Jaffe vs. Pelosi: What it Means

Our campaign has been underway since late April. I have talked to the people of San Francisco every day about what they feel are the most important issues to them. I estimate I have spoken to more than 1,000 people since April (I've certainly handed out that many cards!).  Always at or near the top of their list of issues is single-payer health care.

Although there are many issues on which Rep. Pelosi and I sharply differ, there is no better example of our differences than the single payer issue. I am for pure, Medicare-For-All single-payer health care. Rep. Pelosi not only does not support single payer, she actively blocks its passage for reasons I have written about previously. Please help me fight.

As our campaign has continued to grow in size, momentum, and visibility, it has taken on a life of its own.  The contest between me and Nancy Pelosi is evolving into a referendum of national dimension about which side of the badly divided Democratic Party will lead it into the future: the fast-growing progressive wing (my candidacy) or the side of the corporate establishment elitists personified by Nancy Pelosi, the DNC, and her DCCC.

I do not aspire to be the Minority Leader of the House. I am running solely because I wish to represent the people of the 12th Congressional District, to carry their values, hopes and dreams to Washington and give them a strong voice to the best of my ability. If you are a voter in the 12th District, I urge you to consider my platform. I can earn your trust and your vote.

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Why Does Nancy Pelosi Oppose & Block Single Payer Health Care?

Almost every day, I get a fundraising email from Nancy Pelosi’s office. They are semi-hysterical and almost always sound the alarm that the Republicans are about to do – or just did – something horrible and the only way to stop them is to send her money - the more the better. What’s missing from these fundraising emails are any ideas and proposals from her on how to fix the problem she has selected as the emergency topic of the day.

The best example of this pattern is the healthcare issue.  Rep. Pelosi has repeatedly heaped vitriolic criticism against Speaker Ryan and House Republicans for devastating the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) and leaving millions of people without health insurance coverage and, consequently, access to any medical care at all. While her criticism is justified, she stops short of proposing any solution to the problem. Her emails are a verbal wringing of hands and an admission or being powerless to do anything about it. In steadfastly maintaining this position, Rep. Pelosi fails and refuses to represent the values and wishes of the people of San Francisco she was elected to represent and whom she asks to re-elect her for the 16th time in 2018.

However, on the healthcare issue, there is an obvious solution - one which an overwhelming majority of Democrats nationally and especially here in San Francisco strongly support: single-payer health care – Medicare for All.

So, why doesn’t Pelosi do the right thing and propose this obvious solution? Because, although she does a verbal tap dance worthy of Fred Astaire trying to suggest she once supported single payer healthcare and will do so again when the time is right (She says, “We’re not ready for single-payer healthcare.”), the truth is that she not only does not support single payer healthcare, she deliberately blocks its passage.  You want my evidence?

  1. She refuses to sponsor Rep. John Conyers’ pending bill, HR 676, establishing Medicare for All and.
  2. She failed to endorse SB 562 in the California State Senate, also establishing-single payer healthcare in California.

You may be asking yourself, "Why would Mr. Pelosi block single payer healthcare?" She blocks it because she raises millions of dollars from health insurance companies, Big Pharm and other healthcare providers over her career, all of which have billions of dollar stakes in preventing single payer healthcare from becoming law. And those millions of donated dollars do not come without strings. In this case, the string is an obvious commitment to preventing single-payer healthcare from becoming law.

Single payer healthcare is a central pillar of my campaign. If you agree with me on this issue, please consider donating to our cause. If you have donated before, please consider doing so again. I can be your voice in Congress, but I need your help to do it. If you've saved your payment information with ActBlue Express, your donation will go through immediately.



CINCINNATI, OH - Dozens of Congressional and state candidates this week launched a coalition to “Support Fellow Progressives” with a two-hour event on Twitter. The candidates’ "tweetathon"-style event Thursday evening was amongst the top 10 most popular conversations on Twitter throughout the U.S.

The progressive tweetathon served to highlight the candidates’ policy differences from Democrats who solicit corporate PAC donations, and four of the participants were Democrats challenging prominent members of their own party in primaries:

  • Alexandria Ocasio, challenging top fundraiser Rep. Joseph Crowley in New York
  • Tim Canova, taking a second shot at the Florida seat of Debbie Wasserman Schultz, the disgraced former chair of the DNC
  • Jesse Sbaih, who is battling the influence of former Sen. Harry Reid to win a Nevada primary that would position him to become the first Muslim American in the Senate
  • Stephen Jaffe, the 46-year trial law veteran and parrot lover who’s challenging Rep. Nancy Pelosi in San Francisco

The event was spearheaded by the campaign of Sam Ronan, the OH-01 Congressional challenger and founder of Our Voice who ran for DNC chair earlier this year.

