Political Action Webpage

 

2020 U.S. Senatorial Electoral Campaigns

Although Democrats currently enjoy a majority in the US House of Representatives, and have passed many progressive bills in that chamber since the election of 2018, their measures cannot become law unless the Senate also considers and approves them. Presently, the leadership of the Republican-held Senate has been uncooperative in this regard, usually preferring to ignore the efforts made by Democratic lawmakers in the House.

 

As a consequence, in order for progressive bills to become law, the Democratic Party needs to wrest the

majority away from the Republicans in the Senate. And in order to accomplish that goal, the Democratic senatorial campaigns listed below need our help.

 

For up-to-date information on any of the following candidates, their histories, their opponents, and upcoming primary dates, go to https://ballotpedia.org/By simply searching for the candidate’s name online and adding the word ballotpedia in your inquiry, you will be taken directly to the information you seek.

 

 

Steve Bullock

https://stevebullock.com/

Challenger for US Senate from Montana              

Republican Opponent Steve Daines

 

Barbara Bollier

https://bollierforkansas.com/

Incumbent in US Senate from Kansas      Republican Opponent Kris Kobach          

 

Cal Cunningham

https://www.calfornc.com/

Challenger for US Senate from North Carolina

Republican Opponent Thom Tillis

Mike Espy

https://espyforsenate.com/about

Challenger for US Senate from Mississippi

Republican Opponent Cindy Hyde-Smith

Sara Gideon

https://saragideon.com/

Challenger for US Senate from Maine

Republican Opponent Susan Collins

 

Theresa Greenfield

https://greenfieldforiowa.com/

Challenger for US Senate from Iowa

Republican Opponent Joni Ernst

Dr. Al Gross

https://dralgrossak.com/

Challenger for US Senate from Alaska

Republican Opponent Daniel Sullivan

M.J. Hager

https://mjfortexas.com/

Challenger for US Senate from Texas

Republican Opponent John Cornyn

Jaime Harrison

https://jaimeharrison.com/

Challenger for US Senate from South Carolina

Republican Opponent Lindsey Graham

 

John Hickenlooper

https://hickenlooper.com/

Challenger for US Senate from Colorado

Republican Opponent Cory Gardner

 

Doug Jones

https://dougjones.com/

Incumbent in US Senate from Alabama

Republican Opponent Jeff Sessions

 

Paulette Jordan

https://pauletteforsenate.com/ 

Challenger for US Senator from Idaho

Republican Opponent John Risch

Mark Kelly

https://markkelly.com/

Challenger for US Senate from Arizona

Republican Opponent Martha McSally

James Mackler

https://www.jamesmackler.com/

Challenger for US Senate from Tennessee

Republican Opponent TBD

 

Amy McGrath

https://amymcgrath.com/

Challenger for US Senate from Kentucky

Republican Opponent Mitch McConnell

 

Jon Ossoff

https://electjon.com/

Challenger for US Senate from Georgia

Republican Opponent David Perdue

 

Gary Peters

https://petersformichigan.com/ 

Incumbent in US Senate from Michigan

Republican Opponent John James

 

Jeanne Shaheen

https://jeanneshaheen.org/

Incumbent in US Senate from New Hampshire

Republican Opponent TBD

               

Tina Smith

https://tinaforminnesota.com/ 

Incumbent in US Senate from Minnesota

Republican Opponent Jason Lewis

Raphael Warnock

https://warnockforgeorgia.com/

Challenger for US Senator from Georgia

Republican Opponent Kelly Loeffler

2020 Campaigns for the U.S. House of Representatives

 

Democrats were successful in picking up 41 seats in the US House of Representatives in 2018, a fabulous landslide victory which gave them a working majority. Now the Republicans are willing to spend big bucks to unseat our Democratic incumbents – especially those most recently elected. The following are Democratic incumbents needing our help to retain their seats in Congress.

