Thursday, April 28, 2016

Electing A Better Congress-- Part Of Bernie's Revolution Hillary And Bernie Should Embrace


I've never seen as many self-funders running for House seats with million dollar checks from their own accounts as I'm seeing this year. We looked into it a couple weeks ago and I'm sure everyone knows by now that David Trone's $12 million didn't buy him anything but second place. As of the April 6 FEC deadlines, he had spent $9,026,748 of the $9,968,000 he had self-funded. He's announced he was putting in around 3 million since then. In the same race, Chris Matthews ran his lobbyist wife and she put up $500,000 from her piggy bank and raised a fortune from people who wanted to be on MSNBC with Tweety. But she came in third, despite being EMILY's List top House priority and despite spending around $2.5 million, much of it from fellow lobbyists and from her corrupt, conservative New Dem allies. The biggest third party expenditure in the race was the $291,393 that EMILY's List wasted on their wretched conservative candidate. The leader of that Maryland race, though, was Jamie Raskin, one of the most accomplished and promising progressive leaders running for Congress anywhere. He wrote himself a modest $2,700 check and spent $1,243,114, most of it from small donors. He took no superPAC money and owes no one anything except Maryland voters.

The next mega-self-funder among fake Democrats running for Congress is the DCCC's repulsive recruit to replace another self-funder, Patrick Murphy in South Florida. The new version of Murphy is the vile recent party-switcher Randy Perkins, who has already written his campaign a check for $2,006,274. (One of the rich Republicans in the race, Mark Freeman, has also written himself a check for over a million dollars.) One of the grassroots Democrats taking on Perkins is Jonathan Chane, who has raised $505,230 so far. He's looking forward to beating both of the conservative multimillionaires running, the DCCC shill Perkins and the Republican Freeman.

Wednesday he let FL-18 voters know about how Trone had fallen on his face. "Last night in Maryland's 8th District," he wrote, "self-funder David Trone spent over $12 Million of his own money and still lost the Democratic Primary. Unlike Randy Perkins, he didn't even have a record of giving almost $2,000,000 to Republicans, including $200,000 to Rick Scott! How much is Perkins going to spend to lose? He's said up to $5 Million."

He asks Florida voters to "say no to mega-millionaires who try to buy themselves seats in Congress," a solid idea and a good campaign strategy. The DCCC is actively recruiting these kinds of garbage candidates all over the country-- and blackballing middle class and working class candidates who don't have the money to self-fund. Hopefully this will stop when Pelosi's and Hoyer's ancient hands are pried off the levers of power at the DCCC and the catastrophically failed committee is reworked to make it a more effective organization.

Chris Haas published a piece at In These Times highlighting some of the top progressive challengers running this cycle and trying them to Bernie's political revolution, something Bernie himself has been reluctant to do so far other than in 3 cases involving House seats, his 3 candidates being Jamila Jayapal (WA), Zephyr Teachout (NY) and Lucy Flores (NV), each of whom Blue America has been raising money for even before Bernie decided to get involved. Bernie, though, seems reluctant to help any Senate candidates-- after being specifically threatened with dire reprisals from Chuck Schumer-- or to help any reformers, Tim Canova, Alex Law and David McTeague are good examples, running against heinous incumbents, in those 3 examples, Debbie Wasserman Schultz (FL), Donald Norcross (NJ) and Kurt Schrader (OR). Haas, I'm afraid, avoided discussing some of these ugly realities and went straight for the susperficial.

"These challengers," wrote Haas in his intro, "range from first-time candidates to experienced lawmakers, from community organizers to law professors. Each is balancing the individual concerns of the voters they seek to represent alongside the larger mood of the nation. None of them is running because of Bernie Sanders, but they clearly benefit from the enthusiasm and sense of progressive possibility his campaign has created." And he does point out that "[some of the candidates] have endorsed Sanders, others remain neutral or even back Hillary Clinton. But they are coalescing around a set of progressive policies familiar to anyone who has heard Sanders speak, including single-payer healthcare, free college tuition, a $15 minimum wage and breaking up the big banks. It’s hard to imagine a Democratic platform more at odds with Bill Clinton’s centrist Third Way of the 1990s... Many of these candidates believe that voters are fed up with how the corporate capture of the party has pulled it to the right." Haas highlights 10 candidates, 2 of whom lost Tuesday in Maryland, Donna Edwards and Joseline Pena-Melnyk. The remianing 8 are:
Tim Canova (FL)
Tom Fiegen (IA)
Lucy Flores (NV)
Alan Grayson (FL)
Eric Kingson (NY)
Pramila Jayapal (WA)
Susannah Randolph (FL)
Jamie Raskin (MD)
Jamie won his Maryland primary Tuesday and his deep blue district will be sending him to Congress next year. The other 7 have tougher races ahead of them and 3-- Grayson, Kingson and Jayapal-- are top Blue America priorities. "It would be a mistake," wrote Haas, "to overlook the fact that this year's election is playing out in a moment when protest movements have interjected themselves into the national conversation in a way we haven’t seen in a long time. Black Lives Matter, Fight for 15, the climate movement and more have demonstrated the value of setting uncompromising demands and pushing the boundaries of what is politically possible.
It’s no surprise then that some of these progressive challengers come directly out of protest movements. Pramila Jayapal, a Washington state senator running for the 7th District seat in the U.S. House of Representatives, has a long history of activism and advocacy in Seattle. She founded the post-9/11 immigrant rights group Hate Free Zone (now OneAmerica), which has held massive voter registration drives.

“The only reason I got into politics was because I believed it was another platform for organizing,” she says, “and that’s what I want to do with my congressional campaign. We’ve brought in thousands of leaders, young people and people of color and women who never saw themselves as part of democracy.”

... The establishment, however, is not going quietly. In Florida, where Tim Canova is challenging Democratic National Committee Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz for her congressional seat, news got out in March that the Florida Democratic Party (FDP) had denied Canova’s campaign access to the party’s voter file. His supporters created an uproar; the file is crucial to any campaign’s get-out-the-vote efforts. The FDP eventually backed down in order to avoid, in the words of the state party executive director, the “appearance of favoritism,” but the policy remains in place for all other Democratic primary challengers in Florida. And not just Florida-- Democratic challengers in other states are routinely denied access to this data or charged extra for it.

“The DNC and state Democratic parties must stop favoring incumbents over insurgents in Democratic primaries,” Canova says. “We need to recruit activists committed to our progressive agenda to run for office, and that includes challenging incumbent Democrats.”

Given that these candidates want to rid the party of corporate influence, it’s no surprise that many are going head-to-head with big money. In Maryland, Jamie Raskin’s two biggest challengers in the Democratic primary are a wine mogul named David Trone, who has already spent more than $5 million of his fortune on the race, and Kathleen Matthews, who once oversaw the Marriott political action committee and is now herself the recipient of more lobbyist money than any Democrat running for the House in 2016.
“My [two] major opponents here have no real history of involvement in Democratic Party politics,” Raskin says. “They are creatures of the big money politics that have overtaken our country.” He’s won the endorsement of both liberal groups and a number of Democratic state lawmakers, and-- borrowing a page from Sanders’ playbook-- has relied on a surge of small-dollar donations to remain competitive. “Progressives are fired up here for a victory against big money,” Raskin says.
It worked for Jamie, let's help make sure it works for Grayson, Jayapal, Kingson, Canova and the others on this list:
Goal Thermometer

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