“Tonight we had Greens, Dems, and even a progressive Republican tweeting in unity to support this progressive coalition,” said Ronan. “This is how we take the Bernie movement into every one of our communities and win.”

The candidates tweeting under the hashtag “SupportFellowProgressives” were largely united by support for single-payer healthcare and “The People’s Platform” put forth by the post-Sanders presidential campaign organization Our Revolution.

Ronan said members of the loose coalition would continue to bring in others and to provide an online “signal boost” for progressive campaigns that often lack the resources of establishment rivals.

“Tens if not hundreds of thousands of people engaged with our Twitter event on Thursday,” Ronan said. “And this is just us and the grassroots - we don’t need corporate control of a party to tell us who the progressives who support our issues are, and together our voice is powerful.”

The event included grassroots candidates from across the country, in both urban and rural districts:

  • Samuel Ronan - OH-01
  • Amy Vilela - NV-04
  • Stephen Jaffe - CA-12
  • Tim Canova - FL-23
  • David Hildebrand - U.S. Senate, CA
  • Tom Prigg - PA-12
  • Nathan Arroyave - IL-16
  • Paul Clements - MI-06
  • Jesse Sbaih - U.S. Senate, NV
  • Cori Bush - MO-1
  • Topher Brennan - U.S. Senate, CA
  • Sema Hernandez - U.S. Senate, TX
  • Jenny Marshall - NC-05
  • Gayle Mclaughlin - Lt. Gov, CA
  • Mal Hyman - SC-7
  • Darlene McDonald- UT-4
  • Aaron Godfrey - OH-16
  • Alexandria Ocasio - NY-14
  • Pat Harris - U.S. Senate, CA
  • Ali A. Khorasani - TX-02
  • J. Darnell Jones - TX-02
  • Adrienne Bell - TX-14
  • Sarah Smith - WA-09
  • Michael Milisits - OH-10

No Pardon for Arpaio

Minorities faced targeted harassment at the hands of  Joe Arpaio. The DOJ  called it “the most egregious example of profiling in the United States.”   ”Sheriff Joe” would routinely order deputies into areas with a large Latino population to harass them. The DOJ found that these raids were based on racial profiling. A federal court ordered Arpaio to stop this illegal practice but Arpaio disobeyed and flaunted the order.

For his flagrant violations, the Sheriff's Office was sued in federal court.  However, in the upcoming years, the DOJ learned the Sheriff's Office withheld and destroyed evidence they were required to disclose to the DOJ. The court ordered Arpaio to turn over the evidence and he  refused. It was disclosed his deputies had withheld exculpatory evidence confiscated during arrests instead of being turned over to local prosecutors.

Based on these disturbing civil rights violations, deliberately withholding and destroying evidence, Mr. Arpaio was convicted contempt of court.   

Mr. Arpaio abused his position of power. He was supposed to serve and protect citizens. Instead he harassed and profiled them. I am now deeply disturbed to learn the President is considering pardoning Arpaio. Under principles of morality and law, I urge the President to not sanction Arpaio’s despicable conduct by pardoning him.  

Time for a New Focus on Voter Protection

Without fair elections, we cannot call ourselves a democracy. And yet we have continued down a path of consolidating electoral power in the hands of a small number of wealthy families and we're seeing continued anti-democratic behavior by both major parties and by private voting machine vendors with questionable biases and motives.

We need a revolution to protect voter participation. For that to happen, we need to restore trust in our election processes. That means voter-verified counts, open source elections software, increased financial transparency, and public funding of all campaigns.

I strongly support overturning the Citizens United decision. However, until that is possible, the best way to move forward is with legislative measures to establish strong disclosure rules. We must use information we already have about who funds our politicians to clean house (and Senate). I am a no-corporate money candidate. Together, we must push back against bought-and-paid-for elections and politicians. We must attack voter suppression and enroll millions of new voters.

I’m making election protection - both voting reforms and election financing reforms - one of the top priorities in my campaign and one of my top priorities in Congress. Please share with me your ideas for election protection and increased participation.  For example, do we need a national voter holiday? I pledge to work to reduce money’s influence in politics and to fight for fair elections.

