Saturday, February 17, 2018

Is A Republican-Lite, Pro-NRA Approach Sometimes Needed For A Democrat?

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Friday morning's post, How Many Pro-NRA Candidates Is The DCCC Trying To Sneak Into Congress This Cycle? Way Too Many, dealt with the Blue Dogs and New Dems from the Republican wing of the Democratic Party who:
back an NRA line
are DCCC darlings.
We dealt with Conor Lamb, whose PA-18 special election is less than a month away: March 13. It's a pretty red district with a PVI of R+11. Trump beat Hillary there by a massive 58.1-38.5%. She under-performed Obama and Trump over-performed Romney. For Lamb to win, he will really need a massive wave and everything going his way. Last week the House Blue Dog coalition formally endorsed him-- just in case anyone had any doubts about where he stood.

As of the December 31 FEC reporting deadline, Lamb had raised $557,551 and had $412,186 on hand and his Republican opponent, state Rep. Rick Saccone had raised $214,675 and had $199,938 on hand. Those figures were largely obliterated as the NRCC and other GOP outside groups spent $2,160,880 attacking Lamb as a Nancy Pelosi clone and another $825,182 bolstering Saccone. The DCCC spent $236,000 on Lamb's behalf. Since those officially reported expenditures, the RNC reports it will spend $1 million on a GOTV operation and Ryan's SuperPAC has invested $1.7 in anti-Lamb ads and has opened 2 field offices in the district. The DCCC ad, up top, is mediocre, unemotional and ineffective. It ran for 2 weeks and ended Feb. 12. As the Republican support for Saccone goes into overdrove, the DCCC seems to have left the field of battle entirely.

The most recent polling-- Feb 14-- by Monmouth tests 3 models, one for low turnout, one for high turnout and one with a surge model (akin to a big blue wave). Saccone wins in all 3 scenarios, but Lamb comes closest in the surge model-- 49-46%, within the poll's margin of error. In other words, Lamb needs Democratic enthusiasm if he's going to even have a chance. But... unlike Alabama, where unbelievable minority participation won the day for Doug Jones, there are virtually no minorities in PA-18. It's a very white district-- 2.3% black, 1.6% Asian, 1.4% Latino. That's not going drag Lamb over the finish line.

So what's Lamb doing to pull this off? Taking the Jon Ossoff route, AKA, Republican-lite. After the NRA/GOP massacre in Florida this week, Lamb took a standard Republican line.
Democratic congressional candidate Conor Lamb said Friday that new gun laws aren't the answer to preventing more mass shootings like the one at a Florida high school this week.

Lawmakers should instead improve the effectiveness of existing background-check laws, said Lamb, 33, of Mt. Lebanon, who is campaigning for a March 13 special election in Southwestern Pennsylvania.

“I believe we have a pretty good law on the books and it says on paper that there are a lot of people who should never get guns in their hands,” Lamb said at a campaign event in Carnegie. “And we know that the background check system is not achieving that result. What I think it's going to take is people in Congress who are willing to do more than just talk, who are willing to actually work together and stay late, if it requires that, and do some things that would really produce change.”

He didn't provide specifics on what he thinks might produce that change.

When asked whether he would support background checks for people who buy weapons at gun shows and online-- checks are not currently required for all private sales in those situations-- he said, “I'd be willing to look at proposals that would strengthen our background check system, but I want to start where the broad agreement already is, and the broad agreement already is that we're not doing a good enough job keeping guns out of the hands of people with mental health conditions and with criminals.”

Lamb said changing individual laws-- such as a proposed ban on high-capacity ammunition magazines-- isn't the place to start addressing gun violence.

“I think that the emotions that a lot of us are feeling right now are very raw because we know that there's not one thing we can do with the stroke of a pen or one thing you can ban,” he said. “We need a comprehensive answer on mental health.”

...The National Rifle Association, which fights against new gun regulations, endorsed Saccone last month and has given him an A+ rating based on his votes in the state House. He received $1,750 in campaign donations from the NRA Victory Fund from 2010 through 2014, according to state campaign finance records. He received about $5,700 in that time from the group Firearm Owners Against Crime, which has also donated $750 to his congressional campaign, according to the records.
Pennsylvania state Senator Daylin Leach: "The problem is that the pro-gun nuts are already voting for the Republican. All this will do is suppress Democratic and Independent enthusiasm for Lamb. It would have not only been the right thing to do, but smarter politics to boldly say 'It may not be popular, but we need to pass reasonable legislation to stop this slaughter.' He would have been a hero, rather than another panderer."

David Gill is running for the Democratic nomination for Congress in a Republican-held district in central Illinois. I didn't ask him about guns but in preparation for a Blue America letter asking for last minute contributions for his get out the vote operation, I asked him for a closing statement. He's taking a very different approach than Lamb. If you prefer it, please consider tapping on the thermometer below and contributing to Dr. Gill's campaign.
My campaign team and I have worked hard to position myself to succeed in the primary on March 20. Voters here have been very excited about my message of single-payer healthcare, a $15/hour minimum wage, and tuition-free access to public higher education and trade schools.

Goal ThermometerWe view the November general election as a golden opportunity to move toward real change; given my past performance against the Republican incumbent, we have no doubt that I can defeat him this year. And when I get to Washington, I intend to be a game-changer, using my background as an emergency medicine physician to counter the myths advanced by those who oppose single-payer, and to help lead the charge to the type of health care system that FDR envisioned for us 75 years ago.

But first, of course, I have to survive on March 20. And this primary is really a battle for the soul of the Democratic party. I'm taking on establishment-backed candidates who refuse to stand up for single-payer, the Fight for 15, or tuition freedom. I'll be out-spent, but not out-worked: my staff and I, and our passionate volunteers, have knocked on thousands of doors and talked with thousands of voters. And those Democratic voters are done with half-measures, they're done with Republican Lite. They are demanding a shift toward a government focused on ordinary people, and as a lifelong progressive populist, I look forward to being a part of such a seismic shift.

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Trump Will Likely Be Remembered As A Benedict Arnold, Not As A Father Coughlin

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Thursday night I was down in Huntington Beach for a house party for Laura Oatman, the progressive running against Dana Rohrabacher. It was great. Laura and Marianne Williamson tag-teamed and it was amazing. At some point a man had asked Laura if she "had the stomach" for such a tough race. You should have seen the two mama bears in action! "The stomach?"asked Marianne with either incredulity or outrage. "She has a womb!" Laura then said "And this womb produced 5 children in 5 years. Her husband looked a little embarrassed but the statement brought down the roof. Rohrabacher will need one himself before she gets finished with him-- or maybe before Mueller does.

