Thursday, January 28, 2016

How Many Republican Congressman Will Owe The End Of Their Careers To Herr Trumpf


A few days ago Ben Schreckinger, writing in Politico, examined Herr Trumpf's delusional plans to win a general election-- and they're crazier than you would have guessed-- much crazier. Let's start with an assertion from GOP pollster Frank Luntz that Herr, widely seen as a racist, will get the highest percentage of black votes since Ronald Reagan in 1980 (14%) and Herr's own insistence that "the blacks" love him. Trumpf has some black celebrity friends and there are some black people, particularly pastors, who have gotten money from him. They'll vote for him. That's it. Blacks are among the savviest voters in America; they tend to not vote for racist demagogues. If he gets 6% of the African-American vote-- which is the percentage of blacks that voted for Romney-- it will be miraculous.

Schreckinger insists that Herr will inspire "extraordinary levels of working-class white voter turnout"-- folks who feel economic and cultural stress and win states like California, Illinois and New York. Schreckinger assumes he'll be running against the weaker of the two Democratic possibilities-- Hillary-- so doesn't take into account Bernie's appeal to working-class whites. But even as weak a candidate as Hillary should be able to counter whatever enthusiasm Herr generates among the part of the population most stressed by the 21st century with voters who are repulsed by Trumpf's grotesque, circus-like behavior.

The claim that he'll be able to make Bill Clinton's sex scandals somehow relevant to 2016 voters isn't borne out by reality and polls indicate these kinds of attacks are either ignored or actually help Hillary. Trumpf claims women-- like blacks-- love him, but he may be mixing "women" up with hookers. As Megyn Kelly pointed out in the first debate, Herr has called women he doesn't like "fat pigs, dogs, slobs and disgusting animals... Your twitter account has several disparaging comments about women's looks, You once told a contestant on Celebrity Apprentice it would be a pretty picture to see her on her knees." Yesterday he referred to her as a "bimbo," which, I suppose, is a step up from complaining about her menstrual cycle, the way he has in the past.

A former Trumpf political aide, Sam "Nunberg, asked women in Connecticut who opposed marijuana legalization who they respected more: a politician who is also charitable and a world-renowned businessman, father and grandfather or an 'Elderly woman who not only openly allows her husband to have affairs but tries to silence the women.' The figure with the favorable abstract framing of Trump beat the figure with the negative abstract framing of Clinton by more than 20 points." So all Herr has to do to win the women's vote is sit all the gals down in a big auditorium and frame the debate exactly how he wants to without them being exposed to any counter-arguments. Might as well crown him now! Women do not find him "irresistible." Women I talk to find him repulsive, despite Nunberg's bizarre assertion that "He’s a masculine figure and that will attract women to him. It’s their dirty little secret. They like Donald Trump."

And then Hispanics, the first group of voters he completely alienated. How about this scenario? "After winning the nomination on the first ballot, Trump unifies the party he has fractured behind him and reinvents himself as a pragmatic businessman and family man at the Republican National Convention... Trump minimizes his losses with Hispanics by running Spanish-language ads highlighting his support for a strong military and take-charge entrepreneurial attitude, especially in the Miami and Orlando media markets."

Was Schreckinger just having fun? On an acid trip? 27% of Hispanics voted for Romney. Herr may get half that from fanatic Cuban right-wingers and a few wealthy Republican Latinos with no respect for themselves. But I doubt he'll get over 10% of Hispanic voters. He is, however, inspiring Latino's-- to register to vote (as Democrats) in huge numbers.
If Trump has tapped into disaffected voters this year with his immigration rhetoric, there is also an unintended consequence-- a mix of naturalization efforts, voter registration efforts, and ultimately efforts to mobilize voters off Trump’s rhetoric.

In the last 14 years, the local Culinary Union’s umbrella union, Unite Here, has helped push for 15,000 naturalizations. This year, Unite Here wants to help 2,500 people naturalize by June 1, so they can become U.S. citizens before the election-- in addition to registering 10,000 new voters.

