Over the phone the other day, Tom Cramer expressed confusion and no small amount of consternation over my failure to include him among Congressman Dave Reichert’s challengers in the upcoming 2018 election. Where was he on my list!? He’d filed with the Federal Election Commission two months ago! He’d raised more money than anyone else in the race so far! He’s definitely for abortion! Why was I ignoring him!? (In case you can’t tell, he said all of this in a crotchety old man voice that I actually sort of liked.)
I deserved his gentle lashing. Indeed, I had forgotten to include him, but mostly because I didn’t see him shaking hands with the Indivisibles at Pramila Jayapal’s town hall in the 8th district two weeks ago. Cramer says he wasn’t there. He was at some other meeting with Democrats.
Anyway, how embarrassing! Though he’s wrong about having raised more money than anyone else in the race, and though his website is…this…he is running for Congress, and by not mentioning him I have failed to do my due diligence.
In light of my oversight, allow me to present the Very Progressive Platform of Tom Cramer, Who Is Definitely Running For Congress Against Dave Reichert, But Who Also Sounds Like He's Constantly Yelling At A Cloud.
But first, some background.
Cramer grew up in Chicago, IL. In 2000, he ran for Congress in a suburban district but lost in the primary to Brent Christiansen. Shortly thereafter he visited Washington to work for six weeks with his son on Maria Cantwell's Senate campaign. He moved to Redmond a year later because he liked the liberal politics that seemed to dominate the region. Both of his children graduated from Evergreen State College and have since relocated.
Cramer made a brief showing in the contest for Washington's 9th district in 2012, but he also lost in the primary.
Though he would guess journalists like me make anywhere between $50,000 and $100,000 per year, and though he claims he just sold half of his interest in a privately held software company he "thinks is called TC & B Management" for $15 million, Cramer styles himself as the progressive choice in the 8th.
His number one issue, he tells me over the phone, is raising pay for regular people. The same cascade of percentages indicating income inequality that fell from Bernie's mouth during the 2016 campaign fall from Cramer's, and to fix those percentages Cramer says he'd direct the Federal Reserve to invest the $4.5 trillion it's holding in bonds in ways that would bring up wages.
At this point, he's not ready to "talk specifics" about how the Fed would do that, but that would be his favorite thing to talk about should the people of the 8th elect him as their representative.
He supports the effort to raise the federal minimum wage to $15 per hour, but says that policy only helps poor people and does nothing for the middle class.
Unlike the other Democratic challengers in the race, Cramer proudly champions Medicare for All. "We can’t afford to subsidize health insurance companies and other health corporations that don't add anything of value to the healthcare system," he says, adding that "the rich don't like Medicare because it's the one tax they have to pay. The Republicans are after that. They want to get rid of that."
He also strongly supports "free state college or free vocational training for everyone who wants to do it." He'd pay for that by raising the marginal rate for people who make over $3 million per year to 76 percent.
Good luck, Tom.