Races for progressives to watch on Election Day

Here we are, two days out from the most important election of our lifetimes, which is a statement that is eminently dramatic but somehow undersells the gravity of what we are facing. I truly don’t know what American democracy will look like if Democrats don’t sweep up at the ballot box on Tuesday. And it’s not just because of the threat posed by Trump and his sycophantic posse. All across the country, there are pitched battles being fought over issues that directly touch the lives of tens of millions of people — and will, more broadly, impact us all.

Here is a guide to the biggest issues and races to watch on what will be a very nerve-wracking, exciting Tuesday evening.

Candidates we’ve interviewed

Over the last seven months, I spoke with candidates up and down the ballot. I focused on candidates who were running crucial races on the state level and true progressives running underdog campaigns against some of the worst Republicans (and a few bad Democrats!) on the national level.

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (NY-14)
Jess King (PA-11)
Julie Oliver (TX-25)
Alessandra Biaggi (NY-SD-34)
J.D. Scholten (IA-04)
Cyndi Ralston (OK-HD-12)
Zach Dickerson (OH-HD-42)
Deidre DeJear (IA-Sec State)
Kriss Marion (WI-SD-17)
Janet Garrett (OH-04)
Miguel Levario (TX-19)

Voting Rights

As we’ve seen this fall, Republicans hate democracy and are continuing to do everything they can to make it impossible to vote. The sheer number of states that have surpassed their 2014 early voting numbers is heartening, but the overall numbers would be way higher without so much disenfranchisement.

After Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp purged over a million voters from the rolls without much national attention, his late flourishes of injustice finally provoked notice and outrage. Some of his ploys were overturned by courts, providing very limited relief to a small number of the disenfranchised, but the man is persistent in his quest to steal the governorship from former State House Minority Leader Stacey Abrams, who has worked tirelessly to expand voting rights. Just today, Kemp’s office launched an erroneous investigation into Democratic groups.

The same thing is playing out in so many states. In Ohio, the purge of nearly 1.5 million voters was sanctioned by the right-wing Supreme Court. The nation’s leader in racist, anti-democratic quackery, Kris Kobach, is running for governor in Kansas. Iowa’s Republican leadership, if re-elected, has promised to finish installing strict voter ID. We spoke to Iowa’s Democratic candidate for Secretary of State, Deidre DeJear, about her very different approach — she wants to expand the electorate — earlier this fall.

There are a number of important Secretary of State races to watch on Tuesday: GeorgiaIowaOhioColoradoArizonaNevada, and Michigan (where voting rights expansion is also on the ballot, via Proposal 3). You can donate to the candidates in each of those races HERE. To help fight against Kemp and Kobach ascending to the governor’s mansions in their respective states, you can donate to Stacey Abrams in Georgia and Laura Kelly in Kansas.

In Florida, a whopping 1.5 million permanently disenfranchised people could get their right to vote back if Amendment 4 passes with 60%. In Nevada, approving Question 5 on the ballot will institute automatic voter registration.

In Ohio, it will be far easier to restore voting rights (and fix so many other issues) if Democrat Richard Cordray wins the neck-and-neck race for governor. His opponent is a right-wing creep, Mike DeWine, and he’s both for voter purges and throttling Medicaid.

Healthcare

The messy state of the American healthcare system has been neck-and-neck with Trump’s psychotic behavior as the most important issue in this election. And while we can’t force Trump to undergo a brain scan or hypnosis, we can fight to protect and expand access to healthcare.

After spending eight years trying to repeal Obamacare (an effort that is still ongoing) and undermining it at every turn, Republicans are sinking to new degrees of shamelessness to suggest they are in favor of protecting pre-existing conditions. We know that’s a lie and hope voters know it, too. First and foremost, you can give to Democrats running in toss-up races for Congress. If we win the House back, Obamacare is going nowhere.

Then, watch the races in a number of states where Medicaid has been limited by new and very onerous work requirements. In Wisconsin, the Trump Administration just approved new work requirements, so the gubernatorial and State Senate races are crucial; you can read our interview with one of the most important State Senate candidates and then donate to the Democratic candidate for governor, Tony Evers, and several State Senate candidates right HERE.

