state and in every contested congressional election, far more votes were cast in Democratic races than in Republican races. That's a clear indication of Democratic enthusiasm and Republican lack thereof. 

Let's take Vermont, a state that went for Hillary, and Wisconsin, a state that went for Trump, as examples. Both states had highly contested gubernatorial races. Democrats overwhelmingly nominated progressive Christine Hallquist in a 4-way contest. The Republican race pitted popular incumbent Phil Scott against a far right challenger backed by the NRA. Not only did Hallquist, a transgender woman, win more votes than Scott, but 57,102 voters participated in the Democratic primary, while only 35,840 bothered to show up for the Republican primary. 

In Wisconsin, 537,840 voters showed up for the Democratic primary but just 456,007 came for the GOP primary, where GOP incumbent Scott Walker is polling significantly under State Superintendent of Education, Tony Evers, who won the Democratic primary.

And in the big congressional races, progressives won the day-- Ilhan Omar in Minnesota, Jahana Hayes (who faced down a Chamber of Commerce establishment shill) in Connecticut, and Randy "IronStache" Bryce in southeast Wisconsin. 

There's a good chance that the first time you heard about Randy it was from us. Why would I say that? We helped the Working Families Party and state Senator Scott Larson recruit him to run long before the DCCC had ever heard about him. He was "just" a grassroots veterans and union leader activist at the time. But he was the answer to our decades-long prayers about finding someone who could stand up to Paul Ryan. Bryce didn't only stand up to Paul Ryan, he built a brand and a campaign team for himself that drove Ryan, speaker of the House, out of the race.

After the primary results showed a 20 point win-- and showed more Democrats coming to the WI-01 polls than Republicans-- Bryce wrote that "I’d really like to take the opportunity to thank Blue America for all of the incredible help getting us to where we are today. This wouldn’t be possible without amazing people doing amazing things."

"Next stop," he continued, "is to take out Paul Ryan’s handpicked successor. He claims to be a 'manufacturer.' Truth is-- he’s a corporate lawyer who outsourced American jobs to Mexico and China. Trump recently tweeted out an endorsement for him. I really hope he comes to campaign for him."

Like in most districts across the country, voters have an opportunity to get even with Republicans for what they've done to us, while Randy Bryce is telling Wisconsinites what he plans to do for them. "The top issue in the district," he told us, "is health care. It’s really heartbreaking to listen to someone say that they can’t afford to live. Health care isn’t a privilege and I’m going to fight like hell to make sure that we get Medicare-for-All passed. There IS enough to go around but we need to stop giving the wealthiest donors all of the breaks and help out those who do the work."

Needless to say, by Wednesday Ryan's SuperPAC had already started spending big to smear Randy. "It’s not a surprise-- we knew they were coming," he said. "The Republicans don’t have any ideas that help us so it’s all that they have left. It just keeps the batteries charged and makes me want to work even harder. Again-- thank you! I wouldn’t be where I am today if not for you."

But now the hard work starts. Ryan's SuperPAC is slated to spend as much as $5 million dollars against Randy. They were already spending during the primary in the hope of knocking him out then. That didn't work. Nor did it deter them from pushing the Ryan clone they picked as their candidate, Bryan Steil. Goal Thermometer

Please help Randy get through the next two-and-a-half months and take back Wisconsin's first congressional district for working men and women instead of for the rich and privileged. There's a reason why Bernie picked Randy as his first candidate to endorse and why he picked Racine as the first city he campaigned in for a congressional candidate. He wants to see Randy Bryce in Congress. If you do too, please consider contributing what you can by clicking on the 2018 Blue America congressional thermometer on the right.

The DCCC begs candidates to not include controversial issues on their websites. Randy Bryce has done the exact opposite-- straight talk from someone who plans to work in Congress reforming it. Check out his campaign platform here.

Let's take Vermont, a state that went for Hillary, and Wisconsin, a state that went for Trump, as examples. Both states had highly contested gubernatorial races. Democrats overwhelmingly nominated progressive Christine Hallquist in a 4-way contest. The Republican race pitted popular incumbent Phil Scott against a far right challenger backed by the NRA. Not only did Hallquist, a transgender woman, win more votes than Scott, but 57,102 voters participated in the Democratic primary, while only 35,840 bothered to show up for the Republican primary.

In Wisconsin, 537,840 voters showed up for the Democratic primary but just 456,007 came for the GOP primary, where GOP incumbent Scott Walker is polling significantly under State Superintendent of Education, Tony Evers, who won the Democratic primary.

And in the big congressional races, progressives won the day-- Ilhan Omar in Minnesota, Jahana Hayes (who faced down a Chamber of Commerce establishment shill) in Connecticut, and Randy "IronStache" Bryce in southeast Wisconsin.