 

Cindy Axne

https://cindyaxneforcongress.com/

Incumbent US Representative

from Iowa Congressional District 3

 

Sean Casten

https://castenforcongress.com/

Incumbent US Representative

from Illinois Congressional District 6

 

Angie Craig

https://angiecraig.com/

Incumbent US Representative

from Minnesota Congressional Dist. 2

 

Jason Crow

https://jasoncrowforcongress.com/

Incumbent US Representative

from Colorado Congressional Dist. 6

 

Sharice Davids

https://www.shariceforcongress.com/

Incumbent US Representative

from Kansas Congressional Dist. 3

 

Antonio Delgado

https://delgadoforcongress.com/

Incumbent US Representative

from New York Congressional Dist.19

 

Abby Finkenhauer

https://www.abbyfinkenauer.com/

Incumbent US Representative

From Iowa Congressional District 1

 

Lizzie Fletcher

https://www.lizziefletcher.com/

Incumbent US Representative

from Texas Congressional District 7

 

Raul Grijalva

https://standwithraul.com/

Incumbent US Representative

from Arizona Congressional District 3

 

Chrissy Houlahan

https://www.chrissyhoulahanforcongress.com/

Incumbent US Representative

from Pennsylvania Congressional Dist. 6

 

Susie Lee

https://susieleeforcongress.com/

Incumbent US Representative

from Nevada Congressional District 3

 

Tom Malinowski

https://malinowskifornj.com/  

Incumbent US Representative

from New Jersey Congressional Dist. 7

 

Debbie Mucarset-Powell

https://www.debbiemucarselpowell.com/

Incumbent US Representative

from Florida Congressional Dist. 26

 

Alexandria Ocasio Cortez

https://www.ocasiocortez.com/             

Incumbent US Representative

from New York Congressional Dist. 14

 

Katie Porter

https://katieporter.com/

Incumbent US Representative

from California Congressional Dist. 45

 

Miki Sherrill

https://www.mikiesherrill.com/

Incumbent US Representative

from New Jersey Congressional Dist. 11

 

Kim Schrier

https://www.drkimschrier.com/

Incumbent US Representative

from Washinton Congressional Dist. 8

 

Abigail Spanberger

https://abigailspanberger.com/

Incumbent US Representative

from Virginia Congressional District 7

 

Lauren Underwood

https://www.underwoodforcongress.com/

Incumbent US Representative

from Illinois Congressional District 14

 

Jennifer Weston

https://jenniferwexton.com/

Incumbent US Representative

from Virginia Congressional District 10

Haley Stevens

Incumbent US Representative

From Michigan Congressional District 11

 

The following are Democratic candidates that are challenging Republican incumbents with a view of increasing progressive influence in Congress by flipping their congressional districts from red to blue. Their campaigns most certainly deserve our support.

 

Wendy Davis

https://www.wendydavisforcongress.com/

Challenger to be US Representative

from Texas Congressional District 21

 

Eugene DePasquale

https://eugeneforcongress.com/

Challenger to be US Representative

from Pennsylvania Congressional Dist. 10

 

Kara Eastman

https://www.eastmanforcongress.com/

Challenger to be US Representative

from Nebraska Congressional Dist. 4

Joyce Elliott

https://www.joyceelliott.com/

Challenger to be US Representative

from Arkansas Congressional District 2

 

Dan Feehan

https://m.votevets.org/candidates/dan-feehan-for-congress

Challenger to be US Representative

from Minnesota Congressional Dist. 1

 

Shannon Freshour

https://shannon4ohio.com/

Challenger to be US Representative

from Ohio Congressional District 4

Alyse Galvin

https://www.alyse4alaska.com/

Challenger to be US Representative

At Large from Alaska

Jackie Gordon

https://jackiegordonforcongress.com/

Challenger to be US Representative

from New York Congressional District 2

 

Christina Hale

https://haleforcongress.com/

Challenger to be US Representative

from Indiana Congressional District 5

 

Rita Hart

https://www.ritahart.com/

Challenger to be US Representative

from Iowa Congressional District 2

 