Michigan also just passed work requirements on Medicaid, making the gubernatorial and State House races there crucial to undoing the cruel limitation. You can help out the candidates right HERE.

Meanwhile, in Maine, voters overwhelmingly chose to expand Medicaid in the last election, but their gassy hate toad of a governor, Paul LePage, just outright (and illegally) refused to follow through. He’s term-limited and leaving office, so both the race to replace him, which is neck-and-neck, as well as to flip the State Senate, which is entirely up in the air, are absolutely crucial. You can donate to that effort right HERE.

And in several red states, voters will be deciding via ballot initiative to expand Medicaid. Despite ginned up fears about socialism and consistent support for Republicans, it looks like it will pass in UtahMontana, and Idaho, and be permanently enshrined in Nebraska.

There are a whole lot of other ballot measures, as well, including ones focused on legalizing marijuana, fixing gross gerrymandering, and raising the minimum wage. You can follow them via Daily Kos’s handy guide.

Flipping Legislatures and Fixing Education

Democrats have finally started to pay attention to state legislature races, awakened to their importance by the sheer number of Republican majorities that have installed heinous gerrymanders, limited voting rights, deserted working people, and let schools crumble. In a lot of the hottest state races that we’ve explored, teachers are running as Democrats to help restore funding and sanity to public schools that have been gouged by tax cuts and for-profit charter schools.

But winning majorities in most states won’t happen in one election, especially because Republicans are still spending more in state legislature races than Democrats. That said, we’re watching races that could either flip chambers or at least break super-majorities in a number of states. Here are the specific candidates for whom we’ve raised money and endorsed and are still in competitive elections (in New York, the primary was in many cases the real election):

Kentucky: Jeanie Smith (KY-SD-32), Tina Bojanowski (KY-HD-32)

Colorado: Faith Winter (CO-SD-24), Tammy Story (CO-SD-16)

Ohio: Erica Crawley (OH-HD-26), Lauren Friedman (OH-SD-29), Taylor Sappington (OH-HD-94), Lorraine Wilburn (OH-HD-48), Rachel Crooks (OH-HD-88)

Iowa: Jackie Smith (IA-SD-07), Lindsay James (IA-HD-99)

Oklahoma: Jacob Rosecrants (OK-HD-46), Angela Graham (OK-HD-66), Cyndi Ralston (OK-HD-12), Josh Martin (OK-HD-70)

New York: Anna Kaplan (NY-SD-4), Jessica Ramos (NY-SD-13), John Mannion (NY-SD-50), Monica Martinez (NY-SD-3), Rachel May (NY-SD-53), Robert Jackson (NY-SD-31)

Texas: Beverly Powell (TX-SD-10), Nathan Johnson (TX-SD-16)

Wisconsin: Kriss Marion (WI-SD-17), Julie Henszey (WI-SD-05), Lee Snodgrass (WI-SD-19)

Maine: All Democratic State Senate candidates fundraise online together.

Swing Congressional Candidates

Through a variety of ActBlue pages and initiatives, Progressives Everywhere raised tens of thousands of dollars for candidates in toss-up Congressional races. Here’s the list of candidates, along with Andrew Janz (CA-22).

Abby Finkenauer* (IA-01)
DD Adams* (NC-05)
Lauren Underwood* (IL-14)
Mikie Sherrill* (NJ-11)
Clarke Tucker* (AR-02)
Kathleen Williams (MT-AL)
Cindy Axne* (IA-03)
Hiral Tipirneni* (AZ-08)
Rick Neal* (OH-15)
Karen McCormack* (CO-04)
Amy McGrath (KY-06)
Abigail Spanberger (VA-07)
Andy Kim (NJ-03)
Antonio Delgado (NY-19)
Anthony Brindisi (NY-22)
Angie Craig (MN-02)
Gil Cisneros (CA-39)
Katie Hill (CA-25)
Katie Porter (CA-45)
Tom Malinowski (NJ-07)
Lizzie Fletcher (TX07)
Sharice Davids (KS-03)
Sean Casten (IL-06)
Harley Rouda (CA-48)
Jason Crow (CO-06)
Jared Golden (ME-02)
Dean Phillips (MN-03)

Long-time teacher, challenging wingnut Rep. Jim Jordan, comes out swinging with upset possible

janet garrett

It didn’t take long for the overuse of #Resistance to become a painful cliché, a punchline on Twitter used to gently mock the overly earnest and poke holes in the cynical and misinformed. But last week, we were reminded over and over that we really are in the middle of a struggle of civilizational struggle against really hateful, malevolent people and the people they exploit. The pipe bombs, the massacre at the synagogue, the endless harassment of women and minorities — it will all continue unless we do something about it.

