fresh voices from the front lines of change








Andrew Tripp

I Know Firsthand Why Unions Should Endorse Bernie

One late summer evening in 2000, my home phone rang in Moretown, Vermont. “Can you please hold for Congressman Sanders?” the voice on the line asked. At the time, I had been doing what union organizers do when they’re not knocking on doors, going to shift change or running meetings: I was calling workers. In this case, the workers were from a local nursing home, Berlin Health & Rehabilitation, and I was reminding them to show up at the action they’d planned for the next morning. The workers had asked then-Rep. Bernie Sanders to attend their action the next day. I was new to Vermont but had organized unions all over the country for much of the previous decade, and I scoffed at the idea that any politician would even consider taking the workers' side in this way. So I was more than a bit shocked when Bernie actually called back. That he was calling to say he was “unfortunately stuck in Washington” for an important vote and would not be able to come back to Vermont for the action astounded me. Throughout his career, Bernie has urged workers to “vote for the union” and thanked them for going on strike or fighting for pensions, affordable healthcare, and safe staffing—time after time making it clear that when organized workers fight for their fundamental rights, they’re actually fighting for all workers. That Bernie is now campaigning on the most pro-worker and pro-union platform in the 2020 field should be no surprise. It's time for national union leaders to break out of their cocoon and work for Bernie as hard as he’s worked for us. Mobilize membership to elect the most pro-worker and pro-union presidential candidate we’ve seen in our lifetimes.

Super Tuesday Primaries In 14 States

Your state-by-state guide to Super Tuesday. NPR: "Super Tuesday is the biggest day of the Democratic primary campaign. Fourteen states will hold nominating contests to pick who they think should square off this fall against likely GOP nominee President Trump. Click here for live results and analysis. There are 1,357 delegates at stake, about a third of all delegates. So far, fewer than 4% of the delegates have been allocated. People will head to the polls all across the country, from Virginia to California, Tennessee to Texas. The states and voters are diverse. Almost half have significant black populations, and Latinos figure to be an important factor in the two states with the biggest delegate hauls, California and Texas. There's a lot on the line, especially for Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont and former Vice President Joe Biden. Sanders is the front-runner. He's built a strong organization in these states that's been buoyed by a multimillion-dollar ad campaign. Biden is lagging, but hopes to ride a wave of momentum from his big win in South Carolina on Saturday. And then there's Mike Bloomberg. After spending hundreds of millions of dollars, Bloomberg will be on the ballot for the first time.  California is the most important state of Super Tuesday because of its size. Its 415 delegates is more than the nine Super Tuesday contests with the lowest delegate totals combined. Latinos are expected to make up about 30% of the electorate. Sanders won Latinos overwhelmingly in Nevada, and if he runs up the score with them in California, he could build a formidable pledged-delegate lead. Sanders is the heavy favorite here, despite losing to Hillary Clinton in 2016. He has spent about $7 million on ads (of the $15.5 million he has spent across Super Tuesday states), according to data as of Feb. 27 from Advertising Analytics provided to NPR. Biden has spent zero on California TV ads, and just $4,000 (yes, that's thousand) on digital. A ray of hope for Biden is also that even though early voting started a month ago, fewer ballots have been returned than in past elections. Bloomberg, in contrast, has spent more than $71 million and is currently polling below the 15% threshold required to get any delegates in all of these contests."

Key Down-Ballot Races In AL, NC, TX, CA

7 things you need to know about congressional races on Super Tuesday. Politico: "Jeff Sessions’ bid for his old Senate seat. Two high-stakes Democratic Senate primaries. A handful of House incumbents facing the toughest intraparty races of their careers. Super Tuesday is about so much more than just the 14 states holding Democratic presidential primaries. It’s also the first set of congressional and other primaries of the 2020 election cycle. Voters in Alabama, Arkansas, California, North Carolina and Texas will choose nominees for Congress and all down-ballot races, including significant Senate primaries in Alabama, North Carolina and Texas. The former attorney general is probably the best bet among the top three Republican candidates to snag a spot in the all-but-certain runoff that occurs if no candidate receives 50 percent of the vote in Tuesday’s primary. He’s facing former Auburn University football Coach Tommy Tuberville and Rep. Bradley Byrne, along with several other low-polling candidates. Super Tuesday could bring the ouster of the first House incumbent of the 2020 cycle. Three members — two Democrats and one Republican — have a real shot of being denied their party’s nomination. In South Texas, Democratic Rep. Henry Cuellar is facing a fierce challenge from Jessica Cisneros, a 26-year-old immigration attorney who has become a cause célèbre on the left and boasts endorsements from Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.). A national network of progressive donors have given her solid funding, but Cuellar — one of the most conservative members of the Democratic conference — insists that her support for "Medicare for All" and the "Green New Deal" don’t play well in the district. Meanwhile, in California’s Central Valley, Blue Dog Democratic Rep. Jim Costa is facing a liberal opponent in Fresno City Councilwoman Esmeralda Soria. Only one of them is likely to advance from the top-two primary with a Republican, but Costa is the favorite after outspending her by more than 4-1."

