Friday, May 27, 2016

Nanette Barragán-- Standing Up Against Corruption And Against Trumpism


It's relatively rare-- though it shouldn't be-- that a Democratic primary so clearly highlights the differences between the two wings of the party. But the race for the seat Janice Hahn is giving up in Los Angeles is just that kind of race. CA-44 starts down in San Pedro and heads north through Wilmington, Keystone, Carson, Rancho Dominguez, North Long Beach, Compton, Willowbrook and Lynwood to end up in Watts and South Gate. Demographically, the district was once an African-American bastion but has changed drastically and is now over 70% Latino and just 14% African-American. The only district in California that gave Obama a greater share of it's votes in 2012 was Barbara Lee's Oakland/Berkley district, 85% of CA-44 voters going for Obama and 88% of CA-13 voters doing so. Needless to say, in a normal situation, the Democrat winning the primary in a district like this would be the next congressmember. However, with California's bizarre and dysfunctional jungle primary system the top two Democrats will compete in November. There are 10 candidates on the ballot a week from next Tuesday (June 7), the two most viable contenders being Nanette Barragán, the progressive in the race, and Isadore Hall, the corrupt conservative in the race. As of the Match 31 FEC filing deadline Hall had $513,446 on hand and Barragán had $415,646 on hand.

Goal Thermometer Hahn, who needs Hall's help for her own career aspirations has persuaded California's corrupted Democratic Party establishment to back Hall, while Barragán is being supported by Blue America, the Sierra Club, the League of Conservation Voters, DFA, PDA and Congressional Progressive Caucus chairman Raul Grijalva. You can contribute to her campaign by tapping on the thermometer to the right. As we saw 2 weeks ago, the L.A. Times endorsed Nanette with a stunning rebuke to Hall and his corrupt Democratic backers, pointing out that "only Barragán has demonstrated the integrity, courage and commitment to the environment that this industrial district needs. Voters should choose her on June 7." So why are so many self-described California "liberals" backing Hall? The Times wrote that "The answer is in Hall's record as a state legislator, particularly his years as one of the self-styled “moderate Democrats” in the Assembly who consistently opposed crucial climate change policy and tougher gun laws. For example, Hall did not join his colleagues in calling on the federal government to halt offshore drilling leases, or vote for a statewide ban on plastic bags, or a moratorium on fracking. His consistency was rewarded by the oil lobby, and he is one of the top recipients of donations from oil interests. Other big donors to his campaigns are casinos and gambling interests, tobacco companies and the alcohol lobby."

And yesterday one of the big local papers in the area, the Daily Breeze also pointed to Barragán as the better candidate for the district. "Both are Democrats-- Hall moderate, Barragan more progressive-- who grew up in the 44th Congressional District that covers a large swath of Central Los Angeles, from the port north to South Gate, including North Long Beach," they reminded their readers. "Poverty and pollution are among the pressing problems in a region dotted with poor-performing schools, heavy manufacturing and oil refineries. Hall and Barragan each came from modest means and worked their way to success, but their political paths couldn’t be more different."
Barragan is a relative political newbie with an impressive resume, a lawyer for a high-powered law firm who once interned for a California Supreme Court justice.

In 2013 she was elected the first Latina councilwoman in Hermosa Beach, a wealthy, 1.4-square-mile city.

There, she focused most of her energy on defeating an oil company-backed measure that would have allowed for drilling. It lost in a landslide.

Hall rose through local politics, first at the Compton school board, then to the Compton City Council, California Assembly and state Senate. Never has he faced serious opposition.

Hall is backed by gaming interests and oil companies, to which he has been a friend, opposing legislation that would have created tougher environmental rules near oil sites.

Hall is also supported by a Democratic establishment loyal to its longtime colleague.

Barragan is the outsider. Encouraged to run in the heavily Latino district by Rep. Linda Sanchez, chairwoman of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, she resigned her post in Hermosa Beach and moved to the district.

Hall is the insider, and he uses that to his advantage in pushing legislation like Senate Bill 63, a bill that allows ports to create financing districts for infrastructure bonds.

There are questions about whether Hall is a sincere public servant or acts out of political expediency.

The Barragán/Hall race is one of the clearest in the country, pitting a good government reformer against a corrupt, self-serving careerist grasping for a leg up in the political power game. You can contribute to the good government reformer here:
Goal Thermometer

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A Fresh New Face in South Florida Politics... Alina Valdes, MD


Largely at the urging of Debbie Wasserman Schultz, the DCCC has studiously ignored FL-25 as a pick-up target. There's been a very hands-off policy in a congressional district that stretches from west and northwest Miami-- Fountainebleau, Doral and Sweetwater-- Hialeah and Miami Lakes, west through Collier County and the Naples suburbs and up into Hendry County. 71% of the residents are Hispanic-- just under 40% of whom are Cuban-Americans; there is also a huge Venezuelan population centered on Doral. The district has leaned Republican but Romney only beat Obama 51-49% and the demographic trends are blue. With Trump at the head of the ticket, this would be a perfect year for the Democrats to win an overwhelmingly Hispanic district. Instead, the DCCC has ignored FL-25 and shunned the progressive physician running, Alina Valdes, who you may recall from Wednesday morning when she responded to Mario Diaz-Balart's refusal to back a successful bipartisan plan to allow doctors in V.A. hospitals in states where medical marijuana is legal to prescribe it.

I asked Alina to introduce herself to DWT readers and explain some of the policy differences she has with Diaz-Balart. If you like what you read, please consider contributing to her very grassroots-oriented campaign at the BernieCongress ActBlue page.

South Florida Deserves A Real Alternative

-by Alina Valdes
Congressional Candidate, FL-25

When I decided to run for Congress about a year and a half ago, I did so knowing that it would not be easy but after seeing the dysfunction in DC and the continued loss of hard-fought rights in social and economic issues, I came to the conclusion that it was something I had to do. Not being a career politician did not deter me but I knew I would need to work harder to find out as much as I could about the process and then go out and meet as many people as I could in FL CD 25. Living in this district, I did not agree with many of the positions the incumbent Republican, Mario Diaz-Balart, was taking on the issues important to the people in the district.

Knowing that the DNC chair, Debbie Wasserman-Schultz, represented the neighboring district, I felt that I should speak to her out of respect for her title and experience. I made sure I went to meetings where she was the speaker and after several attempts, I was ultimately ignored. When I met her assistant a few weeks later, I asked about the appointment I was to have with her and was told that I would be waiting a long time before that happened in a sarcastic tone. I did not understand at the time why I was being ignored as I was running as a Democrat against a career incumbent Republican who had gone unchallenged by a Democrat since 2008. Since then, I have learned the following facts and propose the following statements:

1. In 2008, the DNC chair, then the chair of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee's Red-to-Blue program to flip seats in Congress, supported all three Republican incumbents in South Florida against three challenging Democrats, claiming the 3 Republicans were her friends. This is not the attitude I would expect from someone tasked with changing the political climate in Congress.

