Search Results for: progressive primary

Shahid Buttar nixes Progressive Primary

[Perhaps because the race seems to have already been decided?]

January 9, 2020

If you’ve been following this race for awhile, you may know that I proposed the idea of a “progressive primary” back in April, as a way to avoid a repeat of 2018, when five progressive candidates split 22 percent of the vote, allowing a Republican to take the second run-off spot with only 9 percent. (Three Democrats accounted for 20 percent of that vote, spending over $225,000 in the process.) I did not, however, propose a specific plan, in part because I thought it needed to come from elsewhere so as not to be seen as “my” plan.

A couple of weeks back, Agatha Bacelar’s campaign contacted me regarding just such a plan. A company known as Democracy Space proposed to conduct a primary among Pelosi’s three progressive challengers utilizing email addresses publicly available on the San Francisco voter file. (I don’t know the precise number, but I’d estimate it as approaching 200,000.) Details would have to be agreed upon (e.g., a possible minimal margin of victory), but the idea was that the losers would agree to endorse the winner, virtually guaranteeing that Pelosi would face her first progressive Democratic challenger in November.  If successful, this primary would likely also become a nationwide model for how to avoid dividing the progressive vote.

But Shahid Buttar nixed it. This is not a journalistic piece and I’m not going to give you speculation or quotes — just the fact that there will be no progressive primary because he won’t participate in one. I wish I had more to tell you. Perhaps someone else will.  

–Tom Gallagher (from TomGallagherCongress2020.com)

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Progressive primary for 3 candidates vying to take on Nancy Pelosi

At 6 PM PDT, this Saturday, August 17, there will be an online debate among three candidates running against Nancy Pelosi in the March 3, 2020 primary: Agatha BacelarShahid Buttar, and Tom Gallagher.  Right now, the only info we have is that you can watch it through Real Progressives on Facebook (but you should contact that site in advance). It should be available to watch online after the fact.

Real Progressives's photo.

Pelosi Challengers Debate

Public · Hosted by Real Progressives

  •  clock Aug 17 at 6 PM Pacific – Aug 18 at 8 PM Pacific
  •  pin Real Progressives P.O. Box 313, Lewisberry, Pennsylvania 17339 Show Map
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A three way debate between challengers for Nancy Pelosi’s seat in California’s 12th Congressional District. The debate will feature Agatha Baceler, Shahid Buttar, and Tom Gallagher. Please tune into Real Progressives on Saturday August 17 @ 9 pm ET/ 6 pm PT. Repeat on Aug 18 at 8 PM Pacific.

Progressive primary?

By Tom Gallagher

June 5, 2019 (tomgallaghercongress2020.org)

Last year, three candidates of the left spent $226,869 running against Nancy Pelosi in the pre-primary period. Combined with two lower-spending campaigns, candidates of the left took 22 percent of the overall vote.   Yet a Republican won second place with only 9.08 percent. Two responses seemed in order.

To avoid repeating that fiasco, I have proposed a “progressive primary,” i.e., a process designed to achieve unity and finally match a progressive Democrat with Pelosi in the November final (something that has never happened).  

A progressive primary for San Francisco?

OpEdNews Op Eds 4/2/2019 By Tom Gallagher     
Tom Gallagher and cat

When Californians approved Proposition 14 in 2010 and created an open primary system, they allowed for the possibility of two candidates of the same party facing each in a final election. Nowhere did such an event seem more likely to play out than in San Francisco, in Nancy Pelosi’s congressional district. After all, like many large American cities, San Francisco is pretty much a one-party, Democratic-voting town only more so. For instance, in the 2016 presidential primary, Hillary Clinton received 116,359 votes to Bernie Sanders’s 99,594, while all Republican candidates combined for only 16,576. And yet, while U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein faced another Democrat former California Senate President Kevin de León in last year’s final election, San Francisco’s Representative Nancy Pelosi has yet to face a similar challenge in November.

