DFA in the News

DFA in the News

Wins by young progressives start reshaping establishment

REID WILSON

"You can feel a change in the focus that grassroots progressives have put on some of these local races, really since 2016. I think part of it came from a recognizing, waking up from the Obama years just how much Democrats had lost," said Neil Sroka, who directs communications for Democracy for America and also won a city council seat himself. "The Trump moment exposed the ways in which cities and local offices could be a real buttress against a government that was 100 percent in the control of right-wing Republicans. I think that there has been a real awakening." . . . The progressive candidates who are leaping into races across the country increasingly have Justice Democrats, Democracy for America, Data for Progress, and a host of other local and national organizations to support them. Those groups have helped first-time candidates overcome what in previous years would have been insurmountable hurdles.

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Racial unrest seeps into Kentucky Senate primary, reshaping contest to take on McConnell

KENDALL KARSON and QUINN SCANLAN

When Senate insiders decide which candidate they’re going to bless with their endorsement and the millions in contributions that come with it, the critical experience that a young Black man who has lost family members to gun violence, like Charles Booker, might bring with him to the Senate never enters the equation. And, that narrow vision leaves Congress and our country weaker," said Yvette Simpson, an ABC News contributor and the CEO of Democracy for America, a national progressive group, in a statement announcing the group's endorsement on Wednesday.

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A liberal who raises tons of money: What Elizabeth Warren could do as Biden's VP pick

Brian Schwartz

“I think the pandemic has played much into the talents that Elizabeth has in being able to make government work for people,” said Charles Chamberlain, chair of a progressive political action committee, Democracy for America. He pointed to Warren’s plan to fight the coronavirus, which was published earlier this year, as how she could respond to the pandemic if she were vice president.

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Insurgents from the left threaten to upend Dem Party plans in Tuesday primaries

Paul Steinhauser

Jones is being backed by the progressive group Democracy for America, which also endorsed Bowman and Booker. “Progressives have already won by simply being in contention in all these races and we’ll be ecstatic if we get a straight out victory in any one of them,” noted Democracy for American communications director Neil Sroka. He added that “winning all three would be like finding out you’d won the lottery, while you nabbed a royal flush on the river card just after hitting the jackpot on the slots.”

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Progressive group backs Booker in Kentucky Senate primary

By Tal Axelrod - 06/17/20 01:00 PM EDT

Democracy for America (DFA) announced Wednesday it is backing Booker’s bid to win the Democratic nomination over Amy McGrath because he is a “real Democrat” who will advocate for progressive causes on Capitol Hill. “Democracy for America is endorsing Charles Booker because he’s a real Democrat who can beat Mitch McConnell and isn’t afraid of taking a firm stand against Donald Trump, knows he would have voted against placing a man facing serious allegations of sexual assault on the U.S. Supreme Court, and is ready to fight for progressive ideas like Medicare for All,” DFA CEO Yvette Simpson said in an exclusive statement to The Hill. “Especially in the wake of Breonna Taylor’s murder in Louisville, Charles Booker has proven himself to be a fearless visionary and boundlessly compassionate leader with the kind of life experience we desperately need in the U.S. Senate,” said Simpson.

Romanoff touts endorsements ahead of primary against Hickenlooper
The Hill's Campaign Report: Progressives raise expectations ahead of...
“When Senate insiders decide which candidate they’re going to bless with their endorsement and the millions in contributions that come with it, the critical experience that a young Black man who has lost family members to gun violence, like Charles Booker, might bring with him to the Senate never enters the equation. And, that narrow vision leaves Congress and our country weaker," she added.

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Left eyes huge night in NY, Kentucky primaries

By Max Greenwood - 06/22/20 06:00 AM EDT

“If you see all three of them win, it’ll be like lightning struck a house on fire in the middle of an earthquake,” said Neil Sroka, the communications director for the progressive political action committee Democracy for America, which has endorsed Bowman, Jones and Booker in their respective primaries.

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Bowman holds double-digit lead over Engel in NY primary

Tal Axelrod

"Tonight's primary victory not only sets Mondaire Jones on the path to becoming the first Black, openly gay member of Congress, it also sets him up to be one of the U.S. House's newest champions for progressive priorities like the Medicare for All, the Green New Deal, and robust criminal justice reform," said Yvette Simpson, CEO of Democracy for America, which endorsed him.

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Trump bruised as polls favour Biden – but experts warn of risk of dirty tricks

David Smith

Neil Sroka, a spokesperson for the progressive group Democracy for America, said: “We already know he’s actively solicited the help of a foreign government in this election from the Bolton book.”

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Why do Trump and allies repost racist messaging and will it help his reelection effort?

Terrance Smith and Will Steakin

Charles Chamberlain, executive director of Democracy for America, told ABC News he believes Trump and his allies are doubling down on racist messaging in order to reach a core group of supporters who've backed him throughout his presidency, saying "that coalition is fueled by racism and fear."

Chamberlain said it's a key reason Trump won in 2016.

"They were able to mobilize the racist base in the Republican Party," he said, arguing it continues to be a central part of their strategy in 2020.

