Thursday, July 02, 2015

Why Smart Democrats Worry About Turnout From The Base In 2016


Last week was a good one for the White House between the Supreme Court decisions on Obamacare, same-sex marriage, and redistricting and Obama's success in getting enough conservative, corporately owned Democrats-- primarily New Dems-- to vote with the GOP to pass Wall Street's trade agenda (Fast Track, as a prelude to TPP). The president's approval rating is back over 50%. 

But Democrats have reason to worry that by 2016 they may have a hard time getting their voters to the polls, as Alexis Simendinger has written for Real Clear Politics. Driven by a competing set of emotions: pure greed and selfishness on the one hand and a sense of ginned-up grievance on the other, Republican voters are gung-ho to capture the White House and hold both houses of Congress. A clownish, patently dishonest and openly racist Donald Trump is polling second among 20 Republicans for the nomination. Normal people laugh; Republicans drool.

NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio told reporters, "The hedge fund contributors loom very large in Albany and they have way too much influence. That is a fact." I think everyone knows it and few Democrats outside the Beltway careerists can stand it. (Remember, Wall Street's favorite Member of Congress is not Boehner or McConnell; it's Chuck Schumer, on whom they've lavished, since 1990, an unprecedented $21,052,681, more than any Member other than those running for president. Wall Street has given him nearly double what they've given Boehner, who the Democratic Party would like you to think of as a total Wall Street whore-- as he and Schumer both are. 

When Wall Street gets bent out of shape over the populism of Bernie Sanders and, especially, Elizabeth Warren, they go whining and fuming to Schumer, and to their House tool, Steve Israel. Both are working hard to please Wall Street by recruiting conservative pro-Wall Street, pro-Big Business candidates to run as Democrats. Schumer is fighting like a savage to make sure lifelong Republican and Wall Street suck-up Patrick Murphy is the Democratic nominee for Marco Rubio's open Senate seat in Florida, and he is vigilant that as few Democrats as possible from the Elizabeth Warren wing of the party get near party nominations. 

Over on the House side, Steve Israel and hapless sock-puppet Ben Ray Luján are also running around recruiting Blue Dogs, New Dems and outright Republicans. Their latest is Mike Derrick, to run against popular Republican Elise Stefanik in NY-21, a district in which Obama beat Romney 63.3 to 35.2%-- a phenomenal 28.1 point spread. Derrick is a Republican who's conveniently calling himself a Democrat now. Apparently Israel doesn't think a real Democrat could win in NY-21, despite Obama's landslide there. Similarly, Schumer doesn't want Grayson, an outspoken tribune for working families, to win a Senate seat, and his solution is Republican-"turned"-Democrat Patrick Murphy, a New Dem backbencher who votes with the Republican Party more than nearly any other Democrat in the House. 

There are scores of cases just like this across the country. And Democrats wonder why their base doesn't turn out? In the Real Clear Politics piece linked above, Alexis Simendinger takes a look at the dilemma Democrats face with corrupt Wall Street-owned careerists like Schumer and Israel running the party. He sees, like almost anyone outside of DC can see, that base Democrats are extremely skeptical about what their party is offering up. "They doubt, he writes, "presidential contenders can deliver favored reforms from Washington, no matter how enticing the policy agendas sound. Those doubts depress enthusiasm about next year’s White House contest and could impact turnout for the eventual Democratic nominee."
Americans want change and reforms, but “people don’t think any of this is going to happen,” Stan Greenberg, chairman and CEO of polling firm Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research, said during a reporter roundtable organized by the Christian Science Monitor.

Their skepticism doesn’t turn on the idea of a Democratic nominee who would follow a two-term Democrat, President Obama. “It’s because the old political system is uniquely corrupted” in their eyes, Greenberg said. “What matters is how deep the critique people have about what’s happening in the country, both politically and economically.”

Voters define corruption as money in politics and Washington power brokers who are self-serving and disconnected from everyday Americans and their concerns. This is why Clinton’s wealth, the Clinton Foundation’s fundraising, her decades lived as a VIP, and her missing emails discourage some voters from accepting the leading Democratic candidate as trustworthy, even if they favor the economic and social policies she stakes out.

...To succeed Obama, a Democratic candidate has to animate secular voters and what Greenberg calls the rising American electorate (unmarried women, people of color, and younger voters). These slices of the population will make up a majority of the total electorate for the first time in 2016, according to the pollster.

Greenberg insisted Clinton’s progressive campaign agenda is not a mirror image of Obama’s governing platform. “I would dispute that Obama was on this agenda” of equal pay, preserving Medicare and Social Security, promoting infrastructure spending, helping working women and reducing college debt burdens, he said, pointing to questions posed to respondents as part of the survey.

“The country doesn’t think he was dealing with this agenda. The first time he really talked about this is this year’s State of the Union” address, Greenberg said firmly.

...The Democratic Party’s strategy to hold control of the White House and win congressional seats next year relies on America’s shifting demographics and on voter turnout. But “if the disparity in enthusiasm is not addressed, that strategy is at risk,” Democracy Corps wrote in a synopsis of the findings that began, “Democrats need to give voters a reason to participate.”

