Congressional Battleground Spotlight: Bern Down The House, People

Congressional Battleground

Last year they fixed the Capitol building; unfortunately it won’t be as easy to fix the people inside it.

Many people say once you get the Bern, it’s tough to get rid of. I admire the fervor of the Berners and ideologically I’d love a world where Bernie could be an effective president. But the problem is that throwing Bernie atop a country that has proven itself increasingly hostile to progressivism would only lead to a lame-duck president, especially while the checks and balances of Congress and the Senate are obstinately dedicated to contrarian rule. They do nothing but oppose the Democratic president and with a far leftist like Bernie who has never been through the national political crucible, they would’ve flayed the bastard alive. Hillary has the steel gut needed to fight the ball forward against one of the toughest political defenses ever mounted and for now, anybody who Berned for progress owes it to their convictions to vote for her and keep Heil Trump away from residence on Pennsylvania Avenue. But Bernie’s vision can and in fact needs to be realized from another direction entirely. And it begins with Battleground Congress seats.

True radical change like the kind Senator Sanders proposed has to come from the bottom up. Grass roots. Now is the time to prove if you were truly dedicated to Bernie’s vision of a progressive revolution or just wanted to play revolutionary without having to go to arms in the jungle. You want a Bernie-like candidate to someday take the White House? Start by cleaning Capitol Hill of all the Republicans who’ve done nothing but attack Obama and try to stop the progress of society. It seems like a much bigger task than just casting your own ballot once and it is. But if you’re in a battleground congressional district — or know somebody in one — you owe it to your beliefs in the Berner to share this article, to organize, to rally and to depose these GOP do-nothing contrarians on November 8th.

I’ve organized the battleground congressional seats into 2 easy guides. Below is the first half of the upcoming tightest races that can determine who holds the majority in Congress. For Congress to go blue, we only need to pick up 5 seats. And sudden the claims of your voice not mattering are cast asunder.

Ballotpedia called these the most competitive elections based on polls showing only a 5% difference between Republican and Dem candidates. So give it a read. If it’s where you live, now’s the time to get all Bernie or Bust and rally for the progressive. If not, share it with your friends who just might live there or know somebody who lives there. As our “hardworking” Congressmen and -women enjoy their 6 weeks of vacation, start your plans to kick them to the fucking curb when their tanned, well-rested lazy asses return to DC.

This is just step 1. Step 2 will be Senators. Step 3 will be local state lawmakers, judges and governors (but I’ll probably leave you on your own for Step 3).

Make these changes on the lower level, then you can top it off with the next Bernie radical waiting in the wings. That’s when we’ll really make America great.

Berning Down The House, Part 1

Congressional Battleground 1: Arizona’s 1st 

This is currently a Democratic seat held by Ann Kirkpatrick. She’s trying to take over John McCain’s soon-to-be-vacant seat in the Senate (no doubt  that means you should be voting for her to replace the man his party’s presidential nominee called a loser for being captured in Vietnam). TOM O’HALLERAN is the vote here (he was a state senator, reformed family services and schools and has a track record of trying to work with political opponents); MIGUEL OLIVAS, the other D nominee, is basically a DINO and previously ran as a libertarian but isn’t white enough to be a Republican in the Arizona 1st, a region best-known as the home of xenophobic lawman (and soon-to-be jailbird) Sheriff Joe Arpaio. Who by the way endorsed chief GOP opponent David Gowan (AZ State Speaker) for the seat.

Congressional Battleground 2: Arizona’s 2nd

The current Republican incumbent, Martha McSally, is seeking reelection.  Just a couple things she recently voted for: overturning Obamacare, hamstringing regulators trying to keep mining away from streams (and has always voted for any bill that similarly hampers environmental regulators) and has been a party-line Republican her whole 2 years. The one bill she co-sponsored prohibited sanctions from being lifted from Iran until Iran paid court-ruled fines for judgments related to terrorism, little more than a pout over Obama’s efforts to rebuild America’s uneasy truce with Iran. Though she did vote against a bill set up to award scientific grants and give funding to scientific organizations.