2. Despite several attempts to contact the DCCC about my candidacy. I have not received a response to emails and phone calls and have been ignored as a candidate for FL CD-25. Since then, they have endorsed mainly establishment career politicians, some with questionable records in their field.

3. Not being a career politician but a general internist who has spent over 30 years as a public servant in physician-shortage areas taking care of the poor, uninsured, and homeless in these communities, I have listened to many of these folks talk about how the current political climate does not listen to their needs. Most are working people who find themselves living in poverty though they are working sometimes two and three jobs just to pay the bills. They cannot afford health care and many other benefits that come with having living wage jobs and they feel disenfranchised by this political system.

4. I am a proud Progressive Democrat and a Cuban-born American citizen who happens to be bilingual and can serve the needs of a largely Latino community because of my intimate understanding of the issues and concerns affecting this community. I favor lifting the Cuban embargo since this has been a failed policy that no longer serves to benefit Americans and, more importantly, the Cuban people whose lives have been adversely affected by this outdated policy. The Republican incumbent in CD-25 along with his fellow South Florida Cuban delegation and the DNC chair continue to favor maintaining this policy even though the consensus has shifted towards lifting the embargo even in South Florida and among younger Cubans who have acknowledged this as a failed policy that needs to be corrected.

5. While I am a supporter of a one-payer health care system, I have noticed an improvement in affordable health care with the ACA or Obamacare. The provisions have included millions of people who could not afford coverage before while also including many provisions like yearly physicals with blood tests appropriate to the age group, preventive health maintenance tests like mammograms and colonoscopies to name a few. It also allows parents to cover their children until age 26 on their health plans in addition to subsidies for millions of Americans to have the security of knowing that an illness will not bankrupt them because of lack of coverage. A city in FL CD-25 had the highest enrollment to the ACA of any in the country... Hialeah. So why does Congressman Mario Diaz-Balart keep voting, along with the other 2 South Florida Republicans, to repeal and replace Obamacare? Over 60 times the House has voted for this measure and each and every time, they have all voted to repeal but we have yet to hear a plan to replace with what. By so doing, he is voting against the wishes of his constituents who want health care in large numbers. So where is the accountability when there is no challenge to his candidacy?

South Florida and CD-25 now have a choice in Alina Valdes, MD. As a progressive Democratic Latina, I have listened and will continue to listen to the people of the district. In spite of the lack of help from the establishment, the campaign has qualified to be on the ballot with petitions doing it the old-fashioned, grassroots way... with boots on the ground. Now we need your support to mount our campaign against an established career politician who gets his support from corporate and special interests groups. They have his loyalty and his vote. It is time to retire career politicians of this "Do Nothing Congress" and elect progressives like myself, who will work every day to make people's lives better.

Visit the campaign website to find out more about the issues and give whatever you can to support our campaign.

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"Networks are Colluding" to Declare Clinton the Overall Winner Before California Polls Close


by Gaius Publius

The writer of the quoted part of the headline above is Shaun King. Here's the quote in full and in context.
When a grown man tells you he is about to start trouble, believe him.

What followed, if Matthews is to be taken at his word, is clear evidence that television networks are colluding together to call the primary for Hillary Clinton before she reaches the delegates needed to claim victory. By doing so, they will absolutely suppress the vote in the final states that will be cast ballots in the Democratic primary. Even by mentioning it now, that the networks have already set the date and time they are calling the race for Hillary, what Matthews has done runs the very real risk of suppressing voter turnout. It's disgusting.
That date and time is 8:00 pm Eastern time, 5:00 pm Pacific time, on June 7, the night of the California primary. (Also the night of five other primaries or caucuses and the last-but-one night of Democratic Party voting.)

Here's the Matthews quote from the video above:
MATTHEWS: This what I call "trouble," [what] I'm about to start [saying or asking] here.

I'm told by the experts on numbers around here on NBC and elsewhere that come June 7, the day of the California primary — which your candidate [pointing to Jeff Weaver], I totally understand, wants to get to and maybe has a chance to knock off Hillary at that event, a big last hurrah — that at 8:00 that night Eastern time, that the networks will be prepared, including this one, to announce that Hillary Clinton has gotten over the top, that she will have won the nomination in numbers. It's done.

What will that do to turnout, if that's 5:00 Pacific time with three more hours to vote in California? Who will be least likely to vote, Sanders people from five to eight [o'clock] or Hillary. I've heard both theories.
Weaver answers the question in the only way that makes sense — that the announcement will be wrong, because the superdelegates don't vote until the convention. But that's not the point here. Forget Matthew's foolish question ("What will that do to turnout?") and read the intro to it.

If Matthews is right, so is my headline, and so is Shaun King. The establishment, corporate-owned "networks are colluding" to declare Hillary Clinton the overall Democratic winner before California polls close. And they know it will affect turnout; they just aren't sure whose.

An Establishment-Rigged System

After explaining in full what Weaver said above in short, King closes with this:
What the Democratic Party, and apparently the television networks, do not want people to know is that superdelegates, and not the American voters, are going to choose who this nominee is. ...

This - all of this - is why supporters of Bernie Sanders so often say the system is rigged. It clearly looks that way.
It's not just the Democratic Party that is tilting the table in Clinton's direction, though. Notice, if Matthews is right, what the establishment networks are planning to do. Even Politico gives the game away (my emphasis):
Clinton could lose California, where the polls close three hours later, after she has already won the nomination [with the delegates won in New Jersey].
Whatever possessed Matthews to admit to all this? And will they carry through, the networks? Maybe not, after this. But still, maybe so. Either way, you have been warned. The networks are talking about, once again, making news, not just breaking it. What they will be breaking instead is their reputations as news organizations.

With every Sanders Democrat and independent watching ... very very closely.


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Will 2016 Be The Year Of The Third Party?


Last night we saw a pretty stark case-- made by Noam Chomsky no less-- for "holding your nose" and voting for the lesser of two evils, especially in swing states like Ohio, Florida, New Hampshire, Nevada, Virginia, North Carolina and-- at least this year-- Arizona and Georgia. He told a radio audience that abstaining from voting or voting for a third party candidate, "just amounts to a vote for Donald Trump, which I think is a devastating prospect." But while Democrats hope to see a vibrant Libertarian campaign by Republican ex-Governors Gary Johnson (NM) and Bill Weld (MA) pull right-of-center votes from Trump, Johnson thinks he can lure Bernie voters away from Hillary. "I side with myself 99 percent of the time, but then the next politician that I most align with is Bernie Sanders at 73 percent," Johnson explained on MSNBC... There's more to agree with Bernie Sanders than to disagree."

