Tuesday, October 21, 2014

NYT Endorses Cuomo in Hope that He Will Do Things He Will Never, Ever Do

As was inevitable, the New York Times editorial board finally endorsed Andrew Cuomo for re-election.  The Times had sat out the primary. They endorsed Tim Wu, Zephyr Teachout's running mate, but refused to endorse Teachout.

In their primary non-endorsement, the Times editorial board criticized Cuomo for his failure to deliver upon ethics reform and for his bias toward the interests of the rich. Here's how that piece ended:
Having walked away from his most important goals, he should not be surprised if many Democrats walk away from him on Sept. 9.
Now, just under two months later, the Times editorial board has decided that it wants four more years of Cuomo. 
 
The endorsement contains both understatement and an impressive degree of self-delusion.

Regarding understatements, it was amusing to see the Times toss Cuomo's focus on the interests of the rich as a mere aside:
His budgets have been on time, and though his tax policies have favored the wealthy, he managed to get higher credit ratings for the state for the first time in decades.
Contrast the tone of that line to this passage from their non-endorsement:
The budget efficiency came at a price, however. His first budget cut education by $1.5 billion, and later ones failed to give the schools what they needed. Though he pleaded poverty, he imposed an unnecessary property tax cap and refused to extend a tax surcharge on the state’s wealthiest. In January, he proposed yet another damaging tax cut, one that would largely benefit the wealthy and threaten more state services. He highhandedly dismissed Mayor Bill de Blasio’s plan for a city tax on the wealthy to pay for universal prekindergarten, instead substituting a pre-K plan with far less guaranteed financing.
But what's more eye-catching about the piece is the sheer level of delusion:
The decision not to endorse in the primary between Mr. Cuomo and his challenger, Zephyr Teachout, a national expert on political corruption and campaign reforms, reflected our disappointment with Mr. Cuomo’s failure to make good on his promise — made four years ago — to clean up Albany. It is our hope that, if Mr. Cuomo is elected to a second term, he will devote the next four years to achieving genuine, meaningful reform of Albany’s political culture, which remains mired in corruption.
(Emphasis added) 
 
Yes, the guy who disbanded his independent anti-corruption investigation after it started looking into the actions of some of his supporters.

And contrast this request...
His first order of business should be to use his political muscle to change the sham campaign finance laws that have turned Albany into a place that best serves moneyed interests and the politicians in hock to them.
That means reducing contribution limits to candidates; ending unlimited donations to party “housekeeping” accounts; and prohibiting contributions from limited liability corporations, which are used by corporations and individuals to give essentially unlimited amounts of money to candidates. And the most crucial reform is public financing for campaigns — the best way to inject competition into legislative races now almost controlled entirely by incumbents.
.....with this reality:
Mr. Cuomo himself has benefited from lax rules that have allowed him to raise nearly half of the $45 million for his campaign mostly from the developers and lobbyists giving $40,000 or more. Mr. Cuomo has said that while he supports reforms, the Legislature refuses to play ball. He could set a decent example for Albany lawmakers by refusing to take tainted, albeit legal, pots of money himself. That might allow him to shame the Legislature into acting; now, lawmakers can point to his finances and jeer. Reforming his own practices might also help restore his reputation after his sudden shutdown of the anti-corruption Moreland Commission, which had started looking into issues that may have involved his political supporters. A United States attorney has now taken up that work.
Another major disappointment was Mr. Cuomo’s failure to veto redistricting maps in 2012. Those maps were designed by legislators to thwart competition and harden the status quo in Albany. A state constitutional amendment on the November ballot — Proposal One on revising the state’s redistricting procedure — would undoubtedly make things worse. Mr. Cuomo should stop pushing for this deeply flawed measure.
His first order of business should be to use his political muscle to do something that he clearly has no interest whatsoever in doing

As Buzzfeed's Andrew Kacynski noted on Twitter earlier, the Times has a clear case of Stockholm syndrome.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Yes, Republicans are to Blame for CDC Cuts. But So Are Democrats.

The DCCC has recently started to incorporate Ebola into its advertising, blaming the GOP for cutting the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC) budget.

Republicans certainly deserve blame for slashing the budgets for the CDC and the NIH (National Institutes of Health). But so do Democrats. Austerity has been a bipartisan affair.

One of the most noteworthy pieces of legislation for entrenching austerity was the Budget Control Act of 2011.

The Budget Control Act, the result of the showdown over the debt ceiling, imposed arbitrary budget caps on federal departments and set the stage for the additional arbitrary cuts of sequestration (which was used as a threat to force the congressional "super committee" to create a deficit reduction plan of its own).

