Should Kansas liberals vote for Brent Welder or Sharice Davids? | The Tylt

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Should Kansas liberals vote for Brent Welder or Sharice Davids?
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The Welder-Davids contest encapsulates a larger argument on the left about just who is “progressive” and who is “establishment." Welders supporters say he campaigned strongly for Sen. Bernie Sanders; supports Medicare For All and a $15 minimum wage; and has received the endorsement of Justice Democrats, Our Revolution, and of course, Sanders himself. 

He promised to forgo money from corporate political action committees and repeatedly railed against the country’s “rigged economy” like Sanders did on the presidential campaign trail.“I think only a populist candidate can win this district for the Democratic Party,” Welder said in a phone call.
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But Davids' supporters point out that she is a native Kansan, whereas Welder moved to Kansas from St. Louis just last year, prompting some carpetbagger accusations. Supporters argue Davids' credentials are as strong as Welder's, and the truly progressive choice would be to elect more women of color and LGBT people to Congress. 

Many liberals were unhappy that Sanders and Ocasio-Cortez were seemingly working to block the first indigenous woman who would ever be elected to Congress. Does representation really matter to progressives?

As a gay woman in Kansas whose issues Bernie has dismissed as “identity politics,” I see this as a double-down for straight white men in a state which needs, and is ready for, more diverse representation. Kansas desperately needs the new perspectives and energy.
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But Welders say this race isn't about quotas or identity politics: it's about the issues, and about offering real economic justice to working people. That's why he's proposing a $15 minimum wage, free college, and refusing all corporate donations. Davids' status as an indigenous LGBT woman shouldn't matter.

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But others argue that electing a member of both the indigenous and LGBT community actually matters a lot. It's about representation.

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Sanders and Ocasio-Cortez had the option of letting Kansas Democrats select their own candidate for the primary and supporting that person. To travel to Kansas and hold rallies for a white male, who was a Sanders' political organizer, and potentially block the election of a native Kansan does not sit well with many.

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Is their choice really about progressivism—or payback?

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Many on the far left say Davids is a centrist corporate Democrat, whereas Welder is about shifting the paradigm away from corporate money in politics. We can't have true reform unless we achieve that goal.

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Davids supporters say accusing her of being a corporate lackey is both laughable and disgraceful. What her opponents described as a corporate PAC donation is funding she's received from Emily's List, an organization that helps elect pro-choice women Democrats. 

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Justice Dems is a PAC, for God's sake. Didn't 2016 prove that purity politics will get us nowhere?

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Davids worked as a lawyer on South Dakota's Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, the poorest county in America. Her supporters resent that work being characterized as "corporate" by her political opponents.

When you’re creating policy that affects everyone, it’s necessary that everyone has a say in that discussion. Living and working on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota, I saw first-hand the disconnect that exists when people legislating regulations have no concept of how those regulations affect people on the ground. Working in the highest levels of our federal government as a White House Fellow under President Barack Obama, I quickly saw that my voice was needed at the table.
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Should Kansas liberals vote for Brent Welder or Sharice Davids?
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