DFA in the News

DFA in the News

Democrats spar over electoral appeal of 'Medicare for All'

Peter Sullivan

"People that have been schooled in the ways of Washington for decades think that arguments rooted in trying to scare people about the potential of losing what they’ve got right now is politically powerful,” said Neil Sroka, communications director for the progressive group Democracy for America. “But I also think we’re in a moment where more and more Americans are getting less and less from their health insurance than ever before.”


5 takeaways from fiery Democratic debate

Max Greenwood and Julia Manchester

“Tonight, all three frontrunners had strong nights that likely won’t fundamentally alter the top-tier of the contest,” said Charles Chamberlain, the chairman of the liberal PAC Democracy for America


How White Male Democratic Presidential Candidates Are Struggling with Questions of Privilege

Lissandra Villa

“They may have to explain themselves in ways that they haven’t had to explain themselves before,” says Neil Sroka, a spokesman for Democracy for America, “but they don’t have to deal with the host of institutional disadvantages that women and people of color face to even get to the position to run for a position like President of the United States and be taken seriously.”


Opinion: What Sanders gets - and others don't - about our climate debate

James Downie

As fellow panelist and Democracy for America CEO Yvette Simpson said: "Where we are now with the environment, people need extreme aggressive action on it."


Elizabeth Warren isn't just a former Harvard professor. She doled out advice for Dr. Phil

Noah Bierman

“This is sort of a heyday of Jon’s bringing new ideas, new figures to the table,” said Charles Chamberlain, executive director for Democracy for America, a leading liberal group.


Bernie Sanders wants to double union membership and allow federal workers to strike

Sean Higgins

“This is a real pacesetter. It’ll be interesting to see how the other campaigns react to this,” said Neil Sroka, spokesman for the Howard Dean-founded advocacy group Democracy for America. “Doubling union membership would be an atom bomb, politically.”



Tlaib, Omar Fundraise on Back of Canceled Israel Trip

Adam Fredo

A fundraising email sent by Democracy for America, a far left political action committee, implores readers to "chip in whatever you can to stand with her and [Rep.] Ilhan [Omar (D., Minn.)] now as they continue to fight for justice for all."


That is not where the country is'

Seth McLaughlin

“What this debate is exposing in very clear terms is which candidates are prepared to take on the special interests that have been fighting the idea that health care is a human right for the past 70 years and who isn’t,” said Neil Sroka, of Democracy for America. “It shows who is going to push for a big idea whose time has long past come and who, as we have seen for decades, will shrink in the face of opposition,” he said.


Biden's stark trade reversal

Sean Higgins

“It's good to see Vice President Biden changing course from his past cheerleading for the job-killing Trans-Pacific Partnership,” said Neil Sroka, spokesman for Democracy for America, the Howard Dean-founded liberal advocacy group. "That said, I think, especially given his past votes for other bad trade deals like the North American Free Trade Agreement, it's going to take more than few words in a debate for Biden to demonstrate he's truly committed to rejecting any trade deals that allow multinational corporations to get away with everything."


Will Elizabeth Warren Be Able To Convince Black Voters She's Their Woman?

Maxwell Strachan

"Black activists is one thing,” said Yvette Simpson, chief executive of Democracy for America, a progressive political action committee. “But we always joke, does Rae-Rae know who you are? Does the everyday person know who you are?”


Team Biden projects confidence post-debate


"Joe Biden is failing and his inability to take responsibility for his past actions puts him out of step with where the party is today,” said Neil Sroka, a strategist for the progressive group Democracy for America. “Hands down, Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren won the debate series in Detroit. Their growth and strength of support is more the story for me than the degree to which Biden’s is hanging on to his status as a weakened front-runner.”


J.D. Scholten enters race to unseat Rep. King in 4th District


Democracy for America, a progressive political action committee out of Vermont with 1 million national members, announced its endorsement by saying "We’re excited to endorse Scholten on day one of his rematch against King because we know that he will always stand tall for the people of Iowa’s 4th Congressional District and our shared progressive values."