The list goes on: The Colorado Immigrant Rights Coalition (CIRC) wants to help naturalize 1,500 people, along with five to seven partner organizations. SEIU Florida has helped almost 1,000 people already through citizenship workshops the union does in churches, where people are more trusting of immigration-related services. The Florida Immigrant Coalition-- which works with SEIU, AFL-CIO, and other groups-- hopes to add 1,500 to that number along with its partners.

And then there’s Mi Familia Vota, an advocacy group with a long history of voter registration and naturalization efforts, aiming to help 300 people begin the months-long naturalization process at their first event of the year. Along with partner organizations, the group will help launch the effort in Las Vegas two days before the Republican primaries begin. The nationwide effort led by iAmerica, labor groups like SEIU, and Mi Familia Vota will include events in Colorado, Florida, Texas, and California.

“We’ve seen more people this year that want to become citizens and specifically because they want to vote against Trump,” said Mi Familia Vota executive director Ben Monterroso.

There is a tremendous universe of potential citizens and voters out there. Between 2012 and 2016, the 1.2 million Latinos who had become naturalized citizens were the second-largest driver for the growth in the Latino vote, according to a Pew Research study from last week. And, citing Department of Homeland Security data from 2012, one national organization sees a total universe of 40,000 legal permanent residents eligible to vote in Nevada; 40,000 in Colorado; 80,000 in Arizona; and a whopping 369,000 in Florida.

...[T]here is a measurable, substantial increase in Latino voter registration and voting when there is a clear villain perceived as anti-Latino,” Gonzalez told BuzzFeed News.

“We have a new boogeyman,” said 20-year Nevada veteran Democratic strategist Andres Ramirez, referring to Trump. “We’ve had boogeymen in past years but now we have one at unprecedented levels.”
Republican officeholders and candidates in areas with heavy Hispanic populations are panic-stricken. Republican House Members likely to lose their seats because of Herr Trumpf's racism include Cresent Hardy (R-NV), David Valadao (R-CA), Jeff Denham (R-CA), Steve Knight (R-CA), Daniel Webster (R-FL), Carlos Curbelo (R-FL) and Mike Coffman (R-CO). These 7 Republicans are going to face an energized and determined electorate with a lot more Hispanics than have ever voted in their districts before.

State Senator Ruben Kihuen is the strongest Democratic candidate running against Cresent Hardy in Nevada's 4th congressional district north of Las Vegas. "As an immigrant and an American," he told us yesterday, "I can tell you that Donald Trump's rhetoric and Congressman Hardy's actions offend me. I believe both Trump and Hardy will lose the Hispanic vote and their hateful views on immigration will hurt them with all Americans. But beyond the politics, this is not who we are as a people."

Lou Vince, the progressive Democrat running in CA-25 (Santa Clarita, Simi Valley and the Antelope Valley), sees it the same way. "We've been dealing with our own Donald Trump in the 25th District for the past two years. Steve Knight has repeatedly demonized immigrants, insulted the hard-working families of our district and voted against the best interests of the 25th District's residents. Whether it's voting to repeal Obamacare countless times after pledging not to, reneging on his campaign promise of supporting the Employment Non-Discrimination Act or voting to repeal the estate tax when there isn't a single qualifying estate in the district, Steve Knight has come down on the wrong side of nearly every issue in Congress. Not only do we need to dump Trump, we need to dump Knight in the 25th District. Trump's, as well as Knight's, hateful rhetoric surrounding the hard-working immigrant families in my community has mobilized the Latino community in the Antelope Valley like never before. It's in this community that we will win the election and flip every seat in the Antelope Valley from Republican to Democrat and win this vital seat. That's why Latino activists in the Antelope Valley have organized a "Latinos for Lou" committee and they have been a loud voice for ensuring Latinos get a representative that will stand for their interests. As their slogan goes, "Mi voto es mi voz!" (my vote is my voice).

But this is even going to spill over into Democratic primary races. Former Harris County Sheriff Adrian Garcia, a stalwart, proven progressive, is taking on right-wing Democrat Gene Green in a Houston area district that includes Pasadena, South Houston, Galina and Aldine. “Donald Trump," he told us, "is a race-baiting, immigrant-bashing misogynist, who knows exactly what he is saying. He is speaking to the worst impulses of our country, instead of offering ideas to bring America together and to keep our economy moving forward. Trump is trying to insult his way to the Presidency, but our community simply won’t stand for it. Every time he plays for the easy laugh or cheap applause, he is making a huge mistake-- we’re not getting mad, we’re getting organized.” TX-29 is a primarily working-class district that is 77% Latino-- but is represented (poorly) by an old white guy, first elected in 1992, and consistently serving the special interests and voting with the Republicans on issue after issue after issue. Hopefully, the Hispanic political awakening that is going to sweep away a number of conservative Republicans, will sweep away conservative Democrats like Green as well.

