KARA!

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Last Tuesday, one of the biggest, most exciting and meaningful victories for progressives was Kara Eastman's win in the Nebraska Democratic primary. She beat Blue Dog and DCCC endorsee Brad Ashford 20,239 (51.43%) to 19,113 (48.57%). ​

It was another case of local Democrats slapping down the DCCC for their pig-headed interference in a local primary. The DCCC attempted to gaslight the district-- that voted overwhelmingly for Bernie in 2016-- telling them they needed to nominate a proven reactionary, "ex"-Republican instead of a woman who ran on many of the same issues that made Bernie so attractive to local, 2nd District Democrats.

With the help of the DCCC, Ashford raised $558,946 and spent $397,194, while Kara raised $355,887 and spent $284,880. Ashford was endorsed by anyone from the Republican wing of the Democratic Party​ the DCCC could round up-- not just the Blue Dogs but the New Dems, Gabby Giffords, the labor unions that do whatever the DCCC tells them and, of course ambitious Blue Dog/New Dem Adam Schiff, who has been traveling around the country using his new-found celebrity to help right-of-center candidates like himself undermine progressive candidates like Kara.

Kara had the support of Blue America and of other progressive forces independent of the Democratic Party establishment, from the Nebraska Unity PAC and Nebraska Grassroots Progressives and the Working Families Party to Climate Hawks Vote, the PCCC, VoteProChoice, local independent-minded unions like the Plasterers and Cement Masons, the Insulators and the Sheet Metal Air Rail and Transportation union, as well as local political leaders like state Senators Tony Vargas and Justin Wayne and Omaha City Council president Ben Gray.

As soon as Kara's victory over Ashford was official, the DCCC removed him from their Red-to-Blue page. But instead of replacing him with Kara, they took NE-02 entirely off their radar.

One of the country's most flippable districts suddenly no longer existed! What happened to Pelosi's spiel about unity? Is it only the unity of progressives backing successful conservative Democrats but not unity when progressives win? Is that unity? And what happened to Pelosi's spiel about how 'we all win when women win?' Instead we hear Pelosi thundering about how 'the DCCC won’t help party nominees unless the conservative establishment backed them.'

When we endorsed her campaign last February, she told us that

over the last decade, Nebraska’s second Congressional district is one of the two most competitive in the nation. So why can’t Democrats consistently win here? They don’t ignite the base, and they don’t go out and talk to voters.

I'm the first serious progressive candidate to run in Nebraska’s second district. I’m pro-choice, I support common-sense gun safety regulation, I’m passionate about health and environmental protection, and I’ve opposed the Keystone XL pipeline. I will fight for a Medicare for All system because healthcare is a right. I also will fight for debt-free education, because I’m tired of seeing students, even at Metro Community College where I serve on the Board of Governors, drowning in student loans. The U.S. has to compete in a global market by investing in green and healthy housing. Climate change is the number one moral and national security threat to our children, and we need to address it now.”

Now Kara needs our help to beat a tougher candidate in November, Republican incumbent Don Bacon, a Trump rubber stamp very much out of touch with voters in the Omaha Metro.

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With the DCCC already signaling they'd rather let Bacon stay in his seat then help a progressive win it, Kara is going to need our help more than ever.

She's a fighter and winner. Please contribute what you can by clicking on the Blue America 2018 congressional thermometer above.

Thanks for always doing what you can to make this 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.



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 Next Speaker Should Be A Real Progressive

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One electoral contest no one discusses outside of DC is the one for the next Democratic House leader, likely to be Speaker. No one discusses it because only Democratic members of Congress get to vote and Pelosi has already handpicked her successor. Who, you wonder? Well, the former head of the Wall Street owned and operated New Dems, the machine boss of Queens and the single most corrupt Democrat in the House.

Yes, the next Speaker, if Pelosi gets her way, will be someone not even fit to be in Congress, let alone lead it, Joe Crowley.

