May 6, 2019

By now you have probably figured out that the candidates Blue America endorses for Congress have a few things in common.

We look for progressives, not garden variety Democrats. We look for women and men who are courageous-- not lily-livered careerists afraid of their own shadows. We look for people who have independent minds, not for people who will do whatever the House leadership tells them to do. And we're looking for candidates who understand how important it is to move all-in for fundamental changes to address long-festering problems of systemic inequality.

This cycle we ask candidates why they support Medicare For All, why they support AOC's Green New Deal resolution, why they back free public education… We don't have to ask them what they think about Trump; we'd rather know what they think about Ilhan Omar.

This week we officially endorsed an accomplished and admired state legislator, Jon Hoadley, who is running to win the southwest Michigan congressional seat occupied by hereditary multi-millionaire and Trump-enabler Fred Upton. This is a seat on the verge of flipping red to blue. Biden screwed it up last time by seeming to endorse Upton and confusing local Democrats. Obama won the district in 2008 by a solid 8 points. In 2016, when the voters were looking for real change, Hillary's moderate status quo message went over like a lead balloon. Trumo won the district by 8 points (exactly what McCain had lost it by). In the midterms last cycle Upton scraped by with just 50.2% of the vote, his worst showing ever. (If only Biden hadn't interfered...)

In any case, next year we expect to see Jon Hoadley replace Upton as congressman, especially because Bernie did so incredibly well in the district in 2016-- not just garnering more votes than Hillary on primary day, but garnering more votes than Trump as well. Most of Jon's top issues are also the issues that Bernie is running on.

Last year when Hoadley was up for reelection in his own state legislative district, which lies 100% inside the boundaries of the congressional district, he beat his Republican opponent 77-23%. The state Republican Party is reduced to calling him a socialist and "a protégé of Ilhan Omar." Jon told us that if that's all they have to run on, they might as well give up now.

He's not running the kind of GOP-lite campaign the DCCC urges on candidates trying to flip districts. In a statement he penned for Blue America, Jon went right after the conservative Ronald Reagan philosophy of government. 

The rest of this post came straight from Jon. Please read it carefully and if you would like see a guy like this in Congress-- instead of another Trump panderer-- please consider contributing what you can to his campaign today.

"There's been a story told over the past 30 years that goes something like this: if the people at the top do even better, the rest of us will be a little better off, too. The characters change, but the story remains the same: if the people with the best healthcare have even more, life saving medicine may one day be available to everyone else. If we lower taxes on billionaires and millionaires, one day we'd see our wages go up. If we keep telling our schools to fight amongst themselves, universities to do more with less, and career and technical education to make do without basic equipment, one day all of our kids would learn more.

That day isn't coming.

When we think of the massive challenges that America faces in the 21st century: healthcare and taking care of our loved ones, income inequality and economic security for our families, education and student debt, and tackling the pending global disaster that is climate change, I'm reminded that so many of these were caused by decisions made by the politicians of the past that didn't prepare us for the needs of the future. So many of those decisions were made during a period in which Ronald Reagan and conservative Republicans sold Americans a bill of goods: That low taxes and small government were the only solution.

This wasn't just an assault on taxes, this was an assault on community-- the belief that we were all in this together. Some politicians, as well as some millionaires and billionaires, saw an opportunity to create a reboot of an old sitcom-- unchecked corporate power where the people at the top get to write the new rules and the old rules somehow don't apply. According to supply-side economists, many of the lessons learned after the last economic crash started to have asterisks, exceptions. Savings and Loans associations weren't exactly banks, so they received an asterisk. Housing prices couldn't possibly go down, asterisk. The tech industry and start-up culture don't really have overtime hours, asterisk.

Politicians capitalized on the crisis or crises of the moment to tell America a too-easy tale of self-reliance. Those tales degraded the underlying truth that in community we are always standing on the shoulders of those who came before us. Speaking of bootstraps and freeloaders, politicians sold an idea that people take advantage of everyone else by accepting food assistance, or medical care, or social security or unemployment. Politicians then use those falsehoods to justify cutting the social safety net-- and cutting taxes for the wealthiest Americans. The story, which never lined up with reality, produced electoral wins, more cuts, a cycle of disinvestment in our shared priorities, and avoidance of our greatest challenges that continues to today.

The reality is the economy isn't set up to let most families get ahead anymore. This failure shows up not just as the millions of families in poverty, but the millions more families who are barely making it. Low taxes left 40% of families unable to afford a $400 emergency. Small government left 78% of Americans unable to makes ends meet if they missed two paychecks. It also let some of America's largest banks get a bailout and the rest of us with the bill. It is the failure caused by the take-care-of-the-people-at-the-top-first economic thinking that creates these problems, not the failure of the people working day in and day out to make ends meet.

The idea that families feel personally responsible for not being able to afford childcare despite two parents working multiple jobs and a side hustle, the idea that students must mortgage their future to earn a chance to work a job that barely pays the bills, the idea that an employer and an insurance company should have more say than a doctor in deciding if someone has access to life-saving medicine-- these are the last episodes of that doomed-to-fail reboot.

But those fictional tales and tired reboots don't have to be told tomorrow.

The bill has come due for choices made 10, 20, and 30 years ago. We need to put people and community back in the center of our debate. That means having enough love for our country to invest in the roads, rails, bridges, and broadband that benefits all of us and being honest that no one could afford these items alone. That means having enough faith in our country that educating the next generation of students will unleash decades of talent and leadership that will keep America strong and benefit all of us, even if we don't have our own children or didn't receive the same support when we were in school. That means having enough clarity in our future to say President Trump's tax scam handcuffed our ability to tackle the major challenges our country faces all while saddling our children with a growing federal deficit and debt to foreign powers for years to come. That means having enough wisdom to disregard the false conflict between unions and protecting our environment, knowing that a renewable economy will create hundreds of billions of dollars in new construction and manufacturing jobs with secure paychecks for honest people doing an honest day's work.

Putting people and community back in the center of our decisions means standing up to the wealthy few and political talking heads who have for far too long told the rest of us we have earned nothing at all. We can stop talking in sound bites about health care, and education and reducing things to the same old press releases if we choose. 

The experiment of the 1980s didn't work. It's time politicians of the past stop spinning fiction. Our future reality, together, can make a much better story."

Thanks for always doing what you can to make a better world,

Howie, for the entire Blue America team

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