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Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Blue America Chat: Ken Aden from Arkansas

by digby

One of the greatest difficulties for progressives these days is imagining how we can possibly win elections when the 1% has uncapped a fire hose full of money into our politics. It's a daunting prospect, to be sure. Their gusher of cash is so overwhelming that it's hard to see how average people can possibly compete. But that's why Blue America is so enthusiastic about progressive candidates around the country who are coming up with craetive strategies and tactics to meet the challenge. Turns out that big money ads may be able to tear someone down but it still can't buy you love the way a one on one conversation can.

One of the most inventive progressive grassroots strategists in the country is Ken Aden of Arkansas' 3rd district. Ken is one of those rare politicians with both the common touch and a long term vision who has sat down and thought through how to wage his campaign on the ground, one on one. With a combination of high-tech micro-targeting savvy and a sophisticated field operation using dedicated volunteers to walk the district and meet every possible voter, this strategy shows how progressives can overcome the odds.

As you can see from the video above, Ken is a man with grassroots organizing experience, empathy and intelligence. And he knows his constituents as neighbors and friends.

Ken says:
Because a legitimate campaign effort has never been mounted by a Democrat running for Congress, voters have never had the opportunity to be introduced to a Democratic candidate who believes what they believe. Incumbent Steve Womack is a Tea Party Republican who believes Social Security and Medicare must be cut and changed. However, the residents of the district don’t feel the same way. In Benton County alone, more than $600 million in Social Security payments, Medicare funding, and Medicare prescription drug coverage was utilized by residents. Districtwide, that figure tops $1 billion dollars in combine Medicare and Social Security Payments. The people who depend upon these programs don’t want to see them cut, but they’ve never had a Democratic congressional campaign knock on their door and make them aware that there is an option other than a Republican.

Check out the reaction he gets on that subject:

"If you even think of cutting Medicare, if you even think of cutting Social Security, you're a criminal." Words progressive Democrats should live by.

Ken's making some waves, that's for sure. You may have read in the national news that his campaign manager came home a few weeks ago to find that someone had murdered his family cat and scrawled the word "liberal" on it. Aden is a former combat soldier and doesn't scare easily and neither does his campaign. In fact, it propelled them to double their efforts to get out and talk to the people and let them know who it is that's on their side when it comes to protecting their livelihoods, their economic security and their futures. (Hint: it isn't cowards who would kill a defenseless animal.)

Blue America endorsed Ken with great enthusiasm and we are spreading the good word about his grassroots strategic vision to progressive challengers across the country. We believe that this kind of creativity and energy can pay off. But he needs all the help we can give him to keep the campaign funded. He won't be able to match a corrupt Republican incumbent, not even close. But he has a good chance to win if he can put this plan into practice and defeat him with sharp grassroots tactics and hard work. Please donate here if you can.

And please join us at 11am PST/1pm CST for a Blue America live chat with Ken at Crooks and Liars, where he'll be taking questions on the issues and his strategic vision for waging grassroots campaigns in the age of Citizens' United. You'll come away feeling a lot more confident that the right candidate with the right plan can beat the right wing.