To the Polls: Why Democrats Deserve to Win-- and How We Can Do It

One of the many reasons I respect Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi is that she has no investment in losing.

She says Democrats can win on November 2, and that makes sense to me.

Consider just seven key groups: Hispanics, women, African-Americans, senior citizens, teachers and students, citizens with disabilities and supporters of stem cell research.

If our friends in these groups just show up and vote, we cannot lose.

Take the last group first. There are many more stem cell research supporting friends than there are opponents. The most recent Gallup poll shows an astonishing 73% of the American public in support of embryonic stem cell research. This is a Democratic winning issue, pure and simple. Americans want cures, and we don't want politicians getting in the way. The Republicans? A majority of their membership (58%) supports embryonic stem cell research, but their leadership does not; they have in fact pledged to ban all embryonic stem cell research, public and private.

Hispanics? The Republican leadership has become too extreme. Even former President Bush's conservative positions on citizenship for undocumented workers are completely rejected by the GOP. Democrats, however, have a long history of strong support for Hispanic issues. In California, Democrats like Jerry Brown marched shoulder to shoulder with Cesar Chavez, unlike Meg Whitman, whose only contact with Hispanics seems to be the maid she fired -- and her campaign manager, former Governor Pete Wilson, who sought to deny emergency room service to undocumented workers with Prop 187. When local folks like my Mexican-American wife Gloria and I did our little bit for strawberry worker's rights, carrying signs and shouting "Huelga!", we were among Democrats. The opposition, then as now, was Republican.

African-Americans? What group suffers more from poverty? An estimated 35% of black children live in poverty. There is so much to be done. But compare Republican and Democratic policies on any attempt to ease poverty -- unemployment compensation, welfare, childcare, home improvement loans -- and then it is not hard to tell which side cares, and which does not.

Women? One of the first bills President Obama signed was the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act of 2009 -- a bill to allow gender pay discrimination lawsuits to go forward. Women's reproductive rights? Republican positions on freedom of choice should send every woman running to the polls to protect her freedom. If the Republican-backed Human Life Amendment were to pass, declaring that full citizenship begins at conception, not only would all termination of pregnancy be illegal at any stage and for any reason, (even when caused by rape or incest) but also most forms of birth control would be criminalized, not to mention the previously mentioned ban on embryonic stem cell research and even a prohibition of the In Vitro Fertility (IVF) procedure itself, which has brought four million children into the world.

Senior Citizens? Which party works continually to undermine Social Security? I am 65, and I definitely need those small but crucial monthly checks. Without them, I would probably be working at a fast food outlet. Medical benefits for the aged? The Democratic majority in Congress made the first improvement in health insurance since Medicare (another Democratic accomplishment) -- but every step has been against the full-scale opposition of the Republican party.

Teachers and students? I worked as a public teacher for 16 years, and was named "Teacher of the Year" for my district in 1999, so I know how tough teaching is, even with the help of the Federal government. But Republicans like Sharron Angle are talking about eliminating the education department altogether, including Pell Grants which offer help for college students, funding for students with a disability, and Head Start, so a hungry kindergarten child can be guaranteed one meal a day.

Disability Rights? To understand the Democratic Difference, look at the Obama/Biden position paper, "Barack Obama and Joe Biden's Plan to Empower Americans with Disabilities. One key issue is at home support (rather than institutionalization) for those who need it, the Community Living Assistance Services and Supports Act, which is strongly supported by Democratic senators like Harry Reid and Barbara Boxer -- and opposed by the GOP.

"Nothing about us, without us," is the motto of citizens with disabilities, and involvement/empowerment of the disabled has been just exactly what the Obama White House has done in its two short years. When Paul Miller, the man who helped write the Americans with Disabilities Act, died recently, he was working with the Obama White House as liason to disability groups. Kareem Dale, challenged by partial blindness, is the White House disability Special Assistant, the first in history.

Republicans? As I see it, they have a one-size-fits-all answer to everything, a philosophy best said by the late conservative icon William F. Buckley: "Let the Rich Alone," is an impassioned defense of billionaires.

