We know climate change is real, it’s here, and there’s little time for us to prevent it from turning into a devastating disaster – one that will wreak havoc on some of the most vulnerable communities across our country and the planet.
We need legislation like the Green New Deal and progressive leaders like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez to mitigate the worst impacts climate change, create good jobs, and promote environmental justice.
Today, Democracy for America (DFA) announced its endorsement of eight candidates running in 2019 city council races in communities large and small across the country.
The 2019 City Council Candidates DFA is endorsing today include:
- Kendra Brooks, City Council At-Large, Philadelphia (PA)
- Terry Brown, City Council District 3, Charlotte (NC)
- Carrie Hartman, City Council, Maumee (OH)
- Zack Quintero,City Council District 2, Albuquerque (NM)
- Neil Sroka, City Council, Grosse Pointe Farms (MI)
- Shenise Turner Sloss, City Commissioner, Dayton (OH)
- Jeff Wise, City Council Ward 3, Lakewood (OH)
- Ashton P. Woods, City Council At-Large 5, Houston (TX)
DFA has supported local candidates running for county, city, and municipal offices since its founding 15 years ago, and remains one of the only national, multi-issue progressive organizations to do so while also endorsing dozens of state and federal candidates each cycle.
In 2019, five DFA-endorsed candidates for county, city, or municipal offices have already won their general or determinative primary elections including Kate Gallego (Mayor of Phoenix, AZ), Helen Gym (Philadelphia (PA) City Council, At-Large), Bethany Hallam (Allegheny County (PA) Council, At-Large), Tobi Jackson (Fort Worth (TX) Independent School District Trustee District 2), and Melissa Cabello Havdra (San Antonio (TX) City Council District 6).
Statement from CEO Yvette Simpson on the slate of 2019 City Council candidates DFA is endorsing today:
“The eight City Council candidates Democracy for America is endorsing today may come from different communities across the country -- some large, some small-- but they all share a deep commitment to the kind of bold, inclusive populist agenda we need to transform our country.
“As a former Cincinnati City Councilmember, I know first hand, the opportunity that city council members have to put progressive values in action to improve the lives of the communities they serve.
"The city council candidates we’re endorsing today will not only make sure the potholes are filled and budgets are balanced, they also want to take meaningful municipal action on criminal justice reform, climate change, and income inequality.
“City Council races like these also represent a critical opportunity for progressives to build the bench of experienced elected leaders we need to win today and down the road. “When a State House seat opens up or a long time House incumbent seems right for a challenge, the investment we’re making today in these city council races give us a better shot of having an experienced progressive champion who knows how to run, win, and serve.
“The city council candidates we’re supporting are committed running people-powered campaigns, putting our progressive values in action, and serving the communities that elect them. We’re honored to stand with them in their race and we look forward to fighting alongside them for years to come.” -- Yvette Simpson, CEO, Democracy for America
Today, Democracy for America (DFA) announced its endorsement of J.D. Scholten as he launched his rematch campaign against nine-term incumbent Rep. Steve King in Iowa’s Fourth Congressional District.
Democracy for America was a strong supporter of Scholten during his 2018 race, when he got closer to defeating King than any Democrat since his election to the House in 2003 and delivered the strongest Democratic performance in Iowa’s Fourth in over 30 years.
With this endorsement, Scholten joins a slate of four other battle-tested, progressive candidates who expanded the electorate and nearly unseated Republican incumbents in 2018 including Amar Campa-Najjar (CA-50), Dana Balter (NY-24), Adrienne Bell (TX-14), and Gina Ortiz-Jones (TX-23).
Statement from DFA CEO Yvette Simpson on the grassroots progressive group’s endorsement of Scholten:
“In 2018, Democracy for America members were honored to stand with J.D. Scholten when he gave Steve King the fight of his political life. Today, we’re excited to endorse Scholten on day one of his rematch against King because we know that he will always stand tall for the people of Iowa’s 4th Congressional District and our shared progressive values.
“In this race, Iowans have the opportunity to replace one of the most racist and divisive members of Congress with a leader who will fight for an economy that puts the interests of farmers and working families ahead of Wall Street, healthcare that puts people before profits, and an immigration system rooted in justice and compassion.
“J.D. Scholten’s victory in 2020 will give Iowa’s 4th District and our country a representative in Washington who will make us all proud. We’re thrilled to be with J.D. on day one, and we look forward to fighting alongside him all the way through election day.” -- Yvette Simpson, CEO, Democracy for America
Statement from J.D. Scholten on receiving DFA’s 2020 endorsement:
“Our campaign is proud to earn Democracy for America’s endorsement, a critical step forward in our people-powered campaign to deliver real, positive change for Iowa’s 4th district. By coming together, as Iowans and Americans first, we can build a government and an economy that works for all people — not just those at the top.” -- J.D. Scholten
DFA has 14,944 members in Iowa’s Fourth Congressional District, 30,276 in the state of Iowa, and more than one million members nationwide.
Statement from Democracy for America CEO Yvette Simpson following the conclusion of Wednesday’s Democratic Debate in Detroit:
“The winner of tonight's debate was Tuesday night's debate.
“On Tuesday, Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren not only delivered strong performances, they teamed up to articulate a bold, inclusive populist vision for the future of the country that Democrats need to beat Trump AND deliver a transformative win in 2020.
We didn’t get that tonight.
That said, we did notice a few other things:
- Joe Biden repeatedly showed that he’s our party’s past, and failed to get the big win he needed to solidify his status as the frontrunner. He was embattled by many challengers, which led to forced errors that will be difficult to recover from.
- Kamala Harris struggled and will likely emerge from Detroit weakened by her failure to fully defend her record on criminal justice reform and her overly-complicated, ‘Medicare for All’ plan that was easily attacked from all sides.
- If any candidate had a good night, it was Cory Booker. Booker delivered on his plans to take the fight to Biden on criminal justice reform while keeping his focus on unity. He also showed he was more comfortable and authentic than he has in any other moment in the contest so far.
- Kristin Gillibrand, Julian Castro, Bill DeBlasio and even Andrew Yang had a few good moments, but it’s hard to see how they rise above the disjointed back-and-forth that dominated the night.
An interesting and important movement of the evening was the protest that occurred drawing attention to the injustice that is still occurring in NYC with Eric Garner's murder. That moment led to accountability and the chance for engagement of real issues that are rarely addressed on a debate stage. It also showed the importance of movement and civil disobedience to address issues of racial and social justice.
This week’s Democratic Presidential Debates in Detroit will be another important pivot point in the 2020 Democratic nominating process.
Heading into this second round, Elizabeth Warren and Kamala Harris are the two candidates to watch in their respective head-to-heads against Bernie Sanders and Joe Biden. Both Warren and Harris not only won the first debates, the momentum rising behind them was clearly reflected in our recently released July 2019 DFA Presidential Pulse Poll results.
DFA’s CEO Yvette Simpson and Chair Charles Chamberlain spell out what progressives expect to see in this week’s debates:
- Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren teaming up against the corporate Democrats on night one.
Especially this early in the contest, neither Sanders or Warren stands to gain from explicitly drawing the real (if narrow) contrasts that exist between them. Progressives expect to see them team up to dismantle the corporate democrats on stage, previewing how they'll handle Republican attacks on progressive policies like Medicare for All and the Green New Deal in the general election.
Expect John Delany and John Hickenlooper to use right-wing talking points to take cheap shots at progressives with soundbites crafted for FOX news in a desperate search for media coverage of their sinking campaigns.
Progressives will be counting on all the candidates including Sanders and Warren to center the interests of people of color, especially with no Black or brown candidates on night one of the debate despite the historically diverse 2020 field.
- A stronger, more prepared Joe Biden on night two -- or a further weakening of his front runner status.
Joe Biden’s poor performance in the first debate made his weakness as frontrunner painfully obvious to even his strongest cheerleaders, which means he’ll need to win outright on Wednesday -- not just hold his own -- to start regaining the ground he lost in progressive support since the high point of his campaign launch.
Kamala Harris deftly revealed the glass-jaw underlying Biden’s bravado during the first debate, so showing he knows how to take a punch and fight back will be essential -- especially since he got in this race on the promise that he was the best equipped to take the fight to Donald Trump. Thanks to diminished expectations and the simple fact that he can’t be surprised by a second attack the way he was by Senator Harris the first time, progressives expect Biden to do significantly better in this debate. The real question is if he can handle questions on his record without further alienating himself from key parts of the Democratic coalition.
- Kamala Harris will continue bringing the fire.
Taking on Joe Biden worked for Kamala Harris in the first debate, so we expect to see even more swagger as she continues to wield her powerful personal story and prosecutorial incisiveness to her advantage on Wednesday. She came into the first debate with a plan and executed it flawlessly, and, while she won’t have the same opportunity to surprise the field the way she did the last time, she’s got the skills to make another big moment happen for progressives again.
- A fight for a toe-hold in the top tier.
