Tag Archives: Democrats

Californias Democrats Are Ready for Political War

The Republicans are about to control Congress and the presidency for the first time in a decade, and they have an ambitious agenda. Theyve promised to undo Obamacare, deport undocumented immigrants, and roll back environmental regulations. The Democrats who run the state government in California arent happy. Immediately after the election, state Senate President Kevin de Len and his Assembly counterpart, Anthony Rendon, both Latinos from Southern California, sent out a scathing statement in English and Spanish assuring all 39 million Californians that they were ready for political war. Today, we woke up feeling like strangers in a foreign land, because yesterday Americans expressed their views on a pluralistic and democratic society that are clearly inconsistent with the values of the people of California, they wrote. We will lead the resistance to any effort that would shred our social fabric or our Constitution.

Democrats have dominated all branches of Californias government since 2011, when Jerry Brown succeeded Arnold Schwarzenegger as governor. With the largest economy in the U.S. and the sixth-largest in the world, the state enjoys greater independence from Washington than most. It was the first state to adopt its own vehicle emissions standards, in 2002. In 2012, California created the only state-level cap-and-trade system for limiting greenhouse gas emissions after Republicans in Congress rejected a national model. California, which has more undocumented immigrants than any other state, offers them drivers licenses as well as financial aid for college. It has imposed some of the countrys strictest background checks on firearms purchases. Its one of three states to provide paid family and medical leave and one of five that require employers to offer paid sick leave. This is unlike anything weve seen in modern political history, says de Len. Were going to do everything in our power to protect our people and our values as Californians.

Hillary Clinton won more than 61 percent of the states vote, a higher share than President Obama won in 2012. Voters approved ballot measures decriminalizing recreational marijuana use, restricting ammunition purchases, and increasing taxes on the rich. The national election triggered a resurgence of California secession fantasies, this time under the hashtag #Calexita reference to Brexit, Britains vote to leave the European Union.

State Democrats say theres plenty they can do short of leaving the U.S. California has long been a net contributor to Washingtons coffers, receiving an estimated 78 in federal spending in return for every dollar it sends, according to a study by the Washington-based Tax Foundation, a nonprofit think tank that provides analysis of federal and state tax policies. That gives state leaders potential leverage when it comes to complying with policies it doesnt like, starting with the deportation of undocumented immigrants.

From January 2014 to September 2015, California released immigrants considered deportable under federal law in more than 11,000 instances, rather than keeping them in custody for federal agents, according to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement data obtained by the Texas Tribune. The next state on the list, New York, released people in fewer than 2,000 cases.

On Nov. 14, Los Angeles Police Department Chief Charlie Beck said he wont reverse long-standing department policy blocking officers from doing immigration enforcement, despite Donald Trumps threats to cut federal funding to so-called sanctuary cities, which offer residents protection from federal agents. We are not going to work with Homeland Security on deportation efforts, Beck said. That is not our job, nor will I make it our job. San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee has also publicly affirmed his commitment to remaining a sanctuary city, and his office has begun drawing up contingency plans for dealing with a loss of federal funding, says City Controller Ben Rosenfield.

One of the biggest points of contention between Sacramento and Trumps Washington will be climate change. The incoming president has called global warming a hoax created by and for the Chinese in order to make U.S. manufacturing noncompetitive. Hes also pledged to withdraw from the 2015 Paris Agreement, the first legally binding global deal to reduce carbon emissions, and to shred Obamas Clean Power Plan, which sought to control emissions from power plants.

Governor Brown has devoted himself to strengthening Californias carbon pollution rules, already the nations toughest. We will protect the precious rights of our people and continue to confront the existential threat of our timedevastating climate change, Brown said in a statement that also referred to finding common ground with Trump and the GOP where possible. Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf says cities should be willing to uphold the Paris commitments at the local level. You have 70 percent of the worlds greenhouse gas emissions coming from cities, she says. If all mayors agree to take action, we can actually render federal action irrelevant.