So what about Jill Stein? Ideologically, her campaign is the normal home for Bernie voters if he doesn't get the nomination. No doubt someone in the GOP will be smart enough to figure that out and push it-- unless Trump stops them, delusional that Bernie supporters will transfer their allegiance to a racist, sexist, xenophobic lying sack of crrap. The Hill took a little look at the case for Stein this week. Niall Strange invoked the memory of Ralph Nader: "The Green Party suddenly has a chance to make an impact in the presidential election, with polls showing that Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton are set to be the most unpopular nominees in modern times. The possibility of disaffected liberals going to a third-party candidate sends a shiver through Democrats-- especially those with memories of the 2000 presidential election-- even as it delights the Greens and their likely nominee, Jill Stein."
Stein is making a play for Sanders supporters. In an interview with The Hill, she praised him for “really putting forward great policies.”

She added that there is “an incredible love affair between our supporters and Bernie supporters. You can’t distinguish them; they are already comingled.”

Whether the Green Party can harvest those votes, however, remains an open question.

“The simple reality is that there is no proof that the Green Party can win a national election, especially one with the Electoral College as it is,” said Neil Sroka, communications director for the progressive group Democracy for America (DFA).

“In order to make any sort of argument, you would have to explain how a vote for the Green Party isn’t just a way that Donald Trump wins the White House. Even more importantly, it would potentially throw away the power that has been built over the course of this campaign for progressives within the Democratic Party,” Sroka added.

The DFA endorsed Sanders but has always pledged to back the eventual Democratic nominee. Sanders himself has made the same promise.

Stein, on the other hand, said she would “feel horrible” if either Trump or Clinton were elected in November.

Her argument is not only that Clinton is “the lesser of two evils”-- a phrase that Sanders has used. She also contends that Clinton is a proponent of the same kind of centrist economic policies put forth by her husband. The policies of former President Bill Clinton, Stein said, have led to the wage stagnation and economic malaise that she believes made Trump’s rise possible.

Asked what she would say to a voter who was sympathetic to Green Party policies but feared gifting the White House to Trump, Stein replied: “The first thing I would say is that Trump was created by the politics of the Clintons. Putting the Clintons in power will only fan the flames. Hillary is not a solution to Trump; the Clintons are the cause of Trump.”

She added, “The second thing I would say is, ‘Don’t be talked out of your own power.’… We need a policy of courage, not cowardice. We need to bring that courage into the voting booth. To adopt a position of cowardice in the voting booth is to surrender to a predatory political system on all fronts.”

But that is the kind of claim that brings a combination of bemusement and horror from Democrats who were on the front lines during the 2000 election.

“Is it theoretically a cause for concern? You bet,” said Michael Feldman, a Democratic strategist who was Gore’s traveling chief of staff during the 2000 campaign. But he added, “I think people learned the hard way in 2000 that a protest vote can swing things in ways that are damaging and dangerous.”

Chris Lehane, who was press secretary for Gore’s 2000 bid, said, “2000 made clear that a presidential vote is not an academic exercise, but the ultimate right every voter has to affirmatively shape the kind of country they desire. … The importance of using that vote responsibly is something that 2000 speaks to.”

Independent experts also suggest the mere presence of Trump on the ballot could prompt liberals to come out to back Clinton, even if they are unenthusiastic about her.

Lawrence Jacobs, a political scientist at the University of Minnesota and an expert on third-party politics, recalled that during the 2000 campaign Bush presented himself as the smiling face of “compassionate conservatism.”

This year, Jacobs said, “the conditions are there” for a strong Green Party performance. “But by the time November rolls around, the Democratic Party campaign machine will have framed this election as an end-of-all-life choice between Trump and Clinton.”

Still, Stein is defiant.

“You have got to fix the rigged political system,” she said. “If you only have choices that are funded by the big banks, fossil fuels and the war profiteers, that’s what you’re going to get.”
This is what came back when a took the I Side With poll. Have you tried it yet?

Whether you're a Bernie supporter, a Hillary supporter, a Jill Stein supporter-- or even a Libertarian-- it's essential to replace as many of the garbage congressmembers as possible with serious, values-driven progressives. You can help do that by clicking on the thermometer:
Goal Thermometer

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Thursday, May 26, 2016

Noam Chomsky Puts The Kibosh On #NeverHillary/#BernieOrBust Sentiment


YouGov polling released this morning indicates most Bernie voters recognize Hillary is the likely nominee and 68% think she can beat Trump in the general election. Wounds are too fresh, self-righteous indignation too strong and fundamental values-driven differences too apparent to everyone but Joe Biden, for a kumbaya moment... yet.
But half of Sanders voters are not yet ready to support Clinton in a Clinton-Trump matchup.  In fact, the percentage of Sanders supporters willing to vote for Clinton has dropped in the last few weeks.  At the end of April, 63% of Sanders supporters said they would vote for Clinton. Importantly, however, these supporters are not going directly to Trump; instead they are moving into the undecided category, going for a third candidate, or opting out of the race altogether... Just half say they would vote for Clinton in the fall, while two in three say they will vote for the “Democrat.” As might be expected, nine in ten would vote for Sanders against Trump (perhaps surprisingly, 7% of Sanders supporters would vote for Trump even in Sanders were the Democratic nominee).

Clinton’s supporters are more likely to favor the Democrat, whomever it might be, or even if he or she is unnamed. More than nine in ten Clinton voters favor Clinton over Trump and would vote for the unnamed Democrat. Nearly eight in ten also would vote for Sanders if he were the nominee.
Inside-the-Beltway conventional wisdom dictates that Democrats will all come together after Hillary wins the nomination to defeat Trumpism. Alan Abramowitz at Sabato's Crystal Ball, sees it as a given, even if Bernie's "base of young, liberal voters, many of whom identify themselves in exit polls as independents" are less enthusiastic than ordinary progressive Democrats who just preferred Bernie's New Deal approach to Hillary's Republican-lite approach. Abramowitz asserts that "an examination of survey data from the 2008 presidential election, an election in which Democrats experienced an equally if not more contentious nomination battle between Clinton and Barack Obama, suggests that unifying Democrats may actually be easier in 2016 than it was in 2008. The major reason for this is that Donald Trump is a far less attractive alternative to disgruntled Democrats than John McCain was in 2008. And no matter what Sanders does, someone else should be extremely helpful when it comes to unifying Democrats once the primary contest is over: President Obama... [T]he key lesson that we can learn from the results of the 2008 battle between Clinton and Obama is that Sanders supporters probably do not have to love Clinton in order to vote for her in the general election. They merely have to like her as well or better than Trump, and that should be a very easy bar to clear."

