DFA in the News

DFA in the News

Months Before Election, Liberal Groups Press Biden on Picks for Economic Posts

The New York Times

Progressives said Biden has an opportunity to show his commitment to improving the country through his choices for the economic posts. “People whose lives don’t change cycle to cycle aren’t necessarily motivated just to beat Trump,” said Yvette Simpson, chief executive of the advocacy group Democracy For America. “Unity doesn’t mean one of the parts dominates and the rest is silent.”

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Why The Joe Biden–Stacey Abrams Rumors Won't Go Away

BuzzFeed

Neil Sroka, the national spokesperson for Democracy for America, called Abrams’ “we all do better when we all do better” message “perfectly resonant” with Democratic politics. He said Abrams’ understanding of the importance of that style of campaigning and her commitment to building her campaign to reflect it was the reason his progressive organization endorsed her early in her 2018 primary fight.

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Sanders urged to share vaunted donor list with Biden

The Hill

Neil Sroka, a strategist for the progressive group Democracy for America, said that handing the list over would degrade it and lead to diminishing returns, resulting in Sanders’s base of grass-roots supporters giving less money to the liberal causes they support financially.

“The idea that all Bernie Sanders has to do here is turn over his email list so they can pillage it and batter it until it spits out gold coins is absolutely ridiculous,” Sroka said.

“As someone who wants Joe Biden to beat Trump, you want to find ways to help, and connecting supporters to Biden to make contributions is an important and useful way that Sanders can demonstrate the value of the movement he’s built. That’s why Bernie is calling on Joe Biden to meet the moment with more progressive policies, because they’re good policies and will also help him earn the enthusiastic support of the grass-roots liberals he’ll need to win in November.”

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Biden plans to stay home, testing limits of virtual campaign

Yahoo News

Yvette Simpson, who leads the progressive group Democracy for America, said she’s “very concerned” she cannot see “how we’re going to engage people.” She said the campaign has squandered time since Biden took command of the primary in early March.

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Joe Biden is looking for a running mate. Many Democrats have strong ideas - and few agree.

The Washington Post

“It raises serious questions as to how seriously the Biden campaign is considering progressive candidates,” said Neil Sroka, the communications director for Democracy for America, a liberal organization that backed Sanders in the primaries.

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Will Clinton's endorsement help Biden?

The Hill

Charles Chamberlain, the chairman of the progressive group Democracy for America, argued that one of the key errors of the Clinton campaign came in “taking progressives for granted.” He added, “In 2016, a lot of the focus of the Clinton campaign was on getting Republicans on their side. They did that entire campaign on the myth of a centrist Republican voter, and the reality is ... what happened? Joe Biden should not be following in that path.”

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Democratic Frustration Mounts as Biden Remains Silent on Sexual Assault Allegation

The New York Times

“Joe Biden himself needs to respond directly,” said Yvette Simpson, the chief executive of Democracy for America, a progressive advocacy organization, which plans to back the Democratic nominee. “While it is absolutely essential that we defeat Donald Trump in November, trying to manage the response through women surrogates and emailed talking points doesn’t cut it in 2020 — especially if Democrats want to continue to be the party that values, supports, elevates, hears and believes women.”

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Sanders supporters rail at New York over cancellation of presidential primary

The Los Angeles Times

“Any Democratic Party attempt to strip Sen. Sanders of the delegates he has been awarded or the opportunity to win additional delegates hurts their credibility with core elements of the Democratic base that are essential to defeating Donald Trump,” said Neil Sroka, spokesman for Democracy for America, a progressive political action committee.

“There’s a real risk for the long-term credibility in the eyes of the next generation if it’s felt like they’re just trying to push Sanders off for the sake of convenience or expediency.”

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Sanders seeks influence, Biden eyes party unity as delegate battle emerges post-primary

ABC News

Another progressive ally, Yvette Simpson, CEO of Democracy for America, a group that was instrumental in backing Sanders’ 2016 campaign, signaled her aversion to taking Sanders' name off any ballot. "The challenge with not having the presidential primary is that we do worry about turnout going down," she told ABC News in an interview last week ahead of the state board of elections’ decision.

