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Outgoing House Speaker Nancy Pelosi hands the speaker's gavel to incoming House Speaker John Boehner after Boehner was elected Speaker on the opening day of the 112th United States Congress on Capitol Hill in Washington, January 5, 2011. Republicans are taking control of the U.S. House of Representatives since winning a majority in the November U.S. Congressional mid-term elections. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque (UNITED STATES - Tags: POLITICS)
Make him give it back. (Reuters)
With the November elections roughly three and half months away, we all know what's at stake: the White House, the Senate, and the House.

Elections are run on money. I hate it. You hate it. Even politicians hate it. And that problem has only gotten worse thanks to our activist Supreme Court and its decimation of campaign finance laws.

We can curl up into a fetal position and surrender, or we can keep doing what we have always done in the face of insurmountable odds: fight back. We may not be able to sign million-dollar checks, but we can collectively write a ton of $5 ones to help offset the flood of nefarious right-wing cash.

Our particular fundraising focus at Daily Kos will be at the House and Senate levels, where our smaller dollars can have a bigger impact. And we're going to focus heavily on better Democrats—those candidates who will make for a stronger, more progressive, and more cohesive caucus. We'll do this in three projects, using our Orange to Blue page at ActBlue as our contribution engine:


Speaker Pelosi project bug
Along with retaining the White House, would there be anything more gratifying than giving John Boehner a real reason to cry? The Senate is a dysfunctional den of worthlessness, but the House is a truly democratic institution—the party that controls the chamber actually controls the chamber! Pretty amazing that, huh?

We've seen how Republicans have used their House foothold to push all manner of crazy, from the Holder contempt citation to holding he nation's economy hostage to debt ceiling negotiations. And really, do we need one of the chambers of Congress singularly obsessed with repealing a health care law that won't be going anywhere?

2010 was a tough year for us, but the silver lining was that the Blue Dog Caucus was decimated. Many more of those jerk Democrats are quitting or have been redistricted out. So we already have a better, more cohesive party. Now it's time to build on that.

One last thought—as tough as it may be, if we don't take control of the House after this November's elections, this would likely be the end of Pelosi's leadership. We might have to deal with ... ugh ... Steny Hoyer. Or worse. And that would be a step back.

You can see our Speaker Pelosi Project page here. Note—we are not done adding candidates to our list. In fact, you can guarantee that more will be added.


Upgrade the Senate bug
I'm not going to pretend that fighting for Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is a big motivator. It's not as if his Senate has acquitted itself well over the past several terms. But Reid has acknowledged that the filibuster is broken, and it would be weakened significantly if Democrats maintain control of the chamber. For starters—rather than put the onus on the majority to break a filibuster, it would now be on the minority to uphold it. It wouldn't fix the problem of the undemocratic Senate, but it would be a start.

More than that, however, we have a chance to help significantly upgrade the quality of the Senate caucus. I've always said that full reform of the Democratic Party is a long-term project. We've begun that, with people like Sherrod Brown, Sheldon Whitehouse and Al Franken. We can continue those efforts this year.

Sherrod Brown is the number one target for Republicans this year. We must defend him at all costs. We're losing Ben Nelson to retirement (yay!), and we can replace him with Elizabeth Warren. A huge upgrade. Hawaii's Mazie Hirono will be a fantastic presence in the Senate ... as long as she can get past Lieberdem Ed Case in the primary. And speaking of Lieberdems, Chris Murphy will be a significant upgrade from the king of the Lieberdems—Joe Lieberman.

And if you need any more motivation—all Supreme Court nominations must go through the Senate. We lose the Senate, you can guarantee that the Court will continue its rightward drift, no matter who might end up vacating over the next four years.

You can see our Upgrade the Senate page here. Note—we are not done adding candidates to our list. In fact, you can guarantee that more will be added.


Hell to Pay bug
Raise your hand if you remember our weekend Hell to Pay efforts in 2006 and 2008. If you remember, you really are an old-timer.

So here is how it works—during the week, Republicans do their usual craziness. The community helps us choose the craziest of all, and then we use that to do a weekend fundraiser. People come together, they help out a great candidate, talk about how horrible Republicans are, and since it's the weekend, libations are usually involved. It was a real blast, and we look forward to reviving this moribund tradition.

So brace yourself! It's going to be nag time. And yes, you hate it when we nag for contributions. And we hate to nag for contributions. But there's a reason we're doing this, and you don't have to look long into the GOP side of the aisle to remember that reason.

Conservatives are engaged in a systematic campaign to destroy everything that we hold dear—from tolerance, to compassion, to the interests of the 99 percent. If we lie down now, or if we walk away from the challenge ahead of us, we'll end up losing much of what we love about America.

Originally posted to Daily Kos on Sun Jul 22, 2012 at 10:00 AM PDT.

Also republished by The Federation and Hirono for Senate.

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