The Right-Wing Attack on the Capitol Was Inevitable. It Has to Be a Wakeup Call.

The chaos that’s still happening in the Capitol is stomach-churning to watch, but it’s not at all surprising.

For all of American history, white men have been allowed to commit violence with impunity. There have never been any consequences. The violence of Jim Crow went unpunished. The savage resistance to advances in women’s rights and civil rights went unpunished. And just this year, the relentless onslaught of corruption, blatant lies, violence against Black protestors, and sabotaging of efforts to save people from COVID-19 all went unpunished. A small sampling of recent unpunished injustices:

  • Kyle Rittenhouse got bailed out and championed after murdering peaceful protestors in cold blood.
  • The cop who shot Jacob Blake in Wisconsin will go unpunished.
  • Donald Trump hasn’t been held responsible for anything, even trying to overturn the election in Georgia.
  • And now, terrorists stormed the Capitol building, enabled by police who did little to stop them.

We think we’ve moved past the era of lynchings and cross-burnings, but now that violence is just further institutionalized.

That’s not hyperbole — just watch this:

Things may even get worse tonight, because these rioters know there are no consequences.

Even scarier, the shattered remnants of our institutions have been neutered and corrupted to the point that they cannot begin to address what we’re facing.

Continue reading “The Right-Wing Attack on the Capitol Was Inevitable. It Has to Be a Wakeup Call.”

The Other Big Runoff Election in Georgia: Daniel Blackman Explains Why the Public Service Commission Matters

In the ultra-tight runoff election scheduled for January 5th, a progressive Democrat has the chance to break the GOP’s years-long lock on policy-making, a hegemony that has left the environment polluted, working people gouged by big corporations, many Black communities robbed of opportunity, and lawmakers increasingly unresponsive to the demands of their constituents.

Oh, and there will also be two US Senate elections on January 5th as well.

It’d be an understatement to say that the race for a spot on the Georgia Public Service Commission hasn’t received the same level of attention as the Ossoff-Perdue and Warnock-Loeffler showdowns, but that doesn’t mean that it isn’t important. In fact, it’s the sort of down-ballot position that has an outsized impact on people’s lives but has been largely ignored by Democrats over the last few decades. Thanks to the energetic campaign of activist, nonprofit leader, and Obama administration vet Daniel Blackman, that’s now changing. (It also doesn’t hurt that instead of appearing 13th or 14th on the ballot, it was just below the Senate races this year.)

Georgia’s Public Service Commission oversees all utilities, from power production to broadband internet. Its members play a huge role in setting environmental policy and helps determine the utility rates paid by millions of people in the state. Their decisions have wide-reaching implications, with racial justice, environmental pollution, and economic opportunity all directly impacted.

One quick example: Georgia is the only state in the country building new nuclear power plants. Republicans continue to green-light the projects, which accrue huge cost overruns which in turn get passed to Georgia consumers. They continue to invest in these projects, funneling money to the privately held Georgia Power monopoly, gouging people on their monthly energy bills instead of investing in the solar and wind power that would help the environment and save people money.

“Folks in Georgia have been footing the bill for a long time, not just on nuclear, but on our coal ash cleanup [another $525 million], and its really been a burden on folks,” Blackman says. “That people are struggling COVID-19 has amplified that a thousandfold.”

Continue reading “The Other Big Runoff Election in Georgia: Daniel Blackman Explains Why the Public Service Commission Matters”

These Progressive Groups Helped Democrats Win the White House

Last week, I co-wrote an op-ed in the Washington Post that focused on the Democratic Party’s ground game (or lack thereof) in 2020 and how activist organizations in several states picked up the slack and helped Joe Biden vanquish Donald Trump.

It’s impossible to understate just how important a role that the work of progressive groups in Georgia, Arizona, Wisconsin, Nevada, and Pennsylvania played in the triumph. If Democrats want to turn around the down-ballot disappointments and overcome the gerrymanders that Republicans will enact in many states next year, we need to help these groups grow in ambition and scope.

To that end, I’ve put together an ActBlue page that features a dozen great groups, which I’ve listed right below. You can use the page to donate to one or more of them!