In 2010, while Crowley was on the House Ways and Means Committee, he was dragged in front of the House Ethics Committee for taking bribes from Wall Street banksters and teaching newly elected Democrats how to do the same thing (voting, for example, to end Glass-Steagall and for the reactionary Bush bankruptcy bill to please Wall Street lobbyists, as he did). He was never punished because Pelosi and Boehner came to an agreement that Crowley would be excused in return for 4 Republicans being let off the hook as well, on similar charges. 

She saved his ass... now he demands her throne. 

Since Crowley was first handed his House seat and occupied it in 1999 he's taken in $6,891,051 from the Finance Sector, more than any other House Democrat more than Hoyer, more than Pelosi... more than most senators and more than most Republicans. He's never had a serious election challenge and he's used that money to buy influence and power inside the Democratic Party.

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Blue America is working to persuade an honorable member who is both honest and progressive to run for Leader (likely to be the next Speaker). After talking to many members of Congress, we've come to the conclusion that Ted Lieu (D-CA) is just the person. If you've never heard of Ted Lieu, we have a great video you should watch. (CAUTION: make sure you're sitting down. You may not be used to a Democrat standing up and pushing back at the Trump Regime like Ted does every day.)
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This election is just too important to let a character like Joe Crowley seize it by default.
We've started a Progressive Speaker Fund to help Congressman Lieu run for that office. Are you in?



Next Stop For The Blue Wave-- North Carolina And Indiana

The next primaries for House seats are on May 8 in Indiana and North Carolina, where we have two outstanding candidates, Dan Canon (IN-09) and Jenny Marshall (NC-05).

Both are running strong, issues-oriented grassroots campaigns and both need our help with the final 5-week lap.

I asked Jenny and Dan what good could some extra campaign contributions do this late in the game. Here's what they told me:

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Jenny first:

Our campaign has been running a strong field program, but with 263 precincts spread out over 3200 square miles we need to ensure that we reach as many voters as possible. We have been out knocking doors for a month and calling voters for the past 12 weeks, but we have many more people to reach. We need to send out 20,000 mailers to those people who live in more remote and rural areas, hire 10 additional field canvassers for those areas we can walk so we can talk to people at their homes, and purchase campaign materials including 10,000 more door hangers, 20,000 4x6 handouts highlighting our campaign, 700 yard signs and to support our digital advertising in the district. We expect to have 41,000 people turn out and vote in the primary. We estimate it will take $30,000 to secure the Democratic nomination on May 8th.

Jenny and her team have been running a bold progressive campaign to unseat arch-villain Rep. Virginia Foxx, who has turned herself into a virtual rubber stamp for Trump and a terrible representative of North Carolinans. Jenny told us that while out on the campaign trail, she's "talked to thousands of people who tell me that they are struggling to make ends meet and are afraid they are going to lose their health insurance. This, coupled with those who just can't afford to use the insurance they pay for is just unconscionable! Rep. Foxx has ignored the needs of the people for far too long. She voted no on raising the minimum wage back in 2007 when it was just $5.85 an hour. She voted to strip healthcare away from millions of people with her vote to repeal the ACA. She just doesn't care about the daily grind the vast majority of us are going through. Our campaign speaks up for those who have been ignored and dismissed. We are here to fight for them."

Jenny is eager to take on Foxx but she's got to win the primary against a centrist primary opponent first-- that's the election coming up May 8th. Jenny's opponent is an 'Establishment Dem' who:

  • doesn't believe in raising the minimum wage beyond $10 per hour
  • doesn't support tuition-free public colleges and universities
  • stated that our public education system is broken and would use her knowledge of the business world to "fix it."
  • In other words, she is all about doing just enough to look like she is on our side, but not enough to actually help our families and our communities.

Jenny is committed to raising the wage to $15 an hour and tying it to inflation and fighting for healthcare for all.

