Sunday, January 24, 2016

Will Bernie Inspire Enough California Voters To Help Wendy Reed Take Down Another Establishment Republican Leader?


House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy graduated from the California Assembly to Congress in 2006 and with 71% of the vote. Two years later he had 100% and 2 years after that 99%. The DCCC has long been in the habit of giving McCarthy a free pass. In 2012 he had some token local opposition and was reelected with 73% and last time, it was the same story and a 75% win. And, no, he's not that popular. The DCCC just ignores him, the way they ignore all Republican leaders. 2016 was looking like it would be the same thing; the DCCC decided to extend their professional courtesy to McCarthy once again but then along came Bernie Sanders. No, Bernie isn't running against McCarthy, but Bernie has inspired a lot of people in Lancaster, Bakersfield, Porterville, Rosamond and points in between and now one of them, Wendy Reed, who lived and worked and raised her family in the Antelope Valley for decades, has stepped up to the plate to take McCarthy on. The DCCC, of course, has discouraged her when they're not ignoring her. We know the phrase "this is an important election" can be overused, but 2016 is proving to be one for the history books. Bernie's authenticity and issues-based campaign is inspiring hundreds of thousands of Americans to attend rallies and volunteer for campaign work, but is a "political revolution" materializing across party lines? Can his reengagement of disaffected voters help down-ballot candidates, turn red districts blue, and produce "a Congress he can work with" to achieve the goals the American people tell pollsters they want? Wendy Reed says YES. [You can contribute to her campaign here.]

Even in the deep-red 23rd District, comprised of largely rural portions of Los Angeles County, Kern County, and Tulare County, the call for a political revolution is being answered by a diverse group of Americans. The Bernie volunteer groups include young and old, even former Republicans who say "the party left me." They make phone calls, host debate watch parties, banner on street corners, conduct voter registration, and faithfully talk and share about the candidate.

Most strikingly, they contribute small amounts on a regular basis to the Sanders campaign which overall almost keeps pace with the giant corporate and Wall Street war chest at the disposal of Establishment shills like Jeb Bush, Marco Rubio, Hillary Clinton and Ted Cruz. Any time Bernie is attacked in the press or by Trump or by a Clinton operative, they make another donation, as a show of protest and solidarity. They have faith that the democratic process will elect him, because that is how self-government is supposed to work.

Reed told us yesterday that, "I’m seeing incredible enthusiasm about Senator Sanders, and I think it will produce larger than usual turnout of voters at the polls who will be open to authentic or even progressive Democratic candidates. I see people who had given up on the political process reengaging."

But Reed doesn’t think that typically moderate candidates with the DCCC seal-of-approval will be successful in 2016. She feels that she is actually more successful in crossing party lines when she sticks to her progressive principles. She references the tea party gravitation toward basic American principles of "For the People" and acknowledges, "Their hearts were essentially in the right place even if their information sources were faulty. I don’t think people are fundamentally Democrats or Republicans; we are Americans, and we are humans on a small planet facing serious challenges. My campaign is about real people’s priorities."

Even in the deep red 23rd Congressional District-- where Kevin McCarthy slid into incumbency through gerrymandered redistricting, and was the only candidate on the ballot for several of his reelection bids-- people of all political persuasions are disenchanted with the economy, income inequality, their children’s and grandchildren’s prospects, and they are ready to try something new. Even his supporters can’t recall what he has done while in office. Wendy is running a campaign based on these same very basic issues that have motivated Bernie and other progressives who think the special interests have had all the special attention they need for now and that it's time to give a hand to ordinary working families.

Stories like this are coming in from all over the country

Reed believes that Senator Sanders’ stand against the inherent corruption of democracy by pay-to-play politics is perhaps the policy that most potently crosses all party lines. As a first time candidate, she has been stunned at the typical costs of campaigns. She has learned that many candidates end up in debt, and some have lost their homes, "just for attempting to participate in self-government! The costs are obscene," she says. "Americans across party lines acknowledge that pressure to represent donors’ interests turns congressmen away from representing the people in their districts. Public funding of elections fosters cooperative, collaborative governance, and that’s how politics is conducted in many other countries. What America now has is more of a competitive reality show. But I couldn’t talk about this in my campaign if Sanders wasn’t talking about it on the national level. Even his opponent is talking about it now."

Public funding of elections allows qualified candidates to run for office without selling influence or being independently wealthy. Reed holds a Master’s Degree in Public Administration, and manages a nonprofit corporation that preserves habitat for wildlife and rare plants. In this role she has worked with local, county, state, and federal agencies. She has lived in the district for 30 years.

"Many of the rights, liberties, and programs that our ancestors fought and died to secure are under attack, and need protection. A vast majority of Americans agree on the issues, and are fed up with special interests buying our government. I believe that in 2016, the American people are prepared to elect real people to represent the interests of real people, regardless of party affiliation."

Blue America maintains a special ActBlue page for congressional candidates who have endorsed Bernie and are running on his issues. We were proud to add Wendy Reed to it and if you'd like to contribute to her campaign and to any of the other candidates on it... well, here's where you'll find it.

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