When times are good (as in the Clinton years, when we had low unemployment and a surplus instead of a deficit) the Republican policy was tax cuts: "Let the rich alone."

When times are bad (after 8 years of Bush, the surplus was gone and unemployment was high) the Republican prescription was the same: tax cuts. "Let the rich alone."

Republicans definitely have money, and the compliant Roberts Supreme Court has made it possible for the corporations and the rich to spend without limit, and often without disclosure, approaching utter domination of the electoral policy.

Meg Whitman has spent (so far) $141 million on her campaign for Governor of California.
At roughly 22.5 million eligible voters in our state, that means the Republican has spent almost seven dollars per voter.
Her platform? You guessed it. Tax cuts -- let the rich alone.

Backed by billionaires like the Koch brothers (personal wealth of $35 billion), Tea Party Republicans can blanket the airways. (Some consider the Tea Party to have been the invention of these billionaire brothers.) So the Republicans will always out-dollar us, no question.

But there are more of us than there are of them. All we have to do is get our allies to the polls.
Here is what I recommend.

1. Locate friends in the battleground states.

Do you know anyone living in California, Colorado, Delaware, Florida, Illinois, Kentucky, Minnesota, Missouri, New Hampshire, Nevada, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, or Washington?
If you know even one person in any of the above states, email them a quick reminder (or call and tell them) that their vote is absolutely crucial on November 2.

For instance, in Nevada, stem cell supporter Harry Reid is locked in a close race with anti-stem cell research Tea Partier Sharron Angle. (Angle, by the way, is playing the anti-immigrant card as hard as she can. She pretends otherwise, saying that the scary-looking Mexican actors in her commercial against immigration could actually be from Canada! She would of course benefit from the apparently Republican-backed campaign to actively discourage Latino voting.)

2. Contact the friends you may have in those states.

I have a friend in Nevada, my wife's cousin who is battling cancer. It will be tough for him to make it to the polls. But Gloria and I will call, asking him to make the effort, not only to vote, but to send an email to all their fellow Nevadan friends to do the same.

3. Remind our friends, and vote ourselves.

We ourselves must absolutely turn up to vote. You know how important each single vote can be. Remember the 2000 elections, which gave us George Bush by a handful of votes?

So I give my promise that I will vote -- and also (because my wife Gloria volunteered me) she and I will be working at the polls, in support of the democratic process, the greatest political system in the world.

We have only a few days left until Election Day, November 2.

Will you lend your strength to ours?

Remember in November!

Quick Reminder: Below are key House and Senate Races: Friends of embryonic stem cell research are underlined in bold. They are in first place, where they deserve to be. The opposition is against the research. If you support stem cell research, help one or more of our friends.

CA: Jerry McNerney, vs. David Harmer, District 11

CA: Ami Bera vs. Daniel Lungren District 3

FL: Joe Garcia vs. David Rivera, District 25

IL: Dan Seals vs.Robert Dold, District 10

MN: Tarryl Clark v. Michele Bachmann, District 8

NH: Carol Shea-Porter v. Frank Guinta, District 01

NV: Dina Titus v. Joe Heck, District 3

NY: John Hall v. Nan Hayworth, District 19

OH: Mary Jo Kilroy v. Stivers, District 15

WI: Julie Lassa v. Sean Duffy, District 7

SENATE RACES:

CA: Barbara Boxer vs. Carly Fiorina

CO: Michael Bennet vs. Ken Buck

DE: Chris Coons v.Christine Odonnell

KY: Jack Conway vs. Rand Paul

MO: Robin Carnahan vs. Roy Blunt

NH: Paul Hodes vs. Kelly Ayotte

NV: Harry Reid vs. Sharron Angle

OH: Lee Fisher vs. Rob Portman

PA: Joe Sestak vs. Pat Toomey

WA: Patty Murray vs. Dino Rossi

WI: Russ Feingold vs. Ron Johnson