It’s not that sufficient differences to warrant such a run-off don’t exist. So far as Pelosi goes, most San Francisco Democratic voters, i.e., most San Francisco voters, seem to fall into one of two camps. When Pelosi does something clearly out of tune with her voting base such as supporting President Trump’s proposed military budget increases or backing Venezuelan Assembly President Juan Guaidó’s effort to usurp that nation’s presidency, there are those who consider such positions as relatively minor blemishes to an otherwise brilliant career that has resulted in her becoming the first female Speaker of the House and de-facto leader of the “resistance” to Trump. Others, however, tend to consider such views simply beyond the pale of appropriate representation of the city’s views. They also wonder about the things that Pelosi doesn’t do, such as co-sponsoring single-payer, Medicare-for-all legislation given that she represents a city that has supported the idea as far back as the 1994 ballot initiative that attempted to create such a system on the state level.

These divergent views would seem a logical focus of a November match-up for the office. But last year, what we got instead was a nearly meaningless run-off between Pelosi and a representative of the city’s marginal Republican Party. Why? Lack of unity among the city’s progressives, who would like to see that intra-party debate play out in a final election but have yet to master a method of making it happen. Last year, when an additional progressive Democratic challenger entered the fray in the last possible week, it meant that there were now three of them. Combined, they would draw just shy of 19 percent of the vote, compared to the Republican candidate’s slightly over-nine percent. But because there were three of them, it was the Republican who made the runoff. (A Green Party candidate drew another two percent of the vote.)

So, two years after the Bernie Sanders campaign electrified national politics by initiating a debate between the two souls of the Democratic Party, that possibility would be totally absent from San Francisco’s final election. And not only that, but the lack of unity meant that the backers of those three progressive Democrat candidates, who combined to contribute over $225,000 to their campaigns, did not see their ideas advanced in the electoral process. Instead they got an absolutely eventless runoff that no one can remember, less than half a year later.

What to do? The system will not self-correct this problem, but interested voters could. They could take matters into their own hands by insisting that any candidate aspiring to be the progressive standard bearer agree to participate in a “progressive primary,” a “cooperative caucus,” or some other method, under which all such contenders enter a process in which the winner gets the support of all. Over the years, there have been numerous efforts to create a progressive coalition or alliance in the city. This might be just the task around which one could finally take hold.

Although the next congressional primary is still nearly a year away, today’s electoral pace is such that it’s not too early to be considering the question of how San Francisco can produce a congressional race with a debate that generates news, not snooze.- Advertisement –

Tom Gallagher is a Bernie Sanders delegate elected from California’s 12th Congressional District. He is the author of “The Primary Route: How the 99 Percent Takes on the Military Industrial Complex.”

Pelosi Vocalizes Disdain for Progressives (Again). Meet Her Primary Challenger: Shahid Buttar

The Humanist ReportPublished on Apr 16, 2019

Shahid Buttar’s Campaign: https://www.shahidforchange.us/index….

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Progressive Caucus Rips DCCC Attack on Primary Challengers as ‘Slap in the Face of Democratic Voters’

March 28, 2019 by Common Dreams

“If this policy remains in place, it will mean that we will not allow new Ayanna Pressleys or AOCs to emerge,” said Rep. Ro Khanna

by Jake Johnson, staff writer

Rep. Ro Khanna speaks at a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, January 30, 2019. (Photo: Andrew Harnik/AP)

Leaders of the Congressional Progressive Caucus Wednesday condemned the DCCC’s new policy of cutting off funds to primary challengers, saying the rule will shut down “competition of ideas” and alienate the party’s grassroots base.

“Primaries are often the only way that under-represented and working class people are able to have a shot at pursuing elected office.” 
—Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez
“This unprecedented grab of power is a slap in the face of Democratic voters across the nation,” Rep. Ro Khanna (D-Calif.), the first-vice chair of the CPC, said in a statement to The Intercept after a closed-door meeting with DCCC chair Cheri Bustos (D-Ill.).

According to Politico, the meeting—also attended by CPC co-chairs Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.) and Mark Pocan (D-Wis.)—became “heated” as the progressive leaders said the DCCC’s rules would “blackball” important progressive vendors and strategists.

