Some Positive Thoughts…and Actions to Save the House of Representatives

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Image courtesy of pikrepo.com

After watching the pre-Nevada caucus Democratic debate, I began writing this post with feelings of frustration approaching despair. There were many things to criticize, and I was emptying my angst onto this page, and thus preparing to send it on to you. 

With the latest evidence—which we already knew—from the Intelligence briefing to the House that reiterated Russian meddling in the 2020 election, which was followed by the President’s replacement of the acting intelligence chief with someone with less than zero qualifications for the job, I cannot and will not deny that we are living in increasingly perilous times. See The New York Times article here.

The question I’ve been pondering is this: as we search for someone who is best able to defeat Donald Trump, how do we handle ourselves? And that question makes me feel more closely attuned to my more optimistic, better self—the one that really believes we can find common ground. 

What brought me to this more positive place? Meditation helps, but my “recovery” was nurtured by a very calming, cogent newsletter that a friend who had just subscribed to forwarded to me. Its author, RB Hubbell, is based in California. The daily newsletter is free and can be obtained by sending your email address to rbhubbell@gmail.com.

A Voice of Reason

I don’t know how large Hubbell’s subscriber list is, but he began his discussion of the aftermath of the debate by saying his inbox had “exploded” with emails that “exhibited a level of angst, anger, and disgust I have not seen before.” 

He then said he wanted to share readers’ reactions, because he’s been told that hearing from others helps his readers “ground their feelings and test their own reactions to this crazy mess in which we find ourselves.”

There’s nothing wildly original about Hubbell’s message or his readers’ reactions. Maybe I was just ready to hear his words, but they hit me exactly right. Here’s a sampling:

“Before we get to the details, let’s say the important things first: We must stick together. We are on the same side. If we do not stand together, we will fall together. Whatever passion or disappointment or anger you feel, it cannot cause you to withdraw from the process or give in to feelings of hopelessness or lash out in anger at fellow Democrats. We are facing a grave threat to democracy. Our personal preferences for president are subordinate to the need to ensure the election of the Democratic nominee—whoever he or she is.

“A secondary point is the need to focus on the long-term. Yesterday’s debate was freighted with expectations and led to disappointment. Accept that fact and move on. We can’t freak out every time something bad happens; otherwise, we won’t make it to the Democratic convention in July, much less the general election in November. If ever there was a time in our history when we needed to toughen-up, hunker-down, and keep our eyes on the horizon, now is that moment.”

It’s Okay to Withdraw, But Not for Long

Hubbell’s readers include many people who told him they’d withdrawn from the fray for the sake of their mental health. I can relate to that feeling. My last three posts were about goldfinches and squirrels; solar railways and my carbon BigFootprint, and guidance on comforting the sick and dying. 

But I knew I had to return to politics because this is an “all hands on deck” moment. 

Interestingly, although Hubbell probably wouldn’t reveal his preferred candidate under any circumstances, he notes that he’s mostly filled out his own ballot for the California primary but has not yet determined which candidate he’ll support.

He concludes in a way that ties in with my primary objective with this post, referencing a Twitter thread by Walter Shaub, the former Director of the Office of Government Ethics (when there was such a working institution in our government!). A “snippet”: 

“ Take Action. Any action. It’s not big things that will save us. It’s persistent small actions carried out by one individual, and another, and another and another across the nation…Make a very small donation, even just a dollar, to something, sign up to volunteer for one hour, go learn how to register voters.”

I wish I could include the entire thread because there’s lots of wisdom there. If you’re on Twitter, go to @waltshaub and you can read through it.

A Valuable Way to Make a Difference

Many of us have been repeatedly sending money to the Presidential candidate(s) of our choice. That’s important. But my action at the moment is to focus our attention on the House of Representatives. We must, must, must maintain the Democratic majority in the House. 

All the members of the Class of 2018, those moderates in either swing districts or districts that Trump won, have been targeted for extinction—in good measure because they flipped formerly Republican seats AND had the courage to vote for impeachment. Many won by a single vote.

They are among the more than 50 House members being targeted for defeat by the National Republican Campaign Committee. According to Roll Call, the NRCC Chairman, Tom Emmer of Minnesota, enunciated the slogan the Congressional Republicans plan to run on:

“Freedom or socialism—that’s the choice in 2020.”

These targeted Democrats need our help, as their opposition is often flooded with cash and a revved up base. I’m listing their names, districts, and web sites in the hope that if you feel strongly that it is imperative to retain a Democratic-controlled House, you’ll be able to support their reelections in whatever way you can, including volunteering and importantly by contributing, no matter how small the amount.