Dan's turn:

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"There’s an old adage in politics that 'field wins campaigns.' That is why this campaign has invested in a robust field program that has been up and running since mid-September. We have three offices open across the 9th District and have made over 125,000 (and counting) contacts thanks to a dedicated base of supporters who have been calling voters, pounding the pavement, and attending countless events since last summer. In the final month of the primary, the money you donate will be spent heavily on our field efforts to mobilize supporters and G(et) O(ut) T(he) V(ote)! By helping us keep our offices running full steam ahead through May 8th, as well as funding direct mail and digital advertising targeted to likely voters, a donation to this campaign is an investment that will help us build a movement here in the heartland."

Throughout this campaign, Dan has been a strong proponent of a guaranteed public jobs program, a national UBI pilot program, and the abolition of ICE. "I am proud to say I am the only candidate in my race discussing these ideas that are crucial to creating jobs, investing in our workforce, and ensuring the dignity of all people. Hoosiers (those of us from Indiana) are tired of the duck-and-cover rhetoric that other campaigns use, and with your help we are going to prove that progressive candidates can take bold stances that offer real solutions for real people."

Dan and Jenny are two of the most intelligent, independent-minded and passionate leaders we've come across in our many years of vetting progressive candidates. All of us at Blue America believe any support you can give them is richly deserved and will be wisely used-- a real step towards getting more members in the vein of Ro Khanna, Barbara Lee, Mark Pocan, Ted Lieu and Pramila Jayapal into Congress. Please consider giving what you can to their campaigns today.

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

Howie, for the entire Blue America team



Bernie: 'I Detest That Type Of Politics And I Think Most Americans Do'

BLUE_AMERICA_ENDORSE_Levi_Tillemann.jpg"In CO-06 the DCCC decided they wanted a white collar criminal defense lawyer (who has represented payday lenders, fracking companies and defended scammers who have targeted senior citizens) to represent us. What we’ve seen is a textbook case of Washington working to rig a primary. Despite our opponent’s crippling weaknesses as a general election candidate, the DCCC is determined to inflict their candidate upon primary voters by creating facts on the ground." 


You think what the DCCC has done in undermining Laura Moser is unique?
It isn't. It's been fairly standard operating procedure since 2006 when Rahm Emanuel and Steny Hoyer decided they should determine who Democratic nominees should be, not local Democratic primary voters. The only thing unique about the Laura Moser incident was how incompetently it was handled and how embarrassingly public it became. 

More "normal" DCCC interference in local primaries is better illustrated by how they're trying to destroy another progressive, Levi Tillemann, on behalf of yet another corrupt New Dem from the Republican wing of the Democratic Party, Jason Crow, in the Denver suburbs (CO-06). The Republican incumbent, Mike Coffman, is one of the most vulnerable Republicans in the country. Hillary beat Trump 50.2% to 41.3% in this district, which has a D+2 PVI.

Levi, who Blue America has endorsed today, asked if we remember in 2016 when Washington insiders confidently predicted an overwhelming victory for Democrats up and down the ticket? "Well," he reminded us, "that didn’t happen-- we lost, up and down the ticket. Remember how Democratic insiders spoke confidently about 'viability' and tried to stigmatize candidates who challenged the establishment? It turns out those 'viable' candidates weren’t so viable after all. That broken system got us to where we are today. Levi is confident that "we can fix it. This year must be the beginning of something exciting and new. That means two things: First, we must stand for our progressive agenda; Second, we must push back against the backroom Washington dealers who got us here.

This is a guest post from Levi:

Let’s start with the progressive agenda. Before I decided to run, I spent months listening and here’s what I heard people say: too many workers are being squeezed by the modern economy; hard work should mean a good life; the excesses of extreme capitalism and inequality are threatening the American Dream; things need to change. I agreed. 

Like you, I believe: 

  • Universal healthcare is a right  
  • Americans deserve a living minimum wage of at least $15/hr
  • The future of our planet and the U.S. economy requires a transition to renewable energy by 2035
  • All Americans must be treated equally before the law
  • Donald Trump is a criminal (and Democrats need to fight to remove him from office)

Voters are crying out for an economic and social agenda that delivers economic justice and equal opportunity for all. Progressives demand that these policies address the crushing inequality in America today. I’m committed to fighting for that agenda in Washington. 

