Race for Governor: Dan Drew

by David Samuels

This column appears in the July 20 – 27 edition of the Hartford News.


Community Party Radio on So-Metro Radio

Commentary on urban issues from a grassroots perspective. First, third and fifth Tuesday of each month. 8:00 PM Eastern Time 7:00 PM Central 5:00 PM Pacific. Tune in! http://www.sometroradio.com/  Next show: August 1. Check out our No Sellout blog for info on the rest of our Community Party Media lineup, including False Choice: the Bipartisan Attack on the Working Class, the Poor and Communities of Color. https://hendu39.wordpress.com/2015/12/20/community-party-media-3/


Community Party Radio Podcasts

Visit No Sellout to listen to podcasts of past shows.




The Community Party Radio on So-Metro Radio interview with Middletown Mayor and Connecticut gubernatorial candidate Dan Drew will air Tuesday, August 15 at 8:00 PM Eastern Time, 7:00 PM Central 5:00 PM Pacific. Topics will include police accountability, the state budget crisis, single payer health care and urban policy issues that are ignored by the corporate media.


Community Update

CT Voices for Children Report Predicted 2017 Budget Disaster

“Our July 2013 report, ‘A Gambler’s Budget,’ analyzed the two-year state budget approved by the state lawmakers and the Governor that year, and warned that the ‘quick fix’ budget solutions adopted in the plan would deepen the state’s long-term budget deficit and thus ultimately endanger funding for child and family services.”



State Employees Agree to Concessions

Next week’s column will feature analysis of the concessions deal between State of Connecticut employee unions, and Gov. Dan Malloy. The deal was overwhelmingly ratified Tuesday by state employees 83% to 17%. State workers have now agreed to concessions three times since 2009.


Safe Work Environment Act Update

I continue to receive reports from Connecticut Valley Hospital employees about racism and workplace bullying at CVH. Coming soon, a Hartford News and Community Party Radio on So-Metro Radio update on structural racism at the facility, and analysis of the Department of Administrative Services (DAS runs CVH) using their political influence to kill workers’ rights legislation in Connecticut.




Policy Watch:  Dan Drew & the Party That Eats Progressives

Middletown Mayor Dan Drew’s candidacy for Governor of the State of Connecticut is definitely encouraging. We’re at a tipping point in the state and the country, where right-wing extremism and neoliberalism is taking over. My hope is that Drew will stick to his progressive platform, and not repeat the mistake of electoral candidates who gloss over urban policy issues (poverty, Black / Latinx unemployment, racial wage / wealth disparity, gun violence, police accountability) for the sake of political expediency. I will be following Drew’s campaign closely.


I first saw Drew on WFSB’s Face the State in April.  Hosts Susan Raff and Dennis House, two corporate stooges who never met a right-wing agenda they didn’t like, questioned Drew about his platform, which includes ending corporate welfare and giveaways to hedge fund managers, taxing the rich and single payer health care. Raff straight up lied, claiming that universal health care only exists in “Canada and maybe Taiwan.” The truth is that the United States is the only industrialized nation that doesn’t provide a national health program to all of its citizens. Raff did acknowledge that the U.S. already has Medicare, a single payer system for people 65 and older.   http://www.wfsb.com/clip/13265780/middletown-mayor-looks-to-take-on-governors-role


Last Sunday the WTNH channel 8 Capitol Report program played a clip of Drew, speaking at the official launch of his campaign last week at Harbor Park in Middletown. Drew talked about state employees, who have agreed to concessions three times since 2009 (I’m a state worker), being asked to agree to wage and benefits cuts once again, while the Swiss bank UBS and a bank owned by General Electric both received $20 million in corporate welfare from the state. Drew pointed out that both banks have since left Connecticut, with taxpayer money.  The public sector is the largest employer of Black people and women.  Drew’s platform is EXACTLY what state employee unions have been calling for. Will they endorse him?


Chokwe Antar Lumumba has given hope to leftists nationwide, as he defeated the political machine to become the new mayor of Jackson, Mississippi. Watching Drew’s announcement, it was refreshing hearing a Connecticut gubernatorial candidate talking about a progressive tax system, free college and living wage jobs. Drew’s campaign website bio lists his development of a welfare to work program while he worked for the Community Renewal Team; the program focused on job training and placement, while the current cash assistance program, implemented by President Bill Clinton in 1996 with  enthusiastic support from Hillary, fuels poverty by keeping individuals in dead end jobs before kicking them off the rolls. It would be great to see Drew bring his CRT model to the State Capitol. That being said, I also heard Bernie Sanders talk about these kinds of policies when he was running for president against Hillary. Sanders talked about Hillary’s servitude to Wall Street, her neoliberalism and how she generally sucked, then he endorsed Hillary after she won a primary that Sanders knew the Democratic National Committee had rigged against him, thanks to WikiLeaks releasing internal DNC emails.  https://wikileaks.org/podesta-emails/


Sanders has since become entrenched in the Democratic Party machine, stalling on introducing  single payer legislation as a groundswell of national support builds for universal health care. Liz Hamel, Bryan Wu and Mollyann Brodie reported for KFF.org on the latest single payer polling data. “The June Kaiser Health Tracking poll finds that a slim majority of the public (53 percent) now favors a single-payer health plan in which all Americans would get their insurance from a single government plan, while just over four in ten (43 percent) are opposed. This is somewhat higher than the level of support found in a variety of Kaiser polls with slight variations in question wording dating back to 1998. From 1998 through 2004,  roughly four in ten supported a national health plan, while about half were opposed. In polling from 2008-2009, the period leading up to passage of the ACA, the public was more evenly divided, with about half in favor of a single-payer plan and half opposed.