It’s incredible to see the kind of work that is going into getting out the vote, despite the endless obstacles being thrown at them by Republicans. After a bus of black voters was pulled over by Georgia police for no good reason, ten more busses, filled with 500 voters, were sent to the polls by groups like Black Voters Matter. (You can donate to the ongoing GOTV efforts HERE.) In Texas, despite record voter intimidation and voting machines that seem to be literally changing results to the GOP, there are women in deep red parts of the state meeting in secret to help get out the vote for Beto O’Rourke.

Meanwhile, in Iowa, JD Scholten, one of our favorite candidates, continue to campaign hard against Congress’s own Neo-Nazi, GOP Rep. Steve King (IA-04). The rabid bigot just recently went to Australia to trade racist notes with a group founded by an actual Nazi, a move shitty even by his standards because his trip to Europe was financed by a Holocaust memorial group trying to get through to him. You can donate to Scholten’s campaign HERE.

“It has to be about the people”

What Scholten is doing is important because it sends a message to these hate-mongers. They have for too long been allowed to spew filth without any real challenge back home, which only encourages them to be more and more unhinged and incite the worst in America. Ohio GOP Rep. Jim Jordan is a bit slicker and less overt with his hatred than King, but he’s actually far more dangerous.

The founder of the far-right Freedom Caucus, he has made it his mission to gum up the works of government — even John Boehner has called him a “legislative terrorist” — who actively works to hurt women, LGBTQ+, minorities, and anyone who is not a rich, bigoted white man. He’s also at the center of a sex abuse scandal at Ohio State, a fact that Democratic candidate Janet Garrett only addressed when Progressives Everywhere spoke with her last week. She was trying to be respectful and keep the focus on the issues, about which she has profound differences with Jordan.

A teacher for 35 years, Garrett has been fighting for Ohio’s 4th district for the last six years. The effort has led to Nate Silver noting the race as a potential major upset, a credit to Garrett in an incredibly, grossly gerrymandered district.

This is your third run for Congress against Jim Jordan. What led you to run the first time and why continue to run?

We got gerrymandered a district with Jim Jordan in 2012. I met him in 2012 when he was running for the first time. I started a group that we called ourselves the Jordan Watch. We met weekly, there were about a dozen of us and we followed his votes and we went to town hall meetings and we tried to raise awareness because there are so many people that don’t know who’s representing them in Congress and they certainly don’t know his agenda.

In 2014, nobody stepped up to run against him. [Former Dem Rep.] Marcy Kaptur actually twisted my arm to get me to run. I was teaching full time at the time and I just had a ragtag group of volunteers. We knew that it was not a serious challenge, but I just thought that somebody had to challenge him, somebody had to raise awareness.

The reasons that I started to run in the first place still remain, because he does not do anything to help the people in the district. I was actually was in Cleveland Plain Dealer editorial board meeting with him about three weeks ago and they said to him, “Mrs. Garrett has in her campaign literature that you have no legislative successes. How do you answer to that charge?”

And he said he didn’t go to Washington to pass bills. And I thought, why you didn’t read a job description before you applied for this job? It’s just astounding. And now he wants to be the Speaker of the House. It’s even worse if he doesn’t want to pass any bills. That means he wants to stymie anything that could get through Congress.

All he does is promote the gridlock that we have and foment fear. I was in a debate with him two days ago and he kept talking about Nancy Pelosi and Hillary Clinton or Maxine Waters. And I reminded him four times that his opponent is Janet Garrett. He’s not running against any of those people and he’s not running against a generic Democrats, he’s running against me.

CLICK HERE to donate to Janet Garrett’s campaign via Progressives Everywhere’s ActBlue Page!