Gina Ortiz Jones

https://ginaortizjones.com/

Challenger to be US Representative

from Texas Congressional District 23

 

Sri Preston Kulkarni

https://sri2020.com/

Challenger to be US Representative

from Texas Congressional District 22

Betsy Dirsksen Londrigan

https://www.betsydirksenlondrigan.com/

Challenger to be US Representative

from Illinois Congressional District 13

 

Carolyn Long

https://electlong.com/

Challenger to be US Representative

from Washington Congressional Dist. 3

Kate Schroder

Challenger to be US Representative

from Ohio Congressional District 1

Jill Schupp

https://jillschupp.com/

Challenger to be US Representative

from Missouri Congressional District 2

 

Patricia Timmons-Goodson

https://www.timmonsgoodsonforcongress.com/

Challenger to be US Representative

from North Carolina Congressional Dist. 8

Dr. Hiral Tipirneni

https://hiralforcongress.com/

Challenger for US Representative

from Arizona Congressional District 6

 

Candace Valenzuela

https://candacefor24.com/

Challenger for US Representative

from Texas Congressional District 24

 

Celeste Williams

https://www.celestewilliamsforarkansas.com/

Challenger for US Representative

from Arkansas Congressional Dist. 3

 

Kathleen Williams

Challenger to be US Representative

At Large from Montana

Tricia Zunker

https://triciaforwisconsin.com/

Challenger for US Representative

from Wisconsin Congressional Dist. 7

 

Progressive Issues-Based Political Campaigns

 

Fair Fight (Stacey Abrams)

Combatting Voter Suppression

https://fairfight.com/

 

Latino Victory

https://latinovictory.us/

 

Government Accountability Project

info@whistleblower.org

 

Center for Freethought Equality

https://www.Americanhumanist.org/donate2020

 

National Democratic Redistricting PAC  

Eric Holder & Barak Obama against Gerrymandering

http://democraticredistricting.com

ASPIRE PAC

ASian Americans & Pacific Islanders Rising & Empowering PAC.

http://aspirepac.org/

Regarding Secular Progressive Political Action

 

Many Americans follow political events closely. Others most certainly do not. So I realize that while some visitors to this website may be investigating the realm of American politics for the first time, others may merely wish to consider it anew from a secular progressive viewpoint. With that in mind, I invite readers to consider the articles below both as straightforward and introductory descriptions of our nation’s political scene – and in particular its two major political parties – but also as expressions of my own personal and idiosyncratic views regarding them. 

– Gary Linscott

 

“Politics is the art of the possible.” – Otto von Bismarck

 

Assessing American Political Realities

Even though secular progressives have great aspirations for the future, we are at the same time realists. And if we have any hope of seeing our political concerns acted upon in the United States, we must recognize the political realities that we confront. Although a few fringe parties exist in some states whose platforms, on paper at least, seem attractive, we need to accept the fact that the national political scene in America is dominated by a duopoly made up of the Republican and Democratic parties.

 

In order for either of these parties to exercise power in government, they realize they must attract a coalition of voters who are motivated by a variety of different issues. Both the Republican Party and the Democratic Party are “big tent” coalitions. Their adherents do not comprise monolithic blocs. So Secular Progressives need to recognize what these two Parties currently stand for. While neither of them fully represents our specific political philosophy, as unpalatable as it may seem, we are obligated to work within the framework of either one or the other.

Assessing the Republican Constituency

First, let us consider what types of voters currently favor the Republican Party. Who are their constituents? In making this assessment, it is imperative to recognize that while some of the positions of the Republican Party have remained unaltered since the presidency of Ronald Reagan, beginning in 1980, (for example, a penchant for strong military spending, animosity toward the federal government, and an emphasis on states’ rights), other tenets formerly proclaimed to be of chief importance by the GOP, (fiscal discipline, concerns over the debt ceiling and the national debt, etc.), have actually been turned on their heads since 2016, when Donald Trump became the occupant in the White House.

