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More and Better Democrats — Like Donna Edwards

1720055577_edf79333bf.jpgLast year we had Chuck Schumer, Harry Reid, Barbara Boxer, Joe Biden, Bill Clinton and others showing up for Joe Lieberman and the incumbency protection racket in Connecticut.

Now we have:

— Harry Reid smacking down Chris Dodd and now Ron Wyden for placing holds on regressive, corporate-friendly legislation, while respecting Tom Coburn’s hold on money to investigate civil rights murders;

— Reid and Pelosi doing more to condemn MoveOn than they have to stop the war;

— Nancy Pelosi smacking down Pete Stark and forcing him to his knees for criticizing George Bush, a great encore I must say to taking impeachment off the table.

So I have to ask — if we’re to accept Pelosi and Reid’s assertions to the effect that they can’t get anything done because they don’t have the votes, why is Pelosi sticking her nose into a primary to help get reactionary Al Wynn re-elected?

We’re going to try and raise money for Donna Edwards like we did for Darcy Burner before her. Donna can’t count on the support of groups she should be able to look to in this race, like Emily’s list:

[I]t’s not clear at all that Emily’s List is supporting pro-choice female candidates that actually need the help, like Donna Edwards, who in her life has moved incredibly important feminist legislation in Congress against domestic violence. And it’s weird that candidates with remarkable success on the internet, like Burner, are ignored. The concept ‘early money is like yeast’ came from Emily’s List, and it means that validating organizations can help candidates early on in a way that later money does not. What’s strange is that Emily’s List does not validate you unless you are already ‘in the club’, and that lack of validation means that other donors might consider you ‘fringe’. This was the case with Edwards, who few would support until she managed to almost take the district from Wynn despite having almost no money. If Emily’s List had taken the bet on Edwards, there would be one more Democratic pro-choice candidate in the House today.

This has two consequences. One, progressive populist women tend not to get Emily’s List endorsements, but insiders who fit their districts according to the current DC conventional wisdom do. Two, this creates a perverse incentive where female candidates who may want to run for office, like Edwards, are actually held back by a group that is ostensibly set up to elect more women. Running for office, especially if you are not already in politics, means taking a big risk in your personal and professional life. Organizations like Emily’s List ought to be focused on mitigating that risk so that more women will take the plunge. But as we are seeing, they don’t do that. The group withholds its validation from all but the most establishment candidates, even withholding it from those with demonstrated political success. It’s ironic that Niki Tsongas, whose credibility comes from her position as the wife of a successful politician, got the nod from Emily’s List to narrowly defeat another pro-choice Democratic woman, when a self-made politician like Donna Edwards, who has made substantive political achievements on behalf of women and is facing a reactionary Al Wynn, has not.

So it’s up to you. Donna is a fantastic candidate. If you want to mitigate the effect that people like Pelosi and Reid have on keeping Bush Dogs like Al Wynn in office and in power, please consider giving to her campaign.

It’s a nice way to tell Nancy Pelosi to stop abusing her position to give reactionary incumbents an unfair advantage.

Go Donna.

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Jane Hamsher

Jane Hamsher

Jane is the founder of Her work has also appeared on the Huffington Post, Alternet and The American Prospect. She’s the author of the best selling book Killer Instinct and has produced such films Natural Born Killers and Permanent Midnight. She lives in Washington DC.
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