October 2018 Newsletter


What just happened? Raw power, that’s what.

Justice Kavanaugh sits now as the fifth vote for a VERY conservative bloc of Justices. He will likely extend significantly the 50-year run of a majority of Supreme Court members being appointed by Republican Presidents. (Even though 4 of those 5 current Justices were appointed by Presidents who didn’t command a plurality of popular votes on their election. Even though the Senators confirming Kavanaugh represent only 44% of the American population. See more inexcellent article by Marty Lederman here)

But that is done. Along the way, survivors of assault were re-traumatized, by the treatment of Dr. Blasey Ford, by the curtailed FBI role, by the pompous and bull-headed push from the party with the power. For one reminder of the meanness, see Sen. Kamala Harris describing Trump’s speech here (at about 3:30 of the video).

Our Senator Donnelly did the right thing, and deserves our thanks. Senator Young toed the party line and disregarded thousands of Hoosier survivors and millions of Hoosier women.

So much has been written already about the possible fallout of this appointment and this Court. Every day, I'm learning more about the threats confronting our democracy from my wife Dawn, a constitutional scholar. Attacks on liberty – of women, LGBTQ+, immigrants, people of color – are horrific and political fodder for the power brokers assembling alliances. We will be fighting for our liberties for decades.

Let me just highlight one thing: Follow the Money. Fueling the Republican rush to confirm Kavanaugh were moneyed interests seeking to solidify and accelerate the Supreme Court’s already-unprecedented rulings in favor of corporations against individuals, for the powerful against those struggling in our nation of growing inequality.

Underneath it all, enormous corporate power and money is rewriting the United States’ story, for its self-preservation and for greed. Trying to diminish the very democracy that nurtures our struggles for justice and liberty.

Consider last year’s unfunded corporate tax cut. The vast majority of benefits flowed to the richest of our country. And the big tax cuts have directly generated big cash for the Republican Party:

  • Casino magnate Sheldon Adelson’s company, Las Vegas Sands, reported a $700 million windfall from the tax law earlier this year, as he gave $30 million personally to the SuperPAC attacking Democrats to hold onto the House

  • Timothy Mellon, chairman and majority owner of privately held Pan Am Systems, another big tax cut beneficiary, contributed $24 million (See NYT details on the tax/contribution merry-go-round here)

It hits right at home too. Our own outstanding candidate for the 9th District, Liz Watson, faces off against Joseph Albert Hollingsworth, III – who after spending $4.5 million of his and his dad’s money to buy the seat in 2016, last year voted himself a $4.5 million personal annual tax cut (!!) as a reward. (The biggest personal benefit in the House – how’s that for a distinction in your first term?) Watch out for dark and late money pouring into our race and many around the country, to hold onto power.

This raw power seeks to make it harder to vote, harder to protest, harder to organize, harder to regulate guns or pollution or corporate abuse, harder to have fair districts and elections. Harder, in other words, to have the country that a growing majority of us want.

Follow the Money. And be very, very wary of its power. We have our work cut out for us, in Bloomington, and the United States. We shall all need each other.

So VOTE VOTE VOTE!!!  And remind everyone to do the same.

Democratically Yours,

Ps: EARLY VOTING STARTS WED. OCTOBER 10TH!  We simply must have a strong turnout and showing from 9am October 10th through 6pm on Election Day on November 6th. The stakes are so high. Get your spirits up and get activated!!