In the video up top you find a compelling argument from Noam Chomsky himself on why a vote for "the Democrat" will be absolutely essential in November: "In the primaries I would prefer Bernie Sanders. If Clinton is nominated and it comes to a choice between Clinton and Trump, in a swing state-- a state whereit's going to matter which way you vote-- I would vote against Trump. And, by elementary arithmetic that means you hold your nose and vote Democrat, I din't think there's any other rational choice. Abstaining from voting or voting for a minority candidate, just amounts to a vote for Donald Trump, which I think is a devastating prospect."

Who's in Congress matters-- a lot. That's why Blue America is urging Bernie partisans and Hillary partisans to focus on electing progressive candidates of good character in the remaining primaries and in November. No matter who wins the presidency, WE will need a more progressive House and Senate. You can do your bit in many ways but tapping on the thermometer might be the easiest and most convenient way of all:
Goal Thermometer

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Inside The Beltway It's Très Visqueux, Très Louche... But Last Week's Gay Equality Amendment Passes Anyway


I don't mean to brag but when I saw Sean Patrick Maloney's last minute amendment to the Veterans and Military Construction Appropriations bill I was happy and I wondered why the Republicans allowed it through. At the time, I wrote that Maloney had "managed to trick the tired and weary Republicans into letting him add a last minute amendment to the Veterans and Military Construction Appropriations bill the House was debating. The Republicans could have ruled it out of order but they missed the chance and it made it onto the schedule and got voted on Thursday morning. The purpose was be to prohibit federal contractors from discriminating against LGBT people and the vote was such a squeaker that the GOP almost had to drag Paul Ryan into voting."

Well, Ryan struck back. According to a report in The Hill he's changing the rules to keep that kind of embarrassing amendmenting from happening again. (Someone should remind him that Pelsoi and Hoyer would control the DCCC chair forever and that the moment they're gone, if the Democrats have learned a lesson from the last decade of failure, the Republicans will be the House minority party again-- and bound by Ryan's petulant new rule.
Ryan laid out plans at a House GOP conference meeting Tuesday morning to require that members submit their amendments ahead of time so that they are printed in the Congressional Record, according to leadership aides.

...By requiring amendments to be made public in advance, GOP leaders would be able to anticipate difficult votes and figure out a strategy before the last minute. Specifics of the revamped process, such as the deadline for members to file their amendments, haven't been determined by leadership yet.

Upon winning majority control five years ago, House Republicans, led by then-Speaker John Boehner (Ohio), brought back the use of a freewheeling process known as an "open rule" to consider annual appropriations bills.

Under that procedure, members of either party can offer unlimited amendments without having to give advance notice to their colleagues or the public. On most other bills, the majority party's leaders control which amendments get floor time.

Top Republicans have touted the use of open rules as a return to "regular order" and a way to empower individual members. But it has backfired spectacularly on House Republicans twice in the last year.

The most recent example occurred last week when Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney (D-N.Y.) offered an amendment to a Veterans Affairs spending bill that would enforce an executive order President Obama issued two years ago prohibiting federal contractors from discriminating on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity.

The amendment was set to pass with 217 votes in favor. But members of House GOP leadership could be seen on the floor persuading Republicans to change their votes to sink Maloney's measure. They held the vote open for seven minutes until the amendment failed on a 212-213 vote.

...A spokesman for House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) blasted Ryan's proposed rules change.

“This is the second time in less than a week that Speaker Ryan has abandoned regular order in the name of furthering LGBT discrimination in this country. Obviously, we are deeply disappointed that the House Republican leadership has apparently decided that discriminating against LGBT Americans is a top legislative priority," spokesman Drew Hammill said in a statement.
Last night the regular order rules the GOP was always crying about and that Ryan wants to gut, allowed Maloney to reattach his amendment to H.R. 5055, the Energy and Water Development Appropriations Act, and this time the cowardly Republicans who switched their votes at the last minute and under pressure last week, voted in favor of LGBT equality under the law. Instead of losing by one vote, it passed 223-195, even Darrell Issa, who had previously lied and claimed he hit the wrong electronic voting button last time, voted in favor this time. The vote switchers who switched again were electorally vulnerable California Republicans Issa, Jeff Denham, David Valadao, Mimi Walters, plus Bruce Poliquin (R-ME), Greg Walden (R-OR) and David Young (R-IA). Susan Brooks (R-IN), Jim Renacci (R-OH), Tom Rooney (R-FL) and 3 Illinois Republicans-- Rodney Davis, Adam Kinzinger and John Shimkus also switched their votes to YES. (This morning the GOP killed the whole Energy and Water bill-- which they wrote-- rather than see it pass with a sentence about LGBT equality. What a bunch of clowns and jerks!)

Ryan is now ready to hop on board the Trump Train to Nowhere. Bloomberg reports that he's "begun telling confidants that he wants to end his standoff with Donald Trump in part because he’s worried the split has sharpened divisions in the Republican Party... Paul Manafort, told a small group of Republican lawmakers Thursday that he expects Ryan to endorse the party’s nominee as early as this week, according to two people in the meeting." I wasn't sure where this story was going, although I haven't mentioned Herr Trumpf all day today... and then it came to me. You want to talk about slimy Republicans? What could possibly beat this-- and I'm not talking about the Bush's ambassador to France who can't speak French:

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Two Good Candidates In NV-04-- Let's Hope They Don't Cancel Each Other Out And Help Elect A Rich ConservaDem


Ruben Kihuen, Lucy Flores

It's been almost a year since Blue America took at look at the Democratic candidates lining up to run against Republican incumbent Cresent Hardy in NV-04 (a Blue district the DCCC managed to blunder into losing in 2014) and we endorsed the proven, accomplished progressive in the race, state Senator Ruben Kihuen. Although it's a huge, sprawling district, most of the population lives in North Las Vegas and Dems have a substantial and growing registration advantage, 46-33%. Obama beat McCain there 56-41% and then beat Romney 54-44%. No one could lose a district like that to the Republicans... except Steve Israel and his DCCC brain-trust.

There are 3 viable Democrats competing in a primary that will be decided June 14, Berniecrat Lucy Flores, a former Assemblywoman, wealthy socialite Susie Lee, the candidate of the casino owners and Ruben, who is backed by labor (as well as by Blue America). Unfortunately he's also been backed by the Reid Machine and, as of this week, by Bill Clinton. We're not holding that against him for one simple reason: his record of accomplishment. Promises and fancy speeches aren't meaningless but a record of accomplishment trumps everything else.