VICTORIA STEELE, meanwhile, is all about a path to citizenship for immigrants, protecting the environment, supporting LGBT and other civil rights, ending gun violence, and increasing addiction treatment; she also has more of a hands-off approach when it comes to American military actions overseas. This district includes places like Cochise and the Oro Valley.

Congressional Battleground 3: California’s 7th

AMI BERA is the Democratic incumbent with challenger Scott Jones shooting up from the right. Literally shooting up; he’s a local sheriff who supported Trump until public outcry over the Khan situation  caused him to rescind his public declaration of Trump-Chumpness. And then there’s the “unwanted sexual advances” charge against Jones.

Bera on the other hand has voted for some bills not espoused by the left establishment, such as support of the TPP and for US intelligence to have to vet every Syrian and Iraqi refugee before allowing them to enter the US. And he was called out for voting against tighter WS regs, though he said that was just to aid small businesses in the negotiations. But he’s voted with the Dems 88% of the time and if anything the dissents prove he actually represents his people, not the party line. Scott Jones seems to be the kind of man who rates a person based on how hard they crush your hand in a handshake and who thinks the only problem with police brutality is the fact that people are allowed to record it. Since this is Sacramento, this is a big seat.

Congressional Battleground 4: California’s 25th

I know some people here so pay attention folks – it includes parts of L.A. and Ventura counties. The incumbent is Stephen Knight, a man smiling way too deviously in his profile pic for a police officer working in what must be one of the toughest places in the country to police – yup, he’s LAPD.  During his time in the California Legislature, he basically voted every time for environmentally-harmful bills.  As a congressman he’s voted party-line such as a nay for recognizing out-of-state same sex marriages (does he know he’s from L.A?) and against a Harvey Milk day (again, does he know he’s from California?). He also voted against solar energy credits in California and to allow states to determine their own coal laws. He’ll be running against D-BRYAN CAFORIO.

Caforio wants to raise the minimum wage, cut out corporate welfare, invest in youth STEM education and defend safety nets. Yeah, not even a judgment call here.

Congressional Battleground 5: Colorado’s 6th

Mike Coffman is looking to lock in his 5th term for the Republicans. MORGAN CARROLL is the democrat taking him on, and then there’s ROBERT LEE WORTHEY, the Green Party nominee. Morgan Carroll has been a Colorado state Senator for nearly a decade and over that time has supported environmental initiatives, supported a minimum wage hike and fought for families.

Mike Coffman, meanwhile, should be commended on stances he’s taken to fight anti-gay measures. At the same time he’s voted to defund Planned Parenthood, another man telling women what to do with their bodies, the UFCW has rated him a 0% (meaning he’s pro-management) and he voted no on recession spending (recession spending basically kept us from becoming Europe). And he wants to end birthright amnesty and deny a path to citizenship. And in case you want to go green, Worthey is a music teacher with no political experience and not much of a track record of traditionally-accepted “success.” Sooooo – Morgan Carroll it is. This district is in parts of Denver, comprising sections of Adams, Arapahoe and Adams counties.

Congressional Battleground 6: Florida’s 18th

Democratic incumbent Patrick Murphy is vacating this seat to seek Florida’s senate seat (vote for him to unseat Marco Rubio, the GOP’s young gun who joins Trump at anti-gay rallies and thinks that his family should be the last ones in the door and for so many reasons is just an all-around scumbag) so this really needs to stay on the left in a state that is an eternal battleground. Check out this quote from Republican candidate Mark Freeman:

Obama has made a bold-faced effort to drive a wedge between the races. He paints a picture of envy to our black citizens and the envy drives hatred. And then he says to them: ‘You’ve got it coming for free. These rich people owe you.’ And on top of that, he gives them free stuff, too. And that just is anti-American and it complicates our relations between the races. And really we need to have compassion for these people.”