“Not surprisingly, there are partisan divisions in how the public feels about single-payer health care, with a majority of Democrats (64 percent) and just over half independents (55 percent) in favor and a majority of Republicans (67 percent) opposed. However, the recent increase in support for single-payer has largely been driven by an increase among independents. Among this group, on average in 2008-2009, 42 percent said they would favor a single-payer plan, a share that has increased to a majority (55 percent) in the most recent tracking poll.”  http://www.kff.org/health-reform/poll-finding/data-note-modestly-strong-but-malleable-support-for-single-payer-health-care/


Drew’s candidacy has tremendous potential. He’s young (37 years old),  charismatic, has successful experience in governing a city and like Sanders, Drew’s policies will certainly resonate with young voters. Middletown’s Wesleyan University will be fertile ground for Drew to build support. Drew should take note of the mass exodus by many Sanders supporters, after he endorsed Hillary. The hashtag #JillNotHill exploded on social media the day that Sanders hopped aboard the Hillary train, as disillusioned supporters switched their allegiance to Green Party candidate Jill Stein.


Sanders also had failed to connect with Black voters. Sanders started off his campaign with no mention of urban policy issues. To Sanders’ credit he did develop an urban platform after being pushed by Black activists, but it was too little, too late. Sanders’ New Deal provision would have a been a boon to low income communities of color, providing job training and infrastructure jobs. Free college and health care obviously would be economic justice for Black and Brown neighborhoods. Sanders’ police accountability provision needed strengthening, but he was headed in the right direction.


If Sanders had developed a ground game in urban areas from the jump, and his supporters had actually built relationships with grassroots Black-led movements, instead of engaging in racist social media chastising and relying on posts of Sanders marching with Martin Luther King to get Black votes, the outcome of the primary could have been different.  Black Agenda Report commentator Bruce Dixon weighed in on Sanders and the Black vote, saying that Sanders didn’t lose the Black vote because he never had it, nor did he have a clue as to how to get it.  Dixon pointed out that the Democratic machine uses Black political puppets to monopolize Black votes, and Sanders should have gone outside of the political system to build Black support.  https://blackagendareport.com/bernie-sanders-black-vote


The Clintons’ legacy includes the aforementioned welfare legislation and a racist 1994 crime bill (written by Joe Biden) that fueled Black mass incarceration. Despite this history, the Clinton political machine had the Black vote on lock in the primary. An effective urban strategy by Sanders could have done damage, though. 46 million voters sat out the general election between Hillary and Donald Trump, because they rightfully saw no difference between the candidates.


Drew and his supporters must learn from the mistakes of the Sanders campaign. That includes acknowledging the catastrophic effects of Democratic Party neoliberalism on communities of color, including Gov. Dan Malloy’s yearly human services budget cuts. State employees, the core of the Democrats’ voter base, have been demonized by the Dems and Republicans, despite agreeing to concessions three times in eight years. They need a candidate who will continue to speak as forcefully as Drew did last week.


I highly recommend The Candidate starring Robert Redford. From the Internet Movie Data Base: “Idealistic young lawyer Bill McKay (Robert Redford), thoroughly involved with civil rights, legal aid and ecology, agrees to run for the U.S. Senate – not to win, he tells himself, but to bring vital issues before the voters. He despises political deals and compromises, but when the possibility of victory overshadows what seemed like certain defeat, his integrity begins to weaken. A fascinating and dynamic character study showing all the inner conflicts of a decent man torn between his ambition and his conscience. It tells what it costs – emotionally, morally, financially – to run for public office, and conveys all the doubts, all the self deceptions and ultimately all the cynicism of a man who knows he has sold out for something he isn’t sure he really wants. Oscar-winning screenplay by Jeremy Larner.” Larner was the principal speechwriter for Democratic Minnesota Congressman Eugene McCarthy. McCarthy ran for president five times including 1968, when he challenged incumbent Lyndon Johnson for the party nomination. McCarthy ran on an anti-Vietnam War platform.


Time will tell if unlike Sanders, Drew will refuse to be swallowed whole by the neoliberal core of the Democratic Party.


Follow CP on Twitter for state, national and world news headlines. https://twitter.com/CommunityParty1 Check out my Facebook page for daily news commentary. https://www.facebook.com/david.samuels.948 Listen to So-Metro Radio the first, third and fifth Tuesday of each month at 8:00 PM for commentary on urban issues http://www.sometroradio.com/ ; Check out our No Sellout blog (https://hendu39.wordpress.com/). Contact us at samuelssloflo@aol.com.




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