While Democrats formally have 24+ candidates, over the first six months of the race, there’s clearly been a five-position, top tier of candidates that dominates the minds of most Democratic voters at any one time. Especially among our members, Sanders, Warren, Harris, and Biden have consistently held a position in that top tier, while a fifth position has shifted between a number of different candidates.
The big winner in Detroit will be the candidate in the large, single-digit, second-tier who leverages a strong debate showing to a trip to Houston in September.
Cory Booker has long been poised to make this jump and he certainly has been telegraphing his willingness to take on Biden to do it. Pete Buttigeig and, to a lesser extent, Beto O’Rourke could also have a shot at returning to the top tier with a good night in the Motor City. But the second-tier candidate progressives will be watching is Julian Castro. A second powerful performance after his surprisingly strong showing at the first debate could give his candidacy the velocity he needs to take a top tier spot.
Today, Democracy for America (DFA) released the results of its third Presidential Pulse Poll of the 2020 election cycle that shows a contest that has rapidly shifted ahead of the second set of Democratic debates.
The grassroots poll has Bernie Sanders remaining in the lead, but shows Elizabeth Warren closing in on the dominate position he’s held in DFA’s first two surveys. It also features Kamala Harris leapfrogging into third over Joe Biden, who held on to the fourth place slot he had previously dropped to in April. Pete Buttigieg, who vaulted into third place in DFA’s April poll, has seen the energy behind him fade dropping him to sixth.
Top five results from the DFA poll:
- Bernie Sanders, 32.2%
- Elizabeth Warren, 25.8%
- Kamala Harris, 11.8%
- Joe Biden, 9.5%
- Andrew Yang, 6.61%
See the full results here: http://poll.democracyforamerica.com/results
July 2019 DFA Presidential Pulse Poll analysis memo here: https://s3.amazonaws.com/actionkit.democracyforamerica/images/MEMO__July_2019_Presidential_Pulse_Poll_Memo_FINAL.pdf
The poll, which began immediately following the June 27th debate through midnight (ET) Wednesday, July 17th, is the third DFA has conducted of its membership regarding the 2020 presidential election. DFA’s first 2020 Presidential Pulse Poll was conducted in December 2018 and a second was completed in April 2019.
Democracy for America Chair Charles Chamberlain on DFA’s June 2019 Presidential Pulse Poll results:
“The last three months have transformed the 2020 Democratic race for President and these results make it clear that Democracy for America members’ support is solidifying behind three candidates committed to bold, inclusive populism and structural reform.
“Going into the second debate, there's little doubt that Elizabeth Warren and Kamala Harris have momentum building behind them. As Bernie Sanders continues in his position as the progressive front runner, we’re very interested to see if he uses this debate and the all-important month of August to build up from his robust base of support or cedes ground to the rising challenges of Senators Warren and Harris."
“While a lot will change between today and the first contests next year, after seeing these results, there is no doubt that, in 2020, Democrats are better positioned to nominate an unapologetic champion for progressive values for President than we’ve been in decades.” -- Charles Chamberlain, Chair, Democracy for America
Ahead of 2020, DFA is committed to pressuring presidential candidates to be progressive leaders, providing opportunities for those running on inclusive populism to connect with its members, and conducting multiple Presidential Pulse Polls prior to any potential endorsement vote.
Today, on the day of the race's Republican primary run-off, Democracy for America (DFA) announced its endorsement of Allen Thomas in the 2019 special election to fill the open seat in North Carolina’s Third Congressional District.
Thomas is the first candidate that DFA has endorsed in a 2019 special election and represents one of the first electoral opportunities the grassroots progressive organization has to begin its 2020 effort to protect and expand the U.S. House’s Democratic majority.
The general election in this special contest in North Carolina’s Third is set to take place on September 10, 2019.
Statement from DFA CEO Yvette Simpson on the grassroots progressive group’s endorsement of Thomas:
“Democracy for America is endorsing Allen Thomas in this September’s special election because we know he’ll put the lives of people in North Carolina’s Third Congressional District first in Washington.
“Protected by incumbency and gerrymandered lines, Republicans haven’t faced a real challenge in this district in decades and, fueled by a surge in grassroots energy, Allen Thomas is building a campaign that’s ready to change the game this fall.
“From the Governor’s mansion to the state legislature, progressive energy is building in North Carolina and we’re committed to supporting leaders, like Allen Thomas, who understand that the transformation the Tarheel State needs will only happen with the enthusiastic support of the Black, brown, and progressive white voters who make up the New American Majority.
“We are honored to stand with Allen Thomas in his race for Congress. We look forward to helping Thomas defeat whatever right-wing Republican he gets after today’s run-off, and showing the rest of the country the progressive political transformation that’s taking place in North Carolina.” -- Yvette Simpson, CEO, Democracy for America
Statement from Allen Thomas on receiving DFA’s 2020 endorsement:
“I am incredibly honored to have Democracy for America’s endorsement of our grassroots campaign. Eastern North Carolina needs a voice in Congress who will stand up for working families and fight for the resources our district needs. Together, we can win NC-03 and champion progress for the people of Eastern North Carolina." -- Allen Thomas
DFA has 1,977 members in North Carolina’s Third Congressional District, 30,276 in the state of North Carolina, and more than one million members nationwide.
Today, Democracy for America (DFA) announced its endorsement of Regina Romero for Mayor of Tucson, AZ.
This is the second time DFA has backed Romero for elected office in Tucson. In 2015, DFA supported Romero in her successful Tucson City Council reelection campaign.
Romero is also the second of several mayoral endorsements that Democracy for America plans to make in 2019. In March, DFA-endorsed candidate Kate Gallego won her race for Mayor of Phoenix, AZ.
Statement from DFA CEO Yvette Simpson on today’s endorsement of Romero :
“Regina Romero is the true progressive in the race for Mayor of Tucson and we couldn’t be more excited to stand with her ahead of the Democratic Primary in August.
“With Donald Trump in the White House, it’s more important than ever to have unabashed progressive champions like Regina Romero standing up for what’s right in border communities like Tucson. As a member of the city council, Regina Romero led efforts to declare Tucson an ‘Immigrant Welcome City’ and prohibited contractors that helped build Trump’s racist border wall from getting city contracts.
“We’re honored to support Regina Romero for Mayor of Tucson because she knows that fighting for high-quality jobs, strong public transit, and the city’s deeply held progressive values are all core parts of the job, and we know she’ll deliver every single day.” -- Yvette Simpson, CEO, Democracy for America
Statement from Councilwoman Regina Romero on receiving DFA’s endorsement:
“I’m running for Mayor of Tucson to create a clean, just, safe city with economic opportunity for all families. Our campaign is a people-powered movement. Together, we can continue moving Tucson forward and bringing positive change to our City.
“As Mayor, I will take bold action to combat climate change with a citywide climate resiliency plan, unapologetically stand up for immigrant rights, fight tooth-and-nail for affordable housing, and ensure that everyone in our beautiful City has the chance to prosper. As a clean elections candidate, I will not take a cent of corporate PAC money and I will always be accountable to the people of my City – not special interest groups.
“I am honored to receive the endorsement of such a progressive, grassroots coalition as Democracy for America. -- Councilwoman Regina Romero
DFA has 7,283 members in Tucson, 31,500 in the state of Arizona, and more than one million members nationwide.
This morning, Democracy for America CEO Yvette Simpson joined ABC's This Week for the first time as an ABC News Contributor.
As a Contributor on ABC News, Yvette will be regularly joining This Week and adding to ABC's coverage of special events during the 2020 election.
Please don't hesitate to reach out if you'd like more information whether it's about Yvette's new role with ABC News, the 2020 race, or DFA's work in races across the country.
Today, Democracy for America (DFA) announced its endorsement of in four races for Virginia's House of Delegates and four races for Virginia State Senate viewed as top priorities for the grassroots progressive organization in 2019.
The candidates being endorsed today include:
- Ghazala Hashmi (VA SEN - 10)
- Amanda Pohl (VA SEN - 11)
- Amy Laufer (VA SEN - 17)
- Qasim Rashid (VA SEN - 28)
VA House of Delegates
- Danica Roem (VA HOUSE - 13)
- Josh Cole (VA HOUSE - 28)
- Elizabeth Guzman (VA HOUSE - 31)
- Mavis Taintor (VA HOUSE - 33)
With just two seats in each house needed to flip them to Democratic control, victory in these races would be the culmination of six years of work on DFA’s “Purple to Blue” Project, a national, multi-year effort to win state House and Senate chambers across the country, that started in 2013 with the goal of making “purple” state legislative seats in Virginia decisively Democratic.
Statement from DFA CEO Yvette Simpson on today’s slate of 2019 Virginia Purple to Blue candidates:
“When Democracy for America started saying in 2013 that we were going to help flip Virginia’s legislature from “Purple to Blue,” many folks thought we were out of our minds. Now, in 2019, Democrats are just two seats shy of a Democratic majority in both chambers and we’re ready to finish the job.
