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 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."
DFA on Trump Border Speech: U.S. has “a national security disaster in the Oval Office,” not a crisis
In response to Trump's speech on the government shutdown and the self-created crisis at the U.S.- Mexico border, Democracy for America released the following statement:
"America doesn't have a national security crisis on our southern border, we have a national security disaster in the Oval Office.
"The bizarre rant Donald Trump delivered tonight was not only a dangerous escalation of white supremacist fear-mongering, it was a crystal clear indication that there is no limit to the lies he's willing to tell or the American families he's willing to hold hostage to pursue his racist agenda.
"Americans sent a historic, progressive wave to Washington last November, because they wanted leaders in Congress committed to fighting for an inclusive populist agenda, standing up to Donald Trump, and stopping the monument to bigotry, hate, and division he's obsessed with constructing on our southern border.
"As they fight to get more than 800,000 federal workers back to work and stand strong against a senseless border wall being built, Democrats are being the kind of leaders America needs. It's time for Congressional Republicans to quit their cowering, find their backbones, and join them." -- Charles Chamberlain, Chair, Democracy for America (DFA)
Democracy for America's Executive Director Charles Chamberlain issued the following statement following Warren's announcement:
"Our country needs a 2020 Democratic nominee defined by bold, inclusive populist ideas and a vision for the future of the country that wins the support of the New American Majority of people of color and progressive white voters.
"Senator Elizabeth Warren's formal entrance into the 2020 race for President today helps launch what we believe will be a vibrant discussion of bold, inclusive populist ideas in the Democratic Primary, and we look forward to the wide array of progressive candidates that we expect to join her in it in the year ahead." -- Charles Chamberlain, 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.
Earlier this month, DFA released the results of its first 2020 Presidential Pulse Poll and made it clear that its presidential endorsement was "up for grabs."
DFA-endorsed Representative-elect Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is shaking things up again.
This time, she's leading the fight for a Green New Deal: a transformative plan to put our country on the path towards a clean energy future by investing in renewable energy, a national smart grid, public works projects, and tens of millions of green jobs.
This proposal is a win-win for our environment and economy, and it’s our greatest opportunity to avert the worst impacts of climate change. That’s why 35 members of Congress and more than 300 local officials from 40 states have stepped up to support it. Will you?
Add your name right now to join DFA and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez in supporting a Green New Deal today.Take Action!
Today, Democracy for America (DFA) released the results of its first 2020 Presidential Pulse Poll with Bernie Sanders leading with over a third of DFA members encouraging him to run for president. He is followed by Joe Biden, Beto O'Rourke, Elizabeth Warren, and Kamala Harris.
Top five results from the DFA poll (members asked to pick top three):
- Bernie Sanders, 36.14%
- Joe Biden, 14.88%
- Beto O'Rourke, 12.34%
- Elizabeth Warren, 7.89%
- Kamala Harris, 6.95%
See the full results here: http://poll.democracyforamerica.com/results
The poll, which ran from Thursday, November 29th through midnight (ET) Friday, December 14th, is the first DFA has conducted of its membership regarding the 2020 presidential election.
DFA members cast a total of 94,163 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.
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 in the first half of 2019.
"These results make clear that, while Bernie Sanders' has a strong early lead, no single potential presidential candidate has full command of the Democratic Party's progressive base heading into 2019," said Yvette Simpson, incoming Chief Executive Officer of Democracy for America. "With more than 14 months before Iowa, we expect these results to change as grassroots progressives hear the messages the candidates are running on, see the campaigns executing on the ground, and watch them construct the broad-based coalition of the New American Majority of people of color and white progressive voters it will take to beat Donald Trump."
"Let's be clear: Progressive support in the 2020 Democratic Primary is up for grabs and so is Democracy for America's endorsement," said Charles Chamberlain, DFA's current Executive Director and incoming Chair. "Unlike 2016, no candidate has support strong enough for the Democratic Party establishment to clear the field, which means progressives will have an excellent opportunity over the next year to kick the tires on a wide range of different candidates and find the best one to take on Trump. With a clear majority of the top five candidates being champions of Medicare for All, these results illustrate that Americans are eager for bold, progressive candidates who will fight for the multiracial inclusive populism America needs in 2020 and beyond."