Tell me about your district — what have people told you over the years, what do they care about?

I believe that this district has been neglected for far too long. The average income in this district is about $40,000 a year for a household, which is not a lot of money to raise a family on. We need to give workers raises. We need to have health care for all of our people. We need to improve our educational system. We need to address our infrastructure problems. They’re just so many things that the government can and should be addressing. He’s a climate change denier, too.

They care about healthcare and social security. I think people are concerned about education as well. Whenever we talk about education, we hear people saying that we need to get a handle on the testing industry and the for profit-charter school movement. We need to get a handle on the amount of money in debt that a kid comes out of college with.

What did you learn in your first two runs about being a candidate and what it takes?

I learned a lot about how to present myself, because I am not an extrovert. And so I had to learn how just present myself as a candidate. That was huge and that continues all the time. The biggest thing that I try to communicate to people is that I care. I’m not in this for money, power, fame, or political advancement. I’m out here doing this because I care about the lives of the people in the district. And Jim Jordan is running because who wants to advance political career obviously because he’s running for speaker of the House now.

You are one of many, many teachers running for office this year nationwide. Why do you think teachers have gotten so politically involved, beyond even the protests?

People get into teaching because they are concerned about the future of our kids. I spent 35 years in the classroom preparing children for their future and now I’m running to make sure they have one. I think a lot of teachers get into these races because they are likewise concerned about the future. And quite frankly, we’re all getting very tired of the way that teachers are being kicked around. Education has become a political football and it’s not the benefit of the kids.

We just talked to three groups of high school kids this morning and I said to them that I want to severely limit the number of standardized tests that they are being subjected to and they were all smiling and nodding her heads. It’s become not about what’s best for the kids, it’s now about what’s best for the testing industry and their bottom line. And that’s not what we should be spending our money on for our educational instructional time.

It should be about the kids. If we don’t get this right and if we don’t educate our kids for the future, America’s not going to be able to compete in the long run. It’s not just about the kids, although that should be enough by itself, but it’s also about America’s future. A lot of teachers have gotten into this.

CLICK HERE to donate to Janet Garrett’s campaign via Progressives Everywhere’s ActBlue Page!

I’ve thought and said that if Democrats ran on eliminating student debt, it’d be the right thing to do, and they’d have a whole generation of voters loyal for life, like New Deal Democrats. It’s crippling.

My middle daughter came out with $30,000 in student debt. I could not convince her not to do that. She was convinced that if she didn’t do that, she wouldn’t be able to get a really well-paying job. She ended up working in a restaurant and then she went to Spain for three years to got her master’s degree over there. It’s way cheaper to get your degree in Europe than it is here.

She was studying Spanish translation, she got her degree there and she came back without adding anything to her debt, but then she got a job in a women’s shelter, which of course, that doesn’t pay very much and she’s got to make payments on her student debt before she can pay for rent or her car payment or any groceries or any of that. And it’s just horrifying. Luckily she’s got mom to fall back on if she gets an unexpected bill she can’t handle, but there are so many people that don’t.

So if you get elected, are there any other issues you plan on focusing on, along with education and climate change and healthcare?

I believe that the American workers deserve a raise. We need to raise the minimum wage and we need to strengthen unions. If you look at the graph that shows the decline of the unions, it exactly parallels the decline of the middle class and there’s a reason for that.

I was down in Marysville, where they’ve got the Honda plant, and they very proudly told me that when they first opened up they looked at what the union wages were and they gave him just a little bit more and they treat their workers well to make sure that they’re not going to unionized. I’m glad that they’re doing all of that, but the fact of the matter is if there weren’t union workers to compare the wages to there would be no standard and so there wouldn’t be any wage to try to shoot above.

We need strengthen the union movement and we need to treat our workers better. I look at our government and see millionaires serving billionaires. It can’t be just about serving the rich and the special interest groups. It has to be about the people and that’s why I’m running.

CLICK HERE to donate to Janet Garrett’s campaign via Progressives Everywhere’s ActBlue Page!

