Why Foster Campbell
The holiday season is full of priorities: spending time with loved ones and family, attending the awkward office holiday party, giving to the homeless or needy, and spreading general good will. But there’s something else you should add to that list if you really want Santa to visit your home: helping Foster Campbell win the Louisiana Senate Run-off.
Why should a San Francisco Democrat volunteer their valuable time for a political race thousands of miles away?
Because the Senate is important. Really important.
Firstly, Senators are required to vote to approve Presidential appointees. This may have never been more important than today with the cast of characters President Elect Trump has suggested: Jeff Sessions for Attorney General, Mike Pompeo of the Benghazi witch hunt fame for Director of the CIA, Ben Carson for HUD and presumably Sean Hannity for Press Secretary.
In addition, because the Senate has the powers of impeachment and our current President Elect has a staggering number of conflicts of interest, a principled Senate can be the “cop on the beat.” If President Trump is going to shockingly betray his campaign promise and choose to enrich himself through his business connections rather than protect and serve the American economy, it will regrettably fall to the Senate to remedy the situation.
Moreover, there’s the power of numbers. There are 435 Congressmen and women in the House of Representatives. By contrast, there are only 100 in the United States Senate. Consequently, each Senator possesses far more of an ability to promote and impede legislation, as was evidenced by the historic level of obstruction during President Obama’s administration.
At this moment, Democrats have will 46 seats in the Senate in 2017, with an additional two Independents who typically caucus with the Democrats for a total of 48 seats in Democratic control. If we can do the unthinkable and help Foster win this seat, that means the Republicans will only have a 51/49 majority.
So with a little pushing, a little pulling and a lot of on the ground organizing, we might be able to peel one or two Republicans off for critical votes. Say Rand Paul who has already been extremely critical of the President Elect’s consideration for John Bolton or Rudy Guillani for Secretary of State. Or Susan Collins who has signaled her reservations about privatizing Medicare.
But let’s be honest. Can any one Senator singlehandedly help us achieve meaningful immigration reform, criminal justice reform, smart infrastructure investment and protect Obamacare? We don’t know for sure. But the odds a lot better with him in the seat than his opponent who has tied himself as close to Donald Trump as he can in his campaign.
Finally, there’s one more reason why we need to support Foster Campbell. Because we can.
When the election results rolled in Tuesday night, many of us felt powerless and afraid. The country changed in an instant in front of our eyes and it felt like there was nothing we could do about it. Or if there was, it was far in the past. The die had been cast.
And so we’ve all spent the last few weeks trying to deal with these emotions of helplessness and regret in our own ways. Some of us marched in the streets, shouting not our President. Some of us made monthly contributions to the organizations that would protect the disenfranchised from the new administration.
Many of us screamed into the void of social media in anger, hoping for a cathartic release.
All of those emotions are valid. All of them are authentic reactions to processing this event.
But none of them have the sheer electoral power of getting out the vote and electing another Democrat. Putting your all into it one more time, once more unto the breach, to show our President Elect he does not have a mandate. To show him that the majority of Americans believe in a country that is inclusive, big-hearted and stronger together.
And make no mistake about it friends, the country is watching what happens in Louisiana. The morning after, pundits will be using the election to frame the narrative and conversation of the next four years. Even if we don’t win, but put up a fight, that’s going to be noticed and recognized for the next two years.
Maybe it’ll inspire others to do the same. Maybe it’ll ensure we win the special Gubernatorial elections in 2017. Maybe it’ll help us build the wave of support to take back state houses and contested seats across the country in 2018.
Maybe it won’t.
But we’ve got one more chance to do what Democrats do best. That chance is worth the effort. And on December 10, when those votes come rolling in, we’ll either watch proudly knowing we did our part. Or we’ll relive our Tuesday, wondering what we could have done and what might have been.