There's a good chance that the first time you heard about Randy it was from us. Why would I say that? We helped the Working Families Party and state Senator Chris Larson recruit him to run long before the DCCC had ever heard about him. He was "just" a grassroots veterans and union leader activist at the time. But he was the answer to our decades-long prayers about finding someone who could stand up to Paul Ryan. Bryce didn't only stand up to Paul Ryan, he built a brand and a campaign team for himself that drove Ryan, speaker of the House, out of the race.

After the primary results showed a 20 point win-- and showed more Democrats coming to the WI-01 polls than Republicans-- Bryce wrote that "I’d really like to take the opportunity to thank Blue America for all the incredible help getting us to where we are today. This wouldn’t be possible without amazing people doing amazing things."

"Next stop," he continued, "is to take out Paul Ryan’s handpicked successor. He claims to be a 'manufacturer.' Truth is-- he’s a corporate lawyer who outsourced American jobs to Mexico and China. Trump recently tweeted out an endorsement for him. I really hope he comes to campaign for him."

Like in most districts across the country, voters have an opportunity to get even with Republicans for what they've done to us, while Randy Bryce is telling Wisconsinites what he plans to do for them. "The top issue in the district," he told us, "is health care. It’s really heartbreaking to listen to someone say that they can’t afford to live. Health care isn’t a privilege and I’m going to fight like hell to make sure that we get Medicare-for-All passed. There IS enough to go around but we need to stop giving the wealthiest donors all of the breaks and help out those who do the work."Goal Thermometer

Needless to say, by Wednesday Ryan's SuperPAC had already started spending big to smear Randy. "It’s not a surprise-- we knew they were coming," he said. "The Republicans don’t have any ideas that help us so it’s all that they have left. It just keeps the batteries charged and makes me want to work even harder. Again-- thank you! I wouldn’t be where I am today if not for you."

But now, the hard work starts.

Ryan's SuperPAC is slated to spend as much as $5 million dollars against Randy. They were already spending during the primary in the hope of knocking him out then. That didn't work. Nor did it deter them from pushing the Ryan clone they picked as their candidate, Bryan Steil.

There's a reason why Bernie picked Randy as his first candidate to endorse and why he picked Racine as the first city he campaigned in for a congressional candidate. He wants to see Randy Bryce in Congress. If you do too, please consider contributing what you can by clicking on the 2018 Blue America congressional thermometer up on the right.

Please help Randy get through the next two-and-a-half months and take back Wisconsin's first congressional district for working men and women instead of for the rich and privileged.

The DCCC begs candidates to not include controversial issues on their websites. Randy Bryce has done the exact opposite-- straight talk from someone who plans to work in Congress reforming it. Check out his campaign platform here.

So, it's 'ON like DONKEY KONG' in WI-01. Are you ready to fight? Here's where to start.

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

Howie, for the entire Blue America team



DCCC Still Refusing To Back Progressive Primary Winners

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Credit: The Jimmy Dore Show on YouTube

Last Tuesday, one of the most promising candidates running for governor, Abdul El-Sayed of Michigan, lost his race. I tweeted that he ran a great campaign but that it was now time to get behind Gretchen Whitmer and help her defeat Trump's hand-picked extremist candidate Bill Schuette. One of the first people to "like" my tweet was Abdul. Whitmer might not be my kind of candidate-- nor his-- but she's the legitimately nominated Democrat-- and the only way to stop Schuette.

After the congressional races on the same day, the DCCC added some of the winners to their Red-to-Blue page... but not the progressives who won. This is outrageous.

On Tuesday, James Thompson won an astounding 65.3% in his Wichita-based district, a nearly two-to-one victory. He congratulated his opponent on a well-run campaign and she did likewise and now Democrats in the 4th district are united and working towards defeating Ron Estes. Although not with the DCCC, who is, once again, refusing to recognize Thompson as a candidate.

Likewise in southwest Michigan, the progressive in the race, Matt Longjohn, came in a strong first in a 4-way race. He beat the establishment fave, wealthy lobbyist George Franklin, 37% to 29% with the other progressive in the race, Dave Benac, taking 21%. Democrats in MI-06 are unified now in their determination to defeat Fred Upton-- but not the DCCC. Longjohn was recognized by President Obama as one of America's best physicians calling him one of the "top healthcare innovators in America." Not good enough for the DCCC, which is still pouting that a wealthy conservative lobbyist like Franklin didn't win.

This isn't new to the DCCC. Rahm Emanuel inserted it into their DNA when he was chairman and he was infamous for undercutting progressives who won primaries and refusing to back them in the general election. Many of them would go on to win without his help, making them independent of the corrupt Democratic establishment, a boon to them and to their constituents and to all of America.

As you probably know, Blue America has a page for progressive primary winners who the DCCC refuses to back.