“The eight top priority candidates we’re endorsing today feature candidates running for the first time, like Ghazala Hashmi and Amanda Pohl, and state leaders, like Danica Roem and Elizabeth Guzman, who we’ve proudly supported before and are now working to reelect. While each comes to this race from a different community and range of life experiences, they are united by their commitment to fighting for a Commonwealth that works for working families and running campaigns that welcome the leadership of the New American Majority of Black, brown, and progressive white voters who have been transforming Virginia over the last six years.
“Democracy for America is honored to stand with this amazing slate of House and Senate candidates in Virginia this fall. Flipping Virginia's legislature from ‘Purple to Blue’ will not only be a huge victory for the people of the Commonwealth, it will be a powerful reminder to grassroots leaders all across the country that big, transformative change is possible in our state houses if we put in the time and the work over the long haul to make it happen.” -- Yvette Simpson, CEO, Democracy for America
DFA has 34,246 members in the Commonwealth of Virginia and more than one million members nationwide.
We’ve got three top-take-aways from the last two nights, but, first, some news: Immediately after tonight’s debate, Democracy for America launched the third iteration of 2020 Presidential Pulse poll.
- The poll is available here: https://poll.democracyforamerica.com/
- The poll is slated to run from tonight through July 14, which gives us enough time to see who progressives thought did well during the debates AND who is able to capitalize on that momentum during the first two weeks of the third quarter.
- In addition to being able to compare these results to our December 2018 Presidential Pulse Poll and our April 2019 Presidential Pulse Poll, this new poll will also be asking progressives which policies are most important when choosing the candidates they support.
All that said, here are top three takeaways from the first round of Democratic Debates from DFA Chair Charles Chamberlain & CEO Yvette Simpson:
- Harris brought the heat in a pitch-perfect performance, Warren dominated, Castro earned a second look, Booker stood up and stood out
One thing is clear about this first round of debates: Women won.
While Elizabeth Warren delivered a dominant performance on Wednesday that will undoubtedly help her build on her growing momentum over the last few weeks, Kamala Harris’ pitch-perfect strong performance tonight will catapult her to a new level in the race. Harris was adept on policy, repeatedly connected issues like Medicare for All to the lives of real people, and her hits on Biden were poignant and will be brutally effective with progressives watching this race closely.
It’s also worth noting that Julian Castro had a strong performance on Wednesday, and will likely earn a second look from primary voters that could vault him into a new tier. Cory Booker also showed he wasn’t a pushover and delivered smart and strong responses on issues like gun reform and equity.
Biden Flopped.Joe Biden walked in the door tonight with more experience on big debates stages than just about anyone, but delivered an often fumbling performance that will likely be best remembered for his visible anger when Kamala Harris called him out on his history against busing. Biden may have entered as the front runner, but the blows he took tonight made it clear that blood is on the mat and a number of other candidates are poised to capitalize on his failure to understand the clear, bold, inclusive populist vision of the future that Americans are looking for in 2020.
- Progressives now know who the real Medicare for All candidates are.
The “raise your hand” question on for-profit health insurance on both nights and the extensive discussion of Medicare for All tonight made it clear who’s really in the fight for Medicare for All and whose been posturing. While corporate Democrats have convinced themselves that the only way to improve healthcare is to continue bending to the will of the health insurance lobby, Warren and Sanders each made their own strong pitch for an everybody in, nobody out Medicare for All system that we expect will be a continuing point of discussion in future debates and a key rallying point for progressives.
This morning, the U.S. Supreme Court issued a pair of rulings that will allow the far right to continue it's out-of-control partisan gerrymandering and, at least at present, halt the Trump administration from adding a count-suppressing citizenship question to the 2020 U.S. Census.
DFA responded to both of these rulings via its Twitter account:
Today, Democracy for America (DFA) announced its endorsement of Mike Levin in his bid for reelection in California’s 49th Congressional District.
Democracy for America backed Levin early in his 2018 race for Congress and happily celebrated his seat-flipping, general election victory last November. In 2020, Rep. Levin currently has two Republican challengers.
Levin joins just seven other incumbents DFA has endorsed ahead of the 2020 political cycle including Reps. Katie Porter (CA-45) and Lauren Underwood (IL-14) whom the grassroots progressive organization is also announcing its support for today. In April, the grassroots progressive organization endorsed Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (NY-14), Ilhan Omar (MN-5), Ayanna Pressley (MA-7), and Rashida Tlaib (MI-13) in their bids for reelection in 2020.
Statement from DFA CEO Yvette Simpson on the grassroots progressive group’s endorsement of Levin:
“Since joining the House, Congressman Mike Levin has been a perfect example of the kind of bold, visionary inclusive populist leaders that voters in California’s 49th District and grassroots progressives all across the country knew we needed in Washington, DC. In just a few short months, Mike has established himself as a steadfast champion for Medicare for All, the Green New Deal, and the battle against income inequality. He’s governing on the values he ran on and the vision for the future of the country inspired that inspired a historic number of Americans to turn out in the 2018 midterm elections.
“We were honored to stand with Congressman Levin in his 2018 primary and general election, and we look forward to continuing to fight alongside him as he shows Democrats in other swing districts that our path to expanding our House majority in 2020 is built on fighting for our progressive values and holding on to the enthusiastic support of the New American majority of Black, brown, and progressive white voters.” -- Yvette Simpson, CEO, Democracy for America
Statement from Rep. Mike Levin on receiving DFA’s 2020 endorsement:
"DFA was in the forefront of the fight to flip Congress in 2018 and I deeply appreciated their early and significant support. I am proud to join DFA as they advance a bold progressive agenda to secure universal health care, build a greener economy, reduce income inequality, and eliminate the corrosive influence of corporate money in politics. I am honored to have their support." -- Rep. Mike Levin (CA-49)
DFA has 4,918 members in California’s 49th Congressional District, 248,004 in the state of California, and more than one million members nationwide.
Today, Democracy for America (DFA) announced its endorsement of Rep. Katie Porter in her bid for reelection in California’s 45th Congressional District.
Democracy for America supported Porter early in her 2018 race for Congress and celebrated her seat-flipping, general election victory last November. In 2020, Rep. Porter is currently facing six Republican challengers.
Porter joins just seven other incumbents DFA has endorsed ahead of the 2020 political cycle including Reps. Mike Levin (CA-49) and Lauren Underwood (IL-14) whom the grassroots progressive organization is also announcing its support for today. In April, the grassroots progressive organization endorsed Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (NY-14), Ilhan Omar (MN-5), Ayanna Pressley (MA-7), and Rashida Tlaib (MI-13) in their bids for reelection in 2020.
Statement from DFA CEO Yvette Simpson on the grassroots progressive group’s endorsement of Porter:
“In the media and in house hearing rooms, Rep. Katie Porter has brought intelligence, wit, passion, and a crystal clear, progressive vision for the future of the country that’s made her, in just a few short months, a rising star in Congress.
An unapologetic champion for bold ideas like Medicare for All and the Green New Deal, Congresswoman Porter has also made a name for herself by refusing to pull any punches from the wealthy and powerful she’s tasked with holding accountable for their actions, whether they’re in business or the Trump administration. Katie Porter knows she’s in Washington to fight for families of California’s 49th District, and, every single day, she’s delivering on that responsibility.
“We were honored to support Congresswoman Porter early in her primary in 2018, because we knew she’d be the kind of fighter we need dozens of in DC. She’s delivered on that promise every step of the way and we couldn’t be more excited to have her back again as she runs for reelection in 2020.” -- Yvette Simpson, CEO, Democracy for America
Statement from Rep. Katie Porter on receiving DFA’s 2020 endorsement:
"I am proud to be endorsed by Democracy for America. I came to Congress to work hard for the American people and to progress our shared values. I have fought hard to hold big bank CEO's accountable through my questioning in committee, standing up to corporate special interests by voting for H.R. 1 and continuing to speak out in favor of justice." -- Rep. Katie Porter (CA-45)
DFA has 5,788 members in California’s 45th Congressional District, 248,004 in the state of California, and more than one million members nationwide.
Today, Democracy for America (DFA) announced its endorsement of Rep. Lauren Underwood in her run for reelection in Illinois’ 14th Congressional District.
Democracy for America supported Underwood in August 2018 and celebrated her majority-winning, history-making general election victory last November. In 2020, Rep. Underwood is currently facing six Republican challengers and DFA is more committed than ever to helping her protect her seat.
Underwood joins just seven other incumbents DFA has endorsed ahead of the 2020 political cycle including Reps. Mike Levin (CA-49) and Katie Porter (CA-45) whom the grassroots progressive organization is also announcing its support for today. In April, the grassroots progressive organization endorsed Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (NY-14), Ilhan Omar (MN-5), Ayanna Pressley (MA-7), and Rashida Tlaib (MI-13) in their bids for reelection in 2020.
Statement from DFA CEO Yvette Simpson on the grassroots progressive group’s endorsement of Underwood:
“Rep. Lauren Underwood made history last fall when she became the youngest Black woman to ever win a seat in Congress, and each day since she’s been the kind of visionary, inclusive populist fighter Democrats need to hold and build the Democratic majority in the House in 2020.