You've probably heard by now that yesterday Mueller started laying the groundwork for the collusion case against the Trump Circus by unveiling the details of a widespread and coordinated campaign by Russians to influence the 2016 election in favor of Señor Trumpanzee, delivering on his initial mandate by the Justice Department. He indicted 13 Russian nationals and three Russian entities on charges of defrauding the U.S. government by interfering with the political process.
Prosecutors provided a remarkably detailed picture of how Russians used social media, fake rallies and secretive operatives in the U.S. to create “political intensity” by backing radical groups, opposition social movements and disaffected voters. The outreach from the Russians included direct contact with over 100 Americans.

This “information warfare” by the Russians didn’t affect the outcome of the presidential election, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein told reporters. Trump and his Republican supporters have repeatedly denounced the Mueller investigation as a “witch hunt” and have denied any collusion. The indictment cites no instances of Russians coordinating directly with the Trump campaign.

Still, the accusations detail unprecedented foreign attempts to influence the outcome of a U.S. election, including the manipulation of accounts at big U.S. companies like Facebook, Twitter, PayPal and Instagram. Those companies will continue to face pressure to clamp down on fraudulent accounts or risk a government crackdown as intelligence officials have warned that Russians are already engaged in influencing the 2018 midterm elections.

The president has been briefed on the indictment, the White House said. The Russian government called the accusations absurd. Mueller’s office said that none of the defendants was in custody.
Trumpanzee immediately reacted defensively confirming-- by adamant denial-- his collusion with the Kremlin:




The Kremlin had given orders that Trump was their candidate by April 2016, if not sooner, "and began producing and purchasing ads promoting the reality-TV star to voters and 'expressly opposing Clinton,' according to the indictment.
Richard Painter, who was the chief ethics adviser in the George W. Bush administration, said the lack of any evidence of collusion in the indictment wasn’t the final word by prosecutors.

“They’re charging what they know,” he said. “The contact with the Trump campaign might be unwitting in this case, but that doesn’t mean that the collaboration issue is finished.”

The Internet Research Agency, a Russian organization, and the defendants began working in 2014 to interfere in U.S. elections, according to the indictment. They used false personas and social media while also staging political rallies and communicating with “unwitting individuals” associated with the Trump campaign, it said.
An "unwitting individual," of course, describes virtual everyone who voted for Trump. A planning memo instructed its operatives to harm Clinton and bolster Trump, even going so far as to help derail Rubio and Cruz.
The group bought advertisements on U.S. social media and created numerous Twitter accounts designed to appear as if they were U.S. groups or people, according to the indictment. One fake account, @TEN_GOP account, attracted more than 100,000 online followers.

The Russians tracked the metrics of their effort in reports and budgeted for their efforts. Some traveled to the U.S. to gather intelligence for the surreptitious campaign, according to the indictment. They used stolen U.S. identities, including fake drivers licenses, and contacted news media outlets to promote their activities.

In September 2016, the group ordered one worker to “intensify criticizing Hillary Clinton” after a review found insufficient anti-Clinton activity.

The effort went well beyond social media. The Russian effort included organizing rallies for Trump and paying Americans to participate in them or perform tasks at them. One American was paid to build a cage on a flatbed truck; another was paid to portray Clinton in a prison uniform.

Rallies were promoted with Facebook ads. Paid ads included this one on Oct. 19, 2016: “Hillary is a Satan, and her crimes and lies had proved just how evil she is.”

...In June 2016, the defendants allegedly posed as grassroots activists using the account @March_for_Trump to contact a volunteer for the Trump campaign in New York. The volunteer agreed to provide signs for their “March for Trump” rally, according to the indictment. By August, the accused Russians were communicating with unwitting Trump campaign staff involved in local community outreach to discuss their fraudulent “Florida Goes Trump” rallies.

Two years before the election, the Russians began monitoring groups that use social media sites to influence U.S. politics and social issues, tracking the size of groups and how popular they were with their audiences, according to the indictment.

Several Russians traveled around the U.S. to gather intelligence for their operation, posing as U.S. political and social activists. They used clandestine methods to communicate and gather information, employing special cameras, “drop phones” and “evacuation scenarios” to ensure security.

The Russians set up Facebook and Instagram groups with names that targeted such issues as immigration, religion and the Black Lives Matter movement. They also controlled numerous Twitter groups that appeared to be controlled by U.S. people, such as “Tennessee GOP.”

They spent thousands of dollars a month to buy advertisements on social media groups, while carefully tracking the size of U.S. audiences they reached, according to the indictment.

All of the people and companies charged in Friday’s indictment were connected in some way to the Internet Research Agency, a company widely reported to be a front for Russian government influence campaigns on social media. The company and 12 of its current or former executives and employees were charged.
Internet Research Agency, a Russian troll farm based in St. Petersburg, was controlled by Yevgeny Progozhin, a wealthy Putin crony who is one of the 13 Russians indicted. Who would have ever imagined sane people would be asking questions like Is Trump a traitor? [Confession: it's not something I ever doubted was absolutely possible, not for one second.] As James Risen wrote for The Intercept yesterday, Trump is not a complicated character. "Quite the opposite... everything about him is so painfully obvious. He is a low-rent racist, a shameless misogynist, and an unbalanced narcissist. He is an unrelenting liar and a two-bit white identity demagogue. Lest anyone forget these things, he goes out of his way each day to remind us of them. At the end of the day, he is certain to be left in the dustbin of history, alongside Father Coughlin and Gen. Edwin Walker. (Exactly-- you don’t remember them, either.)"
Unfortunately, another word also describes him: president. The fact that such an unstable egomaniac occupies the White House is the greatest threat to the national security of the United States in modern history.

Which brings me to the only question about Donald Trump that I find really interesting: Is he a traitor?

Did he gain the presidency through collusion with Russian President Vladimir Putin?

