Thursday, September 03, 2015

A Point Of Contention Between A Progressive And A DINO In IL-10: The Iran Deal


Brad Schneider and Nancy Rotering (IL-10)

When tepid New Dem Brad Schneider lost his House seat in 2014, it became the bluest district anywhere in the country with a Republican representative. The PVI is a daunting D+8. Obama beat McCain there 63-36% and beat Romney 58-41%. But with a Republican-lite voting record that discouraged Democratic base voters (in a midterm), Schneider was beaten by Republican Robert Dold 93,984 to 88,010, 51.6-48.4%. When Dold first won in 2012, 130,941 voters had pulled the lever for him. Almost 43,000 of his original voters just stayed home, many because they knew they were getting an unsatisfactory choice between a Republican and a Republican-lite DINO. 

There are millions of voters all over the country no longer playing the Beltway Democratic Establishment game of forcing them to pick between the lesser of two evils. Brad Schneider was, at best, the lesser of two evils. Now he's looking for another rematch against Dold. But... there is a better Democrat he first has to get through in the primary, Highland Park Mayor Nancy Rotering.

In March Rotering told me:
You can't change the gridlock in DC by electing the same people over andover again... The rate of poverty in the suburbs has been growing rapidly-- in this district and across the country-- and that's something that has to be addressed seriously on a national level... To expand the middle class we need to provide constant, sufficient education across the entire district. Fair wages are critical. 81% of SNAP recipients have at least one full time employee in the family. What does that say about wages?
It doesn't matter what Schneider says about this or any other issue-- those are just words crafted to win an election. He has a record for his one miserable term in Congress, a record during which he sided with Big Business and Wall Street against his own constituents... which is why he lost in such a deep blue district just north of Chicago (from Glencoe, Northbrook and Buffalo Grove up through Deerfield, Niles, Highland Park and Lake Forest to Fox Lake, Waukegan and the Wisconsin border).

Yesterday Kimberly Railey, writing for National Journal, contrasted Rotering and Schneider based on one issue: the Iran deal. Both candidates-- and many of their constituents-- are Jewish. Schneider, predictably, is with the Republicans on this. Rotering is sticking with keeping nuclear weapons out of the hands of Iran through the deal. AIPAC is already on the warpath to make sure Schneider wins the March primary.
“The people in the dis­trict are as split as people are in the na­tion,” Roter­ing said in an in­ter­view. “People are in­ter­ested in the con­trast between the two of us be­cause they them­selves prob­ably have dif­fer­ent po­s­i­tions on the top­ic.”

In Roter­ing and Schneider’s dis­trict, voters are closely watch­ing the is­sue.

“It’s something the people in the dis­trict are keenly aware of,” Schneider told Na­tion­al Journ­al. “They study it, they fol­low it. We have fam­ily that lives in Is­rael, we have neigh­bors. Our kids spend sum­mers in Is­rael.”

...She has com­pany among Chica­go Jew­ish Demo­crats back­ing the Ir­an deal, too. Chica­go May­or Rahm Emanuel has en­dorsed it, while Demo­crat­ic Rep. Jan Schakowsky, who is the only Jew­ish mem­ber of Illinois con­gres­sion­al del­eg­a­tion, is also back­ing the agree­ment.

Some Demo­crats sug­ges­ted that Roter­ing’s en­dorse­ment of the deal could en­dear her to more pro­gress­ive Demo­crats in the dis­trict. The can­did­ate who ran closest to Schneider in his 2012 Demo­crat­ic primary was pro­gress­ive act­iv­ist Ilya Shey­man, now the ex­ec­ut­ive dir­ect­or of the lib­er­al group Mo­ve­On, which backs the Ir­an deal.

“[Roter­ing] is clearly go­ing to ali­en­ate some people with this po­s­i­tion,” said one Chica­go-area Demo­crat­ic strategist, who re­ques­ted an­onym­ity to speak can­didly about the situ­ation. “But she has the pos­sib­il­ity to at­tract a lot more.”

Oth­ers said that in a race where both can­did­ates are per­ceived as pro-Is­rael, the Ir­an deal won’t be a de­cis­ive factor among Demo­crat­ic voters. “I think there’s some ne­ces­sity for ob­vi­ously a new face and chal­lenger to try to take some risk on some po­s­i­tion­ing,” said Thomas Bowen, a Demo­crat­ic strategist in Chica­go. “But for­eign af­fairs isn’t usu­ally an is­sue that changes Demo­crat­ic primary out­comes.”

It is, however, the sharpest di­vid­ing line between Schneider and Roter­ing. And their dis­trict, which pays at­ten­tion to is­sues af­fect­ing Is­rael like few oth­ers, has be­come a mini­ature ver­sion of the na­tion­al fight over the Ir­an deal.

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