“In just a few short months in office, Rep. Lauren Underwood has already passed two bills to ban junk insurance plans and prevent veteran suicide. Underwood has also helped establish the Black Maternal Health caucus to work on addressing the staggeringly high maternal death rate of Black women. Rep. Underwood’s early legislative success and the action she’s taken on a critical, underaddressed issue like Black maternal health, underscores the important perspective that, as both a trained nurse and a young Black woman, she’s brought with her to Congress.
“We were honored to back Rep. Lauren Underwood in 2018 because we knew what kind of change would be possible with her voice in Congress, and we’re excited to stand with her in 2020 to help make sure that her work continues in the years ahead.” -- Yvette Simpson, CEO, Democracy for America
Statement from Rep. Lauren Underwood on receiving DFA’s 2020 endorsement:
"Now more than ever, we need principled, inclusive leaders who are committed to moving our country forward. I am so thankful for the support of Democracy for America as I continue to serve northern Illinois families in Congress." -- Rep. Lauren Underwood (IL-14)
DFA has 3,206 members in Illinois 14th Congressional District, 64,161 in the state of Illinois, and more than one million members nationwide.
It’s no overstatement to say that Wednesday and Thursday’s debates may be two of the most important, election-altering nights of the 2020 Democratic nominating process so far.
Over the course of two nights, Democrats across the country will finally have the opportunity to see how the race’s top 20 candidates present themselves to a national audience, make the case for their vision for the future of the country, and interact with one another.
After watching how progressives’ views of the field have changed over the course of the first quarter via our Presidential Pulse Poll in December 2018 and April 2019 Presidential Pulse Poll, we know Democracy for America (DFA) members, in particular, will be watching these debates closely. And, as DFA’s Chair and CEO, respectively, here’s what we’re anticipating seeing:
- Biden’s debate experience should pay off.
Fmr. Vice President Joe Biden regularly benefited from low expectations early in this race (e.g. the false concerns about his ability to fundraise from large dollar donors), but when he hits the debate stage this week he’ll not only be the only candidate who has navigated a crowded primary debate stage before, he’s the only candidate who has participated in Presidential-level debates in four different presidential elections. Biden brought the fire in his last debate performance -- the pivotal 2012 Vice Presidential Debate -- so anything less on Thursday would be a disappointment. As the front runner on this stage, he will have a target on his back and, after a week of blunders on the stump, it will be interesting to see how he responds to attacks on his record or character.
- Sanders has the opportunity to prove he can beat the field.
Back in 2015 and 2016, Sen. Bernie Sanders was consistently underestimated by the Washington pundit class to such an extent that, even when he parried Clinton to a draw, he came out with a real boost of momentum from those looking for a real alternative to the political establishment’s preferred candidate. While he’ll likely still be underestimated by a pundit class that loves to hate him, he walks into the 2020 primary debates with a new goal: Proving that he’s the progressive best suited to not just beat Donald Trump, but also the rest of the Democratic field -- including Joe Biden.
- Warren is in the driver’s seat on night one.
Much has been made of Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s lucky draw, which made her the top candidate on the first night of the inaugural debate series. The challenge of Warren’s position as the top candidate on night one is to not let the possible target on her back distract her from taking on Trump directly and making her argument for structural change that’s electrified voters on the trail.
- Harris’ grace under pressure could give her a breakout moment.
Sen. Kamala Harris has been a top-tier candidate from the start of this race, but she’s ready for her break-out moment and this debate could be it. If she can combine the cool, prosecutorial incisiveness she’s demonstrated with her standout performances in Senate Hearing rooms with the warmth and energy she exudes on the trail, Harris has an ideal opportunity to capture the hearts and attention of the huge audience watching these debates. America needs to not just see her proven track record as a leader, she needs viewers to see her as someone they’d want to hang out with.
- O’Rourke and Buttigieg have the chance to see their bubbles grow into movements -- or deflate.
Fmr. Rep. Beto O’Rourke and Mayor Pete Buttigieg have both surfed huge surges in media and grassroots interests over the early part of the campaign -- arguably, as our April Pulse Poll results suggested -- coming from a very similar group of Democratic voters. Appearing on separate nights, this debate offers O’Rourke the chance to regain some of the air that’s slipped out of the bubble of interest he had in the early part of the year. Meanwhile, it gives Buttigieg the chance to turn his current bubbling support into a movement committed to him over the long haul. And how each candidate interacts with others on the stage may also help answer a key lingering question about their candidacies: Are they really in this for the big job? Or merely auditioning for VP?
- Corporate lapdogs Bennett, Delaney, and Hickenlooper will keep up their attacks on progressives.
Sen. Michael Bennett, Fmr. Rep. John Delaney, and Fmr. Gov. John Hickenlooper have already tried to find their way into relevance in this contest by smacking at the Democratic Party’s progressive base. While it may thrill a few pundits, these are ultimately self-defeating strategies in a primary and general election. The real question is whether they will actually go after the other candidates for standing with the millions who support a bold, inclusive populist agenda or just use their time to win praise from the Wall Street Journal’s editorial board for attacking Medicare for All or being open to Social Security cuts.
- We’ll likely see a new voice establish a beachhead or strengthened position on the second tier.
Over the course of our two pulse polls, we’ve seen a relatively stable top-tier, typically including Sanders, Warren, Biden, Harris, and either O’Rourke or Buttigieg. We’d be surprised if progressives’ top-tier of candidates is altered dramatically by the first debate. What we do expect is that this debate will help either (a) give a candidate currently in the top ten a shot at the fifth position in the top tier and/or (b) give a candidate that most don’t perceive as having a real shot a new place to grow from in the second tier. These debates are the first major opportunity for a shake-up in the contest, and we’d happily wager that we’ll see some kind of surge in enthusiasm for at least one candidate most are talking about today.
Today, Democracy for America (DFA) announced its endorsement of Betsy Sweet for U.S. Senate on day one of her race against four-time incumbent Susan Collins.
Sweet is DFA’s second endorsement for U.S. Senate and will advance the progressive group’s “Flip the Senate” strategy, an effort to end Republican control of a body that could halt inclusive populist reform even with a Democrat in the White House.
In 2014, DFA was one of the only national political organizations to run an independent expenditure campaign targeting Susan Collins reelection. Despite the success the early ad campaign (e.g. "Millionaires & Billionaires") had in shaving 9% off of Collin’s polling and forcing her campaign to respond, no other national Democratic groups stepped up to join the fight against Collins.
Statement from DFA CEO Yvette Simpson on the grassroots group’s endorsement of Sweet:
“Betsy Sweet is the kind of bold leader who can harness the grassroots energy that’s been growing in Maine for years, and finally replace one of Donald Trump’s key enablers in the U.S. Senate, Susan Collins.
“When Susan Collins cast her vote to confirm Brett Kavanaugh to the U.S. Supreme Court, she made it clear that she stands with Donald Trump and Mitch McConnell, and not with women in Maine and across the country. Americans are hungry for change and they are sick and tired of being sold out by politicians like Susan Collins who put their political interests ahead of the people’s interests.
“Unlike Susan Collins, Betsy Sweet knows who she’s fighting for and who she’s fighting against. Sweet has spent her life defending the rights of women, people with disabilities, victims of sexual assualt and discrimination, and all Mainers who want to live in a clean environment. In the U.S. Senate, she’ll be an unabashed champion for abortion rights, Medicare for All, a $15 minimum wage, organized labor, and criminal justice reform.
“In 2014, far too many National Democrats made a huge mistake by giving Susan Collins a pass on what should have been a reelection fight. In 2020, we can’t just fix that mistake by ending Susan Collins’ career, we must replace her with someone who’ll be a strong fighter for our shared progressive values and committed to helping us win back the rights that Collins’ votes have helped destroy.
“We’re supporting Betsy Sweet on day one of her campaign because we believe she’s the inclusive populist leader that Mainers and our country needs in the U.S. Senate to clean up the mess made by the Trump-Collins agenda. -- Yvette Simpson, CEO, Democracy for America
DFA has 11,047 members in Maine and more than one million members nationwide.
Today, Democracy for America (DFA) announced its endorsement of Adrienne Bell for Congress in her rematch against four-term incumbent Rep. Randy Weber in Texas’ 14th Congressional District
Democracy for America eagerly supported Bell ahead of her strong showing against her Republican opponent in November 2018.
With this endorsement, Bell joins a slate of four other battle-tested, progressive candidates who expanded the electorate and nearly unseated Republican incumbents in 2018 including Gina Ortiz-Jones (TX-23), Amar Campa-Najjar (CA-50), Marie Newman (IL-3), and Dana Balter (NY-24), the latter of whom DFA is also endorsing today.
Statement from DFA CEO Yvette Simpson on the grassroots progressive group’s 2020 endorsement of Bell in TX-14:
“A lifelong Texan and educator, Adrienne Bell is running a campaign rooted in the idea that everyone should have the chance to succeed and driven by the people-power she learned how to harness as a grassroots organizer.
