In a historically very conservative, Tea Party community, a progressive coalition in Colorado Springs achieved a stunning victory and won all five of its City Council races, creating a solid progressive majority on the Council. Read how boldly advancing a clear progressive message can yield results….a lesson our Democratic Party needs to learn.
Reminder: Thursday, Aug 3, 6-8pm at 1420 Cerrillos, the Activist Research Team is meeting to advance their research on urban policy options that can deter gentrification. For more information and to RSVP on Facebook, click here. Not on FB, just email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information on the Research Team and other actions and events this week, click here.
Lujan, ‘Democratic Party Will Fund Campaigns of Candidates Who Oppose Abortion’
As reported in prior posts, there has been a barrage of criticism of the Democratic Party for its Better Deal campaign. But now Rep. Lujan’s announcement that the Party will provide funding and support to candidates who are opposed to abortion has created still more concerns about the Party’s direction, or lack of direction. In yet another example of the Democratic Party’s failure to stand up for its principles, Rep. Lujan, DCCC Chair, announced that the Democratic Party will provide funding and support to candidates who are opposed to abortion, click here for a report on this announcement.
To be fair, the report suggests that even Bernie Sanders is opposed to using ‘litmus tests’ to vet Democratic Party candidates. But there is a chorus of concerns being raised about yet another indication that the Democratic Party is more interested in appeasing white male voters who voted for Trump than standing up for what should be its core constituency: the majority of America. “Throwing weight behind anti-choice candidates is bad politics that will lead to worse policy,” said Mitchell Stille, who oversees campaigns for NARAL Pro-Choice America. “The idea that jettisoning this issue wins elections for Democrats is folly contradicted by all available data.”
In a NY Times Op-Ed published on Tuesday, after acknowledging that there is reason to feel that we must do all possible to pull back from the insanity of GOP-Trump government, Lindy West voiced her strong opposition to the Democrats turning their back on women. “I am desperate and afraid as well. I am prepared to make leviathan compromises to pull us back from that brink. But there is no recognizable version of the Democratic Party that does not fight unequivocally against half its constituents’ being stripped of ownership of their own bodies and lives. This issue represents everything Democrats purport to stand for. To legislatively oppose abortion is to be, at best, indifferent to the disenfranchisement, suffering and possibly even the death of women.” Click here for the full report.
Mainstream Democrats have now labelled adhering to principles with the pejorative term ‘litmus test,’ claiming that the Party can never achieve a kind of policy “purity.” The Democratic Party is a long way from achieving purity and that is not what is expected, but the American people have a right to understand what their major political party really stands for. Backing off on supporting women’s rights to protect their own bodies, failure to even reference racial and criminal injustice, and no reference to immigrant rights in A Better Deal, something that purports to be the new Party message, is not a good indicator. But there are even more telling signs as to how things get done when the Democratic Party is in charge.
As this CounterPunch report describes in stunning detail, under Obama’s watch the corporate sector and particularly among financial institutions, there have been virtually no convictions of corporations for malfeasance despite countless instances in which the corporations admitted guilt.”When the Obama administration put out the Yates memo calling for more prosecutions of individual executives, there have been 20 FCPA corporate prosecution agreements — yet not one individual has been charged in connection with those cases.” What would occur, was a negotiated settlement with a modest fine and a non-admission of guilt. The report is stunning in its detail. And it calls to question the veracity of statements coming from mainstream Democrats that the huge levels of donations to the Party are having no influence on regulation and prosecution of these corporations who flaunt the law, steal billions and then face little or no consequences even when they admit guilt. Click here to read the full report. It is an easy read and very revealing. No wonder progressives are skeptical of the DCCC’s continuing cultivation of mega-corporate contributions.
At some point, you need to stand for something and where you get your money and who you stand up for are key elements of who you are. Bailing out on women and currying favor with the corporatocracy say much more about the current Democratic Party than Better Deal videos that say more about the Party by what is omitted than by what is included. The report that follows below provides clear evidence that standing for progressive principles can win votes, even in communities that are historically very conservative. Read on.
Colorado Springs: A Model for Standing Up for Justice
Colorado Springs is an excellent example of what can happen when progressives are unabashedly progressive and stand up for their principles, even in a staunchly conservative community. From a Hightower Lowdown Report: “Since the 1990s, Colorado Springs has been shaped by an inordinate number of hard, hard, HARD right-wing institutions and forces, including:
- The national and international headquarters of more than 70 evangelical Christian outfits, many preaching fire-and-brimstone intolerance
- A swarm of rabid anti-tax, anti-union, anti-gay, anti-Obama Republican front groups funded by corporate extremists
- The US Air Force Academy and four other military installations employing 65,000 soldiers and civilians
- The Gazette, the city’s one daily newspaper, owned by Philip Anschutz, a multibillionaire buddy of the Koch brothers. The Gazette‘s Fox News-style editorial pages relentlessly push “alternative facts” and reactionary policies
- A paternalistic downtown establishment of politically connected developers who, incredibly, tout themselves as the “moderates””
And yet a coalition not unlike the one formed in support of Chainbreaker’s Equity Summer, dug in, identified progressive candidates for City Council and won all five of the candidates that were endorsed by the Together 4 Colorado Springs coalition. In doing so, they transformed the City Council from a very conservative, pro-development Council to one with s strong progressive majority.
How did they do it? Well for starters, they began by forming a coalition and then they began knocking on doors in what they called a listening campaign. Does this sound familiar? If not, click here tor read about our Equity Summer campaign. Galvanized by a 6-3 by the Council to effectively give away a huge swath of prime, publicly owned land to a very conservative developer, T4CS went into high gear, and the result was their winning all 5 of the seats that were part of their slate. And what are the priorities of the new Council? Symbolism aside, change is as changees do, and this council is not hesitating to put its new clout to work for such needed policy changes as:
- No more giveaways of the people’s resources to corporate interests. (A lawsuit challenging the city council’s vote to swap away Strawberry Fields to The Broadmoor is wending its way through the courts, with a decision expected in 2018.)
- Welcoming the LGBTQ community into city government
- Working to close the city’s antiquated coal-burning power plant and transitioning to renewable energy sources
- Public funding of the arts
- Better disclosure of campaign donations
- Promoting in-fill and restraining gluttonous sprawl
- Investing in more open space for all residents to use
- Expanding people’s access to high-speed internet servic
Click here to read the full report. It is inspiring and something we here in Santa Fe can aspire to…. Not just in relation to the City Council and Mayoral races coming, but in relation to the Roundhouse, as well. What’s more, it should send a message to Shumer, Pelosi, Lujan and others among the centrist Democratic Party: If you stand up for something, say the reproductive rights of women, you may just be able to galvanize more support than you imagined. But if cow-tow to the 1% and corporatocracy, you may lose your support and your way.
Paul & Roxanne.