 

Large corporations are a primary constituent element of the GOP base. Why? Because they stand to earn more in profits if they can persuade the government to tax and regulate them less. As a consequence, the most generous donors to Republican campaigns are leaders and friends of corporations. Not everyone who votes Republican supports corporate greed, but votes for Republicans can invariably be expected to benefit big business. And since most of the richest people in America also favor low taxes, very rich people also tend to vote for the R next to a candidate’s name. Not everyone who votes Republican is rich; far from it. But by and large, rich people vote Republican.

 

Another voting bloc that favors the Republican Party is the Religious Right. This voting bloc, made up primarily of Evangelical Christians, conservative Catholics, and Orthodox Jews, has been won over by the Republican Party by its willingness to cater to their illusions of imposing their religious views on all members of society – specifically those relating to their abhorrence of contraception, abortion, and homosexuality. Needless to say, not all religious people in America are Republicans, but the vast majority of the Religious Right are.

 

American nativists are people for whom their traditional cultural identity is of paramount importance. Typically, they resent any influx of newcomers into their communities, especially foreigners who speak a language other than English, and whose foods, music, customs, and manner of dress are different from their own. Nativists would like for things to remain as they were before. The sentiment expressed by the complaint “We want to take our country back” is interpreted by progressives as actually meaning “We want to take our country backward.”

 

For some whites, there may be a desire to cling to privileged positions in society (in comparison to people of color), a status they enjoyed in previous generations. Hence, the slogan “Make America Great Again,” is often understood by minorities to mean “Make America White Again.” For numerous reasons, nativists are particularly fearful of the arrival of brown skinned mestizos from Mexico and Latin America. They consider the influx of Latin Americans into their communities as an “invasion,” and favor the erection of a wall at our southern border to prevent more of them from entering the U.S. Certainly, not all Republicans should be smeared with a broad brush as being racists or White Nationalists. But those who truly are have now found a home in the Republican Party.

 

Another group that often, but not always, votes Republican is composed of small business owners. Always struggling to keep financially afloat, it is easy to understand why they would favor lower taxes and less time-consuming governmental regulations to comply with. But their focus on the bottom line also makes them frequent allies with larger businesses who often practice anti-labor union tactics with a view of maximizing their profits and achieving a competitive edge. In many states these forces push for “Right to Work Laws,” which labor unions assert is another way of saying that workers have “the right to work for less,” under unfavorable and sometimes dangerous conditions, and with a limited voice in jobsite decisions. By running their businesses in this way, owners and corporations can – and often do – unfairly put the financial security and health of their workers in jeopardy.

 

Undoubtedly, there are other reasons some Americans cast their votes for the Republican Party. For some, it comes down to voting for the party that promises to support the industry in which they make their livings. Although global warming will inevitably require societies worldwide to switch to new sources of renewable energy, Republicans, to gain votes while they still can, will continue to support extractive industries such as coal, petroleum, and natural gas, even though they pollute our natural environment and endanger the future of the planet. Naturally, desperate unemployed job seekers may also vote for any Republican policy that promises them jobs, even if such jobs have detrimental effects on the populace as a whole.

 

So there you have it. The Secular Progressive view of the Republican Party is that it is an alliance which includes: Large Corporations, Big Business, Anti-Labor Business Interests, and the Super Rich; Extractive Industries and Polluters; the Religious Right; and in addition, nativists, racists, and White Supremacists.

 

Can you personally identify yourself with this party? Do you think anyone with secular views or a progressive mindset could vote for Republican Party candidates or office holders? If not, we ask: What are you willing to do to deny them political power?