“It’s something even [former DCCC chair] Rahm Emanuel would not have done and is totally tone-deaf to the grassroots activists across our nation,” Khanna said. “Let’s be clear. If this policy remains in place, it will mean that we will not allow new Ayanna Pressleys or AOCs to emerge. It’s simply wrong.”

Progressive organizations responded with outrage when the DCCC unveiled the new rules last week.

The policy states that the DCCC “will not conduct business with, nor recommend to any of its targeted campaigns, any consultant that works with an opponent of a sitting member of the House Democratic Caucus.”

Despite pushback from lawmakers and the grassroots, Bustos reportedly has no plans to reverse the new standard—which could deprive progressive primary challengers of millions of dollars in funds.

“I still think it’s an open conversation,” Pocan told Politico following the meeting with Bustos. “I don’t think it’s done. I left it thinking there’s more to come.”

Progressive advocacy groups said they will not cave to the party establishment, vowing to continue challenging conservative Democrats even it means being blackballed by the DCCC.

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.)—who unseated Wall Street-friendly Rep. Joe Crowley in a primary last year—urged the DCCC to scrap the policy in comments to reporters on Wednesday.

“Primaries are often the only way that under-represented and working class people are able to have a shot at pursuing elected office,” Ocasio-Cortez said. “I think that it can reduce the odds of us getting really strong representation. We need to have kind of a farm system for the next generation.”

Khanna told The Intercept that “many progressives in Congress will fight until this rule is changed.”

“The DCCC is acting as a monopoly by saying that anyone who does business with them can’t do business with any competition,” Khanna said. “We stand for reform in Congress and reform of the Democratic Party machinery to make sure they prioritize our voters and the grassroots.”

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Sunrise Movement Says Wins by Corporate Democrats Like McGrath and Hickenlooper Must Be ‘Moment of Reckoning’ for Progressives

July 01, 2020 by Common Dreams

“These were not races that progressives could afford to sit out, but too many organizations did.”

by Jessica Corbett, staff writer

 28 Comments

U.S. Senate candidates Andrew Romanoff of Colorado and Charles Booker of Kentucky were defeated in Democratic primary races in June.

U.S. Senate candidates Andrew Romanoff (L) of Colorado and Charles Booker (R) of Kentucky were defeated in Democratic primary races in June. (Photos: Andrew Romanoff/Facebook; Charles Booker/Facebook)

After a pair of U.S. Senate candidates backed by the Sunrise Movement was defeated by more corporate-friendly centrists in recent Democratic primary races, the youth-led climate group’s political director expressed hope Wednesday that the losses would serve as “a moment of reckoning for the progressive movement, and that all of us reflect on what we can do to build power and take advantage of these races going forward.”

“These were winnable races if more organizations decided to prioritize them.”
—Evan Weber, Sunrise Movement

“I’m not going to say these races are important moral victories that mean we need to work harder next time; the truth is, these races were ours for the taking and progressives blew it,” the movement’s Evan Weber said in a statement. “These were not races that progressives could afford to sit out, but too many organizations did.”

Sunrise had endorsed former Colorado House Speaker Andrew Romanoff, who was beat Tuesday by former Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper. They were competing to challenge Republican Sen. Cory Gardner in November.

The movement had also supported Kentucky state Rep. Charles Booker. After all the votes of last week’s election were tallied, he was defeated by Amy McGrath, who will face off against GOP Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.

“The final results show we could have won,” Weber said Wednesday. “Despite being outspent by almost $20 million in Kentucky, and 7-to-1 in Colorado, we fell only just short. These were winnable races if more organizations decided to prioritize them.”

He further warned of the potential electoral and political consequences of these two losses, explaining:

Voters are tired of cookie cutter Democrats who pretend they’re Republicans and who listen to consultants and donors, instead of working people. When voters learn they have a choice and hear about our candidates, they want to vote for people like Charles and Andrew. These candidates need us to have their backs and help them get the resources they need to spread their message.

