Imagine electing Bernie or Elizabeth in November– and a stronger Democratic major in the House with more outstanding progressives like Mike Siegel, Dana Balter, J.D. Scholten, Marie Newman, Morgan Harper, Kara Eastman and Kim Williams. And then waking up on Wednesday and realizing congressional terrorist Mitch McConnell is still running the U.S. Senate, eager and able to block every single piece of legislation proposed by the president and passed by the House.
The road to dislodging McConnell next year runs through Maine. And that means nominating a candidate who will give a massive number of voters a reason to come out and vote.
This week, Blue America endorsed Betsy Sweet for the U.S. Senate seat in Maine, currently held by Trump-enabler Susan Collins. Betsy is the founder and principal of Moose Ridge Associates, which since 1990 has promoted state legislation supporting the interests of women, elderly, people with disabilities, victims of abuse and discrimination, and the environment. She helped found the Dirigo Alliance, the Maine Center for Economic Policy, the Women’s Legislative Agenda Coalition, “Maine Can Do Better” and numerous other progressive coalitions over the years, knowing that we are smarter together than we are alone.
Chuck Schumer isn’t interested in anyone as progressive and independent-minded as Betsy and his chosen candidate is Sara Gideon, a wishy-washy establishment type who tip-toes around tough issues and refuses to back Medicare-for-All, the Green New Deal, or a ban on the sales of assault weapons, all of which Betsy is campaigning on.
I asked Betsy to introduce herself to our members with a guest post. Please give it a read and if you like what she has to say, consider contributing to her campaign by clicking on the Blue America 2020 Senate thermometer above.
Our Democracy Is Threatened To Its Core
-by Betsy Sweet
People all over this nation are struggling. We have jobs that don’t pay enough, health care that is beyond the reach of many of us, and natural resources that are being eroded or destroyed as “climate change” becomes a climate crisis… We have mass incarceration of people of color while big pharma is getting off virtually scott free as the opioid crisis ruins individuals’ lives and rips families apart. Rational gun safety measures like background checks and an assault weapons ban are supported by the vast majority of this country, but the Senate is letting Mitch McConnell bury bills in the “do not take up” file. The world is literally and figuratively on fire and the Senate, on its best days, is bringing a watering can to the edges of the blaze.
We have been here before as a nation. And we have met huge challenges with bold, courageous solutions: we ended the Civil War and abolished slavery, we granted women the right to vote, we passed a civil rights bill to end the most egregious discrimination, and we brought the Vietnam War to an end. These issues tore at the very fabric of our nation, and they shone a light on the worst we had to offer. But they also encouraged and birthed leaders who would meet those challenges, real people who took bold actions fueled by new ideas and the courage to stand up for what was right.
The serious divisions that we face in our country today demand the same kind of bold, thoughtful, courageous, and innovative leadership.
But let me be clear: the divisions we face are not what the news media and the pundits would have us believe: our division isn’t between our neighbors on the left and our neighbors on the right. It’s not conservative versus liberal, not even Democrat versus Republican.
The division is between us– the hard working people who make up the backbone and flesh of this country– and the rich and powerful elite, the corporations who line the pockets of politicians and put the needs of America’s working families at the bottom of the list.
Let us make no mistake about what has created the crisis we all feel… Insurance and pharmaceutical money blocks Medicare for all. Fossil fuel money blocks real action on climate change. And money from those who are in power but are no longer a majority blocks election reform.
In my campaign, big money has already chosen Susan Collins and one of my Democratic primary opponents. It’s why I’m sure you will see their faces on television– a lot. It’s also why they won’t vote for fundamental change.
That’s why one of my first acts as Senator will be to introduce a constitutional amendment to that does three things:
- Overturns Citizens United. (Because corporations are not people. And money is not speech.)
- Creates a federal Clean Elections program– a publicly financed system of elections for federal office (modeled after the very successful one I helped write and pass here in Maine in 1996).
- Limits the campaign cycle to 12 weeks. No other nation in the world holds elections as long as we do. And 2-3 year election cycles only serve the political industrial complex– not you and me.
People in this country are sick to death of our broken political system. It doesn’t represent us, nor does it fulfill the promise of democracy.
We need real change in this country. Each one of us must demand it, and then act on our beliefs. That’s what my campaign is about, and it’s how I’ve lived my whole life. I haven’t made change by climbing the traditional party ladder. I’ve made change by harnessing the power of people working together for real change. That’s how I helped pass the first family medical leave act in the country in 1986. It’s how I wrote and helped pass the first clean elections program in the country in 1996. It’s how we’ve gotten support for domestic violence and sexual assault. It’s how we have won rights for the LGBTQ community.
I am proud to have done this work on behalf of real people in Maine. In every single one of these cases, people said to me, “don’t try, it’s not possible, you can’t do it.” And my response is always, “You wanna bet?”
Today, many political insiders are saying we can’t pass health care for everyone, or a Green New Deal, or get money out of politics. You wanna bet?
We can and will do these things. We have got to take our democracy back from the hands of the special interests that have hijacked our democracy and rigged the system.
We have to stop listening to the political pundits and big money who want to decide who can be elected and who can’t. You know who really decides? Voters decide. We must decide what we want, find a candidate who shares our values, and then say, “I’m going to the mat for her and will do everything I can to elect a Senator who is on my side.”
2020 is a pivot point. It is our opportunity to not only stand for politics that help people but also to inspire the hearts and minds of America in a new direction. We can take our democracy back. Let’s lead the nation.
Award-winning artist Nancy Ohanian has donated one of her autographed new prints, Congressional Terrorists, as a gift to one Betsy Sweet contributor. Anyone who gives any amount to Betsy’s campaign on this ActBlue page in the next 2 days has a chance– through a random drawing– to win the print. We will select a winner on Wednesday night at 9pm (Maine time). Remember, it doesn’t matter how much you contribute, just that you send Betsy’s campaign something.