DUH has chosen not to seek 501(c)(3) status deliberately so that we can endorse specific candidates and legislation. From 2014 - 2018, in order to gain DUH's endorsement, a candidate must have not only said he or she supports UNIVERSAL SINGLE-PAYER HEALTHCARE FOR ALL, but they had to walk their talk consistently when speaking, appearing at public events, in what they wrote, and most importantly, in their voting record if they had held public office.
November 6, 2018 was an election day upon which we had a chance to cause a tsunami of change in Congress. We made definite progress in taking control of the House, but we failed in the Senate. We've seen stunning performances by freshmen Progressives defying "the way things are done," including challenging corruption and greed, even among House "leadership." It's clear that the New Way is here to stay.
If every elected member of the House had the self-imposed idea of serving for two years, they wouldn't be on the phone drumming up money for the Democratic or Republican Party - they'd be governing and at the end of the two years, they could run for re-election ON THEIR RECORD.
DUH & PEP
For the 2022 election cycle, we will expand our reach by including our "all causes" wing with our People Energizing Politics (PEP) page on FB, currently (mis)named Politics Energized by the People's Participation. Though healthcare will always be our first priority, we are now embracing the climate crisis, poverty, immigration, war, LGBTQ issues, Native American sovereignty, criminal justice, racism, women's rights, education, and the imbalance of wealth and power both within our boundaries and around the world, along with any cause that affects the lives of all Americans and those who want to be American citizens.
We are also endorsing incumbents - some old, some new. Their names will appear in italics and they will be endorsed officially as soon as I have a chance to put them up. Incumbents' videos will be of a moment from the 116th Congress, social media, or their campaign website and therefore, of varying length, though we'll try to keep it short. We'll also provide a link to their government website.
In endorsing newly running candidates, we've taken what we learned from 2020 and developed our endorsement policy and process, including establishing some standards that candidates must meet in order to earn our endorsement that have nothing to do with raising money.
We look first at candidates who run as Independents as we believe that the two major parties do not serve the interests of the People and require their members to follow rules and engage in activity that makes effective governing almost impossible. If you run as an Independent, Green, Democratic Socialist, Working Families, or any of the 26 progressive parties listed on Wikipedia, be aware that the same standards we apply to Democratic and the rare Republican candidates are the ones we'll apply to you.
There have been times when it's been necessary to endorse a candidate who may not be ideal simply because they are running against a horrible incumbent or whose victory would have significant effects on the balance of the chamber they're running for - we endorsed John Osshoff though he is not a Progressive because his win helps to take the Senate majority away from Republicans.
Because we anticipate even more new Progressives running, I had to come up with a way to list the candidates on the page that was fast and efficient. So starting as soon as new candidates know they will be on the ballot, we'll decide whether or not to endorse them. The ones we endorse will be featured under their state with their photo and links to their video and website but not the bios that have been included in the past.
The question of when to endorse remains a problem. Each state has different filing deadlines, even among parties. In the past we've endorsed candidates who weren't as good as one that filed late, but we rarely change an endorsement, feeling that that would harm our integrity. We're still working on the best way to deal with this - I'll update this when it's set. In the meantime, if you're running uncontested or if you know you'll be on your primary's ballot, reach out and let us know.
VIDEO & SOCIAL MEDIA
You should have a good, short video on the Home page of your website or on YouTube. ONLY YOUTUBE videos can be posted on our Home page due to this website's functionality. You can provide a link for a video from any platform which will be included on the U.S. House & Senate page. Please make sure the video quality resembles The Godfather more than The Blair Witch Project and sound quality is good enough for 70-year-old ears! If you're young, slow down your tendency to speak at warp speed if you want your voters to understand you.
Social media pages do not replace a website. Neither do the limited, scripted websites provided by Justice Democrats and Brand New Congress. Your website should be unique to you and include written text, as well as photos/good video of you interacting with your voters and text/video of your position on the issues (and why). While the JD and BNC templates are better than a FB page, the worst thing is repetitive language. If all you're saying is what every Progressive is saying, you might as well be spouting the DNC party line. (see CREATE)
Not having your own website counts against you. There are plenty of free website programs available that will allow you to express your positions and your bio uniquely to you. Get a young, computer-savvy friend, family member, or volunteer to help create and maintain it if you can't afford a pro.
BE VIABLE And we don't care about how much money you raise except to know that you aren't taking corporate/lobbyist money, but rather relying on individual donations. If you know you can't raise the money you'll need to compete with the opposition, wait to run until you can. Ask yourself to follow Eric Swalwell's example - be realistic. If you're running against an entrenched corporate-owned incumbent, especially one the DCCC has picked to sabotage any Progressive upstart, you may be trapped behind barriers worse than Trump's wall. Smart candidates are honest with themselves, think about worst-case scenarios, and prepare their strategy accordingly, even if that strategy ends up being to wait until a better time.
LOOK like a serious candidate if you are one. We don't care what party you're running for, but if the first image voters see of you is in a stained tie-dyed t-shirt, jeans, and Birkenstocks, that's a strike against you, especially if you're running against an established incumbent. Male or female, get your hair cut, invest in one suit that fits you well and can be accessorized for different looks. Think about how you'll look in that first freshman class photo - will you fit in enough to be taken seriously, with individuality that says, "I'm not the same old thing," or will you be dismissed (especially if you're from a state with legalized recreational marijuana) as just another schmuck with a hard luck story or a home-birthed, home-schooled child of parents or grandparents who were actually AT Woodstock?
