Yesterday we saw every single Republican -- including supposed moderates Olympia Snowe, Susan Collins and Scott Brown -- vote against allowing a debate on Wall Street reform to even begin. And the most reactionary Democrat in the Senate, Ben Nelson of Nebraska, crossed the aisle to vote for Wall Street and against the American people. It's another sign that there's an effective conservative coalition in control of the American government. In 2008 Americans went to the polls and overwhelmingly voted for change and voted for hope, two of the things most anathema to conservatives. Conventional wisdom is that after the November midterms fast approaching the Congress will be even less likely to vote for change and hope. Conventional wisdom has convinced itself that the 30% of Americans who are die-hard right-wing Republicans, who relate positively to teabaggery, who embrace racism and hatred and bigotry, and who think Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck, not Thomas Jefferson and James Madison, wrote the Constitution, will replace Nancy Pelosi with John Boehner and Harry Reid with Mitch McConnell.
Yesterday was also the first day of a Blue America effort to combat that conventional wisdom with an assertion that-- corporate media and corporate pundits be damned-- we can force change and hope through the system. As April drifts into May, we have to make it clear to our friends and families that if we wait for November it will be too late to prevent a conservative resurrgence. May has 5 crucial Democratic primaries pitting more progressive candidates against more conservative candidates-- Jennifer Brunner vs Lee Fisher in Ohio, Jack Conway vs Daniel Mongiardo in Kentucky (pictured left with his friend John McCain), Bill Halter vs Blanche Lincoln in Arkansas, Elaine Marshall vs Cal Cunningham in North Carolina, and Joe Sestak vs Arlen Specter in Pennsylvania.
Blue America contends that because they are eager to draw sharp contrasts between conservative Republican positions and progressive Democratic positions, only Brunner, Conway, Halter, Marshall and Sestak can turn or keep these seats blue. Why would voters in Kentucky, for example, bother voting for a homophobic reactionary who opposed healthcare reform and mouths GOP talking points whenever he opens his mouth-- Mongiardo-- against Trey Grayson or Rand Paul? Because they like their office-holders in blue jerseys instead of red ones? I don't think so. Conservatives are happy voting for Republicans and the Democratic base is as likely to stay home for Mongiardo (or Fisher or Lincoln or Cunningham or Specter) as they did for fatally flawed candidates like Creigh Deeds in Virginia and Martha Coakley in Massachusetts.
What we're doing over at Blue America is running a May Senate Primaries contest, inspired by the Barenaked Ladies song "If I Had A Million Dollars." In fact, we wish we could give the winning campaign a check for a million dollars. Well, we can... but it would bounce. Instead we're going to give the campaign that gets the most votes in our contest, something you can't buy, not even for a million dollars-- an RIAA-certified Barenaked Ladies multi-platinum record award for their album, Stunt. They can auction it or give it away to a donor or do whatever they like with it. (This poarticular plaque is extremely rare and collectible; less than 10 were made because they album sales spiked immediately after it was ordered and the more common award was made for 4 million albums instead of 3 million, like the one we're giving away.)
So how do you help your favorite campaign win it? Well, you vote-- by donating on the ActBlue page. And one dollar counts as a vote and so does $1,000. Each counts as one vote. As I'm writing this Jennifer Brunner is out front and Bill Halter is coming up fast. But ten one dollar contributions from ten people would change the ball game completely. Oh-- and you can vote here.