Welcome to the premium Monday evening edition of Progressives Everywhere. There are some very important and troubling stories to tackle, so let’s get started.
Tonight, I’m making the premium weeknight edition available to everyone — there’s so much to share and the stories are so crucial that everyone should see them. With so many new members of the email list, I want to maximize the impact of our work. If you want to pitch in to get nightly news updates and exclusive interviews while helping fund our big projects and activism, become a member today!
Full-throated Fascism on the March
National: This new seizing of power in the country’s scientific and medical agencies would be absolutely chilling any time, but right now, it’s downright terrifying.
Florida: Having turned in the worst response to COVID-19 of any governor in the country, Ron DeSantis is now turning his attention to destroying democracy. On Monday, DeSantis proposed a new law that would devastate free speech and turn Florida into a police state — a term I mean quite literally, given just how much power and protection it grants police officers.
Here’s DeSantis’s presentation of the law, which pretty bluntly states its menacing objectives:
It’s a pretty multi-faceted assault on civil liberties. It would effectively turn protesting in a felony crime, throw people in jail for a minimum of six months for being tangentially involved in any sort of conflict with police, and blacklist anyone who finds themselves jailed due to these egregious anti-protest restrictions from procuring government benefits or a job with the state government.
The felony part is particularly chilling, especially given Florida’s newly approved Jim Crow poll tax. Simply put, DeSantis is trying to take the right to vote away from anyone who protests against the police.
It would also pull all funding from local governments that attempt to reduce their police budgets. In the midst of a recession that has devastated local municipal budgets, making it impossible to cut down on police spending is tantamount to jacking up the percentage of local money going to cops.
Oh, and it also waives any culpability from anyone who feels like driving straight into a crowd of protestors.
It’s all pretty outlandish and won’t even be proposed until the legislature reconvenes next March, but the idea that it’s just a stunt, as is being alleged by progressive groups, is also wishful thinking. Should the GOP maintain control of Florida, as is likely the case after their mass disenfranchisement was upheld, nothing is stopping them from passing this law. And because the State Supreme Court was behind approving that disenfranchisement law, there’s no reason to believe they won’t green-light this awful, clearly unconstitutional abomination.
Oh, and if you think that the US Supreme Court would overturn it, well… yeah, not happening.
National: Colorado Senator Cory Gardner and Iowa’s Chuck Grasserly this evening announced that they’ll vote to move forward with Trump’s Supreme Court nominee. Now, it’s left to Democrats to gum up the works in Congress and create a popular movement to stop the generational SCOTUS hijacking.
Will that happen? It’s not looking great. Last night, I sent a pretty charged-up newsletter about how Democrats are refusing to use all of the tools at their disposal to slow down McConnell and Trump’s plans to steal Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s Supreme Court seat. Today, Congressional Democratic leaders continued to prove themselves useless, spineless, and downright dangerous. As they’ve taken in record-setting donation totals, they’ve signaled zero willingness to reward that faith.
Here’s Tim Kaine, hoping that the people who shrug at the deaths of 200,000+ Americans and the untold suffering of millions more to will suddenly have some decency and follow the unofficial rules.
And Dianne Feinstein, ranking minority leader on the Senate Judiciary Committee, on how she’d hobble Democrats from expanding the court or getting anything at all done in 2021 should they retake the Senate:
I’m a Democrat and I’ve spent day and night these past three years trying to get Democrats elected, so I think I’m entitled to some outrage. I do not think these people are stupid — that would be the generous interpretation. It seems to me that having government-sponsored healthcare, a rich guaranteed pension, and a massive expense account to take them between their well-appointed dwellings in Washington, DC and the mansion back in their home states has turned many Democrats into absolute squishy pushovers, while others have become uncaring co-conspirators in a right-wing takeover of our government.
There is no urgency from any of them. They are happy to pump the outrage slot machine and let the money fly in, releasing the occasional riled up press release and appearing on cable news to great fanfare before rolling out the red carpet for Republicans to waltz down on their way to crushing the skulls of working Americans, women, racial minorities, the LGBTQ+ community, and just about everyone who isn’t a right-wing white evangelical Christian.
If you still aren’t angry or concerned about this situation, read this.
This is apt:
Alex Seitz-Wald @aseitzwald"When you have the votes, you can sort of do what you want," Trump tells Fox of comparisons to Obama/Garland.
So what do we do? In the short term, we can continue to make calls and pressure Democratic leaders. Here are their numbers:
While you’re at it, yell at the senators about this:
New York: Here in New York, the friction on the left (and center-left) is best embodied by the battle between Gov. Andrew Cuomo and the Working Families Party. As this story outlines, Cuomo is trying to sink the WFP through state election law this November.