So who’s the vote for? That’ll be determined after the August 30th primary. But here are the liberal options — actually there’s really only 1:

RANDY PERKINS, a businessman who’s spent $2M of his own money to fund his run. His is a rags to riches story and he has received the endorsement of Rep. Alcee Hastings. Other Dem candidate Jonathan Chane seems to be a swiftboating neocon running negative campaign, which we really don’t need in the primaries much less in America in general. Chane is also a corporate lawyer who reps big business. Carla Spalding is running as the independent but she had been a Republican, she just saw the GOP race was heavy so she decided to run as an independent. This is primarily a Palm Beach and surrounding area district, AKA a chunk of land presided over by mostly rich white people. Would be great to keep it in Dem hands.

Congressional Battleground 7: Florida’s 26th

Here’s a chance to really make a statement and take over some GOP territory. Incumbent Carlos Curbelo has been repping the Republicans since 2014. Of course Curbelo voted to defund Planned Parenthood. He voted to repeal a Clean Water Rule defining “waters of the United States,” basically pissing in the wind to hamstring water protections, and he voted against EPA carbon pollution guidelines. Again, no way to know the Democratic candidate until August 30th but the options are JOE GARCIA and ANNETTE TADEO. Garcia is a former Democratic member of the US House but Taddeo has the backing of the DNC due to her electability and her popularity of the state. Regardless, both are a HUGE improvement over Curbelo. FYI, this is a part of the Miami-Dade superterritory of South Florida. Really big win.

Congressional Battleground 8: Illinois’ 10th

Republican incumbent Robert Dold is looking to keep his seat. This is mostly the suburbs of Chicago. While Dold is a moderate Republican, he has a 74% party unity rating. So he has to go if only because our Republican-led Congress has been one of the least productive congresses in US history.

BRAD SCHNEIDER, the Democratic challenger and former 10th Congressman, has voted against GOP efforts to fight Obama and gut environmental regulations. He’s pro-choice, in favor of tax reform that raises taxes while cutting spending, supports same-sex marriage, previously co-sponsored a minimum-wage increase bill and was on committees for foreign affairs and small businesses.

Congressional Battleground 9: Iowa’s 1st

Republican incumbent Rod Blum is seeking re-election for this district, which covers the NE part of the state.

Here’s a great quote to show you what this man is all about:

Washington DC is now fostering a culture in which self-reliance is questioned and dependency is made into a virtue. As a result, our entire country  is weakened from within.  Over 100 million of our fellow Americans are enrolled in at least one federal welfare program and over 45 million receive food stamps.”

And another, echoing conservative claims of ObamaCare death squads:

Being pro-life means protecting the lives of the unborn AND the born.  With the advent of ObamaCare and its Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB), we must ensure government bureaucrats are not making the life and death decisions for our nation’s elderly.”

Yeah. He’s one of those. So, let’s get this atavistic, LGBT-hating (that’s right, he voted against bills that denied discrimination for people of different sexual orientation and especially transgender citizens), civil-rights-bashing old bastard out of office. Who’s the other option? MONICA VERNON.

As it is we really don’t need any reasons other than the fact that she’s not the cornfed old white guy looking to take America back to the ’50s. But just for good measure she’s looking to invest in infrastructure, fight for social security and medicare, and tackle climate change.

Congressional Battleground 10: Iowa’s 3rd

David Young, the GOP incumbent, seems OK when you read some of his interviews. But then you see the fact that he wants to limit female access to contraception, supports parental notification on abortions and is against stem cell research; that he doesn’t believe in same-sex marriage or gay rights and that, combined with his usage of God as the scapegoat for his hatred is enough for me to want him gone. Here are some of his own profound words on marriage:

The [Christian] Coalition is a political organization, made up of pro-family Americans who care deeply about ensuring that government serves to strengthen and preserve, rather than threaten, our families and our values. To that end, we work continuously to identify, educate and mobilize Christians for effective political action.”

JIM MOWRER is the Democrat taking him on. All about policies that keep safety nets in place and that benefit workers and small businesses, he wants to cut waste in the military while increasing support for veterans. He’s an Iraq vet and a Democrat who wants common-sense reform to support our ex-soldiers and cut out military bureaucracy while at the same time wants to take the fight to climate change. Oh, and he wants to overturn Citizens United.