 

Diving deep into Obama’s endorsements

First, a big push in Ohio: Tuesday marks the final big special election before the midterms. OH-12 is another GOP district that Democrats are close to turning blue thanks to a bright young candidate and voters’ disgust with Trump’s sloppy, treasonous, batshit-insane presidency. Danny O’Connor is running a great campaign and the polls are within the margin of error. Trump even left his padded TV den to visit Ohio this weekend, so you know he’s scared of losing. Donate to Democrat Danny O’Connor here!

Now, the big news: Last week, former President Barack Obama released his first round of endorsements for local and statewide candidates. I’m not saying he’s definitely a Progressives Everywhere subscriber, but he diiid have a number of the candidates that we’ve supported on his list — including Deidre DeJear, the Democratic nominee for Iowa Secretary of State, who I just so happened to feature in last week’s edition.

OK, so Barack Obama probably isn’t reading this newsletter. But his endorsements were a very welcomed development. The former president himself admits that state and local parties withered during his time in office. Now, he’s actively working to help a bunch of Democratic candidates — but who are they? And which of them are most worth supporting with your money?

First, here are the crossover candidates who have gotten both the Progressives Everywhere and Obama bumps: DeJear (IA-SoS) (Donate Here), Stacey Abrams (GA-Gov) (Donate Here), Kathleen Clyde (OH-SoS) (Donate Here), Richard Cordray (OH-Gov) (Donate Here), Lauren Underwood (IL-14) (Donate Here), and Tina Davis (PA-State Senate) (Donate Here).

All of Obama’s state legislature choices are in legislative chambers that are either up for grabs or under a breakable GOP supermajority. There are some great congressional candidates too, but this time around, I’m going to focus on very competitive state capitol races, where donations go the furthest.

Here are the first five candidates that especially excite me, in races that could make the biggest impact.

Tammy Story (CO-SD-16): There are two reasons to support Tammy Story’s campaign for State Senate in Colorado. First, she’s an active and accomplished public school advocate who helped lead the successful recall of three conservatives who had hijacked the Jefferson County Board of Education and went to war against teachers and students. She’s also a dedicated environmentalist and devoted to ensuring equal pay for equal work.

Second, she’s running against the embodiment of the modern Republican: Tim Neville is a noxious, far-right, mean-spirited nihilist who regularly sponsors bills that would strip rights and protections from LGBTQ Coloradans and make automatic weapons even more accessible. In 2016, to promote a bill that would allow concealed carry without a permit, an insane idea already, he went and held an AR-15 giveaway. The guy is a lunatic. That the GOP holds the Colorado state senate by one seat would make ousting this psycho even sweeter.

CLICK HERE to donate to Tammy Story and all our choices via Progressives Everywhere’s ActBlue page for Obama’s Picks

Faith Winter (CO-SD-24): Few public officials have the guts that Faith Winter displayed last year. As the #MeToo movement began to rattle entrenched power in Hollywood and Washington, Winter, a member of the Colorado House of Representatives, stood up for herself and nearly a dozen other women who were sexually harassed by State Rep. Steve Lebsock. First, she spoke out in public, then called his bluff by filing a formal complaint. That Lebsock was also a Democrat made it an even braver choice, as political parties so often try to brush their members’ sins under the rug. It was a very messy fight and Lebsock did not go quietly — he basically went nuts — but he was ultimately expelled from the legislature. The fight goes on and Winter is helping to lead the way.

She should not be defined only by her fight against sexual harassment, because Winter has a slew of other accomplishments. She helped train women to run for office through the Emerge America program, introduced Equal Pay and Paid Family Leave laws (which went down in the State Senate), advocates for affordable housing, and fights for public education.

CLICK HERE to donate to Faith Winter and all our choices via Progressives Everywhere’s ActBlue page for Obama’s Picks
Laura Fortman (ME-SD-13): When it comes down to actually passing legislation and influencing government, Frances Perkins will forever rank as one of the most important figures in the history of the progressive movement. As FDR’s Secretary of Labor, she helped rally workers and labor unions and enacted much of the New Deal’s most important policies, operating in FDR’s long shadow. So when a politician lists Perkins as a hero, you immediately take notice.