Although neither Clinton nor his wife are, the former president told Democratic voters in Nevada that "Ruben is a progressive champion and the kind of leader our party needs now more than ever... an experienced legislator with proven results." Ruben had already endorsed Hillary and Lucy had endorsed the actual progressive running against her. Bernie returned the favor by helping Lucy raise around $400,000 with an enthusiastic endorsement. Blue America is raising money for her (as well as for Ruben), in her case on the Bernie Congress ActBlue page, where she has been one of the most popular candidates, having taken in $1,591.09 from 271 contributors, about the same that Ruben has taken in from 220 contributors on the Blue America main congressional page, $1,845.58.

Ruben ran for the Nevada Assembly in 2006, beating corrupt conservative incumbent Bob McCleary in a tight primary. In 2010 he was elected to the state Senate, where he served as majority whip. The bills he's associated with, as a writer or sponsor, include SJR8 to raise the state's minimum wage to $15. So that's a bill be wrote and pounded through the Senate-- on the record and undeniable, yet some of the Bernie followers, thinking that only candidates who support Bernie can possibly favor the $15 minimum wage, deny this piece of history. He also wrote and was the chief sponsor for SB190, a bill that cracks down on employers paying women less than men for the same work and making it illegal for them to discriminate against anyone for discussing or inquiring about another person's wages. He was one of the key sponsors of SB259 which requires employers to provide paid sick leave to their employees and he wrote and was the chief sponsor for SB227, which creates a grant program for low income students attending Nevada State colleges and community colleges, providing them with up to $5,500 a year to help them pay for school.

Progressives need to beat the conservative establishment candidate, Susie Lee, not lie about each other. Lots of solid progressives back Lucy; at Blue America, we do too. But for a Bernie supporter to yammer on about how Ruben isn't a progressive is absurd, untrue and an example of pure ignorance. Ruben was endorsed by the AFL-CIO, AFSCME, the NEA, Nevada's powerful Culinary Union, Raúl Grijalva (the first member of Congress to endorse and campaign for Bernie) and Xavier Becerra (a Clinton supporter), as well as by Blue America. Lucy was endorsed by DFA, NARAL, MoveOn and the PCCC. Several DC progressive groups have been unable to choose between the two. People for the America Way was enthusiastic enough about each of them that they endorsed both! Michael Keegan, PFAW president, told us that "Lucy Flores and Ruben Kihuen are strong progressives who are committed to reducing the influence of money in politics, passing comprehensive immigration reform, and investing in public education. Voters in the 4th district have two strong choices when it comes to congressional candidates who will move our country on critical issues like these. While the current representative in Nevada’s fourth district, Cresent Hardy, has compared legislation to protect LGBT people from workplace discrimination to segregation laws and supported Mitt Romney’s infamous 47% insult, both Flores and Kihuen have made clear that they’ll stand up for all Americans."

We're talking about two excellent candidates and, for some reason, a wretched and rich conservative (Susie Lee) who hasn't been backed by the shitheads at the DCCC. There are strong rumors that the Chamber of Commerce, eager to protect Hardy, is preparing a big money attack against Ruben, fearing that he would be the most effective Democratic candidate. I'm curious to know which one DWT readers prefer. "Vote" for Lucy at the thermometer on the right or for Ruben at the thermometer on the left:
Goal Thermometer Goal Thermometer

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Democrats Putting Together A Plan The GOP's Deep Bench Never Quite Figured Out: How To Stop Trump From Wrecking America


Trump doesn't respect women; we all know that. He's made it clear his entire life and has continued making it clear through his campaign. The video above shows him denigrating Republican governor Susana Martinez Tuesday night. The same day he called Hillary Clinton "a 'low-life' and 'lightweight,' he added that he 'can’t listen' to Clinton’s attacks against him, because 'she screams and drives me crazy.'" Not being able to listen to women has always been a major problem for Trump. So far it hasn't caught up to him. If Hillary is going to win the presidency, she has to make sure it does.

This week, writing for New York, Ed Kilgore predicted that the free ride may be about over for Trump. Crushing a Deep Bench of mental midgets without breaking a sweat made him think he is politically brilliant-- and invincible. Now "when he comes to Washington for meetings with his vanquished intra-party foes, it's with the air of a barbarian chieftain visiting Rome after the Sack... Pollsters are entering his presence with surveys showing he could indeed beat Hillary Clinton (he needs only one every once in a while to support his vainglorious talking points). And he still has his formal coronation as the most unlikely GOP nominee since Wendell Willkie ahead of him before the general-election campaign gets fully underway. For the Donald, life is good, right? Maybe so, but not for long."
Throughout the pre-primary and primary phases of the GOP presidential-nominating process, Trump had a bunch of advantages he will soon lose. He was a novice pol who was regularly defying expectations amidst almost universal predictions of failure. He was the dominant media object in a very crowded field of opponents. He had the strategic flexibility associated with doing relatively well in every region of the country and among every major category of Republican voter. He was independent of any sizable bloc of endorsers, donors, or surrogates, operating from his own tight-knit personal army. He was functioning within a Republican Party dominated by the older white voters that were his principal base, and where the minority voters he so deeply offends were rare and insignificant presences.

Now he is about to become the Titular Head of the Republican Party, with presumed responsibility for a big, divided and (at the moment) fearful coalition of down-ballot candidates and allied constituency and interest groups. Even if he minimizes the value of party support, he'll have to deal with constant advice and admonitions from party officials, many of whom not-so-secretly would prefer that he lose and leave them to inherit the GOP. He's already beginning to hustle money to finance his campaign.

Given the binary nature of general elections, he can no longer count on the kind of huge margins in media coverage he enjoyed when it was 16 Lilliputians trying to overcome the orange-haired Gulliver. For that matter, in Hillary Clinton he will finally face an opponent as well known as he is.  He will not be able to run a national campaign that divides and conquers a scattered and regionally dependent opposition. He'll be fighting Clinton one-on-one in the same fixed set of battlefield states. Instead of dealing with an electorate where he can find support all across demographic groups, Trump will be beginning in a deep, deep hole with African-Americans, Latinos, and professional women, with sure support only from groups like non-college-educated conservative white men, which any Republican can and must carry by huge margins.

At key moments in the campaign like the debates, Trump will no longer be addressing an audience that inherently hates "political correctness" and thus has a high tolerance for borderline racist and sexist rhetoric and insult-comedy. And Clinton and her allies will be able deploy their massive oppo-research files on Trump in a consistent, relentless manner very much unlike the occasional, clumsy, and halfhearted Trump-bashing undertaken by his primary opponents and the mainstream media.  After all, it's not like Democrats need to treat him with kid gloves because they'll need to appeal to his core supporters down the road.

