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We Need To Enlarge The Squad-- Axios Predicts That Will Happen



Earlier this evening we saw that Biden had endorsed Kurt Schrader, the Oregon Blue in danger of losing his seat because... he votes against Democratic priorities-- from lowering the costs of medicines to raising the minimum wage. I wonder which asshole told Biden to do it-- Gina Raimondo? Mayo Pete? One of the 2 scumbag Ricchetti lobbyists? Neera Tanden? There are so many corrupt conservatives around Biden who are just like Schrader, it's impossible to guess. In any case if you want to send Biden a message that you want the Democratic Party to be more progressive and less Republican-lite and beholden to corporate interests, help Jamie McLeod-Skinner defeat Schrader. (You can, for example, contribute to her campaign here.)


But the Republican wing of the Democratic Party is very nervous now. They're going to lose a lot of conservative Democrats in Congress in November... and, as Axios pointed out this morning, the Squad could grow stronger even if Dems lose big. Alexi McCammond and Andrew Solender wrote that "as many as six staunchly progressive candidates have viable chances to win House seats this cycle." It's more than six.


Now that Mark Pocan has ruined the Congressional Progressive Caucus by selling members to corrupt conservative New Dems-- 20% of the CPC-- is now made up of New Dems, the Squad takes on even more significance. McCammond and Solender singled out Greg Casar (TX)-- who already won his seat and who is a dynamic progressive leader-- Jessica Cisneros (TX), Summer Lee (PA), Erica Smith (NC), Becca Balint (VT) and Amy Vilela (NV), leaving out Doyle Canning (OR), Melanie D'Arrigo (NY), Cristina Garcia (CA), Vincent Fort (GA), David Segal (RI) and several other candidates with better than even chances to win, all of whom are movement progressives and none of whom are craven careerists.


The Axios writers assert that "Far from being chastened by any current Democratic losses, progressives would be inspired for future gains for their bloc." Summer Lee has been endorsed by Bernie and Elizabeth Warren: "The progressive values we’ve been building our campaign around," she said, "have attracted leaders in this space." McCammond and Solender that Lee said that "if progressives are in the next congressional minority, it could be time for Democrats to renew conversations around what it takes to pass things like the Green New Deal and Medicare-for-All. 'How are we using these two years to re-center the party?' she said. 'To really ensure that we are aligned with our base, and through that alignment, pouring and using all of our resources to build that consensus to win on these big issues.'... Last cycle, the number of Squad and Squad-adjacent progressives in Congress doubled with the elections of Reps. Cori Bush (D-MO), Jamaal Bowman (D-NY), Marie Newman (D-IL) and Mondaire Jones (D-NY)."


Jason Call, the progressive candidate taking on New Dem Rick Larsen in northwest Washington, told me today that he's been "highlighting the power of the #ActuallyProgressive expansion since 2020. I know the left has been disappointed in what is perceived as a lack of standing on principle by the Squad, and while I understand it, I’ve not felt myself in a position to judge. What I have said, though, is that if that voting bloc can be expanded, there will be some real power and ability to exercise control over legislation. I’ve put the number of true and consistent progressives in Congress at about 3. Doubling or tripling that number in 2022 is not at all unlikely, and with that, a number of others on the margins could be pulled in. There are many who are good on stated policy, but have been reticent to stand on those principles because they are afraid to stand alone, or with such a small cadre, in the face of withering power. Being in the minority sucks, we all know it. There is courage in solidarity though. I know if I’m elected, the priorities of WA-02 will be speaking loud and clear. Medicare For All, nothing less. Real climate action with the Green New Deal, putting millions to work building environmentally sustainable infrastructure through a federal jobs guarantee and shutting down subsidies to the polluters and the war machine. Canceling student debt and making public colleges tuition free. If this means putting our foot down and jamming up the priorities of Wall St, so be it. Hell, that’s even preferable."


Joaquin Vazquez's district runs all along California's Mexican border. A corrupt Blue Dog, Juan Vargas, is sitting in it now, tending to his own interests, not his constituents'. This evening, Vazquez told me that "With Democrats just about certain to loose the House majority, we know it won't be much due to Democratic Party voters opting for Republicans. It comes down to what promises the Party in power has actually kept and how they have failed to motivate the base to turn out and vote come election day. Progressives understand the assignment, and we've been seeing wins on the left despite the establishment's failures. This clearly tells us that liberal voters are done supporting politicians who keep prioritizing the corporate profits of their political donors. They are motivated, and even galvanized, by non-corporate progressive candidates with platforms that are directly aimed at safeguarding and elevating the middle-and-working-classes. This is why I proudly reject all corporate PAC money, and we're running a grassroots campaign that is reflective of how I will be leading in Congress, involving and prioritizing the people at every step. Our District's constituents will finally be able to count on someone who is not beholden to any promises made to corporate America, and we deserve that. I will be focusing on bringing resources to our communities to fix our decaying infrastructure, expand public transit, streamline border crossing, and housing every last one of our unhoused community members, while curbing gentrification and the displacement of working families with policies like universal rent control and a housing first approach. I cannot wait to get started on this work and am thrilled for the chance to be able to do it alongside an expanded 'Squad,' with newer and bolder voices."


On the other side of the country, Vincent Fort is also running against a corrupt conservative incumbent, Blue Dog Dave Scott in this case. "I'm a fighter," he told me today. "I will fight for Medicare for All, the Green New Deal and $15 minimum wage. David Scott doesn't fight for his constituents. He collaborates with billionaires like payday lenders who steal the paychecks of working people."


As John Amato wrote earlier today at Crooks and Liars, "If it walks like a Republican and acts like a Republican..." He was writing specifically about Joe Manchin, whose approval numbers are through the roof among West Virginia Republicans. "I've never seen one Senator destroy a major piece of his own party's legislation as shamelessly as Joe Manchin," wrote Amato. "Build Back Better helps the entire working class. It's legislation that Biden ran on and promised the American people he would enact if he won. It's clear Joe Manchin did what he did for the Republican accolades." But the same can be said-- even if not specifically so-- about any number of conservative Democrats running for Congress now. Christine Olivo is running for the South Florida seat occupied by Mario Diaz Balart. I hope the Squad is ready for her! "The people of this country," she told me, "are ready to move forward while Republicans, like my opponent, are trying to bring us back to the 1920's. Many voters doubted that expanding the squad would even be possible, but it is! What we are witnessing is the result of a failed government. The people are fed up and they're taking a chance on fresh, new progressive voices like myself. I know in my heart that this is our moment! My message to all those that have been reluctant to donate or support progressive candidates because they feel like we could never win is this: YES WE CAN!"Please consider chipping in to Vincent's, Joaquin's, Christine's and Jason's campaigns by clicking here or on the 2022 congressional thermometer above.

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