Thursday, March 05, 2015

Draft Donna Edwards-- Why It Matters


Yesterday, Blue America launched a Draft Donna Edwards Act Blue page and all Blue America members got this email from us:
Following in the footsteps of Senator Barbara Boxer earlier this year, the Dean of Senate women, Barbara Mikulski of Maryland, announced this week that she will not run for re-election. For 38 years Senator Mikulski was a pathbreaker, having been "the first" in at so many things, perhaps most notably the first woman to chair the powerful Appropriations Committee. She has served her country well and will be missed.

Luckily, Maryland has a wonderful progressive congresswoman who would be the perfect candidate to carry on her legacy: Donna Edwards of the state's 4th congressional district. She needs no introduction to those of you who have been around progressive Netroots for a while.

For those of you who might not have been with us back in the day, let's just say that Donna isn't just a hard-working public servant with great progressive record, although she is that. And she isn't just brilliant on TV at articulating our philosophy with passion and skill, although she is that too. She is a giant slayer which she proved back in 2008 when she took down a powerful and corrupt Democratic party hack with a bold progressive message that impressed just about everybody who heard it. Her race was a template for the many Netroots primary races to come.

In fact, Donna was one of our first ever endorsees-- for the 2006 race she very narrowly lost. Here's Howie back in 2007, endorsing her for the re-match she won handily:
I have a dream. I don’t know how realistic it is, but it doesn’t seem completely crazy. My dream is that my country will elect a superb leader, one who is wise and sharp and compassionate and educated, who understands what America needs and works effectively towards those goals.  A few months ago I met Donna Edwards in Georgia. I had spoken to her many times on the phone but we had never met before. Of all the people I’ve talked to on behalf of Blue America, she’s the one who I am certain would best fulfill that dream.
And she has done just that. Donna has proven to be a stalwart progressive in the House with a perfect record on the issues. She has been a vocal leader and fighter for everything we care about. In fact, she has fulfilled Howie's expectation in every respect.

That's why we'd like to see Donna Edwards run for the Senate.

She has expressed no desire to do it at this point. And maybe she has other plans. But we'd like to try to persuade her to take up the challenge.

It would be a sad day indeed to see Barbara Mikulski's seat go to anyone less worthy.

We have started a "Draft Donna" Act Blue page to tell her just how important we think it is that she consider this run. We want her to know that just as we were there for her all the way in her hard-fought primaries back on 06 and 08, we will be there for her this time as well.

Donna is the Netroots promise in living color. She talked the talk and we backed her. We stuck with her when she hit a snag and worked hard to get her over the line in her winning race. And she fulfilled her promises every step of the way.

Now we'd like her to consider taking the next logical step. Let's let her know that if she does, we'll be there for her once again.

Senator Donna Edwards. It has a nice ring to it don't you think?
Blue America donors helped launch Donna's first campaign-- when she primaried corrupt conservative Democrat Al Wynn-- and we have felt a great sense of satisfaction to watch a talented and sincere political leader live up to our hopes and expectations. Her voting record-- consistently one of the top 10 most progressive in Congress-- speaks for itself. And so does her record of leadership. I want to remind you of something shared by another Blue America congressional candidate, Nate Shinagawa, about Donna some time ago and unrelated to this draft movement.

Progressives had high hopes that Nate would beat conservative Republican Tom Reed in a southern and central New York state congressional district in 2012. And he nearly did. But Nate was abandoned by then-DCCC chair Steve Israel and his right-of-center faction and narrowly missed out on an historic breakthrough. At the time, Nate spoke highly of Donna Edwards as a "values-driven leader" who worked tirelessly for his campaign despite DCCC disinterest. Nate:
I know first-hand how effective, inspiring and wise Congresswoman Edwards is. In 2012, I was the Democratic nominee for United States Congress in New York’s 23rd Congressional District. I ran as a progressive Democrat in a conservative, rural district against a Republican congressman who spent $2.4 million against me. Every pundit and campaign analyzer, from left to right, said our campaign didn’t stand a chance. The DCCC listened to the pundits and wrote us off. Despite that, we received 48% of the vote, making us one of the most competitive races in the nation and out-performing the vast majority of candidates that the DCCC prioritized as “Red to Blue.”

Throughout the campaign, we showed the DCCC that we could win. We hit our targets in field and finance. We had polling that showed the race was competitive. We were told that if we kept working hard, they’d come in and help us. The help from the DCCC organization never came. I remember how demoralized my staff and supporters were the final months of the campaign. We were like soldiers surrounded by enemy forces, assured that reinforcements would come, and realizing in our final moments that we’d be left behind.

Luckily, like a hero who does what’s right instead of what’s told, Congresswoman Donna Edwards came to our rescue. She not only endorsed the campaign. In the final month, she flew to Ithaca, NY, and rallied my supporters and staff. She gave us, and especially me, the morale boost needed to push onward. What made her visit especially powerful is that she is a leader within the DCCC. It was the little signal to our team that we had a fighting chance. Even though the DCCC as a whole ignored us, she took individual initiative to help us. After she came, there was an electric feeling of hope among my team. After months of being demoralized by the DCCC, she gave us the inspiration to continue the fight.

...What makes her unique, though, is her values. She’s compassionate, open-minded, and progressive. She knows how small investments in people can yield tremendous returns later on. She’s simultaneously strategic and tactical, caring and analytical. I believe she can change the course of... the Democratic Party. The American people today are like my campaign before her visit: increasingly demoralized and in need of hope. We need a rescue from a leader who has the heart, mind and soul to inspire change and lead us to victory. We need a progressive leader like Congresswoman Donna Edwards.
The race for Barbara Mikulski's Senate seat is likely to turn into a crowded primary that includes establishment figures like multimillionaire conservative John Delaney and Beltway insider Chris Van Hollen. If you'd like to help make sure the next senator from Maryland is a real progressive who fights for working families out of inner conviction, please consider making a contribution to Donna at the Blue America Draft Donna Edwards page. Remember, while Donna was fighting hard and smart to protect Social Security and Medicare from corporate predators, "progressive" Chris Van Hollen was strongly backing the Simpson-Bowles "compromise" that cut both programs and smacked of what eventually became a key element in Frank Underwood's vile AmWork initiative. Social Security Medicare and the social safety net are bargaining chips for career politicians like Van Hollen (and Underwood); it's experiential, existential life and death for a woman genuinely of the people, like Donna Edwards.

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At 12:03 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am sorry to disagree with this blog for the first time. But Donna Edwards is now supported by No Labels. No Labels was founded by, among others, Republican consultant Mark McKinnon and the former chief of staff to Joe Lieberman. They have hosted fundraising parties for her. Further, she does photo-ops for Lockheed Martin

and is receiving donations from them, as well as from Northrop Grumman and Raytheon.

Donna *was* a progressive. Now her job is to trade on that while working for large corporate interests. It's not her fault; the corruption is so endemic that one has to do this to survive. But since we're going to get a corporatist insider anyway, I strongly suggest that it's better to pick someone who's not pretending to be otherwise. I think we've had enough of the Barack Obama model or politics, where a person puts up a pretense of being a strong progressive but is working, at the end of the day, for the same rich bastards everybody else is.

At 7:50 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Being black and female, the corporatist radicals will be using any and all means, both fair and foul, to ensure that she doesn't win such an election. This will happen even if, as the first anon said at 12:03, that Edwards has sold out to the corporatists. I agree with anon I's conclusion, that it's better to have an open corporatist radical than one that lies to gain office.


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