But we’ll never get there if we don’t push back against Washington insiders. Lobbyists and establishment politicians are trying to slow-walk our fight for equality. They peddle half-truths, influence and big money donations on behalf of candidates and causes that don’t represent you. Those candidates fit the Washington mold-- and that’s not a good thing. They will go with the flow and won’t stand up for what’s right when it really matters. If we keep sending that type of person to Washington, they’ll keep rigging the system against us. That’s exactly what’s happening in CO-06.

This has been going on for more than a year (they have supplied him with staff, data and hundreds of thousands in donations). Last November, the DCCC brought these efforts into the open by designating our opponent as a “Red to Blue” candidate. The DCCC has now embedded full-time field staffers with our opponent’s campaign, they share polling data with him and help secure endorsements. They traffic in lies, rumor and innuendo about our progressive campaign. 

That’s not only morally wrong, it’s not going to help us win a general election. The DCCC has deployed its strong-arm tactics here before... and they don’t work. Let’s take a look at the DCCC’s losing record over the years. 

The 2014 Bloodbath
In 2014 one of Colorado’s most impressive leaders, Andrew Romanoff was the Democratic nominee against Mike Coffman.  Leading up to the general election, the DCCC committed to funding Romanoff’s advertising costs during the last weeks of the election. But the DCCC reneged on their promise -- leaving Andrew high and dry.  The DCCC cut the legs out from Romanoff’s campaign and didn’t spend a single cent on the promised advertising.  In other words, the DCCC allowed the GOP and Mike Coffman to demolish Romanoff’s good name and record via TV and radio.  Andrew had no way to fight back. Why? Because he trusted the DCCC. The result was an electoral bloodbath.

The DCCC knows best?
In 2016, the Democratic nominee for CD-6 was Colorado State Sen. Morgan Carroll.  Morgan was an extremely qualified, intelligent and charismatic candidate whose campaign was also tanked by the DCCC. The DCCC wanted to tie Coffman to Trump and that was the entirety of their plan: Tie Coffman to Trump.  

An astute politician with local knowledge, Carroll knew this wasn’t the silver bullet. She had a plan to defeat Coffman that was issues driven and focused on aggressive field outreach. But the DC insiders at the DCCC demanded that Senator Carroll follow their orders and threatened to withdraw financial support unless she did as they said. In the face of those threats, Carroll felt she had no choice but to accept the dictates of unelected, unaccountable DC insiders. Coffman won the election in another landslide.

Blue America is asking for your help in Colorado.

Ever since he realized that the DCCC was jumping on the scale early last spring, Levi and other progressives have called on them to back off and let the voters decide. Unfortunately, that’s not the DCCC way. They’ve doubled down on their candidate, lied about it and done everything in their power to stack the primary deck.

Please consider contributing what you can to Levi Tillemann's campaign by clicking on the ActBlue congressional thermometer on the right.

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We can win this one by beating the forces of Insider Beltway corruption-- first the DCCC and in November, the GOP. As Bernie said, in reference to the DCCC Lee Atwater/Karl Rove techniques in TX-07, "I detest that type of politics and I think most Americans do... That is to my mind, absolutely unacceptable. And it’s got to end."

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

--Howie, for the entire Blue America team



Senator Warren: 'Katie Porter Is The Real Deal'

CA-45 is the heart of Orange County. It includes Irvine, Mission Viejo, Lake Forest, Rancho Santa Margarita... Villa Park and the Anaheim Hills in the north and Coto De Caza in the south. But it doesn't include the home of Mimi Walters, the Republican congresswoman who was elected in 2014. She still lives in posh beachfront neighborhood in Dana Rohrabacher's district and has adamantly refused to move into the district she's supposed to be representing.

Many residents feel it's time for Mimi to go. And this might be the year. She votes in complete lockstep with the unpopular Trump. And Trump did badly in the 45th. Romney and McCain both beat Obama in the district, but Hillary beat Trump  by over 5 points. The PVI has improved from R+7 to a much more manageable R+3.