Californias Democrats are also exploring ways to ensure continued access to health care. The Affordable Care Act guarantees federal subsidies for 90 percent of the 1.4 million residents insured by Covered California, the statewide health exchange, and about 5.5 million more Californians now have insurance via the Medicaid expansion made possible by the 2010 law. A repeal, as Trump and Republicans have pledged, would cost the state more than $15 billion in federal subsidies a year, according to the nonprofit Urban Institute. In theory, California could implement its own universal health-care program, says Californias insurance commissioner, Dave Jonesthough doing so, he warns, would require significant state tax increases.

One area where Trump may be able to override state objections is his plan for a border wall, although much of Californias border with Mexico is already lined with high fences and motion sensors. Yet there are plenty of policies that Trump wont be able to disrupt. Take abortion rights: If Roe v. Wade, the 1973 U.S. Supreme Court ruling that legalized abortion nationwide, were to be scrapped by a new court majority, the issue would revert to states. California leaders have taken steps to expand access to the procedure, and could make the state a haven for women seeking abortions if Roe were to fall. And some ideas that Trump has endorsed, like stop-and-frisk law enforcement policies, are determined at the local level, not by Congress. Says Mayor Schaaf: I think it is wise to not react too much to things that have not yet occurred, but rather to be prepared and strengthened in the event that they do.

The bottom line: More than 61 percent of Californians voted for Clinton, and state Democrats say theyll block Trumps policies.

Read more: http://www.bloomberg.com//news/articles/2016-11-18/california-s-democrats-are-ready-for-political-war

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Californias Democrats Are Ready for Political War

The Republicans are about to control Congress and the presidency for the first time in a decade, and they have an ambitious agenda. Theyve promised to undo Obamacare, deport undocumented immigrants, and roll back environmental regulations. The Democrats who run the state government in California arent happy. Immediately after the election, state Senate President Kevin de Len and his Assembly counterpart, Anthony Rendon, both Latinos from Southern California, sent out a scathing statement in English and Spanish assuring all 39 million Californians that they were ready for political war. Today, we woke up feeling like strangers in a foreign land, because yesterday Americans expressed their views on a pluralistic and democratic society that are clearly inconsistent with the values of the people of California, they wrote. We will lead the resistance to any effort that would shred our social fabric or our Constitution.

Democrats have dominated all branches of Californias government since 2011, when Jerry Brown succeeded Arnold Schwarzenegger as governor. With the largest economy in the U.S. and the sixth-largest in the world, the state enjoys greater independence from Washington than most. It was the first state to adopt its own vehicle emissions standards, in 2002. In 2012, California created the only state-level cap-and-trade system for limiting greenhouse gas emissions after Republicans in Congress rejected a national model. California, which has more undocumented immigrants than any other state, offers them drivers licenses as well as financial aid for college. It has imposed some of the countrys strictest background checks on firearms purchases. Its one of three states to provide paid family and medical leave and one of five that require employers to offer paid sick leave. This is unlike anything weve seen in modern political history, says de Len. Were going to do everything in our power to protect our people and our values as Californians.

Hillary Clinton won more than 61 percent of the states vote, a higher share than President Obama won in 2012. Voters approved ballot measures decriminalizing recreational marijuana use, restricting ammunition purchases, and increasing taxes on the rich. The national election triggered a resurgence of California secession fantasies, this time under the hashtag #Calexita reference to Brexit, Britains vote to leave the European Union.

State Democrats say theres plenty they can do short of leaving the U.S. California has long been a net contributor to Washingtons coffers, receiving an estimated 78 in federal spending in return for every dollar it sends, according to a study by the Washington-based Tax Foundation, a nonprofit think tank that provides analysis of federal and state tax policies. That gives state leaders potential leverage when it comes to complying with policies it doesnt like, starting with the deportation of undocumented immigrants.

From January 2014 to September 2015, California released immigrants considered deportable under federal law in more than 11,000 instances, rather than keeping them in custody for federal agents, according to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement data obtained by the Texas Tribune. The next state on the list, New York, released people in fewer than 2,000 cases.

