If Bernie wins in November, a hostile McConnell-led Senate will be pretty deadly for all his plans. And with the Democrats very likely to lose their accidental Alabama seat, they have to win five seats for a majority. Or, one seat– Kentucky’s– to knock out McConnell. Schumer’s DSCC has picked Amy McGrath, a bland moderate who doesn’t stand for much and who couldn’t win a House seat in 2018 that is significantly more open to Democrats than the state as a whole is. McGrath has little to offer beyond McConnell-hatred. Democrats have been trying that for decades– unsuccessfully. This time, many Democrats in the state are telling Schumer and the DSCC to take a walk and they’ll pick their own Senate candidate. Charles Booker seems like a better option and not just because he endorsed Bernie for president.
Blue America has been far more impressed with state Rep. Charles Booker than we have been with McGrath, whose confused and ever-changing positions in 2018 kept us from getting behind her. Booker’s platform is crystal clear: Universal Basic Income and Economic Justice, Medicare for All and a Kentucky-specific version of the Green New Deal.
McGrath is running on nothing but bullshit: pie-in-the-sky, cynical “bipartisan solutions.” On guns, she’s calling for “a conversation about guns”– no solutions, no policies… a “conversation.” This is exactly the kind of neither-here-nor-there candidates Schumer hunts for, a perfect explanation of why the Democrats are in the minority. His district runs along the Ohio River from Chickasaw Park, through Louisville and east as far as Woodlawn Park.
Booker won the House seat by placing first in a crowded primary and then defeating Republican Everett Corley 76.5% to 21.3%. Please read his guest post below and consider contributing to his campaign by clicking on the Blue America 2020 Senate thermometer up on the right.
I’m The Candidate Who Can Beat Mitch McConnell
by Charles Booker
When you’re running for office, you get a lot of advice. Some of it is helpful; other pieces, not so much. Nonetheless, I appreciate it all.
But one piece of advice stands out from the rest. They are words of wisdom that never leave my head: “It takes a movement to beat a machine.”
That’s the whole idea behind my campaign for the U.S. Senate. I am running against Mitch McConnell, the second most powerful person in Washington. Even though he is the most unpopular Senator in the country, and proudly brags about stopping legislation that would improve the lives of everyday Kentuckians, he has proven difficult for Democrats to beat.
This time, we are going to do this differently. Mitch wins because he plays into people’s fears. We are going to win because we listen to their hopes.
We are building a grassroots movement based around an economic populist agenda. We are fighting for the issues that matter most to the people I meet in every corner of the Commonwealth: Medicare for All, a Kentucky New Deal, universal basic income, and an end to generational poverty.
Some people think that you can’t run on those issues and win in Kentucky. In fact, it’s the only way we are going to win. Kentuckians are tired of the rich and powerful making decisions without everyday folks in the room. They want someone who will fight to make sure that every Kentuckian has clean water in their tap, a good job and access to prescription drugs that don’t bankrupt them.
I know there are some Democratic Party leaders who still believe that the way to beat Mitch is by running to the soft center, by saying nothing and taking no positions. But we’ve tried it their way, and we’ve lost. Over and over and over.
It’s time to try something new. It’s time to run against Mitch while fighting for the things we actually believe in, not the things pollsters tell us people allegedly want to hear.
We are not some cookie cutter campaign that could be run in any state. And I am not a cookie cutter candidate who speaks in sound bites approved by focus groups.
I am a Kentuckian, running for Kentucky. I speak from the heart, and I speak about the issues that impact the people who live in the Commonwealth, and I’m rooting my campaign in the ideas that will actually improve lives for working people.
This is not the first time I have been told to wait my turn, and I am sure it will not be the last. I became the youngest Black state legislator in Kentucky in nearly 90 years because I did not listen to the naysayers. Come November, I am going to be the first person of color to serve in federal office from Kentucky because, again, I am not going to listen.
As someone who comes from generations of Kentuckians, some of whom were enslaved and lynched in Kentucky, and others who broke racial barriers during the Civil Rights Movement, I owe it to my ancestors to fight for this next step toward equity, as well. I also owe it to the people of Kentucky who want a government of the people, for the people.
Winning these sorts of races is possible when you build diverse coalitions of passionate people. I saw that in my work as the director of Fish and Wildlife, in my leadership statewide and nationally, and as a state Representative.
I believe that the only way to defeat Mitch McConnell is to actually run against Mitch McConnell. Dancing around him isn’t going to get us anywhere. We have to take the fight directly to him.
It’s just common sense! You don’t beat the most unpopular Senator in America by running away from him, or trying to be like him. You win by putting him on the defensive, and holding him accountable for all of the wrongs he’s done since he became a Senator in 1984. There are over 30 years worth of cruel, self-centered, anti-democratic decisions. We need to keep calling them out. We need to make sure he has to answer for what he’s done to us, and for what he’s done to Kentucky. We need to remind everyone how he’s done those things at our expense, all for himself. We can’t stop talking about all the ways he’s profited from our pain.
We will win this race by building a movement.
The movement is made up of the people taking on the powerful and corrupt. The powers that be want us to give up, because they know what I know: the power is really in us.
The movement is growing every day, more and more Kentuckians whose voices haven’t been heard join us.
This is a movement of regular folks coming together to say we’re not going to be lied to, ignored, and robbed by Mitch McConnell any longer.
I am honored to be a part of that movement, and can’t wait to take it over the finish line.
We are going to beat the machine. We are going to win for Kentuckians.