Assessing the Democratic Constituency

Historically speaking, ever since the Great Depression, the Democratic Party has been the recognized political defender of both the working class and of poor people in America. In 1933, when 25% of American workers were unemployed, newly elected Democratic President Franklin D. Roosevelt put the unemployed to work on government projects, administered in part by the Civilian Conservation Corps and the Works Progress Administration. Roosevelt named Francis Perkins to be the first female member of a presidential cabinet, and at her insistence – and that of the President’s wife, Eleanor – initiatives relating to fair wages and reasonable hours for workers, unemployment relief, the regulation of child labor, and insurance for elderly workers all found their way into federal law. Building on this foundation, the Democratic Party has continued to advocate for the rights of workers – in particular, their right to organize and belong to labor unions.

 

In 1935, FDR encouraged Congress to pass the Social Security Act, which provided (and continues to provide) financial assistance to low-income Americans: elderly retirees, the unemployed, widows, and orphans.

 

Early in his administration, FDR also stabilized farm prices, and brought electricity to rural homes and communities. The Tennessee Valley Authority provided flood control, electricity generation, and economic development which helped to modernize the economy in parts of seven Southern states. These projects helped solidify the Democratic Party’s popularity in the region, and despite southern attitudes toward racial segregation, Southern Democrats (termed Dixiecrats) continued to be an integral part of the coalition that allowed the Democratic Party to dominate our nation’s politics well into the 1960s.

 

Besides advocating for workers and those in poverty, though, the Democratic Party was also instrumental in guaranteeing civil rights for minorities. In 1948, President Truman, FDR’s successor, abolished racial segregation in America’s armed forces. As most people familiar with America’s recent history are well aware, the 1950s and 60s saw the rise of a non-violent protest movement by blacks in America, led by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and others. In response to their marches, sit-ins, freedom rides, and other modes of activism, Democratic President John F. Kennedy sent a civil rights bill to Congress on June 11, 1963. However, his subsequent assassination just five months later left this initiative in limbo. But the following year, Lyndon B. Johnson, JFK’s successor, using the experience he had previously garnered as a legislator, lobbied hard and persuaded the bill’s opponents to allow its passage. He signed the Civil Rights Act of 1964; then subsequently, the Voting Rights Act of 1965, and the Civil Rights Act of 1968 (which included the Fair Housing Act). Largely due to the fact that LBJ, a Democrat, was associated with overturning racial segregation in the U.S., blacks and other ethnic minorities have become one of the party’s most reliable voting blocs.

 

When in 1954 the U.S. Supreme Court mandated public schools throughout the country to integrate and to terminate their practices of racial segregation, Southerners and others favoring segregation were outraged. And when the Democratic Party under LBJ pushed through Civil Rights legislation (mentioned above), segregationists were eager to leave the Democratic Party altogether. Beginning with the Republican presidential campaigns of Richard Nixon and Barry Goldwater, a “Southern Strategy” began to be employed by Republicans with a view of realigning the party preferences of white conservative voters in the South. By 1980, when Republican presidential candidate Ronald Reagan spoke at a county fair near Philadelphia, Mississippi, the scene of the murders of three civil rights workers in 1963, and stated that, if President, he would “restore to states and local governments the power that properly belongs to them,” it was widely interpreted as an open invitation for people with segregationist sympathies to abandon the Democratic Party and join the Republican Party. In subsequent years, Southern states turned solidly Republican.

 

The 2008 election of Barak Obama, our nation’s first black President, was a long-awaited result of the Democratic Party’s decades-long effort to overcome our country’s racially discriminatory past. But no sooner had Obama been elected than Republican leaders conspired to frustrate his every progressive initiative. By funding groups like the Tea Party, Republican corporatists fomented a political backlash that, as we know, resulted in the election of Donald Trump as President in 2016. Trump’s primary goal as President seems to be to undermine and negate everything that Obama’s administration ever accomplished. So obviously, progressives believe that efforts to overcome racial bigotry must be renewed and continued, beginning with the next presidential election in November 2020.

 

Today, the Democratic Party not only advocates for fair treatment for blacks, but also for all minority groups who have experienced discrimination. This includes women, Hispanics, the LGBTQ community, indigenous Americans, and members of many minority religious groups such as Jews, Muslims, Buddhists, and others.