And this year, CA-45 has an extraordinary Democratic candidate in UC Irvine law professor Katie Porter, endorsed this week by Blue America.

A former law student of Elizabeth Warren's, they co-wrote a book about consumer protection. Warren endorsed her, as have Kamala Harris, Kirsten Gillibrand, Zephyr Teachout and progressive groups like DFA and the PCCC. She has a corporate Dem as a primary opponent backed by the DC establishment but all recent polls show Katie beating him and going on to beat Walters.

Katie hasn't been shy about pointing out that Walters is "one of the 'Big Money 20'--  taking money from the NRA, Big Oil, Big Banks, and a number of powerful special interests." She said she believes that "special interests like large financial institutions, because of Citizens United, now have the ability to spend unlimited money, giving them an outsized and unfair role in our election system.

That is why I am proud that our campaign has pledged not to take any campaign contributions from corporate PACs, big oil, big pharma, big banks, or private charter schools. We believe in running a campaign by example and have raised the resources necessary to run a competitive campaign with contributions from over 10,000 individual donors. I am going to Washington to do what I have done my whole career-- to give voice to the needs of family and to fight for a fair system."

As for policy, Katie is where you would expect candidates backed by Blue America to be. For health care, for example, she told us that she had spent her career  as a consumer protection attorney "studying how one illness or accident can lead a family to financial ruin-- it shouldn't be that way. That's why I will fight for a Medicare for All system in which every American has quality health insurance.

And this is a defining issue in this race. My Republican opponent, Mimi Walters, helped write Trump’s health care law that gutted protections for pre-existing conditions. She was one of the first people that Donald Trump thanked at the White House after the vote. Her vote on the GOP tax plan puts health coverage for 13 million people at risk and will lead to devastating cuts to Medicare and Medicaid. And other candidates in this race have refused to support Medicare for All." 

She has also pledged to voters to take on big oil and the corporate polluters to stop offshore drilling, and that she will "fight to invest in renewable energy development, support high emission standards, and save important environmental protections. Simply put, Washington must act to fight climate change." 

Her field of expertise, consumer protection, is what attracted Blue America to her campaign to begin with. She has literally spent close to 2 decades taking on Wall Street banks and powerful financial institutions that cheat middle-class families.

"Much of my work as a consumer advocate," she told us Friday,

"has centered around the housing crisis that rocked Orange County and many other parts of the country. Before the crisis, I was one of the first to sound the alarm about how the biggest Wall Street banks were preying on homeowners. And when the crisis hit, I was appointed by Attorney General Kamala Harris to work directly with California families who were cheated by the five biggest Wall Street banks. The five banks had promised to help homeowners who had been harmed, and it was my job to hold the banks’ feet to the fire. My team won thousands of victories against the banks, forcing them to pay billions to families. And our work helped tens of thousands of families move forward with their lives... Eight years after the crash, Orange County families still find themselves stuck. Profits again are surging for financial institutions and Wall Street, but middle-class wages are stagnant. And the cost of things that matter most for families-- affording preschool, sending your kid to college, saving for retirement-- are skyrocketing, while the high cost of housing in Orange County is pushing families to the brink."

We all know what we need out of the next Congress-- capable leaders who have shown the ability and willingness to stand up to Trump, the GOP and the powerful special interests. "That," Katie told us "is exactly what I plan to do in Washington." Please consider contributing to her campaign at the Blue America congressional page, here.