Congressional Battleground 11: Maine’s 2nd

Of course incumbent Bruce Poliquin wants to defund Planned Parenthood and is proudly pro-life; he supports the abolition of regulations requiring military nondiscrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity. Of course he wants education vouchers instead of assistance and of course he wants to end gay marriage; of course he voted to gut environmental regulations. Bruce Poliquin is a right-wing scumbag of the highest caliber. So who’s his replacement?

This represents the whole portion of the state north of Portland. And EMILY ANN CAIN is the one to overthrow him from this fiefdom. She wants to invest in jobs for citizens but especially veterans. She wants to ensure everybody has access to health care and wants to achieve energy independence but not at the expense of the environment.

To preserve our way of life, our fishing and farming economy, and the health of our children, Maine must be a leader in the fight to stop global climate change.”

Congressional Battleground 12: Michigan’s 1st

Republican incumbent Dan Benishek is retiring this seat after 6 years, setting up a battle between R-Jack Bergman and D-LON JOHNSON.

So who’s this Jack Bergman? Just a classic knee-jerk midwesterner preaching about the sanctity of life for zygotes and warning us all of how Hillary is trying to revoke the 2nd Amendment (seriously, that’s part of his campaign, that he’ll keep the 2nd Amendment from being revoked, because no doubt Hillary will spend any time trying to cut out or fight or debate the most contentious clause of the Bill of Rights when she already has a dozen campaign promises to fulfill). An economics wonk, he claims we owe the Chinese a ton of money (which is as true as saying that Wal-Mart owes America a ton of money because we’ve bought a couple dozen billion worth of bonds – have you seen how hard Wal-Mart is winning in the business world? I have: The founder’s widow is the richest person in my home state) and he would end that through the brilliant strategy of austerity. Oh, and he wants to cut corporate regulations and “streamline taxes” which is a way of saying he wants to lower taxes for the wealthiest Americans. He’s got the look of the authoritarian villain in some civil rights oppression movie and promises to be that and more.

Lon Johnson, meanwhile, is a younger guy with a track record of investing and working to help create manufacturing jobs. And at the same time one of his biggest priorities is the environment, a key since his district includes the UP, which is arguably the most beautiful portion of the Heartland. His strategy can be summed up by this quote describing what he believes will help Michigan and America going forward:

Investing in and protecting our three greatest resources: our people, our land and our Great Lakes.”


Onward, Dear Berners

Next week we’ll get into the final 12 battleground seats.

  1. Minnesota’s 2nd – Republican – Lean D
  2. Nebraska’s 2nd – Democratic
  3. Nevada’s 4th – Republican – Lean D
  4. New Hampshire’s 1st – Republican
  5. New York’s 1st – Republican
  6. New York’s 3rd – Democratic
  7. New York’s 19th – Republican
  8. New York’s 22nd – Republican
  9. New York’s 24th – Republican
  10. Pennsylvania’s 8th – Republican
  11. Texas’ 23rd – Republican
  12. Wisconsin’s 8th – Republican

So Berners, go and rouse the people. This is your time to prove wrong everybody calling the movement naive, claiming the Berners are all sizzle but no steak. You don’t get to start off by winning the big battle first; it’s the skirmishes on the ground that must be won before you can storm the beaches of dread retrogressivism, the rotten mutant that conservatism has devolved into.

The best part about getting majorities in the House and the Senate? You can peer pressure Hillary into becoming Bernie. And if she doesn’t, replace her in 4 years with somebody who will.

Keep reading for the final battlegrounds.



Ryan Ariano

Born and raised in Baltimore, Ryan has been kicking around the west since the first Clinton White House. Having worked all over SoCal in the surf industry, Hollywood, marketing, journalism and finance, he now hangs his hat just outside Jackson Hole where he can fulfill an addiction to ascending and descending mountains.

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