Laura Fortman has spent her career fighting for workers and women, as the head of the Maine Women’s Lobby and the Maine Department of Labor, then later for the US Department of Labor. She also served as the head of the Frances Perkins’ Center, a museum dedicated to Perkins’ legacy. Her understanding of the complicated web of issues facing the working class makes her an ideal candidate for a state that just suffered through Gov. Paul LePage, a grumpy old bigot who would rather go to jail than expand access to healthcare.

CLICK HERE to donate to Laura Fortman and her Maine Democratic colleagues, plus all our other choices via Progressives Everywhere’s ActBlue page for Obama’s Picks

Erica Crowley (OH-HD-26): I’ve read a lot of personal statements from candidates over the years, and generally speaking, they are rote and filled with focus-group-tested buzzwords. Not Erica Crowley’s. Her life story is incredible, from a childhood raised by drug addicts (who have since recovered) to a decorated career in the military, a law degree, and a career helping non-profits serving her community’s most vulnerable people.

She is the kind of person who should be running our government at all levels. Smart, accomplished, and empathetic, with both ideals and actionable ideas informed by lived experience. This, from her website, says it all: “I refuse to idly stand by while income inequality, access to affordable and quality healthcare, and the fight for equitable education continue to be growing issues.”

CLICK HERE to donate to Erica Crowley and all our choices via Progressives Everywhere’s ActBlue page for Obama’s Picks

Taylor Sappington (OH-HD-94): Speaking of policy informed by experience, Taylor Sappington‘s story is also one of dire circumstances in childhood leading to empathy and vision in adulthood. Growing up in southeastern Ohio, Sappington grew up in a union family that hit rock bottom when her mom’s employer downsized. Bills went unpaid and they lost just about everything, including electricity and even their car, a key to life in rural Ohio.

Thanks to public education and then a lot of student loans, Sappington graduated college and wound up on the local city council. His platform calls for better funding for public education, increased access to healthcare, better rural infrastructure, clean elections, and renewable energy. He is the sort of candidate that could turn the tide for Democrats in rural areas that have become reflexively Republican, a local boy who understands the region and can help it navigate the changing economy.

CLICK HERE to donate to Taylor Sappington and all our choices via Progressives Everywhere’s ActBlue page for Obama’s Picks

Stick it to Nazis and help expand access to healthcare

Ignore Trump. Progressive activists are making real progress.

It’s increasingly hard to remember a time before Donald Trump’s demented id hovered over all facets of American life, blocking out the sun with a thick, gold foil-wrapped cloud of sexism, racism, and corruption. But even just a few years ago, Americans could enjoy a relatively quiet July 4th week, celebrating a very imperfect nation that seemed to be slowly progressing toward a more just and fair democracy.

That idea of America was probably a delusion, given the vicious policies we’ve seen the GOP pursue over the last decade, but still, the evil being wrought by the US government this past July 4th, ostensibly a time to celebrate our higher ideals, puts the urgency of our reality into deep relief.

Human rights abuses. Republicans in Russia. Trade wars. Healthcare developments. Scott Pruitt trying to steal the Declaration of Independence (probably). News from last Monday feels like it happened forever ago. Which is really part of Trump’s “plan,” if he has any: overload us until we crawl to our couches, turn on Netflix (the new season of GLOW is great!) and let him live-tweet Fox News in a froth while his cronies loot America.

Turns out, though, that the week was filled with news about the candidates and causes we (and by that I mean you, generous reader) are supporting here at Progressives Everywhere. And in fact, there was even some good news! So this week, let’s check in on the progress of the leaders and movements we’ve boosted with over $45,000 thus far, and try to help them even more.

Let’s start with some good news: Medicaid expansion looks like it will be on the ballot in Nebraska!

Last month, we spoke to an organizer at Insure the Good Life, the non-profit that was leading the campaign to bypass GOP Gov. Pete Ricketts and give voters the power to expand healthcare access for 90,000 working people across the state. Last week, they delivered 133,000 signatures to the Nebraska Secretary of State, far surpassing the required 85,000. Once they’re validated by the state, there will be a question on the ballot in this November’s election, and should it pass, Nebraska will become the 35th state to expand Medicaid under Obamacare.

