Saturday, May 30, 2015

Are Grassroots Democrats About To Give Untrustworthy New Dem Ami Bera The Ole Heave-Ho?


Yes, Ami, you can only fool Democratic voters for so long before they turn on you

CA-07, composed primarily of the suburbs west of Sacramento, from Elk Grove, Rosemont, Arden-Arcade and Rancho Cordova up to Folsom and Citrus Heights, is a classic swing district with an even PVI. In 2008 Obama beat McCain 52-46% there and in 2008 he beat Romney 51-47%. Last year New Dem incumbent Ami Bera went to sleep on Election Night thinking he had lost to Republican Doug Ose 76,133 (50.2%) to 75,603 (49.8%) in the most expensive House race of the cycle ($19.6 million spent!). After a recanvass, Bera squeaked to a 1,400-vote lead (out of over 183,000 votes cast). Two years earlier, with Obama on the ticket and before Democratic voters were aware Bera is just a Democrat in Name Only (DINO) who votes with the GOP on core issues, Bera had ousted-- on his second attempt-- GOP incumbent Dan Lungren 141,241 (52%) to 132,050 (48%).

Bera has been a terrible disappointment to grassroots Democrats, progressives and activists. His Progressive Punch crucial vote score is 51.31%, showing he votes against progressive proposals around half the time. He's been robotic in his backing for the Wall Street-dictated New Dem agenda on almost everything-- and now it looks like his backing for TPP Fast Track authority could cost him his reelection bid. I hate to see a Republican win the seat, but Ami Bera doesn't deserve to be serving as a Democrat in Congress. The only surprise is that he's actually being held accountable for his disgraceful record-- unlike, say, Patrick Murphy (New Dem-FL), who is even worse, lifetime ProgressivePunch score of 45.86-- but Chuck Schumer and DSCC Chair Jon Tester are trying to shove him down Florida Democrats' throats in an open Senate race.
The California Democratic Party and its main benefactor, organized labor, are making clear what it means to be a Democrat, and who might not be welcome.

Rep. Ami Bera, D-Elk Grove, became suspect by crossing labor on international trade. Bera, a physician, tries to work with Republicans, rarely misses a vote and is the only congressional member whose family came here from India. 
He’s the sort of Democrat who can hold the swing district, having defeated his Republican challenger by a scant 1,455 votes last year, thanks in part to labor’s support. Labor’s support, like that of any interest group, comes at a price. There are consequences for elected officials who stray.

Bera’s apostasy occurred this month when he announced his support for granting President Barack Obama greater authority to negotiate a free-trade deal with Asian nations. Labor helped elect Obama but is fighting the president over the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade pact.

Steve Smith, spokesman for the California Labor Federation-AFL-CIO, was one of scores of union members who knocked on doors for Bera in his campaigns. No more.

“This is not a vote that we will forget,” Smith said. “We were clear with Congressman Bera that this was an issue of paramount importance to us. He made a deliberate, calculated decision to go the other way.”

Bera said his district could benefit from a deal. As for the political fallout, he said, “I’m always going to be in a tough district.”

...Labor has reason to be concerned. Blue-collar workers haven’t fared well in past free-trade deals. People have died for the right to strike, though public employees in critical jobs often forgo the right to walk.
A Craig's List ad eviscerating New Dem Ami Bera

With the exception of a few Wall Street-owned ConservaDems, California Democrats-- both grassroots and electeds-- oppose TPP Fast Track authority. Bera once again finds himself voting with the Republicans and a handful of shady New Dems and Blue Dogs. We spoke with several Democratic incumbents and candidates and no one wanted to go on the record calling Ami Bera a worthless piece of crap or even a DINO. 

Nanette Barragán is running in Los Angeles, far from Bera's district, and unlike him she opposes trade agreements that jeopardize American jobs or use Medicare money to offset TPP costs. Yesterday she told us:
We’ve seen what these so-called "free trade" agreements do. They’re great for the 1%, but they’re not good for working men and women. They’re great for the countries that refuse to follow the rules or pay a living wage, but they’re not good for countries like the United States that play by the rules and make sure workers have protections. They’re great for companies that pollute and countries that don’t care about the environment, but not good for those of us who care about the health impacts of dirty air and dirty water. I don’t see how trade policies like TPP benefit working families, human rights, or the environment, so I cannot support them. If I’m in Congress, I’m opposed to this agreement.
If you agree, please consider supporting Barragán here on our ActBlue page.

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