A couple of weeks ago at the DNC, Hillary Clinton finally attempted to reach out to progressive voters and lay out a vision that could include them…in places. Still, much of the left is unenthused, and Clinton voters and surrogates haven’t helped themselves in bridging the gap. Threatening the terror Trump while focusing on capturing right-wing voters instead of doing early, sincere outreach to the left only reinforced the Sanders coalition’s feeling that the Democrats and their candidate have nothing to offer their own base. So cool, you decided to vote for Jill Stein or yourself or your mom for president. We (and apparently only we) aren’t here to bother your about it.
As your Facebook friends rant about how voters who haven’t gone full-Clinton are traitors to the human race, however, they might be forgetting to mention that that there are thousands of ways to fight the rise of Il Duce without putting time and money into his heavily compromised opponent. After all, Hillary Clinton isn’t the only person running for office in 2016. There are literally thousands of less-compromised, less-conservative, less war-obsessed Democratic downticket candidates who would be good shepherds for all or some of the values of the Sanders movement. Many of them rely on volunteers and small dollar donations, and involvement will help drive voter turnout at every level.
Your vote is yours and yours alone – it doesn’t belong to any particular candidate just because the alternative is scary. Your social responsibility to vote in an informed manner, however, didn’t go away just because Sanders the candidate did. To be effective, the Democrats need house and senate majorities, so if you feel your voice isn’t represented by the top of the ticket, here are some candidates and organizations to put your time and money into.
[We’ll be adding to this list as the week goes on, and we encourage you to find your own local candidates to support, especially if they are in these states: FL, OH, WI, PE, NV, CO, GA, IA, NC, VA, NH]
CANDIDATES – Senate
Wisconsin / Russ Feingold –
Sen. Ron Johnson, a billionaire who put $9 million of his own money into his 2010 election is now facing a re-match against Russ Feingold, the 2010 incumbent in the race. Feingold is a strong progressive who lost in his swing-stage seat in an off-year election, but a presidential election year is the perfect time to stage a comeback. Obama carried Wisconsin in both years, but it’s worth remembering that they swing both ways – their governor is Scott Walker – so Clinton is not a shoo-in here. Help Feingold come back to the Senate (he was beloved be us!) and help drive Dem turnout in the process.
New Hampshire / Maggie Hassan
Sen. Kelly Ayotte, recently got the kiss of death - a Trump endorsement - after several months as the object of his scorn. She’s in a serious race for her life against the state’s Democratic governor, Maggie Hassan, who is giving up her position in order to run for Senate. Both have won state-wide office, and Hassan is up as much as ten points in recent polls, but helping the Democrats keep their strong lead in New Hampshire will have a lasting impact in a state that swerved wildly to the right during the tea-party wave and is still recovering from the fallout.
Ohio / Ted Strickland
GOP Sen. Rob Portman is up this year, and like in NH he’s running against somebody who’s also won statewide office in the last decade. Strickland won a gubernatorial race in 2006 in a landslide, but lost very narrowly to Kasich in 2010. Now, in a presidential year, he has a chance to get back in the game. This race is SUPER close, but this state is SUPER important for the Dems. Help them eek out a majority here!
Florida / Whoever is NOT Marco Rubio
This is looking like it’s going to be one of the most expensive races in the country, and the primary isn’t even over yet. At the moment it seems like Rep. Patrick Murphy will be the one taking on incumbent Rubio, but Rep. Alan Greyson is holding on. We wont have any results until August 30th, but by all means get involved early and help Florida determine who to run! (Greyson is progressive and always a hoot.) The general race is hovering in “tossup” range so some Democratic turnout, beginning with an exciting primary discussion, would really help!