Republicans are hoping that the threat of a holiday season shutdown will be enough to convince moderate Democrats to cave on border wall funding. And Trump has even floated the idea of sweetening the deal by offering some sort of protection for Dreamers in exchange.
The Trump administration's treatment of immigrants and refugees at the border has been morally reprehensible. Democrats must not be complicit in it by providing any sort of funding that would enable it to continue. Period, full stop.
No matter what kind of deal Trump tries to make or what kinds of threats he poses, our message to Trump and the Senate must be loud and clear: No wall. No more detention beds. No more border agents.
If you’re with us, add your name now to urge the U.S. Senate to do the right thing and refuse to support funding for Trump’s border wall this December.Take Action!
The largest television operator in the United States, Sinclair Broadcast Group, is nothing more than a front for pro-Trump propaganda disguised as local news.
For example, this week Sinclair required 200 of their stations to run a horrific segment supporting the use of tear gas against refugee women and children on the border. Here's just a small preview of the piece, featuring long time Trump surrogate Boris Epshteyn:
"The fact of the matter is that this is an attempted invasion of our country."
This is the type of disinformation millions of Americans hear when they tune into their local news right now. All they want are objective updates on their community, local sports teams, and more -- but instead, they’re getting corrupt, pro-Trump propaganda that would make even Fox News blush.
We’re launching a new campaign demanding that Sinclair advertisers end their relationships with this propaganda network. Add your name here and together, we’ll send a message to these advertisers now:Take Action!
In January, Democrats in the U.S. House will introduce a new bill to strengthen our democracy by expanding voting rights in a few key ways, including:
- Restoring the Voting Rights Act, which was weakened by the Supreme Court in 2013;
- Establishing automatic voter registration, making it easier for every single eligible American to vote;
- Take away partisan state legislatures’ ability to gerrymander, and give redistricting power to independent commissions.
To pass this bill would be a MAJOR achievement in strengthening every American’s right to vote and ensuring fair elections. In my home state, we were successful in expanding voting rights through a ballot initiative this past month. But in state after state, voting rights are in desperate need of protecting.
It’s time that we give democratic power back to the people. Join Rashida Tlaib and Democracy for America in becoming a co-signer of the "Strengthen Democracy" bill today.Take Action!
Katie Porter just won her race for Congress in California's 45th Congressional District, delivering, over a week after election, yet another victory in the long-held Republican stronghold of Orange County.
DFA's Executive Director Charles Chamberlain on Katie Porters's stunning victory in California's 45th District:
"Katie Porter was counted out of the race for California's 45th District over and over again, both by Republicans and Wall Street-wing Democrats intent on using her as some misguided cautionary tale about the 'dangers' fighting for a bold, inclusive populist agenda, like Medicare for All.
"After a long fought campaign, Katie Porter's victory tonight is not only another example of the political transformation that's come to Orange County, California, it's a reminder of what kind of change is possible when Democrats stand up for progressive values and run campaigns that are committed to earning the support and delivering the votes of the New American Majority of Black, brown, and progressive white voters.
"Democracy for America was honored to support Katie Porter early on in her campaign, and we know that the fight she waged for every single vote throughout this campaign directly reflects the fight she'll wage every day in Congress for the families that call the California's 45th home." -- Charles Chamberlain, Executive Director, Democracy for America
Today, Democracy for America's (DFA) Jim Dean announced his decision to step down from his role as Chair of the national grassroots progressive group, and make former Cincinnati City Council member and history-making 2017 mayoral candidate Yvette Simpson its next Chief Executive, effective January 1, 2019.
As a part of the transition, Dean will move into the special advisor role his brother, Gov. Howard Dean, held prior to November 2016. DFA's current Executive Director, Charles Chamberlain, will move in to the role of Chair.
DFA Chair Jim Dean on his decision to step down and appoint Yvette Simpson DFA's new Chief Executive:
"After an election year defined by historic firsts and the profound impact women of color played in delivering them, I couldn't be more excited about Democracy for America's future with Yvette Simpson as its new Chief Executive.