 

Another issue promoted by Democrats has been (and continues to be) access to adequate healthcare. All Democratic Presidents since FDR – Truman, JFK, Carter, Clinton, and Obama – have promoted the idea of improved health care programs for Americans, but have been consistently opposed by Republicans. An important step forward took place in 1965 when President Johnson signed legislation establishing the Medicare and Medicaid programs that millions of Americans rely upon today. Finally, in 2010, and without a single Republican vote in favor, President Obama was able to push through legislation in Congress for the passage of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. This amounted to comprehensive health reform; it held insurance companies accountable, lowered health care costs, expanded coverage of uninsured citizens, and improved health care for millions of Americans. Since its passage, Republicans, who disparagingly nick-named the program Obama Care, have worked to dismantle it piece by piece. But its efficacy and popularity have made that difficult to accomplish. Joe Biden, who served for eight years as Vice-President in the Obama administration, has recently become the presumptive candidate for the Democratic Party in 2020. He has pledged to build upon the Affordable Care Act, correct its shortcomings, and further expand its coverage.

 

But to properly assess the pros and cons of today’s Democratic Party, we must also discuss the issues that surfaced within the party during the presidential campaign of 2016 and this year’s primary campaign of 2020. To do this, we need to examine the legacies of Bill and Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders.

 

Hillary Rodham Clinton, as most of us know, is the wife of Bill Clinton who occupied the White House from 1992 to 2000. Hillary herself was generally revered by Democrats, before and after Bill’s presidency, as a bold progressive feminist and defender of women’s rights. But for that very fact, she was not looked upon kindly by women who wanted society to maintain traditional roles for men and women. She was also criticized for having overlooked and forgiven her husband’s marital infidelities. Also coloring her candidacy in 2016 was her husband’s legacy in office.

 

In 1996, Bill Clinton was persuaded by a campaign advisor that Democratic constituents – made up of primarily of workers, the poor, and minorities – could not be relied upon to vote in sufficient numbers to allow him to win reelection. He became persuaded that he needed to adopt a strategy of “triangulation.” The term was understood as a willingness to adopt some Republican ideas, to take credit for them himself, and thereby insulate himself from Republican attacks regarding them. Issues triangulated in this way included fiscal discipline in government spending, an emphasis on balanced budgets, and cutting government regulations. Since these policies were popular among bankers and corporate CEO’s, this allowed Clinton to appeal to representatives of big business for a part of the campaign financing largesse they usually doted upon Republicans. Clinton also adopted a harsher posture on crime prevention, and escalated the so-called War on Drugs. This resulted in legislation being passed calling for long, mandatory prison sentences, particularly for drug offenses.

 

Hillary first ran for the presidency in her own right in 2008, running in the Democratic primaries against Barak Obama, and eventually losing the party’s nomination to him. By the time Hillary Clinton ran for president for the second time in 2016, many of the policies that Bill Clinton had championed during his terms in office were being recognized by many members of the Democratic Party as having been misguided. The acceleration of the War on Drugs had caused highly detrimental effects on family life within the black and Hispanic communities. Accepting big donations from corporations was affecting the party’s credibility as a defender of the poor. These and other concerns weighed down Hillary’s 2016 campaign and limited her appeal to many voters. Despite her otherwise sterling qualities as a candidate – a feminist vying to become America’s first woman president, and her experience as a former senator and Secretary of State – not all Democrats were sure she spoke for their interests. To be sure, if it had not been for a perfect storm of inopportune occurrences – last minute questions raised by the FBI over her email server, the release of private intra-party communications by WikiLeaks, and the personal attacks against her perpetrated by Russian operatives via social media – she, rather than Donald Trump, would have become our 45th President. And as a matter of fact, she actually did win the popular vote, outgaining the Donald by nearly three million votes. But, as we know, she lost the vote in the Electoral College.

