Massachusetts ConservaDem Stephen Lynch Draws A Primary Opponent
Safely behind it's paywall last week, Roll Call ran a post by Colin Diersing about Tulsi Gabbard's cloudy political future. DWT readers are already aware that the conservative Fox Democrat masquerading as a progressive can't be trusted, despite having noisily endorsed Bernie-- in a state where he won the 2016 caucuses 70-30% against Clinton. Digressing wrote that she's "gained prominence by her willingness to buck leadership, whether by challenging better-known candidates in her early races, criticizing President Obama’s approach to ISIS, or backing Bernie Sanders and resigning a national party post during the primaries." He forgot to mention that she also led the anti-LGBT campaign in Hawaii's state legislature.
[I]n recent weeks, strategists said speculation that Gabbard could join the Trump administration and a trip in which she met with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad have raised questions about her political future and aspirations. Hawaii Democrats said voters back home are paying attention.OK now let's skip way across the country to Massachusetts, where another Democrat very much like Gabbard-- conservative Stephen Lynch (both have career-long grades of "F" from ProgressivePunch; Lynch's score is 78.69 and Gabbard's is 73.90)-- is being also being challenged from the left. This one is even more complex than the sordid Gabbard saga.
“Out of all of the issues that have gotten her in the news so far, this is the most coverage she’s ever gotten on any single issue or incident,” said state Sen. Stanley Chang, who like Gabbard was elected to the Honolulu City Council in 2010.
Hawaii news sources echoed the tone of several Democrats who privately discussed the trip with National Journal: confusion and frustration. The Maui News editorial board wrote that it was “baffled” by Gabbard’s actions, and the Honolulu Civil Beat wrote that she had “crossed the line with a secret trip to Syria.” And on Sunday, a Honolulu Star-Advertiser columnist criticized Gabbard for comparing her trip with the late Rep. Patsy Mink’s meetings at the Paris Peace Talks during the Vietnam War. “Things like that can come back and haunt her next year,” said one Hawaii Democratic strategist who requested anonymity to speak candidly.
Chang, whose comments aligned with those of Democratic strategists in the state, said that the unusual circumstances surrounding the trip coincided with Trump’s election and the rise of a progressive activist corps in Hawaii to “create a lot of interest in the community” about the trip.
Even if the controversy over the trip dies down, observers said it raised an important question about Gabbard’s future: Can her go-it-alone approach to politics translate in an era when Democrats around the country seem increasingly united behind an anti-Trump movement?
Though she has remained popular at home while splitting with Obama and national Democrats over a variety of issues, some argued that the fervent anti-Trump energy within the Democratic Party could make it increasingly difficult for Gabbard to continue on her current course without backlash from a deep-blue Hawaii electorate.
“People have a lot less patience for Democrats who are not going to present a united front, particularly people who style themselves as progressive Democrats,” said Colin Moore, a professor of political science at the University of Hawaii and director of the school’s public policy center. “This resonates back home. The cost there is she won’t be considered a trustworthy ally for the national Democratic Party.”
Do you know about Gamergate? (I'm not talking about the sexually active ant.) I didn't follow it at the time-- but it's become relevant to the 2018 congressional primary in blue collar MA-08. The district includes Boston's North End and West End, as well as Beacon Hill and the Financial District, goes down to South Boston, Milton, Quincy, Braintree, Weymouth and Brockton before swinging west to Walpole, Norwood and Dedham. Obama beat Romney there 58-41% and Hillary beat Trump 60.4-34.4%.
The challenge Lynch faces next year is from, Brianna Wu, who become something of an online celebrity because of the Gamergate controversy, which wikipedia defined as concerning "issues of sexism and progressivism in video game culture, stemming from a harassment campaign conducted primarily through the use of the Twitter hashtag #GamerGate... Beginning in August 2014, Gamergate targeted several women in the video game industry, including game developers Zoë Quinn and Brianna Wu, as well as feminist media critic Anita Sarkeesian. After a former boyfriend of Quinn wrote a lengthy disparaging blog post about her, other people falsely accused her of entering a relationship with a journalist in exchange for positive coverage and threatened her with assault and murder. Those endorsing the blog post and spreading such accusations against Quinn organized themselves under the Twitter hashtag #Gamergate, as well as on Internet Relay Chat (IRC) channels and websites such as Reddit, 4chan, and 8chan. Harassment campaigns against Quinn and others were coordinated through these forums and included doxing, threats of rape, and death threats. Many of those organizing under the Gamergate hashtag argue that they are campaigning against political correctness and poor journalistic ethics in the video game industry, while numerous commentators have dismissed Gamergate's purported concerns with ethics and condemned its misogynistic behavior... Many supporters of Gamergate oppose what they view as the increasing influence of feminism on video game culture. As a result, Gamergate is often viewed as a right-wing backlash against progressivism."
And here's how Wu comes into the story-- again, according to wikipedia: "In mid-October Brianna Wu, another independent game developer and co-founder of video game studio Giant Spacekat, saw her home address and other identifying information posted on 8chan as retaliation for mocking Gamergate. Wu then became the target of rape and death threats on Twitter and elsewhere. After contacting police, Wu fled her home with her husband, saying she would not allow the threats to intimidate her into silence. Wu later announced an US$11,000 reward for any information leading to a conviction for those involved in her harassment, and set up a legal fund to help other game developers who have been harassed online. As of April 2016, Wu was still receiving threats in such volume that she employed full-time staff to document them... Wu has expressed her frustration over how law enforcement agencies have responded to the threats that she and other women in the game industry have received. On public release of the FBI's case files on Gamergate, Wu said she was "livid," and that "Only a fraction of information we gave the FBI was looked into. They failed on all levels."