“Democracy for America is honored to support Adrienne Bell in her race for Congress, not only because she’ll make history as the first Black woman to represent Texas’ 14th District, but also because we know she believes that healthcare is a human right, financial stability shouldn’t only be a privilege of the wealthy, and every child deserves access to a high-quality public education.
“Adrienne Bell knows the struggles that Houstonians face and will be a game-changing force for progressive change for them in Congress. We look forward to having her back every step of the way.” -- Yvette Simpson, CEO, Democracy for America
Statement from Bell on receiving DFA’s support:
“Democracy for America has led the way for progressive grassroots leaders across the country. The support that Democracy for America members gave my campaign in the 2018 cycle, was a major boost. In 2020, having their support again, means we are one step closer to flipping Texas' 14th district and returning the seat to the people.” -- Adrienne Bell
DFA has 1,569 members in Texas’ 14th Congressional District and more than one million members nationwide.
Today, Democracy for America (DFA) announced its endorsement of Dana Balter for U.S. House in her rematch against three-term incumbent Rep. John Katko in New York’s 24th Congressional District
Democracy for America was a strong, early supporter of Balter in 2018, backing her ahead of a primary victory that surprised many New York insiders. DFA continued to support her through the remainder of her competitive general election.
With this endorsement, Balter joins a slate of four other battle-tested, progressive candidates who expanded the electorate and nearly unseated Republican incumbents in 2018 including Gina Ortiz-Jones (TX-23), Amar Campa-Najjar (CA-50), Marie Newman (IL-3), and Adrienne Bell (TX-14), the latter of whom DFA is also endorsing today.
Statement from DFA CEO Yvette Simpson on the grassroots progressive group’s decision to back Balter in her NY-24 rematch:
“Dana Balter shocked New York insiders with a people-powered primary win back in 2018 and, in 2020, she’s going to shock the country when she ends John Katko’s congressional career.
“A fierce supporter of Medicare for All, strong public schools, and safe communities, Dana Balter is committed to fighting for a central New York and country where everyone has a fair shot and the opportunity to succeed.
“Democracy for America members are excited to back Dana again in 2020, because she shares our belief that the path to victory in a swing districts like New York’s 24th lies in building a New American Majority coalition of people of color and progressive white voters committed to rejecting the status quo and doing the on-the-ground work necessary to kick Katko and other Trump apologists out of Washington.
“Dana Balter understands the fight we need to wage for our communities and our country, and we’re ready to have her back every step of the way.” -- Yvette Simpson, CEO, Democracy for America
Statement from Balter on receiving DFA’s 2020 endorsement:
“I'm honored to have the support of Democracy for America as we work to take back NY-24. While central and western New Yorkers are struggling to make ends meet, Congressman Katko is part of the problem in Washington—raking in corporate PAC dollars as he votes over and over again to make life harder for us. We've seen the results of Katko's extreme agenda: big tax breaks for the wealthy and higher healthcare and prescription drug costs. Together with DFA, we'll fight for policies that finally put New York's hard-working families first.” -- Dana Balter
DFA has 3,759 members in New Yorks’s 24th Congressional District and more than one million members nationwide.
Today, Democracy for America (DFA) announced its endorsement of Jaime Harrison for U.S. Senate in his race against three-term incumbent Sen. Lindsay Graham.
Harrison is DFA’s first 2020 endorsement for U.S. Senate and kicks off the progressive group’s “Flip the Senate” strategy, an effort to end Republican control of a body that could halt inclusive populist reform even with a Democrat in the White House.
Statement from DFA CEO Yvette Simpson on the grassroots group’s endorsement of Harrison:
“Jaime Harrison brings the energy and agenda South Carolina needs to fire up and mobilize the record-breaking number of new voters and community leaders Democrats need to end Lindsay Graham’s spineless and corrupt career in Washington.
“From Doug Jones breakthrough win in 2017 to Stacey Abrams near upset in Georgia in 2018, it’s clear that the South is on the cusp of a generational political transformation. With a deep connection to grassroots voters in South Carolina, Jamie Harrison has the personal story and life experience needed to build the kind of people-powered campaign we’ve seen defy the odds by following the leadership of the New American Majority of Black, brown, and progressive white voters.
“Progressive trailblazers like Jaime Harrison are exactly who we need to replace pathetic career politicians like Lindsay Graham, whose blind allegiance to Donald Trump has made it clear that his own personal and political ambitions matter far more to him than the needs of South Carolina families.
“We’re excited to support Jamie Harrison early in this race, and we look forward to fighting alongside him all the way to the U.S. Senate.” -- Yvette Simpson, CEO, Democracy for America
Statement from U.S. Senate candidate Jaime Harrison on receiving DFA’s 2020 endorsement:
“I was born to a teenage mom and learned to read from comic books - I understand the challenges working folks face because I’ve lived them. Democracy for America understands too many people are being held back by a system that rewards wealth and punishes work. I look forward to working together to beat Lindsey Graham and shift our focus to tackling skyrocketing health care costs, stopping rural hospitals from closing, and ensuring everyone who works hard gets their shot at the American Dream." -- Jaime Harrison
DFA has 11,558 members in South Carolina and more than one million members nationwide.
DFA on MUELLER COMMENTS: Congress must “fulfill its constitutional obligations & launch impeachment”
Today, during his first and only comments regarding his investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election, Robert Mueller made it clear that "if we had had confidence that the president clearly did not commit a crime, we would have said so.
Democracy for America Chair Charles Chamberlain responded to Mueller's comments by reissuing the organizations' two-year-old calls for Congress to impeach Donald Trump:
“Today, Robert Mueller made it crystal clear that only Congress is capable of holding Donald Trump accountable for obstructing justice. It’s time for Congress to fulfill its constitutional obligations and, as we’ve been saying for over two years, launch impeachment proceedings against Donald Trump.” -- Charles Chamberlain, Chair, Democracy for America
Earlier this month, along with other progressive allies, the grassroots progressive group helped deliver more than 10 million petition signatures calling on Congress to act on impeachment.
Following Trump's bizarre Oval Office walkout and Rose Garden temper tantrum this morning, Democracy for America CEO reiterated the group's calls for Congress to open impeachment proceedings against the President.
Statement from DFA CEO Yvette Simpson reacting to Trump's tantrum and increasing intransigence:
“Donald Trump is engaged in a cover-up and, after his absurd pre-planned temper tantrum this morning, it’s crystal clear that impeachment hearings are likely the only way we’ll get to the bottom of what he’s hiding.
"The time for tiptoeing around impeachment is over, it’s time for Congressional leaders to act.” -- Yvette Simpson, CEO, Democracy for America
DFA began calling for Trump's impeachment in May 2017. Earlier this month, along with other progressive allies, the grassroots progressive group helped deliver more than 10 million petition signatures calling on Congress to act on impeachment.
Today, Democracy for America (DFA) announced its endorsement of Gina Ortiz Jones for U.S. House in her rematch against incumbent Republican Will Hurd in Texas’ 23rd Congressional District.
Democracy for America was an early supporter of Ortiz Jones in her trailblazing 2018 campaign, eagerly celebrated her primary victory, and pushed to count every ballot following the exceedingly narrow general election.
Ortiz Jones is the second in what DFA expects will be a series of endorsements of battle-tested, progressive candidates who ran in 2018, lost narrowly, and will be critical to expanding Democratic control of the U.S. House in 2020. Earlier this month, DFA endorsed Ammar Campa-Najjar in his rematch against Rep. Duncan Hunter in California’s 50th Congressional District.
Statement from DFA CEO Yvette Simpson on the grassroots progressive group’s endorsement of Ortiz Jones:
“Gina Ortiz Jones is not only equipped to end Republican Will Hurd’s career in the U.S. House, she is also the kind of bold trailblazer we need in Congress to deliver on an inclusive populist agenda.
“Democracy for America proudly supported Gina Ortiz Jones back in 2018 because we knew her lifetime of service, bold progressive vision, and commitment to running a smart, strong people-powered campaign would be critical to making change happen in Texas.
“In 2020, if we want to expand Democrats’ House majority and flip the Senate and the White House, it’s going to be absolutely essential that we have talented leaders like Gina Ortiz Jones running for Congress who can inspire and represent the New American Majority coalition of people of color and progressive white voters.
“As an Air Force veteran, a member of the LGBTQ community, and a first-generation Filipina-American, Gina Ortiz Jones will break barriers, bring a fresh perspective, and add a new energy to Congress -- and we can’t wait to help get her there this cycle.” -- Yvette Simpson, CEO, Democracy for America
Statement from Ortiz Jones on receiving DFA’s 2020 endorsement:
“I'm running for Congress because the promise of our country is worth fighting for. Democracy for America was founded on the principle that our elected officials should represent the people they serve, not special interests, and I'm proud to have their support.” -- Gina Ortiz Jones
DFA has 1,275 members in Texas’ 23rd Congressional District, 66,066 in the state of Texas, and more than one million members nationwide.
Today, Democracy for America (DFA) announced its endorsement of Bethany Hallam in the race for Allegheny County Council happening this coming Tuesday, May 21 in Pennsylvania.
