Sunday, July 14, 2019

When Push Comes To Shove, Who's Going To Stand Tall-- And Who's Going To Hide Under Their Bed? Mike Siegel: "I Stand With Ilhan"


Mike Siegel's gerrymandered Texas district (PVI is R+9 and Trump beat Hillary 52.3% to 43.2%) was considered too red for the DCCC last year-- so they ignored it. Mike Siegel ran an entirely grassroots campaign based on progressive issues-- never anything remotely Republican-lite. Michael McCaul, long-time right-wing incumbent and one of the wealthiest men in Congress, outspent him $1,754,122 to $477,926. Neither the DCCC nor Pelosi's SuperPAC spent a nickel on Mike's behalf and, in fact, the DCCC urged institutional Democratic donors not to "waste" their money on his "unwinnable" race. On election day, it didn't look quite so unwinnable. Mike held McCaul down to 51.1% and probably would have beaten him if the DCCC had helped out.

Goal ThermometerBut the DCCC doesn't help out-- not when candidates are as progressive and outspoken as Siegel is. This cycle they recognize the potential to win TX-10, but instead of helping Mike to finish what he started, they worked with EMILY's List to recruit a GOP-lite nothing candidate, Shannon Hutcheson, who as a corporate lawyer for a private prison defended a serial rapist of immigrant women thrown into that hellhole north of Austin. She's the last person the DCCC and EMILY's List should be trying to put into Congress, but... she has plenty of money so-- let's face it that's the only qualification that DCCC and EMILY's List ever cares about.

I'm sure Mike would rather stick to his own agenda but he's not the kind of guy to let Trump's racist, xenophobic screed pass by without comment. One of the first senators to weigh in was Minnesota senator-- up for reelection-- Tina Smith, who tweeted directly to Trump: "Ilhan Omar is an American. She’s a member of Congress. Respect her." Mike's fellow Texan, Congressman Joaquin Castro also tweeted right at Trump: "They're Americans. You're a bigot." Mike was even more concise: "I stand with Ilhan." Four words-- four words the DCCC does NOT want to see Democratic candidates using.

Mike, who is married to an African immigrant himself, went further. I spoke to him this afternoon and he repeated: "'I stand with Ilhan.' Rep. Omar represents what we are fighting for: a country of hope and opportunity, of diversity and inclusion, of courage and conviction. The President's latest attack, in the context of an escalating assault on the immigrant community-- in a country now internationally known for concentration camps where migrants are held in conditions amounting to torture-- must be seen as a red line. A line we must all defend; a line the nation cannot cross. We must not allow anyone to be ridiculed or dehumanized based upon their ancestry. We must not allow the most powerful official in the nation to create second-class citizens. It is time to fight back against bigotry and hatred. Not in 2020; not through the electoral process; not through feeble statements of discomfort. But with direct, forceful, and concerted action. We must stand for Ilhan, for common decency and human rights, for the lives of every human being, from the most vulnerable migrants to our elected members of Congress."

Even right-wing Republican former congressman Joe Walsh was embarrassed by Trump's ugly tweets today: "The President of the United States this morning," he responded, "telling brown-skinned Americans to 'go back to where they came from' should piss off ALL Americans. But it won’t. And that’s a shame. A damn shame."

I asked other candidates for Congress if they wanted to comment on Trump's racist tweet-storm. Many, like Eva Putzova (AZ), already had responded on Twitter.

Dary Rezvani, the Central Valley progressive running to replace Devin Nunes, told me that "Nothing embodies the President more than today. On the date of his most racist attack yet, which attacked 4 members of Congress, 3 of which were born here and 1 is a naturalized citizen, the ICE raids started. These tweets literally put lives in danger. We could only hope that other members of Congress were as brave and strong as Ilhan."

Shahid Buttar, the progressive attorney taking on Pelosi in San Francisco is running a joint online fundraiser with Ilhan today. I didn't have to guess where he stood on this: "We immigrants working to defend civil liberties, civil rights, human rights, and life on Earth in the face of the mounting global climate crisis are more American than our criminal president. Trump is a stain on our nation's conscience, and we are proud to resist his embodied corruption and ongoing assault on our Republic. We encourage him to keep talking the GOP into the dustbin of history."

Brianna Wu is running for Congress in the Boston area district next door to Ayanna's. She noted that "All of us that love this country have a responsibility to stand up against the most openly racist and corrupt administration in modern presidential history. History will judge us for what we choose to do in this moment. Abraham Lincoln once said, 'I claim not to have controlled events, but confess plainly that events have controlled me.' This is the moment history will judge us for. Did we stand up for the best in American ideals? Or did we allow Trump to change this country into something we don’t recognize? In or out, go or no, there are no sidelines."

Shaniyat Chowdhury, the progressive Democrat running for the southeast Queens congressional seat currently occupied by corrupt New Dem Gregory Meeks, told us that "Rep. Omar is a role model for me and so many young  Muslims who have faced discrimination after 9/11. She took an oath to serve the American people with integrity. She inspired me to run for something bigger than me. Running for office isn’t about one person. Candidates should represent the people from their communities who have been discouraged to run for something or do something great because of their race, gender, sexual orientation, or socioeconomic status."

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At 5:36 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

If there is to be any success for progressives, they cannot count on Party support. The are going to have to win their races without it.

At 10:37 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

stupid question. when push comes to shove, almost all of them will stand tall... for the money that owns them. Don't care what they SAY. It only matters what they DO.

We'd be better off if everyone in DC was mute. Then it would be easier to gauge them by their deeds.

No sociopolitical or economic progress came from words alone. shut up and *DO*.


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