"Having the opportunity to work closely with the grassroots to help push our country in a more progressive direction has truly been an honor and one of the greatest thrills of my life, but I also know that we won't be able to achieve the kind of change our country needs if we don't let a new generation of bold, visionary progressive leaders, like Yvette, lead the way.
"With Yvette as its Chief Executive and Charles as Chair, I am certain that DFA will not only continue fighting to deliver inclusive, populist political change up and down the ballot, but also that the folks DFA will be working with to lead those battles will be the progressive people of color, women, and young Americans who make up the New American Majority." -- Jim Dean, Chair, Democracy for America.
Over Dean's 14 years as its Chair, Democracy for America has helped elect over 1,000 progressives into office up and down the ticket, from President of the United States to Cook County Water Reclamation Commissioner.
Simpson will take over leadership of DFA in 2019 as its Chief Executive after serving as the organization's Federal Electoral Manager during the second half of 2018. In her work as DFA's Federal Electoral Manager, Simpson worked with DFA to recruit and support a strong, diverse slate of federal candidates in this year's midterm election -- including many of whom will be sworn in as newly elected members of Congress in January.
Yvette Simpson on joining DFA as it's new Chief Executive:
"I am incredibly excited to take the helm of an organization that has been supporting candidates at every level for nearly 15 years, and that is poised to do even more in the future to advance progressive, diverse leaders and issues across the country.
"We know that the future is female and that our country is becoming more diverse. The leadership of our country, from City Hall to the White House, needs to reflect the life experience and strategic vision of these changing demographics. Representation matters, particularly within political and movement organizations.
"Through Jim Dean's leadership, Democracy for America has built a powerful track-record of identifying and training strong grassroots leaders early and using people-power and partnerships to get those candidates over the finish line. I've seen the impact of that support, both as a candidate and while recently working directly with federal candidates on DFA's behalf, and it's a reputation we will be building on in 2019, 2020, and beyond." -- Yvette Simpson, incoming Chief Executive, Democracy for America.
Simpson, who makes history as the first woman of color to play an executive leadership role at DFA, has joined the organization as it celebrates a history-making 2018 election, looks forward to supporting a strong slate of inclusive populist candidates in local and state elections in 2019, and can't wait to defeat Donald Trump and elect a progressive President in 2020.
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 $62 million and made more than 25 million volunteer calls to help successfully elect 1,006 progressive candidates nationwide.
Additional Biographical Information about incoming DFA Chief Executive Yvette Simpson:
Yvette Simpson is a lawyer, MBA, and former Cincinnati City Council President Pro Tempore. She is the Founder & CEO of Yvette Simpson, LLC. In that capacity, Yvette served as the Federal Electoral Manager for Democracy for America (DFA) during the second half of 2018 and, in January 2019, will become the grassroots progressive organization's Chief Executive. She will be the first woman to serve as a Chief Executive at DFA and the first woman of color to play an executive leadership role at the organization.
Yvette grew up in public housing in Cincinnati, and was raised by her grandmother. She was the first in her family to graduate college, earning her BA in Political Science and her BS in Communications from Miami University (OH) in 2000. She earned her JD from the University of Cincinnati in 2004, and her MBA from Xavier University.
Yvette's passion for service started in 2008 when she served as a member of the Ohio Voter Protection Team as a Legal Observer. She later served on the Steering Committee for the Women's Fund, which researched barriers to women in public service. Since that time, she has volunteered and supported local and state campaigns, serving as the Vice Chair of the State Central Committee for the Ohio Democratic Party.
Yvette ran for Cincinnati City Council in 2011 and was elected and re-elected in 2013 for a four-year term. She served as President Pro Tem from 2013-2017. In 2017 she ran for Cincinnati Mayor, winning her primary by 11 points. She made history, as the first Black woman in Cincinnati's 200-year history to win a Mayoral primary. While she ultimately didn't win the general election, she won in 15 of 26 wards. During her years of service, Yvette worked on many economic and social issues, and was a strong advocate for people of color, the poor, women, and children.
