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Monday, August 28, 2006

MD-04: Support Donna Edwards

Following up on the efforts to reform the Democratic Party that received so much attention in Connecticut, the battle now moves to Maryland. Matt Stoller lays out the case.

It's now Al Wynn's turn. Wynn is not only a viciously reactionary Democrat who voted for the war and has aided Bush at nearly every turn, but he's also brutish in his local political work in a way that Lieberman is not. Wynn sits in an influential place at the Congressional Black Caucus, which is split between strong progressives and DLC corrupt Bourbons like William Jefferson. If Democrats take the House, the CBC will dominate the next Congress, as its senior members sit as ranking members of many influential committees. That means that the incentives within the CBC should be of deep interest to progressives looking for the power to affect policy.

Once could argue that Wynn is actually worse than Lieberman, because while Lieberman panders to the right and has to answer to the press in some form or fashion, Wynn is owned by the right and flourishes in silence. While Lieberman spreads unseemly rumors about his opponent, Wynn's staffers have actually beaten up supporters of his opponent. With a much less transparent political culture than Connecticut, Maryland is harder to penetrate. And that makes Wynn even more entrenched than Lieberman was, and harder to understand. Unlike Lieberman, his power is predicated on being ignored as he channels corporate money to his political allies, as opposed to being high profile on Sunday shows. While Lieberman was the leader of the Bourbons, Wynn is the silent corruptor.

His opponent is someone of deep courage and conviction, Donna Edwards. Donna has a long track record as a progressive activist, and she's managed to patch together a workable campaign without the self-financing capacity of a Lamont or the genius of a Tom Swan. She has gotten some traction because she destroyed Wynn in the debate, and the press has finally done reporting on her challenge. It's stunning though, that even though several Wynn staffers were detained for violently attacking an Edwards volunteer, the press hasn't really looked into Wynn or his campaign manager, nor has the press discussed Wynn's record and allowed the voters a way to understand it and hold him accountable. That's starting to change, but like the Lamont race, this is a seriously entrenched incumbent. By the way, for any intrepid reporters out there, take a look at Wynn's campaign manager...

Donna Edwards is pursuing a strong field strategy with good strong mail pieces. As I wrote before, she can't self-finance a comprehensive advertising campaign, though she is trying to raise $20,000 for a last-minute cable buy targeting the voters she needs, which are regular Democrats who vote in primaries. Wynn has been playing footsie with Steele, so that could have an effect on primary day (Sept 12). There are rumors that his goons have been continuing to tear down signs and generally play sleazy games.

I've included some campaign messaging below so you can get a sense of the Edwards campaign. It's quite remarkable. In a district with very little effective media, a progressive activists has taken on an entrenched incumbent and created a real and viable campaign. Wynn has been pushed to the left already, apologizing for his vote on the war. He's already thinking twice about his votes on various issues, because he knows that Donna is going to be there watching and attacking him for right-wing stances. And the clarity from the Donna Edwards campaign is refreshing:

The war in Iraq is wrong. Unlike my opponent, I will stand against any war in which we strike first without proper intelligence. I will ask questions and demand answers. We must bring our troops home now and set priorities for education, health care, and real security.

Energy prices are skyrocketing. Unlike my opponent, I will not support billions in subsidies for oil and gas companies. We must end our dependence on oil. I will work for increased energy assistance for consumers and make investments in alternative energy sources for the future.

Health care costs are out of control. Unlike my opponent, I will not vote against women's health coverage for pregnancy, childbirth, child care, and breast and cervical cancer screening.

I will fight for universal health care and affordable prescription drugs for all.

Get Active. Contribute. Vote on Primary Day, September 12. Vote Donna Edwards, a real Democrat for working people.

If you're looking at the short-term game, then this is a tough but winnable primary. And I do mean that. Edwards can win. It won't be easy, but she can win. Wynn is one of the major Democratic backers of the anti-net neutrality forces, which is just one example of how bad he is. Beating him would be awesome, and incumbents are dropping all over the country within both parties.

You can support Edwards at the Blue America page.

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