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Stand Up or Get Run Over

I was at The Market Hall, a great eatery in Mission Bay near my home and AT&T Park, for a campaign meet-and-greet. Over the course of a few hours, I was able to talk one-on-one with dozens of voters there for the event, and with neighbors who were grabbing a drink before the Giants game. Many buttons were handed out, and what I heard inspired me.

The people of San Francisco are ready for a change. For every 100 people I speak with at street fairs, at small gatherings, and on the streets, only two or three believe their current representative in Congress - the titular leader of the Democratic Party - represents their interests, values, and ideals.

In San Francisco, it’s easy to see that our government is not serving human needs. The Black population of San Francisco has continued to steadily shrink since the ‘70s as families head elsewhere for affordable homes. 18,000 people live on our streets. The Guardian writes that even the highest skilled young workers struggle to keep up with the insane cost of living in our vaunted tech paradise.

When I launched my campaign on April 26, small donations flooded in to bring change to San Francisco’s District 12. The average donation to my campaign so far is $27.22.  But a good start is not enough. To unseat the neoliberal establishment’s most prominent figure will take thousands of people standing up and saying, “We will not be run over any more - this is your last term!” We must recruit and field hundreds of dedicated volunteer canvassers.

Please stand with me right now by digging deep and making a donation of $50 or more. (Monthly small donations are also just as valuable to the campaign.)

As of the end of June, my opponent has two millions dollars in cash on hand. In order to reach the hundreds of thousands of voters we need to win this race, I must continue to recruit volunteers from across San Francisco and across the nation. We have a strategy to win, but to pull off this victory, I need you to stand with me to continue this effort together.

My opponent says, “I don’t think the Party needs a new direction.” But she is leading the Democratic Party off a cliff. She has lost touch with the people she represents. I am in this race because I will no longer allow conservatives to dominate our politics while the people’s party flails and fails. Your support so far says that I’m not alone - please show me that this supports is growing, that you’re with me through June 2018 and the general election.

Together we will stand up and not just demand change - we will make it.



This has been a big week! My campaign won its first big institutional endorsement, from Veterans for Bernie. We followed that up with winning support from Howie Klein at Blue America, who wrote "Nancy Pelosi, Like Paul Ryan, Needs A Serious Reelection Challenge."

I had my first debate - Rep. Pelosi didn't show, but one of her surrogates spoke from her behalf, arguing that San Franciscan's should accept Pelosi and not support other candidates. Hear my response on this video of the event.

I walked away from that forum with another great early endorsement: The San Francisco Berniecrats!

Thank you for all your support. I always say that if every support gives just $1, we can make it clear that the people want change in Congress.

Also this week I updated my platform page - I hope you'll continue giving me your feedback and voting on the issues most important to you.


“Better Wages” For Real

The Democratic Party slogan for the 2018 midterm elections - in which we must wrest control of the House from the GOP and take the fight against nihilistic Republican politicians to the next level - includes “Better Wages.” But the milquetoast Democratic proposal for the minimum wage is grossly inadequate.

Real wages have not kept up with worker output. Not even close. That’s why when I think about the Democrats’ new slogan, I think about Better Democrats.

I’m running against Democratic Nancy Pelosi in San Francisco because she does not represent the people, but rather a corrupt system that’s robbing us blind.




These are FDR Democrat policies:

  • The right to earn enough to provide adequate food and clothing and recreation;
  • The right of every family to a decent home.

Neither of these is possible in San Francisco where the median family home costs $1.5 million and even one bedroom rent costs $3,500 per month. And Pelosi and the incumbent Democrats talk about a $15 minimum wage by 2024! It’s not enough!

I will fight for an immediate $15 federal minimum wage, indexed to cost of living where it’s earned. I will also expand Section 8 funding so that more San Francisco workers can live here. And my CEO and executive pay cap proposal (top workers compensated no more than 30x entry level and service workers) will help all workers share in corporate success.

My opponent has a staff of campaign and office workers who can make her sound good on the stump. But for 30 years, she’s refused to debate her electoral challengers, and her rampant corporate fundraising tells a different story than her glib words. I am ready, willing and able to debate Rep. Pelosi. Time will tell whether she has the courage of her convictions to face me and discuss the issues affecting San Francisco and the nation.