Yvette is very active in her community, having served on several boards and committees, including the YWCA, Urban League, Cincinnati Youth Collaborative, and the UC Law Legal Access Program, among others. She was named a Forty under 40 by The Cincinnati Business Courier, was named YWCA Career Woman of Achievement in 2014, and currently serves on the She the People Summit Steering Committee.
Yvette brings her experience, passion, advocacy, and commitment to changing the world to her role at DFA, whose mission is to advance the voices and power of progressives and the New American Majority in our democracy.
Headlined by a night of historic "firsts" and the return of Democratic control of the U.S. House after the crushing loss of 2016, future generations will likely remember Election Night 2018 as a critical progressive pivot point in our country's political history.
Led by the people of color, women, millennials, and white progressives who make up the New American Majority, the 2018 election results delivered a clear repudiation of Donald Trump, pulled the country back from the brink of Democratic collapse, and decisively pushed it toward the kind of multiracial inclusive populist agenda we need to address the challenges we face and move the country forward.
DFA's Top Five Takeaways from the 2018 Election Results:
- While Democrats' successful flip of the U.S. House shifts power in Washington, the historic night of "firsts" and the boost it gives to building a more reflective democracy will have an even longer lasting impact. These history-making trailblazers will not only bring new, vital perspective to Congress, they are also set to be leaders in the fight for the bold inclusive populist reforms, like Medicare for All, that drive the New American Majority.
DFA-endorsed historic "first" House winners include: Veronica Escobar (TX-16, one of Texas' first Latina Congresswoman), Deb Haaland (NM-1, one of the first Native American women elected to Congress), Jahana Hayes (CT-5, Connecticut's first Black Congresswoman), Joe Neguse (CO-2, Colorado's first Black Member of Congress), Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (NY-14, the youngest woman ever elected to Congress), Ilhan Omar (MN-05, the first Somali-American and Muslim woman), Ayanna Pressley (Massachusetts' first Black Congresswoman), Rashida Tlaib (MI-13, the first Palestinian-American & Muslim woman), and Lauren Underwood (IL-14, the youngest Black woman ever elected to Congress).
- The incoming Democratic Caucus in both the House and the Senate is set to be the most progressive in a generation. In addition to flipping control of the House, the 2018 election represents a rapid expansion of the number of leaders who are ready to help lead the fight for multiracial inclusive populism in Congress. Not only is the House gaining a new generation of progressive visionaries like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ilhan Omar, Ayanna Pressley, and Rashida Tlaib from blue districts, but the latest data from the Progressive Change Institute shows that 64% of the Democratic Freshman Class support inclusive populist economic priorities like Medicare for All, a Medicare Public Option, and/or Social Security Expansion.
Moreover, while we were tremendously disappointed that Democrats were unable to retake the Senate, after losing members like Sen. Joe Donnelly and Sen. Claire McCaskill and gaining the new voice of DFA-endorsed Jacky Rosen, the new Senate Democratic Caucus is likely to be even more ideologically united in their approach to confronting Donald Trump than before.
- Racism, left-bashing, and trying to score points by backing alleged attempted rapists for the Supreme Court are not winning strategies for Democrats. In a last-minute effort to save his limping campaign, Senator Joe Donnelly aired ads attacking the "radical left" and fully embraced Trump's monument to bigotry on our Southern border. Senator Claire McCaskill acted similarly by closing out her ultimately losing campaign by throwing a wild punch at "crazy Democrats." Even more perplexing, former Governor Phil Bredesen effectively tanked his chances of winning a Republican-held Senate seat in Tennessee with the wholly unnecessary announcement that he would have voted for alleged attempted rapist Brett Kavanaugh for the U.S. Supreme Court if he'd been in the Senate -- afterward, his fundraising fell off a cliff and he went on to lose his race by nearly 11 points.
Conversely, while he came up shy of victory, DFA-endorsed candidate Beto O'Rourke's Medicare for All-embracing, pro-Immigrant rights inclusive populist campaign got much closer (2.6 points) to giving Ted Cruz an upset loss in deep-red Texas than any of the anti-progressive Senate Democrats who lost.
