I'm reporting an amazing development that may be a perfect match for the Daily Kos community: a progressive Democrat who, with our help, can beat right-leaning, civil liberties bashing war supporter Senator Dianne Feinstein in November. And happily, thanks to California's new Proposition 14 rules, there's no serious risk of being stopped in the June primary, or of helping a Republican. You'll laugh when you learn why.
See, I did kind of an unusual thing last week: I proudly took my oath to defend the Constitution -- as a US Senate candidate. I'm on the June primary ballot to represent California. Our team collected signatures from enthusiastic voters in time to get a discount on the federal filing fee.
Now it's time to get the word out. If we progressives do it right, we'll actually keep all 11 Republicans off California's November US Senate ballot - because the new rules put just the "top two" primary vote-getters on that ballot, even if they're both Democrats. It's a historic opportunity – a progressive Democrat's dream. Let's make it happen.
Check out our progressive platform issues: Single Payer, Out of Afghanistan, and End Prohibition while investing instead in Jobs and Education. If you like it and think a progressive should represent the largest state in the U.S., please contribute now at Levitt2012.org or via ActBlue. It's a new kind of campaign -- a citizen-fueled race rather than a money race -- and to succeed it needs support from citizens like you.
First let’s catch up. I live in California -- a computer scientist and life long progressive.
One evening in mid January I was fortunate to attend a dinner in San Francisco with: Lawrence Lessig, who had just spoken eloquently to a sold out audience about our corrupt Congress and the challenge of fixing it; Steven Levy of Wired; hacker, entrepreneur, EFF co-founder and dear friend John Gilmore; several eminent entrepreneurs; and our hosts, my MIT colleague Danny Hillis and the brilliant team behind the Long Now Foundation. Danny asked everyone to introduce themselves with a "hack" that might address the urgent problems of corrupting money in politics and campaigns that Professor Lessig had just laid out.
When my turn came I explained my hack: I'd be running for the "safe" US Senate seat Dianne Feinstein has held for 20 years -- to win it. During 2011 I had co-founded a non-profit called Be Your Government that had already helped a dozen candidates for Congress across the country -- all citizen-fueled campaigns with no corporate money -- mostly opposing "safe" Republicans.
A month after the dinner, on Valentine's day, I publicly declared my intention to run; and now exactly a month later, I’m on the ballot and launching my campaign. The details and background are in the Levitt2012.org campaign News blog and in these interviews:
The Young Turks with Cenk Uygur, Current TV at Occupy Wall Street
Technologist David Levitt Challenges Feinstein for US Senate in California
interview with San Diego ‘s East County Magazine
Current.com Interview, Citizen candidate to challenge Dianne Feinstein in Senate race
Nothing was easier than collecting ballot nomination signatures to replace Senator Feinstein. Many people said "Where do I sign!" before I could share my platform. Like most Americans, the people of California want the Single Payer universal health care every other industrialized nation has. We want an end the outrageous Afghan war and the failed Drug War, now -- but Dianne Feinstein isn't standing up for us.
Senator Feinstein wants to outspend her opponents again in 2012 instead -- and to avoid debating them. In 2006 her $8 million war chest was 30 times all the other candidates combined. She thinks she needs that kind of money be re-elected to her "safe" seat this year. We think she can be beaten by a progressive Democrat who spends a tiny fraction of that -- and stands up for the people.
It gets way better. Who's the leading Republican in the Senate race? As Feinstein put it at a recent event, the Republicans didn't run anyone. But the truth is much funnier: it's Orly Taitz, the proud Queen of the Birthers – the L.A. dentist who keeps disrupting ballot proceedings nationwide with claims that the president wasn't born in this country.
With your support, I think I can beat her in June.
And then in November, under the new Proposition 14 “top two” rules, the people of California can choose between Feinstein and a progressive Democrat who takes his oath seriously and stands up for the people, peace, and the Constitution.
As I took my own oath I couldn’t help but think of so many ways Senator Feinstein has betrayed hers, and our Constitution. She has supported all of the following:
* warrantless surveillance
* indefinite detention without charges or trial
* retroactive immunity for elite felons
* immunity from prosecution for torture, violating international treaties
* led the unconstitutional destruction of ACORN in the Senate
* keeping interpretation of law secret from the public
* violating the War Powers Act
* execution without trial
* declaring the entire planet a “battlefield” where our rights are discarded
It’s hard to escape it: Senator Feinstein’s indifference or contempt for the Constitution and for her oath of office -- these alone should disqualify her. The details, not to mention her financial and other judgement, are for future diaries. Don’t get me started. Yet.
First we need your help with this citizen-fueled campaign -- with tremendous bonus potential. If the Levitt2012 campaign quickly gains strong financial footing -- just a tiny fraction of Feinstein’s war chest -- suddenly 36 million Californians have a new option for progressive representation. And if we raise enough in the next few weeks, the landscape will change. When the biggest state in the union has a citizen candidate who can’t be ignored, more ReplaceCongress citizen candidates can be taken seriously and find support.
I’m especially excited about several candidates from South Carolina -- mostly women -- running as Democrats in districts that the Democratic party abandoned decades ago. In fact, I believe if you send these candidates $25 or $100 you will have given them more support than the whole South Carolina Democratic party -- which perversely prefers those Republican seats to be unopposed. And that’s yet another way this citizen-fueled alternative to corrupt party politics can help Democrats.
The southern candidates are gaining new chances to be heard, thanks partly to an epidemic of nutty rhetoric from their arrogant “safe” Republican opponents, now brazenly attacking women and sex at every chance. Like the Republican presidential contenders, every moment these knuckleheads show their true selves helps their opponents. In ReplaceCongress candidate Jeanne van den Hurk’s district in Laurens County, the Republicans recently adopted an illegal 28-point “Purity Pledge” approved by party leaders, “another cultural issues nightmare for Republicans”. Meanwhile, Jeanne is smart, passionate, articulate, sane, and respectful of women -- and suddenly that means even in South Carolina she has a shot.
What You Can Do
We're hoping you’ll help the progressive, citizen-fueled Levitt2012 Senate campaign right now -- and prove (as we did with Elizabeth Warren) that citizen candidates don’t need corporate money. Here’s what you can do:
Rec and share this post so every Kossack and progressive sees it.
Give to the Levitt2012 campaign if you like our progressive platform.
Like and Share the campaign on Facebook.
Like and spread the word about the ReplaceCongress.org citizen candidate movement.
Follow and share campaign news on Twitter @Levitt2012.
Help independent media continue to discover us. Of course, once the corporate media smell enough novelty and money, they’ll cover us too.
Contribute at ActBlue -- it’s convenient, and your contributions wind up telling other Democrats about the Levitt 2012 campaign and the citizen candidate movement.