The Budget Control Act split the Democratic caucus in the House. 95 Democrats voted for it, and 95 Democrats voted against it.

73 of the 95 supporters are still in the House:

John Barrows (GA-12)
Karen Bass (CA-37)
Sanford Bishop (GA-02)
Tim Bishop (NY-01)
Bob Brady (PA-01)
Lois Capps (CA-24)
John Carney (DE)
Kathy Castor (FL-14)
David Cicilline (RI-01)
Lacy Clay (MO-01)
Jim Clyburn (SC-06)
Gerry Connolly (VA-11)
Jim Cooper (TN-04)
Jim Costa (CA-16)
Joe Courtney (CT-02)
Henry Cuellar (TX-28)
Danny Davis (IL-07)
Susan Davis (CA-53)
Ted Deutch (FL-21)
John Dingell (MI-12)
Lloyd Doggett (TX-35)
Anna Eshoo (CA-18)
Chaka Fattah (PA-02)
John Garamendi (CA-03)
Gene Green (TX-29)
Luis Gutierrez (IL-04)
Colleen Hanabusa (HI-01)
Brian Higgins (NY-26)
Jim Himes (CT-04)
Steny Hoyer (MD-05)
Steve Israel (NY-03)
Sheila Jackson Lee (TX-18)
Hank Johnson (GA-04)
Eddie B. Johnson (TX-30)
Bill Keating (MA-09)
Dan Kildee (MI-05)
Ron Kind (WI-03)
Jim Langevin (RI-02)
Rick Larsen (WA-02)
Sandy Levin (MI-09)
Dan Lipinski (IL-03)
Nita Lowey (NY-17)
Stephen Lynch (MA-08)
Jim Matheson (UT-04)
Carolyn McCarthy (NY-04)
Gregory Meeks (NY-05)
Mike Michaud (ME-02)
Bill Owens (NY-21)
Bill Pascrell (NJ-09)
Nancy Pelosi (CA-12)
Ed Perlmutter (CO-07)
Collin Peterson (MN-07)
Jared Polis (CO-02)
Mike Quigley (IL-05)
Nick Rahall (WV-03)
Cedric Richmond (LA-02)
Dutch Ruppersberger (MD-02)
Bobby Rush (IL-01)
Loretta Sanchez (CA-46)
Adam Schiff (CA-28)
Kurt Schrader (OR-05)
Allyson Schwartz (PA-13)
David Scott (GA-13)
Terri Sewell (AL-07)
Brad Sherman (CA-30)
Albio Sires (NJ-08)
Jackie Speier (CA-14)
Mike Thompson (CA-05)
Niki Tsongas (MA-03)
Chris Van Hollen (MD-08)
Tim Walz (MN-01)
Debbie Wasserman Schultz (FL-23)
Frederica Wilson (FL-24)

As you can see, the list includes most of the Democratic leadership: Pelosi, Hoyer, Israel, Wasserman Schultz, Van Hollen.

3 of them--Joe Donnelly (D-IN), Mazie Hirono (D-HI), and Martin Heinrich (D-NM)--are now in the Senate.

The situation was even worse in the Senate, where only six members of the Democratic caucus had the principles to vote against it from the left. (Ben Nelson of Nebraska voted against it, but that was because it didn't cut the deficit enough.)

And don't forget: that bill could not become law without the president's signature.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Stop Asking Candidates Whether They "Believe in" Climate Change. That's Not the Real Question.

As debate season is now upon us, we've gotten to learn--anew--that many Republicans doubt, deny, or downplay the reality of anthropogenic climate change.

Here's Paul Ryan in a recent debate:
One of the sharpest differences came when the moderator asked each candidate if he thought human activity is to blame for changes to the planet's climate. "I don't know the answer to that question," Ryan said. "I don't think science does, either."
Mitch "I'm not a scientist" McConnell evaded the question in a debate yesterday, as he has on other occasions. 
 
Here's CO-SEN candidate and current House rep Cory Gardner evading the question last week:
Gardner was asked during a debate in Denver with Sen. Mark Udall (D-Colo.) to give a simple answer as to whether "humans are contributing significantly to climate change." Pressed multiple times, he declined to say, insisting it was too complicated for a one-word answer.
"Well, I've said all along, climate is changing --" Gardner began.
He was reminded by debate moderators that he was supposed to say "yes" or "no," and then would have the opportunity for expansive comments later.
"Look, this is an important issue and I don't think you can say yes or no," Gardner replied.
The moderators again said he would get a minute later to explain his answer.
"I believe that the climate is changing, I disagree to the extent that it's been in the news," that man has contributed to climate change, Gardner finally said, interrupted by the clearly pro-Udall crowd.
I'm sure I could find many other examples from candidate Q&As or debates. However, the problem is that they are being asked a stupid question.

