Wednesday, November 02, 2016

The Future of The Democratic Party-- Mike Honda vs Ro Khanna


I don't know which e-mails leaked by Wikileaks are real and which are Russian propaganda, which are doctored or which are actual evidence of something-- like John Podesta's refreshingly healthy interest in extraterrestrial life. The leaked e-mail about the race in CA-17 is very unlikely to be Russian propaganda or in any way tampered with and I left it was just too important to let slip away unremarked on.

A little background first, starting with the fact that Blue America has endorsed progressive workhorse Mike Honda and very much rejected slick, conservaDem Ro Khanna. As we've pointed out before, Republicans know they will never win the seat (northern San Jose, Berryessa, Santa Clara, Cupertino, Sunnyvale, Milpitas, Fremont, Newark). It's way too educated, way too blue for them, D+20. So wealthy GOP plutocrats, like Marc Leder and Trump Supreme Court dream, crackpot Peter Thiel, have bankrolled sleazy, conservative fake Dem, Ro Khanna to run against beloved progressive icon Mike Honda.

The other piece of background is a bit about Steven Spinner, who wrote this e-mail below to John Podesta in May of 2015. Spinner was a major Obama bundler and the Campaign Chairman for Ro Khanna's failed congressional bid in 2014. He was also the crook behind the Solyndra loan controversy and has successfully used his political connections to avoid being criminally charged.

In 2014, Honda beat Khanna 69,561 (52%) to 64,847 (48%). In this year's primary, Khanna came out slightly ahead-- 33,785 (38.3%) to 33,608 (38.1%) and the two face off again next week in the general election. As of last week, Khanna had spent $3,303,700 and Honda had spent $2,388,677. A dark money SuperPAC had spent an additional $379,523 for Khanna, including $67,813 last week smearing Honda. (A quarter million dollar of the poisonous PAC money comes from 2 of the most despicable excuses for Democrats from Obama-finance-world, notorious anti-education billionaire vampires John and Laura Arnold of Houston.) Now, the e-mail in question, subject line thanks & next steps:

Thanks for meeting with me today. Great chatting about a number of topics. I am excited about helping, in any way I can, to make sure the Clinton campaign gets the enthusiastic support of Silicon Valley tech community, past Obama donors, and the South Asian community.

I also appreciate that you understand the need to solve the Khanna-Honda issue. It's about the future of our Party and also about maximizing support for Hillary Clinton in a big way this cycle. I was inspired enough to share a few thoughts we discussed for your reference.

John, you are one of the few statesmen in our Party with the stature and vision to solve this. I know it's the right thing to do, a legacy issue for our party, and will pay dividends for the Clintons for many years.

Let me know your thoughts, John. See you late tomorrow afternoon.


*I. *
*Ro Khanna is the first true Silicon Valley candidate. *Ro, who is 38, has received the support of over 600 technology and financial leaders, more than six times what President Obama received in 2012. This includes both Democrats and Republicans such as Eric Schmidt, John Doerr, Paul Otellini, Sheryl Sandberg, Marissa Mayer, Ron Conway, Vinod Khosla, Sean Parker, Marc Andreessen, Peter Thiel, Marc Benioff, Steve Luczo, George Roberts, Marc Lasry, and Andy Spahn. Ro has raised nearly $5 million in two years without any help from party committees or elected members/officials. In this cycle, Ro’s tech and South Asian donors can be a source of at least $50 million for the Democratic Party in national races. Over 70% of Ro’s donors were first time donors, and many will be inspired to give big once Ro wins (or earlier if we can convince Honda to retire & pass the baton to Ro).

*II. *
*Mike Honda’s campaign attacked the tech community. *In a desperate effort to win, Mike Honda put out TV ads calling Ro’s tech supporters “right wing millionaires and billionaires.” He darkened Ro’s skin, put dots on his forehead, and accused him of shipping jobs overseas. Honda’s slash and burn campaign tactics are hurting the Democratic Party with the tech community at a time when Republican Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, Senator Rand Paul, and Governor Jeb Bush are out in Silicon Valley every few months courting the community. Many of Ro’s tech supporters have been deeply offended by Honda’s tactics.

*III. **Ro Khanna represents the South Asian diaspora.*
Ro’s grandfather, Amarnath Vidhyalankar, spent four years in jail during the Indian Independence movement alongside Gandhi. Ro was born in Philadelphia in a middle class family, went to public school, and then to University of Chicago and Yale Law School. He wrote a book on the American economy published by McGraw-Hill, and now teaches at Stanford in the Economics Department as a Lecturer. His story has struck a nerve with the diaspora. He will be the first Indian American to keep his Hindu faith elected in the history of our nation. The district he is running in has the second largest Indian American population in the nation. *The South Asian community looks at what the party has done to promote the Castro brothers or Cory Booker and wonder why the party can't help Ro cross the finish line to get into Congress. They are frustrated that the Republicans have helped Bobby Jindal and Nikki Haley.*

*IV. *
*Ro Khanna has a clear path to victory in November of 2016. *Starting from 3%, Ro got to 48.2 percent of the vote in a low turnout election in 2014. In a Presidential year, many more independents and young voters will turn out. Honda, 74, has since fallen asleep on the House floor on CNN during the Homeland Security debate. Ro has outraised Honda 3:1 in the first quarter (Ro raised $801,000 to Honda’s $258,000). Honda also has nearly $90,000 of debt and is struggling to compete financially. Ro is expected to raise $4 million+ again for the cycle –this is effort and money that could be far better spent on the Presidential race helping Secretary Clinton win.