SOUND like a serious candidate. Incorrect English is unacceptable in someone who wants to be in Congress. I'm not talking about regional accents, but rather things like double negatives, bad pronunciation, using nouns as verbs (all too common these days) or Trumpish malapropisms. You will be joining lawyers, doctors (MDs and PhDs), long-term legislators and if you aren't articulate and speak with confidence, you'll be dismissed. Watch some videos from C-SPAN and hear how AOC, Ayanna Pressley, Katie Porter, Jahana Hayes, Joe Cunningham, Veronica Escobar, and Joe Neguse sound and aspire to follow their examples. If English is not your native language, like Ilhan Omar, watch her and see that it's possible to be passionate and polite even with a "foreign" accent as long as your voters can understand you.
Oh, and the same goes for the text on your website. If you don't write it yourself, at least READ it. Unfortunately, I was the copy editor for a national journal and I will read each page with that eye. If you do write it yourself, have someone you trust read it before it's posted.
CREATE a compelling platform - Though it's tempting to use established progressive language, think about ways to make your position stand out from the crowd. Potential endorsers will watch multiple videos and if they hear the same words parroted over and over, you may not get the endorsements you really want. Think about the fact that there has never been consensus about what to call the healthcare system we want. The title of HR 676 was "Expanded & Improved Medicare for All" - too long; "Medicare for All" ties it to Medicare as is, which is NOT what we want at all; "National Improved Medicare for All," or NIMA, is almost there, except still ties it to Medicare. We call it Healthcare for All because Medicare is NOT what we want. What would YOU call it? Is it "environmental pollution," "climate change," or "climate crises?" Make the issues your own by creative yet consistent language!
Also, and I realize this goes against convention, MAKE NO PROMISES. State your position on the issues but don't say you'll make anything happen in your first month. It's OK to say "Healthcare is my top priority." Then tell them what your other priorities are. You can even say the only promise you're going to make is that you will do everything in your power to make sure progress is made on the things the People need and want. But don't make Biden's mistake and promise to fix things for the Dreamers in your first 100 days. When he said that, there was no new COVID crisis, no need for $2000 checks, no vaccine distribution, no Nazis storming the Capitol - I'd rather he issue an executive order about the Dreamers and address those things in his first 100 days.
YOUR STORY - In 2018, most candidates went with the "my life is just like/was harder than yours" approach. Almost all of them lost. In 2020, it seemed to be about being raised by a single mother who worked three jobs or parents who worked hard and taught their kids the value of that work ethic. It's one thing to draw parallels between your life and the lives of your constituents, but people are starved for positive messages and overcoming hardship, especially when it was due to your own poor choices, is admirable but not enough. You have to tell them how you'll make it possible for them to overcome theirs. Bottom line - voters care more about what you'll do for them than what you've done for yourself.
SHOW UP - Unlike Biden, you can't win an election unless your voters see you. Though COVID-19 has dramatically changed the options you have for campaigning, this is also a call for creativity. Foremost is the need to provide your constituents with a variety of ways to meet and get interested in you. Create those ways based on basic demographics in your district - age, race, gender, political affiliation (especially if you're running as an Independent). Not only should you tailor your message to address the issues that are most important to those groups, but also adjust the method by which you deliver it. Social media may work best for the younger crowd, but a newspaper article or TV/radio interview might be best for seniors (as well as giving you the opportunity to make local media connections). And then there are in-person events. If other methods have built up interest, it might be time for a masked, appropriately spaced town hall - be sure to alert local news stations so those not attending can see a sound bite on the news that night. Issue a press release about it if you feel it was successful. The point is that your constituents should see your name if not your face way more than your opponent's way more often. That's how you gain the ultimate advantage of name recognition.
OVERCOMING COST may seem like the biggest hurdle you face, but you live in an age when technology can offer you a variety of ways to knock it down. Free website, email functionality, bookkeeping, scheduling, contact tracking, even fundraising programs are now available for everyone to use to their advantage. Organizations that support your candidacy may not have money to donate, but, like DUH, we DO have other ways to promote you. We at DUH commit to getting your name, face, and positions out to the general public and your constituents via our social media platforms and website. We are currently updating our Info & Resources page to include a list of organizations that may be willing to promote you, though many are 501(c)(3) orgs and that prohibits them from endorsing or promoting specific candidates. They can, however, report that DUH has endorsed you.
If folks in your district are like me, those expensive mega-postcards covered with shots of you and your smiling family and a load of politispeak go straight into the recycling bin - NO ONE likes those! I think yard signs are a more effective use of your small budget, especially if you have a name recognition problem and your opposition doesn't. But that's just me. Josh, our Communications Director, has been a candidate himself and helped run other campaigns, so please feel free to contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions.
IT'S UP TO US - YOUR CONSTITUENTS!
Only if we on the Left - Progressive Democrats in more than name only, Independents, dissatisfied Democrats and Republicans, Democratic Socialists, and other third-party voters - are informed and make choices that serve our own interests and achieve the best results for our state/country can that "blue tsunami" finally wash away the corrupt, fraudulent, profit-driven morass that is our current government. But we still have to get off our asses and turn the traditional "Lefties don't turn out to vote" into "The Progressive turn out was massive!" What started with 2020's rejection of Trump, Perdue, and Loeffler MUST continue until we finally have a Progressive in the White House. Biden may not be evil like Trump, but he is certainly not Bernie and Harris has proven time and again that her career is her priority so contrary to mainstream media's prediction that she'll push Biden to the left, she'll SAY whatever she thinks we want to hear while doing whatever it takes to get the DNC's nomination in 2024. Having enough Independent Progressives in Congress will be instrumental in foiling the DNC's plan to continue to force us to vote for their Evil by presenting our own candidate who doesn't lie, flip-flop, partner with Wall Street
Ask yourself one simple question your voters will (or should) ask - "Will things get better for me/the state/the country if he/she is in Congress?" If the answer is yes, or not much, maybe you'll win a term to prove you're the real deal. If the answer is NO, you'll lose or, if you're an incumbent, you'll have to find another job!