One year after Trump took office, it is still unclear whether the president of the United States is an agent of a foreign power. Just step back and think about that for a moment.
There can be ZERO doubt that Señor T and his cronies worked with Moscow to take control of the U.S. government. But can it be proven in a court? Until then wrote Risen, we all must live with the uncertainty of not knowing whether the crook in the Oval Office "has the best interests of the United States or those of the Russian Federation at heart. Most pundits in Washington now recoil at any suggestion that the Trump-Russia story is really about treason. They all want to say it’s about something else-- what, they aren’t quite sure. They are afraid to use serious words. They are in the business of breaking down the Trump-Russia narrative into a long series of bite-sized, incremental stories in which the gravity of the overall case often gets lost. They seem to think that treason is too much of a conversation-stopper, that it interrupts the flow of cable television and Twitter. God forbid you might upset the right wing! (And the left wing, for that matter.) But if a presidential candidate or his lieutenants secretly work with a foreign government that is a longtime adversary of the United States to manipulate and then win a presidential election, that is almost a textbook definition of treason. In Article 3, Section 3, the U.S. Constitution states that 'treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying War against them, or in adhering to their Enemies, giving them Aid and Comfort."
[E]vidence of the connections between Trump’s bid for the White House and Russian ambitions to manipulate the 2016 U.S. election keeps piling up.... [I]t seems increasingly likely that the Russians have pulled off the most consequential covert action operation since Germany put Lenin on a train back to Petrograd in 1917.




...There are four important tracks to follow in the Trump-Russia story. First, we must determine whether there is credible evidence for the underlying premise that Russia intervened in the 2016 election to help Trump win. Second, we must figure out whether Trump or people around him worked with the Russians to try to win the election. Next, we must scrutinize the evidence to understand whether Trump and his associates have sought to obstruct justice by impeding a federal investigation into whether Trump and Russia colluded. A fourth track concerns whether Republican leaders are now engaged in a criminal conspiracy to obstruct justice through their intense and ongoing efforts to discredit Mueller’s probe.


Fast-forward to the run-up to Russia trying to steal the midterms for the Republicans. What do you think the Russians did after the Florida militia nut gunned down 17 students in Parkland last week? Russia/NRA trolls were immediately at work, grabbing attention, provoking emotions and spreading propaganda. "In the wake of Wednesday’s Parkland, Florida school shooting, which resulted in 17 deaths, troll and bot-tracking sites reported an immediate uptick in related tweets from political propaganda bots and Russia-linked Twitter accounts... [S]ome accounts with large bot followings are already spreading misinformation about the shooter's ties to far-left group Antifa, even though the Associated Press reported that he was a member of a local white nationalist group.




Bret Schafer, a research analyst with the Alliance for Securing Democracy, says the spike in shooting-related posts from Russia-linked bots is in line with what his group observed after last year's shootings in Las Vegas and Texas. The Russia-linked bots weigh in on any attention-grabbing news event, but seize on shootings particularly. "Because of the politicized nature of them, they are perfect fodder to take an extreme position and start spreading memes that have a very distinct political position on gun control," he says.

The use of pro-gun control hashtags like #guncontrolnow, along with the spread of anti-gun control links like the Politifact article, appear at first to show the Russian strategy of promoting discord on both sides of a debate. Russian-linked Twitter accounts have attempted to spread confusion and angst on topics ranging from police violence against black people, to NFL player protests, to Al Franken’s sexual misconduct accusations. (On other topics, like special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation of Russia's attempts to influence the 2016 election, the bots have worked in concert to further the Kremlin's agenda.)

But in this case, Schafer suspects the use of pro-gun control hashtags like #guncontrolnow are being used sarcastically, particularly since they're often paired with the anti-gun control links. Since the Twitter accounts Hamilton 68 tracks often target right-wing audiences, Schafer believes the trolls are using the message to attract more eyeballs. "That allows them to then push content that is more directly related to the Kremlin’s geopolitical agenda," such as the Nunes memo, he says. "I don’t think the Kremlin cares one way or another whether we enact stricter gun control laws," he adds. "It's just being used as bait, basically."

Public awareness that antagonistic bots flood the Twitter debate hasn’t stopped them from achieving their goals of ratcheting up the vitriol-- even amid a live tragedy like the Parkland shooting. The goal, after all, isn't to help one side or the other of the gun control debate win. It's to amplify the loudest voices in that fight, deepening the divisions between us.

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Midnight Meme Of The Day!

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by Noah

Republican logic.

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Friday, February 16, 2018

Will Missouri Have The Worst Senate Race Of 2018? It Just Took Another Step In That Direction

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On Thursday the Senate Majority Super-PAC, which is controlled by Schumer released 2 videos essentially the same, one for Indiana conservative Joe Donnelly and one for Missouri conservative Claire McCaskill (above). The message of the 2 ads is that the GOP tax scam that both voted against gives 83% of the benefits to the richest one percent of the population while adding $1.5 trillion to the national debt. And the Republicans plan to pay for it by cutting Medicare. Strong messaging-- but these two will need strong messaging in these two red states. Each state has a daunting a PVI of R+9. Trump beat Hillary 1,557,286 (56.8%) to 1,033,126 (37.9%). She only managed to win 4 of Indiana's 92 counties. Indiana was ready for change, not for Hillary's status quo message. In the primaries Bernie had beaten her 335,256 (52.5%) to 303,382 (47.5%)-- even though Wasserman Schultz had fixed the results so that Hillary walked away with a majority of the delegates. In Monroe County (Bloomington) Bernie didn't just beat Hillary 15,166 to 8,063, he beat Trump, Cruz and Kasich combined (14,447).

Missouri was very much the same story as indiana in November. Trump beat Hillary 1,594,511 (56.8%) to 1,071,068 (38.1%), Hillary winning just 4 of the state's 114 counties. Bernie and Hillary each got just over 49% in the primary, but, again, Wasserman Schulz had rigged the primary so that Bernie got just 34 delegates to Hillary's 47.

Last time McCaskill faced Missouri's voters was in 2012. She lucked out when the GOP ran bizarre sociopath Todd Akin, too much to swallow even for a red state like Missouri. After Akin's self-inflicted wounds about "legitimate rape" followed by him comparing McCaskill to a dog, she beat him 1,484,683 (54.8%) to 1,063,698 (39.1%) on the same day Romney was beating Obama 1,482,440 (53.8%) to 1,223,796 (44.4%). This year McCaskill isn't running against a verifiably insane Republican. The Republicans are running state Attorney General Josh Hawley. In the last half dozen polls, he's run ahead of her in 5 and she beat him-- by one point-- in the 6th. He's no Akin, although Republicans can't quite stay away from their party's war against women. In December he said that the sexual liberation of the 1960s had mitigated the social stigma for sex outside of marriage, which "has led to exploitation of women on a scale that we would never have imagined," leading to slavery of women. Trump loves him.