AAPI Victory Fund | Four Directions | Black Voters Matter PAC | Mijente | Citizen Action of Wisconsin | Pennsylvania Stands Up | Reclaim Philadelphia | Progress Michigan | Jolt Action | Texas Rising | Down Home North Carolina | Working Families Party

Donate to Progressive Activist Groups!

Continue reading “These Progressive Groups Helped Democrats Win the White House”

Canceling Student Debt Should Be a No-Brainer for Democrats

Imagine you’re watching a basketball game. A player grabs a rebound and starts on a fastbreak, driving down the court with a clear lane to the basket. But instead of taking it all the way and throwing down a vicious dunk, the player pulls back and kicks it out across the court, beginning a long and muddled series of passes between dysfunctional teammates that end with a turnover.

Or if you’re not a sports fan, picture this: A friend of yours meets the person of their dreams. The two of them immediately click, and soon enough, it looks like they’re headed for marriage. But this friend of yours hesitates, worried about what might happen if they can’t invite everyone they’ve ever known, including people that hate them, to the wedding.

OK, one more: A Democratic president has an opportunity to issue a proclamation that would provide an instant boost to the economy and win the adulation of generations of voters. But instead of embracing the idea, he vacillates and suggests doing far less ambitious and effective, potentially squandering all the potential goodwill.

(That last one wasn’t really a metaphor.)

Even if Democrats pull off an unlikely double victory in the Georgia special elections, it’s unlikely that Joe Biden will have much of a chance at passing any big, transformative legislation in at least his first few years in office. His best bet will be to instead rely on executive orders, and there are few more consequential orders he could issue than one that cancels the unconscionable amount of student debt crushing the dreams of tens of millions of Americans.

Forgiving student debt isn’t some far-left socialist plan, either. It was proposed by Sens. Elizabeth Warren and Chuck Schumer (!) this fall, and once Biden won the election, Schumer renewed the call for the president-elect to issue student loan forgiveness to the 42 million Americans drowning in school debt.

Let me emphasize again that it doesn’t get more centrist than Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer.

On Monday, Biden reaffirmed his campaign trail commitment to forgiving up to $10,000 in student debt to people who are “economically distressed.” That would have a minor impact at best, as just 7% of school loans are privately issued: limiting any relief to those parameters and calling it canceling student debt would be like tossing a half-eaten ice cream sandwich at a homeless encampment and saying you solved world hunger.

Warren and Schumer (along with a coalition of over 230 groups) are urging Biden to go much further. They want him to wipe out up to $50,000 of federal school debt per person; with the average debt-holder carrying a $32,000 balance, one stroke of the pen would free tens of millions of people from the shackles of substantial financial burdens.

Continue reading “Canceling Student Debt Should Be a No-Brainer for Democrats”

Donald Trump is Done. Cue the Party.

After more than four exhausting days, it’s official: Donald Trump’s reign of terror is ending.

Joe Biden clinched the presidency on Saturday morning, putting an end to one of the darkest epochs in our history.

We have so, so much work to do in order to fix a larger Democratic Party that suffered so many losses on Tuesday. We still need to save the future of American democracy. We’ll have to push Biden to make big reforms where possible. COVID-19 is still raging. Racism is rampant. Millions are without jobs as billionaires continue to rake in cash. Progressives Everywhere raised over $5 million for Democratic candidates and causes over the last few years, but I have to get smarter about how we target candidates and amplify movements. Over the next few months, we will be examining ways to overcome these challenges.

But today, we can celebrate a massive first step toward a better tomorrow.

If there’s one thing to remember, it’s that we owe our deep gratitude to the grassroots activists that made this possible. This is a victory for amazing grassroots activist organizations in Pennsylvania and Georgia. These groups, largely run by people of color, have worked 24/7 to empower their communities in the fight against Republican treachery, far-right foul play, and corporate greed. And whether or not we win Arizona, groups there deserve the credit for making it so, so close.

You also deserve some credit — you donated money, gave time, and pushed hard to overthrow this diaper dictator. Enjoy today and this weekend, then let’s get back to it.