A lifelong native of Ross Township in Allegheny County, PA, Hallan is running for County Council to increase county government transparency and ensure every Allegheny County resident has access to clean air, water, and affordable public transit.
During her struggles with prescription opioid addiction and subsequent recovery, Hallan spent time in Allegheny County jail, so she understands the many challenges returning citizens face and, as a result, will bring with her a perspective frequently lacking in local government.
Yvette Simpson, DFA’s Chief Executive Officer, on the organization’s endorsement of Hallam for County Council:
“Democracy for America is excited to endorse Bethany Hallam for County Council because she’ll be a relentless champion for bold, just, and inclusive county government in Allegheny County, PA.
“DFA is supporting Bethany Hallam because we know she understands that every resident deserves a better Allegheny County. Clean air, safe water, and affordable access to high-quality public transportation should be available to everyone, not luxuries for a few, and that’s why Bethany Hallam is committed to fighting to ensure the county’s clean air funds go to clean air initiatives, its water table is protected from the dangers of fracking, and its public transit system puts people before profit.
“We’re particularly thrilled to support Bethany Hallam for Allegheny County Council because, through her struggle with prescription opioid addiction and subsequent recovery, she has first-hand knowledge of how the county’s criminal justice system fails its citizens. Local government is full of people who have never experienced the devastating effects of our criminal justice system and almost none have Bethany Hallam’s lived experiences. The real, robust reforms our criminal justice system needs require the unique perspective and real-life experience of leaders like Bethany Hallam and we’re honored to help get her there. ” -- Yvette Simpson, CEO, Democracy for America
Democracy for America is a member-driven, people-powered progressive PAC with a one million strong community taking on income inequality, money in politics, and structural racism. Since the organization's founding in 2004, DFA members have contributed over $63 million and made more than 25 million calls to elect over 1,000 progressive candidates up-and-down the ballot, all across the country.
This morning, Donald Trump publicly attacked Rep. Rashida Tlaib based on the blatantly false smear made Sunday by Rep. Liz Cheney.
Democracy for America CEO Yvette Simpson released the statement below following Trump’s absurd attack on Rep. Tlaib:
"What Donald Trump and other members of the white nationalist-backing GOP don't seem to understand is that, no matter how perversely they try to twist their words, they're not going to bully Rashida Tlaib or any of the other bold, unapologetic progressive women of color into sitting down and shutting up. It. Is. Not. Going. To. Happen.
"Every blatantly false attack of anti-semitism from the President who praised the Nazis in Charlottesville as "very fine people" or the Party that continues to line up behind him, only strengthens our resolve to kick Republicans out of power and replace them with bold, progressive leaders, like Congresswoman Tlaib, who are committed to ending the bigotry, hate, and division Republicans work to sow." -- Yvette Simpson, CEO, Democracy for America
DFA, who also supported her early in her 2018 race, made Tlaib and three other progressive women of color incumbents their first endorsements of the 2020 election cycle.
Today, Democracy for America (DFA) announced its endorsement of Ammar Campa-Najjar for U.S. House in his rematch against five-term incumbent Rep. Duncan Hunter in California’s 50th Congressional District
Democracy for America was a staunch supporter of Campa-Najjar in 2018, backing him in his primary, celebrating his primary victory, and continuing to support him through the remainder of his competitive campaign.
This is DFA’s second non-incumbent endorsement in the battle to expand Democratic control of the U.S. House in 2020.
Statement from DFA Chair Charles Chamberlain on the grassroots progressive group’s endorsement of Campa-Najjar:
“Ammar Campa-Najjar is the bold, determined inclusive populist leader Democrats need to defeat corrupt, indicted Republican Duncan Hunter. ”
“To retain and expand the Democratic House Majority in 2020, Democrats need visionary fighters representing the New American Majority coalition of people of color and progressive white voters rejecting the broken status quo and working to kick lawbreaking Republicans like Duncan Hunter and Donald Trump out of Washington DC. Ammar will bring the fresh, authentic energy we need to engage people who are sick of the corrupt, stagnant, and out-of-touch Republicans holding America back.
“We’re honored to be supporting Ammar Campa-Najjar and we look forward to fighting alongside him every step of the way.” -- Charles Chamberlain, Chair, Democracy for America
Statement from Campa-Najjar on receiving DFA’s 2020 endorsement:
“I’m honored to receive Democracy for America endorsement. CA50 Voters are galvanized more than ever by the opportunity to bring an end to the 40-year Duncan Hunter dynasty; they’re ready to elect a people-powered candidate that will put people over politics. I’m thankful for this critical endorsement and look forward to working with DFA to make history this election.” -- Ammar Campa-Najjar
DFA has 3,051 members in California’s 50th Congressional District and more than one million members nationwide.
Today, in response to reporting documenting the impact the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee’s (DCCC) anti-primary blacklist policy have had on her campaign, Democracy for America decided to formally endorse Marie Newman’s campaign for the U.S. House in Illinois’ 3rd Congressional District and join with a number of other grassroots progressive groups in fundraising for her primary challenge of corporate Democrat Rep. Dan Lipinski.
Newman is DFA’s first non-incumbent endorsement in the battle to retain Democratic control of the U.S. House in 2020. DFA also endorsed Newman ahead of her 2018 primary of Lipinski.
Statement from DFA Chair Charles Chamberlain on Newman endorsement & the DCCC blacklist policy:
“The DCCC is doing tremendous damage to the Democratic brand and the progressive values its supposed to represent every single day they continue their blacklist policy that protects anti-choice, anti-LGBTQ, corporate Democrats like Dan Lipinski.
“We proudly backed Marie Newman when she ran against Lipinksi in 2016, and the DCCC’s anti-primary blacklist policy and the impact its already having in her race made it even more important for us to get her back early in her 2020 campaign.
“Marie Newman brings the fresh, progressive energy needed to replace one of the most retrograde corporate Democrats still standing in Congress. Dan Lipinski's built a career in Washington screwing over working families and providing cover to right-wing bigots by opposing everything from a $15 minimum wage and the Equality Act to women’s fundamental abortion rights.
“While the DCCC may be working overtime to shamefully protect one of the worst elected Democrats in Washington, we’re excited to back Marie Newman early in this race and we look forward to working with her to finally replace Dan Lipinski with a real progressive in Congress.” -- Charles Chamberlain, Chair, Democracy for America.
In addition to giving her its endorsement, DFA is part of a broader progressive coalition including Progressive Change Campaign Committee (PCCC), Justice Democrats, and others, helping Newman push back against the DCCC's blacklist policy.
Today, Democracy for America (DFA) released the results of its second Presidential Pulse Poll of the 2020 election cycle that shows a contest that has shifted over the course of the first quarter of 2019.
The grassroots poll shows Bernie Sanders holding on and strengthening the lead he had in DFA’s December 2018 Presidential Pulse Poll, but shows Elizabeth Warren coming in second, newcomer Pete Buttigieg taking third, followed by Joe Biden (previously in 2nd) and Kamala Harris. Beto O’Rourke, who came in 2nd in DFA’s December 2018 poll, has dropped to 7th place.
Top five results from the DFA poll:
- Bernie Sanders, 42.3%
- Elizabeth Warren, 10.52%
- Pete Buttigieg, 9.7%
- Joe Biden, 7.87%
- Kamala Harris, 6.8%
See the full results here: http://poll.democracyforamerica.com/results
April 2019 DFA Presidential Pulse Poll analysis memo here: http://s3.amazonaws.com/archives.democracyforamerica.com/Documents/MEMO_-__April_2019_DFA_Presidential_Pulse_Poll_Memo_(Final).pdf
The poll, which ran from Monday, April 1st through midnight (ET) Friday, April 19th, is the second DFA has conducted of its membership regarding the 2020 presidential election. DFA’s first 2020 Presidential pulse poll was conducted in December 2018.
DFA members cast a total of 94,641 votes for potential candidates in this Presidential Pulse Poll, with each member being able to rank order their votes for up to three potential candidates on their ballot.
Democracy for America Chair Charles Chamberlain on DFA’s April 2019 Presidential Pulse Poll results:
“While these new poll results show Bernie Sanders retaining and even strengthening his support among progressives, the big shifts in support for the broad field of candidate we’ve seen over the last three months make it clear that Democracy for America members are very open to changing their minds, discovering new candidates, and reevaluating potential nominees based on the campaign they run in the months ahead.
“Even before this race began, we said Democracy for America’s endorsement was up for grabs in the 2020 Democratic Primary. The changes we’ve seen between this poll and our last poll in December shows that the candidates running authentically on a bold, inclusive populist vision for the future of the country clearly have the momentum heading into the next stages of the contest.” -- Charles Chamberlain, Chair, Democracy for America
Ahead of 2020, DFA is committed to pressuring presidential candidates to be progressive leaders, providing opportunities for those running on inclusive populism to connect with its members, and conducting multiple Presidential Pulse Polls prior to any potential endorsement vote. The next DFA Presidential Pulse Poll is likely to occur following the first round of 2020 Democratic primary debates in late June/early July 2019.