On Nov. 14, Los Angeles Police Department Chief Charlie Beck said he wont reverse long-standing department policy blocking officers from doing immigration enforcement, despite Donald Trumps threats to cut federal funding to so-called sanctuary cities, which offer residents protection from federal agents. We are not going to work with Homeland Security on deportation efforts, Beck said. That is not our job, nor will I make it our job. San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee has also publicly affirmed his commitment to remaining a sanctuary city, and his office has begun drawing up contingency plans for dealing with a loss of federal funding, says City Controller Ben Rosenfield.

One of the biggest points of contention between Sacramento and Trumps Washington will be climate change. The incoming president has called global warming a hoax created by and for the Chinese in order to make U.S. manufacturing noncompetitive. Hes also pledged to withdraw from the 2015 Paris Agreement, the first legally binding global deal to reduce carbon emissions, and to shred Obamas Clean Power Plan, which sought to control emissions from power plants.

Governor Brown has devoted himself to strengthening Californias carbon pollution rules, already the nations toughest. We will protect the precious rights of our people and continue to confront the existential threat of our timedevastating climate change, Brown said in a statement that also referred to finding common ground with Trump and the GOP where possible. Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf says cities should be willing to uphold the Paris commitments at the local level. You have 70 percent of the worlds greenhouse gas emissions coming from cities, she says. If all mayors agree to take action, we can actually render federal action irrelevant.

Californias Democrats are also exploring ways to ensure continued access to health care. The Affordable Care Act guarantees federal subsidies for 90 percent of the 1.4 million residents insured by Covered California, the statewide health exchange, and about 5.5 million more Californians now have insurance via the Medicaid expansion made possible by the 2010 law. A repeal, as Trump and Republicans have pledged, would cost the state more than $15 billion in federal subsidies a year, according to the nonprofit Urban Institute. In theory, California could implement its own universal health-care program, says Californias insurance commissioner, Dave Jonesthough doing so, he warns, would require significant state tax increases.

One area where Trump may be able to override state objections is his plan for a border wall, although much of Californias border with Mexico is already lined with high fences and motion sensors. Yet there are plenty of policies that Trump wont be able to disrupt. Take abortion rights: If Roe v. Wade, the 1973 U.S. Supreme Court ruling that legalized abortion nationwide, were to be scrapped by a new court majority, the issue would revert to states. California leaders have taken steps to expand access to the procedure, and could make the state a haven for women seeking abortions if Roe were to fall. And some ideas that Trump has endorsed, like stop-and-frisk law enforcement policies, are determined at the local level, not by Congress. Says Mayor Schaaf: I think it is wise to not react too much to things that have not yet occurred, but rather to be prepared and strengthened in the event that they do.

The bottom line: More than 61 percent of Californians voted for Clinton, and state Democrats say theyll block Trumps policies.

Read more: http://www.bloomberg.com//news/articles/2016-11-18/california-s-democrats-are-ready-for-political-war

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The Resistance Now: activists say ‘hell no’ to Republican healthcare bill

Progressives sprung into action with dozens protesting outside the Senate majority leaders office, while Democrats took stock after Ossoffs loss

So about that healthcare bill…

Dozens of people were arrested after protesting outside Senate majority leader Mitch McConnells office on Thursday including some in wheelchairs as Republicans unveiled Republicans unveiled Trumpcare 2.0 (or are we on 3.0 now?).

Activists from disability rights organization Adapt gathered outside McConnells office to demonstrate against the bill, which would dramatically cut Medicaid and strip funding from Planned Parenthood, to name just two measures.

A
A protester is led away by police on Thursday. Photograph: Michael Reynolds/EPA

Progressive organizations sprung into action to try to defeat it.

Our Revolution set up a page on its website urging people to take action to stop AHCA [the Senate bill is called the Better Care Reconciliation Act but many of the principles are the same as the AHCA House bill] and prevent millions from losing their healthcare.

The organization has provided a number which will connect people to their Senators office, and has also provided some talking points.

AHCA would leave 23 million Americans without healthcare.

The bill would allow insurance companies to discriminate against patients and deny coverage based on pre-existing conditions.

A majority of voters strongly oppose repealing and replacing the Affordable Care Act (also known as Obamacare).