In addition to donating to them directly, in most cases you can also go through ActBlue. I’m planning to work my way down the list, eventually giving modest donations to all of them.

Remember: each one of these individuals did what he or she believed was right for this country and upheld that oath—knowing that vote might well end their careers.

Let’s begin with the seven brave souls—all with national security backgrounds—whose OpEd in the Washington Post was instrumental in changing Nancy Pelosi’s mind about the need for an impeachment inquiry. They are:

*Gil Cisneros (CA-39): cisnerosforcongress.com

*Jason Crow (CO-06): jasoncrowforcongress.com

*Chrissy Houlahan (PA-06): chrissyhoulahanforcongress.com

*Elaine Luria (VA-02): elaineforcongress.com

*Mikie Sherrill (NJ-11): mikiesherrill.com

*Elissa Slotkin (MI-08): elissaforcongress.com

*Abigail Spanberger (VA-02): abigailspanberger.com

Here are the others:

*Cheri Bustos (IL-17): cheribustos.com [NOTE: the current Democratic Congressional Committee Chair]

*Tom O’Halleran (AZ-01): tomohalleran.com

*Anne Kirkpatrick (AZ-02): kirkpatrickforcongress.com

*Josh Harder (CA-10): harderforcongress.com

*TJ Cox (CA-21): tjcoxforcongress.com

*Katie Porter (CA-45): KatiePorter.com (I’ll explain my bolding below.)

*Harley Rouda (CA-48): harleyforcongress.com

*Mike Levin (CA-49): mikelevin.org

*Stephanie Murphy (FL-07): stephaniemurphyforcongress.com

*Charlie Crist (FL-13): charliecrist.com

*Debbie Mucarsel-Powell (FL-26): debbiemucarselpowell.com

*Donna E. Shalala (Fl-27): donnashalala.com

*Lucy McBath (GA-06): lucyforcongress.com 

*Lauren Underwood (IL-14): underwoodforcongress.com

*Sean Casten (IL-06): castenforcongress.com

*Dave Loebsack (IA-02): loebsackforcongress.com

*Cindy Axne (IA-03): cindyaxneforcongress.com

*Abby Finkenauer (IA-01): abbyfinkenauer.com

*Sharice Davids (KS-03): shariceforcongress.com

*Haley Stevens (MI-11): HaleyStevensForCongress.com

*Angie Craig (MN-02): angiecraig.com

*Dean Phillips (MN-03): phillipsforcongress.org

*Susie Lee (NV-03): susieleeforcongress.com

*Steven Horsford (NV-04): stevenhorsford.com

*Chris Pappas (NH-01): chrispappas.org

*Josh Gottheimer (NJ-05): josh4congress.com

*Andy Kim (NJ-03): andykimforcongress.com

*Tom Malinowski (NJ-07): malinowskifornj.com

*Xochitl Torres Small (NM-02): xochforcongress.com

*Anthony Brindisi (NY-09): brindisiforcongress.com

*Max Rose (NY-11): maxroseforcongress.com

*Sean Patrick Maloney (NY-18): seanmaloney.com

*Antonio Delgado (NY-19): delgadoforcongress.com

*Kendra Horn (OK-05): kendrahornforcongress.com

*Peter A. DeFazio (OR-04): defazioforcongress.org 

*Susan Wild (PA-07): wildforcongress.com

*Matt Cartwright (PA-08): cartwrightforcongress.com

*Conor Lamb (PA-17): conorlamb.com

*Joe Cunningham: (SC): joecunninghamforcongress.com

*Lizzie Fletcher (TX-07): lizziefletcher.com

*Ben McAdams (UT): benmcadams.com

*Jennifer Wexton (VA-10): jenniferwexton.com

*Kim Schrier (WA-08): drkimschrier.com

*Ron Kind (WI): ronkind.org

____________________

Note: Jared Golden (ME-02): jaredgoldenforcongress.com has also been targeted by the Republicans, but the Democrats aren’t happy with him either: He voted to impeach the President on Article 1, but not for obstruction of Congress.

Missing from my version of the list are Katie Hill (CA-25), who resigned from Congress due to a personal scandal; and Jeff Van Drew (NJ-02), who switched his party affiliation and is now a Republican.

On this list of valuable legislators, one who has impressed me deeply is Katie Porter of California, who asks the tough questions and seems fearless in speaking truth to power. She is under particularly strong attack. I believe it is extremely important that her voice continues to be heard in Congress; thus, I’ve highlighted her information.