- Expanding the electorate is paving the way for the future success of Democrats. Overall, Democrats' success in the 2018 election was led by a number of candidates who rejected a dated establishment playbook and focused their campaign strategy on expanding the electorate and increasing midterm voter turnout, rather than continuing to target an ever-dwindling number of right-leaning, overwhelmingly white, regularly voting so-called "swing voters."
The impact of this change in targeting is most directly seen in the massive increase in voter turnout Democrats saw in 2018 across the country. According to early data from the United States Elections Project, 2018 saw the highest voter turnout in a midterm in over 50 years, with a projected 114 million votes cast representing a more than 31% turnout increase over the last wave election in 2014. This massive spike in turnout was particularly pronounced in states like Georgia (a staggering 16.4 points over 2014) and Florida (a more than 10-point increase over 2014) where the top of the tickets featured dynamic leaders who were themselves from the New American Majority and ran campaigns focused on turning out a statewide coalition of Black, brown, and progressive white voters.
While the Gillum race appears ready for a recount and Abrams is still fighting for the votes necessary to secure a run-off, the work these two campaigns put into transforming and expanding midterm election turnout undoubtedly got them closer to victory in states that have never elected a Black governor and haven't seen a Democratic Gubernatorial victory in at least 15 years. Moreover, even with races still unsettled, the down-ticket impact that Gillum and Abrams's electorate-expanding efforts had in Georgia and Florida is undeniable. For example, DFA-endorsed candidate Lucy McBath's shock win in Georgia's 6th Congressional District likely has ties to the exceedingly strong, electorate-expanding campaign that Abrams ran throughout the state, as do the upset victories of a number of DFA-endorsed Georgia State House candidates like El-Mahdi Holly (GA-HD-111) and Mary Robichaux (GA-HD-49).
In Wisconsin, DFA-endorsed Governor and Lt. Gov candidates Tony Evers and Mandela Barnes also ran a strong grassroots campaign focused on turning out sporadic midterm voters and centering the New American Majority. One of the most important features of their victory over one of the progressive movement's most elusive white whales, Scott Walker, was the massive Democratic landslide in Madison's Dane County. The key Democratic stronghold likely secured Evers and Barnes' victory by supplying nearly twice the number of Democratic votes as it did in 2010 and nearly 50,000 more votes than either 2014 or the Walker recall in 2012.
- Voter suppression, the rise of white nationalism, and our culture of white supremacy are a drag on progressive change, but they aren't stopping it. While there is much to celebrate about the 2018 election, there's little doubt that massive levels of voter suppression held back the gains of many electorate-expanding candidates across the country -- from purging voters of color from the rolls and closing polling locations in Black and brown communities to passing voter ID laws specifically designed to make it harder for non-white voters to be counted. For example, despite nearly doubling turnout over 2014 and massively increasing the number of new voters and voters of color, Stacey Abrams's opponent's efforts to use his power as Secretary of State to construct hurdles to voting and the counting of ballots undoubtedly held back her chances of an outright win.
At the same time, times are changing. While this cycle exposed the culture of white supremacy that still plagues our politics, the primary victories of Stacey Abrams and Andrew Gillum -- and the massive spike in participation they inspired among the New American Majority of Black, brown and progressive white voters -- showed meaningful forward momentum. In Florida, for example, 150,000 of the votes cast for Andrew Gillum in August's gubernatorial primary. came from voters who either were voting for the first time or had not voted in the previous three elections. Similarly, the victory of Second Chances Florida's Amendment 4, which finally ends a vicious Jim Crow-era law that kept more than 1.4 million Floridians from the ballot, only moves us closer to the day when an inspiring, inclusive populist candidate of color like Andrew Gillum will win a statewide race in the Sunshine State. Meanwhile, in this election, Steve King, a long-time advocate of white nationalism, was forced into the fight of his political life by DFA-endorsed inclusive populist J.D. Scholten. In previous cycles, King prevailed handily with 61.6% of the vote in 2014 and 61.2% in 2016. In 2018? He barely squeaked by with 50.4%.
