Saturday, March 29, 2014

How Corporate Democrats Are Wrecking The Party Brand-- From Michigan's Senate Race To California's Secretary Of State Campaign


Gary Peters, the Democratic candidate for the Michigan Senate seat Carl Levin is giving up, is a careerist and a New Dem with a mediocre and distinctly uncourageous record. Look as hard as you want at the Blue America Senate page but you will never find Gary Peters or anyone like him. That said, his likely GOP opponent, Koch puppet candidate Terri Lynn Land, is far worse. He's a nothing; she's a negative. She represents the Kochs and the selfish, greedy, venal interests of the plutocrats. He's... not as bad. The Democrats' Senate Majority PAC new ad (just below) is all about how bad she and how bad the Kochs are-- not a word, one way or the other, about their own feeble candidate.

Luckily for the Democrats, the "but the Republicans are worse" message still works for many voters. It's way garbage, cowardly candidates like Peters are plausible. The new Gallup poll, released yesterday, shows that young voters are still aligning themselves with Democratic Party messaging, in fact, more so than ever before-- or at least that they are more repulsed than every before by Republican Party messaging. Gallup found that "While young adults have generally been more likely to align themselves with the Democratic Party than the Republican Party, they are now much more solidly Democratic than prior generations of young adults."

From 1993 to 2003, 47% of 18- to 29-year-olds, on average, identified as Democrats or said they were independents but leaned to the Democratic Party, while 42% were Republicans or Republican leaners. That time span included two years in which young adults tilted Republican, 1994 and 1995, when Republicans won control of Congress. Since 2006, the average gap in favor of the Democratic Party among young adults has been 18 percentage points, 54% to 36%.

This Democratic movement among the young has come at a time when senior citizens have become more Republican. The broader U.S. population has shown more variability in its party preferences in recent years, shifting Democratic from 2005 to 2008, moving back toward the Republican Party from 2009 to 2011, and showing modest Democratic preferences in the last two years.

…In recent years, young white adults, who previously aligned more with the Republican Party, have shifted Democratic. From 1995 to 2005, young whites consistently identified as or leaned Republican rather than Democratic, by an average of eight points. Since 2006, whites aged 18 to 29 have shown at least a slight Democratic preference in all but one year, with an average advantage of three points.

Young whites first shifted to a pro-Democratic position in 2006, perhaps because of frustration with George W. Bush and his policies. Barack Obama's presidential campaign also may have attracted younger whites, given the candidate's relative youth, particularly since Republicans nominated the much older John McCain as their presidential candidate. Young whites are not as high on the Democratic Party now as they were in 2008, but they remain more likely to prefer it to the Republican Party.
Earlier in the week, Bill Boyarsky penned a post forTruthDig that shows how easily the Democrats could blow this advantage. His theme is "the irrelevancy of party and ideological labels when it comes to helping big corporations," an Achilles heel for the Democratic party that we talked about this afternoon in regard to Wall Street Dems and the Senate race in South Carolina. And he isn't messing around with red or purple states, but goes right to the heart of one of the crucial blue bastions: California, where the politicians are every bit as corrupt and slimy as they are in Texas, Florida, Pennsylvania and even New Jersey. How do you think young voters will feel about this kind of thing?
A recent California law freeing much of the telephone business from state regulation-- and potentially depriving millions of phone users of long-standing consumer protections-- illustrates the irrelevancy of party and ideological labels when it comes to helping big corporations.

Mark Toney, executive director of The Utility Reform Network, described the measure as “the most anti-consumer bill ever introduced in California.”

Just how this bill became law points up the importance of state legislatures and local lawmaking bodies, those governmental entities that although increasingly ignored by the media, influence much of the quality of our lives.

That’s where American politics are really at work. If the loud political debate and much of the punditry is to be believed, deregulation is the domain of Republicans and other conservatives. Regulation and consumer protection are Democratic and liberal. But in many crucial cases, that’s not the way it is. Take, for example, mundane but all-important phone calls.