And yesterday, McCaskill's road to reelection may have gotten even steeper-- as an independent, Craig O'Dear jumped in. When he first formed his exploratory committee in January, Newsweek noted that it could be a game changer.
Geoffrey Skelley, associate editor of Sabato’s Crystal Ball at the University of Virginia Center for Politics, highlighted the unpredictable nature of an O'Dear candidacy.

“If O’Dear takes disproportionately from Hawley or McCaskill, that could potentially swing the race,” Skelley said. “In a race that is close, if there is some of that, it might be bad” for either candidate.

Skelley further stressed that Democrats need to hold on to the seat to have any chance of securing a Senate majority.

Even with a Republican Senate majority, Trump has had a difficult time pushing through much of his agenda during his first year, often blaming the filibuster rule and calling on Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to repeal it.

If Democrats take control of the upper chamber, Trump will find it almost impossible to get his legislative agenda through Congress. His two biggest achievements, the passage of a tax bill and the confirmation of Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch, only barely passed the Senate. A Democrat-controlled Senate would have no incentive to do the president any favors ahead of the 2020 election and would likely refuse to hand him any significant legislative victories.

Republicans currently control the upper chamber by the thinnest of margins, holding 51 seats to the Democrats' 49. For Democrats to wrest majority control from the Republicans, they would need to pick up two Republican-held seats while successfully retaining each seat they are defending. Such a scenario is essentially impossible without a McCaskill victory in Missouri, an outcome made even more uncertain with the addition of a wild card like O’Dear.

...Despite being a self-described longtime conservative Republican, O’Dear donated to Hillary Clinton during her 2016 run for president. This is already being used as ammunition by both leading candidates.

The McCaskill campaign is seeking to paint O’Dear as a staunch conservative driven out of the party by an unpopular president.

“It’s not surprising that another lifelong Republican is abandoning their party because of Donald Trump,” Meira Bernstein, communications director for the McCaskill campaign, said. “This is a fight over the soul of the Republican Party.”

But the Hawley campaign has other ideas, describing the race as a battle between McCaskill and O’Dear for Democratic votes.

“Sounds like another Hillary-loving liberal to me,” Kelli Ford, spokeswoman for the Hawley campaign, said. “We look forward to watching the trial lawyer and Senator McCaskill compete to be the liberal standard-bearer.”
Yesterday O'Dear pulled the trigger yesterday. To me he sounds like an utterly clueless idiot offering the very worst of the Republican Party mixed with the worst of the conservative Democrats and a big splash of ignorance. On top of that, he doesn't have any kind of political network and isn't known at all-- but still thinks he can win by capturing 35-40% in a 3-way race, a virtually impossible task. He says he was encouraged to run by Greg Orman, an independent running for governor of Kansas. O'Dear had contributed to both Democrats and Republicans, including $3,200 to Republican Gov. Eric Greitens, currently drowning in a scandal about paying hush money to a woman to shut her up about their extramarital affair.
O’Dear does not plan to caucus with either party if he is elected to the Senate. He said that the fact that the federal government has faced a shutdown twice in the span of two months demonstrates the dysfunction caused by the party system.

“The problem in the United States Senate is everything is controlled by two caucuses… We have got to find a way to introduce some non-caucus space in this country,” he said. 
O’Dear said that is a central part of his pitch to voters even if they identify as Republicans or Democrats.

“You want to help your party, help get me elected,” he said. “It will moderate both parties if you help create a center.”

McCaskill was one of only five Senate Democrats to vote against shutting down the federal government in January, but O’Dear contended that her move to the center was part of an election year strategy.

He also criticized President Donald Trump for proposing spending increases after pushing for tax cuts last year, two moves that will increase the country’s deficit.
Prediction: O'Dear won't take 10% of the vote and won't be a real factor in the race, drawing equally from each party. Unless the anti-Trump/anti-GOP is wave is massive, McCaskill will lose. Missouri is a Republican state and behaving like a Republican, the way McCaskill does, won't persuade more Republican voters to switch over to her than it will persuade Democratic voters to sit out her reelection bid. Like her support for the Crapo crap-bailout of big banks. Are Missouri voters dumb enough to buy into her anti-consumer deregulation bullshit?



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Trump Kissed A Berniecrat And Now She's Running For The Ohio State Legislature

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Rachel Crooks works at Heidelberg University in Tiffin, Ohio in their international college recruitment department. She's running for the Ohio state legislature in the 88th district against Republican incumbent Bill Reineke. She was a Bernie activist in 2016 and she's running for the legislature on a platform synch with his progressive ideas. And she's eager to talk about those ideas. But what people want to talk with her about isn't about Sandusky and Seneca counties or about Reineke. They want to talk with her about something that happened when she worked at the Bayrock Group in Trump Tower. Yep, that is the now infamous Felix Sater that was involved with Russian money laundering and the Trump SoHo scam. Crooks was a 22 year old receptionist in 2005 when she worked there. She's a very attractive woman and when Trump met her he thought he could just kiss her on the mouth. It shocked her. I spoke with her yesterday and she told me that she "was so upset that he thought I was so insignificant that he could do that."

Goal ThermometerBut there's a lot more to Rachel Crooks than an idiotic interaction with the national clown 13 years ago. She told me she's "running because the average person’s voice has been lost in politics. The people representing us have been left unchecked for too long, and now they only cater to their own self-interests, lobbyists and donors. A democratic government shouldn’t be based on dollar signs. We need to get corruption out of politics. I want to make sure that every Ohioan’s vote counts, which is why I support ending discriminatory gerrymandering practices and believe we must protect voting rights. I also support public financing for political campaigns."

The legislative district, part of far right extremist Jim Jordan's congressional district, is much more moderate than Jordan's whole district. Although Trump won the state legislative district, 29,859 (59.6%) to 16,898 (33.7%), Sandusky County was a county Obama had won in 2012. The nearly moribund Ohio Democratic Party didn't bother to run a candidate against Reineke in 2016. In 2014 Reineke beat Democrat Bill Young 17,335 (59%) to 12,040 (41%). This cycle there's a lot of enthusiasm about Crooks' campaign.

