Donald Trump has said he wants to arm teachers with guns. But we know that teachers are already heroes, willing to put their lives and livelihoods on the line for their students. It’s largely a thankless job — platitudes don’t pay bills — and it’s time that changed. In West Virginia, teachers are in the midst of a massive statewide strike due to the governor’s efforts to shortchange them on already skimpy salaries and benefits.
If you want to know just how much hubris the WV GOP has right now, and just how badly this strike is needed, look simply to this excerpt of an interview with a striking teacher, via the NY Times:
They told us that essentially if you weren’t a single person, if you had a family plan, your health insurance was going to rise substantially. As a West Virginia teacher — and I’ve been teaching 10 years — I only clear right under $1,300 every two weeks, and they’re wanting to take $300 more away for me. But they tell me it’s O.K., because we’re going to give you a 1 percent pay raise. That equals out to 88 cents every two days.
They implemented Go365, which is an app that I’m supposed to download on my phone, to track my steps, to earn points through this app. If I don’t earn enough points, and if I choose not to use the app, then I’m penalized $500 at the end of the year. People felt that was very invasive, to have to download that app and to be forced into turning over sensitive information.
The GOP majority should be heartened to know that the teachers will be getting those steps in on the picket line — and then some. The strike has lasted all week, and the stingy lawmakers are beginning to cave. And any win is huge not just for WV teachers, but for all works. The strike is a vital action at the exact moment that public unions face an existential threat at the Supreme Court.
So how can you help? Donate to organizations raising money for teachers, like the West Virginia Teachers Strike Fund and the IWW’s fund. You can put political pressure on Gov. Jim Justice via social media. And you can vote for politicians that support public sector unions instead of taking money from the corrupt, misleading National Right to Work organization.
Help Dems win the next big special election!
Stop me if you’ve heard this before: Democrats are using small donors and political sanity to gain momentum in a hotly contested election… and the GOP’s billionaire financiers are striking back by dumping unlimited money into the race, in order to skew it and steal it at the last minute.
The special election in PA-18 has been moved to a toss-up by the Cook Political Report, which is the good news here:
The Cook Political Report updated its rating for the special election in the 18th Congressional district from ‘lean Republican’ to ‘toss up.’
According to the report, despite the district being strongly Republican, Democrat Conor Lamb has gained a lot of ground in the race.
“What’s made the race so close, many Republicans admit, is that Lamb has simply proven to be a stronger candidate than Saccone,” the report says.
And now the not so good:
One week later, Democrats in Allegheny County began receiving an unusual piece of mail. The Congressional Leadership Fund, a super PAC aligned with House Speaker Paul Ryan that has spent millions of dollars on the race, had created an advertisement thanking Lamb “for supporting our Second Amendment rights.”
It’s not clear who else is getting the ad, but registered Democrats in Allegheny County are, generally, more liberal than their counterparts across the district.
To be fair, Lamb has come under fire (pardon the bad term here) for being a bit timid on new gun laws. But the ad skews what he’s said, as if he isn’t for more extensive background checks and other reforms.
Republicans are skewing his record in hopes of suppressing Democratic turnout, as part of a multi-million dollar effort to steal this election for their doofus Trumpite candidate. They’re also using racist dog-whistle ads on immigration as part of this last-ditch, desperate $10 million offensive.
Whether Lamb is the perfect Democrat is not the issue here — he will vote with the party, take us one seat closer to winning back Congress, and a victory in a red district like this will be more proof of Democrats’ momentum. And when people feel like their party is in a good place, they donate more money, volunteer more, and work harder to help win elections. I believe in sending the most progressive candidates to Washington as possible — and Lamb is helping lay the groundwork to make this part of PA blue and progressive again.