Picking smart battles at the right time–Why I’m postponing my senate campaign until 2022

I believe that the best way for Democrats to win nationally in 2018 and 2020 is for Democrats to support an agenda that delivers meaningful results for everyday people. Unfortunately, big money often keeps that from happening, even in states like California where Democrats hold a strong majority.

As California increasingly becomes a one-party state, progressives must find a way to normalize insurgent challenges against incumbent politicians who will otherwise face little to no accountability. We need to build the “democratic wing” of the Democratic party.

The greater Sacramento region is leading the state in this regard, as delegates blocked the initial automatic endorsement of a corporate leaning state assemblyman, state senator, and member of Congress by the California Democratic Party. While we should celebrate our progress so far, we must also acknowledge we have a long way to go and our movement is not yet strong enough to win multiple battles at once. We need to channel our volunteer energy, our small contributions, and the public’s limited attention span on the races where we can make the most difference.

Since I launched my campaign last December, a number of other races have developed that quite frankly appear to present better opportunities for progressive organizing than state senate district 6. With this in mind, it is my view that I can best help build the progressive movement by postponing my state senate campaign until 2022. I’ll continue to building support with individual voters and refuse corporate contributions along the way. We must develop a model for grassroots campaign that doesn’t depend upon big money, and taking four years to build a campaign will provide the time we need to be successful. (read more)

Election ’18: Cressman to Challenge Pan in state Senate Race, Elk Grove Citizen, Feb 8, 2018

Derek Cressman, a Democrat who ran for secretary of state in 2014, plans to challenge California Sen. Richard Pan, D-Sacramento, in the 2018 Senate District 6 election. The winner will represent the Elk Grove, Sacramento, and West Sacramento communities.  Cressman, 50, said the top issue he will be campaigning on is single-payer health care.

“That’s an issue that polling showed has a strong majority support across the entire political spectrum in California,” he said. “A majority of Republicans support it; a majority of Democrats support it. “I think people just don’t see much value being added to our health care system by profiteering, private health insurance agencies that pay their executives billions of dollars.”

Cressman is concerned about Pan’s views on a single-payer health care system. “Sen. Dr. Richard Pan has not been on board with that (system), I think in part, because he was elected with millions of dollars from the health care industry,” he said. “So, I think it’s important for voters to have an alternative, at least for those voters who support that idea. So, that was the reason that I jumped into this particular race.” (read more)

Democrats Must Stand Up for Single Payer Healthcare, Sacramento Bee, January 25, 2018

If the past year has taught us anything, it’s that too many voters have lost faith in key civic institutions such as the news media and political parties. If we are going to rebuild public trust, legislators need to become more partisan. You might be surprised to hear someone like me, who has spent most of his career with nonpartisan good government groups, advocating for more partisanship. But that’s precisely what America needs right now. Done correctly, political parties can serve as vehicles for volunteers and small donors to band together around a set of ideas – a platform. Party endorsements inexpensively inform voters of candidates’ positions on the issues, but only if endorsements go to the candidate who most closely sticks to the platform. (read more)

California Democrats should unite against corporate money Sacramento Bee, May 30, 2017

Eric Bauman emerged as the new chairman of the California Democratic Party this month by a razor-thin margin that revealed deep divides among Democratic activists. If Bauman wants to unify progressive Berniecrats and longtime party stalwarts, he should lead an effort to ban corporate contributions to state parties and candidates.
Delegates interrupted Democratic National Committee Chairman Tom Perez at the California convention with shouts decrying so-called corporate Democrats. The party has responded by voluntarily swearing off oil company donations under pressure from R.L. Miller, head of its environmental caucus. Several 2018 gubernatorial candidates similarly signed pledges from the Sierra Club to forgo oil money in their campaigns. (read more)

Congress should approve or reject Trump’s foreign financial conflicts Sacramento Bee, January 17, 2017

With leading ethics experts of both major parties agreeing that Donald Trump’s plan to retain ownership of this business empire while serving as president will violate the U.S. Constitution, Congress must decide if his proposal to minimize his personal profit from foreign governments is sufficient. While many would disagree with a congressional move to sanction Trump’s arrangement, myself included, it would at least preserve compliance with our Constitution. … What Congress must not do is simply look the other way. Allowing a president who has demonstrated authoritarian tendencies to openly flaunt the Constitution on his first day of office is a road that we dare not travel down. (read more)