Americans want to expand healthcare, not gut it. In fact, two-thirds of Americans support Medicare for all.

Indivisible has its own page too, where people can submit amendments to their senator. This is about applying your constituent power directly to the process, Indivisibles website says. They also have an extensive list of reading material and a script people can use when talking to their representatives.

Ossoff: doomed from the start?

Thats what a number of progressives told the Guardian, after the 30-year-old lost to Republican Karen Handel in Tuesdays special election.

Jon Ossoff ran on a centrist, Clinton-esque platform that focussed on rather beige, uncontroversial issues like government waste. There was no talk of universal healthcare and little of welfare issues. He ran in what has traditionally been a Republican stronghold, and lost by only five points, but Ossoff was basically the opposite of the kind of populist candidate the left believes is the way forward.

Hes not in favour of single-payer healthcare, hes not outspoken on campaign finance reform, said Moumita Ahmed, founder of Millennials for Revolution. Why would I as a Republican vote for someone who isnt a Republican, but still has the same values as a Republican?

Jon
Ossoff plus balloons. Photograph: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Winnie Wong, from People for Bernie, said Ossoffs run the election was the most expensive House race in history, by the way was a massive failure of Democratic party leadership.

He didnt have a core progressive message and that ultimately is why he lost. The Democratic party could spend $100m and he would still lose. Because he didnt stand for anything.

but there is hope for a Brand New Congress

Thats the name of a group that selects, trains, supports and promotes progressives who want to run for Congress.

Brand New Congress (BNC), formed in April 2016, currently has 14 candidates who have announced their 2018 mid-term campaigns, including several who are running against incumbent Democrats.

We essentially provide full service campaign service, BNCs Corbin Trent told the Guardian this week. Brand New Congress manages press request, helps with events and ballot access, does opposition research on incumbents, and can even help with speechwriting.

Brand New Congress has organized a weekend canvassing kick off for its candidates (who are from across America) on Sunday. Each of the candidates all of whom are running on progressive platforms are holding events to boost their campaigns.

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who is running against incumbent Democrat Joseph Crowley in New Yorks 14th congressional district, organized for the Bernie Sanders campaign in 2016.

We have the capacity and opportunity to be ambitious in legislation, Ocasio-Cortez told the Guardian. Because the world is changing in ways weve never seen before.

What were reading

  • Were in the midst of an all-hands-on-deck emergency, writes Rebecca Solnit, in which new groups and coalitions are emerging along with unforeseen capacities in many people who didnt previously think they were activists. Solnit says there are extraordinary things happening in this moment, in an uplifting survey of the activist land.
  • Progressives should try to speak conservative to score victories, historian and LGBTQ strategist Nathaniel Frank writes in the LA Times. He says the successes of the LGBTQ movement came when activists learned to speak the language of those they most needed to enlist rather than those who already agreed with them.

Ron Swanson reimagined as Berniecrat progressive

Parks
Parks and Recreations Ron Swanson … an eerie doppelganger for a Democratic candidate whos making headlines. Photograph: NBC/NBCU Photo Bank

Randy Bryce, known as @IronStache on Twitter, sprung to fame this week when he announced his challenge to Republican house speaker Paul Ryan. In his favour? An evocative campaign advert, a leftwing message, and the mustache, denim and workboots of an all-American.

That masculine, blue-collar image prompted one Twitter user to suggest Bryce was genetically engineered from Bruce Springsteen songs, while several people compared the Democrat to the Parks and Recreation character Ron Swanson. Just not a libertarian.

Randy
Randy Bryce is running for Paul Ryans seat in Congress. Photograph: YouTube

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Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2017/jun/23/resistance-now-newsletter-healthcare-jon-ossoff

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Georgia special election: Republican Karen Handel beats Jon Ossoff in runoff

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Sporadic downpours and flash flood warnings helped to put a damper on Democratic turnout in base precincts

In Georgia the resistance was stopped by the rain on Tuesday when Jon Ossoff, long the best hope of Democrats to win a special election in the Trump administration, suffered a narrow loss to Republican Karen Handel in the Sixth Congressional District.