The threat comes down to an enthusiasm gap of 19 points between the Democrats who say they are “extremely interested” in the congressional and local races in 2016, and the much more energized GOP voters.
Candidate recruitment from the DSCC and the DCCC will tend to turn off committed Democrats and progressives. No progressive is going to vote for Patrick Murphy in Florida. Monica Vernon, another "ex"-Republican Israel dug up (IA-01), is not liked in her district, especially among Democrats who know exactly what she is, but Israel considers the seat a "must win." If he had any sense at all, he would encourage former Iowa House Speaker Pat Murphy, a dedicated progressive with an astounding record of achievement, to run. But Israel doesn't want populists like Murphy in the House. He prefers "Democats" more like the other Murphy, the aisle-crossing one from Florida.

Progressive groups like DFA, MoveOn, PCCC and Blue America are recruiting actual progressives to run in winnable seats, like Lou Vince in CA-25 and Jason Ritchie in WA-08, two blue-trending districts that the DCCC gave away to the GOP in past years. To see all the Blue America House candidates this year and-- if you want-- to give them a hand with their grassroots campaigns, please check out this page. And the Blue America Senate candidates are here

By the way, the video up top sends Schumer and Israel into orbit. You should watch it and think about why they hate it-- and hate Grayson-- so much. Blue America has some ideas of how to deal with the DINOs Israel and Schumer have recruited, who have let working families down:

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At 11:15 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't happen to believe that populism is going to trump big money when it comes to control of the Democratic Party. What needs to happen is for the working class to form a Labor Party, which will offer to support Democrats when they stand for our interests and oppose them when they don't. Only then would We the People win audience with the 1%eres who run the two wings of the Corporatist Party.

At 1:11 PM, Blogger Bill Michtom said...

The Working Families Party (WFP) was founded in New York in 1998 and is classified as a minor political party in the United States. There are active chapters in New York, Connecticut, and Oregon, and it is growing, with initiatives in South Carolina, Delaware, and Vermont, and offshoots in Massachusetts and Pennsylvania. See if there's one around you. They co-endorse good candidates from other parties.

At 9:31 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

For over a decade, I voted in NYC for Democrats, via the Working Families Party, because I believed that keeping them alive via a steady stream of votes would always remind Democratic candidates that their roots are in progressive movements.

When the heavily-flawed (but popular and well-funded) corporate shill Andrew Cuomo ran for re-election, WFP supporter and true progressive Zephyr Teachout ran a very plausible campaign and had a surprising amount of popularity.

The Working Families Party threw her under the bus, after Cuomo helicoptered-in and made a deal with them.

They haven't gotten my vote since, and will never again. The one opportunity they had to make a material difference in the status quo, and they couldn't have blown it any more egregiously. Hasta la WFP.

At 1:07 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Very good piece. However, it is still somewhat misleading.

Conjecture that any particular district or even state is "winnable" for a true progressive is not well founded. There are several reasons for this, but the biggest is this:

if the top of the ticket doesn't draw the progressives out, the downstream progressives can't win.

And, yeah, of course, the money does buy the candidates it likes much more often than not.

So consider a hillbillary, bob rubin et al top of the ticket in 2016... Even if by some minor miracle a progressive can win a primary and run for some district, the stifling effect of another Reagan clone and elite shill like hillbillary will quicksand that candidate's chances.

OTOH, the manic Nazi electorate, chiefly the ubermisogynist swath, would be apoplectic about hillbillary even though their money would ADORE her in the oval. They'll show up in droves, as they always do.

In presidential cycles, only 2 in 3 eligibles show up (in off-year, only about 1 in 3 do). Who do you think the ones who don't engage ARE??? Based on polling, a supermajority of THEM are those who simply haven't anyone to vote FOR. Haven't had anyone to vote FOR since 1980.

This is why Bernie and Elizabeth and Alan (and only a very few more) scare the crap out of the money's D contingent. There are 50M+ voters who, given someone worth voting for, might just bother to cast votes (and cast their whores out into their boardrooms and wholly owned advocacy groups). If 50M more voters show up, there is a REAL possibility, within a generation, to make corporations NOT people, limit money in all politics, do away with all corporate welfare, repeal the repeal of Glass-Steagall AND FINALLY ENFORCE SHERMAN in finance, war, communications... and, of course, put those blood-sucking health insurance behemoths out of business and give everyone actual health CARE via a single payer plan.

The R sect figured out 4 decades ago (you can google the actual speech) and the D sect has learned from them only in the past generation that to keep your people winning (with vastly unpopular policies) is to suppress those who wouldn't vote for you... NOT to adopt policies that will make them continue to vote for you.

Rs have a third of the electorate solidly in their corner -- the racists, misogynists, elitists, haters of the poor and children, religious caliphatists and a few other smaller single-issue haters.

The Ds have only those who haven't figured out yet, after over 30 years, that their team is NOT on their side. These are well-meaning but pathetically stupid and gullible voters who will still vote for whatever corporate/money whoring shill has that "D" by their name.

And this contingent is shrinking. fast.

Only a trump candidacy could scare many of them into continuing to support the D charade. But not likely enough to matter... this time and ever again.

Only Bernie (cuz Elizabeth won't run) can inspire these folks to re-engage. And the money cannot afford for this to ever happen.

If their media cannot squelch Bernie with smears... Some lone gunman likely will show up and take care of it for them. Remember 1968? anyone?


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