Up To Bat In March — Progressives In Texas And Illinois

The first two states with 2018 primaries are Texas — March 6 — and Illinois — March 20.

The thing about the Texas primaries is that in most cases they’re going lead to May 22 primary runoffs. So we’re going to be waiting for another couple of months before we know who the candidates we’ll have going up against Republicans for the blue-trending seats in Houston, Austin, San Antonio and Dallas, all of which are likely to deny any candidates 50% on March 6.

It’s a wide open race in west Houston, where award-winning cancer researcher and doctor, Jason Westin, has a bunch of establishment candidates he’s competing with, as well as another progressive. He can use some help.

Same in Dallas, where our candidate, Obama’s deputy undersecretary of rural development for the Department of Agriculture, Lillian Salerno is facing off against two pretty garden variety establishment big money careerists.

One of the Austin candidates, Derrick Crowe, (one of the best candidates anywhere in America) is likely to be forced into a runoff with a multimillionaire Republican, Joseph Kopser, pretending — although not well — to be a Democrat.

My first experience with Derrick goes back to when George W. Bush was still president and he was the organizing force behind Brave New Film’s “Rethink Afghanistan” project. 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.

The Illinois primaries later in the month have a more crucial sense of permanence. The candidate with the most votes will face off against the Republican. The race that’s gotten the most attention is in IL-03, the Chicagoland district that starts in the southwest part of the city around Bridgeport and the Stockyards, snakes down through Marquette Manor to Midway, through Palos Hills and to Orland Park, Homer Glen and Lockport just north of Joliet. It’s one of those rare races where an excruciatingly bad entrenched incumbent, Blue Dog Dan Lipinski, is being held accountable for the first time.

Progressives in the district, in the state and across America have backed Marie Newman, who would make a much-needed and excellent addition to the Illinois congressional delegation.

The Republican in the race, Arthur Jones, an admitted anti-Semite is the former leader of the American Nazi Party. No, not every Republican is a Nazi… but it’s funny how they always find a home with the GOP isn’t it? Remember Boehner’s Nazi buddy in Ohio, Rich Iott? Anyway, whoever wins the March 20 primary — the Blue Dog Lipinski or progressive Marie Newman — will be sworn in next January because IL-03 isn’t about to elect a Nazi to Congress.

The district didn’t even vote for Trump. He couldn’t even muster 40% against Hillary, who had been defeated in the district primary by Bernie. Polling shows an extremely tight race and it’s going to be Marie’s field operation that wins this one and sends the DCCC and the Democratic old guard a message that voters are watching what they do and holding them accountable.

The only other candidate endorsed by Blue America in Illinois is Dr. David Gill in IL-13, a sprawling central Illinois district that meanders southwest from Champaign, Normal and Bloomington down through Decatur and Springfield to suburbs north and east of St. Louis. This was Bernie-country in 2016 and he beat Hillary in the district. And Gill is the candidate who has been working on Bernie issues for as long as Bernie has.

Remember, the last time Gill faced off against Republican Rodney Davis, Davis won by just a handful of votes — 136,596 to 135,309, only because left-wing spoiler John Hartman, took 21,319 votes, throwing the election to a crackpot conservative.

His message resonated last time — Help David get that message out to the few voters that got missed. He has three big-money establishment primary opponents who will probably split the establishment vote and allow Gill to face off against Davis in November. He definitely needs financial help for his field operation that will be in full swing in the next couple of weeks.

This week, we’re asking you to consider helping our Texas and Illinois candidates and leave the others for another time — just this week. Let’s make sure the progressives get into the Texas runoffs and into the Illinois general election.

Thanks for always doing what you can to make 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.



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.




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