Thursday, July 02, 2015

When Real Democrats Run Against Corporate Cutouts


Voters in Wisconsin want to hear what Bernie has to say

Not even the dual Republican clown shows of Chris Christie and Donald Trump are drawing anywhere near the crowds Bernie Sanders is bringing in. Even bolstered by Paul LePage on the eve of his impeachment isn't doing anything to make Christie look like a viable popular contender, and not even handing out $50 bills to pretend "supporters" is managing to do much for Trump. 

Last night Bernie spoke to a capacity crowd at the Veterans Memorial Coliseum (which the corporatists call the Alliant Energy Center) in Madison. People had warned him that, with school out, he would be lucky to fill a quarter of the 10,000 capacity venue. But he filled it. After all, it was his first trip to Wisconsin since declaring. 10,000 fans-- and he didn't even have to have Neil Young or Magic Mike as a draw. Union members, oppressed by Governor Scott Walker, are still fuming-- and easily recognize in Bernie's record, more than Clinton's hollow promises, that he's their guy. According to a poll organized two weeks ago by, 76% of union members prefer Bernie, while 11% prefer Hillary.
The report said, “due to her time spent with the employer-friendly Rose law firm (which helps employers fight unions), as well as her stint on the board of directors for Wal-Mart, many union members believe Clinton cannot be trusted.”

Unions distrust Hillary Clinton’s intimacy with Wall Street, according to the report. In addition to that concern, Clinton declined to weigh in on the Trans-Pacific Partnership. Labor leaders are opposed to the TPP.

“Hillary Clinton has a union problem,” the report said. “Since no Democrat can win the White House without union support, it is the union problem that may pose a bigger problem than all the others … and it has her campaign very worried.”
Hillary is counting on the $45 million she's collected, primarily from Wall Street and individual fat cats, to help her overcome Bernie's policy-oriented appeal. According to CNN, he's collected $9 million so far, virtually all of it from small donors deeply committed to his cause. He has 200,000 donors. Hillary may have as many as 50,000, which is a decent number for a corporate-financed candidate, but the campaign is holding that number close.
"I think, as I understand it, we are going to have a pretty good campaign financial report coming out," he said, adding that his campaign has "collected donations from some 200,000 Americans" from all 50 states. The average donation, Sanders said, was around $37.

Sanders says he detests personally asking people for money and has made a point of telling his supporters that "billionaires" aren't lining up to give him money.

"Sitting around and talking to people at fundraisers, no, that would not be how he wants to spend a lot of his time," said Tad Devine, Sanders' top campaign strategist. "It is safe to say he would rather spend his time doing other things."
It isn't only Hillary Clinton trying to overcome populist policies and courageous progressives by drowning them in cash. In the race for the Florida Senate seat Marco Rubio is abandoning, Chuck Schumer and Jon Tester are determined that between the ugly special interests they control and Patrick Murphy's father's rich Republican friends and cronies, they will outraise the grassroots-oriented Grayson. But while Murphy, Schumer and Tester obsess on the primary with Grayson, Grayson's campaign barely acknowledges them. He puts most of his energy into his current job as a congressman and into contrasting himself with the teabagger the GOP is likely to be forced to run, reactionary Republican Ron DeSantis.

Yesterday was one of those days when the contrast was unavoidable. When the White House announced the restoration of diplomatic relations with Cuba-- severed 5 decades ago-- with the establishment of embassies by each country, DeSantis (and his backward-looking allies) went into orbit.
President Obama’s removal of Cuba from the list of state sponsors of terrorism was outrageous, and it is insulting to those fighting terror around the globe that the Castro dictatorship will now have an outpost a stone’s throw from the White House. The establishment of an embassy, which effectively embraces Cuba’s oppressive government, is another slap in the face of the Cuban-Americans who fled Castro’s tyranny for freedom. This reckless action by the President will embolden Castro’s government and add a cloak of legitimacy to what is in fact a totalitarian regime that has oppressed millions, including many in Florida.

I call on Democratic Senate candidates Patrick Murphy and Alan Grayson to join with me in opposing President Obama’s decision to further legitimize the Cuban dictatorship. Standing up to the Castro regime is not a partisan issue, and Floridians should demand that those running for the Senate take clear stands on what is an important issue for so many.
As usual, Murphy is hiding under his bed hoping the question will disappear in a day or two. Grayson shot back in a way that made DeSantis wish he had never posed the challenge.
Congressman DeSantis is correct that standing up for human rights in Cuba is not a partisan issue, despite his effort to make it one. Unfortunately, it's obvious that he hasn't been paying attention. Congressman DeSantis may feel that he has to talk a good game on Cuba, but when it comes to Cuba, talk isn’t just cheap, it’s worthless. While he has pontificated, I've been working hard to hold the Castro regime accountable as a member of the Foreign Relations Committee.  I’ve been outspoken in defense of freedom in Cuba since I took office in 2009.  It's become abundantly clear to everyone that the policies of the 1960s don’t work anymore, but I stated both publicly and privately to the Administration that the current shift in relations with Cuba is too much carrot, and not enough stick.

So, Congressman DeSantis, if you are serious about putting your head down, rolling up your sleeves and getting to work to help bring freedom to Cuba, I say welcome to you, and better late than never.
Whether Bernie wins the presidency or not, as he to continues working through the Senate he'll need more progressives there to help him get his program through, a program Wall Street has bought Chuck Schumer (D) and Mitch McConnell (R) to obstruct. Elizabeth Warren has already piublicly declared she "loves what he's talking about," but even with Warren, Sherrod Brown, Jeff Merkley and Brian Schatz willing to take consistent independent stands on core issues, that isn't nearly enough to overcome the zombified garbage on both sides of the aisle. 

And Grayson is more than just one member. He's the smartest Member of the House and the most successful in getting Republicans to vote for his incredibly crafted progressive amendments. America needs him in the Senate as much as Florida does. We have a page you can use to contribute to Bernie's campaign and a page you can use to contribute to Grayson's campaign (even if it's still a week or two away from being official). We can do this. For the sake of our country and our children, we must do this.

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