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

--Howie, for the entire Blue America team



Why Blue America Endorsed Ellen Lipton (MI-09)

BLUE_AMERICA_ENDORSE_ELLEN_LIPTON.jpgEllen lists 7 core platform items on her website, her priorities: a strong public education system and will always resist efforts to privatize our schools; protecting and expanding Social Security; investing in infrastructure and creating well-paying jobs for our community; universal healthcare for all Americans; raising the minimum wage to a living wage; a woman’s right to choose, and protecting our environment and leaving a healthy planet for our children.​

What most people know about Ellen Lipton, a candidate for the open congressional seat in the Oakland and Macomb county suburbs north of Detroit, is that she founded and was named president of the Michigan Promise Zone Association. The association supports free community college tuition, technical training and certification to Michigan students in selected communities across Michigan, a blueprint for free college tuition across America. Before that she was in the Michigan legislature, fighting for public education and therefore the bane of Betsy DeVos' existence. But if education policy is one of her fields of expertise, infrastructure was one of the motivations that made her jump into the race. We don't always think of potholes as issues in congressional races... but Ellen explains why it is in her district

“POTHELL!” was the big, bold headline splashed across a newspaper recently here in metro Detroit, and no word sums up Michigan’s infrastructure crisis more clearly. Under the headline was a picture of three drivers who’d been stranded on their way to work when they crossed an enormous pothole that had immediately destroyed their tires and rims upon impact. Welcome to pothole season in Michigan, when a daily commute often involves dangerous dodging and swerving to avoid potholes, then dodging and swerving to avoid accidents with other vehicles.  It’s a public safety nightmare.
 
Trump recently unveiled his infrastructure proposal, and it falls far, far short of what’s needed in Michigan to even begin to solve our infrastructure crisis. Under his plan, states and localities would have to find their own, new sources of revenue to spend on infrastructure to even qualify for federal help. After decades of state disinvestment in infrastructure in MI, Trump’s plan would have little to no impact here, since our local units of government have already been revenue-starved for years and are highly unlikely to be able to come up with new state spending sources. 

Michigan can’t wait for President Trump to get his act together and propose a plan that would actually work for our state. Here are just a few examples of how our infrastructure crisis is negatively impacting our communities every single day:

 

  • Flint water crisis-- Old service lines leached lead into Flint’s drinking water, poisoning an entire community.  These service lines and lead connectors have still not been replaced, four years after the crisis first began to unfold.
  • Fraser sinkhole-- A little over a year ago, an underground sewer line in Fraser collapsed, causing the ground to shift and open up and forcing people from their homes, closing down roads and putting a community in harms way.

 

  • Falling concrete on I-696-- Just recently, drivers along I-696, a major thoroughfare that links Oakland and Macomb counties in the 9th Congressional District, were being bombarded by large chunks of concrete falling from highway overpasses.
  • Heavy rains and E. coli outbreaks-- Every time there’s a heavy rain, levels of E. coli rise along the Clinton River and Lake St. Clair. This shoreline issue can be traced to much of the region still operating on old combined sewer systems in which a single pipe carries sewage from homes and businesses as well as storm runoff coming from street drains.  Such outdated systems mean that during a heavy rainfall, a mix of storm water and sewage spills over from the retention basins to rivers and drains that carry it to Lake St. Clair.

The problems I’ve just described above barely scratch the surface of what our state’s infrastructure crisis entails. Cleary, President Trump’s so-called plan won’t even begin to get the job done when it comes to rebuilding my home state and making it a safe and healthy place for our communities.
 
What’s needed now more than ever is a bold vision for rebuilding our infrastructure, centered on the human side of the issue, and focused on putting people back to work and enhancing peoples’ quality of life where they work and where they live. Such a bold vision would invest our resources in people to produce millions of family-sustaining jobs, raise living standards, reduce inequality, strengthen education, reduce poverty and create a clean, healthy environment. 

It would also mandate a direct public investment in roads, bridges and other public works, as opposed to providing “corporate giveaways” to spur private-sector investment. This direct investment should come in the form of a federal jobs program, through which our country would invest in human capital by putting people back to work rebuilding our roads and bridges, water and sewer systems, schools, airports and veterans’ hospitals, and linking our communities with high-speed internet access.
 
This kind of federal infrastructure program could create millions of jobs immediately, as well as introduce real-world job training for so many young people who are looking to begin careers in the skilled trades. An initiative like this one place great emphasis on jobs that pay a living wage, ensure workplace safety and guarantee racial and gender equality in the workplace. These goals could be achieved by raising benchmarks for prevailing wages in every corner of the country, requiring local hiring to accurately reflect and represent the diversity of the community’s workforce, include robust “Buy American” requirements and prioritize the hiring of veterans.
 