I just want to point out that one of the candidates on it is J.D. Scholten, who is going up against America's most vile bigot, Steve King in Iowa's 4th congressional district. J.D. was in a tough 3-way primary over two months ago. And he won over 50% of the vote! But the DCCC has still refused to get behind his campaign.
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One pundit in Iowa told me there was more to it than just how much the DCCC hates progressives. "They make money off King," she told me. "Every time he says something racist or insane, they send out a fundraising letter. They'd rather see him stay in Congress as a cash-cow for themselves than see someone actually defeat him."

She told me that staffers at the DCCC were disappointed that small donors were contributing to J.D. so heavily and that as of the June 30 reporting deadline he has outraised King significantly-- $755,973 to $505,775. (Awwww. Here's your tiny violin,



Another Texas District Not As Safe As The GOP Thought

Blue America has endorsed Mike Siegel for the congressional seat that stretches from Tomball and Cypress in the exurbs northwest of Houston, through Prairie View, Brenham and Weimar into northern Austin and its suburbs. Mike beat his TX-10 primary opponent with over 70% of the vote. Now he'll face entrenched incumbent Michael McCaul, one of the richest members of Congress. The DCCC has refused to offer him any assistance, as they have with many progressives running this cycle. Mike's been raising decent grassroots money in this extremely gerrymandered district and as of the June 30 FEC reporting deadline he had brought in $175,279. That's already more than anyone has raised against McCaul in a decade. 

Friday, the Austin water utility reported that McCaul's sprawling West Austin home used more city-supplied water than any other single-family residence in 2017-- more than a million gallons, something McCaul is desperate to cover up.

Coincidentally, the same week that McCaul’s water waste came to light, Mike received the national endorsement of the Sierra Club. "McCaul’s water-hogging is consistent with his worldview," Mike told us. "He believes this world is a playground for the rich, never mind the needs of the rest of us. Take his vote for the 2017 tax cuts: over $40 million went into the pockets of his family, and then he voted to cut our healthcare and retirement... We need to move past this latest gilded age and get to a place where everyone has a fair shot."

This week, Mike made the point that there are many societal functions that should not be for-profit. He reminded his supporters that

"the GOP family separation policy is not just a cynical show to motivate hateful Republican voters, it is also a profit-center. A growth industry. A wellspring of extravagant fortunes for well-connected entrepreneurs. And a source of political contributions. Private prison operators donate tens of millions of dollars to political candidates. My general election opponent, Rep. Michael McCaul, has received at least $15,000 from jailers profiting from immigrant detention, including Corrections Corporation of America (now "CoreCivic") and the Geo Group. In his capacity as Chairman of Homeland Security, McCaul advocates to fill more beds in immigrant detention centers. There is a direct line between the money he receives and the policies he creates."

Yes, what he's talking about is America's prison industrial complex and warns us that "the influence of companies like Geo Corp and CoreCivic threatens to take immigration policy out of the hands of the American people and into the hands of those who profit for suffering... In a functioning democratic system, our elected representatives would not allow for so much suffering to be conducted in our name."

WATCH Mike Siegel's first video, "You Can't Buy People".

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He went on to contrast McCaul's record with what he's promising to do in Congress:

"Two-thirds of the American people oppose family separation. In November we have a chance to hold some of the key perpetrators accountable, including Michael McCaul. I will make sure that every Texas 10th voter knows that McCaul supported separating mothers from their children from the first day the policy was announced. As the Democratic nominee, I have promised to reject all corporate PAC donations, and I am committed to undoing the privatization of our immigration detention system and fighting for a larger overhaul of how we treat migrant families, asylum seekers, guest workers, students, and other visitors to this country.

This summer, my campaign successfully petitioned the Texas Democratic Party to add opposition to private detention centers to its statewide platform. The next step is to change our representative."

Voters across the country are ready to throw out corrupt and self-dealing politicians. McCaul is one of the worst, using his chairmanship to advance a pernicious industry that in return, fills his campaign coffers. Removing him from office will be a victory for human rights and common decency.

We hope Blue America members will help by contributing to Mike Siegel's campaign at a special ActBlue page. This page assists progressives who won their primaries by have been abandoned by the DCCC. Small contributions add up and help beat even the wealthiest GOP plutocrats and oligarchs like Michael McCaul.

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

Howie, for the entire Blue America team



A District To Win Back In Maine

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Maine's second congressional district isn't white collar Portland or ritzy Kennebunkport. ME-02 is an all-American blue collar district. It's a swing district that Obama won by about 10 points both times he ran but that Hillary lost by about 10 points to Trump. The Democratic establishment was looking for a Blue Dog to run, a Republican-lite character who would sound like a less extreme version of the current congressman, Trump enabler Bruce Poliquin. Instead, Mainers chose one of their own, Jared Golden, a populist leader who doesn't act like anything... he's an authentic working class guy and Marine veteran. Golden has a great record of accomplishment as one of the leaders in the state House. He has a well-rounded platform, but his top issue is healthcare.