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Movement For Black Lives

Luc Gninyomo

The Movement for Black Lives received further support from Democracy for America following the release of its policy platform. One of the primary goals of the Movement for Black Lives is to promote a democracy that is more representative of black communities in America. Various political organizations have stood in solidarity with MBL because, according to Democracy for America, it is seen as “an ideal catalyst for the substantive, results-oriented conversations the current and future leaders of the Democratic Party must have with the communities they serve.”

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Progressives steamrolled across the Senate map

Politico

Left-leaning groups and the party aren't always at odds. Democracy For America has endorsed candidates ranging from Sweet in Maine to Theresa Greenfield, the national party's pick who won the Iowa primary last week. Yvette Simpson, the CEO of DFA, said they view it as a long game, supporting left-leaning candidates while also prioritizing winning back the chamber.

“In a state where a progressive should win, we support, strongly, progressives to win," she said. "Some of these seats we know are going to be more difficult. So we endorse a candidate who agrees with progressive principles but may not be the quote-unquote traditional, what people think of as progressive, because we need to win these seats.”

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Democratic Leaders Play Catch-Up On Black Lives Matter Movement

HuffPost

“There is still a huge gap” between what activists are calling for and what Democratic leaders are saying, said Yvette Simpson, chief executive of the progressive political action and grassroots organizing group Democracy for America.

“We only take action when something has happened and that action is generally temporary and changes when political wind changes and when political leadership changes,” Simpson said of the Democratic Party’s response to police brutality, noting that many of these protests are taking place in Democratic-run cities that have long failed to reckon with their problematic policing practices.

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Renewed skepticism of law enforcement dims Klobuchar, Harris, Demings VP nod

ABC News

“Black Americans -- and certainly a growing number of white Americans -- are not trusting people who have a history in law enforcement,” said Yvette Simpson, an ABC News contributor and the CEO of Democracy for America, a progressive political action committee that endorsed Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., for president.

“It’s going to be challenging for Biden and for any of those candidates to make a case for why they should be the choice.”

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Trump again stokes racial divides, a reality at odds with his efforts to court black voters

ABC News

“It defies all logic and reason for Donald Trump to try to court black voters while trying to win white votes by calling black people 'thugs' and amplifying racial violence,” Yvette Simpson, CEO, Democracy for America and ABC News contributor said.

“The Trump campaign's attempts to win black votes aren't about serving black people, they're about distracting the public (and especially white voters) from the image of an incompetent president who used bigotry and racial resentment to fuel his political rise, and who continues to fuel the fire of hate and racism today,” Simpson told ABC News.

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Months Before Election, Liberal Groups Press Biden on Picks for Economic Posts

The New York Times

Progressives said Biden has an opportunity to show his commitment to improving the country through his choices for the economic posts. “People whose lives don’t change cycle to cycle aren’t necessarily motivated just to beat Trump,” said Yvette Simpson, chief executive of the advocacy group Democracy For America. “Unity doesn’t mean one of the parts dominates and the rest is silent.”

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Why The Joe Biden–Stacey Abrams Rumors Won't Go Away

BuzzFeed

Neil Sroka, the national spokesperson for Democracy for America, called Abrams’ “we all do better when we all do better” message “perfectly resonant” with Democratic politics. He said Abrams’ understanding of the importance of that style of campaigning and her commitment to building her campaign to reflect it was the reason his progressive organization endorsed her early in her 2018 primary fight.

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Sanders urged to share vaunted donor list with Biden

The Hill

Neil Sroka, a strategist for the progressive group Democracy for America, said that handing the list over would degrade it and lead to diminishing returns, resulting in Sanders’s base of grass-roots supporters giving less money to the liberal causes they support financially.

“The idea that all Bernie Sanders has to do here is turn over his email list so they can pillage it and batter it until it spits out gold coins is absolutely ridiculous,” Sroka said.

“As someone who wants Joe Biden to beat Trump, you want to find ways to help, and connecting supporters to Biden to make contributions is an important and useful way that Sanders can demonstrate the value of the movement he’s built. That’s why Bernie is calling on Joe Biden to meet the moment with more progressive policies, because they’re good policies and will also help him earn the enthusiastic support of the grass-roots liberals he’ll need to win in November.”

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Biden plans to stay home, testing limits of virtual campaign

Yahoo News

Yvette Simpson, who leads the progressive group Democracy for America, said she’s “very concerned” she cannot see “how we’re going to engage people.” She said the campaign has squandered time since Biden took command of the primary in early March.

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Joe Biden is looking for a running mate. Many Democrats have strong ideas - and few agree.

The Washington Post

“It raises serious questions as to how seriously the Biden campaign is considering progressive candidates,” said Neil Sroka, the communications director for Democracy for America, a liberal organization that backed Sanders in the primaries.

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Will Clinton's endorsement help Biden?