No self-respecting moderator should be asking candidates whether or not they "believe in" anthropogenic climate change. They should be asking candidates how they plan to respond to it.
Asking the question "Do you believe in anthropogenic climate change?" gives a certain veneer of credibility or respectability to the "no" answer, a credibility or respectability which it does not deserve. We do not need to be discussing whether climate change is real or whether it is human-influenced. We know that. And we know that we need to act.

Asking the real question--how to address climate change--presents an opportunity for substantive policy discussions, something often lacking in these candidate forums and televised debates. And it puts candidates from both parties on the spot. If Republicans are going to hedge about the reality of climate change, don't give them an easy out. Make them deny the factual premise of the question and look like a fool for doing so. Democrats and the rare moderate Republican do not deserve gold stars for acknowledging anthropogenic climate change. They need to be putting forward meaningful solutions to this multi-faceted crisis.

We don't need to be debating science. We need to be debating ethics and policy.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Richard Trumka Wants Democrats to Be More Populist. Richard Trumka Also Backs Republicans.

An article in The Nation yesterday talked about the work AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka has been doing on the campaign trail and how we would like to see Democrats be more populist and put more emphasis on economic fairness.
The midterm elections are twenty-seven days away, and AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka has been keeping a relentless road schedule campaigning for Democratic candidates. One thing he’d like to see more of: talk about basic economic fairness issues.
“I think more populism, or more focus on the economic issues, would be helpful,” he told a small group of reporters at the AFL-CIO headquarters in Washington, DC. “I think it would help drive turnout as well. I think the candidates that focus only on negative things, doing everything negative, have a real danger of having their base go flat.”
Trumka said that in talking to workers on the campaign trail, he frequently confronts a problem that has bedeviled Democrats in many past midterms: apathy. Union members wonder why it matters if they vote.

“They say that at the plant gate, at doors, on the telephone,” Trumka said. “I try to explain to them that the economy is not like the weather. Those that are in power, and those that want to be in power, want us to believe the economy is like the weather—there’s nothing you can do about it, so don’t bother. But the economy…it’s nothing but a bunch of rules. And those rules decide the winners and losers, and those rules are made by the men and women we elect. That’s why this election is important.”
However, when reading this, I could not help remembering the work that Trumka is also doing to keep the House in Boehner's hands. 

Back in June, the AFL-CIO formally endorsed Republican Frank LoBiondo (NJ-02), who scored a 72% on the Tea Party scorecard organized by progressive group Americans United for Change. He has only a 53% lifetime score (62% for 2013) with the AFL-CIO. That's a D- and an F. By contrast, all but 27 members of the Democratic caucus have a lifetime A. (Then 21 B's, 5 C's, and only one D--the horrible Jim Matheson.)

The AFL-CIO even made the UAW rescind its endorsement of LoBiondo's challenger Bill Hughes, Jr.

Back in April, Richard Trumka even wrote a letter to DCCC chairman Steve Israel (mentioned in the link above) asking him not to target LoBiondo. The letter has since been taken down from the NALC's website, but you can still read it in USW Local 1999's newsletter from April if you so desire.

I don't know a lot about LoBiondo's challenger, Democratic Bill Hughes, Jr. But from what I can see on his site, he would be a far better friend to labor than LoBiondo. And unlike LoBiondo, he won't be voting for John Boehner as Speaker.

League of Conservation Voters Endorses Republican Who Voted Against Them 75% of the Time Last Year

I get irritated when environmental groups like the League of Conservation Voters endorse Keystone XL-supporting Democrats like Kay Hagan or Mark Begich.

I get even more annoyed when such groups back Keystone XL-supporting Republicans like Susan Collins. At least Hagan and Begich are the more pro-environment candidates in their races. Collins is not. Her Democratic challenger--Shenna Bellows--would have a far better environmental record. Collins's LCV score from last year was 69%, a D+. All of the New England Democrats in the Senate had A's, if not A+'s.

Well, at least Susan Collins, with her D+, is still technically passing. I can't say the same for the LCV's latest endorsement: New Jersey Republican Frank LoBiondo (NJ-02).