While there are still a number of races left to call and lessons we will learn from 2018 in the weeks and months ahead, it's important for us to honor the people who really made these monumental victories happen: the grassroots.
Over the last two years, a wave of grassroots leaders and organizers took the despair they felt in 2016 and turned it into a movement that firmly rejects the politics of bigotry, hate, and fear that Trump has used to turn the country against itself and unrelentingly worked to elect a new generation of leaders committed to an inclusive, populist progressive vision for the United States.
If there's one clear message from Democratic victories in 2018, it's that the future of the Democratic Party lies with the candidates, campaigns, and voters of the New American Majority leading the fight for multiracial inclusive populism into 2020 and beyond.
More than any group of insiders or highly paid consultants in Washington, the grassroots understands the change that needs to happen, the fights we need to wage, and the battles we need to win. We are proud to call many of those leaders DFA members and we can't wait to continue working with them as they help deliver the change our country needs.
Key Facts about DFA's work and results during the 2017-18 election cycle:
- Over the 2017-18 cycle, DFA raised and spent more than $8.2 million in support of progressive candidates across the country -- including more than $1.1 million raised directly from DFA members for DFA-endorsed candidates.
- DFA generated more than 3.5 million grassroots voter contact calls via its DFA Dialer distributed calling platform -- the largest number of grassroots calls in a single election cycle that DFA has ever generated in its nearly 15-year history.
- DFA backed 299 progressive candidates running all across the county -- the largest number of primary and general election endorsements in the organization's history.
- DFA provided direct support to the broadest range of candidates ever --backing an unprecedented 7 folks running for governor, 11 folks running for Senate, 44 for U.S. House, and 243 running for local office
- DFA delivered on its commitment to building a more reflective democracy and fighting for racial justice by throwing its weight behind its most diverse slate of candidates ever -- 139 of the candidates DFA supported during the 2018 cycle are people of color, 157 are women or non-binary, and numerous others are poised to bust historic barriers to representation in Congress and Governor's mansions across the country.
- As of Friday, November 9th, 139 DFA-endorsed candidates won election to office during the 2017-18 election cycle -- likely the largest number of targeted wins in a single cycle since DFA's 2004 founding. This includes four special elections that took place during 2017-18, the 2017 off-year elections, and the 2018 general election. At publication, at least 6 races were outstanding.
This afternoon, Lucy McBath declared victory in her race for Congress in Georgia's 6th Congressional District. McBath's win over Rep. Karen Handel comes less than two years after Handle beat Democrat Jon Ossoff in a 2017 Special Election that remains the most expensive congressional race in U.S. history.
Inspired by the surge of grassroots momentum behind her campaign, Lucy McBath was Democracy for America's final endorsement of the 2018 election.
DFA Executive Director Charles Chamberlain on Lucy McBath's declaration of victory in Georgia's 6th:
"No one should be surprised by Lucy McBath's stunning victory in Georgia's 6th Congressional District even though she was outspent nearly 8-to-1 in the closing weeks of this race or because she was running against a right-wing candidate who, just in June 2017, won the most expensive congressional race in U.S. History.
"From the very start of her race Lucy McBath wasn't running as just another candidate for Congress, she was running as a 'Mother of the Movement,' and a relentless champion for racial, social, and economic justice.
"Democracy for America was honored to stand with Lucy McBath in this election, not only because the movements behind Lucy and Stacey Abrams were mutually empowering, but because we knew Lucy would bring to Congress the passion and vision Democrats need to take on a gun manufacturing industry that profits from death and a fringe right administration that thinks a poverty-level minimum wage is acceptable.
"Lucy McBath wasn't the kind of candidates DC insiders thought Democrats needed to win Georgia's 6th District, and we couldn't have been more excited to stand with her in proving them wrong." -- Charles Chamberlain, Executive Director, Democracy for America
Donald Trump FIRED Attorney General Jeff Sessions -- and there's reason to believe that the new acting AG, Matt Whitaker, will try to interfere with the Mueller investigation.
