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



Big Win In Maine-- And 7 Contests Tuesday

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We had some great news a few days ago. Finally— 8 days after the polls closed, Maine's Secretary of State verified that Jared Golden, a full-blown progressive champion, beat his opponents in the first instance of ranked-choice voting for a federal election in the country. That means Jared will be taking on Trump enabler and Wall Street puppet Bruce Poliquin in November. The final score--after all the votes for Craig Olson were eliminated-- between the top two were:

Jared 23,516 (54%)
Lucas St. Clair 19,741 (46%)

Jared is the majority whip in the state House and said his message of economic fairness and political reform resonated in the sprawling, rural and poor 2nd District which Trump won 51-41% in 2016. The pathetic one-note NRCC immediately dubbed him "the Nancy Pelosi of Maine." The DCCC immediately added him to their Red to Blue list, something they are still refusing to do for another progressive primary winner, Kara Eastman in Omaha.

Both Jared and Kara will need some serious support to overcome Republican incumbents in November. Please step up and give what you can. We promise if elected, our country will be much better off with these 2 progressives are in Congress!

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Tuesday there are 7 Blue America-endorsed congressional candidates in primaries, they are Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Michael DeVito and DuWayne Gregory in New York; Levi Tillemann and Saira Rao in Colorado; and Tom Guild in Oklahoma, as well as gubernatorial candidate Ben Jealous in Maryland.

After that, a break. There are no primaries in July. The next big date for progressives comes on August 7 when Ellen Lipton and Rashida Tlaib have primaries in Michigan; Lisa Brown has hers in Washington and James Thompson is up to bat in Kansas. A few days later-- Hawaii is progressive enough to hold elections on weekends to make it convenient for voters-- Kaniela Ing faces off with a gaggle of awful fake Democrats from the Republican wing of the Democratic Party.

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All of these candidates can use some help, but I want to especially urge you to help out the candidates who have already won their primaries and are facing off against Republicans-- Kara Eastman (NE), Jared Golden (ME), Katie Porter (CA), and Jess King (PA). Just tap the ActBlue Thermometer or this link to give whatever you can spare. It really does add up!

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

Howie, for the entire Blue America team



Joe Crowley Must Be Stopped-- Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Can Do It

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Earlier this week Bernie sent his supporters an e-mail explaining what he hopes to accomplish by barnstorming in Pennsylvania with congressional candidates Jess King and Greg Edwards. He wrote that “if we are going to defeat right-wing Republicans in 2018 and 2020, we need to win in states that Trump won, like Pennsylvania. And, in my view, the only way we win in those states is by supporting progressive candidates who have the guts to defend working-class families — white, black, Latino, Asian American, Native American — and take on the power and greed of the billionaire class.”

And not just in Pennsylvania, of course. He wrote that “Trump represents something we have never seen before in the history of the United States. It is not just that he represents the interests of the wealthy and powerful. It’s that we have never had a president with more authoritarian tendencies than him… The 2018 midterm elections will be long remembered as a pivotal moment in American history because, if we are successful, we can put an end to the disastrous Trump agenda. If we are not, we will have at least two more years of a rapid shift toward authoritarianism, the further normalization of corruption and the continued rise of oligarchy.”

Perhaps his most crucial lines were how “we cannot defeat Trump and the Republican Party with the same playbook, or by supporting the same kind of candidates long favored by the political establishment and financial elite. That is how we got to where we are today.”

The media doesn’t give much coverage to Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a Bernie campaign organizer from the Bronx who’s running for Congress herself now on a very Bernie-like platform — including Medicare-for-all, free public higher education and a federal jobs guarantee that would promise jobs with a $15 minimum wage as well as paid family leave and campaign finance reform.

And maybe that lack of mainstream coverage could be at least partially explained because she’s running for a seat occupied by an “untouchable” political power-monger, Wall Street’s owned-and-operated ‘Queens County machine boss’ Joe Crowley.

29417607_2034866200129523_9204676868849008640_n.jpg“They’ll tell you you’re too loud, that you need to wait your turn and ask the right people for permission. Do It Anyway.” — Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Blue America endorsee for #NY14. Help her win: https://goo.gl/KE3kp9

Crowley isn’t just the most corrupt Democrat in Congress, he’s Nancy Pelosi’s and Stenchy Hoyer’s hand-picked next Democratic House Leader, when Pelosi retires halfway through the next term (as is widely rumored on Capitol Hill).

Alexandria, a Blue America-endorsed candidate, is the first person to challenge Rep. Joseph Crowley in a primary race in 14 years. She’s also the first woman of color to ever run in New York’s District 14, which covers parts of southern Bronx and northern Queens.

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Crowley has a corporate/lobbyist financed campaign war chest of $1,592,362, having raised $2,777,489.

Alexandria has raised $115,653, entirely from grassroots contributions. Please consider helping her stand up to him by clicking on the ActBlue 2018 congressional thermometer.

“I don’t think we win by backing down. I don’t think we win by fading into the background,” said Ocasio-Cortez, rejecting the idea that moderate Democrats have a better chance against Republicans in the midterm elections.

…Born into a working-class Puerto Rican family, Ocasio-Cortez says she understands the challenges working New Yorkers face. Her mother was a housekeeper, and her father owned a small business. The family moved upstate while she was growing up, but she returned to the Bronx after going to school at Boston University, and she now lives in Parkchester.

She is a harsh critic of Crowley, a Woodside native who has represented Queens and the Bronx in Congress since 1998, and denounces his influence on area politics because of his role as chair of the Queens County Democratic Party… “This Tammany Hall system of political machines actually disenfranchises communities because this old-school system of politics exists to prop up the already powerful,” she said.

Crowley has undermined and opposed progressive ideas and positions for years in Congress, when he headed the New Dems, basically, the Republican wing of the Democratic Party. Once he visited his district from his home in Virginia and realized over 70% of the district was made up of people of color, he quickly quit the New Dems and started “changing” his long-held anti-working family positions.

Alexandria is authentic; Crowley will never be.

We are encouraged about what she’s already been able to accomplish — with basically ‘one arm tied behind her back’. Imagine what it would feel like to wake up June 27 to find that the first woman of color candidate ever had taken down a powerful, 14-Year ‘Establishment’ Incumbent who was poised for leadership.

Please consider giving whatever you can to Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’ campaign today.

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.




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