Most of all, if the worm ever turns on Donald Trump's immensely lucky 2016 campaign, it's likely to turn fast and hard. Much of his party will abandon him in a heartbeat if that's the best way to preserve Republican control of Congress and state governments. The media folk he despises and seeks to threaten and intimidate will be unforgiving if he begins to stumble. It could get very ugly very fast.

And now he's not going to be facing a clod like Jeb Bush or a despised sociopath like Ted Cruz, but a fearless warrior, like Democratic spokesperson Elizabeth Warren, who, as Greg Sargent pointed out yesterday, is setting up the template for how to eviscerate the bewigged, racist bag of hot air. Sargent-- and the rest of the Beltway media-- was all excited about her use of the phrase "small, insecure money-grubber."
Warren isn’t merely dissing Trump’s manhood. Warren-- who went on to note that Trump “roots for people to get thrown out of their house” because he “doesn’t care who gets hurt, as long as he makes a profit”-- is making a broader argument. Trump is not just a small, greedy person, but a cruel one, too.

That theme is also threaded through Warren’s broadside against Trump on taxes. He isn’t just paying as little as possible-- and openly boasting about it-- because he’s greedy. He isn’t just refusing to release his returns because he doesn’t want to reveal he’s not as rich as he claims (another shot at Trump’s self-inflated masculinity). All this, Warren suggests, also reflects a larger moral failing: Trump plays by his own set of rules, engorging himself, while simultaneously heaping explicit scorn on social investments designed to help those who are struggling in the same economy that made him rich. Warren notes that Trump recently likened paying his taxes to “throwing money down the drain”-- i.e., he is reneging on the social contract-- after “inheriting a fortune from his father” and “keeping it going by scamming people.” Thus, Warren is making a broader argument about Trump’s fundamental cruelty.

One lingering question is what kind of affirmative argument Hillary Clinton will make in terms of how she’d be better than Trump on the economy. Trump argues that Clinton belongs to a corrupt elite that has screwed over working people for decades, with bad trade deals that sucked jobs out of the industrial Midwest and lax immigration policies that gave Americans’ livelihoods away to parasites and criminals. The system is failing those people, and he’d snap it over his knee and get it working again.

-Josh Barro: The Brutal Truth

The Clinton response is to cast Trump as a sleazy fraud, to undercut his claims to economic prowess. But it’s also to lay out a programmatic economic agenda: A minimum wage hike; equal pay for women; paid family leave; expanded child care; investments designed to boost American businesses’ ability to compete in a globalizing economy, rather than protectionism that would start destructive trade wars. (Warren laid out a similar slate of policy solutions in her speech’s conclusion.) Clinton strategist Joel Benenson has argued that policies designed to make a concrete difference in people’s lives actually can win the argument against the seemingly seductive, but ultimately empty, story Trump is telling.

It remains to be seen whether that will be enough as an affirmative argument for Clinton. But one thing is now clear: Democrats are honing an attack on Trump that is subtly different from the one on Romney. The challenge in both cases: How to drive home that the GOP nominee isn’t actually on your side. Romney was depicted as a plutocratic, aloof elitist and symbol of the rapacious cruelties of global capitalism: When he did well, people like you got screwed. Trump is not like Romney; he is adeptly posing as the Man in the Street’s Billionaire. But he is personally cruel and rapacious: He, and his presidential candidacy, are directly screwing you.

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Steve Israel Dubs #DebtTrapDebbie Wasserman Schultz A "Drama Queen" With Problems Of Her Own Making


Many Democrats are pushing to dump Debbie Wasserman Schultz as the head of the DNC where she has been the author of so much potentially catastrophic party disunity. Hillary dead-enders-- primarily women-first senators like Barbara Mikulski and Kirsten Gillibrand-- have rushed to Wasserman Schultz's defense. Yesterday, the execrable Steve Israel also weighed in for her, telling Chad Pergram of Fox News that although Wasserman Schultz is a drama queen responsible for her own problems, it's a mistake to think of her as the issue when "Democratic division is the issue" and that the whole brouhaha is "the consummate Beltway brawl." Israel, who beat Wasserman Schultz out for the chairmanship of the DCCC, is rumored to have been forced to retire from Congress for his incubatory role in a campaign finance scheme that has already led to the father of Rep. Ami Bera pleading guilty to several felony counts.

But when Israel claims it's not pertinent to focus on Wasserman Schultz, he may be correct about her personality-- no matter how grating most people find it to be-- but wrong about her actions, which are at the heart of Democratic disunity. Just yesterday the dynamic investigative duo at The Intercept, Lee Fang and Zaid Jilani, showed how she has continued filtering lobbyists back into the heart of the Democratic Party. Keep in mind that when Gallup did a survey asking Americans to rate professions, they found found lobbyists one of the only groups lower down the totem pole of respect than congressmembers.
Gallup's annual update on the honesty and ethical standards of people in various professions finds a new entry ranking at the bottom of the list. For the first time, Gallup asked the public to rate the honesty and ethical standards of lobbyists, and only 5% describe their ethics as "very high" or "high." ... As is typically the case, politicians do not fare that well, but local officeholders (20%) are rated better than state officeholders (12%) and congressmen (9%). In fact, congressmen rank above only lobbyists, car salesmen, and advertising practitioners this year.
And when people think about just exactly who the sewer congressmembers are, few rank more repulsively than Wasserman Schultz. Fang and Jilani pointed to how she's working hard to integrate lobbyists back into the power positions in the Democratic Party, something the vast majority of Democrats adamantly oppose.
Three professional influence peddlers, including a registered corporate lobbyist, have been chosen by Hillary Clinton and Democratic National Committee Chair Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-Fla., to serve on the committee responsible for drafting the party’s platform.

The 15-member panel has six members chosen by Clinton, five chosen by Bernie Sanders and four chosen by Wasserman Schultz.

Wendy Sherman and Carol Browner, two of the representatives chosen by Clinton, work at the Albright Stonebridge Group, a “government affairs” firm that was created in 2009 through a merger with Madeleine Albright’s consulting company and Stonebridge International, a defense contractor lobbying shop.

The website for the company touts its ability to win favors and influence with government officials throughout the world on behalf of corporate clients, from shaping regulatory standards in the U.S. for a European automotive business to engaging “with the highest levels of the Saudi government.” H.P. Goldfield, vice president at the firm, is a registered lobbyist for the Saudi Arabian government.

The Albright Stonebridge Group did not respond to a request to provide a client list. But recent reports reveal that the firm has been tapped in recent months to work for Elliott Management, the hedge fund run by billionaire Paul Singer, one of the most prolific donors to Republican Super PACs.

Sherman, who took a hiatus from her work at Albright Stonebridge to work at the State Department, filed an ethics disclosure in 2011 that revealed many of her former clients, including Coca-Cola, Wal-Mart, Dow Chemical, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, and PricewaterhouseCoopers.

