This afternoon the populist Democrat and Missouri Senate frontrunner Lucas Kunce told me that "People don't trust the political class anymore because our politicians on both sides of the aisle have been bought off by massive corporations that have been stripping our communities for parts. You see it in the fact that every 2 years, you got 535 members running on lowering the cost of prescription drugs. Why doesn't it happen? Because they're cashing Big Pharma checks and trading Big Pharma stocks. It's downright criminal." I wish Elizabeth Warren would have been as clear in his still excellent OpEd for the NY Times today about how the Democrats can stave off disaster in the midterms. It's probably too late for DCCC and DSCC candidates but Warren wrote that "Democrats are the party of working people. Ahead of the 2020 election, we advanced ideas and plans that we believed would, in ways big and small, make our democracy and our economy work better for all Americans. Across this country, voters agreed with us-- and gave us a majority in Washington so that we could deliver on those promises. Democrats win elections when we show we understand the painful economic realities facing American families and convince voters we will deliver meaningful change. To put it bluntly: if we fail to use the months remaining before the elections to deliver on more of our agenda, Democrats are headed toward big losses in the midterms."
Maybe she doesn't get out enough, but voters are furious that Democrats didn't deliver on their promises. Inexcusably, the minimum wage, has still not increased, largely because too many conservative Democrats agreed with Republicans on this. At the same time, the price of prescription drugs is still sky high and for the same reason: too many conservative Democrats agreed with Republicans. Build Back Better and even Build Back Less Better both collapsed because of conservative Democrats working with the GOP to undermine the agenda. Putitive Democrat Kyrsten Sinema has made sure billionaires will not pay higher taxes. Joe Manchin has made sure the Climate Crisis cannot be addressed. Does warren think voters don't know. She wrote that "Republican senators and broken institutions have blocked much of that promised progress. Now Republicans are betting that a stalled Biden agenda won’t give Democrats enough to run on in the midterm elections-- and they might be right... voters remember those promises."
Indeed they do, even if Warren can't quite bring herself to say "Kyrsten Sinema," "Joe Manchin," "Blue Dogs," "New Dems or even just a little something about the Republican wing of the Democratic Party. She does suggest a remedy though:
While Republican politicians peddle lies, fear and division, we should use every single one of the next 200 days or so before the election to deliver meaningful improvements for working people.
...Time is running short. We need to finalize a budget reconciliation deal, making giant corporations pay their share to fund vital investments in combating climate change and lowering costs for families, which can advance with only 50 Senate votes. Other priorities can be done with the president’s executive authority. It’s no secret that I believe we should abolish the filibuster. But if Republicans want to use it to block policies that Americans broadly support, we should also force them to take those votes in plain view.
Let’s begin with corruption. For years, Americans have identified corrupt government officials as a top concern. And they’re right: to tackle the urgent challenges we face-- climate change, income inequality, systemic injustice-- we must root out corruption. To start cleaning up government, members of Congress and their spouses shouldn’t be allowed to own or trade individual stocks, which the vast majority of voters support banning, according to multiple polls. Whether you’re a Republican senator or the Democratic speaker of the House, it is obvious to the American people that they should not be allowed to trade individual stocks and then vote on laws that affect those companies. I have the strongest plan and the only bipartisan bill in the Senate to get it done.
Is she not aware that there are more than enough corrupt Democrats who will never allow this to pass, starting with Pelosi? This is popular with voters but not with politicians, especially not with conservatives and careerists. This won't get voted on because Pelosi and Schumer:
don't want to embarrass corrupt Democrats by forcing them to vote
don't want it to pass anyway
Warren then added that Democrats in Congress "can also act quickly to rein in costs for middle-class families. In the very short term, that means stopping companies from jacking up prices to boost their profits. Price increases are driven by many factors, including pandemic disruptions to global supply chains and Vladimir Putin’s war in Ukraine. But when the Kroger chief executive, Rodney McMullen, said 'a little bit of inflation is always good in our business,' it’s no surprise that, by a margin of two-to-one, American voters don’t buy the explanation that companies are just passing along costs. Instead, they blame corporations for raising prices to boost their own profits. Even Fed Chair Jerome Powell, a conservative Republican, acknowledged that giant corporations raise prices simply 'because they can... According to Data for Progress surveys, eight in 10 Americans believe Congress should pass laws to reinvigorate competition and three-quarters strongly believe that oil and gas companies should not make gobs of money off this energy crisis. Beefing up regulators’ authority to end price-gouging, breaking up monopolies, and passing a windfall profits tax is a good start. Only in Washington, where America’s biggest companies spend billions to drown out reality, are these controversial ideas. Across America, these are popular plans."