There will also be a ballot initiative to expand Medicaid in Idaho and Utah, and all three are polling well right now. This is in line with the massive shift in public opinion in favor of Obamacare — and directly contrary to ongoing Trump and GOP efforts to sabotage the law and take away healthcare from millions of people (Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin just took dental and vision benefits from Medicaid recipients, simply because he’s an asshole). This should be THE biggest issue in the midterm elections, especially if progressives continue to press and play offense, working to expand access instead of punishing people for getting sick.

Click HERE to support Medicaid expansion ballot initiatives in Nebraska and Idaho!

Hate has always run America. It’s just that over the last 30 or so years, the bigotry has been the more subtle and insidious kind, inspiring discriminatory policy couched in platitudes about opportunity and freedom.

Thanks to Donald Trump and his embrace of the alt-right, both rhetorically and in public policy, the false niceties have fallen by the wayside. As Democrats run their most diverse slate of candidates in history, literal Nazis are running wild, trying to intimidate the progressives that are going to sweep them from power.

Rick Neal, an openly gay candidate running in Ohio’s 15th district, found a sticker for the Neo-Nazi group Patriot Front on the campaign sign on the lawn of his Columbus home.

Via NBC 4 in Columbus:

He lives with his husband and their 2 daughters who are both African American. He said he expected opponents to take shots at his personal life. “I’m the first openly gay nominee running for federal office in Ohio’s history. I mean it was bound to get some attention, right,” asked Neal.

But he never expected to see what he found Monday night. A sticker placed on his campaign sign in his front yard promoting the group “Patriot Front.”

Neal said he would have preferred it if the person who left the sticker would have simply had a conversation with him. “Neo-nazis. Or just the Nazis. Do you know what that’s all about? Do you know what they did? Do you know your history?” he said.

And though he filed a police report, he said he’s not overly worried and that if anything the incident reinforces his decision to run for office in the first place. “There’s too much at stake in this election to be intimidated,” he said.

His reaction to the situation is inspiring, but not surprising. Neal has spent his entire adult life giving himself to the cause of helping and progressing humanity. He joined the Peace Corps. out of college and then went into nonprofit work, traveling the world to work on issues like access to clean water, the Ebola epidemic, and refugee camps.

He’s running against Steve Stivers, who will have all the resources in the world as the head of the NRCC. He’s got a 99% Trump score — meaning he’s voted with Trump 99% of the time. He’s supported this paragon of hate over and over again, helping prop up his indecent presidency. Taking him down would be absolutely huge.

If you want to help support to Rick Neal, while defiantly sending a message that hate groups have no place in our politics and that we will not be intimidated.

CLICK HERE to donate to our ActBlue page supporting Rick Neal’s campaign.

On the immigration front, there has been slow, halting progress in reuniting families so cruelly ripped apart at the border by Trump and Jeff Sessions’ violent “no tolerance” policy. It’s become clear that the Trump administration had absolutely no intention on reuniting parents and children when it began this evil operation; because they kept such terrible and incomplete records, it’s been a mad scramble to identify children, locate their parents, and reunite the families.

There are some 12,000 children in government custody right now, and about 3000 of them have yet to be reunited with their parents. About 100 of them are under five years old — and it turns out that the government already deported 38 of their parents.

Immigrant rights organizations are working night and day to help families be reunited and get their fair day in court; right now, the administration is often forcing toddlers to represent themselves in front of a judge. (That is not a joke.) The conditions these families face are deplorable, and the entire ordeal has been devastating to the development of these innocent children. The sooner we can end this immediate catastrophe, the better.

CLICK HERE to donate to our ActBlue page supporting nonprofits working to assist abused immigrant families.

Trump is going to come after Roe v Wade. We need to elect SCOTUS insurance

There is nothing I can say about last week’s avalanche of bad news that you haven’t screamed in a fit of rage and/or despair. But, in the interest of riling you up and creating some urgency, let’s recap:

The Supreme Court, a sullied institution that has been transformed into an organ of oppression for old rich bigots, delivered several major blows to working people, democracy, and humanity. Having already greenlit voter purges and protected corporations from facing consequences for taking part in human rights abuses, the conservative majority went even further last week. The court hobbled public sector unions, upheld Trump’s racist anti-Muslim travel ban, and struck down California’s effort to provide pregnant women in crisis with information about abortion.

