Saturday, May 27, 2006

Democracy for America is the organization that originally began as the Howard Dean presidential campaign in 2004. With Governor Dean off running the Democratic Party & providing a balance to the centrist impulses of Nancy Pelosi et al, DFA’s chair is now Jim Dean, Howard’s brother. Tom Hughes, a one-time aide to Al Gore & longtime Democratic operative, is the executive director, running an organization that still reflects its roots as the first major national political campaign to find its most powerful expression on the web.

One thing that DFA does that I think makes tremendous sense is pull together a list of candidates that it endorses and for whom it raises funds. There are other Democratic groups out doing the same thing these days but… but DFA’s group is clearly the most progressive, and its DFA-List is the first I’ve seen where a donor can pick the individual campaigns he or she likes and make donations to several of them all at once. There are some Democratic groups that will channel your money to the likes of Bob Casey, a pro-war, pro-NRA candidate who says he wants to see Roe v. Wade overturned & has no place for stem cell research while he’s at it. Not the DFA-List.

Some of the candidates whose campaigns I’ve contributed to include:

Ned Lamont, who is challenging Joe Lieberman for the Democratic nomination to the U.S. Senate in Connecticut. Now that Zell Miller has gone, Lieberman is the most reactionary Democrat in the U.S. Senate (tho he won’t be if Bob Casey is elected in Pennsylvania this fall). Lamont got enough support at the state Democratic convention to force a primary this year, and is campaigning as a progressive, antiwar candidate. This is an important race for all antiwar activists.

Francine Busby, running in a special election to replace jailed GOP congressman Duke Cunningham. Busby finished first in the initial special election and has an excellent opportunity to convert this seat from the far right to the progressive left next month.

Bernie Sanders for the Senate in Vermont. Sander is the most independent progressive in Congress today and will be the most progressive member of the Senate since Paul Wellstone died.

Lois Murphy for Congress in my own district here in Chester County. Murphy lost by just two percent to Jim Gerlach, a one-term Republican who had actually George W. Bush come here last Wednesday for a fundraiser. Since we just elected a Democratic state senator in Chester County, the heart of the district, in a landslide in spite of a 2 to 1 disadvantage in registration and decent GOP turnout at the polls, everyone recognizes that Gerlach is the congressman most likely to lose his seat in an anti-Bush backlash. Couldn’t happen to a nicer guy.

Those are just four of the 26 candidates you can support in a single internet transaction, if you so choose. You could do a lot of good with a $215.34 or thereabouts. To reach the DFA-List, click on the link, click on the logo. This Memorial Day weekend, do what you can.