Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Blue America Has A New Candidate... In Oklahoma!


Reactionary Blue Dogs Jim Matheson, Mike McIntyre and John Barrow are often excused for voting consistently when the Republicans even on the most basic and crucial Democratic principles, because of the right-wing nature of their districts. Nick Rahall isn't as anti-worker as the other three, nor as much of a corporate whore as they are, but he gets the same pass for voting with the GOP and for the same reasons. Matheson has the reddest district in the country held by a Democrat-- a PVI of R+16-- and Obama only managed to win 30% of the vote in his brainwashed Utah district. Rahall's West Virginia mountain home has a PVI of R+14 and Obama just broke a third against Romney. McIntyre's North Carolina redoubt was next with R+12-- and Obama at 40%-- and the last of the gang is Barrow's serially gerrymandered Georgia district, which clocks in at R+9, and where Obama won 44%.

Demographically, OK-05 will fit right in with the other 4. James Lankford's Oklahoma City area district may be the "bluest" in the state but the PVI is R+12 and Obama only managed to pick up 41% against Romney last year. But there's a very different partisan dynamic going on in the congressional race there, namely a real Democrat is in the mix. Instead of campaigning by claiming he'll vote with the Republicans the way Matheson, McIntyre, Rahall and Barrow do, the Democrat who's taking on Lankford-- Tom Guild-- is campaigning as an out-and-out alternative to his GOP opponent on a wide array of fundamental issues.

Guild says he wants to join the Congressional Progressive Caucus and spend his time in Congress fighting for the interests of ordinary working families, the way Oklahoma populists were doing for decades after Oklahoma gained statehood in 1907. Hard to imagine that at one time Oklahoma had the most socialists of any state in the country. The Republicans successfully targeted Oklahoma as part of their Southern Strategy under Nixon and the state has turned into an extreme GOP hellhole. Every statewide office and every federal elected official in the state is a Republican-- and none of them are "moderate." 72 of the 101 members of the state House of Representatives are Republicans and in the state Senate there are 36 Republicans and only 12 Democrats. Guild sees this slowly starting to turn around.

And Guild's platform reads like it already has turned around. This guy favors marriage equality, favors a women's right to choose, favors strengthening essential government social programs like Social Security and Medicare and he does not pander to right-wing elements to sound like he's been brainwashed by Fox. "I support the right to organize, collective bargaining and mimimum wage laws," he says on his website. "I oppose 'Right to Work' attacks on Unions and the extension of the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy." In a blue state, a statement like this is a commonsense no-brainer but in Oklahoma... it's an almost shocking clarion call to action.

And so is this: "In light of recent experience, we need to have stronger regulation of Wall Street. We need Wall Street reform to stop current and future abuses, to hold big banks accountable for their actions and to ensure that American taxpayers will not have to bail out the financial industry again. We need to create strong consumer protections that will shield American consumers. The “too big to fail” mentality must be abandoned. By reforming the system, we can protect American taxpayers and make sure that they are not forced to bail out irresponsible corporate executives, who in some cases earn tens of millions of dollars in annual bonuses." That's how people used to talk in Oklahoma, but it's been a long time. Tom:
As the economy begins its recovery from the deep recession, we need to ensure that both federal and state governments create an environment that makes good paying jobs available. In the short term, we need to stimulate employment by both small and large business; for instance, recovery can be helped along by projects that repair our infrastructure. In the long term, laws like the “America Competes Act,” help us to continue to be a competitive part of the worldwide economy. The law puts additional money in scholarships and training for math and science teachers and doubles research funding. We need well thought out legislation to keep jobs from being exported overseas.

To help those who have lost their jobs in the past two years, we need to continue to fund extended unemployment benefits, as well as the program that picks up 65 percent of health insurance premiums until workers find new jobs. Where needed, we need to partner with state and local governments to fund retraining, to ensure that good paying jobs are available.

We need to create an economic climate that encourages companies to keep their operations in this country. This both protects and creates good paying American jobs, strengthens Americans’ personal finances and enhances our national economy.

We need to support our workers to ensure that the minimum wage, currently at $7.25 an hour, is designed to keep working families above the poverty level. The recent change in the minimum wage was passed after 11 years with no changes; we need to ensure that this important law responds to the needs of our citizens, rather than the whim of politics as usual.
Tom is the latest addition to the short list of candidates Blue America has endorsed this cycle. We want to help Tom win in a district this red and we want to help Tom lay the groundwork to be able to communicate with the people who live here about issues they only hear about from Republicans and Hate Talk Radio hosts. The DC Democratic Establishment has opposed almost every candidate Blue America has gotten behind, from Donna Edwards (D-MD), Carol Shea-Porter (D-NH) and Alan Grayson (D-FL) to, more recently, Matt Cartwright (D-PA) and Beto O'Rourke (D-TX), all of whom are currently serving-- and serving well-- in Congress, despite the pronouncements of the Steve Israel/Rahm Emanuel set and the pundits who act as their stenographers. We've never been afraid of a steep climb for a candidate worth the effort. Sometimes it pays off. How about you? You want to help with Tom? He's brand new on the Blue America page

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