Last year, LoBiondo had an LCV score of 25%. That means he voted against the environmental position 75% of the time. This year so far, his score is 42%. Again, still a whopping F.

Let's look at some of the recent things he voted for this year.

Attacking public protections and public lands
Representative Dave Camp (R-MI) sponsored H.R. 4, the so-called Jobs for America Act – a radical package of bills that threatens vital health and environmental safeguards and our public lands. This omnibus bill includes several attacks on the regulatory process that would help empower polluters by delaying or shutting down the implementation of critical public health and environmental safeguards, which would mean more premature deaths, illnesses, and other health impacts on the American people.  This legislation also includes two bills that would have significant negative impacts on our nation’s natural resources by decimating our forests and effectively eliminating public review of hardrock mining activities on public lands.
Weakening the Clean Water Act
Representative Steve Southerland (R-FL) sponsored H.R. 5078, the so-called Waters of the United States Regulatory Overreach Protection Act of 2014, which would allow the continued dumping of pollution into our small streams and wetlands by preventing the Environmental Protection Agency and the Army Corps of Engineers from moving forward with their proposed Clean Water Rule. This commonsense rule would clarify Clean Water Act protections for the small streams, wetlands, headwaters, and tributaries that impact the drinking water of over 117 million Americans, support businesses and recreation, and are crucial habitat for wildlife. H.R. 5078 would stop this rule in its tracks, closing the public comment period and ensuring the voices of polluters trump demands for clean water. However, this radical bill goes even further and prohibits the EPA and the Army Corps from ever developing any “substantially similar” rule or guidance to protect these crucial waterways. This extreme language would ensure that these waters remain vulnerable to pollution for the foreseeable future and further undermines the Clean Water Act.

Deregulating pesticide use

Representative Bob Gibbs (R-OH) sponsored H.R. 935, the so-called Reducing Regulatory Burdens Act of 2013, to prevent the EPA from protecting our waterways from the discharge of toxic pesticides that can contaminate drinking water, harm aquatic species, and work their way up the food chain. This legislation would stop EPA’s commonsense permitting practices for applying pesticides directly to waters that fall under the jurisdiction of the Clean Water Act, and would instead rely on a federal pesticides law that isn’t designed to follow individual applications of pesticides. Given that almost 2,000 U.S. waterways are already impaired by pesticides, this legislation would further jeopardize water quality and pose a risk to public health.
Slashing funding for renewable energy and energy efficiency and increasing spending on fossil fuels and nuclear
House Energy and Water Development Appropriations Subcommittee Chair Michael Simpson (R-ID) introduced H.R. 4923, the Energy and Water Development and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2015, which moves us backward on energy and environmental policy by slashing funding for renewable energy and energy efficiency while boosting funding for dirty fossil fuel and nuclear generation technologies. Although the impacts of climate change are already being felt around the country, climate deniers in Congress added more harmful amendments to the bill which attacked the science of climate change as well as the government’s ability to assess the real costs of these impacts and the benefits of improving energy efficiency and limiting carbon pollution. In addition, the bill contains dirty water policy riders that would limit the Army Corps of Engineers’ ability to safeguard the waters Americans depend on for drinking, swimming, fishing, and flood protection.
Blocking funding for climate modeling in DOE
Representative Paul Gosar (R-AZ) offered an amendment to H.R. 4923, the Energy and Water Development and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2015, which would block all funding for the Department of Energy’s (DOE) Climate Model Development and Validation program. This extreme amendment would prevent DOE from improving the reliability of climate models that are necessary to understand and predict the threats climate change poses, including sea level rise, extreme weather events, and drought.
Preventing federal agencies from assessing the risks and costs of climate change
Representative David McKinley (R-WV) offered an amendment to H.R. 4923, the Energy and Water Development and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2015, which would prevent federal agencies from assessing the costs and dangers posed by climate change. This extreme anti-science amendment would make it more difficult for these agencies to take part in studying or planning for the increase in extreme weather associated with climate change. It would also block these agencies from participating in the National Climate Assessment, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, and any analysis of the cost of carbon pollution.
Undermining the Clean Water Act....again
Representative Doug LaMalfa (R-CA) offered an amendment to H.R. 4923, the Energy and Water Development and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2015, which would undermine the Clean Water Act and jeopardize the waters Americans depend on for drinking, swimming, fishing, and flood protection. This amendment would repeal part of the Clean Water Act that currently provides limited exemptions for normal, on-going farm practices and discharges of dredged or fill material related to the maintenance of drainage ditches, and expand these exemptions in a way that would encourage new wetland and stream destruction. For example, a highway department cleaning out a maintenance ditch could dump excess material into a pristine lake, filling it in or obstructing its water flow without requiring any review under the law.
Banning the government from considering the social cost of carbon
Representative James Lankford (R-OK) offered an amendment to H.R. 4923, the Energy and Water Development and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2015, which would force federal agencies to turn a blind eye to the economic costs of climate change. Climate change is already costing communities billions of dollars each year across the country, but this anti-science amendment would prevent the government from weighing the costs of extreme weather and other climate change impacts or the savings from any government actions to improve energy efficiency and reduce carbon pollution.
To his credit, he once had decent LCV scores (for a Republican). From 2000 to 2009, his annual LCV score ranged from 63% to 90%. But since 2010, it's been straight F's. When the party lurched right, LoBiondo lurched with it. And he's not coming back.

