Paging Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman. Paging anybody with a couch in D.C.

Help a sister out? Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez – rising star, progressive possessor of the most infectious laugh in the Class of 2018, and the youngest woman ever elected to Congress – can’t afford to live in D.C. till her paychecks start to roll. Of course, if she was giving speeches to Goldman Sachs at $225,000 an hour at the same time Goldman was laying off 1,700 workers (cough) Hillary (cough)  … But I digress.

This is part of the income inequality we talk about, that AOC’s former boss and endorser Bernie Sanders ran for president on, and more importantly what far too many millennials – yup, in NJ too – know too well. AOC, who was working as a bartender in the Bronx a year ago, can’t afford an apartment where her new job is. Now, you know her problem’s going to get fixed – because who doesn’t want to help out AOC? But just talking about this is important stuff (which is why she went public).

We don’t make it easy for ordinary people to get elected to Congress and make the laws for the rest of us ordinary people to live by. So a lot of our laws reflect the disconnect between us and who runs Washington (cough) Trump (cough). D.C. is stuffed with those who got there after a lucrative career in business or law, or from dynasty families – (cough) Frelinghuysen (cough). They’re far less likely to be young, and struggling under the weight of student debt, young families or beginning careers. And not for nothing, but most of those people are white and male, and that’s another thing that needs to change. New Jersey’s had our share of rich lawmakers, though “ours” don’t always govern like “theirs” – Frank Lautenberg ($56.9 million). Rodney Frelinghuysen ($28 million). Tom MacArthur ($30 million). And Bob Hugin would have out-cheesed them all: $84.4 million. [Here’s NJ’s congressional delegation, ranked by reported wealth].

Rich politicians can have lives that have nothing to do with ours, and we notice when they flub on the price of a gallon of gas or milk (or W T F goes on at WaWa). And though there are challenges for freshman House member, I’m glad this one is talking real talk.

We need campaign finance reform. Yeah – and not only.


Comment (1)

  1. Bertin Lefkovic

    Until campaign finance reform happens, progressive insurgents need to work harder and smarter.

    Maybe the answer is to create a single statewide CPC/PAC that we collective raise money towards rather than every candidate having to raise money for themselves.

    One of the things that prevent many otherwise qualified candidates from running for office is having to ask people to donate money to their campaigns as well as all of the reporting requirements that come with it.

    It would be much easier for a lot of people to ask others to donate money to a shared CPC/PAC and ELEC/FEC allows candidates who do not raise and spend money to fill out a simple form declaring that.

    Once we have collectivized and coordinated our fundraising efforts, maybe the answer is to have a single website with pages for all of our candidates instead of every candidate having their own website. We can also coordinate our social media efforts and other aspects of campaigning.

    To varying degrees, this is what the Democratic and Republican establishments already do with their county and state party organizations, but progressive insurgents
    We can also spread the word that lawn signs are a waste of money and a trap set by the Democratic and Republican establishments and their overfunded candidates to get their underfunded opposition to waste their limited resources.

    If their supporters are truly desperate for a lawn sign, the campaign can design one, put it on Cafe Press, and allow their supporters to purchase it directly rather than have the campaign spend money on it. They should also ask these same supporters to donate a dollar for every dollar that they spend/waste on campaign swag.

    There are other ways that progressive campaigns can make it easier for would-be candidates to run and save money for everyone involved. We just have to work together instead of separately.

    Remember, the only way to beat the line is to build a line of our own.


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