Then it got worse.

After the last decision was announced, Justice Anthony Kennedy announced his retirement. Though he was a conservative on economic issues, he was considered a swing vote because of his respect for Roe v Wade and stance on gay marriage. There is just about zero chance that Trump will nominate a “moderate” to replace Kennedy, because he’s literally never done anything moderate in his life, and that was before he got maniacs like Stephen Miller howling in his ear.

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So then what? Simply put, it will be up to the states to protect its citizens. Overturning Roe v. Wade — whether incrementally or in one fell swoop — won’t make abortion illegal, but free states to do so themselves. (And many states are already pushing the limit, restricting reproductive choice more and more.)

So here we are again, faced with the task of rebuilding state and local Democratic parties on the fly, now with no nominal safety net at the high court. And so this week, we’re starting a fund for candidates who will stand up for these rights in key states where they are under attack.

In Ohio, the state GOP is pushing a law that would ban abortions altogether, even in the case of incest or rape. State senators know that it would immediately be challenged, but again, that’s the point. They want to get this blatantly illegal policy into the court system, so that it has a chance of blowing up Roe v Wade for good.

Governor John Kasich has cautioned against this bill, but the GOP right now has the supermajority needed to override any veto. That means that not only do we need to elect a Democratic governor this fall — former Consumer Protection Bureau head Richard Cordray is the nominee in a tight race — but also fight to take back the legislature (or at least break that supermajority). That brings us to Lauren Friedman and Lorraine Wilburn, pro-choice candidates who are running for the legislature in districts that Hillary Clinton won in 2016.

Neither woman was very politically active before 2016, but they were inspired to get involved by Trump’s election. Already, their activism and campaigns have led to some pretty fantastic stories.

One stellar example: Wilburn delivered a birthday cake to the office of her GOP congressman, Jim Renacci, on the 7th anniversary of the passage of Obamacare. “I’m sure they threw it away. We were actually removed from the office,” Wilburn said.

Friedman said it best: “When you’re desperate and your elected officials don’t listen to you, you have to get creative.”

So, what do they stand for? Per CantonRep.com:

Wilburn said they’re running on “health care, education, economy and jobs. These are the issues that impact us and our families. They impact our friends. We know these issues first hand. .. we’re not career politicians.”

She said she wants more accountability for charter schools and an actual fix to school funding.

Friedman said, “we’ll show up, and we’ll vote. We’ll be there. And we will listen. We will talk to constituents, and we will hold town halls and I think it’s a real good start.”

These are the kind of candidates that can create a sea change for Democrats this year — as long as we support them and don’t let the national party’s tired old guard lecture people about civility and being nice to Nazis. Both women quit their day jobs to run for office full-time and are talking about fundamental issues that impact working Americans of all political persuasions. As Trump gives away billions to his rich buddies,  kitchen table issues and bold progressive activists are our best chance of connecting with voters and saving democracy.

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Having women so involved in fighting Trump will be crucial even in the campaigns in which they’re not the candidate. Look at what’s happening in Iowa for an idea of just how much is at stake this fall when it comes to reproductive rights (and so many other issues, of course).

Earlier this year, Iowa passed the most restrictive anti-choice bill in the nation, banning abortion at the point at which a fetus has a heartbeat. That’s about six weeks after conception, which is often before women even realize they are pregnant. Planned Parenthood of Iowa almost immediately sued, and soon after, a judge placed a temporary injunction against the law — which was exactly what the Iowa GOP wanted to have happen. Now, the measure will work its way through the court system, with a chance to be heard by the Supreme Court.

That makes this fall’s Iowa gubernatorial campaign absolutely critical. If Democrat Fred Hubbell can unseat GOP Gov. Kim Reynolds, he can stop the state from defending the law in court, defusing that major threat. With that in mind, we are officially supporting Hubbell’s campaign in what should be a very close race.

Because there are so many other states that restrict abortion rights and so many races to be fought, we’re also backing Emily’s List, an organization that trains and supports pro-choice Democratic women running for office.

CLICK HERE to support candidates and groups that will help ensure a far-right Supreme Court doesn’t endanger your rights