You already know it's been a tough year, politically. Tough especially for the Democrats' DC Establishment party. Not quite so tough for progressives. Only one of our progressives was defeated, Carol Shea-Porter, who ran in a very red district-- and who, I feel pretty certain, will be back in 2016 to reclaim her seat.
Last Thursday Carol was a loud and clear voice against the Wall Street giveaway in the "Cromnibus" funding bill. Like every self-respecting progressive-- from Alan Grayson, Donna Edwards, Barbara Lee, Mike Honda, Raul Grijalva, and Keith Ellison to Mark Pocan, Matt Cartwright, Jared Polis, Alan Lowenthal, Beto O'Rourke... almost all the men and women YOU have helped get elected.
Thank you from the bottom of our hearts for your generosity. We hope you’re on board with us to help elect the next Alan Grayson, Keith Ellison or Elizabeth Warren when they come along. And, based on this year’s election results— they most certainly will.
This holiday season we're also especially thankful that our two most exciting progressive candidates won House seats. When Bonnie Watson Coleman tossed her hat into the ring, conventional wisdom said she had no chance against the New Jersey boss-backed "moderate" Democrat. Barbara Buono, the intrepid liberal firebrand who took on Chris Christie, introduced Bonnie to us as the state legislator who fought for her on the front lines, unafraid and unbowed before the “Transpartisan” Jersey bosses. Bonnie kicked their candidate's ass in the 4-way primary 42.6 to 28.1% and went on the win the general election with 61%-- and won it as an outspoken advocate for progressive values, not as the kind of mealy-mouthed Republican-lite candidate the DCCC encourages candidates to morph into.
Across the country on the West Side of Los Angeles, we had a similar success. California's most successful state senator, Ted Lieu, approached the 18-person primary-- and the Adelson-funded general election-- talking about the progressive legislation that has been the hallmark of his political career. His very first ad was about stopping unconstitutional domestic spying on American citizens by the NSA and CIA. Ted beat the Adelson candidate, despite a vicious, racist campaign, 59.2% to 40.8% with the biggest turn-out of any of L.A.'s congressional districts. And, like Bonnie, he won it as an avowed, unapologetic progressive.
Last month Bonnie and Ted met for the first time in DC at the freshmen orientation week. She was his first backer among the freshmen in his successful bid to become class president. (Last year the freshman president was Matt Cartwright... a tradition for Blue America candidates!)
It was Ted's record of leadership in Sacramento-- and Bonnie's in Trenton-- that had impressed us so much with both candidates. But now both are going to Washington. What will they be able to accomplish?
Yesterday I asked Ted; this is what he told me:
"Having served as an elected official for over a decade, it is clear to me that anyone can do our jobs if the goal is to help the rich and powerful. But it is much more difficult-- and far more important-- to help those without a voice. How many homeless people can afford to hire a lobbyist? How many Super PACs exist to advance the interests of foster children? How many people living in poverty go out and vote? My goals are to advance issues to improve the quality of life for all Americans and to champion causes for those who do not have a voice in our political system. I will tackle the difficult issues facing our nation: homelessness, income inequality, discrimination and an out-of-control campaign finance system. I am also going to wake up every day thinking about how we can mitigate climate change, because if we don't solve the problem, it will eventually kill us.”
If you don't have a congressman representing you who's as good as Ted sounds... think of Ted as your congressman... until you get as one as good as he or Bonnie in your own district. We'll be helping to do just that in the coming cycle. Any suggestions?
Happy Holidays. Thank you for all you do to make this world a better place.
--Howie, for the whole Blue America Crew