That didn’t happen in time for Charles and Andrew, and because of that, Democrats’ chances of flipping the Senate seats in Colorado and Kentucky just went way down. That makes everything else we’re fighting for a lot harder, from a Green New Deal to Medicare for All.

Weber urged U.S. progressives to get “serious” about matching the party establishment’s discipline while also acknowledging that the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee (DSCC), which works to elect party members to the upper chamber, “is not an easy beast to take on.”

When Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) “decides to anoint somebody, he pulls out all the stops, and puts so much money in their bank account that they don’t even know what to do with it,” Weber said, referencing the DSCC’s support for the victors in Colorado and Kentucky.

“We’ve proven in these races that we don’t need to match their spending dollar for dollar if we run candidates who better speak to the electorate,” Weber added, “but we will keep losing these races if we don’t come in early enough to make a difference, if we refuse to support movement candidates together when they make the brave, difficult choice to step up and run for office without bank accounts full of cash.”

Despite the recent defeats, Sunrise celebrated victories in New York last week when first-term Democratic Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the lead House sponsor of the Green New Deal, swept her primary race in the 14th Congressional District and former middle school principal Jamaal Bowman won his race in the 17th District.

Sunrise has endorsed Dr. Arati Kreibich—a city council member and neuroscientist who is facing off against right-wing Democratic Rep. Josh Gottheimer of New Jersey’s 5th District on July 7—as well as Mike Siegel, a civil rights attorney and former public school teacher who will take on Pritesh Gandhi in Texas’ 10th District on July 14.

The movement is also supporting other progressives in upcoming Democratic primaries, including Alex Morse‘s challenge to Rep. Richard Neal (D-Mass.) on September 1 as well as Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich), whose election is on August 4, and Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.), the lead sponsor of the Green New Deal resolution in the upper chamber, whose primary fight against Rep. Joe Kennedy III is on September 1.

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Nancy Pelosi Calls Jamaal Bowman To Scold Him For Winning Primary

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi talks on her phone at the US Capitol on May 15, 2020 in Washington, DC. – US House Democrats aim to pass a record $3 trillion coronavirus response package Friday to fund the fight against the pandemic and provide emergency payments to millions of US households. (Photo by Olivier DOULIERY / AFP) (Photo by OLIVIER DOULIERY/AFP via Getty Images)

June 25, 2020 (theonion.com)

WASHINGTON—Following the progressive challenger’s victory over 16-term incumbent Rep. Eliot Engel (D-NY), House Speaker Nancy Pelosi phoned Jamaal Bowman to scold him for winning his primary race, sources confirmed Wednesday. “I just wanted to call and personally reprimand you for your victory,” said Pelosi, extending her sincerest indignation to the former Bronx middle school educator, who is expected to easily win the general election in his heavily Democratic congressional district. “I understand there are some mail-in ballots that still need to be counted, but it appears you won big last night and energized a lot of first-time voters and young people we absolutely did not want voting in this primary. So allow me to extend my sincerest fuck-you for everything you’ve done. Obviously, we’re going to be working together soon, so I look forward to crushing you the first chance I get.” Pelosi added that when things became official in November, she would call again to express how frustrated she was to welcome Bowman to Congress.

Progressives Must Fight With—and In—the Democratic Party

June 25, 2020 by Common Dreams

In the electoral arena, the goal is not only about winning elections. It’s also about replacing the top-down weight of entrenched politicians with the bottom-up power of grassroots activism.

by Norman Solomon

 39 Comments

130 Sanders delegates (including me) from congressional districts across the state—90 percent of all such Sanders delegates—have signed a statement calling for Khanna to be the delegation chair. (Photo: Michael Brochstein/Echoes Wire/Barcroft Media via Getty Images)

130 Sanders delegates (including me) from congressional districts across the state—90 percent of all such Sanders delegates—have signed a statement calling for Khanna to be the delegation chair. (Photo: Michael Brochstein/Echoes Wire/Barcroft Media via Getty Images)

After defying the odds and defeating corporate opponents on Tuesday, the strong progressives Jamaal Bowman and Mondaire Jones are headed to Congress from New York—and there’s no way it would be happening if they hadn’t been willing and able to put up a fight in Democratic primaries. The same was true in 2018 with the election of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Rashida Tlaib, Ilhan Omar and Ayanna Pressley as they beat the party establishment.