 

Democrats who were uninspired by Hillary gravitated to Bernie Sanders, a longtime independent Senator from New Hampshire and self-described “Democratic Socialist.” Bernie’s campaigns for President, both in 2016 and 2020, inspired the more progressive members of the party with pledges to aggressively tackle America’s most critical problems. Among these were global warming and the ecological future of our planet; the need for America to provide universal healthcare coverage; confronting increasing income inequality; providing financial security for workers – increased wages, better working conditions, and assistance due to job losses. Sanders also focused on the exorbitant cost of college education and the resulting student debt burden; on the right of women to control their own bodies and make their own reproductive decisions; on achieving prison and sentencing reforms; and on implementing political and electoral reforms.

 

Sanders has admitted that he was inspired by FDR, and in particular by the progressive vision Roosevelt enunciated in his “Economic Bill of Rights” speech delivered before Congress in 1944, in which he enumerated the rights he envisioned. Among these are:

 

The right to a good education.

The right to a useful and remunerative job.

The right to earn enough to provide adequate food and clothing and recreation.

The right of every family to a decent home.

The right to adequate medical care and the opportunity to achieve and enjoy good health.

The right to adequate protection from the economic fears of old age, sickness, accident, and unemployment.

 

Beginning with Sanders’ presidential run in 2016, he galvanized his followers by pledging not to accept campaign funds from corporate sponsors. To the contrary, he convinced millions of his devotees to support his movement themselves by making small contributions, explaining that in that way he would be indebted to them alone – the common people who were hungry to see the implementation of the progressive policies he was espousing. When he lost the 2016 nomination to Hillary Clinton, and Clinton later lost her race against Donald Trump, Sanders’ followers continued to organize and spread his gospel.

 

In large part due to Sanders’ influence, in the interim between the 2016 presidential election and the mid-term elections of 2018, the entire Democratic Party began to shift to the left, particularly in relation to college tuition and healthcare. Recognizing the excitement that Sanders was generating among voters, especially college-aged and college educated constituents, many Democratic candidates for the Senate and House of Representatives began to echo Bernie’s progressive talking points. The tangible result was that the Dems picked up 41 seats in the House of Representatives. Many of the newly elected members of Congress, like Alexandria Ocasio Cortez of New York, were Sanders admirers and acolytes.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The 2020 Presidential Campaign

When it came time for the Democratic Party to begin the process of choosing its candidate to run against President Trump in 2020, a total of 29 contenders threw their hats into the ring. In midsummer of 2019, 25 were running their campaigns simultaneously. For those hoping they would represent America’s diversity, it was a proverbial embarrassment of riches. There were no fewer than six women, and seven hopefuls representing ethnic minorities. In the ensuing 12 debates among them, it was obvious that Sanders had had a marked influence on many of them – particularly on Elizabeth Warren – pulling them toward the progressive wing of the party. The party’s more conservative (and lesser known) candidates dropped out one by one. As the debates played out, and as the first three state primaries and caucuses were held, it looked as though Bernie was going to run away with the nomination.

 

However, a backlash was brewing. Some party leaders worried whether Bernie’s proposals weren’t too radical. They asked if the country could afford the changes he advocated. Others wondered whether Sanders, if elected, would be able to push through his agenda in the event that the Senate might remain under the control of recalcitrant Republicans. Still other Dems feared that his use of the term “Democratic Socialist” to describe himself might cost him votes. Older conservative voters, it was conjectured – especially those familiar with the history of our Cold War against the Soviet Union – might not be able to easily distinguish between terms such as democratic socialism, communism, and totalitarianism.

 

Then came the February 29th South Carolina primary when everything changed overnight. To understand what happened, it is important to grasp that because of the Democratic Party’s reputation for defending civil and minority rights, blacks throughout America usually vote overwhelmingly for the Democratic Party. They represent a major voting bloc, especially in the South. No less than 60% of registered Democratic voters in South Carolina are blacks. And one of the black congressmen most admired by blacks in South Carolina, and indeed throughout the country, is U.S. Representative Jim Clyburn. Worried that too few black voters knew much in depth about Bernie Sanders, and knowing, too, that his constituents very much appreciated former Vice-President Biden because of his association with Barak Obama, Clyburn publicly endorsed Biden just three days before the primary. The result was a landslide victory for Biden, both in South Carolina and also in Alabama, whose primary was held the same day. Blacks throughout the country felt the tide turning for Biden.