Here's what we know so far about Matt Whitaker:
- Whitaker opposed the appointment of a special counsel to investigate Trump from the beginning. At the time, he wrote in The Hill that "hollow calls for independent prosecutors are just craven attempts to score cheap political points and serve the public in no measurable way."
- Since then, he has consistently and harshly criticized the way Mueller has handled the investigation, accusing him of crossing "red lines" in terms of the scope of the investigation and recently penning an op-ed for CNN entitled "Mueller's investigation of Trump is going too far."
- In the past, Whitaker has suggested ways for the administration to sabotage the investigation, including slashing Mueller's operating budget and undermining his investigative authority.
It couldn't be more clear: Matt Whitaker has absolutely zero business overseeing this crucial investigation into the Trump administration. And if he is allowed to take on that role, there is a very real chance that he will destroy the investigation and set up a constitutional crisis.
We can't sit back and let a partisan Trump crony take over the Mueller investigation. Sign our petition and tell Matt Whitaker to recuse himself from the Trump/Russia investigation, effective immediately.Take Action!
Democracy for America Executive Director Charles Chamberlain responded this evening to the news that Donald Trump has effectively fired Attorney General Jeff Sessions and temporarily replaced him with Matt Whitaker, an administration official who has openly discussed dismantling the Special Prosecutor's Trump-Russia investigation.
"The forced resignation of Attorney Jeff Sessions and the appointment of Matt Whitaker as his temporary replacement is a transparent attempt by Donald Trump to decapitate the Trump-Russia investigation and escape justice.
"Matt Whitaker, who has openly discussed defunding and defanging an investigation critical to our democracy, has no business overseeing a probe critical to ensuring that anyone involved in the Trump campaign and administration, who worked with Russia to interfere in the 2016 election, is held accountable.
"Unless Whitaker quickly makes it clear that he will recuse himself from the Trump-Russia investigation, he is triggering a constitutional crisis that demands an immediate congressional response." - Charles Chamberlain, Executive Director of Democracy for America
Thanks to a final round of absentee votes in Milwaukee, Tony Evers and Mandela Barnes finally ended Wisconsin's nearly decade-long Scott Walker nightmare.
DFA's Executive Director Charles Chamberlain on Scott Walker's defeat by Tony Evers and Mandela Barnes:
"Tonight, the people of Wisconsin finally ended the career of a Governor who relentlessly attacked working families, repeatedly mortgaged the future of his state for his personal political gain, and ultimately functioned as little more than an errand boy for the wealthy and powerful interests who financed his campaigns.
"While the opportunity that Tony Evers and Mandela Barnes gave to Wisconsinites to finally retire Scott Walker was undeniably part of their appeal, they also ran a bold, inclusive populist race for Governor and Lieutenant Governor that gave voters an affirmative, visionary agenda they could be proud to get behind.
"Democracy for America was honored to support Evers and Barnes in their respective races and we look forward to joining them as they fight to deliver for Wisconsin working families while cleaning up the wreckage Scott Walker has left behind." -- Charles Chamberlain, Executive Director, Democracy for America
Mike Levin just won his race for Congress in California's 49th Congressional District -- a long-held Republican stronghold currently represented by longtime Democratic bête noire Darrell Issa.
DFA's Executive Director Charles Chamberlain on Mike Levin's huge victory in California's 49th District:
"From the very start, Mike Levin ran a campaign focused on a bold, inclusive populist agenda and committed to earning the support of the New American Majority of Black, brown, and progressive white voters that are transforming California's 49th District.
"Mike Levin's victory tonight is a testament to the unabashedly progressive vision he put forward throughout this campaign and the thousands of grassroots activists who turned the despair they felt in 2016 into a people-powered movement that forced Darrell Issa's retirement and now has replaced him with a leader committed to fighting for Medicare for All, robust gun violence prevention legislation, and real action on climate change.
"Democracy for America was honored to endorse Mike Levin early in his campaign and we can't wait to continue fighting alongside him as Democrats take the majority in the House." -- Charles Chamberlain, Executive Director, Democracy for America