*V. *
*Ro Khanna has been a loyal supporter of Hillary Clinton unlike Mike Honda. *Ro worked with Amy Rao and Jonathan Mantz to help Hillary Clinton in 2008 and before that supported HillPac. He did a number of fundraisers in the South Asian community for Hillary Clinton throughout 2008. He also traveled to Pennsylvania, Iowa, Texas, and the Every Vote Counts rally for Hillary Clinton in 2008. In contrast, despite President Clinton’s support for Mike Honda in his first run for Congress, Honda stayed out of the 2008 primary and did not support Hillary Clinton.

*VI. *
*Request for Action Items: *

*A. *As HRC Campaign Chair, could call Honda and make it clear to him that his running is not good for the Party and the Clintons would look favorably upon it if he passed the baton to Ro and focused on getting Hillary elected President.

*B. *Have President Clinton come out for an event for Ro or endorse Ro’s candidacy (Senator Michael Bennet came out for an event in Q1). This would end the race and would be a tremendous legacy for the President given his passion for India and the Indian American community.

*C. *Speak to Leader Pelosi (she is very fond of Ro). Request her to encourage Anna Eshoo (Honda’s neighboring Congresswoman) to endorse Ro. Anna's very supportive of Ro and will be inclined to endorse if she has a green light from Pelosi. Encourage Pelosi also to dual endorse both Ro and Mike this time. That also could end the race if done early.

*D. * Have Secretary Clinton make a positive, casual statement at a fundraiser about Ro’s leadership with the tech and South Asian community. That would be an incredible signal short of endorsing. Make it clear to Honda that Ro would be allowed to use photos of Secretary Clinton in campaign material if Honda insists on running.

*E. *Honda is likely to vote against the TPP despite the White House's wishes. Ro has come out for it. The White House could make it clear to Honda that the President would dual endorse this time.

*F. *Honda is a Party guy who owes his seat in 2000 to Bill Clinton and Nancy Pelosi. If he knows he has lost the Party support from Party leaders, he will not run and will be inclined to pass the baton to the next generation of Asian American leadership.
That hasn't happened and Honda is in a very tight race against Khanna, who represents, literally, everything that's wrong with the Democratic Party. Mike has, once again, been endorsed by the California Democratic Party, by both Senators-- the conservative Feinstein and liberal Boxer-- (as well as by Kamala Harris), by Pelosi, by the Congressional Progressive Caucus and by virtually the entire California congressional delegation. Ro Khanna has been endorsed by Gavin Newsom and the rest of the sleazy Republican wing of the Democratic Party. No Members of Congress have endorsed him, although there have been rumors that Darrell Issa, who also endorsed Loretta Sanchez and has been desperately trying to rally Republicans and other Trump supporters to back corrupt right-wing Democrats, would. Please give as generously as you can by tapping on the thermometer below-- and note the company Honda keeps, very different than the Debbie Wasserman Schultzes and Joe Crowleys you'd see Khanna with.
Goal Thermometer


Today Bernie makes two stops in Michigan, first in Kalamazoo and then in Traverse City. The Blue America-endorsed candidate in MI-06, Paul Clements, will be introducing Bernie in a few hours. His new campaign ad is very aggressive, something his GOP opponent has earned:

Please consider contributing to Paul's campaign here. A few minutes ago he shared his feelings about today with us:
Today I get to introduce the hero of the 2016 election cycle, Bernie Sanders, at my university. I am deeply honored. In the summer of 2015 when I gave the first speech of my congressional campaign I talked about the three issues Bernie was running on: economic inequality, money in politics, and climate change. It was like, he was telling my story, and giving me the courage to focus on the big issues, the deep changes our country needs in the cause of social justice. This is not to belittle other issues, such as racial justice, that are certainly critical. But if we consider the really deep threats to our democracy, well, Bernie was right on target.

Now it is clear that to maintain the possibility of progress we must elect Hillary president. This is, well, just so obvious. And looking to the future, well, Bernie is getting on in years. In terms of policy, he made our party’s national platform the most progressive ever, and Bernie and Elizabeth (and I, if elected) will of course press forward here. But this is Bernie’s gift to us: he has restored and updated a vision of what our democracy can be. What government of, by and for the people looks like in our time.

Now it’s up to us to carry this vision forward.

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