Republicans call that "socialism" and spineless conservative Democrats are too scared to take the kind of action called for in this crisis. I wish it wasn't so but Democratic voters keep renominating shitty incumbents like Josh Gottheimer (NJ), Henry Cuellar (TX), Kurt Schrader (OR), Jim Cooper (CA), Scott Peters (CA), Sean Patrick Maloney (NY), Lou Correa (CA), David Scott (GA), Pete Aguilar (CA), Ed Case (HI)... all of whom are part of the problem, not part of any solutions to help working families.
Further, she noted, Democrats in the House and Senate "can stand up to the armies of lobbyists and P.R. flacks and tackle tax loopholes for the rich and powerful. About two-thirds of likely American voters-- including a majority of Republicans-- say it’s time for billionaires to pay more in taxes. Nearly three-quarters of Americans want to put an end to wildly profitable corporations paying nothing or little in federal income taxes (yes, Amazon, I’m looking at you) and put into place a global minimum corporate tax. And a majority of Americans would like to use some of those tax revenues to invest in clean energy, affordable child care, and universal pre-K."
All the Blue America-endorsed candidates for the House and for the Senate have sworn off corporate sewer money and bribes from corporate lobbyists. Most Democrats have not-- and even many of the ones who have take it laundered through party committees and corrupt leaders like Steny Hoyer, Sean Patrick Maloney and Hakeem Jeffries.
Rhode Island progressive David Segal very much agrees with Warren when she wrote that she's urged "a big legislative agenda, but it isn’t big enough. We also need to use every tool of the presidency to deliver for working people. This evening he pointed out she's "right: People know that government should be able to do more for them-- and they are understandably frustrated that we haven't made enough progress on a slew of concerns, from building a fairer economy, to achieving universal health care, to protecting the environment, and beyond. We'll win if we deliver and run candidates on programs that address these and other issues-- but if we lose the voters' trust that we can get things done for them then we will simply lose."
They both agree-- as do most American voters-- that Biden should provide some student loan debt cancellation via executive order. "Doing so," wrote Warren, "would lift the economic outlook for too many borrowers who weren’t able to get a college diploma, for the millions of women borrowers who shoulder about two-thirds of all student loan debt, and for Black and Hispanic borrowers, a higher percentage of whom take on debt to attend college compared to white students, and have a harder time paying it off after school. With the stroke of a pen, the president could make massive strides to close gender and racial wealth gaps. And he can do more. Decisive action on everything from lowering prescription drug prices to ensuring that more workers are eligible for overtime pay can be executed by the president alone, using the authority already given to him by existing laws, without rounding up 50 Senate votes."
Like many Americans, I’m frustrated by our failure to get big things done-- things that are both badly needed and very popular with all Americans. While Republican politicians obstruct many efforts to improve people’s lives and many swear loyalty to the Big Lie, the urgency of the next election bears down on us.
Democrats cannot bow to the wisdom of out-of-touch consultants who recommend we simply tout our accomplishments. Instead, Democrats need to deliver more of the president’s agenda-- or else we will not be in the majority much longer.
Joaquin Vazquez is taking on corrupt New Dem Juan Vargas in the district that goes from San Diego to Arizona along the border with Mexico. "Elizabeth Warren is spot on with that editorial," he told me. "When the Democrats show an understanding of the painful economic realities that we are facing, by delivering policy that uplifts us and takes weight off our backs, working-class people come out to vote. It is still not too late for them to do the right thing, as this is when voters start looking at what politicians have actually delivered to decide whether they will turn out or sit this election out. If the Democrats put their efforts on the working-class and save us from drowning in financial debt, they will retain Congressional majorities."
Oregon will be better off if the 4th district nomination goes to Doyle Canning on May 17. She's likely to be the most forceful advocate for Clime issues in the House. This evening she told me that "When President Biden’s approval rating has sunk to only 29% with young voters, and rural and working class Oregon are fed up with the status quo, Oregon Democrats need a candidate for Congress who will inspire disillusioned Democrats, and mobilize the majority of unaffiliated voters in our district who will make the difference in November, who are mostly younger than 45. That’s why I am in this race. The path to victory for our party in 2022 is with the candidate that can turn out the progressive base and younger voters who are statistically less likely to vote in a mid-term. That path is blazed by our primary campaign that has the support of the Sunrise Movement across Oregon, the College Democrats on both major campuses, and a rural-urban coalition that defeated the Jordan Cove fossil fuel pipeline. FiveThirtyEight rates Oregon’s fourth district D+9 in 2022, meaning that there is now a nine point majority for Democrats. This is good news, but Democrats can't take anything for granted this year. We’ve got to build a strong movement and show voters what we are for: Medicare for All, bold climate action, investments in affordable housing. We are getting out in the community and campaigning."
Please consider contributing the Doyle's, Joaquin's and David's campaign here at the Blue America congressional page and for Lucas Kunce here at the Blue America Senate page. All four are game-changers.