After three decades of contributing mightily to the blight of congressional militarism, Rep. Eliot Engel couldn’t be rescued by the high-profile endorsements of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and Gov. Andrew Cuomo. Nor could Engel be saved by the eleventh-hour support of Hillary Clinton.

Other Democratic incumbents are being challenged by progressives in difficult and inspiring campaigns: intent on doing what, according to conventional political wisdom, can’t be done.

While the Republican Party has given “faith” a bad name, Barack Obama did the same for “audacity” and “hope.” Being an ally of the military-industrial complex and corporate power isn’t audacious or particularly hopeful. But progressives need plenty of audacious hope and insistence that political organizing must include insurgent election campaigns.

The obstacles are enormous. That’s usually true of social change worth fighting for.

In the electoral arena, the goal is not only about winning elections. It’s also about replacing the top-down weight of entrenched politicians with the bottom-up power of grassroots activism. A current example is the effort by progressive activists in California to make Congressman Ro Khanna the chair of the state’s delegation for the Democratic National Convention, instead of Gov. Gavin Newsom.

That would be appropriate. Khanna was a national co-chair for the 2020 campaign of Bernie Sanders, who won the state’s presidential primary by a margin of 8 percent over Joe Biden.

If Newsom allows a democratic process, Khanna could win. From all indications, Newsom doesn’t want to take the chance.

If raw political power is the metric, Newsom has a clear advantage in the lead-up to a decisive statewide “virtual meeting” of national-convention delegates set for Sunday. But in recent days, 130 Sanders delegates (including me) from congressional districts across the state — 90 percent of all such Sanders delegates — have signed a statement calling for Khanna to be the delegation chair.

The statement pointed out that “Ro Khanna has been a national champion on issues supported by California Democrats — health care for all, national budget priorities based on human needs and opposing Trump on huge increases in military spending and endless wars, criminal justice reform, and a path to citizenship for immigrants.”

If Newsom allows a democratic process, Khanna could win. From all indications, Newsom doesn’t want to take the chance.

California Democratic Party rules are vague, saying only that “the Delegation Chair will be selected by the National Convention Delegates” on June 28. There’s plenty of room for top party officials to short-circuit actual democracy by refusing to allow a proper election process. The anticipated plan is to offer the delegates one big omnibus package that includes designating Newsom as chair.

Suspicion of the Democratic Party’s power structure has run deep among Bernie supporters. If the Democratic governor of the largest state is perceived as blocking a democratic process in order to strong-arm his way into becoming delegation chair, the ripple effects could extend throughout the country — including the dozen swing states, where a robust turnout from progressive voters will be vital this fall.

At the moment, national polls are rosy for Biden. We’ve been here before, with media depicting Trump on the ropes. Few political pundits saw the demagogue’s prospects as anything but dim against Hillary Clinton in 2016. Four years later, razor-thin margins in swing states could tip the balance, notwithstanding the nationwide popular vote.

Politicians are not known for humility, and few are inclined to bypass a beckoning limelight. California’s delegation chair is apt to draw appreciable media attention in mid-August when Democrats convene a virtual convention. Newsom could do his party and his country a greater service by yielding that particular spotlight rather than basking in it.

Especially after events of 2016, when facts emerged showing that the Democratic National Committee put anti-Sanders thumbs on the scales, many progressives have become acutely sensitive to shortages of fairness in party proceedings. The last thing we need are fresh examples of powerful politicians opting for self-serving actions over democratic principles.

Norman Solomon

Norman Solomon is co-founder and national coordinator of RootsAction.org. His books include War Made Easy: How Presidents and Pundits Keep Spinning Us to Death and Made Love, Got War: Close Encounters with America’s Warfare State.” He is the founder and executive director of the Institute for Public Accuracy.

