Jan 18th 2010

Friends Don't Let Friends Not Vote in Massachusetts' Senate Election

by Robert Creamer

Robert Creamer is a long-time political organizer and strategist and author of the recent book: "Stand Up Straight: How Progressives Can Win," available on amazon.com.
Here's the bottom line: an enormous amount is at stake in Tuesday's election in Massachusetts to fill Senator Ted Kennedy's seat. So much is at stake that every Democrat - and every independent who wants fundamental change in Washington - has to vote - no matter how hard it is to get to the polls, no matter how inconvenient, no matter how disappointed you are with the pace of change in Washington.

Not only that. If you don't live in Massachusetts, get on the phone, call every friend you have in Massachusetts and tell them to stop what they're doing and go vote. Tell them that what they do will have a dramatic impact on you and your life no matter where you live in America - that if they care about you at all, they have to go vote to defeat Republican Scott Brown and elect Democrat Martha Coakley.

Just think how outrageous it would be if an election to replace the nation's most ardent champion of health care for all, stopped health care reform. That's exactly what Republican Scott Brown has said he will do - be the 41st vote to stop health insurance reform dead in its tracks.
But it's not just that. Brown postures like an advocate for ordinary people. But in fact he is a staunch advocate of the failed economic policies of George Bush that resulted in:
· Zero growth in private sector jobs over his 2 terms (compare that to growth of 22 million jobs over the eight years of Bill Clinton);
· Huge tax breaks for millionaires and a higher relative tax burden for the middle class;
· Zero growth in median income for ordinary working people;
· Two thirds of all the growth in Gross Domestic Product going to the top 1% of the population;
· No accountability for the Wall Street bankers whose reckless speculation plunged the economy into the worst collapse since the Great Depression.

Remember that George Bush inherited a huge budget surplus from Bill Clinton and ran up more debt than all of the previous Presidents in American history.

And now, Brown says he would oppose President Obama's proposed tax on Wall Street profits that would allow us to recover all the money from the massive taxpayers' bailout that was necessary to prevent the worldwide financial system from complete disintegration.

Brown is apparently perfectly happy to let the Wall Street gang wallow in the obscene profits they made this year-- as a direct result of taxpayer assistance - taking billions of dollars in bonuses while many Americans who actually produce things for a living still can't find work.
By voting for Brown - or staying home from the polls - voters would be choosing to take the country back to the bad old days when Bush's pro-Wall-Street-Banker-economic policy created the massive mess that we have been slowly trying to clean up for the last 12 months.
Surely one of the reasons why that clean-up has taken longer than hoped is that some conservative Democrats have erected hurdles that block change. But it is nothing compared to what we would see if the Republicans once again have enough votes to stall every Democratic initiative in the Senate. If you're a progressive Democrat and are unhappy with how change initiatives are watered down by the conservative Democrats, wait until we have to negotiate everything with the Bush-economic-policy-Republicans.

That is exactly what the Republicans hope to pull off Tuesday - and that's why it is so important for every Democrat, every Progressive, every change-oriented Independent call their friends in Massachusetts and insist they go to the polls and vote for Coakley.

I know there has been a lot of talk about the early complacency of the Coakley campaign --- or whether she knows the roster of the Red Sox. But this is not a game. And this election isn't just about Martha Coakley. It's about the direction of America. It's about continuing the momentum for fundamental change that has begun this year and has so, so much further to go.
The outcome of this race is entirely a function of turnout. The latest poll has Brown up by 3 points. Other polls have had Coakley slightly ahead. These poll results reflect different assumptions the pollsters make about who turns out.

There is also no question that early in this race, hardcore Republicans and Brown supporters were more motivated to turn out. Now the percentage of our supporters who say they are likely to vote is shooting up.

One thing is clear: if there is a low overall turnout, the more-motivated Brown supporters will carry the day. If turnout surges - especially among Democrats, Progressives, women, African Americans, Latinos, and union voters - Coakley will win.

There are substantially more Democrats registered in Massachusetts than Republicans, but don't let that fool you. There are loads of "un-enrolled" or independent voters in the state. And even though the state is thought to be a Democratic stronghold, remember that until 2008 it had consistently elected Republicans Governors- including former Republican Presidential aspirant Mitt Romney.

Luckily there is something each and every one of us can do about this race. If you live in Massachusetts, go sign up to walk precincts - join the phone banks being run by the Coakley Campaign or Organize for America (OFA) - call all of your neighbors and friends - and make sure you vote early.

For many years Massachusetts has exported volunteers to surrounding states in big national elections. Now it's time for activists in New Hampshire, Vermont, Maine, Rhode Island, upstate New York and Connecticut to return the favor. Go to Massachusetts and help turn out the vote. No one will have more impact on the outcome of this election than motivated, reliable volunteers who pull out voters.

If you live outside of Massachusetts you can also go the OFA's website and sign up to be part of a virtual phone bank http://my.barackobama.com/page/content/hqblog.
Many people will be off work Monday to commemorate the birthday of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Take the day and go do what Dr. King would want you to do. I'm sure he would have agreed that there is nothing more important you can do to fight for social and economic justice, over the next two days, than beat back this attempt by the Republicans and Scott Brown to return us to the failed policies of the Bush years.

Don't be one of those people who regrets months from now that they didn't do something at a critical point to help change history. Don't allow us all to regret that America didn't pass health insurance reform, or re-regulate the Wall Street Banks, or pass clean energy legislation, or comprehensive immigration reform, or a serious jobs bill because we had to make a deal with Republican Leader Mitch McConnell and his friends in the Chamber of Commerce, the big insurance companies, and Wall Street in order to get anything done. That may happen if Scott Brown wins Tuesday in Massachusetts.

Real democracy - and the fight for social and economic justice - are not spectator sports. If you're unhappy with the pace of change, use this occasion to get out of the stands. Go onto the playing field and do something about it. The Republicans and Scott Brown want to erect a huge new barrier to change in the Senate on Tuesday. It is up to each and every one of us to go out in the streets and make sure that they fail.

Friends don't let friends
not vote in the Massachusetts Senate race.

Robert Creamer 's recent book: "Stand Up Straight: How Progressives Can Win," available on Amazon.com.

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