The district consists of a series of blue collar communities anchored by major manufacturers amidst typical Midwest farming communities. The largest employer in the district is a Whirlpool plant that employs more than 3,000 workers. Other major employers include plastic, and cardboard suppliers to the Whirlpool plant as well a Heinz production facility and many other smaller tool and die and plastic plants.

Although the district took a hard turn for Trump in 2016, there were major signs of life in 2017. The largest city in the district, Fremont, Ohio saw two Republican incumbent council members defeated, and another Democrat nearly took a third seat but lost to the Republican by two votes. The council flipped from a 3-3-1 split, to a strong 5-2 Democratic majority. One of those seats was won by a Democrat after being held by Republicans for over 30 years.

Sandusky County, the more Democratic leaning of the two county district has the largest Hispanic population by county perentage in the state of Ohio. Making inroads with the Hispanic community will make Rachel's election more likely and will also help the local Democratic Party in the long run.

The district is due for a change. Rachel's opponent has joined his Republican colleagues in Columbus and have continually robbed local governments of millions of dollar in local government fund cuts. Each of the largest cities in the district are missing nearly a million dollars a year in lost revenue. This has the consequence of understaffed police and fire departments, and crumbling infrastrucure.

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How To Root The Republican Fakers Out Of Democratic Primaies-- Joesph Kopser Just Made It Very East In TX-21

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The Texas primaries are coming up in just under 3 weeks-- followed by primary runoffs on May 22. And those primaries-- with so many vulnerable red seats and so many seats Republican incumbents are abandoning-- are crowded. TX-21 is a super-gerrymandered district that starts up in West Campus and the Drag in Austin, skirts the state Capitol, takes in Downtown before crossing the Colorado River to encompass Travis Heights, South Lamar and Sunset Valley before heading down through Buda, the western part of both San Marcos and New Braunfels before hitting Alamo Heights, Olmos Park, Terrell Hills, Fort Sam Houston and Government Hill in San Antonio. To the west of that skinny corridor from south Austin to north San Antonio is a big chunk of less populated Hill Country that includes Boerne, Frederickcburg, Bandera, Medina way out to Camp Wood on the Nueces River. May back last April we started warning our friends in San Antonio-- people in Austin already knew-- that one of the Democratic candidates, Joseph Kopser, was really a Republican trying to pass himself off as a Democrat.

Because Kopser has raised the most money-- $676,700 as of December 31, the last FEC reporting deadline-- the establishment media often refers to him as the "leading candidate." That sure doesn't include The Intercept, where investigative reporter Said Jilani just exposed Kopser for a wider audience. I hope it's wide enough to stop this guy. He's one I wouldn't ever even support against a Republican.
Businessman and Iraq veteran Joseph Kopser, a former Republican who is backed by national Democrats, was asked about his views on border security at the Ranchers and Landowners Association of Texas the second weekend of February. The comments have not been previously reported.

“Border security on our Southern border and our Northern border is something we have to focus on,” he replied. He went on to advocate for fences and greater use of technology in the air and on the ground to detect threats on the border. Curiously, he cited his time in Iraq as justification.

“I want to secure our borders because when I spent my time in Iraq, when we were fighting Al Qaeda, the border between Iraq and Iran was not secure, and those fighters came over with Iran and that didn’t do us any good in that fight,” he said. “Nor do I want to allow anyone across our border without us knowing who they are.”

A member of the audience called out, “Are you sure you’re on the right ticket?”

He replied, “I’m on the American ticket.”



Kopser’s progressive opponent, former Capitol Hill staffer Derrick Crowe-- who is backed by Our Revolution, National Nurses United, and other Bernie Sanders-aligned organizations-- reacted harshly to Kopser’s remarks in a statement to The Intercept.

“I am disgusted, but not surprised, to hear Joseph Kopser comparing the U.S.-Mexico border to a war zone, those who cross it to Al Qaeda, and endorsing border zones condemned by the ACLU,” he said in a statement to The Intercept. “It is unacceptable for Kopser to join Donald Trump in calling for the militarization of our border communities and turning them into war zones.”
Now, would you like to hear what a real progressive Texas Democrat sounds like? All Kopser's money won't buy him an ad like the one below. He just doesn't have the heart or the soul for it. No Republicans or so-called "ex"-Republicans do. The DCCC should try to understand the difference. It might help them win races, instead of lose and lose and lose.



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How Many Pro-NRA Candidates Is The DCCC Trying To Sneak Into Congress This Cycle? Way Too Many

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Republican candidates for Congress seem to go out of their way to mention protecting the 2nd Amendment on their campaign websites. I guess it comforts their base voters. But wasn't I surprised a few months ago when a putative Democrat, Andrew Janz, the establishment candidate fighting for the Democratic nomination to oppose Devin Nunes, told me that the #1 and #2 motivations for him to run for Congress were encouraging more use of the death penalty-- "It doesn't get used enough," were his exact words-- and protecting the 2nd Amendment. I didn't know him and he called out of the blue so I asked if he's a Democrat. "Democrats are different in the Central Valley," he said. I guess so. Now Janz has hired some slick political consultants who have taught him how to speak so he sounds more like a Democrat, at least going into the primary, where he's battling an actual progressive, Ricardo Franco. I checked Janz's website today and it looks more like a Democratic approach:




Last night there was a candidates forum for CA-22. As usually, Nunes stayed away. And because the gun question would obviously be front and center, Janz also ducked out, which is a shame, since it would have been helpful to tie him down to a specific response instead if letting him dance around the issue. Here's Rico's response to the question "What is your stance on gun control and describe a specific piece of legislation that you would support that would prevent the type of frightening mass shootings that occur with increasing frequency across our country? Do you accept campaign contributions from the NRA? What is your rationale?"