 

Three days later, on March 3rd, Super Tuesday, 14 states plus the Territory of American Samoa all held their presidential preference primaries or caucuses on the same day. Of these, Biden triumphed in ten while Sanders won only four. Seven of Biden’s victories were in the South, where blacks voted for him decisively. Among minorities, Bernie garnered support from Hispanics, particularly in Texas, Nevada, and in California, our most populous state, where he won outright. The delegate tally after Super Tuesday stood at 629 to 539, with Biden ahead.

 

With 40% of the nation’s populace already having had their opportunity to vote, and 34% of the Democratic Party’s delegates to their summer convention already pledged, more dominoes began to fall in Joe Biden’s favor when six more states held primaries on March 10th. In five of the six, Biden won handily. Only Washington State’s race was close, but Biden won it too. So, six for six. (Interestingly, American expats living abroad favored Bernie – well over 2-1.)

 

By now it was becoming patently clear the Bernie’s chances for winning his delegate contest with Joe was increasingly unlikely. At the beginning of the Democratic presidential debates, each contestant had been asked whether they would definitely support the eventual nominee in the event their own campaign came up short. All vowed they would. Now it was time for each of them to give their personal endorsements, and one by one they began to come in for Biden. Within three days, and with just one exception – progressive candidate Elizabeth Warren – all the other candidates, including Sanders, had awarded their endorsements to Biden. Two days later, Warren also bestowed her approval, as well.

 

As the entire party lined up behind their more moderate candidate, another factor had also been rapidly closing the door to any further presidential campaigning. The recently discovered novel coronavirus (COVID-19) was fast spreading from its origin in China to all the regions of the globe. On March 11th, the day after Biden’s indisputable victories in the six March 10th primaries, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared that the virus had become a worldwide pandemic. Even President Trump, who had first ignored and then downplayed the threat of the virus, was forced to declare a national emergency on Friday the 13th of March. That ominous development effectively brought a close to conventional forms of campaign activity. For the presumptive candidate Biden, it meant that further campaigning would have to be limited to television, radio, and online interviews and statements. Meanwhile, Sanders and other former candidates turned their attention toward ways in which they could mitigate the effects of the pandemic.

 

For progressives within the Democratic Party, those who had staked their hopes on Bernie Sanders or perhaps Elizabeth Warren, the realization hit home: our party is a Big Tent, consisting of both progressives and moderates. And politics, as von Bismarck declared, is limited to that which is possible. But due to the fact that virtually all Democrats feel that President Trump is by far the worst president our country has seen in modern times – narcissistic, egotistical, immoral, ignorant, cruel, and vengeful – and that the Republican Party, as constituted today, exists primarily to enable and support him, the goal of defeating Trump and his sycophants is of upmost importance. It is imperative that Democrats band together to deny him reelection and the opportunity to damage our democracy any further. To progressives, unfortunately, this means giving up on the chance of voting for a candidate we might personally prefer, and voting rather for a more moderate (though progressive leaning) candidate. We must chose to vote in solidarity with the other voting blocs who also find shelter under our Big Tent, and take into consideration who they are most likely to vote for. And if we hope for a victory in November, we also need to take into account the predilections of Independents and moderate Republicans.

 

In conclusion, we must realize that even if the Democrats should succeed and win the presidency and the White House, a President Biden will not be able to propel our country forward toward a more progressive future without our flipping the Senate blue and retaining a Democratic majority in the House of Representatives. Even then, progressives will be called upon to use all their persuasive powers and financial support to push our moderately progressive president toward still more liberal positions. It won’t be easy, but our dreams and hopes for a better future depend upon such efforts.

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