If you'd like to help Ruben Kihuen, Lou Vince and Adrian Garcia, you can find their three grassroots campaigns all on the same Act Blue page. Good investment for a progressive Congress!

In September Colorado state Rep. Joe Salazar shared what was happening in the suburbs south and west of Denver and north of the Denver Airport, the 6th district, which includes Aurora, Centennial, Littleton, an area where about a fifth of the population is Hispanic. State Senator Morgan Carroll is looking likely to replace Coffman in Congress, at least in part, thanks to Herr Trumpf.
Congressman Mike Coffman was a loud supporter of the extreme anti-immigrant agenda long before Donald Trump rode his xenophobia to the top of the Republican polls.  Trump may be hogging all the attention and crowding out his rivals, but his outrageous views towards immigrants and Latinos are common in the Republican Party. In fact, it is fair to say that Trump is Tancredo/Coffman 2.0.

Unlike Trump, within the past few years Mike Coffman has been awkwardly running/stumbling away from this anti-immigrant legacy as fast as he can.  In fact, he started learning Spanish-- I know because he attempted to speak with me in Spanish during an event we both attended in 2013.  But, despite his newfound bilingualism, the truth is that Coffman is alarmingly similar to Trump.  Let us take a closer look at the facts:

Birther Movement: Trump and Coffman both questioned whether or not President Obama was born in America.  Coffman was even so bold as to declare that “in his heart” President Obama is “not an American.”  Three years later, Trump is still trumpeting the same sad rhetoric.

Ending Birthright Citizenship: Trump and Coffman both want to end birthright citizenship.  Interestingly, then-District Attorney Ken Buck held a similar position in 2010 when he challenged Senator Michael Bennet for the U.S. Senate seat.  I wrote an op-ed piece on Buck’s patently unconstitutional position by citing an 1898 U.S. Supreme Court case that firmly held that a U.S.-born son of Chinese immigrants was a U.S. citizen under the Fourteenth Amendment.  The case stemmed from a purely racist attack on Chinese immigrants.  Trump and Coffman’s position is a purely racist attack primarily on Mexican immigrants.  How sad is it that an 1898 U.S. Supreme Court is more forward thinking than these 21st century representatives of the Republican Party?

Building the Wall: Trump and Coffman want to build a wall or fence along the 1,954 mile US-Mexico border.  Coffman actually made a big deal of introducing legislation to complete a fence, which he called an “effective” defense.  This position is laughable for too many reasons to list.  But, let us keep in mind that while Coffman wants to build a 1,954 mile wall, he cannot even manage a disastrous VA project in his own district.

Offensive Rhetoric: Trump and Coffman use hyperbolic and offensive rhetoric towards immigrants to make you believe that all of your troubles are because of somebody else.  The real troubles, however, start and stop with the worst Congress in U.S. history wholly controlled by Coffman’s party.  Maybe Coffman should actually do some work that helps the people.

Although Mike Coffman believes that learning Spanish would endear him to immigrant communities, his rhetoric and record only demonstrate that he is now effective in offending good, hard-working people in two languages.  Let us not forget that he also fought to change the Voting Rights Act to ban multilingual ballots in areas with large populations of non-proficient English speakers (telling people they ought to grab a dictionary).

Redistricting threw Coffman into a Congressional district where he had to face the same people he stoked xenophobic fears against.  Since then, Mike “Tancredo is my Hero” Coffman has been bottling up his true positions, leaving minority communities in the 6thCongressional District feeling concerned that his xenophobia will soon uncork itself.

The Denver Post once said that it has been “difficult to pin him down on specifics.”  The reason why Coffman does not want to give specifics is because it will require him to show his poker hand-- a hand that has a joker in it with the face of a Trump.

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