The DCCC discourages its candidates from putting up issues pages on their campaign websites, so it's hard to tell which of its wretched candidates are the most supportive of the NRA. Most of them are wily enough to keep that on the down-low. I do remember that Ann Kirkpatrick, the reactionary the DCCC is running in Tucson, was the actual poster girl for the NRA in Arizona:


Click on this to see how Ann Kirkpatrick has cozied top to the NRA


In early December, Congress took a procedural vote providing for consideration of H.R. 38, Richard Hudson's Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act, which just happened to be the NRA's #1 priority for the current session of Congress. The procedural motion passed 232-194, four Blue Dogs crossing the aisle to vote with the Republicans: Henry Cuellar (TX), Collin Peterson (MN), Vicente Gonzalez (TX) and Sanford Bishop (GA). The underlying bill itself had three Democratic cosponsors: Cuellar, Peterson and Bishop. There were 10 Republican NO votes, all kooks and nuts like Louie Gohmert, Jim Jordan and Steve King who didn't feel the bill went far enough. A few hours later the bill itself passed 231-198 with fully 6 NRA-lovin' Democrats on board:
Sanford Bishop (Blue Dog-GA)
Henry Cuellar (Blue Dog-TX)
Vicente Gonzalez (Blue Dog-TX)
Ron Kind (New Dem-WI)
Collin Peterson (Blue Dog-MN)
Kurt Schrader (Blue Dog-OR)
Do you want more NRA-lovin' fake Democrats in Congress? Just vote for a Blue Dog and you're more likely than not to be voting for a gun nut. I looked at some of their websites. These are the Blue Dogs who the DCCC has added two its Red to Blue program:

Paul Davis (KS-02) has no issues page just a big blurb on the from page bragging how he had outraised his Republican opponents.

Brendan Kelly (IL-12) has no issues page on his campaign website either.

Dan McCready-- same thing: no issues page.

OK, I finally found one with an issues page: Max Rose in the Staten Island/Brooklyn district. He's another military guy, like almost all the DCCC candidates this year, and he does include a sentence that seems to be the go-to line from the DCCC template on how to talk about guns: "Finally, he’ll work with members of both parties to pass common-sense measures like universal background checks and closing the gun show loop hole to make it harder for criminals or worse to get their hands on deadly weapons."

I found another DCCC Blue Dog with an issues page: Anthony Brindisi (NY-22). He doesn't mention anything about guns, but that makes sense since he's a longtime notorious NRA shill, who's taken a leading role in fighting gun safety in the state legislature. The NRA and the New York Shooters Committee both rated him 100% in 2016, their most recent ratings period. Gun Control Advocates rated every member of the New York Assembly on their voting records and out of the 150 members, 44 failed, mostly Republicans but including Brindisi.

Ben McAdams (UT-04)-- brings us back to DCCC Blue Dogs with no issues page. The NRA rated him a "C" in 2010.

The DCCC is fighting hard for Conor Lamb in the PA-18 special election. Lamb is a garden variety Blue Dog. The Atlantic tried to figure out where he stands on policy as well.
Lamb, a former federal prosecutor and military veteran, is so far running as a centrist Democrat. His campaign has chosen to emphasize a record of fighting the opioid epidemic, and taking on drug dealers and violent criminals.

Conspicuously absent from the Democratic candidate’s campaign website is any mention of hot-button issues like abortion and gun control laws (though it does say he has led prosecutions against gun traffickers). In interviews, Lamb has said that “choice is the law of the land.” He has said that he is “pro-Second Amendment,” though he thinks that “we need to have the conversation” about gun control.

“This district as a whole is a pro-life, pro-Second Amendment type of place and the Republican nominee is kind of standard issue conservative Republican on those issues,” said Christopher Nicholas, a Republican political consultant based in Pennsylvania. “The district is not going to elect someone who can’t tell you where they stand on abortion and isn’t a strong Second Amendment supporter.”
The most recent Blue Dog endorsement is for corrupt South Jersey pol, state Senator Jeff Van Drew, a real scumbag conservative. No issues on his website, of course. But the Association of New Jersey Rifle and Pistol Clubs rates him an "A" and the NRA gave him a 100% rating and New Jersey voters know he's right up the NRA's ass.
The state Senate today passed 10 gun control measures. The bill passed by a mostly party-line vote of 23-17, with most Democrats in favor and all Republicans opposed. Only one Democrat, state Sen. Jeff Van Drew, from Cape May County, voted against it.
The DCCC is determined to stuff as many Blue Dogs from the Republican wing of the Democratic Party into Congress as they can this cycle. They're not part of the solution; they're part of the problem-- a big part of the problem.

Heitkamp is as much a murder as Paul Ryan. Do we need more "Democrats" like her in Congress?

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DCCC Big Foots Into Orange County-- Excellent News... For the NRCC

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The DCCC has mostly stayed out of the California Democratic primaries... but that changed this week. So far they've just been getting some of their puppet organizations to weigh in on the side of their corrupt conservative recruits. Yesterday Cook's David Wasserman had a fine description of what's going on in CA-25 (Santa Clarita, Antelope Valley and Simi Valley) but for a post entitled Battle for the House: Are Crowded Democratic Primaries a Blessing or a Curse? he missed the whole point of what's going on in the state now. Maybe he'll follow up another day. His post makes the case for why Katie Hill should be the Democratic nominee-- even without mentioning the poll that shows Katie beating Steve Knight 53-40% while the widely disliked corporate carpetbagger, Bryan Caforio, essentially tied with Knight.
Katie Hill, 30, is a first-time candidate who may be one of the most impressive Democratic contenders of 2018. The daughter of a nurse and a police officer, she studied nursing herself before shifting to the non-profit sector, and by 29 she was running the largest anti-homelessness non-profit in California, with an annual budget over $40 million. But her ability to navigate a tricky primary may hold the key to Democrats' chances of flipping a critical district.

Republicans' biggest structural advantages in the House-- think geography, incumbency and money-- have been weakening all cycle. Pennsylvania's GOP map just got thrown out, at least 32 Republicans aren't seeking reelection, and over three dozen GOP incumbents were out-raised by Democrats in the final quarter of 2017-- including GOP Rep. Steve Knight (CA-25), whom Hill out-raised. In the past, these kinds of trends have foreshadowed wave elections.

But as primary season approaches, the explosion of candidate and donor interest on the Democratic side has a caveat: in a lot of races, Democrats suddenly have more well-funded hopefuls than they know what to do with.

In fact, crowded fields of Democrats-- there are at least 43 GOP-held seats where at least two Democrats have at least $100,000 in the bank-- have become a GOP talking point. According to the Republican narrative, primaries will force Democrats to spend all their money attacking each other and running far to the left. As a result, their nominees will enter the general election bruised, broke and more aligned with the Resistance than swing voters.

So, are these congested Democratic primaries a blessing or a curse? The answer: it depends on the situation, but overall, Republicans shouldn't count on them to save their majority.

First, it's important to remember that competitive primaries didn't stop GOP candidates from winning in 2010-- in fact, many races forced them to hone their skills and helped them get known earlier. Second, for Democrats, nominating a candidate who emerges from a primary broke (a problem that can be fixed) should be less of a fear than nominating a candidate who doesn't fit his or her district (a problem that can't).