Blue America asked him to write  a guest post explaining why:

Mainers Want To Talk About Healthcare
by Jared Golden

As I travel across Maine's 2nd Congressional District-- the largest district geographically east of the Mississippi River-- the one issue voters want to talk about most is healthcare. When speaking with small business owners, private building contractors, those working in Maine's fishing industry, the best shipbuilders in the world at Bath Iron Works, and Mainers of every stripe, more often than not, the discussion turns quickly to healthcare. And it's no wonder. For years, the hard-working people of Maine-- and America-- have struggled under the ever-increasing challenges associated with ensuring they and their loved ones have access to affordable, quality care.

Hearing their stories has given me both hope and determination. Hope because the folks I meet remind me of how ruggedly independent the people of Maine are; determination because these same people need a representative who has their back in Congress. Unfortunately, the current office-holder, Republican Bruce Poliquin, has turned a deaf ear to these stories. In fact, Poliquin refused to even meet with the people he is elected to represent about the issue when, last year, the Congress was debating the repeal of the ACA. Ultimately, Poliquin voted to pull the rug from under his constituents that would have left more than 100,000 without healthcare. Fortunately, this partisan effort failed due to three courageous Republican Senators but, if Poliquin had been successful, devastating consequences would have soon followed.

The American Health Care Act of 2017 passed the House of Representatives in May of 2017 with the help of my opponent. The AHCA would have made dramatic changes to Medicaid, a program, that for 50-plus years, has served the needs of the poor and disabled, including low-income seniors, and children living in low-income homes. Despite the fact that the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) projected 23 million additional Americans would become uninsured, Poliquin still voted for this flawed legislation. And the bad news didn't stop there. 

Maine is a rural state but, in the 2nd District we take rural to another level. Mainers living far from the urban centers of the state rely heavily on rural healthcare clincs and hospitals located throughout the district. Poliquin's vote would have devastated that network leading to a large percentage-- if not all-- of  these facilities closing their doors. That would have left many of his constituents without care, plus led to the elimination many good-paying jobs thus causing a double-whammy to local economies. And you don't need to take my word for it. “We’re all worried,” Jeffrey Austin, vice president of government affairs at the Maine Hospital Association said in an article published by the Portland Press Herald. “The average operating margins in Maine hospitals are about 1 percent. There just isn’t room for dramatic negative impacts.”

The Maine Hospital Association opposed the repeal Poliquin voted for. And then there is the looming opioid crisis that Maine is facing. Poliquin's repeal would make a terrible situation even more unbearable. In a March 2017 piece published in Perspective Magazine, doctors Peter Friedman, Christina M. Andrews and Keith Humphreys laid out the need to preserve the healthcare tools provided by the ACA in fighting the scourge of the opioid crisis-- a crisis that has led to more than a death per day in my home state. The doctors wrote "Although the Affordable Care Act (ACA) was not designed with the opioid epidemic in mind, it provides valuable tools for expanding access to medication treatment." They went on to point out "...inclusion of addiction treatment as an essential health benefit that existing insurance plans must cover, and requirements that benefits for treatment of opioid use disorder be provided at parity with coverage of medical and surgical procedures" were among the reasons the ACA should not be repealed. Despite the impact on his constituents, despite the real damage repeal would have wrought upon local communities, and despite the heartbreak of the on-going opioid crisis, my opponent still broke from the rest of our state's Congressional delegation in voting to repeal the ACA. 

I've served my country as a U.S. Marine; I've served as a staffer to a U.S. Senator; I've served as an elected office-holder in the Maine Legislature; and I've served in a leadership role in my caucus. In each and every one of those roles I was told to remember the people I was serving and, to the best of my ability, I have. If elected to the U.S. House of Representatives, I will take the lessons I've learned in my previous roles with me-- most important among them, to remember the people I'm serving.

But I need your help.

This race has recently been moved from 'leans Republican' to  'toss-up' by the non-partisan Cook Report. That's encouraging-- and serious. We can win this seat and return the voice of Maine's 2nd Congressional District back to the hard-working people who call it home.

(Howie) A 'toss up' means that with a little extra help with campaign funds Jared has a EVEN SHOT to Flip this District from Red to BLUE. Please consider sending some "BlueWave" love to Jared Golden on our #BlueAmericaBetterHouse2018" page.

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

Howie, for the entire Blue America team



CONTEST! Neil Young, Alan Grayson, Harvest!

'Harvest' Double Platinum RIAA Award

Florida has a late primary, August 28-- a couple weeks before this year's harvest moon (September 14).