Rep. Pelosi is known for being the top fundraiser in the Democratic Party but she had the gall to speak out against big money at her recent appearance before the California Democratic Party:

Rep. Pelosi gives a convincing speech, but her actions are contrary to her words. She refuses to cosponsor HR 676, John Conyers’ pending single-payer bill in the House.  Her Congress cut the public option (which she praises when she doesn’t have control of the House) from Obamacare. Her new “Better Deal” proposals include negotiated drug prices but she sat on her hands throughout Big Pharma’s successful efforts beat the Bernie Sanders-backed Prop. 61 in California, which would have allowed California agencies to negotiate drug prices like the VA does.


“Better Jobs" by Radically Changing How Congress Allocates Funds

In his 1944 State of the Union, President Roosevelt told Congress, “We have come to a clear realization of the fact that true individual freedom cannot exist without economic security and independence.” Roosevelt knew that without individual freedom that comes from a good job, people were willing to fall for political demagogues. We saw this clearly last year in the voting pattern of the Rust Belt, where manufacturing jobs have blown away like agricultural jobs from the Dust Bowl in the '30s.

The Democratic Party has released a new slogan that includes “Better Jobs.” In Roosevelt’s time, he proposed, “the right to a useful and remunerative job in the industries or shops or farms or mines of the nation” and “the right of every businessman, large and small, to trade in an atmosphere of freedom from unfair competition and domination by monopolies at home or abroad.” Yet corporate Democrats are still struggling to tame monopolies and act like they’ve not been complicit!

Economic changes over the past 70 years have changed the kinds of jobs we can expect government to protect and secure. And sadly we have done a terrible job at preventing monopolies. Some multinationals receive favorable tax treatment even while holding cash reserves that rival the federal government - their resources are easily enough to swallow up any new competitors that come along.

I’m running for Congress against one of the nation’s top Democrats. So what would I do that my opponent would not?

I will look at the real future of work and prioritize subsidies that benefit jobs that cannot be replaced by automation. Many of those will be in the medical profession.

I will use the power of federal government contracts to reduce inequality. Any business that gets federal business must not have a pay multiple of more than 30x between the total income of its highest and lowest paid workers. And I will work to end the gross wage inequality between all workers, ensuring that corporate prosperity benefits everyone.

I will work to re-route subsidies from large businesses and especially dirty energy to science, research, and clean, renewable energy, and to small businesses with an innovation focus.

Better jobs only matter if we truly change federal policies to prepare for the future and to reduce inequality. Nancy Pelosi won’t do this because the current system fills her campaign coffers with millions of dollars each year.

“Better Skills” with Free College for All

Automation is a ticking time bomb for our economy. Millions of driving jobs, experts predict, will be the first to go. Here in San Francisco, thousands of workers drive for services including Lyft and Uber even while those billion dollar companies dedicate themselves to researching how to eliminate those workers through self-driving cars. Automation isn’t a threat as long as the economy is growing, or as long as workers are cheaper than robots. But that won’t last.

We are facing changes of monumental proportion and even the Silicon Valley elite are beginning to plan for a future where there are far fewer jobs than there are people to fill them.

And yet our society is amazingly prosperous.

The Democratic Party has unveiled a new “Better Deal” slogan that promises “Better Skills.” We all know that upskilling is not enough. Computer programs can already code, so code academies aren’t the answer. Even much of the work of attorneys like me - the tedious research and brief writing that fills many an associate’s day - is being replaced by computer programs. Political debate on social media is often carried out by “bots” - simple programs that communicate and conversate like real human beings.

“Better Skills” alone aren’t enough, so what are we to do? First, it’s time to open our public colleges and universities to all, free of charge, to ensure that all American have a shot at the nuanced education required to keep ahead of the bots. Second, we must begin to turn our economy from war to care.

Insurance jobs should be replaced with real health care opportunities.

Instead of waiting for automation to turn our world upside down, it’s time for us to make a real shift to an economy that takes care of all. President Roosevelt, in his 1944 State of the Union, offered these rights:

The right to adequate medical care and the opportunity to achieve and enjoy good health;
The right to adequate protection from the economic fears of old age, sickness, accident, and unemployment.
I want an educated population that works together to face down the challenges of automation together. We can rethink work, we can rethink our dependence on a war economy, and we can reform a health care system where millions of jobs depend on the suffering of millions of uninsured and uninsured Americans.

Is the current Congress capable of dealing with these changes? No.

It’s time for us to replace the toothless politicians in DC with leaders willing to take on the real challenges we face, who are dedicated to the rights of every American to live a life of prosperity and dignity.