The WFP has long worked to help get (good!) Democrats elected and then pushed them to pass progressive policies, and there was a pretty tight relationship between its organized labor backers and state politicians.
That blew up in 2018, when the WFP decided to back both Cuomo primary challenger Cynthia Nixon and the progressive Democratic challengers to the right-wing breakaway “Democrats” that gave Republicans control of the State Senate. Progressives Everywhere helped those challengers, who successfully seized control of the chamber and have made a big difference over the last two years.
Now, the WFP needs to have people vote for Democratic candidates on their ballot line in order to survive going forward. If you’re in New York, make sure to vote for Biden and Harris on the Working Families Party line — it counts all the same and you’ll be helping the progressive movement.
National: Oh, and speaking of the Working Families Party and its star candidates, two of them were behind a successful lawsuit that today saw a judge rule that the USPS had to undo all the changes that have been hobbling mail delivery and threaten the election. Here are the major points, which have to be achieved by Friday:
The USPS must treat all mail as first-class mail, which speeds up delivery;
Approve all overtime requests between October 26th and November 6th
Develop a concrete plan to get mail delivery back to normal speed.
We can thank NY State Sen. Alessandra Biaggi and Congressman-to-be Mondaire Jones (both Progressives Everywhere endorsees!) for making this happen.
We’ll actually have an interview Mondaire Jones this coming Sunday.
Texas: A new poll puts Joe Biden up by four points with Texans the general election, which is good news but no reason to celebrate just yet.
More interesting, to me, is the fact that the state Democrats are beginning a big spend on digital ads and voter registration in the state.
This is a nice overview of how the politics of the state are changing and what’s at stake this year.
Here is Progressives Everywhere’s look at the biggest legislative elections in Texas, which could go blue with enough hard work and investment.
Michigan: Democrats had a big year in Michigan in 2018 and Biden has had a steady lead in polls throughout this election, but things are starting to get a little bit hairy.
Biden’s lead in the Detroit Free Press poll last Friday was at eight points, down from 11 points in July.
These aren’t great trend lines: “The result is largely consistent with other recent polls in the state, but the poll did indicate some trends which, if they continue, could hurt Biden, including what appeared to be a growing undecided bloc among Black voters in Detroit and a move away from Biden among men who considered themselves independents. While men overall were about tied at 45% for Trump to 43% for Biden, female voters continued to back Biden 54% to 34% for Trump.”
More disconcertingly, Sen. Gary Peters’ lead over Republican challenger John James has shrunk to just four points.
Because this has been a bit of a nerve-wracking email, here’s a photo of the cat that I’ve been watching this month with my wife:
Help Out Progressives GOTV Groups
It’s important to give to campaigns and arm them with cash, but I’ll be honest — candidates’ campaigns, especially the top-level ones with tens of millions of dollars, don’t always spend their money in the most effective ways. A fair amount of it goes to consultants, big TV ad buys that net even more money for consultants, and salaries. That’s just the way this works right now.
That’s why I think it’s just as important to donate to grassroots get out the vote groups. These are the organizations that get people out on the streets, in the community, making phone calls, and texting voters. Crucially, they’re often also the people best equipped to connect with, motivate, and advocate for minority communities, young people, and low-frequency voters. It’s never been more important to activate all corners fo the progressive coalition (and push for policies that reflect our values).
They also help fight voter suppression, which is one of the biggest dangers we face this year.
Below, you can donate to some great GOTV and progressive mobilization organizations, all in one click:
Help Down-Ballot Candidates
One of the main focuses this year (and every year) at Progressives Everywhere is spotlighting and fundraising for candidates running for state legislature, where most of the United States’ laws are written. This year, Democrats have a chance to flip legislatures in a number of swing states, and by helping their campaigns, we also get to help get out the vote for Joe Biden in must-win states such as Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Florida.
I’ve written guides to key candidates in a majority of these flippable states, which I’ve listed below.
There will be more to come. I know things seem grim, but we have a chance to beat back and defeat the demons who are trying to snuff out all hope. Give money, make calls, make sure everyone you know is registered to vote and has requested their ballot (use AbsenteeBallots.info to make it easy!) and stay focused. We can do this.
Can You Help Us?
Together, we’ve raised nearly $2.2 million now for progressive candidates and causes, plus $1.5 million for bail funds and civil rights groups. That’s $3.7 million raised!
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