DFA in the News

DFA in the News

Democrats irked as billionaire Steyer joins 2020 race

Niall Stanage

Charles Chamberlain, chairman of progressive group Democracy for America, emphasized Steyer’s record on climate change as one potential upside to his candidacy. On that topic, he said, “What is exciting about Tom getting into the race is, with the kind of money he has, he may be able to drive forward solutions in a way that could be positive for America.” Even so, Chamberlain noted that overall, “It’s a little difficult to see what Tom Steyer has to offer, other than bringing a billionaire’s finances into it.”

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Marian Spencer, civil rights pioneer, dies at 99

Barrett J. Brunsman and Chris Wetterich

Spencer became a mentor to Cincinnati elected officials such as Yvette Simpson, a former council member and mayoral candidate who’s now CEO of the national progressive group Democracy for America. Simpson, an African American who is a UC Law graduate, recalled sitting with Spencer at Charter Committee meetings. “She would hold my hand," Simpson said. "I’ll never forget what her hand felt like. She’s got these very skinny fingers, but she would hold my hand so tight. It was her saying, ‘You’ve got this.’ She was willing to always be there for you.”

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Setting down their Netroots

Julia Terruso

“To see issues we championed for years, like Medicare for All and climate change, so prominent on a mainstream Democratic debate stage is really refreshing, because we’ve been at this work for so long,” said Yvette Simpson, who heads Democracy for America, one of the longest-running progressive political action committees, founded in 2004. “We see a lot more candidates who are talking more boldly and unapologetically about progressive values, and I think what we’re seeing is those who don’t receiving a little bit of backlash.”

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Sanders facing tougher 2020 competition for liberal support

ALEXANDRA JAFFE AND JUANA SUMMERS Associated Press

And that, according to Charles Chamberlain, executive director of the progressive advocacy group Democracy for America, may be Sanders’ biggest challenge — the fact that while some voters are interested in policy nuance, many are evaluating the candidates on personality. “I don’t think he should be changing his content,” Chamberlain said. “What I do think would benefit him would be to think a little bit more about how to personalize his policy, so people can see he’s not just an angry guy with a vision, he’s also warm — like your grandpa.”

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Tom Steyer Brings $100 Million to the Democratic Primary. That May Not Be Enough

Lissandra Villa

“That’s kind of the big lingering question is, what does he have that the other candidates don’t besides the big bankroll that he walks in the door with?” said Neil Sroka, a spokesman for Democracy For America. He argued that to win the nomination this cycle, a candidate will have to be able to tap into the grassroots to earn support. “That’s going to be the real challenge, and certainly the resources makes it possible to build that team, but it doesn’t make it a fait accompli. And so it’s one of the reasons Mr. Steyer is going to have to work just as hard as any other candidate in this race if he’s going to be successful, and we’ll have to see how that works out.”

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Second Democratic debate could come down to Biden vs. Sanders

James Oliphant

Democracy for America, a progressive advocacy group that endorsed Sanders in his 2016 presidential run, said in a pre-debate memo that Thursday’s debate offered Sanders a chance to prove “he’s the progressive best suited to not just beat Donald Trump, but also the rest of the Democratic field - including Joe Biden.”

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Democratic debate: Warren, O'Rourke among 2020 candidates taking stage on first night

Kelly Taylor Hayes

"She's liable to have a target on her back and a lot of people potentially coming after her on that stage," said Charles Chamberlain, the chairman of the progressive political action committee Democracy for America. "But on the other hand, that will let people see how she handles attacks and can fend them off."

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2020 Democrats converge in Miami for 1st night of debates

JUANA SUMMERS Associated Press

“She’s liable to have a target on her back and a lot of people potentially coming after her on that stage,” said Charles Chamberlain, the chairman of the progressive political action committee Democracy for America. “But on the other hand, that will let people see how she handles attacks and can fend them off.”

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Bring down Biden without attacking Obama

Holly Otterbein

“It’s going to be challenging for progressives to attack that legacy,” said Yvette Simpson, chief executive of the progressive political action committee Democracy for America. “Because Obama not only is and was so popular, but people are very nostalgic for that time, particularly after a few years of Trump.”

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Sara Gideon, Maine's Democratic House Speaker, To Run Against Sen. Susan Collins

Hayley Miller and Kevin Robillard

“In the U.S. Senate, [Sweet will] be an unabashed champion for abortion rights, Medicare for All, a $15 minimum wage, organized labor, and criminal justice reform,” Yvette Simpson, the president of Democracy for America, said in a statement on Thursday. “In 2014, far too many National Democrats made a huge mistake by giving Susan Collins a pass on what should have been a reelection fight. In 2020, we can’t just fix that mistake by ending Susan Collins’ career, we must replace her with someone who’ll be a strong fighter for our shared progressive values.”