Following Attorney General Barr's press conference and the impending release of the redacted Mueller Report, Democracy for America Chair Charles Chamberlain released the following statement:
“This isn’t the release of a redacted Muller report, this is a coverup.
“Attorney General Barr is not protecting the American people or the constitution with this release or his absurd press conference prior to the release of the report. He’s protecting Donald Trump, the Trump family, and the criminal campaign that got Trump into the White House.
“The only upside of today’s release is that we now know definitively that Donald Trump was lying when he claimed “complete and total exoneration” by the Mueller Report.
“Until members of Congress have seen and publicly examined everything contained in the original Mueller report, there’s no telling what other lies the Trump administration is hiding behind in today’s redacted release.” -- Charles Chamberlain, Chair, Democracy for America
Today, Democracy for America (DFA) announced its endorsement of Tiffany Cabán in the race for District Attorney in Queens, NY.
A career public defender and Queens native, Cabán has been an outspoken champion for the decriminalization of poverty, ending mass incarceration, combating racist law enforcement, and helping restore communities.
Cabán is the first endorsement DFA has made in a 2019 race for District Attorney.
Over the progressive organization’s 15-year history, DFA has supported a number of candidates dedicated to challenging structural racism in our criminal justice system, like Cook County States Attorney Kim Foxx in Illinois (2016) and Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner (2017).
In 2018, it backed a nationwide slate of Criminal Justice Reform champions including progressive Joe Gonzales who won his race for Bexar County (TX) District Attorney.
Yvette Simpson, DFA’s Chief Executive Officer, on the organization’s endorsement of Cabán for Queens DA:
“Democracy for America is excited to endorse Tiffany Cabán for Queens District Attorney because she’s already spent her career as a public defender fighting to make the criminal justice system work for the people and communities it so frequently marginalizes.
“A queer Latina born and raised in Queens, Tiffany Cabán will be a game-changing champion for justice in one of the largest, most ethnically diverse legal jurisdictions in the country. She knows that ending police brutality, mass incarceration, and systemic racism in the criminal justice system requires not just legislative action, but also a District Attorney in Queens who understands that justice in our country has never truly been blind and her office can help build a community where everyone can thrive.
“Tiffany Cabán is ready to lead the transformational District Attorney’s office that the people of Queens deserve, and we are so excited to be a part of the grassroots, people-powered movement working to get her there.” -- Yvette Simpson, CEO, Democracy for America
Queens DA Candidate Tiffany Cabán on receiving DFA’s endorsement:
“I am proud to receive an endorsement from Democracy for America.
"Since 2004, Democracy for America has powered populist progressive campaigns committed to fighting corporate power, combating income inequality, and prioritizing racial, social, and economic justice.
“I am thrilled that they recognize the importance of endorsing in county-level District Attorney races and look forward to working with their members to bring transformative justice to the Queens County District Attorney's Office." -- Tiffany Cabán, Candidate for Queens District Attorney
Democracy for America is a member-driven, people-powered progressive PAC with a one million strong community taking on income inequality, money in politics, and structural racism. Since the organization's founding in 2004, DFA members have contributed over $63 million and made more than 25 million calls to elect over 1,000 progressive candidates up-and-down the ballot, all across the country.
As the U.S. House is set to vote on a congressional anti-hate resolution originally proposed to admonish Rep. Ilhan Omar (MN-5), Democracy for America (DFA) announced that it is endorsing Omar and her strongest supporters in Congress -- Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (NY-14), Ayanna Pressley (MA-7), and Rashida Tlaib (MI-13) -- for reelection in 2020.
These are DFA's very first 2020 election cycle endorsements. The endorsements were made in response to the tremendous acts solidarity and support all four have shown each over the first two months of the new Congress, and the direct political threats leveled against Omar, Ocasio-Cortez, and Tlaib over the last week.
DFA backed all four members of Congress -- frequently referred to as The Squad -- in their competitive 2018 primaries. The grassroots organization has more than 19,036 members spread across their four congressional districts.
Chief Executive Officer Yvette Simpson on DFA's endorsement early 2020 endorsement of Omar, Ocasio-Cortez, Pressley, and Tlaib:
"Back in 2018, we proudly backed Representatives Ilhan Omar, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ayana Pressley, and Rashida Tlaib in their competitive primaries back because we knew they were exactly the kind of bold, unapologetic, progressive fighters our country needs.
"In just two months, through the battles they've waged, the enemies they've garnered, and the national conversations they've transformed, these four leaders have not only pushed forward bold ideas like the Green New Deal and Medicare for All, they've repeatedly proven how essential their unique voices and perspectives are in Congress.
"That's why, today, we're making the reelections of Ilhan Omar, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ayanna Pressley, and Rashida Tlaib Democracy for America's very first endorsements of the 2020 election cycle.
"We're also endorsing these four progressive women of color today because the last week's politically-motivated, racially-tinged, and anti-Muslim attack on Rep. Ilhan Omar has made it clear that their opponents on the right -- in both the Republican and Democratic Parties -- will stop at nothing to tear them down.
"Representatives Ilhan Omar, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ayanna Pressley, and Rashida Tlaib have no illusions about the forces they're up against or the families and communities they're fighting for -- and neither does DFA. We're honored to be fighting alongside them and, with today's endorsements, we're making it clear, once again, that DFA members have the Squad's back every step of the way." -- Yvette Simpson, CEO, Democracy for America
Democracy for America is a member-driven, people-powered progressive PAC with more than one million members nationwide committed to taking on income inequality, money in politics, and structural racism. Since its 2004 founding, DFA members have raised and contributed more than $63 million and made more than 25.4 million volunteer calls to help successfully elect 1008 progressive candidates nationwide.
In response to continued Democratic efforts to pass a resolution condemning antisemitism in light of recent comments made by Representative Ilhan Omar, Democracy for America (DFA) released the following statement:
"The Democratic Party is united in its opposition to antisemitism. Full stop.
"At the same time, everyone paying attention knows that the particular resolution being pushed right now, not to hold Republicans accountable for the countless times they have stood silently as the President white-washed neo-nazis, but instead to tell a newly elected Black, Muslim, refugee Congresswoman to sit-down and shut-up.
"Rather than uniting against the real threat posed by the rise of antisemitism, Islamophobia, trans-hate, and white supremacy being enabled by the Trump administration every day, Democratic congressional leaders continued effort to push this resolution as a response to Omar's comments plays directly into the hands of right-wing forces in the United States and abroad, looking to divide Democrats and ignore essential questions about American foreign policy.
"If Congressional Democrats are serious about standing up to hate, let's do it with comprehensive congressional action that condemns antisemitism, Islamophobia, anti-Black racism, xenophobia, as well as the disgusting physical and verbal threats that Rep. Omar herself has faced in recent weeks." -- Charles Chamberlain, Chair of Democracy for America.
DFA's statement comes a day after the grassroots progressive political action committee expressed its outrage against the coordinated attack on Omar on Twitter and sent an email encouraging its members to contribute to her reelection in response.
This morning, Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal is introducing the Medicare for All Act of 2019 on Capitol Hill alongside dozens of congressional co-sponsors and grassroots leaders from across the country including Democracy for America's Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Yvette Simpson.
DFA CEO Yvette Simpson released the following statement on the launch of Jayapal's Medicare for All Act:
"The Medicare for All Act is a bold, comprehensive healthcare plan rooted in the simple idea that healthcare is a human right, not some sacred cash cow for the insurance industry or Big Pharma.
"Congresswoman Jayapal's bill establishes a new gold standard in the fight for a practical, cost-efficient way to provide a single standard of quality health care to everyone.
"Democracy for America and its members are looking forward to working with Congresswoman Jayapal and the more than 100 co-sponsors of this bill to elevate the stories of the millions of Americans whose lives would be immeasurably improved with the passage of the Medicare for All Act. This bill is about prioritizing the needs of people and putting their lives and health above private and special interests.
"We will also be making sure that every 2020 presidential candidate knows that we and other progressives will be measuring any Medicare for All plan they put forward against the elegant, visionary and thorough plan Jayapal has put forward today." — Yvette Simpson, Chief Executive Officer, Democracy for America
Democracy for America's Chief Executive Officer Yvette Simpson issued the following statement following Sanders' announcement:
"In 2016, Senator Bernie Sanders rewrote the playbook of presidential politics and inspired a nationwide, grassroots movement that has helped transformed the range of the politically possible ever since.
"Blessed with a diverse field of candidates committed to inclusive populist reforms, we're looking forward to seeing how Sanders and the movement behind him make the case for 'political revolution' in a very different 2020 contest.
"To win in 2020, Democrats need a leader committed to a visionary, progressive agenda who can win the enthusiastic support of the New American Majority of people of color and progressive white voters. With Sanders joining Warren, Harris Gillibrand, and a number of others, we're more confident than ever that Democrats will find the candidate we need to defeat Trump and start delivering the kind of economic, social, and racial justice needed to improve real people's lives." -- Yvette Simpson, Executive Director, Democracy for America
In late 2014 and early 2015, Democracy for America (DFA) worked with MoveOn.org to encourage Senator Warren to run for President in the 2016 election. In late 2015, following an endorsement vote of its grassroots progressive members, DFA endorsed Bernie Sanders in the 2016 Democratic Presidential Primary -- the first presidential primary endorsement ever.
