Last week Chris Larson, the most progressive state Senator in Wisconsin, the most gerrymandered state in the nation, announced his campaign against the worst sitting U.S. Senator, “Russia Ron” Johnson. According to CNN, Wisconsin’s seat is the 3rd most likely to flip in 2022, when control of the Senate (and every issue progressives care about) will be on the line.
We've known Chris for over a decade and value his perspective on the issues facing our country. He's been at the forefront of every progressive fight in Wisconsin since we first met him. When Scott Walker decided to bank his political future on bashing teachers and other public workers, Chris was there as a state senator to lead the Democrats' response in what became the biggest political battle in Wisconsin history-- even if he did much of the fighting on social media from across the state border along with the other Wisconsin 14.
With Chris, we have a chance to elect a true, bold progressive to the U.S. Senate.
There are a few wealthy folks already in the race trying to buy the seat, including the son of a billionaire who just moved to the state a few years ago when his dad bought the Bucks and demanded the state build them a new arena. Also in is former defense department contractor Sarah Godlewski whose business partner was banned from energy trading after it was revealed he was the managing director at Constellation Energy when they paid $245 million in the largest settlement in energy trading history to resolve allegations of market manipulation (and this was AFTER Enron).
Where do you think they'd line up if a vote came up on Bernie's Tax on Extreme Wealth? Or on a financial transactions tax on Wall Street?
With some candidates, you have to take their word for it that they're going to be progressive. If they earn your support and are elected, you'll find out if they are going to follow through. In some cases, I'm sure you can think of one or two, the person you worked for or contributed to turns their back on your shared principles and instead dive in with the insider crowd, charting a permanent course for somewhere between "compromise for compromise sake" and "whatever Wall Street wants."
Then, you have to spend additional time and energy trying to persuade them to do the right thing or supporting an opponent in a future election. And the cycle begins again. Well, we have a chance to invest in a known, proven all-in progressive in the crucial race to defeat Ron Johnson, a deceitful Trumpist and far right extremist.
The Dice Are Loaded, And So Is Ron Johnson. It’s Time To Unrig The System
-by Chris Larson
The gap between the rich and the poor has grown to its greatest levels since the 1920s. This last year has only highlighted the two very different Americas we actually have. In one, you are asked to sacrifice again and again with the fleeting hope that one day those sacrifices will somehow pay off. When COVID-19 shut down businesses and folks were asked to stay home to keep safe, the anthem of believing “we are all in this together” united us. We could get through this because we can get through anything.
Unfortunately, that promise was quickly broken.
Direct and immediate assistance from DC was unclear, with the first round of assistance going to politically connected corporations and people. The rest of us felt like we were on our own. If your job was considered essential, or if you were undocumented, the choice was between keeping a paycheck and possibly catching the virus, or losing your income for the foreseeable future. Many simply kept working, often in very unsafe conditions because they had no other choice. Wisconsin was actually worse than elsewhere with the least active full-time legislature refusing to meet to help.
Meanwhile, in the other America, the rich got PPP loans which they never had to pay back, and then later could deduct expenses paid with those funds from their taxes. The more profit they made, the more benefits they got. But for those unemployment benefits I mentioned earlier? In Wisconsin, every last cent remained taxable income.
Enter Ron Johnson. He used the 2017 Trump tax cuts for the rich to write in a provision that personally made him an extra $15 million, nearly doubling his previous wealth. He’s now the 6th-richest United States Senator, a remarkable feat in a body where two-thirds of members are millionaires. During the pandemic, the richest Americans added over $1.1 trillion in wealth, while millions of middle and working-class people struggled and continue to struggle.
When the mainstream media covers Biden’s COVID relief and infrastructure plans, they constantly talk about the price tag. Republicans like Ron Johnson seize on this and pretend we can’t afford these investments. In reality, we can’t afford not to make them. These same politicians didn’t care about deficits or spending when it was giving $2 trillion in tax cuts under crime syndicate boss Donald Trump and they got rich. But now they clutch their pearls at making similar investments in the American people, who work hard and pay their taxes every single year.
This system isn't broken, it's rigged.
It's rigged by corporations, the super wealthy, and their allies in Washington so that the laws work in their favor and they can continue to get even richer while the rest of America sacrifices. Heads they win, tails you lose. I for one have had enough. I’m running for US Senate because it’s time to unrig that system. To make sure every American, no matter where they come from, has a fair shot at the American dream. To make sure corporations and the super-rich pay their fair share in taxes. To make sure we invest in our people and our planet first.
Once we democratize America again by getting big money out of politics, it will be that much easier to pass Medicare for All, the Green New Deal, pass a wealth tax, reign in Wall Street, pass justice reform, and ensure everyone has access to the American dream, not just those that are rich and well-connected.
I hope I don't have to remind you how much we really need strong, effective, progressive fighters in the United States Senate. The GQP are loaded, too.
If you can, we ask that you consider giving to help elect Chris Larson to replace Ron Johnson. If you can't swing that, you can always volunteer to phone bank or help the campaign in any other way you can, here.
Thanks for always doing what you can to make this a better world,
Howie, for the entire Blue America team