The recent special election in Kansas, where Democratic Party challenger James Thompson came within spitting distance of besting the Republican candidate, State Treasurer John Estes, has demonstrated that a Democrat can gain traction in a solidly red state.
Thompson lost by just over 6 points in a state that Trump won by 27 points. A groundswell of progressive activism on the local level narrowed that gap and perhaps, with a little help, they could have closed it. But because it was Kansas, a state written off by establishment Democrats as a lost cause, that is something we will never know. Not until the very end, when the DNC and DCCC realized that they had a fighting chance, did they step in to try to bolster Thompson’s chances. Too little, too late. Meanwhile, Republicans pulled out all the stops, sent out robocalls from Vice President Pence and President Donald Trump, and dumped a ton of money into that race. And they won.
This shit has got to stop.
Newly elected DNC Chair Tom Perez, in an interview with the Washington Post had this to say: “We can make progress in Kansas. There are thousands of elections every year, though. Can we invest in all of them? That would require a major increase in funds.”
Here’s what I’ve got to say to Mr. Perez:
We’re not talking about people running for town council or the school board. We’re talking about a Congressional race. I thought the point of the Democratic National Committee and the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee was to lend support to Democratic candidates and not write them off because they’re running in traditionally red states. It stands to reason that if you don’t back your candidates, you will lose. So instead of ignoring the progressive wing of the Democratic Party, take a cue from what happened with Bernie Sanders in the last election cycle. He came from nowhere and became a moneymaking machine – all without the help of the DNC. Why? Because he spoke truth to the people and the people responded by turning out in huge crowds and donating a little at a time – over and over and over again. He went up against a machine that was (and in many ways still is) intent on ignoring his calls for a fairer, more equitable government, and he nearly defeated Hillary Clinton’s bid for the Democratic nomination. Had the Powers That Be recognized the hunger for real change and let the primaries play out without all the dirty tricks, maybe Sanders would have prevailed. And maybe he would have prevailed against the disaster that is Trump and a GOP stranglehold on this country. But again, we’ll never know because instead of taking it to the people, the Democratic machine relied on wealthy donors.
Any reasonable person can look at the state of affairs within the Democratic Party and see that things are a mess. The Democrats are powerless to stop the GOP. They have installed a right wing extremist on the Supreme Court. They have rolled back clean air and water regulations to favor corporations. They want to obliterate the Affordable Care Act; and, given enough time, they’ll figure out a way to do it. Whether it’s women’s rights, voting rights, minority rights, climate change, health care, immigration, our skewed justice system, or a host of other important issues, the GOP is set to make this country more of a corporate ruled enterprise than it already is.
It is time to BACK PROGRESSIVE CANDIDATES. The 2016 election was a clarion call, but somehow the Democrats missed it. The reason Donald Trump won was because he had a populist message. He was lying through his teeth, and most people recognized that, but he won because Democrats didn’t do the work they needed to do. We lost in 2010. We lost in 2014. We lost in 2016. And that isn’t even counting the state and local offices that have fallen by the wayside because Democrats keep holding on to a centrist policy when the American people are fed up with a centrist agenda that continues to leave them out in the cold. When Nancy Pelosi came out after the election and said that Democrats didn’t need to change their message, she embodied everything that went wrong. If the message had resonated, Hillary Clinton would be POTUS right now.
Tom Perez spoke of instituting a 50 state strategy. That should have commenced in Kansas. Emails from the DNC and DCCC could have raised the money Thompson needed. Democratic officials speaking in support of Thompson might have made the difference. Maybe not. But again, we’ll never know because what needed to be done wasn’t done.
What flies in New York isn’t going to fly in Alabama, so you tailor your message. But you can be sure that people in Alabama want health care. They want clean water. They want clean air. They want jobs. They sure as hell don’t want to be kicked off food stamps. Maybe, if they had a government that actually educated them and made sure there were decent paying jobs, they wouldn’t need those food stamps!
The only way to combat the lies spun by the GOP is to go and speak truth to the people. That takes money. So come on, Democrats, show some REAL spine, get out there and lend some muscle to those progressive candidates. No more whiny/disaster/the end is nigh emails begging for money. Give people a REASON to contribute. Give people a REASON to show up and vote! No more excuses. It’s time to go out and kick some GOP ass before our entire government is dismantled. Because once that happens, it’ll be too late.
Readers, you can weigh in with these organizations. Give them a call and let them know you are tired of the politics as usual that is still going on. We want change and the clock is ticking.
DNC 202-863-8000 DCCC 202-863-1500