The Hill

Charles Chamberlain, the chairman of the progressive group Democracy for America, argued that one of the key errors of the Clinton campaign came in “taking progressives for granted.” He added, “In 2016, a lot of the focus of the Clinton campaign was on getting Republicans on their side. They did that entire campaign on the myth of a centrist Republican voter, and the reality is ... what happened? Joe Biden should not be following in that path.”

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Democratic Frustration Mounts as Biden Remains Silent on Sexual Assault Allegation

The New York Times

“Joe Biden himself needs to respond directly,” said Yvette Simpson, the chief executive of Democracy for America, a progressive advocacy organization, which plans to back the Democratic nominee. “While it is absolutely essential that we defeat Donald Trump in November, trying to manage the response through women surrogates and emailed talking points doesn’t cut it in 2020 — especially if Democrats want to continue to be the party that values, supports, elevates, hears and believes women.”

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Sanders supporters rail at New York over cancellation of presidential primary

The Los Angeles Times

“Any Democratic Party attempt to strip Sen. Sanders of the delegates he has been awarded or the opportunity to win additional delegates hurts their credibility with core elements of the Democratic base that are essential to defeating Donald Trump,” said Neil Sroka, spokesman for Democracy for America, a progressive political action committee.

“There’s a real risk for the long-term credibility in the eyes of the next generation if it’s felt like they’re just trying to push Sanders off for the sake of convenience or expediency.”

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Sanders seeks influence, Biden eyes party unity as delegate battle emerges post-primary

ABC News

Another progressive ally, Yvette Simpson, CEO of Democracy for America, a group that was instrumental in backing Sanders’ 2016 campaign, signaled her aversion to taking Sanders' name off any ballot. "The challenge with not having the presidential primary is that we do worry about turnout going down," she told ABC News in an interview last week ahead of the state board of elections’ decision.

"We already have a nominee but in every single one of these states, we've got folks running in district races for Congress, we've got folks running for statewide races, we've got folks running for local races and all those races still need people to vote for them."

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‘More time would have been helpful’: Ohio election officials face ballot issues due to postal service delays

ABC News

Voting rights groups are concerned that without litigation to combat the results of a slow-moving postal system, some ballots will go uncounted.

"The legislature isn't going to do anything unless they're sued. So the hope is that there is a lawsuit,” said Yvette Simpson, the executive director of Democracy for America, a former Cincinnati city councilwoman and a ABC News contributor.

“I would say, big picture, that this is also a test case for November. We're hearing that we will have a resurgence in the fall of COVID,” Simpson said, adding that her group is evaluating what a feasible standard will be for voting-by-mail nationwide for the general.

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Joe Biden’s running mate search moves into high gear amid conflicting demands

Los Angeles Times

Some progressive Democrats say Biden’s choice is important not just for motivating voters in the current election but also to tee up the next generation of party leadership.“There is a feeling that one of the things that has to come from this nomination is a vision for the future of the Democratic Party,” said Neil Sroka, spokesman for Democracy for America, a liberal group that endorsed Sanders. “If he’s not going to change his position on Medicare for all, picking a progressive as his No. 2 could change minds about Biden’s vision of the future of the party.”

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Liberal group backs challenger to Engel in Democratic primary

The Hill

“For low-income and working-class people in New York and across the country, politics as usual just isn’t working and things won’t change if we keep on electing the same politicians, controlled by the same corporate interests, over and over again,” said Yvette Simpson, the CEO of DFA.

“Jamaal Bowman is right on the issues - he’s ready to fight for Medicare for All, a Green New Deal, just immigration reform, and affordable housing. But just as importantly, Bowman is committed to confronting and correcting past wrongs, like the 1994 Crime Bill and the No Child Left Behind Act, that his corporate-funded opponent voted for over his more than 30 years in Congress.”

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Joe Biden's running mate search moves into high gear amid conflicting demands

Los Angeles Times

Some progressive Democrats say Biden’s choice is important not just for motivating voters in the current election but also to tee up the next generation of party leadership.

“There is a feeling that one of the things that has to come from this nomination is a vision for the future of the Democratic Party,” said Neil Sroka, spokesman for Democracy for America, a liberal group that endorsed Sanders.“If he’s not going to change his position on Medicare for all, picking a progressive as his No. 2 could change minds about Biden’s vision of the future of the party.”

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Progressives look for concession from Biden with running mate

The Hill

“Joe Biden absolutely has to pick a progressive champion as his VP pick. He has to unify the party, and that’s the key,” Charles Chamberlain, head of Democracy for America, told The Hill. “What we saw during the primary is we saw that we have two major factions of this party, the corporate wing, more establishment Democrats, and there is progressive, ascendant left. And he absolutely has to choose from that progressive left to unify the party.”

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Warren sparks vice presidential speculation; She aims to carve out role in crisis

The Boston Globe

And Charles Chamberlain, with the progressive group Democracy for America, said Warren would be a “fantastic choice,” who could help boost Biden among progressives.

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Beyond Bernie: The Next Challenge for Progressives

Common Dreams

As the political action committee Democracy for America tweeted, Sanders has in recent years “fundamentally altered the range of what is possible in American politics, and the progressive movement is stronger now than it has ever been because of it.”

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