With 99% of precincts reporting, Handel had 52.4% and Ossoff had 47.6%

Sporadic downpours and flash flood warnings helped to put a damper on Democratic turnout in base precincts and on the hopes of progressives to thwart Republican efforts to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act. Combined with an energized Republican base that kept Ossoff from accumulating a significant lead among early voters, it doomed the hopes of the anti-Trump activists who made the first time Democratic candidate a minor political celebrity.

The runoff came after a first round of voting in April where Ossoff won just over 48% of the vote and Handel finished second in a splintered Republican field with just under 20% of the vote. However, Ossoff struggled to match that total as Handel consolidated the Republican vote in a traditionally conservative district in the northern suburbs of Atlanta andended up falling a percentage point short of his much hyped performance in the first round of voting.

Trump took to Twitter to hail the result as a personal victory Thank you @FoxNews Huge win for President Trump and GOP in Georgia Congressional Special Election.

The seat had been vacated by Tom Price when the former congressman joined Trumps cabinet to become secretary of health and human services and previously held by Republican stalwarts like Senator Johnny Isakson and former speaker Newt Gingrich. Although Price won by 23% in 2016, Donald Trump only narrowly won this wealthy, well-educated district by just over 1%.

Trumps narrow win sparked optimism among Democrats that the district, where nearly 60% of residents have a college degree, could flip as part of the political realignment around the presidents upset victory in 2016. Roughly $50m ended up being spent by both parties and allied groups in the race as it became the most expensive congressional campaign in the history of the United States.

However, while Democrats had motivated their base and won over skeptical Republicans, the conservative slant of district proved too much even for the nearly unprecedented resources that Democrats invested in the race, even flying in volunteers for last minute doorknocking as local television stations had been saturated by 30-second advertisements.

Although the race had been cast a referendum on Trump an opinion the President seemed to endorse after the result had been reported both candidates awkwardly danced around his looming presence on the campaign trail. At Handels campaign events, Trumps name went unmentioned by the candidate and introductory speakers. Instead, there was constant refrain of attack on Ossoff for his ties to House minority leader Nancy Pelosi and praise for previous holders of the seat like Price and Gingrich. Ossoff was regularly bashed for the amount of money he raised out of state and for having San Francisco values.

Handel, who suggested in the first televised debate of the campaign that Trump should use Twitter less often, told the Guardian in an interview on Monday that she didnt pay attention to the presidents use of social media. She said I am focused on my campaign, I have precious little time to be on Twitter. Several hours later, her campaign sent out a fundraising email signed by the former secretary of state with the subject line did you see what Trump just tweeted? after the President used his ubiquitous social media account to tout her campaign.

Ossoff has also been measured in his attacks on Trump in a traditionally Republican district albeit one that the president barely won in 2016. Instead, the lanky and measured political neophyte focused on banal and politically non-controversial issues like government waste and turning Atlanta into the Silicon Valley of the South and let the progressive anti-Trump enthusiasm of the Democratic base carry him.

Instead, he has focused on Handels stint as Georgia secretary of state as well as her brief stint with the Susan Komen Race For The Cure, a charity which combats breast cancer, where she led an effort to cut off the organizations funding for Planned Parenthood. The decision sparked a major controversy and funding was eventually restored and Handel had to resign from the non-profit.

In an interview with the Guardian, Ossoff slammed his opponent. Secretary Handels record as secretary of state is extremely weak perhaps because she was too busy preparing her next run for higher office to do her job. She quit her job early to run for higher office, as so many career politicians do. Her last significant private sector experience, her performance also lacked.

The issue of civility and the growing toxic nature of American political culture became an issue late in the race in the aftermath of the shooting of House Minority Whip Steve Scalise. Handel pointed to social media and journalism as reasons for the decline of civility in American society in an interview with the Guardian. Journalism is not journalism any more, said Handel. Ossoff stuck to broader themes, telling the Guardian, this is a deep rooted problem in American politics right now which is going to take work and bipartisan commitment to trying to heal wounds and focus on substance instead of fear mongering and slander.

Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2017/jun/21/georgia-special-election-republican-karen-handel-beats-jon-ossoff-in-runoff

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