If you win this contest you'll have your own harvest moon in time to celebrate. Blue America is doing a contest/give-away to benefit Alan Grayson's campaign for Congress in Orlando.

The winner gets a very rare and very beautiful RIAA-certified double platinum award for Neil Young's release of Harvest.​ You can't buy one of these in a store, no matter how rich you are. A limited number were produced for Neil and his band, his staff and a few people who helped promote the album. If you're a Neil fan-- or if you know a Neil fan... this is completely primo.

And for Grayson, Neil's music is very personal. Alan:

"Every once in a while, Neil Young makes a special appearance in my bedroom. Not personally; just his music. My wife is a huge Neil Young fan, she has a spectacular voice, and every once in a while, she treats me to a Neil Young lullaby. "The Needle and the Damage Done," "Ohio," "Down by the River," "Rockin’ in the Free World"... whatever it is, she makes it sound magical. Thank you, Neil Young, for inspiring her to inspire me."

Meanwhile, helping Grayson-- a lifelong fan of Neil's music, by the way-- get back into the House is something that will be good for our country and for working families everywhere. I can't think of anyone-- and I mean anyone-- who will be a more effective bulwark against Trump and Trumpism than Grayson.


So this is how it works: This is the page.

And like we wrote there, there is no minimum to be eligible to be entered into the random drawing to win the plaque. A $20.18 contribution has just as much chance to be selected as a $1,000 contribution.

The contest ends at 9 in the evening (PT) on Saturday, July 21. if you don't have the cash to give and you want the award, you can enter too-- 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. There's an excruciating FEC rules diatribe here which I doubt anyone has ever read besides a couple of lawyers.

Goal ThermometerEasiest way of all to get to the page: the Act Blue Neil/Alan thermometer on the right. This is a win-win for everybody-- except Trump and except Putin.

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

Howie, for the entire Blue America team



Progressive Primary Winners Abandoned By The DCCC

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Normally, I don't buy into "lesser-of-two-evils" politics. If Democrats nominate a corrupt reactionary Blue Dog I'm at least as incensed as I am over a Republican. That's not going to change either. And, I'm still saying that "normally" no longer applies, not with Trump and his Congressful of enablers and rubber stamps. I'm telling friends and relatives-- my sister lives in Jeff Van Drew's district-- to just hold their noses and vote for anyone with a "D" next to their name.

As Digby has been saying since he moved into the White House, we're in existential territory here. Boxing in Trump is more important than anything.

That said, there's no need to stop reminding the establishment Democratic Party that we need them to stop turning off the base with their Blue Dog/New Dem agenda and their uncontrollable hatred for the Democratic grassroots, for progressives and for the kind of reform that will cut off the spigots of money and power that motivates the careerism of the Hoyers, Wasserman Schultzes, Crowleys (buh bye) and the mirror images the DCCC keeps recruiting as candidates.

The DCCC is now whining how progressives have to get on board the unity train and pull together to elect a Democratic Congress to stop the boogie man in the White House. They're correct. What they're not correct about is that that's a one-way street.

Let me give you an example. The DCCC drew up a list of the most crucial districts that they absolutely had to prioritize to flip in November. They call it their "Red to Blue" list. One is the Omaha swing district, NE-02. The DCCC went out and recruited a Blue Dog, Ben Ashford, who the voters in the district had rejected in 2016 after he served a term in Congress and voted pretty consistently with the GOP. Democrats refused to reelect him and now there's a Republican, Don Bacon, in the seat.

The DCCC's strategy, which is regularly proven wrong, is that if a conservative Democrat votes with the GOP, "moderate" Republicans will eschew their own candidate and vote for the conservative Democrat. When will the DCCC learn that just doesn't work and all they do is turn off base Democratic voters?

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In Omaha, a progressive Democrat, Kara Eastman, ran a grassroots campaign on issues that voters wanted to hear about. And she won, despite massive DCCC fingers-on-the-scale help for Ashford. The voters picked her-- 20,239 (51.43%) to 19,113 (43.57%). So how did the DCCC respond? They wrote NE-02-- their "must win" district-- out of their 2018 strategy and refused to back Kara. No institutional money is flowing in her direction. They flat out refused to add her to their Red-to-Blue page.

The same thing is happening with progressive primary winners all over the country-- including in must-win swing districts! Blue America has a page for that: Abandoned By The DCCC.

There are men and women-- mostly women-- on this list who won their primary races and who the DCCC is refusing to recognize while they're asking progressives to support wretched Blue Dogs and New Dems because... "TRUMP!"

I spoke to one of those candidates this morning, J.D. Scholten. He was in a 3-way primary race to see which Democrat would take on the odious Steve King. J.D. out-raised King in each of the last two FEC reporting quarters. Each time, he called the DCCC to tell them and urge them to work with him to beat King. And each time, the DCCC refused to take his call or to call him back.