"We already have a nominee but in every single one of these states, we've got folks running in district races for Congress, we've got folks running for statewide races, we've got folks running for local races and all those races still need people to vote for them."

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‘More time would have been helpful’: Ohio election officials face ballot issues due to postal service delays

ABC News

Voting rights groups are concerned that without litigation to combat the results of a slow-moving postal system, some ballots will go uncounted.

"The legislature isn't going to do anything unless they're sued. So the hope is that there is a lawsuit,” said Yvette Simpson, the executive director of Democracy for America, a former Cincinnati city councilwoman and a ABC News contributor.

“I would say, big picture, that this is also a test case for November. We're hearing that we will have a resurgence in the fall of COVID,” Simpson said, adding that her group is evaluating what a feasible standard will be for voting-by-mail nationwide for the general.

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Joe Biden’s running mate search moves into high gear amid conflicting demands

Los Angeles Times

Some progressive Democrats say Biden’s choice is important not just for motivating voters in the current election but also to tee up the next generation of party leadership.“There is a feeling that one of the things that has to come from this nomination is a vision for the future of the Democratic Party,” said Neil Sroka, spokesman for Democracy for America, a liberal group that endorsed Sanders. “If he’s not going to change his position on Medicare for all, picking a progressive as his No. 2 could change minds about Biden’s vision of the future of the party.”

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Liberal group backs challenger to Engel in Democratic primary

The Hill

“For low-income and working-class people in New York and across the country, politics as usual just isn’t working and things won’t change if we keep on electing the same politicians, controlled by the same corporate interests, over and over again,” said Yvette Simpson, the CEO of DFA.

“Jamaal Bowman is right on the issues - he’s ready to fight for Medicare for All, a Green New Deal, just immigration reform, and affordable housing. But just as importantly, Bowman is committed to confronting and correcting past wrongs, like the 1994 Crime Bill and the No Child Left Behind Act, that his corporate-funded opponent voted for over his more than 30 years in Congress.”

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Joe Biden's running mate search moves into high gear amid conflicting demands

Los Angeles Times

Some progressive Democrats say Biden’s choice is important not just for motivating voters in the current election but also to tee up the next generation of party leadership.

“There is a feeling that one of the things that has to come from this nomination is a vision for the future of the Democratic Party,” said Neil Sroka, spokesman for Democracy for America, a liberal group that endorsed Sanders.“If he’s not going to change his position on Medicare for all, picking a progressive as his No. 2 could change minds about Biden’s vision of the future of the party.”

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Progressives look for concession from Biden with running mate

The Hill

“Joe Biden absolutely has to pick a progressive champion as his VP pick. He has to unify the party, and that’s the key,” Charles Chamberlain, head of Democracy for America, told The Hill. “What we saw during the primary is we saw that we have two major factions of this party, the corporate wing, more establishment Democrats, and there is progressive, ascendant left. And he absolutely has to choose from that progressive left to unify the party.”

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Warren sparks vice presidential speculation; She aims to carve out role in crisis

The Boston Globe

And Charles Chamberlain, with the progressive group Democracy for America, said Warren would be a “fantastic choice,” who could help boost Biden among progressives.

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Beyond Bernie: The Next Challenge for Progressives

Common Dreams

As the political action committee Democracy for America tweeted, Sanders has in recent years “fundamentally altered the range of what is possible in American politics, and the progressive movement is stronger now than it has ever been because of it.”

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Biden beats Sanders in Wisconsin primary held during coronavirus pandemic

Los Angeles Times

Sanders is no longer seeking the nomination, but he is continuing to compete for delegates until the Democratic National Convention. That would give him and his supporters more influence over the party’s platform on issues such as Medicare for all and on nominating rules.

