Sunday, March 20, 2016

How To Re-Build The Democratic Party: Primaries


Primaries against entrenched incumbents are not just the most difficult to win, they are the most thankless and painful to run. The anguish the establishment put Donna Edwards through when she took on corrupt conservative Al Wynn and the torment the establishment put Matt Cartwright through when he took on equally corrupt and even more conservative Tim Holden, have paid off for voters in Maryland and Pennsylvania where two of there worst members of Congress have been replaced by two of the best members of Congress. Blue America donors are proud to have taken on the establishment bosses in DC and helped to provide the resources that helped Donna and Matt win their "impossible" races.

There should be races raging today against dozens of corrupt conservative Democrats in Congress, including senators Chuck Schumer (NY) and Michael Bennet (CO) and the worst of the right-wing Democratic House members, from Kyrsten Sinema (AZ), John Delaney (MD), Brad Ashford (NE), Henry Cuellar (TX), Collin Peterson (MN), Jim Costa (CA), Sean Patrick Maloney (NY), and Cheri Bustos (IL), to Ami Bera (CA), Jim Cooper (TN), Dan Lipinski (IL), Joe Crowley (NY) and Filemon Vela (TX). All of these crooked conservatives either have no primary opponents at all-- most of them-- or, at best, just unfunded symbolic primaries.

In the entire country, the only incumbent Democratic monstrosities who work day and night in destroying the Democratic brand who do have plausible primaries are Debbie Wasserman Schultz (FL), Donald Norcross (NJ) and Kurt Schrader (OR). Blue America has endorsed their three opponents, respectively Tim Canova, Alex Law and Dave McTeague. These three progressive champions are the only opportunity the criminally-minded right-wing incumbents can be held accountable. If you'd like to help, you can here or here or here. Or by tapping the thermometer at the bottom of the page. Yesterday, in a note to supporters, Tim Canova made a very specific case about why we should help him replace corrupt DNC chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz in South Florida.
The greedy payday lending industry is targeting millions of our brothers and sisters in poorer and minority communities with debt traps and predatory business practices.

I’ve heard the terrible stories of payday loans for many years. That’s why I opposed the deregulation of lending standards in the 1980s and why I supported caps on interest rates on payday loans in the 1990s. In the past few days, I’ve heard many more payday loan stories and I want to make sure you have too. It’s important that we all understand the stakes of this election and just who Debbie Wasserman Schultz is standing with.

In order to protect their privacy, we have decided to change the names of those who bravely shared their payday lending experiences with our campaign. These are heartbreaking stories. I can’t begin to understand how someone, like my opponent, can take money from-- let alone help-- these unscrupulous loan sharks. I think our supporter "Craig" said it best:
"Several years ago, I fell into the trap of payday loans and spent nearly $8,000 paying off a $1,000 loan. These evil practitioners of usury prey on the poorest and most financially troubled in our society. I believe the Democratic Party is supposed to help the downtrodden and yearning masses, not side with corporations trying to hoard wealth and keep the rest of us in poverty." - Craig
The stories of what these payday lenders are doing to American workers is gut-wrenching:
"My granddaughter, who is 28, is one who was taken by these payday lenders. She called me crying and just at her wits end as the interest rate was so high she couldn’t pay that one payday loan back-- the interest just kept piling on and on. This not only put her behind on other things, it sent her into an emotional spiral. She was so embarrassed she didn’t want to tell her fiancé and kept this to herself." - Jane

"My credit has been totally decimated by payday lenders and their aggressive and predatory practices. They prey on people who are weak and vulnerable and trap them into a never-ending cycle of poverty with outrageous interest rates and unreasonable payment terms, timelines, and more. I have had several of these establishments threaten legal action or to garnish my wages if I’m unable to pay them back. My wife is on disability and has a lot of medical expenses and is on several very expensive medications that have stretched our budget to its breaking point. I am considering filing for bankruptcy protection just to keep these vicious predators at bay. They should be more tightly regulated and not allowed to pray on those who are the most vulnerable in our society. Someone needs to stand up to these people." - Tom

They're right-- someone needs to stand up to these people. And since Debbie Wasserman Schultz would rather take tens of thousands of dollars from the payday loan industry, than help her constituents, it is time for this district to elect a new representative who understands how these loan sharks are devastating millions of American workers.

My entire career, I have advocated for new regulations on payday lending companies. It is unacceptable that they charge annual rates as high as 300 to 400%, and even worse that they are targeting people of color and poor Americans. I was glad to see the Consumer Finance Protection Bureau start to crack down on these loan sharks, but now Wasserman Schultz is trying to pass legislation that will weaken the CFPB’s attempts to curb this abusive industry.

This kind of influence peddling at the Democratic National Committee has to end. If you believe we need to crack down on payday loans, then I need you to stand with our campaign now.

Together, we will defeat Wasserman Schultz and her powerful loan shark donors.

In Oregon Dave McTeague and South Jersey's Alex Law have similar rationales for jumping into "impossible" races against powerful, entrenched incumbents and subjecting themselves to the abuse heaped on them by "party regulars" (i.e., the status quo-preserving establsihment). These are three fights we should all get behind, even if all we can afford is a prayer or a dollar.
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