Last December, DFA released the results of its first 2020 Presidential Pulse Poll and made it clear that its presidential endorsement was "up for grabs."
Following the last week of shocking news in Richmond, VA, including the latest allegations of sexual assault levied against Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax, Democracy for America (DFA) is urging Virginia Democrats to push for the replacement of the state's entire executive leadership team without undoing the elections of 2016, 2017, and 2018.
Full Statement from DFA's Chief Executive Officer Yvette Simpson:
"Virginians need to clean house. Gov. Ralph Northam, Attorney General Mark Herring, and Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax need to go, and each needs to be replaced with Democrats who Commonwealth voters can be confident have lived their shared progressive values.
"Let's be clear: Sexual assault and racism have no place in our politics, government, or anywhere.
Last week, following the public confirmation of his appearance in a racist yearbook photo, we called on Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam to resign and, when Attorney General Mark Herring shared that he had also worn in blackface, we felt it was clear that he needed to go as well.
After hearing the horrifying revelations about his past actions, we're calling on Lt. Gov. Fairfax to resign too, despite having once been of his most ardent, early supporters.
The one silver lining of the last week's very dark cloud is that the Commonwealth is blessed with a deep and diverse Democratic bench of Black, brown, and LGBTQ women and men capable of leading the Virginia that has rejected the Party of Trump repeatedly over the last three elections.
"We urge the leadership of the Democratic Party of Virginia to identify the individuals best suited to fill these needed vacancies on Virginia's executive leadership team, and organize a swift transition of power that ensures that the will of Commonwealth voters is not undone by these necessary resignations." – Yvette Simpson, CEO, Democracy for America
This evening, Stacey Abrams became the first Black woman to deliver an official response to the State of the Union. In response to Abrams' historic speech, Yvette Simpson, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Democracy for America, issued the following statement:
"Tonight, Stacey Abrams delivered a passionate future-focused speech that spoke to our shared progressive values, common struggles, and stands in stark contrast with the hate-filled, fear-mongering sack of lies Donald Trump delivered minutes before.
"While Trump worked overtime to sell his accountability-free, me-first agenda, Stacey Abrams demanded accountability for an unnecessary and immoral government shutdown that held federal workers and their families hostage to build a multi-billion dollar monument to racism on our Southern border.
"In what was both a statement of principles and a call to action, Stacey Abrams did what Democrats will need to do now through 2020 and made it crystal clear that the Democratic Party of the future is the party of inclusion, diversity, opportunity, and justice for all." -- Yvette Simpson, Executive Director, Democracy for America
DFA says Trump’s SOTU speech “reminded us why he isn’t fit to lead a golf tournament,” let alone U.S
In response to tonight's State of the Union Address, which marked the second time in US history an address has ever been delayed, Yvette Simpson, Executive Director of Democracy for America, issued the following statement:
"In his speech tonight, Donald Trump reminded us why he isn't fit to lead a golf tournament, let alone the most powerful country in the world. Obsessed with the sound of his own voice, he continues to lie incessantly, spew hate, breed division, and embarrass all of us on the international stage. We deserve so much better.
"With Donald Trump at the helm, the state of our union is more fractured than it's been in our lifetimes.
"One of the night's few saving graces is knowing that the progressive leaders who suffered through Trump's speech from the House floor are backed up by a grassroots movement led by the New American Majority of Black, brown, and progressive white voters who ready for bold, inclusive populist reform.
"With every lie he told, fear he tried to exploit, and failure he attempted to spin tonight, Donald Trump has made the difficult task of beating him in 2020 a little easier by encouraging the countless Americans he has harmed to work even harder for the more just and equitable America we know is possible." -- Yvette Simpson, Executive Director, Democracy for America
This evening, Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam publicly confirmed that he appeared in a racist photo on his individual page in his 1984 Medical School yearbook.
Charles Chamberlain, Democracy for America's Chair, issued the following statement calling for Northam's immediate resignation:
"After his refusal this evening to be completely transparent about his past actions, it's clear that Ralph Northam has no business remaining Governor of Virginia.
"Whether it happened yesterday or thirty-five years ago, the Democratic Party of 2019 has no place for people in positions of power with a history of racist actions. Ralph Northam should resign from his office immediately." -- Charles Chamberlain, Chair, Democracy for America
Joint Letter Calling on Conference Committee to Protect Families and Children and Restore America’s Faith in Government
January 29, 2019
We write to you today seeking your solidarity and support to enter in to the DHS conference committee process with clear eyes. The next 3 weeks we are tasked with operationalizing our values and addressing the fall out caused by a reckless Administration that has put profits before people and rhetoric before the lives of immigrant children.
The Department of Homeland Security is tasked with critical functions. However, under the auspice of the Trump Administration, a number of agencies housed at DHS have abused their authority and the fidelity of public resources. There is a documented pattern of Immigration and Customs Enforcement overspending and abusing the transfer authority to quietly move funds around, a practice that Customs and Border Protection has indicated it would like to replicate. Funds are being reallocated internally not to make our nation safer, but to build desert camps to inhumanely house infants and to prosecute immigrants who are part of the fabric of our community. These agencies have promulgated an agenda driven by hate – not strategy. We call on our colleagues at the negotiating table to adhere to the following guidelines critical to protecting families and children and restoring Americans’ faith in government:
Cut, do not increase funding. Stop funding family separation and child detention. A Republican controlled Congress has already sharply increased DHS spending without clear justification. The deal reached by the Conference Committee should not allocate any additional funding to this department or to the ICE and CBP agencies. The upcoming FY2020 budget process will be a critical opportunity to take up conversations about reforms to the agency. In the meantime, not another dollar.
No transfer authority. The Trump Administration continues to use DHS funding as a slush fund (through transfers or reprogramming) to increase detention programs and invest in ineffective policies. The conference committee should prohibit transfers and reprogramming authorities.
Stronger accountability. Strong report language is critical to ensuring safeguards to rein in DHS. However, report language is not enough. The final budget package must be accompanied by stringent oversight mechanisms, and critical obligations should be in statutory text not just report language. DHS has a failed track record of missing Congressional deadlines, including when recently required to report on deaths in custody, list ICE detention facilities, and implement PREA mandated protections against sexual assault in custody. For these reasons, the DHS should be taken up as a separate appropriations bill and accompanied by strong statutory language that saves lives and increases accountability.
As a nation, we need comprehensive immigration reform driven by justice and data. Let us be clear that that process will not play out during the Conference Committee’s narrow DHS deliberations. The sole focus of this Conference Committee is to put forward a short term spending package for 7 months. But a budget is a statement of our values. With the world watching and the lives of families at stake, we should not compromise our values at the negotiating table.
Alexandria Ocasio Cortez
New York 14th
Today, Senator Kamala Harris officially launched her 2020 Presidential exploratory committee.
Democracy for America's CEO Yvette Simpson issued the following statement on Harris' announcements:
"Senator Kamala Harris' announcement today underscores the transformational opportunity the 2020 presidential election already represents for our country. With the wide range of identities, backgrounds, and life experiences, the 2020 Democratic field not only reflects our country's future, it stands in stark contrast to the politics of bigotry, hate, and division that drives Donald Trump's Republican Party.
"Democrats will reclaim the White House in 2020 if we put forward a nominee who connects with the New American Majority of black, brown, and progressive white voters and strengthens that connection by advocating for a bold, inclusive populist vision for the country that can energize those who've never felt heard before.
"Black women have long been the backbone of the Democratic Party, and having a progressive trailblazer like Senator Harris in this race will play a crucial role in ensuring our voices are heard loud and clear in this primary." -- Yvette Simpson, Chief Executive Officer, Democracy for America
Last month, DFA released the results of its first 2020 Presidential Pulse Poll and made it clear that its presidential endorsement was "up for grabs."
Tonight, Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand officially launched her 2020 Presidential exploratory committee, while former U.S. Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Julián Castro formally announced that he was a candidate for President in 2020 on Saturday.
Democracy for America's CEO Yvette Simpson issued the following statement on Gillibrand and Castro's announcements:
"Senator Kirsten Gillibrand and former HUD Secretary Julián Castro's entrances into the 2020 race for President over the past week have inched us closer to a historically diverse field of Democratic candidates.
"To beat Donald Trump, Democrats need a nominee committed to bold, inclusive populist ideas and convincing the American people that they can and will change the lives and circumstances of those who need it most.
"We look forward to seeing how Gillibrand, Castro, and other candidates like them work to engage and win the support of progressive voters." -- Yvette Simpson, Chief Executive Officer, Democracy for America
Last Month, DFA released the results of its first 2020 Presidential Pulse Poll and made it clear that its presidential endorsement was "up for grabs."