Immigration Opens Another Divide for 2020 Candidates to Navigate


Neil Sroka, spokesman for the progressive activist group Democracy for America, said Trump will tag any Democrat as favoring open borders, regardless of the person's position. The party's nominee should tap into the enthusiasm of left-leaning voters by proving a "crystal clear contrast" with Trump by supporting decriminalization of undocumented border crossings, Sroka said.


Harris shows she can take debate punch after Gabbard attack


 “Tulsi’s attack on Harris was one of the more brutal punches I’ve seen thrown at any debate in a Democratic primary,” said Neil Sroka, a strategist for the progressive group Democracy for America. “She raised a lot of important questions, and I’m not sure Sen. Harris has fully addressed the range and depth of those concerns ... It doesn’t doom her completely. Everyone knows that Kamala’s experience as a prosecutor is something that cuts both ways, especially in the world of criminal justice reform and where the Democratic Party is."


Biden absorbs a beating - and reassures anxious supporters

Marc Caputo

"Joe Biden repeatedly showed that he’s our party’s past, and failed to get the big win he needed to solidify his status as front-runner. He was embattled by many challengers, which led to forced errors that will be difficult to recover from,” said Democracy for America CEO Yvette Simpson in a statement.


The Real Winners of the Second Debate Were Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders

John Nichols

The distinction was so clear that Yvette Simpson, the chief executive of the progressive group Democracy for America, said late Wednesday evening, “The real winner of tonight’s debate was Tuesday night’s debate.” “On Tuesday,” Simpson explained, “Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren not only delivered strong performances, they teamed up to articulate a bold, inclusive populist vision for the future of the country that Democrats need to beat Trump AND deliver a transformative win in 2020. We didn’t get that tonight.”


Democrats swore off donations from lobbyists and fossil fuel execs. But some are skirting their own rules.

Hailey Fuchs and Michelle Ye Hee Lee

There are gray areas to these pledges that allow smaller donations from lower-ranking employees in the industries, said Neil Sroka, spokesman for Democracy for America, a liberal political action committee that advocates for less money in politics. Whether candidates allow for wiggle room in their promises reflects their commitment to "stamping out the role that these powerful interests have in our politics," he said. "It in some ways helps highlight just how insidious the corporate control of our politics are, and just how much work has to be done to really stamp out the incredibly powerful role that these kind of corporate interests have on our politics," Sroka said.


Biden campaign ad celebrates private insurance - Medicare for All advocates push back

Jake Johnson

Democracy for America (DFA), a progressive advocacy group, condemned Biden's ad as an attempt to "pit working people and generations against one another to perpetuate a broken healthcare system that values health insurance CEOs' paychecks over people's lives." "We know a better world is possible," DFA tweeted, "and that's why we fight for Medicare for All."


Booker takes on Biden in bid to break through crowded field

Elana Schor

Yvette Simpson, chief executive of the progressive group Democracy for America, urged Booker to “speak from a place that’s real to him,” warning that he has verged on “a stage where it’s more platitudes and less authentic.” On issues beyond criminal justice, she added, the debates could exert pressure on Booker to be more than “the guy in the middle” who neither directly courts the left nor actively alienates it.


Lowey faces her first primary challenge in three decades

Jennifer Shutt

Democracy for America, a political action committee that supports progressives but doesn’t necessarily seek to oust Democratic incumbents, has gotten an application for endorsement from Jones. But they haven’t begun to evaluate Jones’ candidacy, or the views of progressives in the district, said the group’s CEO, Yvette Simpson. She did, however, have a favorable view of some of Jones’ policy positions. “It looks like Mondaire Jones appears to be an amazing progressive,” Simpson said. “He’s running on the right platform. He seems to have the credentials. He’s getting a lot of attention for his race. But we still have a lot to figure out.” Added Simpson: “Nita Lowey has been in this seat for a long, long time, and it’ll be interesting to see how he differentiates himself in this district.”


Warren pulls closer to Sanders in progressive straw poll

By David Siders

The last three months have transformed the 2020 Democratic race for president and these results make it clear that Democracy for America members’ support is solidifying behind three candidates committed to bold, inclusive populism and structural reform,” Charles Chamberlain, DFA’s chairman, said in a prepared statement. “Going into the second debate, there's little doubt that Elizabeth Warren and Kamala Harris have momentum building behind them. As Bernie Sanders continues in his position as the progressive front-runner, we’re very interested to see if he uses this debate and the all-important month of August to build up from his robust base of support or cedes ground to the rising challenges of Senators Warren and Harris."


