Progressives Need to Run for Office Wherever They Can
Shauna McNally, who is running for Congress in Michigan in 2018, talks about the challenges of running against corporate Democrats, but insists it can be done
Michael S.: This is Michael Scianato with The Real News Network. I have with us Michigan Congressional Candidate, Shauna McNally. Shauna, thank you for joining us.
Shauna McNally: Thank you.
Michael S.: So, can you start off by telling us a little bit about what inspired you to run for Congress?
Shauna McNally: Well, I have three children honestly and when this last election came around, I just decided, I’m looking at the candidates, Hillary, Bernie, it looked like Trump or Cruz was going to be the nominee. I couldn’t sit by and just let that happen. I brought my children into this world and I have to fight as hard as I can to make it a better place for them. So last year I actually ran for a Park Commission seat that was open and I won. We did really well and I thought that might be enough but the way this is going, it’s a mess and we do not have until 2020.
We have to act immediately. There is going to be a seat that is open, 55th District in Southeast Michigan and I want to run for it. I want to win it. I want to win it for Berniecrats because we, you know, Michigan went like hardcore Bernie like we did it. We really pulled it off but that’s not represented in our state government as is, so we got a round of people, we’re trying to get our names in there, no corporate donations, ground up. These are big races, you know, they cost a lot of money so we’re going to have to do door-to-door fundraising and, for the last race, I did just what Bernie’s talking about, the knock on every door and it worked amazingly well. I mean, I don’t know if everybody voted for me but I heard ideas. I heard people. I heard suffering and I was running for Park Commissioner and they needed so much that I couldn’t do. In a House position, I can, I can help.
Michael S.: Well, I know in Michigan, out of the DNC delegates, only one out of the six was a Bernie Sanders supporter, so can you tell me a little bit about what the Democratic Party in Michigan, the establishment, how abrasive have they been towards Sanders supporters and Progressives and what can be done to change that?
Shauna McNally: Do you mean the delegates that went to the DNC conference?
Michael S.: I believe it’s the Democratic Party, I think in December-
Shauna McNally: Okay, so I have to put out there that I ran as third party because I was so disgusted by Philadelphia but the way that our system is set up, there has to be structural change top down before a third party’s ever going to win a major election. So currently, I’m not directly involved in a lot of the Democratic insider sorts of things but I was speaking to people who are and they were telling me that at the last meeting it became kind of a knock-down drag-out between like the people, the old guard and the people that are like, “We have to change. You know, we have to change.” Even those Democrats who are really wanting to stick with that party are having a hard time. We’re trying to come together. I guess we just have to call ourselves Berniecrats at this point because, yeah, Democrat but they’re not welcoming us. So we’re going to have outside races. I know that these people that we’re running against are going to have a lot of funding, they’re going to have a lot of that establishment behind them but we’ve got to be there for the people.
Michael S.: You know, Trump won Michigan although the win was a marginal victory. Rick Snyder’s the Governor. So what are Democrats not getting that is forcing voters to turn to Republicans in Michigan?
Shauna McNally: Well, Democrats aren’t doing anything. So the person that is running, is our Senate District, who could possibly be a candidate next time, is actually working on a farm bill with Republicans that’s going to take away local control from farmers, not protect them, like land rights, water rights, that sort of thing. They’re doing the same corporate things that Republicans are doing. So it comes back to this Hillary/Trump thing. If you’re running Republican-light against Republican at least, you know, people think maybe the Republican will do something for them but when you talk to people about issues, when you break it down and you say, “Is this something you like? Is this something you want?” And you don’t bring up party, you get a lot more people to come over. I mean I had, like I said, I ran as a Green Party and I had Libertarians, I had Trump voters, I had anybody who was sick of it and didn’t want to deal with what the Democrats had done was coming out. I hope, I really, really hope that that’s the situation we get in 2018.
Michael S.: How can Progressives help your campaign and other candidates like you challenge the establishment and ultimately win some elections?
Shauna McNally: Money. Everybody wants, everybody that’s involved in this movement, we all want money out of politics, big money, because until we change campaign finance laws, though, we’ve got to realize us dollar-to-dollar funded candidates are going up against people who are getting $150,000, $200,000 plus in corporate donations. It’s hard. It’s impossible. It can be done but if anybody’s out there and they really want to make it happen, find somebody if your area. If there’s not somebody running in your area, run. If there’s somebody running next door to you, give them anything that you can. You can donate across state lines. If there’s a district you think can be flipped that would be maybe in the national House or something like that, in West Virginia, let’s say there’s somebody primarying Joe Manchin, donate. You know, help, help, help because we can’t do it on our own. We need legs to go walk. We need people knocking on doors. We need signs. We need flyers. We need it all. Yeah, find those people and reach out to them.
Michael S.: I’ve talked to Sam Pernick out in Michigan. He’s been working with the Young Progressives in the Democratic Party and he had an incident in December where one of the Democratic Party leaders actually punched him at one of the meetings.
Shauna McNally: Oh, I heard about that.
Michael S.: Yes, yeah.
Shauna McNally: Yeah, I heard about that and I was verging on going to that conference and I was glad at that point that I did not go. I can’t even imagine resorting to physical violence and that’s why I think that, as Progressives, the Progressives that are still really trying to fight for that Democratic Party, they’re sick of it. We are, it’s kind of 50/50 and I think now is our time to just push through and say, “We’re not doing this anymore. We’re not doing this.”
Michael S.: Well, Shauna, thank you very much.
Shauna McNally: Can I give you my website and my information so people can find me?
Michael S.: Absolutely, sure.
Shauna McNally: Okay.
Michael S.: Just so-
Shauna McNally: My campaign website, it’s very minimal right now. We’re adapting it over from the Park candidacy that we did. It’s votemcnally.com. There is a donate button on there. If every person donated a dollar, we’d be halfway there, and a Twitter of VoteMcNally and contact information is all on the website, so, thank you very much for having me.
Michael S.: All right, no problem. Thank you and it’s nice meeting you.