The Democratic Progressive Caucus has been in the news a great deal lately. The 2016 US Senate race for the seat that apparently is being vacated by Senator Marco Rubio has created a rift between some progressives in the party and establishment figures. At the same time, the GOP is having a very difficult time finding a top-tier candidate to field, though I would caution my fellow liberals into thinking a potential race against Congressman Ron DeSantis would be a cake walk. DeSantis is a tea party Republican, but is also very savvy and smart in how he articulates the conservative message on the stump.
DeSantis aside, the Republican Party is having a difficult time finding the right candidate to push forward in this race. The opportunity afforded the Democrats with the decision of state CFO Jeff Atwater not to run on the Republican side is remarkable considering the malaise Democrats have experienced statewide. However, the internal debates within the Democratic Party seem to have intensified as it has become apparent that the party has a real opportunity to win this seat. Should the party’s voters nominate a candidate who is seen as more “electable” or nominate someone who represents the values of most Floridians who call themselves Democrats?
At the heart of this debate has been the Democratic Progressive Caucus of Florida led by Susan Smith. Below we have a press release from the DPCF regarding Wall Street donations and a letter sent from the DPCF to both announced Democratic Senate Candidates, Congressman Patrick Murphy and Pam Keith asking for a pledge not to take Wall Street money.
Democratic Progressive Caucus Calls on Florida Senate Candidates to Refuse Wall Street Money
Campaign contributions help Wall Street stack the deck in favor of those at the top, Smith says
Tampa Bay, FL – Today, the Democratic Progressive Caucus of Florida, a chartered caucus of the Florida Democratic Party, called on all Democratic candidates for Florida’s open U.S. Senate seat to publicly commit to reject campaign contributions from Wall Street PAC’s and executives.
“The problem with Wall Street money is that it always comes with strings attached,” said DPCF President Susan Smith. “Campaign contributions are one way that Wall Street works to stack the deck in favor of those at the very top, and saying no to Wall Street is the first step toward leveling the playing field.”
Two Democrats have thrown their hats in the ring for the seat being vacated by Marco Rubio. The DPCF has asked both Pam Keith and Patrick Murphy to promise to reject Wall Street money from this point forward.
Last week, U.S. Rep. Donna Edwards, who is running for U.S. Senate in Maryland, said she would refuse campaign contributions from Wall Street and called on her opponents to do the same. Wall Street is also said to be considering withholding contributions to all senate Democrats in response to the rise of Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) and the economic populism that she represents.
In 2014, Wall Street handed out $184 million to candidates, outside spending groups and political parties. With the GOP, aided by a handful of conservative Democrats, already chipping away at the Dodd-Frank Wall Street reform law passed in the wake of the 2008 financial meltdown and working to weaken the Consumer Finance Protection Bureau, that money is already showing a good return.
“We hope that both of the declared Democratic candidates, and anyone else who might enter the race, say no to Wall Street,” Smith added. “We need a senator who will stand up to Wall Street, not go along with their scheme to rollback necessary reforms like Dodd-Frank.”
The full text of the DPCF’s letters to both candidates is below.
Floridians deserve to know that Wall Street Banks won’t be allowed to buy the Senate seat opened up by Marco Rubio.
Big Wall Street banks crashed our economy and weren’t held accountable. The financial collapse crippled the middle class and poor – causing 23 million to lose their jobs, 9.3 million to lose their health insurance, and some 1 million to lose their homes. Many more lost their savings.
The prospect of another crash has grown more likely as Wall Street banks, larger now than they were then with their ability to buy influence growing by the day, through their lobbyists have already gotten Congress to repeal a key provision of Dodd-Frank intended to curb excessive speculation by the big banks.
We need stronger banking regulations now, before the next crisis.
Wall Street handed out $184 million to candidates in 2014 to buy off politicians. This number is expected to balloon in 2016. This outside spending is a threat to our democracy and a threat to local banks that reinvest in our communities.
That’s why the Democratic Progressive Caucus of Florida is asking you to publicly commit going forward not to accept any donations from Wall Street PAC’s or executives in your campaign for Florida’s open U.S. Senate seat. We are calling on all candidates to say no to Wall Street banks like Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan, and Citigroup, as well as their PACs and CEOs.
Your public commitment to turn down Wall Street money will send a clear message that your only allegiance is to the people of Florida.
I hope to hear from you soon.
Susan Smith, President
Democratic Progressive Caucus of Florida