Wednesday, April 06, 2016

Electing Democrats Isn't The Solution-- Electing Progressives Is... Take California, For Example


Bad news for conservative Democrat Cheryl Brown and her lobbyist buddies

Yesterday the Courage Campaign released its report card for the California legislature-- and if you're laboring under the delusion that a Democratic majority and a Democratic governor means everything's going to be hunky-dory... a look at the scores will soon disillusion you. There are too few Republicans in the legislature to matter-- although if you guessed that every single Republican was a failure... you would be exactly right. Of the 28 Republicans in the Assembly, all 28 scored an "F." And of the 14 Republicans in the state Senate, ever single one of 'em also managed to get an "F." OK, what you'd expect.

What you might not expect, however, is that of the 52 Democrats in the Assembly, 21 also got "F" grades and of the 25 Democrats in the state Senate there were 3 with an "F" grade. Courage Campaign defines its scores as measuring "how well they stand up for their constituents over corporations or special interest groups that seek to exploit Californians, particularly those who are poor, people of color, or disadvantaged. It conveys to what extent your California state representatives have backed the interests of corporations (leading to a lower score) vs. the interests of their constituents (leading to a higher score) on critical votes."

The three Senate Democrats who voted with the Republicans against the interests of their own constituents frequently enough to get "F" grades were Cathleen Galgiani (Stockton, Lodi, Modesto, Tracy, Mateca), Steve Glazer (East Bay, including Livermore, Dublin, Walnut Creek, Orinda, Antioch, Concord, Lafayette and San Ramon) and Richard Roth (northwestern Riverside County). Just so you know, Democrats Obama, Dianne Feinstein and Jerry Brown won all three districts in their most recent races and Democrats have a registraion advantage in each district.

These were the 21 Assembly Democrats with the "F"s.
Jim Wood (the North Coast)
Bill Dodd (Napa, Yolo, Lake counties)
Ken Cooley (eastern Sacramento suburbs)
Jim Cooper (part of Scaramento and the southern Sacramento suburbs)
Jim Frazier (Vacaville, Fairfield, Brentwood)
Adam Gray (Merced Co. and part of Stanislaus County)
Luis Alejo (inland Monterey, Watsonville, San Benito County)
Henry Perea (half of Fresno County)
Rudy Salas (Kings County, part of Kern Co.)
Tom Lackey (Lancaster, Palmdale, Mojave)
Jacqui Irwin (Westlake Village, Thousand Oaks, Camarillo, Oxnard)
Matt Dababneh (Encino, Calabasas, Woodland Hills, Tarzana, Canoga Park)
Cheryl Brown (Colton, Fontana, Rialto, part of San Bernardino)
Freddie Rodriguez (Pomona, Chino, Ontario)
Sebastian Ridley-Thomas (Culver City, West L.A., Westwood, Inglewood, Ladera Hts, Crenshaw, Mar Vista)
Eduardo Garcia (Imperial County, Blythe, Cathedral City, Indio, Coachella)
Ian Calderon (Hacienda Heights, Whittier, Norwalk, La Mirada, Santa Fe Springs)
Jose Medina (most of Riverside, Perris, Moreno Valley)
Mike Gipson (Compton, Carson, Watts, Willowbrook)
Tom Daly (most of Santa Ana, part of Anaheim)
Patrick O'Donnell (most of Long Beach, San Pedro, Avalon)
The legislators were rated on issues like fracking, over-time pay, racial profiling, equal pay for women, consumer protections, climate change, gun control, paid family leave, health insurance, etc. Few of the Democrats with "F" scores will have to worry about accountability. The two corrupt parties so dominate the politics of the state that there are virtually no primaries. One exception is down in San Bernardino where Blue America has endorsed Eloise Gomez Reyes for the Assembly seat from which Cheryl Brown sells her vote to lobbyists. Brown's record is so at odds with the interests of her district and has so pissed off the unions that Eloise has a good chance to beat her, hopefully sending a message to other Republican-lite fake Dems in the legislature.

UPDATE: Arambula Elected To Replace Perea

While everyone was watching returns from Wisconsin last night, Fresno had an election too. One of the most corrupt of the conservative Democrats in the Assembly, F-rated Henry Perea, who had been threatening to primary F-rated congressional Blue Dog, Jim Costa, resigned last December and promptly became a lobbyist for Big Pharma. Perea was the leader of the right-wing caucus of the Democrats in Sacramento which works with the GOP to sabotage progressive legislation. He was widely considered the most corrupt Democrat in the Assembly and there was general rejoicing when he resigned.

I don't know much about, Joaquin Arambula, the Democrat who won last night-- and won big (no run-off!)-- but I do know he was endorsed by all the worst of the Sacramento corporate shills-- from Lieutenant Governor Gavin Newsom, state Senator Ricardo Lara and Assemblymen Luis Alejo and Rudy Sala (a bunch of F-rated crooked pols) to Blue Dog congressman Jim Costa, the worst, most right-wing California Democrat in Congress. Arambula, however, can't be worse than Perea and he had a lot of labor backing, including from trustworthy unions like the nurses union. Next year we'll see when the Courage Campaign puts out their next score card-- although that won't be in time for Arambula reelection campaign for a full term in 8 months.
In the days leading up to the 31st Assembly District’s 2004 election, then-Assembly Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy of Bakersfield made a prediction: “Someday, this will be our seat.”

That day may never come.

...Republicans always like their chances in special elections, which historically have low turnouts. Because of that, the GOP saw this as its best chance to steal the seat away from the rival Democrats, who have held it for 40 years.

With all precincts reporting but some absentee and provisional ballots still to be counted, however, Arambula, an emergency room physician, had 52 percent of the vote to 42 percent for Olivier, a Fresno City Council member. Caruthers Democrat Ted Miller, an engineer and the third person in the race, had 5.7 percent of the vote.

...Democrats were well aware of the political realities of special elections, and responded accordingly. Arambula has raised more than $930,000 for the special election, including more than $405,000 from the state Democratic Party.
Special interest groups spent another $700,000 to help Arambula, a possible bad sign. During the campaign the other Democrat in the race, Ted Miller, gave anyone who cares about the rightward-drift of the Sacramento Democrats reason to pause. "The politicians who call themselves Democrats in Fresno are voting against the Democrats; they're voting in favor of money and power... There's three people that convinced me to get into the race: my Democratic opponent, my Republican opponent and Bernie Sanders. My political philosophy reflects Bernie Sanders."

UPDATE TWO: California Labor Federation Endorsements

The California Labor Federation is way too influenced by the Democratic Party bosses and they endorsed plenty of garbage candidates. However, a move in the right direction saw them refusing to endorse right-wing, anti-worker Democratic members of Congress-- Jim Costa (Blue Dog), Ami Bera (New Dem), Scott Peters (New Dem) and Susan Davis (New Dem). The Labor Federation also told some of-- though not all of-- the most corrupt of the conservative Democrats in Sacramento, including Cheryl Brown, Matt Dababneh, Tom Daly and Steve Glazer, to take a hike.

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