Sen. Bernie Sanders leads 2020 poll of liberal progressives

By Seth McLaughlin

As Bernie Sanders continues in his position as the progressive front-runner, we’re very interested to see if he uses this debate and the all-important month of August to build up from his robust base of support or cedes ground to the rising challenges of Senators Warren and Harris,” said DFA Chair Charles Chamberlain. “While a lot will change between today and the first contests next year, after seeing these results, there is no doubt that, in 2020, Democrats are better positioned to nominate an unapologetic champion for progressive values for president than we’ve been in decades.”


Why Progressives Think Joe Biden Is Not 'Electable'

Asma Khalid

"If you can afford for the world not to change, you take the slow approach," said Yvette Simpson, the CEO of Democracy for America. "If you're a privileged few that can wait for 'Medicarefor All,' then maybe you can be a moderate, but we don't have time for that."


Progressive activists know their enemy in the 2020 Democratic primary: Joe Biden

Ella Nilsen and Tara Golshan

“You had the Buttigieg boomlet earlier this year and you might have thought that might have continued into a place like this, but it really hasn’t,” Neil Sroka, a spokesperson for progressive political action committee Democracy For America, said. “What’s pretty clear is it’s Bernie, it’s Warren, and maybe it’s Kamala.” “Frankly, I think a lot of the people here are going to be making strategic decisions on who they vote for in the primary,” he said. “At the end of the day everyone here is committed to electing an inclusive populist champion for president.”


A House Democratic feud was nearing a crisis point. Then Trump got involved.

Gregory Krieg

Yvette Simpson, chief executive of Democracy for America and a former Cincinnati city councilwoman, also told CNN the House Democrats should focus on Trump and back off the new generation of lawmakers. "The idea that at the most critical moment for our party and for country, party leadership is attacking the most energetic and the most bold of us and, frankly, our present and our future, is appalling to me," Simpson said.


Democrats irked as billionaire Steyer joins 2020 race

Niall Stanage

Charles Chamberlain, chairman of progressive group Democracy for America, emphasized Steyer’s record on climate change as one potential upside to his candidacy. On that topic, he said, “What is exciting about Tom getting into the race is, with the kind of money he has, he may be able to drive forward solutions in a way that could be positive for America.” Even so, Chamberlain noted that overall, “It’s a little difficult to see what Tom Steyer has to offer, other than bringing a billionaire’s finances into it.”


Marian Spencer, civil rights pioneer, dies at 99

Barrett J. Brunsman and Chris Wetterich

Spencer became a mentor to Cincinnati elected officials such as Yvette Simpson, a former council member and mayoral candidate who’s now CEO of the national progressive group Democracy for America. Simpson, an African American who is a UC Law graduate, recalled sitting with Spencer at Charter Committee meetings. “She would hold my hand," Simpson said. "I’ll never forget what her hand felt like. She’s got these very skinny fingers, but she would hold my hand so tight. It was her saying, ‘You’ve got this.’ She was willing to always be there for you.”


Setting down their Netroots

Julia Terruso

“To see issues we championed for years, like Medicare for All and climate change, so prominent on a mainstream Democratic debate stage is really refreshing, because we’ve been at this work for so long,” said Yvette Simpson, who heads Democracy for America, one of the longest-running progressive political action committees, founded in 2004. “We see a lot more candidates who are talking more boldly and unapologetically about progressive values, and I think what we’re seeing is those who don’t receiving a little bit of backlash.”


Sanders facing tougher 2020 competition for liberal support


And that, according to Charles Chamberlain, executive director of the progressive advocacy group Democracy for America, may be Sanders’ biggest challenge — the fact that while some voters are interested in policy nuance, many are evaluating the candidates on personality. “I don’t think he should be changing his content,” Chamberlain said. “What I do think would benefit him would be to think a little bit more about how to personalize his policy, so people can see he’s not just an angry guy with a vision, he’s also warm — like your grandpa.”

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