It probably won't surprise you to know that Bill Maher's friend Milo Yiannopoulos, as well as Breitbart of course, jumped right into the controversy-- of course taking the side of the sexists in a typically Republican War Against Women stance. The Alt Right and the shockingly ignorant (and vicious) Gamergate crew has already gone wildly insane over Wu's candidacy. Dozens of crackpot Alt right videos savaging Wu have flooded YouTube since her annoucement in late January.
Her announcement statement interested me before I knew much about Gamergate, primarily because she is another among many progressives who backed Hillary and has since come to understand that Bernie was the right choice. Although there are definitely hard core Bernie supporters who are suspicious and unenthusiastic about people who came later to Bernie than they did, Bernie isn't one of them. He enthusiastically endorsed Hillary backer Nanette Barragan and it was the money he raised for her that paid for her to run a field operation that allowed her to beat a highly-favored, corrupt conservative, establishment Democrat and become a Member of Congress. "On election night," wrote Wu, "I was at Hillary Clinton headquarters, standing not 30 feet from where I expected her to accept the presidency. The next day, I expected to travel back to Boston and return to my work leading my game studio and creating jobs. But then, our worst fears came true and Donald Trump was elected president. If this were just another Republican president, someone like Mitt Romney or John McCain-- I’d take the loss in stride. But we all know the truth, Donald Trump represents a unique threat to the American system. Not only is he temperamentally unfit to be president, but there are unanswered questions about his ties to Russia and business conflicts of interest."
It's statements like that that have driven her Alt Right detractors into a frenzied rage.
I have respect for so many of our leaders in our great Democratic party. But, the contentious primary between Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton revealed a deep divide that must be reconciled. There is a disconnect between those marginalized and our party leaders who vote too often as moderate Republicans. I personally supported Hillary Clinton in the primary, but today I see the vision of Bernie Sanders for America is one we must bring to pass.
I believe today’s Democratic party is ill-equipped to fight the Trump administration’s assault on women, on people of color, on the poor, and on the LGBT community. We do have true progressives, but too often they don’t have the support of the party establishment.
I’m announcing my candidacy today for the House of Representatives in Massachusetts district 8 to change that. It’s time for a bolder Democratic party.
I’ll be the first person to tell you, I’m not a politician. I am a software engineer and an entrepreneur. I launched my first startup with a quarter million dollars when I was only 19 years old. I believe my experience in the tech industry is a desperately needed perspective in government. In the startup world, we don’t form a committee to solve a problem. We don’t shake our heads and say that it can’t be done-- we roll up our sleeves and get to work. It’s a deeply American approach to problem solving.
My campaign for district 8 will have two primary objectives-- our national priorities and our local priorities. Let’s start by telling you what I’ll do for the local economy in Massachusetts.
We spend a substantial amount of money on education in Massachusetts, which I very strongly support. I am proud that we lead the nation in educating people for the tech industry and biotech industry. But the truth is, all too often our investment is taken from the taxpayers of Massachusetts and used in San Francisco and Austin. Every day, students with the solutions for climate change and renewable energy are forced to build those businesses in other states.
I want to make Boston the third great city in the United States to build tech and biotech jobs. I want you and your children to be able to proudly work in these high-paying fields. Our current leadership in district 8 doesn’t understand these industries, but I do.
My second mission objective is national. As a software engineer, I am uniquely qualified to help improve our nation’s cybersecurity. There’s no polite way to say this, but our tech policy in the United States leaves us woefully unprepared for a cyberattack.
The wars of tomorrow will not be fought with tanks and submarines, but with electronic warfare against our financial systems and infrastructure. Last year, the Mirai botnet attack showed that we are completely vulnerable-- and our congress did not act strongly. The special interests have a say in our tech policy, it’s time for technology experts to have their say as well.
My campaign is greater than these two issues. We have a bold vision for America that includes repairing our rigged economy, ensuring justice for our most vulnerable citizens and an omnibus privacy bill that I believe will have broad bipartisan support. I look forward to making my case to the people of district 8 one at a time.
Now, I have to say a word about my opponent, Stephen Lynch. This man has been on the wrong side of every fight for over a decade. He voted for the Iraq war, and never really answered for it. He voted against the Affordable Care Act. He’s crusaded against women’s reproductive health care for his entire career. He once introduced an amendment that would give people that committed hate crimes against the LGBT community a “get out of jail free card.” When I think about people that do not represent the Democratic party, I think of Stephen Lynch.
It’s time for Stephen Lynch to answer to the people of district 8 for his incredibly poor record on progressive issues. He’s never had a real primary fight for district 8, but I’m about to give him one.
I know I’ve got a lot of work to do to make the case to the people of district 8. I’ll spend every single day for the next two years shaking your hands, listening to your ideas, and earning your trust. And no matter what, the people of Massachusetts will be better off with a real discussion about our future.
With Donald Trump in the White House, there’s no room in our party for people that don’t stand with the poor, the marginalized and the unheard. I look forward to earning your trust and proving that I will stand for you.