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Progressives Have Good Chance to Move a ‘Receptive’ Biden to the Left, Says Sanders

June 10, 2020 by Common Dreams

“It is not good enough just to elect Joe Biden. We’ve got to continue the movement in this country for transformative change.”

by Julia Conley, staff writer

 114 Comments

Former Vice President Joe Biden and Sen. Bernie Sanders shake hands ahead of the third Democratic primary debate of the 2020 presidential campaign season in Houston on September 12, 2019. (Photo: Frederic J. Brown / AFP via Getty Images)

Sen. Bernie Sanders told The New Yorker Tuesday that he believes former Vice President Joe Biden can be pushed to the left on a number of issues if he wins the 2020 general election.

In an interview titled “Bernie Sanders Is Not Done Fighting,” the Vermont independent senator refused to “sugarcoat” his political differences with his former primary opponent, who is now the presumptive Democratic nominee challenging President Donald Trump in November. During the 2020 primary debates, Biden claimed Sanders’ plan to expand Medicare to all Americans was not “realistic” and said the country is “not looking for a revolution” weeks before the coronavirus pandemic revealed the economic precarity in which millions of people live in the United States. 

“What we are seeing right now, the great economic message of today, is that, when you live paycheck to paycheck and you miss a few paychecks, a few weeks of work, your family is suddenly now in economic desperation… So we’ve got to rethink.”
—Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.)

However, Sanders expressed hope that the joint task forces created by his and Biden’s campaigns could help push Biden to embrace policies that prioritize the needs of working and marginalized Americans.

Whether Biden does so, Sanders said, will determine whether the former vice president can effect meaningful change during his potential presidency. 

“It is not good enough just to elect Joe Biden,” Sanders told the magazine. “We’ve got to continue the movement in this country for transformative change, and to understand that we are way, way, way behind many other industrialized countries in providing for the needs of working families.”

The need for Biden to push a more progressive policy agenda should now be apparent to former skeptics in the midst of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, suggested Sanders. The public health and economic crisis caused by the outbreak has so far pushed more than 16 million Americans off their employer-sponsored health insurance, according to the Economic Policy Institute, and has caused an explosion in demand at food banks across the U.S. as many unemployed people began struggling to afford basic necessities after missing just one or two paychecks.

“What we are seeing right now, the great economic message of today, is that, when you live paycheck to paycheck and you miss a few paychecks, a few weeks of work, your family is suddenly now in economic desperation. Literally. Struggling to put food on the table and pay the rent,” Sanders said. “So we’ve got to rethink.”

“The fight continues for a Medicare for All single-payer program, and that becomes especially obvious when you have seen in recent months millions of people losing their jobs,” the senator added. “So I’m going to continue that fight.”

Sanders said Biden has been “much more receptive to sitting down and talking with me and other progressives than we have seen in the past,” a reference to former Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton. 

“I think it is fair to say that our relationship with Biden is a stronger relationship,” he told The New Yorker.

“Joe has been open to having his people sit down with some of the most progressive folks in America, and that’s a good sign.”
—Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.)

According to Sanders, Biden has expressed a desire to be “as strong as possible” in confronting the climate crisis, after facing criticism during the primary for failing to call for a ban on fracking and to set an ambitious target for eliminating fossil fuels from the U.S. economy.

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) and Sunrise Movement co-founder Varshini Prakash, both of whom endorsed Sanders during the primary, are members of the two campaigns’ joint task force on the climate crisis.

Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.), a former Sanders surrogate who sponsored the Medicare for All Act of 2019, and labor leader Sara Nelson are members of the task forces on healthcare and the economy, respectively.

“There are six task forces at work, literally, as we speak, between his people and people who supported me, hammering out, or trying to hammer out, agreements on the economy, healthcare, immigration reform, criminal-justice reform, education, and climate change, and we’ll see what the fruits of those discussions are,” Sanders told The New Yorker. “But Joe has been open to having his people sit down with some of the most progressive folks in America, and that’s a good sign.”

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