Then came the primary. Scholten beat the establishment fave, an ex-lobbyist with a Blue Dog agenda, Leann Jacobsen, and another candidate, John Paschen-- and it wasn't close.

• J.D. Scholten- 14,514 (51.27%)
• Leann Jacobsen- 9,055 (31.99%)
• John Paschen- 4,741 (16.75%)

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So, J.D. called the DCCC to tell them and ask for their help. Do you want to guess what happened? That's right... no return call.

J.D. is campaigning full-time, not by sitting and calling donors and PACs and corporations, although he's still raising enough grassroots money to be ahead of King-- $195,348 cash on hand for J.D. and $87,250 cash on hand for King-- but by driving his RV into every town and hamlet in the sprawling 4th district and meeting the voters. The DCCC doesn't recognize that as valuable.

Please consider contributing to the candidates who have won their primaries -- up against Republicans while the DCCC ignores them. These are important races, not the "easy" ones the DCCC regularly screws up. Maybe these candidates are lucky not to have DCCC interference in their campaigns. But they do need some money to compete effectively.

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

Howie, for the entire Blue America team



A Contrast In Oklahoma

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There's been so much buzz about Alexandria Ocasio's massive win over Joe Crowley-- and rightfully so-- that we haven't talked much about Tom Guild's success in making it into the August 28 primary runoff in Oklahoma City. There were 6 Democrats in the primary last week and the top two now move on to the runoff-- a garden variety Republican-lite Democrat who stands for nothing at all, the type who loses every single time they face the Republican in November-- and Tom, a dedicated Berniecrat in a district Bernie won in 2016.

Tom's very grassroots campaign-- largely based on door knocking-- set a goal of garnering 14,000 votes, which in both 2014 and 2016 would have been a majority of the primary vote. There was a total of 27,504 votes cast in the Democratic primary in 2014 and 27,203 votes in the 2016 primary. In both years 14,000 votes would have secured Tom’s nomination without a runoff primary between the top two candidates.

In 2018, State Question 788 appeared on the primary ballot-- a ballot measure to legalize medical marijuana. It passed by a large margin and drew huge numbers of people to the polls, people who wouldn't even have considered voting in a normal Democratic primary. Republicans were afraid to place the measure on the November general election ballot, because of the swell of progressives and non-Republican voters they expected would come out to vote, so they put it on the primary ballot. That anticipated increase in voter turnout became a virtual tsunami. Last week the CD-05 Democratic primary turnout was an eye-popping 79,505 votes! That's more than 3 times the turnout in 2014 or 2016. State Question 788 brought tens of thousands of additional voters to the Democratic congressional primary-- especially independent voters who are allowed to vote in the Democratic primary but not in the Republican primary.The medical marijuana measure clearly did green the vote. 

Guild’s campaign beat its stated goal and received 14,424 votes in a six-candidate contest, a bit more than their 14,000-vote goal. Although Tom didn’t win without a runoff, 14,424 votes were enough to knock 4 candidates out of the running and put him in in the runoff where, in August, Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents will choose the Democratic nominee to run against incumbent Republican, Steve Russell, a Trump rubber stamp.

So... there are 2 candidates left standing-- a darling of the Democratic Party and corporate establishment, who is a self-described "No Labels moderate" and progressive Democrat Tom Guild, who was elected as a 2016 national convention delegate supporting Bernie and who has the Blue America endorsement.

Guild was outspent by more than 5 to 1. We should step up for him now; he has a strong progressive populist message-- like Alexandria's-- and helped Bernie win the Oklahoma presidential primary two years ago by a 10.4% margin. Tom is one of our progressive champions who needs our support to put together the financial resources to effectively compete with his corporate opponent in the runoff. (Think of it like this: Tom is Alexandria Ocasio and his opponent is Joe Crowley.)

Tom supports Medicare for All, a living wage for all Americans, programs to lessen the burden of debt weighing heavily on the shoulders of college students and he has been very clear that he will fight to reverse the curse of the Citizens United decision that makes the corrupt campaign finance system even worse. Tom has fought for immigrant rights, women’s rights, LGBTQ rights, worker’s rights, transitioning to green energy, and a host of issues on the progressive agenda, including support for the legalization of medical and recreational marijuana.

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If you want to help Tom win the runoff and the Democratic nomination so he can present an actual contrast and strong progressive challenge to Steve Russell and the Oklahoma Republican Party, he needs that help now. That's what that thermometer on the right is for.