Wasserman Schultz appointed Howard Berman, a former congressman who now works at Covington & Burling as a lobbyist. Disclosures show he currently represents the Motion Picture Association of America, the trade group for the movie industry, on “intellectual property issues in trade agreements, bilateral investment treaties, copyright, and related legislation.”

The picks stand in contrast to the slate chosen by the Bernie Sanders campaign, which included environmentalist Bill McKibben, philosopher Cornel West, and Rep. Keith Ellison, D-Minn.

Meanwhile, Wasserman Schultz is under siege back in South Florida, where a progressive reformer, Tim Canova, is giving her the contest of her life in a primary scheduled for August 30. She's never had a serious challenge in all her years as a congressmember. But the local media has begun to turn on her and there have been a constant low of reports about her relationships to shady private prison and pay day lending businesses, as well as to Big Sugar and right-wing groups that are hell-bent on sabotaging normalization of relations with Cuba. Yesterday the Miami Herald reported that her opportunism may have led to her softening her "principled" opposition to medical marijuana, although there have been rumors all week that her old nemeses, wealthy marijuana activist John Morgan, bribed her into submission.
In 2014, she opposed Florida’s constitutional amendment to allow medical marijuana — a rare position for a South Florida Democrat — that led to a spat between her and wealthy trial lawyer John Morgan, who bankrolled the amendment. A similar measure will appear on the ballot in November.

In the past, as a Democrat in a safe liberal district, Wasserman Schultz faced no political repercussions at the ballot box for taking a position out of step with her constituents. But criticism about her stances carry more weight this year because she faces a well-funded Democratic challenger: Tim Canova, who supports medical marijuana.

That’s why her vote related to medical marijuana last week has drawn some attention.

On May 19, Wasserman Schultz joined all but five Democrats in voting in favor of an amendment to allow military veterans’ access to state medical marijuana programs, as first reported by A directive currently prohibits Veterans Administration doctors from filling out forms for state medical marijuana programs or discussing the use of medical marijuana with patients.

...In 2014, Wasserman Schultz voted against a similar congressional amendment. At the time, her spokesman said she wanted to wait for the results of a study approved by the federal government to look at marijuana’s potential effects on post-traumatic stress disorder.

But that study hasn’t even started yet. The Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies said it expects to start the study once it receives the medical marijuana from the National Institute on Drug Abuse, according to an article in Science Explorer posted on MAPS website. The organization plans to study the effects of smoking marijuana on 76 veterans with PTSD.

In a January interview with the New York Times she appeared to suggest that marijuana is a gateway drug:

“I don’t oppose the use of medical marijuana. I just don’t think we should legalize more mind-altering substances if we want to make it less likely that people travel down the path toward using drugs. We have had a resurgence of drug use instead of a decline. There is a huge heroin epidemic.”

Supporters of the 2016 amendment-- including Morgan, who is again spearheading it-- hope that a larger Democratic turnout during the presidential election year will lead to passage.

Morgan said he might invest dollars in an effort to oust Wasserman Schultz.

“I am exploring how to form a PAC to specifically inform her district about her record,” Morgan said.

Morgan’s feud with Wasserman Schultz over medical marijuana escalated when Politico reported in 2015 that Morgan said she offered to change her position if Morgan stopped bashing her-- which she denied in an interview with the Sun Sentinel
If you'd like to help Tim Canova get his message out so he can replace Wasserman Schultz in Congress please consider contributing to his grassroots campaign here:
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Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Pressure Remains On SFPD and Mayor To Clean Up Their Acts Post-Suhr-- Medical Professionals Join Fight For Reforms


UCSF Do No Harm Coalition at City Hall in San Francisco

-by Denise Sullivan

Following last Thursday's SFPD shooting of Jessica Williams in San Francisco's Bayview District, the campaign to Fire Chief Suhr succeeded when Mayor Ed Lee called for his resignation by day's end, while the push to reclaim the City by the Frisco 5 and their growing community of supporters, including medical professionals, remains in full force.

"The guy is no longer the chief and it's our victory, your victory," said the Frisco 5's Maria Cristina Gutierrez. "It took the sacrifice," she said of SFPD's latest victim, "But if we had not done what we did, it would've been business as usual." Gutierrez and three of the four hunger strikers, in partnership with Dr. Rupa Marya, assembled on Monday night at UCSF Hospital in San Francisco where the doctor presented her research on police violence. Dr. Marya who served as the Frisco Five's physician during its hunger strike and is part of the Division of Hospitalist Medicine at the school, has also been researching the toll gentrification and over-policing over a 30 year period has taken on Black and Brown lives in the Bay Area. Addressing a crowd of healthcare workers and community members, she deems police violence to be a public health crisis.

"Racism is influencing the killings and so is police impunity," said Dr. Marya, who has formed the UCSF Do No Harm Coalition of healthcare workers committed to ending police violence. "Police killings need to be counted and reported."

Dr. Marya sees no contradiction in the "political" issue of police brutality and the "science" of medicine. As a doctor, saving lives is her business. She believes in the idea of doctor and patient advocacy and demonstrates an extraordinary compassion and integrity in her work. Noticing the gap in the way communities of color are served by the healthcare systems, she became more motivated to get involved in the movement for medical justice while studying the case of Alex Nieto, shot 59 times by police in his neighborhood. Described as "a foreigner" by the 911 caller who perceived him as a threat, "He was a San Franciscan," said Dr. Marya, who is California-born and was raised by her parents in India and South of France.

Beyond mortality issues, Dr. Marya asserts police violence has an impact on the well being of the community, especially loved ones left behind; the violence and impunity may also lead to civil unrest and the immediate and longterm traumatic effects that go with it (she pointed to Baltimore, where a CVS pharmacy was destroyed and the people who needed medication went without, while others who didn't need it became vulnerable to a free flow of opioids on their streets). The takeaway? Police violence does harm to the body politic, and in case there is any further doubt about it, Dr. Marya noted the shooting in Bayview last week occurred as she was preparing slides for her talk. Here in San Francisco, though African Americans account for anywhere from just three to six percent of the overall population, they are five times more likely to be shot by police than whites.

"A movement is going to require everyone sit at the table," said SFPD Sergeant Yulanda Williams who was also a panelist in attendance at UCSF. An African American and longtime member of Officers for Justice, Williams admits her department suffers from "endemic" racism ("They don't like to say systemic," she says) though one thing she's certain of is issuing the force tasers is not a likely solution for reducing harm. "I have no more room on my gun belt and am not looking for any more toys," she said.

