Wednesday, December 9, 2015

This Is How The Democratic Candidates For President Talk To Progressives

A grassroots progressive group’s presidential endorsement process shows of the various pitches Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders, and Martin O’Malley are making to the hard left.

Mandel Ngan / AFP / Getty Images

WASHINGTON — The three candidates for the Democratic nomination are attempting to win the endorsement from Democracy for America, a progressive grassroots group founded out of Howard Dean's 2004 presidential campaign.

DFA is going to make a primary endorsement soon, and that means leaders from the group are polling its members to find out who they like the most. Whichever Democratic candidate wins the DFA membership vote will get the group's endorsement, as well as grassroots political efforts to bolster that candidates campaign using DFA's well-established national political network.

The Democratic campaigns are pushing to win that vote. And so this week, each candidate is sending a letter to DFA members stating his or her case for the group's endorsement. Members then vote in an online poll running through next Tuesday. Final results will be announced next Thursday.

BuzzFeed News obtained the candidate letters this week. A top aide at DFA said their endorsement program "marks the first time that these candidates are openly competing for the support of members of a grassroots progressive group."

Much of each letter is boilerplate, easily found in the respective candidate's stump speeches or fundraising communications. But there are some key differences, tailored for the liberal audience, that showcase some of the strategy each campaign is using to win over the left.

Howard Dean founded DFA and is a Clinton supporter. But the group will go its own way on the endorsement — if Sanders gets more votes, he'll get the backing of DFA. But Clinton is taking advantage of the situation. Her letter to DFA members is "forwarded" to them by Dean, who sings her praises.

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Hillary Clinton & Howard Dean
Subject: Your vote
To: [recipient]

[Recipient] --

As you make your decision about who Democracy for America will endorse to be our next president, I want to share a few words about my choice: Hillary Clinton.

Hillary Clinton is the candidate who shares our progressive values on issues like climate change, immigration reform, and LGBT rights -- and she has the experience and ability to turn those values into policies that will help Americans. She has spent her entire career fighting for families, from her first job out of law school helping disabled kids at the Children's Defense Fund to her courageous work standing up for women and girls around the world as First Lady and Secretary of State.

In the 25 years I've known Hillary, I've learned that she has a work ethic that drives her to persist until the job is done and done right. And she has a record in the Senate of successfully working with both sides of our very combative political spectrum in order to accomplish goals that improve the lives of ordinary Americans. I trust her do the same as president.

I trust you, too. I know you'll take this decision as seriously as I have, and I hope that Hillary will be your choice. Click here to vote for Hillary in DFA's 2016 Presidential Endorsement Poll now.

That's enough from me -- read on to see what Hillary has to say about why your vote matters to her. Thanks for your commitment to this process, and to our democracy.

- Howard

Gov. Howard Dean, Founder
Democracy for America

------- Forwarded message --------
FROM: Hillary Clinton
SUBJECT: Your vote

Ashley,

I want to thank you for your involvement in Democracy for America, and for taking the time to be thoughtful and engaged in our democracy. I'm excited for all that we're going to accomplish together during the course of this campaign, and I'm really looking forward to all the good we can do if I'm elected president.

I've said before that I'm a progressive who likes to get things done. So I want to talk to you about the things I'd like to accomplish in the White House.

First, I'll work to make sure all Americans are treated fairly -- no matter what you look like, where you live, or who you love. I'm going to fight hard for racial justice in this country: The first speech of my campaign was about ending mass incarceration, and I want to require body cameras for every police force in America. I support a pathway to citizenship for immigrants. I want to make sure everyone earns equal pay -- an issue that disproportionately affects women of color. And I'll work to make sure LGBT Americans finally have equal protection under the law, especially trans Americans, whose needs are too often ignored.

I'm going to raise wages for the middle class. I believe this is the defining challenge of our time. I'm the only Democrat in this race who's pledged not to raise taxes on families making less than $250,000 per year, and I have a comprehensive plan to grow small businesses, make health care and college more affordable, and give employees a chance to share in their companies' profits just like shareholders do.

If you agree that we need to strengthen the middle class, stand with me: Ask DFA to endorse me by casting your vote in their 2016 Presidential Endorsement Poll now.

I'll also work to bring the best of American values -- equality, justice, and innovation -- to tackle our biggest global challenges, whether that's climate change or the Syrian refugee crisis. When I was Secretary of State, I brought leaders to the table on issues like girls' education and LGBT rights in countries where those issues had previously been non-starters -- that's how you make progress. I hope to continue that work as president.

Finally, I want to make sure that my term in office would ensure a strong progressive legacy for decades to come. That means appointing the right judges to the Supreme Court and the federal bench, and it means protecting voting rights and overhauling campaign finance law to ensure that people -- not corporations -- are choosing our leaders. I'm going to get corporate money out of our electoral system, even if that means a Constitutional amendment to overturn Citizens United.

We all know I'm not afraid to go after Republicans when I need to, but I'm also not afraid to roll up my sleeves and do the hard work of getting unlikely allies to join coalitions. I did that as first lady when I fought for the Children's Health Insurance Program (which still covers 8 million kids today), as a senator when I got health care for 9/11 first responders, and as Secretary of State when I convened a global coalition to bring sanctions against Iran.

I take a backseat to no one when you look at my record in standing up and fighting for progressive values. The plans I've outlined above aren't rhetoric; they're a concrete outline of what I will do everything in my power to accomplish if I'm elected president.

If you support the bold vision I've outlined above and you're ready for DFA to join Team Hillary, please cast your vote for me in DFA's Presidential Endorsement Poll today.

Thank you for giving me the opportunity to earn your support. I promise that if I'm elected, I'll keep working for it every single day I'm in office.

With deep appreciation,

- Hillary


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