‘The Speaker can’t likely win an election in San Francisco while doing as much as she has to support & enable our criminal president.’
San Francisco civil liberties lawyer Shahid Buttar last week formerly entered the primary race against House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, depicting her in an interview with the California Globe as some kind of right-wing troglodyte and stalking horse for Donald Trump.
Buttar, an immigrant from Britain who is of Pakistani descent, filed papers at San Francisco City Hall on December 6 to challenge Pelosi for her 12th congressional district seat.
The Democratic Socialist has already raised $300,000–including $50,000 in November. He hopes to raise more than one million dollars and realizes that is small stuff compared to Pelosi’s war chest but contends all the money won’t do her any good since she is so far out of sync with San Franciscans’ values.
In response to emailed questions from the California Globe, Buttar, who is also a poet and a DJ, ripped into Pelosi for allegedly enabling the government’s mass surveillance of citizens, the detention facilities for migrant families that he calls concentration camps and for not supporting universal health care.
Additionally, he complained that she supported legislation in 2013 that maintained the NSA’s vast surveillance powers over Americans. The Stanford Law grad supports universal health care or Medicare for all, which Pelosi has strongly opposed.
“I’m running to replace Pelosi in the House because she has advanced corporate power in the face of mounting social desperation, and executive power and authoritarianism despite a constitutional crisis,” he contended. “As a constituent who loves San Francisco deeply and has long championed our city’s visionary values, I can’t bear watching us be misrepresented. Both I and San Francisco stand for human rights, while the Speaker has unfortunately undermined them: funding concentration camps at the border, helping conceal CIA torture, supporting unconstitutional NSA mass surveillance, and defending a failed, predatory corporate healthcare system.”
Doesn’t all that sound like odd criticisms of somebody who has been the Democrats’ most public face of opposition to Donald Trump?
“Impressions of Pelosi as a progressive rely on an outdated construction of the political landscape obviated by the rise of democratic socialism, the presidential campaign of Bernie Sanders, and the emergence of the Squad in Congress,” Buttar insisted.
“Like Kamala Harris, Pelosi appears potentially progressive only by yesterday’s standards. She refuses to heed the mounting consensus to establish a human right to healthcare, and she derides the robust solutions that we need to effectively address the increasingly urgent global climate crisis,” he said.
“She has also supported immigration enforcement powers that expanded ICE, CBP, and FBI surveillance across the United States, undermining not only the rights of migrants, but also U.S. citizens. From funding Bush’s wars to supporting Trump’s human rights abuses, Pelosi has abdicated her duty to defend human rights principle.”
California’s primary is March 3.
This is his second primary challenge to Pelosi.
In 2018 he ran against her in the primary but got only 18,000 votes after entering the race late.
Pelosi got about 68 percent of primary voters that year and was re-elected against a Republican challenger with 86 percent of the vote.
So far, this time around, Buttar has been endorsed by the Democratic Socialists of America Silicon Valley and San Francisco chapters. As well as San Francisco Public Defender’s Office Chief Attorney Matt Gonzalez and civil rights activist Shaun King.
Asked how he could possibly think he could unseat the House speaker who has represented San Francisco for 30 years, Buttar said Pelosi, in actuality doing Trump’s bidding, makes her position untenable.
“One reason I’m so confident that our campaign will liberate San Francisco‘s voice in congress next November is because the Speaker can’t likely win an election in San Francisco while doing as much as she has to support & enable our criminal president.“
He said the public image of Pelosi as the Democrats’ marquee opponent of Donald Trump is a myth.
“Many low-information voters might be confused by insinuations from corporate media that she is standing up for the Constitution and democracy, but my job over the next year is to continue educating, informing, and inspiring my neighbors about the deeper truth. Pelosi has long supported authoritarian government power and relentless corporate predation, placing at risk working families and future generations. Meanwhile, I’ve built a well-established record of confronting corporate and government power in the service of defending and expanding human rights.”