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Joe Manchin Was Right About One Thing: There Aren't Enough Progressives In Congress

BONUS: A Blue America Contest For Cori & Jamaal

Arch-conservative and corrupt Democrat Joe Manchin once said that "If people want more progressive policies, they should elect more progressives to Congress." we made a meme out of it... and it was never truer than it is right now. Yesterday, in making a pitch for the Congressional Progressive Caucus, Bernie noted that “while it is critically important we do everything we can to defeat Donald Trump, it is just as important we work to elect progressives this November.” Amen! And it’s what Blue America does. Our endorsement page is skimpy this cycle. That’s because we haven’t found many candidates worth endorsing, not ones who meet our stringent requirements. We’re still working on a few more though.

But we’re far more concerned about finding actual progressives than the CPC seems to be. They’ve endorsed 10 candidates so far, less than half of whom are actual progressives. Where in California, I can tell you that Assemblymember Evan Low and state Senator Dave Min aren’t— not even remotely, and they have records to prove it. In my district, Laura Friedman, whose career was underwritten by the charter school industry, is an AIPAC shill. I wouldn’t even vote for her, let alone recommend other people do. Luz Rivas is a pointless machine hack and careerist replacing another pointless machine hack and careerist. I don’t know much about Joe Kerr, the Democrat taking on Young Kim, other than that he’s be a better member than she is and that the issues page on his website is so generic that you don’t get any idea at all about how he’s be in congress beyond: generic California Democrat.

I bet most of them are champions of genocide in Gaza, although most keep that one very close to the vest. I would definitely vote for Sue Altman (NJ) and Raquel Teran (AZ) will probably make an excellent member of Congress. So that’s two.


Bernie wrote that “Today, the US House of Representatives has a stronger progressive presence than at any time in modern American history. The Congressional Progressive Caucus has nearly 100 members, including dozens of very strong progressives, who are taking on powerful special interests every single day.” That’s a low-key acknowledgement that not all the members are “strong progressives.” The chair, Pramila, deputy chair, Ilhan and whip, Greg Casar, are. Most of the vice chairs are as well, although Donald Norcross (NJ) is a bad joke… and a member of the corporately-owned and operated New Dems.

In fact two dozen members of the CPC, besides Norcross, are also New Dems, many to use the CPC membership in possible primaries from the left:

  • Sara Jacobs (CA)

  • Jimmy Panetta (CA)

  • Juan Vargas (CA)

  • Lisa Blunt Rochester (DE)

  • Darren Soto (FL)

  • Nikema Williams (GA)

  • Andre Carson (IN)

  • Morgan McGarvey (KY)

  • Troy Carter (LA)

  • Lori Trahan (MA)

  • Shri Thanedar (MI)

  • Steven Horsford (NV)

  • Valerie Foushee (NC)

  • Shontel Brown (OH)

  • Andrea Salinas (OR)

  • Val Hoyle (OR)

  • Brendan Boyle (PA)

  • Madeleine Dean (PA)

  • Mary Scanlon (PA)

  • Joaquin Castro (TX)

  • Veronica Escobar (TX)

  • Don Beyer (VA)

  • Jennifer McClellan (VA)

  • Adam Smith (WA)

Bernie wrote that the ones who actually are strong progressive “are taking on insurance companies and fighting to establish healthcare as a human right. They are fighting the oil and coal companies to save our planet and transform our energy system away from fossil fuels. They are standing with workers and consumers against the outrageous level of corporate greed we are seeing. And, at great political risk, they are opposing AIPAC and the leadership of both political parties in refusing to support any more U.S. military aid to Netanyahu’s horrific war against the Palestinian people.” Unfortunately, that’s a tiny sliver of CPC members and, like I said not many of their 2024 endorsed candidates.

