Long before Trump’s election, the 42nd congressional district of California (now entirely within Riverside County) was captured by a candidate who served the corrupt corporate agenda of big-moneyed donors and lobbyists. Since 1993, Ken Calvert has used his power and influence against working class and marginalized communities in Riverside county, engaging in race-baiting, Islamophobia– and holding a 4% rating from the ACLU! Even Fox News featured his corruption on a special… although they touched just one aspect of why he is unfit to serve in high office.
Calvert’s largest donors are in the military-industrial complex, and he has pushed ever greater corporate welfare for bomb-makers, while voting for every use of force and sending American youth to die for oil and foreign infrastructure contracts. Along the way he has championed the expanding police state, and resisted every opportunity to make life better for the residents of his district.
Progressive Liam O’Mara, won his primary handily and is now challenging Calvert for the seat in November. A southern California native, Liam first voted in the 1992 election that put Calvert into office, and he has seen firsthand the damage from policies Calvert prefers. Coming from a working class family, Liam didn’t go to college until age 30, and is the first in his family with a degree. Having started as a longshoreman and restaurant worker, Liam now teaches history at three Southern California colleges.
As a historian of ideas, Liam understands the times better than most. “Forty years of neoliberalism,” he told us, “have undermined the American Dream and brought us to the edge of collapse into neofascist dictatorship. With unidentified federal agents now roaming the streets in our cities, ‘proactively’ arresting protesters and bystanders, whisking them off to undisclosed locations, we have reached the Gestapo phase of that descent, and we need to stand up.”
We need voices in Washington who know how we got here and what we can do about it.
His district is demographically purple, 40% Hispanic, and half the population is under 30. Republicans make up just 37% of the electorate, and Calvert cannot win without independent voters. This is why Liam’s progressive platform– which includes Medicare-for-All, a Green New Deal, UBI, and more– gets framed in economic terms, and he talks most about kitchen table issues that resonate powerfully in the area.
But his progressive credentials are also why the DCCC is blowing off the race, preferring the corrupt incumbent to someone who can push for real change in this country.
Liam has said to us that this flippable seat can “put another Squad member in the House,” but only if enough of us are willing to stand with Liam against neo-fascists and neo-liberals alike.
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Thanks for always doing what you can to make this a better world,
Howie, for the entire Blue America team