Biden was quick to endorse reactionary Democratic incumbent, Oregon Blue Dog Kurt Schrader, despite Schrader having killed Biden's pharmaceutical drug price reduction plan and despite Schrader being the last Democrat left in the House to have voted against raising the minimum wage. Schrader lost handily anyway, beaten by progressive champion Jamie McLeod-Skinner. If those are the requirements to earn Biden's endorsement-- opposition to raising the minimum wage and opposition to lowering the cost of perscription drugs-- there's a Democratic incumbent who needs help who Biden is unlikely give it to: two-term Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib (D-MI).
Rashida, one of Congress' most dedicated and unswerving members fighting for working families-- you can contribute to reelection effort here-- is, predictably, a target for racists and American oligarchs attempting to wipe out champions of economic and social justice-- hallmarks of Rashida's entire career. Bakari Sellers, a long-time and virulently anti-Palestinian AIPAC fanatic, a lobbyist, Jim Clyburn protégé and employee, former South Carolina state Rep and current CNN commentator, is one of the leaders of the effort to oust Rashida. Sellers is busy fund-raising for the brand new so-called Urban Empowerment Action PAC, whose one over-arching goal is to defeat Rashida's reelection bid and to replace her with Wall Street-friendly Detroit City Clerk Janice Winfrey.
In it's first press release, the Urban Empowerment Action PAC boasts that it is composed of a broad coalition of Black and Jewish business leaders and that their "premier race will be in Michigan’s 12th Congressional District, where the group plans to spend upwards of $1,000,000 on TV, digital, mail, radio, and print advertising to support Detroit City Clerk Janice Winfrey in her campaign to restore infrastructure, improve educational opportunities in the district, and support the Biden-Harris agenda in D.C."
In that press release Sellers, a proud Black Zionist, said "This joint effort builds on the strong relationship between African American and Jewish leaders to uplift all communities. Instead of allowing our communities to be divided, history teaches us that when Black and Jewish communities stand together to fight for our common ideals-- we create positive change in society. Our hope is for our electoral engagement to bear fruit through representatives who fiercely fight on behalf of those who need socioeconomic empowerment."
And what better to bring two groups together than inventing a common enemy-- in this case a Palestinian-America progressive. This morning, Brett Wilkins reported that Urban Empowerment Action PAC's biggest funder is hedge fund Third Point LLC, founded by multibillionaire Daniel Loeb, who contributes to both parties but overwhelmingly (like more than 100 to 1) to Republicans. He'll write the DCCC a $35 check while giving the NRSC $70,000, McCarthy's SuperPAC $600,000 and $800,000 to McConnell's SuperPAC at the same time. The only Democrats he ever gets behind are conservatives like Josh Gottheimer and organizations like anti-union, charter school backing Democrats for Education Reform. In 2016 he wrote Hillary Clinton 2 checks for $1 each. So far he has given $76,355 to Sellers' Urban Empowerment Action PAC.
Wilkins reported that "Tlaib, who is Palestinian-American, and 'Squad' colleague Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN)-- the first Muslim-American women elected to Congress-- have been smeared as anti-Semites by both Republican and Democratic lawmakers for their advocacy of Palestinian rights, their condemnation of Israeli crimes including apartheid and ethnic cleansing, and their willingness to criticize Biden over unconditional U.S. support for Israel."
Waleed Shahid: "With Islamophobia on the rise, it is disgraceful to single out the only Palestinian member of Congress, who is a civil rights lawyer and represents one of the most Arab-American districts. Shouldn't you focus on holding the Dem majority?"
People for Bernie had a similar perspective: Imagine spending $1 million to oust Rashida Tlaib instead of on organizing in Detroit to ensure Michigan goes blue. Shows the real priorities of people who claim to represent the community."
This morning Illinois progressive Marie Newman told me that "These dark super PACs are dead set on tearing down progressive women because we get a lot done and 'moderates' do not, but they can be controlled. Rashida is outstanding and that is why they want her out." Ro Khanna is another big Rashida booster. "Rashida Tlaib is my vice chair on the environment subcommittee and a brilliant and passionate voice for environmental justice and bold climate policy," he told me this afternoon. "She brings so much to the Congress, and I am proud to be her colleague and friend."