“Honestly, those are important for getting the Democratic Party to say in one place what they stand for, what they’re willing to fight for,” said Neil Sroka, a spokesman for Democracy for America, a liberal PAC that backed Sanders. Though the nominee is not bound by the platform “it’s pretty rare that we make progressive moves in a platform and then scale back in the future.”

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Joe Biden Won The Primary. Now He's Trying To Win Over Progressive Groups

NPR

Of all issues, health care is likely the most difficult for Biden to move on, but Yvette Simpson, CEO of Democracy for America, feels it would be the most meaningful. Her organization also backed Sanders in the primary.

Simpson worries that if Biden can't show any additional policy changes on health care, it'll be challenging to motivate progressive voters to support him.

Two other important issues, she said, are climate change and income inequality. And on those, she thinks there could be some room for change. 

"Despite the fact that I'm very, very hard on Biden, I think we have seen him shift over the decade, so I'm cautiously optimistic about his potential to shift," Simpson said. "We know him to be someone who is willing to listen, we've seen this shift on the [1990s] crime bill and his acknowledgement of his failures there."

DFA issued a statement Wednesday saying that is a "100% committed to doing everything" it can to ensure Biden defeats Trump. 

That means it'll be using its organizing muscle — money and people — to turn out voters for Biden in November. "That'll be easier to do if he has some actual issues we can get people excited about," Simpson added with a laugh.

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How the Bernie Sanders movement reshaped the Democratic Party forever

Newsweek

Several organizations and media outlets have been founded or boosted by veterans of Sanders' 2016 effort. Besides Jacobin and the Sunrise Movement, there's also the activist group Indivisible as well as progressive political action committees Our Revolution, Democracy for America and Justice Democrats.

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Sanders exit leaves deep disappointment on left

The Hill

For many on the left, the work now turns to ensuring Biden engages with Sanders’s supporters and does not compromise when it comes to enacting a liberal agenda.

“Biden has his work cut out for him in terms of winning support from progressives,” said Neil Sroka, a progressive strategist for the liberal group Democracy for America. “I do think progressives will ultimately turn out to make sure Trump is defeated in November, but it will require work to ensure that the millions of young people getting involved this year for the first time don’t drop out of the process.”

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Lose the battle, win the war? Sanders' progressive allies stay optimistic after 2020 exit

The Miami Herald

But nonetheless, they say they’re encouraged. Even if Sanders’s ideas didn’t win, liberals argue, his unapologetically leftist vision for the country was adopted more swiftly and uniformly than any of them expected — including from Biden himself.

“Joe Biden’s going to be one of the most progressive nominees for president in history, and that’s because the entire Democratic Party has been moved forward on these issues,” said Charles Chamberlain, the executive director of Democracy for America, a grassroots liberal advocacy group.

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Bernie Sanders, acknowledging 'narrow path' to nomination, continues to push agenda amid pandemic

ABC News

Charles Chamberlain, chairman of progressive political action committee Democracy for America told ABC News that the response of the Democratic party establishment to Joe Biden's win in South Carolina, the subsequent coalescence of the field behind Biden, and the media coverage that came with it stalled Sanders' momentum toward the nomination, but argued it is capable of shifting again.

"I think you can say that the Sanders campaign was maybe a little flat footed by the Democratic elite response to the victory in South Carolina, but I would definitely say that, you know, he's run a very strong campaign," said Chamberlain, "But like we've seen a couple times in the campaign already, momentum can shift overnight sometimes and that's what happened with South Carolina, and that's what I think when we're looking at the race we have right now."

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Trump's Mass Negligent Homicide Doesn't Let Democratic Leaders Off the Hook

Common Dreams

Looking ahead, the postponements of primaries in some states may give enough time to implement widespread voting by mail. As Charles Chamberlain, the chair of Democracy for America, wrote over the weekend, “The public health risks from gathering in large numbers are real and volunteer poll workers, who are typically in the highest risk age group for getting the virus, should not be expected to spend hours on end helping neighbors vote. We must move immediately to establish automatic vote-by-mail procedures nationwide so elections can go forward safely with minimal risk to the general public.”