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

Howie, for the entire Blue America team



Let's Help Dayna Steele Make History

If Dayna Steele was just another garden variety Democrat, there would be little reason to talk about her November contest against far right incumbent, Brian Babin. But she isn't. Dayna is an icon in the district, once the music director for KLOL, Houston's top rock station. Everyone knows her as the person who introduced them to their favorite artists. She starts with a bigger name recognition, at least in the Houston part of the district, than the backbencher incumbent. Oh, and she won her primary 72% to 28%.

TX-36 has a prohibitive R+26 PVI, a district Trump won with 72%. But because they already know-- and like-- Dayna, voters in the sprawling east Texas district are willing to hear her out. When she talks to the voters about Medicare-For-All, making community college and career training free, a $15-an-hour minimum wage, fighting for sensible gun reform, the right to choice, equal pay, protection from sexual harassment, and equal opportunity, passing the DREAM Act and rejecting Trump's Wall, progressive issues start making sense to people who have listened to too much Fox News for their own good. She told me that following the March primary, an election judge in her district reached out to say, "I've never seen so many Republicans walk into our polling place and ask how to vote for a Democrat, specifically Dayna Steele."

Dayna sees hope where other Democrats have been too scared to try. In 2016 the Democrats didn't even run a candidate against Babin. "Not only are we seeing a growing Blue Wave in Texas," she told us, "we are also seeing a growing concern for our very Democracy among honest, hard-working Americans. So much so, that independents, undecideds, and even many Republicans are coming to our campaign to say 'I will vote for you. I will work for you. I will donate to you.' Why are these unlikely groups reaching out specifically to our campaign? Because we all agree that this administration is being careless with our security, careless with our money, careless with our healthcare, careless with our education, and careless with our people. And, you shouldn’t be in government if you don't care about the people."


We need to be a nation that invests in healthcare, education, jobs, and people - not corporate insurance and big pharma, low wages, and division. The United States is risking its prosperity AND its Democracy by leaving so many Americans behind.

Many now see that Medicare For All would cost us less and create a stronger workforce. Internet access as a part of the public infrastructure would create countless opportunities for everyone. More emphasis on jobs that will carry us into the future such as wind and solar power, computer programming and even medical marijuana would grow the economy.

At the same time, there is so much more that ALL Americans are concerned about including immigrant children being held in detention centers, rampant racism, for profit prisons, foreign intervention in our elections, and the untruths we all know must be called out.

These are the reasons many people, not just Democrats, are coming to and supporting our campaign. Then, there is the really big reason at the top. My husband aka Wonder Husband has always told our kids, "No one is totally worthless. They can always serve as a bad example." That's Trump everyday and this week he sent even more voters our way with his "I can pardon myself" tweet.

As a motivational speaker and author, I’ve spent years teaching audiences and readers that “the more you do to make someone else successful, the more successful you will become.”  A lot of that comes from the way I was brought up by my pee wee league football coach father. He always taught me that you are “only as strong as your weakest team member” and to “do what it takes to bring that weakest member up.”


"I plan to set a good example for and serve ALL Americans." --Dayna Steele for #TX36

Dayna's campaign is in the reddest district Blue America has ever been involved in. If she wins in November it will be an indication that Americans are coming together everywhere to "just say no" to Trumpism and to congressional Republican enablers who are aiding and abetting. Please consider helping her here.

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

Howie, for the entire Blue America team



A New And Better Day In Denver?

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Denver is not a swing district. Obama won it by double digit margins both times he ran and in 2016 Hillary beat Trump there 69–23%. The PVI is a healthy D+21. And in the 2016 caucus Bernie won 14,624 (54.4%) to 12,097 (45.0%). This is exactly the kind of district that should be sending someone to Congress who is pushing the envelope for progressive ideas — for someone on the cutting edge like Alan Grayson, Ted Lieu, Pramila Jayapal, Ro Khanna, Jamie Raskin or Mark Pocan.

Instead Denver has a ho-hum, garden variety Democrat who has a “B” rating from ProgressivePunch and is basically, a waste of a seat, Diana DeGette, who takes money from the corporate PACs that pollute the political environment and isn’t a single-payer enthusiast or anything that will overturn the status quo…or motivate Democratic voters to come to the polls.

Denver deserves better than Representative Diana DeGette — and this year, on June 26, Denver has a golden opportunity to elect someone Much Better: Saira Rao.

I asked Saira about a specific issue that differentiates the status quo Democrats from the cutting edge Democrats: student debt cancellation, a key progressive position.

Saira:
“It’s time to end the insanity of the cost of college tuition in our country and how we are handling the student-debt problem. Although there doesn’t seem to be an easy or quick fix, The College for All Act gets us closer to that place — to the American Dream of attending college and being able to afford it. The bill creates a federal-state partnership where the federal and state government team up to provide families earning up to $125k per year, cover their tuition for public community colleges. It would also cut student-loan interest rates in half for new borrowers.”

