Monday, January 30, 2017

Why Jeff Merkley's Leadership PAC is my #1 pick for fighting Trump

This was the seventh year in which I gave $5000 to Senator Jeff Merkley's Leadership PAC. If you have the money and want to fight the Trump Administration, I invite you to join me.

Just three days after Trump won the election in November, Jeff announced that Republicans had stolen the Supreme Court nomination and that Democrats should block the nomination of anyone other than Merrick Garland. Now Chuck Schumer is announcing that Democrats are willing to filibuster for four years and keep the seat open unless Trump nominates a moderate. I didn't think we had any hope of avoiding another Scalia after election night, and now it looks like we have a shot. Jeff has been doing this sort of thing for the last eight years, and it's why I see him as the best progressive legislative tactician we have in the Senate.

Jeff donates his Leadership PAC money to the re-election campaigns of other Democratic Senators. We have a lot of tough races coming up in 2018, including West Virginia, North Dakota, Montana, Indiana, Florida, Ohio, and Wisconsin. If you expect that you'll probably end up donating to some of those Democratic campaigns in the next couple years, I strongly recommend doing it now through the Leadership PAC. In addition to helping Democrats win, you'll make them owe favors to an excellent left-wing legislative tactician who can organize them to vote the right way when it matters. As an out-of-state contributor, I can't influence Democratic Senators to support a Supreme Court filibuster. Jeff can, and he does it very well.

We need those votes now as much as we ever have. Trump is planning to announce his Supreme Court nomination on Tuesday night. Whether another Scalia occupies that seat will depend on whether we can hold a Democratic filibuster together -- either to keep the seat open indefinitely, or to force him to withdraw an extreme nominee and nominate a moderate.

I started following Jeff when he was the Speaker of the Oregon state House. He had won Democrats control of the chamber by recruiting a serious challenger to run against the previous Republican Speaker, tying her down so that she couldn't just go out and fundraise for her Republican underlings. After beating enough of her underlings to win a slender majority, he passed all sorts of awesome stuff -- same-sex domestic partnership benefits, requirements that insurance companies cover birth control, and all sorts of minor nifty good-government things I would've never thought of, like a law allowing people in trailer parks to join together and form co-ops to prevent the land they live on from being sold out from under them. That seemed like what Democrats needed in the US Senate, and Jeff has been providing it for the last eight years.

If you donate over $2,500 to ORPAC (it has that name because Jeff is from Oregon), you'll be invited to come to Portland for a two-day fundraiser where we travel the Oregon wine country. It's a wonderful opportunity to directly engage with Jeff, his staff, and influential DC people. Often I'm the only non-lobbyist there. But I'm hoping that more people will join me this time, to make clear that there's lots of support for a Senator who can organize Democrats to fight hard against the Trump Administration.