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What Do Progressives Do Now?

The Atlantic

New emergency-aid legislation dramatically expands paid sick and family leave for millions of workers and suspends work requirements for food assistance, two agenda items progressives have long supported. And the $2 trillion stimulus package that the president just signed into lawwould provide a $1,200 direct payment to most American adults—similar to the Freedom Dividend championed by former presidential candidate Andrew Yang—and another $250 billion in unemployment-insurance benefits. “There’s going to be an amazing shift where we recognize the impact government can have on our lives for the better,” says Charles Chamberlain, the executive director at Democracy for America, a progressive political-action committee.

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Democrats sound the alarm on Joe Biden's young voter problem

NBC News

“I'm deeply concerned about the impact that a lack of enthusiasm from young voters could have in a general election,” said Neil Sroka, a spokesman for Democracy for America, a progressive advocacy group that backs Sanders. “The consistent concern has been that nominating Vice President Biden would be essentially a repeat of the 2016 election.”

Failing to excite young voters in the primary has been a “significant red flag” for Democrats in recent decades, Sroka said: Barack Obama and Bill Clinton, who were backed by young people, went on to win the election, while Hillary Clinton, John Kerry and Al Gore lacked that enthusiasm and ended up losing.

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‘Extraordinary change’: How coronavirus is rewiring the Republican and Democratic parties

Politico

Progressive Democrats, anticipating a recession and high rates of unemployment, are preparing to use the coronavirus pandemic to draw their party to the left on economic policy, attempting to broaden support for a Green New Deal as a way to spur employment while decarbonizing the economy. And they are watching party leaders closely in negotiations for the rescue package — and demanding constraints on corporations that receive federal aid, as well as guarantees for the working class.

Charles Chamberlain, chairman of the liberal political action committee Democracy for America, said “We’re in a moment right now where obviously one of the long-term impacts of the coronavirus is likely to be a complete restructure of our economy.

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Liberal group backs challenger to Hoyer

The Hill

The progressive group Democracy for America is endorsing Mckayla Wilkes (D) in Maryland’s 5th District race as she seeks to oust House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D), who is serving his 20th term in Congress.

“Born to a single mother still grieving her father’s unexpected death and raised with the help of welfare benefits and a close extended family, the struggles low-income families in Maryland’s 5th District face aren’t an abstraction for McKayla Wilkes, they’re part of her life story,” said Yvette Simpson, the CEO of Democracy for America. “That’s why Democracy for America is so excited to endorse her race for Congress.”

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Dan Lipinski defeated in Illinois House primary

The Hill

“Marie Newman’s primary win tonight is a tremendous victory for progressives and everyone who believes the Democratic party should be unequivocal in its support for abortion rights, LGBTQ equality, and the fight for economic justice," added Yvette Simpson, the CEO of Democracy For America.

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Longtime anti-abortion rights Democratic Rep. Lipinski defeated in Chicago-area primary

NBC News

"Marie Newman's primary win tonight is a tremendous victory for progressives and everyone who believes the Democratic Party should be unequivocal in its support for abortion rights, LGBTQ equality and the fight for economic justice," Yvette Simpson, CEO of the liberal group Democracy for America, said. "We can't wait to fight alongside her for "Medicare for All," a Green New Deal, and robust criminal justice reform through November and beyond

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Don’t Expect Bernie To Drop Out Just Yet

Vanity Fair

But some in Sanders’ camp have urged him to stay in the race because they still see a potential avenue to victory.

“I don’t think anyone can predict for sure what’s going to happen between now and the end of this primary contest,” Charles Chamberlain, chairman of the Democracy for America political action committee, told Politico, suggesting Sanders could nab the nomination at a brokered convention should neither candidate reach the delegate threshold outright. “There’s plenty of time, plenty of delegates left, and this game can change at any minute.”

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