I’ll conclude with RB Hubbell’s closing remarks in the newsletter issue I referred to above:

We are in the fight of our lives, but we are in it together. That should give us all comfort.”

That fight demands that we act positively and don’t despair. And make sure you’re  registered to vote!

Annie

 

22 thoughts on “Some Positive Thoughts…and Actions to Save the House of Representatives

  1. A lot can happen with one small thing. (On so many fronts, including this most important one of protecting our democracy.) And I love the stand together, not alone concept. Thanks for the reminder, the links, and the solid reasoning. Always encouraging. Always dependable.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Denise, thanks so much for your support—means so much to me. It’s not easy to remain positive, but I think it’s better for us individually and collectively. And the focus on the House seems even more important after Bernie’s win in Nevada: it seems down ballot candidates have begun to distance themselves from him. If he is to be the nominee, we must ensure he has a Democratic House and Senate to work with.

      Like

  2. I know that it’s been going on for awhile and that both parties have done it, but I remain uncomfortable with this kind of interference with local politics. Isn’t this how we have gotten to a place where the number of conservative Democrats and liberal Republicans has plummeted to the point of near extinction?

    Isn’t this a kind of colonialism where a group (whether the NRA or AOC) elbows into a community’s decision on who will represent it in Congress?

    I see this as a side effect of a Federal Government that has become like Godzilla as State Government has become little more than an afterthought. The stakes have become winner-take-all and both parties have played to win. And here we are.

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      1. No doubt. But shouldn’t the citizens who elected them be free to either re-elect them or not, as they choose?

        The only time the system tolerates people like these (Susan Collins, R of Maine and Joe Manchin, D from West Virginia are the most famous) is when they can be trusted to toe the party line. Otherwise both the right and the left go gunning for them. By nationalizing these races we have eliminated most of the middle ground.

        It is, of course, a free country and I would’ve never begrudge your right to spend your money as you wish. And FWIW, the Sanders phenomenon has surprised me a little.

        Like

      2. I don’t think that’s true at all. Each of those moderate Dems won because they spoke to the needs of their constituencies. I strongly feel, and have written, that they are the model for defeating Trump and then enacting the kinds of changes that most Americans agree to. If you want to talk about the corrosive nature of money in politics, I’m all for it. And I think the lengthy primary system serves us poorly.
        But while you are lamenting the size of government, I am trying to be positive in the face of a president and party that I view as destroying our democracy, threatening our national security, making a mockery of our Justice Dept, and on and on.
        And since I’m determined to remain positive, after having written two posts about Bernie,
        I’ll say no more about him.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Excellent post, Annie, and I feel your frustration. We should all remember that if we are not part of the solution then we are part of the problem. Little contributions add up, whether monetary or volunteerism. And certainly, just sitting around being depressed doesn’t get us anywhere.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Thanks for this Annie. It’s a great resource. I agree, it really is the small things we can do, multiplied by millions. I’ve given a few bucks recently to Sarah Gideon, who is the most likely candidate to face Susan Collins in Maine…and Amy McGrath, who has a chance to unseat Moscow Mitch in Ky. It wasn’t much, but I’ve got to do whatever I can, no matter how little as far as $$$ go, to help the cause. Holding the House is paramount. Retaking the Senate is equally so. Like you say, staying together is the only way we can get this done.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I don’t think people realize that even the smallest donation, multiplied broadly, can be really significant. I hope others will contribute to support the House and Senate candidates in their states/districts; anything beyond that is terrific.
      Mark Kelly is also a strong candidate. And I am donating to Doug Jones to recognize his bravery in voting to convict the President.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Great idea on both of those. Mark Kelly will need all the help he can get. His opponent is not a good one, but it doesn’t matter because always about the $$$$$

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Hi Annie, the latest debate has been quite telling. I’ve come to realize that you have been 100% right all along! It’s has been a shocking soul searching revelation that I can no longer deny, Bernie winning the nomination is a guaranteed victory for Trump, and here’s why: my comment from Jill’s latest snarky snippet-

