Friday, March 13, 2015

The Battle To Get Donna Edwards Into The Senate Has Been Joined


Last month, when Barbara Mikulski announced she wouldn't be seeking reelection to the Senate in 2016, Blue America began a Draft Donna Edwards campaign. It was very successful in terms of helping inspire a dozen other groups to jump in on behalf of Donna and in helping start the very tough campaign fundraising slog Donna will face, and, of course, in helping persuade Donna to give up a safe House seat and try for the much tougher Senate race. As John Nichols explained in The Nation yesterday, "it is not often that a serious contender for a US Senate seat announces her candidacy with talk of grassroots environmental activism, fighting for union jobs and 'protecting women’s reproductive rights from Tea Party attacks,' or with a pledge to answer proposals to 'compromise away Social Security and Medicare' with absolute opposition-- no ifs, ands, buts or willing to considers." By "willing to consider," Nichols was referring to Donna Edwards-- and to Donna's main rival for the seat, Chris Van Hollen, a Simpson-Bowles supporter, who publicly declared he was "willing to consider" cut backs to Social Security and Medicare. Van Hollen has a nice, friendly personality-- will never be a Donna Edwards.
Serious and issue-focused, Edwards has a record of getting out front on behalf of bold positions-- even when her party is going slow. She got elected to Congress the hard way in 2008, by mounting a successful anti-war, economic-populist primary challenge to an entrenched Democratic incumbent.

But her entry into electoral politics came after years of grassroots and policy activism.

...Since her election, Edwards has often made the connection between grassroots activism and congressional action. After the Supreme Court’s Citizens United ruling, when most Democrats were talking about tepid reforms, Edwards proposed a constitutional amendment to restore the ability of citizens and their elected representatives to enact meaningful campaign finance laws-- and to prevent the bartering off of elections to the highest corporate bidder.

Now, five years after the Citizens United ruling, President Obama and most Democratic senators back some sort of constitutional amendment as a response to the Supreme Court majority’s political meddling on behalf of billionaires and corporate interests. When Edwards stepped up in February 2010, however, she was way ahead of her party. Yet the congresswoman was not cautious in her approach. She said at the time that an amendment was not a strategic option-- it was a democratic necessity. “The ruling reached by the Roberts Court overturned decades of legal precedent by allowing corporations unfettered spending in our political campaigns,” explained Edwards. “Another law will not rectify this disastrous decision. A Constitutional Amendment is necessary to undo what this Court has done.”

That kind of talk won’t go down well with the billionaires and the corporate interests who have come to control so much of our politics. And Edwards acknowledges that, in her Senate race, “The corporate special interests are going to come at me with all their money…”

But Edwards has always had a clear sense of which side she is on in the equation proposed a century ago by Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis.

“Justice Brandeis got it right: ‘We can have democracy in this country, or we can have great wealth concentrated in the hands of a few, but we can’t have both,’” she said when she introduced her amendment. “It is time we remove corporate influence from our policies and our politics. We cannot allow corporations to dominate our elections, to do so would be both undemocratic and unfair to ordinary citizens.”
So yesterday, just when Secretary of Labor Tom Perez announced he would not be running for the seat, Blue America sent out a letter to all of our members asking for contributions to Donna's campaign.

This is how Digby put it to the Blue America members yesterday: When we ask Donna Edwards for something, she listens, she thinks and she responds. Blue America was the first to ask her to consider running for the Senate seat being vacated by the "dean" of Senate women, Barbara Mikulski.

And after due consideration, she said yes! We could not be more thrilled to be among the first to endorse her.

It has been a long road to get here. Going all the way back to 2006 when Donna first took on a corrupt, Democratic insider who was backed by the leadership and rolling in special interest money all the way to her victory in 2008 and beyond. Every stop along the way, Donna has proved she is a Real Deal progressive,no apologies, no equivocating, no nonsense. Donna said this week:
"Blue America has been with me since my first campaign, and we have fought to promote forward thinking ideas and progressive values together. Today, that fight is for the United States Senate, and I need your support now more than ever. I need your support to protect and expand Social Security and Medicare, provide science, technology, engineering, and mathematics training for our young boys and girls, and ensure equal pay for equal work. This campaign is not about 'me,' it is about "we," and I know that together we can make history."
But Donna needs our help to win this. She is not going to be getting any money from the Koch brothers. They don't see her as an ally in their cause and for good reason. She won't be supported by the moneybags on Wall Street. They know she's a member of the Elizabeth Warren wing of the Democratic party and will fight their plutocratic agenda every step of the way. The Third Way think tanks aren't especially fond of her since she is a fervent defender of the safety net which they are intent upon dismantling. And the defense and intelligence contractors won't step up since she isn't someone who will blindly defend their interests over the cause of peace.

But Donna has something nobody else has. She has you. And if you step up, that's all she needs. There are millions of Americans all over the country who are desperate for political leadership that puts them first instead of the 1%. And they are the only"special interest" Donna listens to.

This is a huge race for the progressive movement. We need to have more women in the boys club that calls itself the Senate. We must have more African Americans in the mostly all white Senate. And it's essential that we have more Real Progressives in the center right Senate.

We need Donna Edwards in the U.S. Senate.

Please give what you can. This is a big one.


Labels: , , ,


Post a Comment

<< Home