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.
Starting with the 2022 election cycle, People Energizing Politics - PEP will take over the job of endorsing candidates. Because there is not yet a PEP website, incumbents who will be endorsed by PEP will still appear on this website, along with Nina Turner and any other new candidate that is running unopposed in their district and meet our criteria. Any who wish to gain PEP's endorsement should read on to know more about what we base our decisions on.
Though healthcare will always be our first priority, embraces the climate crisis, poverty, immigration, war, LGBTQ issues, racial justice, Native American rights and sovereignty, criminal justice, human and animal 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. Links to incumbents' videos, social media, and their campaign website will be included. We'll also provide a link to their government website.
Policy & Process
In endorsing newly running candidates, we've taken what we learned from 2020 and developed our endorsement policy and process, including establishing some standards, not about raising money, that candidates must meet in order to earn our endorsement.
We look first for 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 Jon Osshoff though he is not a consistent Progressive because his win helps to take the Senate majority away from Republicans.
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. This time around, we're setting June 8, 2022 as a deadline for getting on the ballot. If you haven't met the requirements to appear on the ballot before then, you are still eligible to be endorsed, but let us know when you have met them. The announcements of who we're endorsing won't start until June 9, 2022. Until that time, candidates we see as possible endorsees will appear on this website until PEP's site is functional. They will NOT be endorsed, as some may be running for the same district and only one candidate per party, per district will be officially endorsed. If you're running uncontested in your district, reach out and let us know.
PHOTOS, VIDEO & SOCIAL MEDIA
You should have at least two good photos that can be posted on the PEP's website, in newspapers, on printed material, etc. One should be a professional-looking head shot, the other more casual, maybe showcasing you outdoors or with a famous landmark from your state. If you can afford it, hire a pro and do a photo shoot. Good quality photos will serve you well. All media, as well as organizations, venues, and printers will appreciate not having to spend hours browsing through images on Google or whatever browser you use to find a decent shot of you!
A good, short video should be on the Home page of your website or on YouTube. ONLY YOUTUBE videos can be posted on this 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 2022 Candidates 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 all 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 positions 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 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, union, Progressive PAC (i.e. WolfPac, Democracy for America, MoveOn, etc.) donations. Analyze just how much money you'll need to compete with the opposition and then 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. More about money later.
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 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. I, myself, look for guys that get creative with their ties! 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 as just another schmuck with a hard luck story or even 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), and long-term legislators - 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, Jamie Raskin, Sheldon Whitehouse, 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, polite, and effective 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 and you will fail if I see an apostrophe in a plural, don't know the difference between where. wear, and ware or think there's such a word as its'. 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, some may interview you 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 it still ties it to Medicare. We call it Healthcare for All because healthcare for everyone is 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 positions on the issues, but don't say you'll make anything happen in your first month or even 100 days. 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 your best 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 first said that, there was no new COVID crisis, no need for $2000 checks, no vaccine distribution, no Nazis storming the Capitol with the help of Congress members - I'd rather he address those things in his first 100 days. That said, he's doing pretty well on keeping his promises, if too enamored of task forces, and so probably won't suffer the cynical reports in MSM of all that he's failed to do.
YOUR STORY - In 2018, most candidates went with the "my life is just like or harder than yours" approach. Most 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, especially when Trump and COVID have brought poverty, homelessness, medical debt, and overall desperation to their lives, none of which was their fault.
SHOW UP - Unlike Biden, you can't win an election unless your voters see you. Though COVID-19 dramatically changed the options 2020 candidates had for campaigning, this is also a call for creativity, even as we begin to experience opportunities to interact. Foremost is the need to provide your constituents with a variety of safe 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 (while still being honest), but also adjust the method by which you deliver it. Social media may work best for the younger crowd, frequent updates on your website for the 40-somethings, 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 often than your opponent's. 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 and PEP, we DO have other ways to promote you. We 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/PEP and others have 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. You may even be able to establish a good enough relationship with a locally-owned printer who would be glad to print signs in bulk at a discount. Look for public spaces where signs are displayed and make sure that for every three signs of the opponent one of yours is right in the middle of the triangle (maybe standing a little taller or big enough to obscure, though check for local rules). But that's just me.
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 a "purple 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 - all we have to do is present our own candidate who doesn't lie, flip-flop, partner with Wall Street, or take large donations from Big Pharma or the health insurance industry.
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!