    “Of course the moderators can certainly do better, there’s talk that they were instructed to allow for a chaotic free for all environment for better ratings. This strategy may have backfired as the candidates were so desperate to speak everyone talked over each other. The main concern is the DNC purposefully trying to lose the general election and put Bernie in the worse possible light b/c the ruling elites need to preserve the status quo and Bernie will most certainly upset the oligarchy. Bloomberg as a last ditch manchurian candidate is not working out due to skeletons in the closet. Right now for the Democratic Party it’s stop Bernie at all cost, even if it means conceding the election and making the conditions favorable for Trump to win! You see, Trump is just as corrupt as the ruling establishment elite, he will not upset their apple cart. Trump already promised more tax cuts for the rich and social security, medicare, environmental cuts for the rest of us.
    You can see why I’m not optimistic, even if Bernie wins the nomination, most likely he’ll lose in the general cause the whole system is rigged against him.
    Now I understand fully, in order for Democrats to win, we actually have to rally behind a popular strong charismatic candidate, anybody but Bernie. Joe Biden was that person, sadly senility has left him a shell of his former self. There’s really no one else besides Mayor Pete, so all you caucus voters better get it together and rally for Buttigieg, and not waste any more votes on the other candidates, and PRAY!”

    Problem is Bernie may may have gained too much momentum in the early caucuses to carry him all the way to majority. Then the DNC would have no choice but to support Bernie, while at the same time backstabbing and sabotaging his chances to beat Trump. Like I’ve always known, the DNC would rather lose to Trump than allow Bernie to win the Presidency, too much money, power and corrupt backroom deals at stake!

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    1. Maddie—First of all, I think before Super Tuesday, it’s pointless to draw conclusions about any of this. At present, it isn’t the system; it’s the voters, and many of them remain undecided. It’s clear that at this point, Bernie has a passionate minority of voters behind him. Most are either undecided or prefer someone else. He must show that he can get a majority of delegates if he is to win the nomination. There is, to be sure, great concern about his potential to lose to trump and bring down the House and Senate with him.
      Superdelegates were designed to be a stabilizing force to prevent a mammoth failure that would do great harm not only to the party, but to the people. They include a number of African-Americans who had been outside the party structure and are now in a position to be heard.
      I’m not going to try to persuade you that the system isn’t rigged because I know your mind is made up, but I am really uncomfortable when I hear both trump and Bernie&Co use the same verbiage. Yes, we need substantive change in this country for sure, but we won’t get it unless we find ways to compromise.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I agree, super Tuesday will be telling. It’s looking more and more like we’re heading toward a brokered convention as no one candidate will get the majority. I’ve seen too much proof to think that the DNC won’t rig this election in favor of any other candidate besides Sanders. You are correct to assess that Bernie is not electable against Trump/ the establishment.

        Exactly, superdelegates should ideally represent the majority of voters, however since the 2012 election, superdelegates are free to vote for any candidate they choose… usually under the direction of the DNC heads. The NY Times wrote a scathing critique about this blatant manipulation of voter representation:
        Democratic Leaders Willing to Risk Party Damage to Stop Sanders

        The reason Trump and Sanders campaign use similar verbiage is b/c they represent the anti-establishment populist POV.
        https://1earthunite.wordpress.com/2020/02/29/the-establishment-v-bernie-sanders-coronavirus-the-stock-market-the-common-good-w-robert-reich/
        This election will be very revealing of the future of the Democratic Party.

        Like

      2. Bingo, Maddie! You are too young to remember the Vietnam War, but when I was protesting, there was sometimes a dangerous confluence of thinking between those on the far left and the far right. You underscore it when you link Bernie and trump. Many of their supporters are interchangeable. I want a more equitable society just as much as you do, but this article supports my concerns.
        I am trying to be positive and will say no more on this topic. I see no point in rehashing our views. Please read the enclosed, note that Bernie has embraced these violence-prone people, and know that I wish you well, I wish our country well, and I’m finished with this topic. Thank you in advance for respecting my decision.

        https://www.nytimes.com/2020/02/29/us/politics/bernie-sanders-chapo-trap-house.amp.html

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Thanks for sharing your article about the Chapo Trap House, never heard of them before. You’re right about the one-upmanship radicalizing politics today. These self ascribed leftist dirtbags are nothing new. During the 1920’s, Russian Bolshevik revolutionary Leon Trotsky capitalized on the Russian people’s angst to sow discord among the population. Rage against the establishment is in fashion again b/c of class and income disparity.
        This brand of populism is directly proportional to the radical right’s anti-establishment movement, under the guise of nationalism ie “Make America Great Again” appeals to the disenfranchised and disaffected.
        Thanks for sharing your personal experience on the Vietnam war, I’ll have to research that period further.
        As with you I hope for the best outcome, which is to see Trump out of office. I’m not so sure Bernie can pull it off with the weight of our entire establishment against him. 😦

        Like

    1. I love Katie Porter! I think she could be President some day.
      I just read that there will be a contested primary on Super Tuesday; unless one candidate gets more than 50% of the vote then, a runoff will be held in May.

      Like

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