Case in point: California's 25th District, located in northern Los Angeles County. As he was in 2016, Rep. Steve Knight is once again one of the most vulnerable GOP incumbents in the House. Knight is a dyed-in-the-wool sophomore conservative with an in-your-face reputation (in 2015, he told a protester "I'll drop your ass") sitting in a district that voted for Hillary Clinton 50 percent to 43 percent. He's also a relatively weak fundraiser known for running low-budget races.

So how did Knight win reelection in 2016 with 53 percent while President Trump lost the district by seven points? And how is he the last Republican from LA County remaining in Congress? The answer: Democrats' star recruit turned out to be a less than ideal fit for the district.

The 25th CD is anchored by northern Los Angeles County and is getting more diverse (38 percent percent of its residents are Latino) and less Republican every year. But culturally, it's worlds apart from downtown Los Angeles. Despite its growth, Santa Clarita likes to think of itself as a small town, and the nearby Antelope Valley is lower-income and heavily dependent on agriculture. Many voters own guns, and a substantial number own and ride horses.

...In 2016, Knight lucked out when Democrats nominated Bryan Caforio, a partner at a downtown Los Angeles law firm who grew up in upscale Orange County, went to Yale Law School, and moved into the 25th CD to run. Caforio emphasized that his parents were public school teachers, but Republicans mercilessly attacked him as a "Beverly Hills lawyer" propped up by "limousine liberal" donors. It worked, despite Trump's unpopularity.

As a young, female political neophyte, Hill would offer a jarring contrast to Knight, a longtime politician. But unlike Caforio, she wouldn't be susceptible to the carpetbagger label. In fact, she might be Democrats' dream candidate for the down-home, independent-minded 25th CD.

Hill grew up in both the Antelope Valley and Santa Clarita, the daughter of a long line of military veterans. She attended Cal State Northridge, owns guns, and lives with her husband on a farm where they raise horses, goats and chickens. Until recently, she didn't consider herself especially political, but campaigned to pass an anti-homelessness ballot initiative in 2016 and confronted Knight about the GOP healthcare bill at a 2017 town hall.

She's garnered the endorsements of EMILY's List and nearby Democratic Rep. Judy Chu. In the final quarter of 2017, she raised $248,000, slightly more than Knight. She's down-to-earth, talks openly about family members' struggles with addiction and earned praise for sharing the story of her unplanned teenage pregnancy via a Facebook video. She describes herself as a pragmatist who didn't have a strong preference between Clinton and Bernie Sanders in 2016.

There's just one catch: Caforio, 34, is running again in 2018, and he and Hill are vying fiercely to advance to the general election in the June 5 top-two primary. Caforio carries over plenty of name ID from the 2016 race, as well as institutional support from the likes of [fellow corporate whore] Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom and a host of labor unions. Caforio is seeking to run as the "true progressive," and in January won the party pre-endorsement convention with 73 percent of delegate votes.

California's party endorsements aren't binding or especially predictive; after all, Caforio himself beat out a Democratic party-endorsed former LA police officer in the 2016 top-two primary. But according to one private mid-January survey, he narrowly led Hill, likely owing to his residual name recognition. And having been on the ballot before is extremely valuable in a district covered by the cost-prohibitive LA media market where paid communication is limited to digital and mail.

Hill has tied Caforio in fundraising and has almost four more months to close the name ID gap, but Caforio may also feel pressure to attack Hill. For Caforio, who has defended large corporations in major suits, chastising a non-profit executive could risk backfiring. Nonetheless, his campaign could go after Hill's gun collection, skepticism towards full single-payer healthcare or six-figure non-profit salary in an effort to drive a wedge between her and Democratic primary voters.

Another complication for Hill is the candidacy of another female millennial Democrat with a non-profit background, geologist/volcanologist Jess Phoenix. Phoenix, 36, grew up in Colorado and didn't move into the district until recently. She co-founded a science education nonprofit, has appeared on CNN to talk about her candidacy, and has received some money and support from fellow scientists. She's not a top-tier candidate, but could siphon primary votes from Hill.
Goal ThermometerThe real problem in California though-- which has all the operatives' hair on fire and which the DCCC is using as an excuse for driving progressives out of the races-- isn't exemplified by CA-25. It's the top two jungle primary which could result in lots of Democrats splintering the Democratic vote so badly that 2 Republicans could slip into the general-- with no Democrat. The 2 seats most susceptible to that would be CA-39 and CA-49, neither of which has an incumbent. Roll Call, a DCCC stenography outlet, explained it early yesterday:
California Democrats at the federal, state and local levels have been engaged in conversations about the nightmare scenario in which no Democrat makes the ballot in November, especially in GOP districts they view as key to winning back the House.

Members of the California delegation gathered at the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee on Tuesday to discuss a “variety of strategies and political items,” according to a source familiar with the meeting.

And Democratic lawmakers are already having discussions with candidates about stepping aside.

“I know that one of the hardest things to do is to get someone to not run for Congress. The only thing harder than that is to get someone to not run for Congress who’s been running for a year,” California Rep. Ted Lieu said.

“And so you can’t really force someone to not run for Congress if they want to,” said Lieu, a DCCC vice chairman. “We’re just trying to get information to campaigns and urging the ones who have not received traction to do the right thing.”

Lieu said Democrats specifically worry about the prospect of no Democrats advancing in the contests for two recently open GOP-held seats in Southern California: the 39th District, represented by Rep. Ed Royce, and the 49th District, held by Rep. Darrell Issa. Both Issa and Royce are retiring.

Both districts are among the seven Democratic targets in California that are represented by Republicans but voted for Hillary Clinton in 2016.

Five Democrats have filed with the Federal Election Commission to run in the 49th District, and seven have filed to run in the 39th District.

Sam Jammal, a candidate in the 39th District, lags behind four other Democrats in fundraising-- though all of them have made significant personal loans to their campaigns. He said Wednesday that no one has asked him to drop out of the race.

A onetime chief of staff to California Rep. Tony Cárdenas, Jammal said his connections to the district make him a strong candidate, and he wants to make his case to voters.

“My focus has to be on giving them something compelling to vote for,” he said.

But Lieu said the goal is for the Democratic fields to narrow before the March 9 filing deadline.

