Posted by: minnow | June 20, 2019

If Not Now–When?

At 20%, Congressional approval ratings are in the toilet. The public sees Congress as not caring about the American people, unable to solve the problems the country faces, and more interested in playing politics than doing its jobs. Some will tell you that it doesn’t matter who is in control. They point to Obama first two years as president when Democrats controlled everything and plainly state Congress didn’t get anything done then either. However, perceptions are not always the same as reality–and the newest members of the House want you, the American public, to take a closer look.

The House is passing legislation. While media has been focused on “will they or won’t they Impeach”, the House has tried to protect preexisting conditions in healthcare, lower prescription drug prices, take care of veterans, save net neutrality, establish background checks for gun purchases, provide disaster relief, protect public lands, and pass the Equal Pay Act. Bills addressing these issues and more languish in the Senate gathering dust on the Senate Majority Leader’s desk. Meanwhile, McConnell and company ram conservative justices down the throat of the judiciary. 45 saw his 100th nominee confirmed the last week of April.

So with the 2020 election seemingly around the corner what should we do? Obviously the presidential race will receive the most media coverage. The first primary debates are scheduled for June 26 and 27. Elizabeth Warren will be the headliner for the first night, with Cory Booker and Beto O’Rourke nipping at her heels. Biden, Sanders, and Buttigieg will vie for top spot on night two, but Kamala Harris and Kirsten Gillibrand will make certain the ladies are not left out. This match up might mean fewer people watch night one compared to night two but it could also mean Warren establishes herself as the front runner to beat since Biden will no doubt spend at least part of his night in defense mode. WATCH BOTH DEBATES! Pay attention to what candidates actually say and figure out what resonates with the viewers. If we want to change the way Washington does its job–and we should–we must get involved NOW.  Armchair politicking works just about as well as armchair quarterbacking.

Although the top spot generally garners the most attention and what happens presidentially influences elections up and down the ballot, changing Congress will change Washington.  Shortly after the mid-term election, Five Thirty Eight‘s election analyst Nathaniel Rakich spent a little time predicting the future concluding it will continue to be an uphill battle for Democrats in 2020. 2016 proved running against 45 will not be enough for a presidential candidate to win. And it won’t be enough for a congressional candidate either! We must champion men and women who actually want to represent the people and who take key issues–healthcare, climate change, getting big money out of politics, immigration, and criminal justice reform–seriously!  We must elect these people and we must insist they keep their word!

Obviously, we cannot track every race or donate to every candidate that needs help. So find out who your Representative is and if your Senator is up for election. Do what needs to be done in those elections to elect the most progressive candidate possible. Below are lists of Representatives and Senators who are considered at risk. If your candidate appears on these lists that is where you should focus your time and resources. If not, consider helping a candidate from another state and on election day and the days running up to the election work to get out the vote.

Every member of the House is up for re-election. Several Democrats are considered vulnerable. Once the primaries are decided, these races need to be fiercely defended. Incumbents for these races include: Finkenhnauer in Iowa, Golden in Maine, Kim in New Jersey, Small in New Mexico, Rose, Brindisi, and Delgado in New York, Horn in Oklahoma, Cunningham in South Carolina, and McAdams in Utah. Fewer Republican seats appear to be vulnerable and must be vigorously challenged. These include: Woodall’s in Georgia, Bacon’s in Nebraska, Fitzpatrick’s in Pennsylvania, Hurd’s in Texas, and an open seat in North Carolina.

These Republican Senate seats are up for election: Mitch McConnell (KY), Lindsey Graham (SC), Thom Tillis (NC), Lamar Alexander (TN), Shelley Moore Capito (WV), Susan Collins (ME), Bill Cassidy (LA), John Cornyn (TX), Tom Cotton (AR), Steve Daines (MT), Mike Enzi (WY), Joni Ernst (R-IA), Cory Gardner (CO), Cindy Hyde-Smith (MS), James Inhofe (OK), Martha McSally (AZ), David Perdue (GA), James Risch (ID), Pat Roberts (KS), Mike Rounds (SD), Ben Sasse (NB), and Dan Sullivan (AK). Alexander, Enzi, and Roberts announced they are not running for re-election which means Tennessee, Wyoming, and Kansas will have two “new” candidates to choose from. According to John Isaacs, writing for the Council for a Livable World, incumbents Doug Jones from Alabama is the most vulnerable Democrat and Cory Gardner of Colorado is the most vulnerable Republican. In addition, seats in Maine, North Carolina, and Iowa could also be turned blue. Additionally, Democrat Tom Udall of New Mexico is retiring so even though it is traditionally a blue state Republicans may focus some attention there as it’s considered open.

Congress’ 20% approval rating is OUR FAULT! We haven’t held our representatives accountable. We haven’t replaced the do-nothings with visionaries and problem solvers. And, 46% of those who could vote, haven’t voted! 2020 is our chance to change that fact! The time has come to prove there is no longer a magic middle in American politics. We have those who work for the wealthy–for big banks and CEOs who made million dollar bonuses after American taxpayers bail them out of trouble and for corporate giants who get away with paying no taxes despite billions in profits–and those who work for the rest of us, who see America as something better and more valuable than the profit margin for stockholders. But, we need the discouraged and disenfranchised to renew their strength and get to work. You can be that someone in 2020!

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