Almost 30 years ago I and a few other House members started the chamber's "Progressive Caucus."
Back then, many of the ideas we care about were considered "fringe" or "radical."
Medicare for All and lowering the cost of prescription drugs. Too radical. Making the wealthy pay their fair share in taxes. Too radical. Opposing outrageously high military budgets. Too radical. Ending childhood poverty. Too radical. Expanding Social Security. Too radical. Making public colleges and universities tuition free. Too radical.
Today these ideas, as well as many others, are widely accepted as mainstream and enjoy the support of a majority of Americans.
That doesn't happen by accident.
That transformative ideological change in our country happened because of our presidential campaigns, yes, but it also occurs because progressive elected officials are making it happen.
Today, the Congressional Progressive Caucus is one of the most powerful and influential bodies in the U.S. House. They are leading the way in Washington, getting larger almost every election cycle, and running a smart organizing strategy inside Congress to leverage their votes collectively for working people and poor people across this country.
But here's the simple truth. While we are making real progress, we need to do better. What that means is that in order for our movement to continue to grow, a major part of our work must involve finding and recruiting more and more strong progressive candidates for office, supporting them, and giving them the tools and resources they need to run winning campaigns. It means financially supporting progressive candidates who are under attack from billionaire funded super-PACs.
The Progressive Caucus PAC does that.

Hmmm… I wish that were true, or at least more true. 

He’s right that the CPC helps people like Ilhan Omar, Rashida Tlaib, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and others who stare down the threat of millions of dollars of super PAC ads every election because they dare to fight for the working people of this country. And that also includes Summer Lee, who just beat back a challenge from a generic Democrat financed by a  MAGA billionaire and the two top targets of AIPAC and the Republicans who finance them: Jamaal Bowman and Cori Bush, two of the strongest progressives in the House. Yesterday, Cori wrote to her followers that before she was elected she was a nurse, activist, organizer, single-mother, and pastor who knew from firsthand experience that those in power weren’t doing enough for regular, everyday people like us. I ran for office to be a powerful voice for the people of St. Louis and fight for the bold, progressive change that our communities, our country, and our world deserve— the kind of change that establishment, corporate-backed politicians have spent years blocking. As an ‘insurgent’ candidate, I took on an incumbent who’d been in Washington for two decades and was part of a 52-year political dynasty, and with the help of Justice Democrats and this people-powered movement, I defeated him in 2020. Now, I’m being challenged by an AIPAC-endorsed candidate in one of the most competitive Democratic primaries of 2024 this August.”

That’s true and it’s one of the reasons why Blue America has endorsed Cori again this cycle and why we’re asking people to contribute to her campaign. There are only 10 members of Congress on that list. The other Squad member being most viciously targeted by the AIPAC-led pro-genocide lobbyists is Jamaal Bowman. Yesterday he told his supporters that he “first ran for Congress because too many of us, from the Bronx to Westchester, were being failed by a broken system. As a school principal, I witnessed too many of our children dying of gun violence with too little attention and action from those in power. Too little being done to make life better and easier for working families. Too little action on the climate crisis… I’m keeping up the fight for Medicare for All, a Green New Deal, student debt relief, and human rights for Palestinians. But after I joined the rest of the Squad in becoming the first members of Congress to call for a ceasefire in Gaza last year, AIPAC vowed to spend $100 million against us and recruited an out-of-touch, moderate Democrat to run against me. My opponent has since made racist and Islamophobic comments and accepted nearly $1 million from a super PAC bankrolled by Trump megadonors.”

Cori and Jamaal need our help to beat back AIPAC the way Summer Lee just did. It’s very serious; the stakes are high. Nancy Ohanian, the award-winning political cartoonist, has a brand new book of her artwork just out now. She gave Blue America 3 autographed copies to give away to contributors who help Cori and Jamaal this week. This is what the book looks like:

Just go to this page and contribute any amount to Cori and any amount to Jammal. A week from today— so on Cinco de Mayo (next Sunday)— we’ll randomly pick 3 names and send them each a book… plus a copy of the rare and collectible Nancy-designed MAGAzine:


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