Sunday, August 13, 2017

Flipping A Central New Jersey Suburban District From Red To Blue-- Meet Peter Jacob


Last cycle Peter Jacob was another official candidate of the Democratic Party who the DCCC adamantly ignored. The Democratic Party establishment in Kings Landing sure didn't like anyone getting behind Bernie, the way Peter did! But he didn't let them get him down and, with a completely grassroots campaign he took on rubber-stamp backbencher Leonard Lance in his north central New Jersey district that stretches from the border with Pennsylvania (Hunterdon and Warren counties), clear across the state through Somerset and Morris counties and all the way into Essex and Union and the Elizabeth suburbs. This is a moderate, swingy area filled with independent voters repulsed by Trump. Although McCain and Romney had both won the district, last year Hillary beat Trump 48.6% to 47.5%. Distaste for Trump is much stronger now, and voters were paying attention when Lance, in the most craven way, flip-flopped on healthcare, first voting for TrumpCare in committee and then, when he became fearful for his own career, switching and voting against the bill on the floor.

As Peter pointed out at the time, "Lance endorsed Donald Trump within 24-hours of becoming the GOP’s presumptive presidential nominee. Many in New Jersey boast that Congressman Lance is a moderate, but this endorsement proves that Congressman Lance will do anything to get re-elected. While serving in the New Jersey state Legislature, Congressman Lance was seen as someone who was pro-environment, pro-choice, and reached over the aisle to get things done. Congressman Lance was initially equivocal about the construction of a natural gas pipeline in our District, and now takes credit for it’s delay as strong local opposition rises and election season is here-- all the while supporting legislation that makes it easier to construct such pipelines in the first place. It is little wonder why the League of Conservation scored his lifetime voting percentage at just 23% on pro-environment legislation. In 2014, his pro-environment score was a mere 6%! Consistently providing contributions to Congressman Lance’s campaign has paid off for the dirty energy industry to have him support their agenda.  Congressman Lance voted to cut off all funding for Planned Parenthood, including clinics that provide health care with no abortion services. Time and time again, Congressman Lance has proved that he isn’t a leader for our District and our nation. Like Trump, he will say anything at any time out of convenience. Congressman Lance toes the party line as Washington becomes more divisive, partisan, and extreme... In my opinion, Congressman Lance’s immediate endorsement of Trump is a result of a ‘tea-party’ candidate, David Larsen, who has challenged him in every primary since 2010. Larsen came within single-digit points of defeating Congressman Lance in the 2014 primary. Congressman Lance’s endorsement of Trump is a political move to help secure the Republican nomination and putting an end to this perennial candidate."

He added that Lance's backing for the Lord of Bedminster-- which is in the district-- was "ironic considering Congressman Lance is the kind of bought-and-sold politician that Trump himself has spoken out against, at least during his primary race; one entirely beholden to special interests rather than the interests of the people... We don’t need any more career politicians in Washington who solely serve special interests. We deserve public servants who will place people over politics and put the public back in public service." We caught up with Peter this week and asked him to bring us up-to-date since the 2016 campaign. Below is his guest post.

Fight Forward with the People's Platform
-by Peter Jacob,
Candidate for U.S. Congress
7th District of NJ

We are, each and every one of us, witnessing in real time some very, very real transformations to our society, our government, and our planet. It so often feels like any given day is a completely different world from the one preceding it. Inequality is skyrocketing. Real opportunity for millions of us is drying up along with vast quantities of precious resources. The drums of war are being beaten again by an even larger and richer military industrial complex than the one that sent us into Iraq. Every single day we are given yet another example of how those are supposed to be serving the public are only serving themselves. What will tomorrow bring?

We have the ability right now to decide the direction we take, together. Recent history has shown us exactly what happens when societies become this unjust. When so much of the wealth of society becomes controlled by so few people, we can guarantee the extremes of humanity are soon to follow. People inevitably start to feel desperate. They then often have to decide between one of two paths; one littered with false idols and false prophets with false promises, or uniting together to create true and lasting equality, justice, and peace.

We know that every four generations, the following story plays out: crisis levels of greed and corruption cause the hording of wealth, the hording of wealth creates massive inequality and instability, recession and depression occur because of lack of wealth in the middle and lower classes, followed by a massive conflict. The last time this happened was the Global Great Depression followed by World War II. We can trace this cycle all the way back to the dawn of the market economy and we know what phase we are in now. We are most assuredly heading for a reset; likely a very big one.

This is not meant to convey fear, but to inspire action. We are the fourth generation in the cycle. We can choose the path towards equality, justice, and peace. We know the last ‘fourth generation’ today as the Greatest Generation. Not because they won a war, but because they defeated tyranny! They saw what happens when greed takes over policy and passed just laws to make sure economic criminals could no longer rob us of our homes, retirements, and votes. They created wonderful programs that infused wealth back into the working class and created prosperity that we still enjoy today. We need to be the next Greatest Generation.

That is why I’m vying a second time for United States Congress. Our 2016 campaign saw us come closer to defeating our big pharma, big telecom, and big oil-funded incumbent opponent than any challenger in the history of our district. That was due in largest part to the drive and energy of our 1,400 campaign volunteers, and the support of thousands of small dollar donations that averaged $17 apiece. In just the first month of our 2018 campaign, our average donation has skyrocketed to $140, with over 200 new volunteers joining our cause.

People across the entire political spectrum are uniting with our message, and realizing that the status quo is no longer working. Libertarians, Tea Partiers, moderates, independents, and democratic socialists were all represented at our campaign events because of two simple questions that we posed to voters: Is government working for you? Who is it working for?

This campaign, we are focusing on what our policy ideas are going to do for the lives of people right here on the local level. We are going to break the belief that responsible government of, by, and for the people is some far off pipe dream, and show what can happen when the powerful tool of democracy is set free from the cancer of special interest cash that has enslaved it.

That is why we are running squarely on ‘The People’s Platform’ as created and promoted by Our Revolution. So far, the Platform includes Medicare for All, fully funded public colleges and universities, $15 minimum wage, strict protections for women’s reproductive rights with the EACH Act, the Automatic Voter Registration Act, and bold, drastic measures to combat the exponential climate crisis.

Of course, this is all coupled with the firm assertion that we will be able to solve these major problems only after we are able to once again utilize the power of democracy for the good of the people. Simply put, if we want to solve anything, we must also solve money in politics. The only way government begins to work for the people is when the people’s voices aren’t drowned under a tsunami of donor and lobbying cash. We must pass a Constitutional Amendment that clearly states that the spending of money is not a protected form of speech, and that corporations do not have the same rights as people. We must go further in crafting a fully publicly funded and transparent electoral system, banning the use of partisan gerrymandering and the ability for politicians to pick their voters.

Our 2016 campaign was the first and only one in New Jersey endorsed by Senator Bernie Sanders’ “Our Revolution,” and has recently sparked the interests of Democracy For America, the Progressive Campaign Change Committee, the National Abortion and Reproductive Rights Action League, and the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.

Our support is growing. Our energy is multiplying. Our message is resonating. The distrust and anxiety caused by our current state of affairs is making 2018 is a golden opportunity for concerned, passionate, caring Americans to have a major impact on the next steps we take as a people. We will be spending every single second of every single day showing them that they do have a voice. All they have to do is use it. What will tomorrow bring?

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