But there’s even more that needs to be done and Saira is right on top of it. She told us with great enthusiasm:

A new study just came out published by the Levy Economics Institute of Bard College that shows us a path to digging out of the $1.4 trillion dollar hole we face in Colorado and across the country. The report states that if we eliminate the debt, “44 million Americans who carry it could boost GDP by between $86 billion and $108 billion per year, on average for the 10 years following the cancellation. It would also lower the average unemployment rate by 0.22 to 0.36 percentage points over 10 years and could add between 1.2 million and 1.5 million jobs per year.

In Colorado this legislative session, a bill was introduced to regulate student education loan services. The bill would have forced loan servicers to give students accurate information about their loans. There are over 761,000 Coloradans who owe over $24 billion in student debt. That is outrageous and we need to work with the state government to find a solution so the future generation across the country can get access to quality education, not live in fear of how they plan on paying that will help boost our job force and economy in the process.

That really is an American game-changer. And we all know that the only way to even consider getting this done is by having leaders in Washington who will fight for us rather than for their big corporate donors.

Colorado Democrats voted overwhelmingly for Bernie — not for Hillary and not for Trump. That wasn’t random. But despite what her constituents wanted DeGette, a Super-delegate went to the convention and voted for Hillary anyway.

When next generation legislation is introduced in Congress by people like Bernie, Elizabeth Warren, Pramila Jayapal, Ro Khanna, Ted Lieu or Mark Pocan, DeGette is always MIA.

The reason Blue America has endorsed Saira Rao is because she’ll be part of that team, not avoiding it.

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Clicking on the 2018 ActBlue congressional thermometer on the left will take you to the Blue America page where you can contribute to Saira Rao’s grassroots campaign.

Helping her win this race is a very worthwhile endeavor and I hope you’ll join us in supporting her.



Happy 420-- Meet Kyle Frenette


Kyle Frenette is the progressive Democrat running for the old Dave Obey seat in northern Wisconsin, currently occupied by Ryan ally Sean Duffy. Frenette is well known in the music industry as the manager of Eau Claire's Grammy-winning Justin Vernon and his band, Bon Iver. His platform includes raising the minimum wage, establishing universal healthcare and making broadband internet a public utility instead of a private luxury. And legalization of marijuana. He thought today would be an auspicious day to lay out his marijuana legalization plank. 

He's pointing out that marijuana's illegal status has caused more harm to American society than its side effects.

"Here in Wisconsin," he wrote, "I know folks who have had to go to extreme lengths to obtain marijuana legally for medicinal use or travel across state lines for a duration of time to use the drug for treatment. This shouldn’t be the case. I envision a future in which my children and their children view the federal prohibition of marijuana the same way we view the prohibition of alcohol today-- strange and unnecessary."

His points line up as sane and rational-- and workable for a rural Wisconsin district:

1- The federal legalization of marijuana would go a long way to ending the opioid epidemic in America. There is no reason marijuana should still be classified as a Schedule I drug along with heroin and ecstasy—not when cocaine, methamphetamine and most prescription opioids, like oxycodone and fentanyl are classified as Schedule II by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA)... I will champion the federal legalization of marijuana to help curb the opioid epidemic and prevent more lives from being lost and families from being ripped apart."

2- Most Americans view marijuana as a relatively safe drug while too many futures are being tarnished due to its criminalization... Our current drug laws are not only counterproductive, they are also racially skewed. While marijuana use is relatively equal across all races, minorities are disproportionately singled out when it comes to drug related arrests... The case for legalization is growing every day. Once elected, I will push to legalize marijuana so that money is no longer wasted and less futures are ruined by the enforcement of unnecessary laws.

3- It’s no question that the benefits outweigh the pitfalls when it comes to the growing and selling of marijuana. Our country’s drug laws are outdated when it comes to marijuana and limit the drug’s economic potential. Economic growth due to the cultivation, sale and taxation of cannabis in states that have adopted legalization prove that it can be a high commodity.

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"In Colorado alone, which legalized the recreational use of marijuana in 2012, the cannabis industry created 18,000 full-time jobs and brought in $2.4 billion in 2015. And when it comes to taxation, it’s reported that that marijuana has more than tripled tax revenue brought in by alcohol in that state. Nationally, at its current rate of state legalization, an estimated $40 billion in economic output is predicated by the year 2021 when it comes to the legal cannabis industry. Why not increase those odds with federal legalization?"

Let’s do everything in our power to elect a new generation of leaders who are not afraid to take a principled stand that is contrary to DC ‘Savvy Democrats’ who assure us the Legalization issue is meaningless (and therefore will not make it a priority when we take back the majority). Please support Kyle Frenette and our other Green Wave Democrats by giving what you can to their campaigns today.

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

--Howie, for the entire Blue America team




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