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Democratic challenger to Susan Collins announces Senate bid

The Hill

She was endorsed by the progressive group Democracy for America, whose CEO Yvette Simpson called Sweet "the kind of bold leader who can harness the grassroots energy that's been growing in Maine for years," in a statement.

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The kickoff to the Virginia General Assembly battle

Alan Fram

Progressive groups are grappling with an embarrassment of riches: How do they give their candidates the best shot of winning, when many more are running? “Yvette Simpson, CEO of Democracy for America

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Warren's rise is threat to Sanders

NIALL STANAGE

Neil Sroka, the communications director of the progressive group Democracy for America, emphasized how long there was to go before the first contests — the Iowa caucuses are not until early February. Even after that point, he noted, voters on the left of the party would still have time to make up their minds as the primary evolved. “What’s really important about this process is that it is iterative,” Sroka said. “It’s not that there is a single election day where folks have to be worried about splitting the vote.” For now, he said, progressives could take heart in the “abundance” of choices before them.

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Anti-Lobbying Progressive Group Endorses Former Corporate Lobbyist Senate Candidate

Cameron Cawthorne

"Lindsey Graham spent nearly two years calling out Donald Trump’s bigotry and incompetence only to become one of his most sycophantic Senate water carriers," Sroka said. "To be exceedingly clear: We’ve got zero concerns about Jaime Harrison being the strongest fighter for South Carolina working families against pathetic politician & defense industry tool Lindsay Graham."

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Bernie Sanders to defend democratic socialism in face of attacks from right and left

Aamer Madhani

“Most voters care less about what you call yourself and more about what you’re going to do for them,” said Neil Sroka, a spokesman for liberal group Democracy for America. “That at its core is what most people on the left side of spectrum are focused on and what most voters are going to care about.”

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Can Sen. Doug Jones Do It Again In Deep Red Alabama?

Igor Bobic

“On issues from choice to Trump’s racist border wall, he’s had more guts and shown a greater commitment to justice than Joe Manchin,” said Neil Sroka, a spokesman for Democracy for America.

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Bernie Sanders to defend democratic socialism in face of attacks from right and left

Aamer Madhani

“Most voters care less about what you call yourself and more about what you’re going to do for them,” said Neil Sroka, a spokesman for liberal group Democracy for America. “That at its core is what most people on the left side of spectrum are focused on and what most voters are going to care about.”

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Tougher debate threshold sets off scramble among 2020 Democrats

By Max Greenwood - 06/08/19 02:47 PM EDT

Charles Chamberlain, the chairman of the liberal political action committee Democracy for America, said that the new rules push candidates to build out the kind of grass-roots campaigns that Democrats need to defeat President Trump in 2020. The ones who “haven’t done what they need to do” would inevitably be weeded out of the race, he said. “To me, it really sounds like complaining because you can’t compete,” Chamberlain said. “The bottom line is for our nominee to win this election, they’re going to need to have a national grass-roots base that is 50 states strong. And they need to be building that starting from day one.” “To me, it really sounds like complaining because you can’t compete,” Chamberlain said. “The bottom line is for our nominee to win this election, they’re going to need to have a national grass-roots base that is 50 states strong. And they need to be building that starting from day one.” “I understand that that’s hard, but running for president is hard,” he said.

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It's open season on Joe Biden

DAVID SIDERS

“It’s not just a flip-flop. It’s like a double axel flip-flop, and he’s not even nailing the landing,” said Democracy for America Chairman Charles Chamberlain, whose group has supported Warren and Sanders in the past. For Biden, Chamberlain said, “It does seem like we’re hurtling ever and ever closer to the fateful day when the train completely goes off the tracks.”

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Joe Biden Mocked For Reminding Voters On 'Best Friends Day' That He's Cool With Barack Obama

Nathan Francis

Some experts believe the strategy won’t get him too far. As Charles Chamberlain, chair of progressive advocacy group Democracy for America noted, Biden will eventually have to show voters that he has progressive bona fides of his own.

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Socialism debate roils Democratic primary

Jonathan Easley

Neil Sroka, the communications director for the liberal group Democracy for America, described the centrists as a “group of older white men who think this is their best path to relevance in the primary.”

“Their argument hinges on a Republican view of the world that anything that is not greed-soaked exploitative capitalism must then be totalitarian communism,” Sroka said. “That’s the binary choice Republicans have decided on and all these old, irrelevant white men are doing is bending to that way of thinking because they believe it’s a path to victory for their campaigns.”