Despite the fact that NJ-02 is a blue district (Obama won 53.5% of the vote in 2012), Democrats have often ignored the seat. However, LoBiondo has a challenger this year (Chris Hughes, and the race is looking increasingly competitive. A poll from just a few days ago put it at 47% LoBiondo - 42% Hughes.

Rather than helping to flip a district (or just sitting out the race), the LCV is helping to elect John Boehner as Speaker.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Jim Webb: More Reagan Democrat than Progressive Populist

Although Hillary Clinton is widely seen as the formidable frontrunner in the Democratic presidential primary in 2016, many progressives would prefer to have a candidate who is less hawkish and less close and connected to Wall Street and business elites. I would include myself in such a faction. Personally, I would like to see some debate and reflection within the Democratic Party, and I don't think that a Joe Biden or a Hillary Clinton would offer that. Let a thousand candidates bloom. (And by a "thousand," I mean no more than 5.)

Some progressives have attached their hopes to Senator Elizabeth Warren, who has expressed no interest in running. She's not particularly interested in foreign policy, a big part of the presidency, and I don't think she'll run. I'm perfectly happy to see her continue to be my senator.

Some like to tout Brian Schweitzer, former governor of Montana. However, someone as ardently pro-gun, pro-coal, and pro-oil as Schweitzer seems an odd choice for the populist left.

The latest "anti-Hillary" in the news is Jim Webb, the former senator from Virginia and Secretary of the Navy under Reagan.

The DW Nominate ideological scoring system is not perfect. It offers lifetime scores, not session scores, so it cannot reflect political evolution. Also, by looking at roll call votes, it ignores all of the things that never made it to a vote, as well as all of the jockeying and trading that makes a bill what it is before it even reaches that vote. Although imperfect, it is better than most, and with someone like Webb, the first flaw is neutralized. He only served one term.

The DW Nominate system scores members of Congress from -1.00 (most liberal) to 1.00 (most conservative). For the 112th Congress, Jim Webb clocked in at -0.193, between Bill Nelson (D-FL) and Tom Carper (D-DE). He is listed to the right of Max Baucus (D-MT) and Joe Lieberman (I-CT). Some progressive.

However, it is useful to look at what he said and what he did, rather than just a quantified abstraction.
Jim Webb voted with Republicans and Joe Lieberman to oppose the Democrats' plan to extend the Bush tax cuts for only the first $250,000 in income. Webb wanted millionaires to get their full tax cuts, too.

Jim Webb thought that the problem with the Affordable Care Act was that it wasn't bipartisan enough. You see, Obama should have tried harder to win over some Republicans. Never mind that Senate Republicans were involved in the process of crafting the bill.

In 2012, Jim Webb was the only Democrat to vote against extending reduced interest rates for student loans. He was a staunch student loan reform in general.

His record on the environment is spotty. Jim Webb voted in favor of voiding the Mercury and Air Toxics Standard for power plants, authorizing the Keystone XL pipeline, and significantly expanding offshore drilling. And he voted against closing tax loopholes for big oil companies and extending clean energy tax incentives.

Jim Webb is an unabashed Confederate apologist.

Unsurprisingly, then, he strongly opposes affirmative action.

And Jim Webb is a strange choice for an "anti-war" candidate. The former senator believes in the rightness of the Vietnam War and regards the anti-war left with dripping, red-baiting contempt. He supports keeping the option of pre-emptive military strikes on Iran on the table. He does a lot of saber-rattling toward China. When he opposes a war (e.g. the Iraq War), it is not out of a vision of a cooperative, pluralistic, humanitarian internationalism. It is out of a foreign policy realism that views such a war as a strategic error. Now, that's better than supporting such a war. But it's not an anti-war position, nor an anti-imperial one.

