Friday, June 24, 2016

Bernie On The Campaign Trail Today-- For Eric Kingson In Syracuse


Long before DFA, MoveOn or the nurses' national union came to their courageous decisions to support Bernie over Hillary, Blue America had made it's first-ever presidential election. No one's ever been good enough before but, we'd followed Bernie career in the House and Senate closely and on the day he announced-- we endorsed him, not as a lesser of two or more evils but as a genuinely great candidate we would have liked to see become president, despite how very, very long that shot was. Nonetheless, 1,557 Blue America members gave $57,889.60 (plus thousands more in monthly recurring contributions)-- about $37 each.

But at no time did we ever expect perfection from Bernie; no of us are that politically immature. Personally I was disappointed that Bernie didn't do more for the down-ballot candidates who were backing him. Sure, he did far, far more than Hillary did, but he didn't really have the capacity to get behind the dozens of House and Senate candidates-- let alone state legislative candidates-- who were backing him and running on his platform. There were some bone-headed moves-- like having a Wall Street, anti-Social Security creep, Shawn O'Connor up on the stage with him in New Hampshire several times, despite O'Connor's opportunism and despite the fact that his opponent in the primary was Carol Shea-Porter, a tried and true progressive (who may have hurt Bernie's feelings by backing Clinton).

Worse, was when Bernie's enthusiasm for Florida Senate candidate Alan Grayson suddenly chilled-- after he called Grayson and asked him to fly to Miami to introduce him at a rally-- when Schumer threatened Bernie with the loss of his committee chairmanship if he did anything against Patrick Murphy (as well as Schumercrats Ted Strickland in Ohio and fracking lobbyist Katie McGuinty in Pennsylvania. I felt sad for the revolution-- and sad for what Bernie probably had to go through over this crap. Grayson, arriving at the rally, was prevented from getting onstage, a Bernie staffer saying only that there had been a change of plans.

But he did send out e-mail endorsements for several candidates, including the excellent Zephyr Teachout and Eric Kingson in New York and Pramila Jayapal in Washington, whose primaries are coming up. His efforts have helped them raise competitive money and Teachout and Jayapal look like sure bets. He helped Lucy Flores in the same way but she was wiped out by an arguably even more progressive candidate, Ruben Kihuen, in Nevada two weeks ago. Of all these candidates, though, Kingson has the most difficult race-- against two unaccomplished establishment hacks, one backed by former Blue Dog Kirsten Gillibrand and Schumer and one backed by former Blue Dog Steve Israel. And Kingson is the candidate who Bernie actually knows and has worked with. Kingson, co-founder of SocialSecurityWorks, has been a witness the Democrats call when the GOP and New Dems try to cut Social Security. He was one of the people who came up with the concept of expanding Social Security, which even Obama and Hillary have very grudgingly come around to accept.

Now that Bernie is no longer on the road campaigning for himself, the first candidate he is campaigning for is Kingson. He's joining him for a rally at the Oncenter Convention Center ballroom at 4 p.m. today!

"It would have been enough if he had given me a statement of support," Kingson said in an interview Wednesday night after learning of the Sanders visit. "The reality is I'm very grateful and I'm excited. I think it will be quite significant for my campaign and the underlying values that we share."

...Last week, Sanders appointed Kingson to a committee that will help write the platform for the Democratic National Convention in July. Kingson will be one of five New York representatives on the national committee.

Kingson has been considered an underdog in the Democratic primary on Tuesday. He faces Colleen Deacon, 39, of Syracuse, and Syracuse lawyer Steve Williams, 53, of Baldwinsville. The winner will face U.S. Rep. John Katko, R-Camillus, in the November election.
Too late for Dave-- but not for Eric Kingson in NY-24

This kind of thing would have won Oregon's 5th congressional district primary for Berniecrat Dave McTeague and ridden Congress of the odious reactionary head Blue Dog Kurt Schrader, the congressman who actually introduced an amendment to cut Social Security benefits. Bernie won every single county in his district, beating Hillary decisively-- but his voters didn't know to vote down-ticket and Schrader won 67,124 (72.6%) to 25,289 (27.4%). Democrats and independents cast ballots for Bernie and for one of the reactionaries working to cut Social Security and Medicare and to pass the TPP. That augured poorly for the political revolution. Bernie's visit today to Syracuse renews my hope. Please consider contributing to Kingson's get out the vote efforts for next week here at the BernieCongress thermometer:
Goal Thermometer

UPDATE: Bernie Pushing Hard In New York

Yesterday, Bernie's campaign sent this action alert to his supporters nationwide:
As Bernie has said many times, lasting progressive change can't come from the top down. It will require electing candidates up and down the ballot who aren't afraid to challenge the billionaire class and stand up for the rest of us.

We have a great opportunity to do just that with two Bernie-endorsed candidates running for Congress in New York-- but they're facing a critical primary election on Tuesday, June 28, and really need our help.

Can you get on the phone for an hour or two before Tuesday to make calls for Zephyr Teachout and Eric Kingson?

Zephyr Teachout literally wrote the book on political corruption. She understands better than anyone how special interests try to buy off politicians, and she's dedicated her career to fixing our broken political system. She stood up to the Albany establishment in 2014 when she ran for governor against an incumbent and got 35% of the vote. She also helped environmental advocates achieve a landmark victory with the statewide ban on fracking in New York.

Eric Kingson has been a leader in the fight to save and expand Social Security since day one. He's running for Congress because he's fed up with the wealthy and powerful interests that put profit ahead of the environment, ahead of investing in our nation's infrastructure, and ahead of supporting our public education system.

Zephyr and Eric's primaries both take place on Tuesday, and we need to make all the calls we can to help them win.

With your help, our political revolution will roll onwards. Fundamental changes to our entrenched political system will only be possible if we elect strong leaders at every level of our government who are ready to challenge the status quo. So we hope you can help out by making some calls for Zephyr Teachout or for Eric Kingson before Tuesday's primary.

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