Congressional Super Tuesday

Not every state holding presidential primaries Tuesday is also holding congressional primaries. But the two biggies– California and Texas— are. Both these states are polling strongly for Bernie. The CNN poll for California that was released Friday shows Bernie in the top slot with 35% (up 15 points since December) and Elizabeth Warren in second with 14%. Conservatives Biden, Bloomberg and Mayo Pete combined don’t have as much support as Bernie. In Texas, the new CNN poll, also shows Bernie with tremendous momentum and in the top spot– 29%, up 14 points since December. Biden has been sinking from 35% in December to 20% now, the closest of anyone to Bernie.

But for Bernie to be able to pass his ambitious agenda– an agenda that has driven so many of us to Bernie (and Elizabeth)– he’s going to need more progressives in Congress. There are men and women running for House seats who are campaigning on Medicare-for-All, the Green New Deal, free state college, criminal justice, peace, etc.

Goal Thermometer We’re asking Blue America supporters to contribute to a very specific subset of candidates– the ones who are actively campaigning for Medicare-for-All. How do you know who is and who isn’t? We’ve asked them. You can see the list of the ones we’ve endorsed who are campaigning for Medicare-for-All by clicking on the ActBlue thermometer on the right.

Audrey Denney is running for a congressional seat in the northeast corner of California where the Golden State meets rural sections of Nevada and Oregon. Trump’s ally there, Doug LaMalfa, opposes any government-funded healthcare and whenever, given the opportunity, has voted for cutting Medicare and Medicaid. We asked Audrey how the voters she’s been meeting have reacted to Medicare for All, the Green New Deal and the other policies that are the foundation of her campaign. “Our rural part of the world is being decimated by the effects of a broken healthcare system and we became the face of climate influenced natural disasters with our catastrophic fires in 2018,” she told us. “As I travel across this huge congressional district (that is larger than ten U.S. States) I encounter people from across the political spectrum who are anxious for effective change on so many of these important issues. The people of California’s first are ready for a healthcare system that doesn’t put them at risk of losing everything because of a health crisis. They are ready for a healthcare system that effectively functions as well as a healthcare system that meets the unique needs of our rural communities. The people of California’s first are ready for a representative who believes in science and understands the impact of climate change on our forests and our communities. More than ever, we need a Representative who can bring the diverse viewpoints found across our district to the table to find solutions to our unhealthy forests and environment.”

Climate change is not a threat in the distant future. It is threatening the lives, homes, and livelihoods of people who live in my district today. We have to take bold action to mitigate climate change and restore our forests to health. The Green New Deal is not a plan to mitigate climate change– it is a bold commitment to the belief that we can. I want to be a policymaker who crafts pragmatic policies that support the vision of the Green New Deal– tailored to benefit the people and the communities of California’s first district. I will be the voice at the table that represents rural America, our farms, ranches, and forests. On Tuesday our district votes to take us one step closer to having the effective representation we desperately need. In November, we will finish the job.

Mike Siegel is running very strong in a gerrymandered district that runs from north Austin into the outer suburbs of Houston and is likely to win Tuesday. But his focus has been on Trump crony Michael McCaul who has voted to cut Medicare and Medicaid every time he’s had the opportunity. Mike has been running a very grassroots campaign and we asked him what the voters are telling him about Medicare for All, the Green New Deal and the other policies he’s running on. “They key,” he told us, “is to get outside of the bubble of donors and consultants, and meet the activists and community stakeholders who form the base of our progressive community. Here in Central and Gulf Coast Texas, the electorate is far more ambitious than the establishment gives us credit for. I see almost universal support for a Green New Deal, and also very powerful support for Medicate for All (especially if you have a minute or two to talk it through).” He continued:

“Rural Democrats want Medicare for All because it will keep their hospitals open; they want a Green New Deal so they can drink their well water and restore the local landscape. In the cities, where the cost of living is sky-high, single payer healthcare will give working people a little breathing room. And the Green New Deal provides a pathway to address the growing threat of floods (five 500 year flood events in Houston in the last five years) while also creating good jobs that will help rebuild the middle class. “Gatekeepers in DC and Texas have discouraged me from running on these policies. When I forged ahead without their blessing, they backed two primary challengers against me. Although these two have collectively spent over $2 million to block me from the nomination, they have almost zero support in the community. You don’t build a popular movement with feckless “pragmatism” that is a thinly disguised nod towards austerity. Rather, we need to keep pushing a visionary program that provides a true alternative to the crumbling status quo.”

Liam O’Mara is running against one of Trump’s last knee-jerk allies in California, corrupt Riverside County extremist Ken Calvert. We asked Liam how the voters he’s been meeting have reacted to Medicare for All, the Green New Deal and the other policies that are the foundation of his campaign. He is in a similar situation in southern California, where he’s running against one of Trump’s last knee-jerk allies in the state, corrupt Riverside County extremist Ken Calvert. We asked Liam the same question we asked Audrey and Mike. What is he hearing from the voters? He told us he’s heard “tremendous support not only for clean money but for a broad progressive agenda including the Green New Deal and Medicare for All. To win these inland districts you need to get beyond your base and talk to everyone, and I’ve had people come on board with that same agenda who self-identify as conservative, since at the end of the day we all want a better future. When you run against the establishment as a whole, taking shots at out-of-touch politicians and billionaires alike, you’ll find supporters in the most unlikely of corners! A progressive-populist message can take the heartland of this country from the GOP, and deliver a solid Congress that’s ready to work on that Sanders agenda. It just takes the right candidates, a shift in strategy, and the support of allies across the country. Working together, we can change the direction in DC for good, and finally deliver on the promise of FDR’s Second New Deal.”

Kim Williams is the only progressive in the three-way Central Valley jungle primary. The incumbent is reactionary Blue Dog Jim Costa in a strongly Democratic district. Same questions for Kim: She told us that she and her team of volunteers have knocked on 16,000 doors. “We’ve heard heartbreaking story after heartbreaking story of families on the brink of homelessness because someone in their household was sick. And when we ask voters which issue they care about most, they almost always say healthcare tops the list. The Central Valley is famously short on doctors and Jim Costa’s solution is to establish a medical center that will take years to complete. He also states that the best way to get more doctors into the Valley is to raise them. He adds, and I’m not kidding here, that it’s best to start recruiting in elementary school. So folks who are currently battling cancer should just hold tight until these kids grow up and finish medical school.”

These are the absurd solutions voters have been handed for decades, so it’s no surprise people are eager for change. They are also eager for childcare. Given the alarming numbers of homeless families in the Valley, safe, consistent childcare that lets working parents grow their careers and communities is critical to lower our high poverty rate. At each door, we talk about how we need fundamental, across-the-board change to make America work for working families. Empty promises of incremental change means little to folks who understand that the policies on the ballot this year could mean the difference between clean water or a sick child, a college education or farm work, and healthcare or a shortened lifespan.

Howie: By electing candidates like Kim Williams, Liam O’Mara and Audrey Denny in California and Mike Siegel in Texas, we’re going to make fundamental changes in America and resuscitate the New Deal– which has been all but buried by venal conservatives from both parties.


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