The path to American greatness lies in significant investment in our greatest resource: our people.  A federal jobs program based on rebuilding our country would be proof that America’s complex infrastructure challenges can be met by following the simple principle that public money should go toward the public good.

MI-09 is a reliable Democratic district, which Sandy Levin, who has represented it for three-and-a-half decades, is leaving. His son Andy would like to take over. There are 2 other middle-of-the-road men running as well... and Ellen, the progressive game changer in the race.

So, why have we endorsed Ellen Lipton (MI-09)?

Ellen is part of the progressive grassroots energy that is sweeping the country and she's the kind of leader who won't be satisfied sitting on the backbench taking orders from the party's sclerotic, calcified leadership. Pelosi's, Hoyer's and their team's days are numbered. The congressional Democrats desperately need seasoned, bold leaders like Ellen Lipton to help the party snap out of it before it's too late. Please consider contributing to her campaign here.



Goal: Replacing Devin Nunes In November

RicardoFrancoNunesComrade.pngLet's send our own memo to Devin Nunes: "You're Fired!" Ricardo Franco is a progressive Democrat organizing in the Central Valley to take on who local paper Fresno Bee calls “Trump’s Stooge”. Blue America endorsed him today.

If California is the beating heart of progressive America, how can it be possible that the most powerful leader of Donald Trump's Praetorian Guard hails from the Golden State? I'm speaking, of course, of Congressman Devin Nunes, a man so devoted to the president that he is willing to destroy any institution in the US Government that threatens his Dear Leader.

One would think that a smart Republican would keep a bit of a low profile in a state which only gave Trump 31.6 percent of the vote in 2016, the lowest percentage of any Republican nominee to ever run for president. Not Nunes. Despite the fact that Trump remains mired in scandal and embarrassingly low approval ratings, he has taken the role of Trump defender to such an extreme that his face is now the international symbol for Trumpian sycophancy.

Nunes felt the Trump magic early, traveling around the state with him on Trump Force One during the campaign and becoming an influential foreign policy member of the Trump transition. As the Chairman of the House Intelligence Committee he immediately took it upon himself to run interference for the White House by trying to help Trump make the case for his inane conspiracy theory that the Obama administration had tapped Trump Tower.

He made a fool of himself, pretending that in conducting his oversight duties he had "discovered" proof and had to rush to the White House to inform the president --- only to be revealed to have conspired with Trump staffers in the middle of the night to produce this information. This supposedly led to him recusing himself from the Russia investigation although his continued involvement shows he understands that in the Trump era, rules, traditions, norms and laws are all optional for Republicans.

Needless to say, the recent drama with what's known as "The Nunes Memo" and his announced intention to write many more in which he promises to name names in the Department of Justice, the FBI and the State Department and complete the "purge" of all government employees suspected of being insufficiently loyal to Trump, means he's going to be very busy in Washington over the next few months.

He should be paying a little more attention to what's happening in his district.

Nunes won comfortably in 2016 but that was before he voted for a tax bill designed to wreak revenge on California residents. It was before the Republicans decided to go to war against immigrants and start deporting people who've been living in the state for years. It was before Trump made fun of climate change and ignored the epic fire season that burned thousands of homes in California.It was before Nunes' Dear Leader decided to open oil drilling off California's coast, even as he exempted Florida a state which narrowly voted for him.

Nunes thinks his district is safe for him but everything indicates that 2018 will be a big blue wave referendum on Donald Trump. Being known as what the Fresno Bee recently called "Trump's Stooge" may just motivate a few more Democrats than usual to come out and vote. If they do, he has a problem. The district is 45% Latino, 42% white, 7% Asian and 3% black.