Williams vouched for now acting chief Toney Chaplain who she's known since the police academy and believes he will hold officers accountable---"I'll make sure that happens," she said---but she also admits reform is easier said than done. "You have a department that supports nepotism, cronyism and legacy police officers," she said, and "a union that constantly disrespects people."

The Frisco 5 also believes accountability to be the top priority. It also wishes to have a say in the search for a new chief, among other demands. "We need to see the officers who did the shooting charged," said Frisco 5's Edwin Lindo. "Ed Lee is next."

Preparations to recall the Mayor have been underway for some time (various straw polls indicate there's the will and even a candidate), and while no such action can take place until November, the coalitions for police and ultimately city government reform continue to gather funds, signatures, and steam for the long road ahead. If this show of support from the medical community is sign of what's in store, perhaps more institutional bodies will get ready to sign on in the fight to save San Francisco from itself. Asked if there are other hospitals and healthcare workers initiating these kinds of radical shifts in the way police violence is perceived, Dr. Marya answered. "So…This is a revolution and it's starting now."

Oh yes, and while we're here: Dr. Marya is also a professional musician who fronts Rupa and the April Fishes (look for the cameo by musician/activist Boots Riley in this clip).

Denise Sullivan writes about music and gentrification issues from San Francisco for DWT. Her most recent book is Keep on Pushing: Black Power Music From Blues to Hip Hop.

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Can Bernie Spread The Revolution Downticket?


Jonathan Clarke, Long Island Berniecrat

Bernie's endorsement of Pramila Jayapal (D-WA), Lucy Flores (D-NV) and Zephyr Teachout (D-NY) has raised about $400,000 for each of them in about a month. His endorsement over the weekend of Tim Canova brought Tim $250,000 in the first 24 hours! Yesterday he endorsed 8 candidates for state legislatures. "I'm proud to announce," he wrote to his followers, "that I am endorsing seven progressive candidates for state legislatures across this country. These seven candidates-- activists, civil rights attorneys, and the children of immigrants-- will help lead progressive policy in the states, and some will be a part of one of the most important political powers: re-drawing Congressional districts after the 2020 elections. For decades, Republicans have been very good at winning elections at the state level, meaning conservative control of state laws and of Congressional districts, as well as a deep bench of Republican legislators who eventually run for Congress, governor, or even president. Democrats haven't been as effective. We need that to change, starting with these seven progressives... What this moment also requires is people in the streets fighting for change and legislatures across the country willing to stand with them. That is the political revolution, and that’s why splitting your contribution to Bernie 2016 and these candidates' campaigns is so important."

Goal Thermometer
Justin Bamberg (D-SC)
David Bowen (D-WI)
Clara Hart (D-SD)
Terry Alexander (D-SC)
Carol Ammons (D-IL)
Chris Pearson (D-VT)
Jane Kim (D-CA)
Joe Salazar (D-CO)
You can contribute to Justin Bamberg and Joe Salazar and to other dedicated progressives running for state legislative seats around the country by clicking on the thermometer on the right. Meanwhile, sources inside the Bernie camp have indicated he will also be endorsing candidates running for Congress. I don't know which ones. Maybe because I went to the same elementary and high schools in Brooklyn as he did-- albeit enough years apart so that we were never in the buildings at the same time-- several of the candidates endorsed by Blue America have asked me if I could help get Bernie to consider them. I can't. I've only spoken to him once and he has his own advisors telling him who to consider. I was pretty overjoyed he went for Canova, that's for sure.

This is an e-mail I got yesterday from Jonathan Clarke, the Berniecrat running for the Long Island North Shore seat Steve Israel was forced to relinquish, presumably by the FBI for his role in the scam that landed Ami Bera's father in prison.
Below is my official request I sent to Senator Sanders asking for his endorsement. I emailed it to him and Jeff Weaver.  I know he will be endorsing a little over 12 more candidates this week. I hope I am one of them.  Is there any way you can see that he gets this letter or if you can speak with him about his endorsement for me. This race is one of the most important congressional races in the country. Whoever wins the primary wins the general. I have only 5 weeks left on the campaign and I have worked so hard, but I worry since my opponents have the advantage of name recognition over me that anything could happen. I would really appreciate it.  Thank you in advance!  ~Jonathan

Dear Senator Sanders,

My name is Jonathan Clarke, and I am running for New York's Third Congressional seat. I am writing to you to ask for your endorsement.

I am a progressive and your historic run has inspired me to run for Congress. I believe in the vision you have for this country, and I want to help you make that happen with a progressive Congress.

New York’s Third Congressional race is a very interesting district and has been called by Newsday and community leaders as "Ground Zero" for corruption. It is also the only Congressional District in which a Sanders’ Democrat has a very real chance of victory.

I am one of five democratic candidates running in a primary to replace Steve Israel who recently stepped down. All four of my opponents are strong Clinton supporters, and I am the sole candidate who supports you. My four opponents are essentially the same candidate with the same corporatist agendas and deep ties to Long Island’s highly corrupt political system.

It is highly likely I could win this race since my opponents will divide the establishment vote four ways while I can garner the entire progressive vote. My only obstacle is name recognition. Your endorsement would catapult me to victory in this primary. Since the Third Congressional district leans democratic, the winner of the democratic primary has a distinct advantage in the general election. Therefore, your endorsement would be highly effective in getting a Sanders Democrat into Congress.

My strong support of you and your platform has earned me the support of many Sanders supporters here on Long Island. We all have worked very hard volunteering on your campaign when it was here on Long Island, and we would all love to have your endorsement for my congressional race.

I do want to say, whether you endorse me or not, I and the hundred or so volunteers on my campaign stand with you. We have seen the way your message has had an enormous impact here on Long Island. You have already inspired many people on Long Island to take back the Nassau, Suffolk and Queens Democratic parties. Hundreds of us are committed to becoming committee people in the local party so that we can fundamentally change the political system from the ground up. Similarly, there are many of us who are priming ourselves for local elections. Your race has truly been an inspiration, and you have started a groundswell that will fundamentally alter the political system of Long Island.

Thank you for reading my letter.


Jonathan Clarke
Candidate for Congress
New York District 3
Bernie didn't do that well in NY-03. The people who have sent Steve Israel to Congress over and over, seemed to be more comfortable with the establishment candidate. Bernie's Suffolk County total was 45.3% but in Nassu County he only scored 37.4% of the vote. And, alas, nationally, the Bernie voters by and large haven't been been especially supportive of congressional Berniecrats at the polls, a big disappointment for those of us who have been hoping the revolution would catch on for real. But, whether Bernie endorses him or not, you can contribute to Jonathan's campaign-- and to any of the other Berniecrats we've vetted at Blue America-- by tapping on the BernieCongress thermometer, which is, of course, different from the legislature thermometer up above:
Goal Thermometer

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