Trump Environmental Impact Reports Designed To Mislead

A Trump insider embeds climate denial in scientific research. NYT: "An official at the Interior Department embarked on a campaign that has inserted misleading language about climate change — including debunked claims that increased carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is beneficial — into the agency’s scientific reports, according to documents reviewed by The New York Times. The misleading language appears in at least nine reports, including environmental studies and impact statements on major watersheds in the American West that could be used to justify allocating increasingly scarce water to farmers at the expense of wildlife conservation and fisheries. The effort was led by Indur M. Goklany, a longtime Interior Department employee who, in 2017 near the start of the Trump administration, was promoted to the office of the deputy secretary with responsibility for reviewing the agency’s climate policies. The Interior Department’s scientific work is the basis for critical decisions about water and mineral rights affecting millions of Americans and hundreds of millions of acres of land. The wording, known internally as the 'Goks uncertainty language' based on Mr. Goklany’s nickname, inaccurately claims that there is a lack of consensus among scientists that the earth is warming."

Warren Releases Plan To Curb Wall Street's Impact On Climate

Warren releases plan to regulate Wall Street's effect on climate change. The Hill: "Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) released a plan over the weekend that would aim to fight climate change by increasing regulations on fossil fuel financing. Her plan comes as some banks in recent months have said they will not directly finance oil and gas drilling in the arctic, as Democratic lawmakers step up the pressure on these institutions and as her campaign has lagged in the crowded Democratic nomination contest. As president, Warren says she would require banks to report how much fossil fuel equity and debt they create, direct credit agencies to impose a climate standard and appoint financial regulators who will hold financial institutions accountable for climate risks. The senator would also require major insurance companies to disclose the size of premiums they're getting from coal, oil and gas projects. 'I will act decisively and swiftly to manage the risk that climate change poses to our economy by reining in Wall Street and ensuring our banks, asset managers, and insurers pay the true cost of climate change instead of passing it on to millions of Americans,' she said in an online post outlining the plan. 'It’s time to stop Wall Street from financing the climate crisis.'"

The Dangers Of A Brokered Convention

Democrats craving a brokered convention should Learn the lessons of 1968. The Intercept: "Democratic officials have insisted that Donald Trump is an unprecedented threat to the republic, a fascist and racist dictator whose removal from power is the paramount, if not the only, political priority. Yet the strategy on which they are now explicitly relying to prevent Sen. Bernie Sanders from being their 2020 presidential nominee — a brokered convention at which party elites anoint a nominee other than the one who receives the most votes and wins the most delegates during the primary process — is the one most likely to ensure Trump’s reelection. In the 1964 general election, the Democratic candidate, Lyndon Johnson, won the presidency in one of the biggest landslides in U.S. history, with more than 60 percent of the popular vote and all but six states. Four years later, it all came crashing down for the Democrats, as the once-left-for-dead Republican, Richard Nixon, not only reversed the Democrats’ 1964 electoral gains, but also permanently obliterated many of their long-held regional strongholds. A major factor in that jarring outcome, if not the dispositive one, was the Democratic Party convention that took place in Chicago in late August, just slightly more than two months prior to the election. The convention was a brokered one, marred by protests and riots outside the convention hall, and angry fights among delegates inside of it, that culminated in the anointing of the establishment candidate, Vice President Hubert Humphrey, over the anti-war candidate of the left, Sen. Eugene McCarthy. The Democratic establishment, desperate over the anti-war sentiment overtaking the party, turned to Humphrey, as well as its arcane rules that allowed backroom deals to choose the nominee at the convention, in order to maintain its stranglehold over the party regardless of what the dirty masses of their voters thought or wanted."

The Nation Endorses 'Bernie Sanders And His Movement'

‘The Nation’ endorses Bernie Sanders and his movement. The Nation: "If Bernie Sanders had simply demonstrated that it is possible to wage a competitive campaign for the presidency without relying on wealthy donors, corporate funders, or secretive PAC money, he would have earned his place in history. If all Sanders had to show for his two campaigns for the presidency was the greatest leftward shift in the political discourse since Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s second term—putting not just Medicare for All but also the Green New Deal, free public higher education, fair taxation, cancellation of student debt, housing as a human right, universal free child care, and an unwavering critique of the billionaire class firmly onto the political agenda—we would owe him our gratitude. If his contribution to the debate on foreign policy never went beyond refusing to endorse trade deals that harm workers, denouncing America’s endless wars, and reasserting Congress’s control over presidential adventurism—and had not also included defying AIPAC and the Israel lobby, reminding Americans that many of those crossing our borders are fleeing dictators sustained by Washington, and maintaining his long-standing rejection of authoritarianism at home or abroad—we would still recognize Sanders as a prophetic figure. But he has accomplished much, much more. As of this morning, Bernie Sanders—a Jewish grandfather with an indelible Brooklyn accent—is the leading contender for the Democratic nomination. He got there by forging a movement campaign that expands our understanding of what can be achieved in the electoral arena and that invites us to imagine that government of, by, and for the people might actually be possible. The movement Sanders has helped to build—a multiracial, multiethnic movement of working-class women and men, people of all ages, all faiths, gay, straight, and trans, veterans and pacifists, teachers, farmers, bus drivers, nurses, and postal workers coming together to demand justice and redeem the endlessly deferred promise of America—deserves our enthusiastic support. Most crucially at this point in the 2020 campaign, this movement and this candidate deserve our votes."

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