Frankly, we can do a lot better.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Warren Asks for Money for Female Dem Candidates, But Leaves One Out

Earlier today, I received the following email from Elizabeth Warren's campaign asking me to donate to the new Democratic women running for Senate this year:
   
In 2012, we elected four new Democratic women to the United States Senate.

In 2014, it's possible that we don't add any. Yes, you read that correctly: Zero. Zilch. Nada.

I'm not trying to cry wolf, and I'm not saying that the sky is falling. The fact is, our strong, smart, and experienced 2014 Democratic women challengers in Kentucky, Georgia, West Virginia, and Montana all signed up for some of the biggest, toughest races of the year. None of these races is a sure thing.    
But you and I know a little something about long-shot campaigns. We know how to beat the odds and win: We get organized and we fight back with everything we've got. Not a week before the election, but right now.
Can you help Alison Lundergan Grimes, Michelle Nunn, Natalie Tennant, and Amanda Curtis fight back and win this November? Donate now directly to their campaigns before their September 30th fundraising deadlines.

Nobody is going to pull out a chair and invite our candidates to have a seat at the table. If we want to win in Kentucky, Georgia, West Virginia, and Montana, we're going to have to fight for it:
    Despite all the Super PAC attacks, Kentucky Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes is polling neck-and-neck with Mitch McConnell. With your support, not only can we keep the Democratic majority in the Senate – we can send the #1 Republican in the Senate back home to Kentucky for good.
    Georgia remains one of the Democrats' top opportunities to pick up an open seat this November, thanks to our amazing Democratic candidate, Points of Light Foundation CEO Michelle Nunn. This race is a toss up, and Michelle needs your support to keep fighting.
    In West Virginia, Secretary of State Natalie Tennant is running a tough campaign against Republican Congresswoman Shelley Moore Capito for the seat my Democratic colleague Jay Rockefeller has held for nearly 30 years. The financial industry would love nothing more than to send their friend Capito to the Senate to weaken the rules in their favor. If you care about holding the big banks accountable, Natalie needs your help now.

    Amanda Curtis is our new Democratic nominee for the open Senate seat in Montana that Democrats have held for decades, and she took on a hard climb. She needs our help right away to close the fundraising gap the last six weeks of this campaign. A state legislator and a teacher (woo-hoo!), Amanda is a smart and outspoken voice for Montana families.  
I don't want 2014 to be the year we stop adding – or worse yet, lose – Democratic women in the United States Senate. Not on our watch. On issues like raising the minimum wage, equal pay for equal work, and even access to birth control, we need women in the Senate now more than ever to stand up and be heard.

Donate now to Alison, Michelle, Natalie, and Amanda's campaigns before their urgent September 30th deadlines. Let's keeping moving forward, not back.

Thank you for being a part of this,
Elizabeth
Warren's email, however, leaves out one of the new Democratic women on the ballot this November: Shenna Bellows of Maine. 
 
Shenna, the former executive director of the Maine ACLU, is far more progressive than Michelle, Natalie, Alison, or Amanda. You can visit her website, which highlights her opposition to the Trans-Pacific Partnership, the Keystone XL pipeline, and the testing regime created by NCLB as well as her support for repealing the PATRIOT Act, ending the drug war, and expanding Social Security. (among other things)

However, the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee (DSCC), despite endorsing Bellows back in March, has ignored the race ever since.

In 2012, Obama won Maine by 15 points. By contrast, he lost Georgia by 8, Kentucky by 23, Montana by 14, and West Virginia by 27. Maine, then, is friendly territory for Democrats and a fairly inexpensive media market.

Susan Collins, the Republican incumbent, has cultivated a reputation as a moderate. However, most of her votes belie that reputation. Consider, for instance, her vote last October to shut down the government, her vote against raising the minimum wage, and her vote against the Paycheck Fairness Act. Or countless others.

Perhaps part of the problem with the DSCC is that when Susan Collins is casting bad votes (outside of the purely party line confirmation votes), some Democrats are right there with her. Consider her votes for the Keystone XL pipeline, against restoring SNAP funding, or for raising student loan interest rates for future students. Or consider all of her votes for expanding the surveillance state and perpetual war state.

You can tell a lot about Susan Collins by the fact that she doesn't have an issues page on her campaign website. She knows that Maine voters do not agree with a lot of her positions, so she just won't talk about them.

Democrats should not be giving up a seat without a fight, especially when they are at risk for losing control.