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Our friends in Iowa need help-- and they need it badly. Progressive Kick sounded the alarm today:

The Republicans have mounted a sneak attack-- trying to send Iowa down the same terrible road as Wisconsin and Ohio. Progressive Kick is partnering with our Iowa friends, Working Families to fight back. Iowa’s future is hanging in the balance and YOU can tip the scales!

Democrats were clinging to a 26-24 majority in the State Senate, but the Governor appointed a  Democratic senator [Swati Dandekar, a very conservative, Blue Dog-type] to a statewide board, just so he could call a special election that could allow Republicans to take control of the State Senate and the entire Iowa state government. If Republicans win, there’ll be a 25-25 tie which would be broken by the Republican Lieutenant Governor. This snap special election will be held in less than three weeks on November 8. The super-thin Dem majority in the State Senate is our only finger in the dike against all kinds of evil Republican.

The Republican governor and State House want to kill HAWK-I, Iowa’s health insurance program for low- and middle-class children. They want to kill universal pre-school.

They want to kill collective bargaining rights for hard working teachers, nurses, firefighters and other community heroes.

They want to discriminate by taking away the rights of some Iowans to get married.

n a district of approximately 50,000 voters, there are 140 more registered Republicans than Democrats. The Democratic candidate, former KCRG-TV 9 news anchor Liz Mathis, is a passionate advocate for children. The Republican, lobbyist Cindy Golding, noisily campaigns against unions on her web site.

As of last week, over $400,000 had been spent on this special election. Progressive Kick and Working Families are taking on the somewhat unglamorous, but utterly crucial task of making sure they wring every possible absentee ballot out of this small district. Our old friend Joshua Grossman, president of Progressive Kick, reminded me this morning why contributing to this effort is so important and so useful. "This is the opportunity of a lifetime for small contributors to swing an election-- 2% of Iowans will be deciding the entire control of Iowa government. $50 let's us collect 5 extra absentee ballots and the race is that close with a 193 vote registration difference between the parties out of 50,000 voters!" Every cent collected for Progressive Kick's Iowa Fund here will be matched dollar for dollar-- so if you give $25, they'll have a total of $50-- and all administrative costs have already been paid. Every dime goes right into the field work.

Michigan, Ohio, Florida, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania are just five states that were Kochified last year-- electing extreme right Republican governors and extreme right legislatures guaranteeing no checks, no balances. All 5 immediately started implementing pieces of the ALEC agenda for anti-democratic domestic fascism. Disenfranchising millions of voters has been a constant policy objective for conservatives worldwide and for the Republican Party here in the U.S. Let's turn again, for a second, to trusted historian Corey Robin (The Reactionary Mind). How perfectly does this describe far right governors Rick Snyder, John Kasich, Rick Scott, Scott Walker and Tom Corbett?

[C]onservatives have argued that any demand from or on behalf of the lower orders, no matter how tepid or tardy, is too much, too soon, too fast. Reform is revolution, improvement is insurrection. "It may be good or bad," a gloomy Lord Carnarvon wrote of the Second Reform Act of 1867-- a bill twenty years in the making that tripled the size of the British electorate-- "but it is revolution."

...Today's conservative may have made his peace with some emancipations past; others, like labor unions and reproductive freedom, he still contests. But that does not alter the fact that when those emancipations first arose as a question, whether in the context of revolution or reform, his predecessor was in all likelihood against them. Michael Gerson, former speechwriter for George W. Bush, is one of the few contemporary conservatives who acknowledge the history of conservative opposition to emancipation. Where other conservatives like to lay claim to the abolitionist or civil rights mantle, Gerson admits that "honesty requires the recognition that many conservatives, in other times, have been hostile to religiously motivated reform" and that "the conservative habit of mind once opposed most of these changes."

What changes does he mean? Remember our pal Mike Lux and his brilliant book, The Progressive Revolution-- How The Best In America Came To Be? Let me remind you of a list of progressive reforms adamantly opposed by conservatives throughout of country's history-- and many still being contested by contemporary Kochified domestic fascists like the aforementioned governors Rick Snyder, John Kasich, Rick Scott, Scott Walker and Tom Corbett-- not to leave out GOP governors in Maine, Georgia, Texas, Louisiana, Tennessee, South Carolina, New Mexico, Kansas, Arizona... you get the point:
• The American Revolution
• The Bill of Rights and the forging of a democracy
• Universal white male suffrage
• Public education
• The emancipation of the slaves
• The national park system
• Food safety
• The breakup of monopolies
• The Homestead Act
• Land grant universities
• Rural electrification
• Women’s suffrage
• The abolition of child labor
• The eight hour workday
• The minimum wage
• Social Security
• Civil rights for minorities and women
• Voting rights for minorities and the poor
• Cleaning up our air, our water, and toxic dump sites
• Consumer product safety
• Medicare and Medicaid

Every single one of those reforms, which are literally the reforms that made this country what it is today, was accomplished by the progressive movement standing up to the fierce opposition of conservative reactionaries who were trying to preserve their own power. American history is one long argument between progressivism and conservatism.

As we see in Michigan, Ohio, Wisconsin, and all over the country, conservatives are still fighting these battles as their very raison d'etre. And now the battle is boiling over in  nice "moderate" Iowa, where a hard core right-wing governor, Terry Branstad, already controls one House through House Speaker Kraig Paulsen, an ideological freakshow from Hiawatha, and has a plan for capturing the second. We can stop this from happening. Every cent collected for Progressive Kick's Iowa Fund here will be matched dollar for dollar-- so if you give $25, they'll have a total of $50-- and all administrative costs have already been paid. Every dime goes right into the field work. Please consider helping out.
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