…The new California law, SB 1161, takes away the power of the California Public Utilities Commission to impose these and other regulations on companies that use the Internet for delivering phone service. A CPUC analysis said, “Because virtually all communications service providers use (the Internet) at some point in their networks, SB1161 could … strip the CPUC of jurisdiction over services it now actively regulates.”

Party and ideology didn’t mean a thing when it came to this measure.

It was introduced and steered through the legislature by state Sen. Alex Padilla, a liberal Democrat who represents a working-class area of the San Fernando Valley. Liberal, but business oriented, Gov. Jerry Brown signed it into law. …The law is similar to “model” legislation that emerged from the American Legislative Exchange Council, best known as ALEC, a conservative, industry-backed organization that sponsors anti-regulatory legislation in statehouses around the country. ALEC also produced the “stand your ground” law that protected the killer of Trayvon Martin in Florida, according to the Center for Media & Democracy. The center said stand your ground was a “model bill” pushed by ALEC in “dozens of other states. ... The bill was brought to ALEC by the National Rifle Association (NRA) and was unanimously approved by an ALEC task force co-chaired by Wal-Mart.”

California’s phone legislation was strongly supported by Silicon Valley powers who are part of TechNet, an organization of technology CEOs, including top officials of Oracle, Cisco, Yahoo, Google and Microsoft.

“I have never met with ALEC, been to their conferences or anything,” Padilla said.

Padilla is well connected to the club of lobbyists and influential lawmakers who run the California Legislature. The telecom industry is a major part of it, having donated $1,986,976 to legislators’ political campaigns from January 2011 through December 2012, according to political data firm MapLight. The industry gave Padilla $39,364 of his total $1,329,743 in campaign contributions from January 2009 through December 2012.

In addition, Padilla was the beneficiary of a fundraiser held by Kevin Sloat, a lobbyist whose clientele included telecom firms. Sloat was fined $133,500 for that fundraiser by the state Fair Political Practices Commission, which said the liquor and cigars he gave the guests went beyond what the law allows a lobbyist to give. Derek Cressman, who is running against Padilla for secretary of state, called on Padilla to return money from the event. Rose Kapolczynski, a campaign consultant to Padilla, told the Los Angeles Times, “We take campaign finance laws very seriously and make it a practice to comply fully with both the letter and the spirit of the law. There is no indication from the FPPC that any of the contributions were improper and therefore we do not intend to return them.”

An opponent of the phone law, Sean McLaughlin, executive director of Access Humboldt, told me about attending legislative hearings on the bill.

“It was very interesting to me,” he said. “There were more than 50 well-heeled lobbyists [for the measure] and our ragtag group of public interest people.” Padilla and the other legislators greeted the telecom advocates as friends, McLaughlin said. “It was shocking how that played out,” he said. “To be in that room and see it was incredible. It was shocking to me, how much influence there was and how hard it was to even raise an issue.” He said the telecom lobbyists were not just witnesses for the bill, but “part of the presentation of the bill.” Speaking time for him and other opponents was limited, McLaughlin said.

“The thing that was discouraging to me was there was no media covering it,” he recalled. “There was this overflow crowd, the packed room was uncomfortable. Another dozen lobbyists in the hall. And they celebrated when the bill passed. I took out my little camera and they scattered.”
Will California Democratic voters even have the knowledge of Padilla's and the corporate Democrats' betrayal to nominate good government reformer Derek Cressman Secretary of State instead of Padilla? My bet is "no," although I'll be voting for him.

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At 9:14 PM, Blogger Phil Perspective said...

…The new California law, SB 1161, takes away the power of the California Public Utilities Commission to impose these and other regulations on companies that use the Internet for delivering phone service.

Did Governor Moonbeam explain why he signed this into law? Was he a coward like Clinton, who didn't veto Glass-Steagall repeal because he thought they would have overridden his veto anyway?


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