Luckily, a great young progressive Latino by the name of Ricardo Franco is running to replace him and Blue America has been happy to endorse him. He's a local businessman whose family has been in the area since 1912 and unlike Donald Trump, whose daddy had to pull strings to get him into the Wharton School of Business, Ricardo got in on his own. He has a keen insight on how to communicate progressive ideas to this traditional region in ways that feel familiar and new at the same time. And while Nunes, who is of Portuguese ancestry, says he "doesn't mind" being called Hispanic but thinks the term is "too broad" Ricardo speaks Spanish and is proud to call himself Latino.

Devin Nunes has been in Washington for 16 years and has lost touch with his community. Today he thinks the only person he needs to please in this world is Donald Trump.

He's going to find out this November that he is wrong.

Ricardo Franco is the future of the Democratic Party and Blue America is proud to support him. If we help him beat Trump's most loyal henchman it would send a powerful message to both parties in Washington that progressives in this country have decided that enough is enough.

Please give what you can to help send Ricardo Franco to Washington.

Thank you for your support.

Digby, for the entire Blue America team



Alert The Media! Tim Canova-Barenaked Ladies Contest, Day One:

Canova Contest Revision.pngTime for "DEBBIE DOWNER" TO GO! Help Tim Canova beat her in #FL23 and you might win this cool prize (see post for details)

Today is Day One of a week long contest on behalf of the Tim Canova congressional campaign in South Florida (FL-23 which starts up at the Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood Airport and works it way south and west through Hollywood to Surfside in the south and Weston in the west).

It's Debbie Wasserman Schultz's safe gerrymandered district. We've contributed a beautiful gold, RIAA-certified  award plaque for the Barenaked Ladies' first U.S. album, Gordon, the album that includes, "Brian Wilson," "Be My Yoko Ono," "Hello City" and the band's smash hit, "If I Had $1,000,000." The album award, which has never been taken out of its plastic wrapping, was originally awarded to Reprise Records president Howie Klein, now the treasurer of Blue America. One lucky donor who gives to Tim's campaign before next Monday-- in any amount-- will be the proud new owner of the Barenaked Ladies' Gold award plaque.

Tim is running on a full-bore Bernie type platform-- issues he has been working on his entire adult life, from campaign finance reform, protecting the environment and ending the war on drugs to reversing income inequality, immigration reform and Medicare-for-All.

As of December 31, the last FEC reporting deadline, Tim had raised $161,996. He's going to need a lot more to defeat a corrupt incumbent who has taken massive amounts of money from payday lenders, private prisons and Wall Street. Please consider helping him reach his first quarter goal here.

Tim told us he finds

“the Barenaked Ladies music to be playful, offbeat and thought-provoking at the same time. On this album, 'If I Had a Million Dollars' is a strange kind of love song for a material world. The message is: 'If I had a million dollars, I’d buy you a house, furniture, a car, I’d buy your love.' Money certainly helps up to a point, but we know that money alone cannot really buy love or happiness. As I listened to this song this morning, I thought what would I do if I had a million dollars?  And I realized I would spend it on exactly what I’ve been investing my limited personal savings in: our campaign to defeat Debbie Wasserman Schultz and our lawsuit to inspect the ballots from our last race. That lawsuit is what prompted local election officials to destroy our ballots in violation of state and federal law. I am not letting this election scandal be swept under the rug, because I know the best way to ensure a fair vote count in our upcoming election is to demand a real investigation and accountability for the fraud and illegal ballot destruction in the last election. With your help, we will raise another million dollars and we will use those resources to keep building our grassroots campaign. This remains the top priority in my life: to defeat a cynical and corrupt political insider who has done so much damage to our country. If I had a million dollars, I would still be fighting to restore democracy."

Primaries against incumbents of your own party are the toughest thing there is in American politics. It's a thankless task, with your own party fighting you every step of the way and moving in to protect their colleague, no matter how corrupt she is. But in this D+11 district there is no other way to hold Wasserman Schultz accountable than to challenger her in a primary. A New Dem, from the Republican wing of the Democratic Party, she hasn't earned a lifetime job, not by a longshot

Please help us replace her with Tim Canova. (You'll find all the "rules" to the contest at the link.)




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