Progressive Democrats Have Clear Shots To Flip Several Red Districts Blue

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In an OpEd for the Wall Street Journal on Saturday, Rahm Emanuel celebrated the idea of “Biden Republicans,” basically conservative GOP voters who have had enough of Trump and are eager to vote him out of office by electing Joe Biden who was long bragged about being the most conservative Democrat in the Senate.

“This year,” he wrote, “Democrats have an opportunity to chisel off a demographic that will come to be known as ‘Biden Republicans.’ The question is whether Democrats will let these voters migrate back to the GOP after November, or whether our party will become their permanent safe harbor… Democrats have the chance to achieve a generational transformation. Beyond broadening the coalition to include moderate voters who oppose President Trump, we could deepen our base by turning disaffected Republicans into Democrats. Voters in places that were once beyond our reach– suburban parts of Maricopa County, Arizona; Mecklenburg County, North Carolina; and Bucks County, Pennsylvania, for example– are open to conversion.”

What’s a Democrat? Is it someone who supports a set of shared progressive values or is it someone willing to support– with votes and cash– Team Blue, Inc?

That’s where normal Democrats part company with party hacks and Wall Street whores like Emanuel. His claim to fame– aside from twisting enough Democratic congressional arms for Bill Clinton to get NAFTA passed– was, as DCCC chair, when in 2006, the Democrats captured 30 seats. That’s part of Emanuel’s legend– although few people talk about how all of the conservatives he recruited, first voted with the GOP on issue after issue and were subsequently either defeated or forced to retire once they saw polls showing they would be defeated. None remained in Congress.

Elizabeth Warren was once a Republican– well into adulthood, as a matter of fact– and switched parties… but not just a partisan designation at the board of elections, which would certainly be good enough for Emanuel. Warren, as you know, is pro-choice, pro-worker and comes down firmly on the side of Main Street rather than Wall Street. She isn’t a bigot or a racist and when she came to the Democratic Party, she didn’t bring all the baggage with her that appalls most Democrats, though not Rahmish Democrats from the growing Republican wing of the Democratic Party– the Blue Dogs and the New Dems. And most of the Democrats– oh, I don’t know… about 90% of them, who have migrated over to the Democratic Party have brought their old conservative perspectives. That’s the problem.

And that’s why, unlike the DCCC, Blue America supports progressives not generic Democrats. We’re working hard to help primary winners like Kara Eastman, Mike Siegel, Liam O’Mara and Jon Hoadley, who defeated Emanuel-oriented candidates in districts held by Republicans, flip those seats from red to blue.

Goal ThermometerAn Emanuel-protégée, Cheri Bustos– a Blue Dog/New Dem from Illinois– has Emanuel’s old job at the DCCC. Will she cut the progressives off before the election the way he did? We’ll see.

But right now I want to urge you to go to the Blue America 2020 congressional ActBlue page, by clicking on the thermometer on the right, and contributing what you can to these men and women– each of whom is aware that they can only win by appealing to cross-over voters– independents and moderate Republicans, not hard-core Trump voters who already have their candidates… real Republicans, like Donald J. Bacon, Trump appendage in Omaha, who Kara Eastman is currently leading in the polls, not by going the Republican-lite way but by talking with her neighbors about solving real problems that plague their lives. This morning, Kara told me that she believes

“you show you are standing for Main Street over Wall Street by advocating for those crucial pocketbook issues every day: health care, economic fairness, and tax equity. But change won’t happen in DC if the same Washington lobbyists continue to set the agenda. This is why I came out of the gate rejecting all corporate PAC contributions. This has never been a popular position for entrenched interests; but, the more of us that stand up, the more they will back down and come around. You can’t just check off a box, you have to be vocal, visible and very hard-working.”

“The way we win as Democrats,” top Texas House candidate Mike Siegel told me today, “is to show every community that we will fight for them. This is how this plays in my district, which is perceived as conservative (R+9) but in reality is more dynamic, and certainly very winnable. Michael McCaul has voted to cut healthcare 46 times– during a pandemic, while rural hospitals close– while I am fighting for universal healthcare (Medicare for All), so you never have to think twice about seeing a doctor, getting a COVID test, picking up a prescription.

McCaul calls this ‘socialism’ but the voters can see– I’m fighting for their lives, while McCaul sees them as a profit center. Climate is another key issue. While the rural and Houston-side voters may not understand what we mean by a ‘Green New Deal,’ each element of this policy is popular. Voters like a national jobs program– especially in this economic crisis we are in. They like environmental protection– they want to stop the coal plant and fracking that’s poisoning the air and water. And they want to stop climate change, which has caused five ‘500 year’ flood events in Houston in the last five years.

“McCaul,” he continued, “represents the corruption of our democracy. Taking $60K from Big Pharma while stopping the government from negotiating drug prices. Investing more of his own money in Oil and Gas than any member of Congress– while refusing to support the most basic transitional steps to a renewable economy. By drawing these contrasts– by showing I am unbought and unbossed, fighting for the people not corporations– I can build a truly big tent. One that is not simply left versus right, but bottom versus top. And once we win this race– and show not only that progressives can win primaries, that we can also flip seats red to blue– we will give more fuel to this fire, and advance the movement to build a more equitable society.”

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

Howie, for the entire Blue America team.

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