One Democratic official stressed that the 39th and 49th districts presented the greatest risk to Democrats. But others said crowded races in some of the other targeted districts also risk seeing the strongest candidate not making it through the primary.

The official noted that several Republicans are also running in these districts, so they could face a similar problem of splintering the GOP vote.

Some Democrats are worried there could be a backlash if politicians are seen as taking sides in some primaries.

“People don’t like, frankly, the D.C. establishment to pick their candidates,” said California freshman Rep. Nanette Barragán. “They want their local candidates. They want people they believe in and don’t like hearing about D.C. getting involved.”

Barragán won her race in 2016 against a Democrat who was backed by the state and local party establishment. She said any candidate who is willing to put in the time and effort should run for Congress, but conceded there are also candidates who may not be completely dedicated and could end up splitting the Democratic vote.

Lieu and other Democrats said grass-roots activists were just as concerned about the crowded fields, and they were all engaged in discussions about how to move forward.

“I am concerned about making sure that this process is done as inclusively as possible,” Eric Bauman, the chairman of the California Democratic Party, said in a phone interview when asked about potential backlash.

“I’m more concerned about electing Democrats who will restore us the majority in the House,” Bauman said.

Some Democrats have already begun discussions with campaigns that they believe do not have a chance of winning the primary.

Lieu said they have shared opposition research and polling numbers with campaigns to demonstrate they do not have a path to victory. He declined to identify the campaigns he has contacted.

Cárdenas, who chairs the political arm of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, said he has also had discussions with candidates.

“It’s never telling anybody what to do,” he said. “But it’s just saying, ‘Look, I’ve been doing this for 20 years. I’ve won and lost races.’ And sometimes it’s either timing or sometimes things aren’t coming together. And maybe it’s an opportunity to think honestly, and say, ‘Am I in it for ego, or am I in it to be the representative?’”

Cárdenas, who also did not say which campaigns he spoke to, said the reaction from candidates has been “pretty resistant.”

Bauman said the congressional delegation has been very engaged in discussions about the crowded primaries. He also said he had been working with the DCCC and other stakeholders to make candidates aware of the impact of crowded fields.

No California hopefuls are in the DCCC’s Red to Blue program, which connects candidates to committee resources. But the committee has not ruled out playing in the California primaries.

“Grassroots activists have put these races into play, and they deserve to have a Democrat on the ballot this November,” said DCCC spokesman Drew Godinich. “As has been the case in the past in California’s open seats, all options are on the table in order to ensure that happens.”

Other Democrats are taking matters into their own hands.

Two operatives behind Democrat Doug Jones’ victory in the Alabama Senate special election last year launched a new super PAC on Tuesday called CA-BAM (merging the two states’ names). They hope to identify the Democrats who would have the best chance of winning in November, and potentially provide data to thin out some of the crowded fields.

“In that case, what groups like ours can do is not just gauge the best candidates for the fall, but more importantly try and figure out who the strongest candidates are for June,” said pollster Paul Maslin, who launched CA-BAM with media consultant Joe Trippi.

“And then frankly somebody has got to go to the ones who are down the list and see if they can be convinced to end their candidacy,” Maslin said.
Yeah... Joe Trippi, certainly one of the least honest brokers in all of Democrat world... let's trust him to get paid off to pick our candidates. How about the crooked and inept right-winger the DCCC hired as the West Coast staffer, Kyle something or other, the former campaign manager for right-of-center worthless goof ball Raul Ruiz (who was part of that meeting) and who's main concern is making sure no progressives get into Congress. A major part of the problem is that the DCCC sent several ridiculous candidates from CA-48 (Rohrabacher's district) to run in CA-39 which no one thought they could win anyway... until incumbent Ed Royce announced he was retiring. So conservative self-funding carpetbaggers Gil Cisneros (the DCCC's top pick and the least likely to win anything) and Mai-Khanh Tran are now in a race with an even bigger self-funder (also a carpetbagger), Andy Thorburn, and two local progressives with the ability to actually beat a Republican, Sam Jammal and Jay Chen.

The biggest spender in the race so far is "ex"-Republican Cisneros, a former slumlord who will never have even a remote chance no matter how much he spends, has given himself $1,352,762 and has spent-- not counting all the bribes he's paid out for endorsements-- $588,850. This guy, who can't open his mouth without lying, and who voted for McCain and Palin instead of Barack Obama, knows nothing about issues that motivate Democratic voters. And this is who the DCCC wants in the race? I've been told from sources who know, that the DCCC fully understands that Cisneros can't win but they don't want to alienate him and his bank account and don't care if they lose the district-- even though Hillary won it 51.5% to 42.9%. The DCCC thinks they know better, even though local Democrats disagree entirely. This was the result of the pre-endorsement vote: Cisneros (and the other foolish DCCC recruit, Tran), each got exactly ONE (1) vote, for those hundreds of thousands of dollars spent. Maybe Cisneros should just go back to being a Republican where trying to buy a congressional district is considered perfectly fine and no one ever minds.


Sometime people ask me "what's so terrible about Cisneros? Is he really the worst candidate the DCCC has this cycle. Is it just because you hate bribery so much?" No, there's lots more that's terrible about him than paying off other crooked politicians for endorsements and I've been covering it here at DWT since he first popped up. Let me give you a few things-- truly just a few. This is what the DCCC thinks is a fine candidate:
Cisneros registered to vote as a Republican in San Diego County in 1999, and registered again as a Republican in L.A. in 2008
Voted fior ands donated to McCain/Palin
Switched to Democratic Party in 2015 when he started thinking about running for office
Though he calls himself a Democrat, now Cisneros says his views haven't changed since he was a Republican, and though he lies about everything, this one I believe him on.

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Midnight Meme Of The Day!

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by Noah

Face it, when the latest mass slaughter of innocents happened on Wednesday, you know the first thought in the minds of psychotics like Paul Ryan, Mitch McConnell and the rest of the graft-grubbing dirtbags in Washington was not for the slaughtered children, their teachers, and their families but for their own loved ones in the NRA and the rest of the gun lobby. Uber-lowlifes like Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell only see each shooting as a golden opportunity to pocket more cash from the NRA in return for their silence. You know there is no doubt that their first phone calls were aimed at raising more money off of this latest tragedy. Even the shooting of their colleagues at a congressional softball game didn't change that. Not to worry, though, they'll have their staffers write up another insincere "thoughts and prayers" statement, while, they, smirk.

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