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The 2020 Race Is Testing Progressives' Power. They're Pushing Back.

Astead W. Herndon

Yvette Simpson, chief executive officer of the progressive grass-roots group Democracy for America, said the idea that embracing progressive policies would help Mr. Trump win was a Republican narrative with little backing. She said she believed the entire party had moved leftward, noting that even Mr. Biden had announced his campaign would reject money from lobbyists and corporate PACs. (Mr. Biden still has significant backing from wealthy Democratic donors, and he held a high-dollar fund-raiser on his first day in the presidential race.) “Biden’s ability to win should be measured against whether he excites the left of the party,” she said. “Because if he doesn’t do that — even if he wins the nomination — he won’t win the race.” It comes back to a fundamental schism among Democratic candidates over whether it is more important to win over voters lost to Mr. Trump and Republicans or to motivate the Democrats who sat out the 2016 election, including those who are younger and people of color. Neil Sroka, a spokesman for Democracy for America, said it would be a mistake to view the primary as a referendum on progressives. “The establishment is the establishment because they have the lion’s share of the power within the Democratic Party,” he said.

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Liberals warn Democrats risk backlash by not impeaching Trump

Alex Roarty and Michael Wilner, McClatchy Washington Bureau

“There comes a point where it’s not going to be politically tenable to stand in the way of this investigation,” said Neil Sroka, spokesman for the liberal group Democracy for America. “We may be reaching that point now or soon.”

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Biden Set to Begin Filling in Policy Blanks of His 2020 Campaign

Jennifer Epstein

"He’s a blank slate that’s ridden up to this primary on the coattails of a popular ex-president, so it’s very easy to project a whole host of ideas about what that means for 2020 and beyond,” said Neil Sroka, communications director of Democracy for America, a progressive activist group. “Once he actually starts having a plan and voters see how it differs from the others in the race, that’s not going to wear very well.”

 

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Biden Shows Early Strength, but Pitfalls Loom in 2020 U.S. Presidential Race

James Oliphant

"I've long said Joe Biden’s best days will be the beginning of this campaign," said Charles Chamberlain, executive director of the progressive advocacy group Democracy for America.

 

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Kamala Harris Responds To People Who Question Candidates' 'Electability'

Sarah Ruiz-Grossman

“Who are these people who get to determine this? And what are their backgrounds and what is their lens?” Yvette Simpson, the president of the progressive group Democracy for America, told HuffPost last month on the issue of electability in 2020. “I think for a long, long time people have convinced themselves and others that in order to win in certain places or to win at all you have to be a white guy, and the reality is that can’t be further from the truth.”

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Joe Biden is the 2020 Democratic frontrunner. Now he has a target on his back.

Aamer Madhani, Teresa Kay Albertson and Kim Norvell

The fact that so many voters remain uncommitted tspeaks volumes about where the Democratic electorate stands, said Charles Chamberlain, executive director of Democracy for America, a left-leaning political action committee. "He hasn't yet presented a vision that will resonate with the modern electorate," Chamberlain said. “The modern Democratic Party and America is looking for fighters that want to fight the status quo, that want to fight against the power structures in D.C. While America wishes Obama were still president, no one is looking to go back to the old school Democrat platform of corporate rule. Joe Biden’s support that is there is shallow and malleable.”

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After sprint to left, some 2020 Democrats inch back toward the middle

Alex Roarty, McClatchy Washington Bureau

"During the early part of this race you had a number of corporate Democrats who were trying to masquerade as progressives because they realized it is the ascendant force in the Democratic Party," said Neil Sroka, spokesman for Democracy for America, a progressive activist group.

He added: "The challenging thing for them is the progressive wing of the party is ascendant and there is a real hunger for a nominee in 2020 who is committed to a bold, inclusive populist vision for the future of this country and not mired in the same kind of corporate Democratic talking points that have lost multiple elections and over a thousand elected seats across the country."

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Biden's entry in 2020 campaign drags Obama into spotlight

Seth McLaughlin

Charles Chamberlain, executive director of Democracy for America, said progressives remember Mr. Obama’s willingness to try to cooperate with Republicans — and not in a good way.

“What we saw was a Republican Party that was not willing to work with Democrats,” Mr. Chamberlain said. “Obama and Biden never really got that. So one of the things that really worries me is that it looks like Biden still doesn’t get it.”

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Analysis: Biden bets on Democrats' fear of re-electing Trump

Jonathan Allen

"Our Democratic nominee can't just be against Trump," said Charles Chamberlain, chair of the group Democracy for America. "What we need to do is we need to make it clear is what it will mean if Democrats are in power."

And, he added, "A message of hope would have made a lot more sense than a message of fear."

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