Thursday, February 09, 2017

There Are Good Democrats And There Are The Other Kind-- Take Nevada For Example


Ruben Kihuen and Dean Heller-- 2018 Senate opponents?

There really was only one feasible way to stop Betsy DeVos from being confirmed-- Nevada. Nevada is a swing state tilting Blue. Obama won it against McCain in 2008 (55-43%) and against Romney in 2012 (52-46%). This past November, Hillary took the state's 6 electoral votes against Triump 537,753 (47.9%) to 511,319 (45.5%). On the same day, Nevada elected Democrat Catherine Cortez Mastro over Republican Joe Heck 520,658 (47.1%) to 494,427 (44.7%) and ended the Republican hold on two of the state's 4 congressional districts by electing progressive Ruben Kihuen and centrist Jacky Rosen in the Las Vegas area. How are they doin'? Take a look at these two charts from ProgressivePunch that examine lifetime crucial vote scores. As you can see, Ruben is tied for #1 (in the entire Congress) with another progressive champion, Pramila Jayapal. Also note though, that Jayapal's district is solidly blue, while Kihuen's is more of a swing district. He beat a Republican incumbent, Cresent Hardy, to win the seat. The second chart shows the records of 4 very mediocre centrist politicians with crap scores tucked neatly between two of the most right-wing Blue Dogs in Congress, Jim Costa (CA) and Collin Peterson (MN).

please click on these two charts to read them

Jacky Rosen is in the middle of that ugliness-- with the kind of voting record that Paul Ryan and Kevin McCarthy drool over-- Democrats who vote with the GOP more than with their own party on crucial issues. Ruben scores an A; Jacky an F. Why bring this up so soon? Let's go back to that DeVos confirmation vote for a moment. Nevada's Republican senator Dean Heller tries painting himself as some kind of a mainstream conservative, not a radical or extremist like most of his GOP Senate colleagues. But when it came to saving public education-- despite thousands of pleas from Nevadans-- he didn't follow Republicans Susan Collins and Lisa Murkowski across the aisle; he voted by rote with the GOP to confirm a profoundly unqualified and dangerous nominee. And his seat is up in 2018.

The Democrats don't have a very deep bench in Nevada and there has already been speculation that the party might draft either Ruben or Jacky. "Either?" The stand-out progressive with the best record in the House for resisting Trumpism or the mediocre backbencher who has already voted more with the GOP than with the Democratic Party. There is one sure way the Democrats can guarantee another 6 year term for Dean Heller-- nominee Jacky Ruben as his opponent.

Yesterday evening the Senate voted to confirm the execrable racist, Jeff Sessions, as Attorney General. Again, Dean Heller stuck with his party and voted for the racist to become Attorney General. It didn't take long for Ruben Kihuen let Nevadans know he doesn't agree. "The confirmation of Jeff Sessions as Attorney General," he told the Nevada media, " is a troubling development for the progress made by our nation's justice system. His history of racism, opposition to voting rights and immigration reform makes him an unacceptable choice as Attorney General. History will not look kindly on Senate Republicans who continue to rubber stamp Ppresident Trump's controversial and unqualified cabinet nominees, even going so far as to silence Senator Elizabeth Warren's opposition on the Senate floor. They should be ashamed of themselves." And by "they," he no doubt had Dean Heller foremost in mind.

Although Beto O'Rourke, the popular Democratic congressman from El Paso, is likely to take on Ted Cruz, most of the 2018 Senate contests will involve red-state Democrats defending their seats-- unattractive, anti-progressive Democratic incumbents like Joe Manchin (WV), Joe Donnelly (IN), Heidi Heitkamp (ND), Claire McCaskill (MO), Jon Tester (MT)... If Trump turns out to be the disaster he appears to be so far-- and if the Republican Congress continues to enable his crazy agenda-- there are two flippable Republican-held Senate seats up for grabs, Jeff Flake's in Arizona (very tough) and Dean Heller (tough but feasible with a good candidate, i.e.- not Jackie Rosen or some other timid, tepid Republican-lite hack).

As we've been saying, though, the real battle to stop Trump in 2018 is for the House. The Democrats need a net gain of 24 seats to oust Ryan and his horrible chairmen from power. And the Democrats can do it, as we've been explaining.

Goal ThermometerWe've also talked about defending some seats where Democrats were elected where the voters also went for Trump. Several good Democrats are sitting in these Trump districts-- like Carol Shea-Porter (NH-01), Matt Cartwright (PA-17), Rick Nolan (MN-08) and Dave Loebsack (IA-02)-- and these seats will need to be vigorously defended from the Trumpists. Most of the Trump districts Dems, though are just worthless Blue Dogs and New Dems from the Republican wing of the Democratic Party and don't merit any help at all. Congressional Democrats are better off without garbage incumbents like Josh Gottheimer (NJ-05), Ron Kind (WI-03), Tom O'Halleran (AZ-01), Cheri Bustos (IL-17), Collin Peterson (MN-07), Sean Patrick Maloney (NY-18) and... Jacky Rosen (NV-03).

This week the NRCC has released their first list of seats they plan to target in 2018. They have 36 on their list, which is kind of funny (although I have admit that the DCCC's first list was kind of funny too, including absurd "targets" like Martha Roby, French Hill, Richard Hudson and Alex Mooney, whose seat Trump just won 65.8-29.4%). The same way the DCCC is focussing on Republican-held seats that Hillary won, the NRCC is focussing on Democratic-held seats that Trump won, the ones we refer to as Trump district Dems. "That segment of the list," wrote Alex Isenstadt, "is heavy on blue-collar districts in the Midwest, which Republicans believe will be especially fertile political territory in the Trump era. It includes two Democrats who were not heavily targeted by the GOP in 2016: Reps. Dave Loebsack, a veteran incumbent from southeastern Iowa, and Ron Kind, who is from west central Wisconsin and ran unopposed in 2016 while Trump carried his seat by more than 4 percentage points." These are the 36 seats the NRCC is targeting:
AZ-1- Tom O'Halleran (Blue Dog)
AZ-09- Kyrsten Sinema (Blue Dog)
CA-07- Ami Bera (New Dem)- safe
CA-24- Salud Carbajal (New Dem)- safe
CA-36- Raul Ruiz- safe
CA-52- Scott Peters (New Dem)- safe
CO-07- Ed Perlmutter (New Dem)- safe
CT-02- Joe Courtney (New Dem)- safe
CT-05- Elizabeth Esty (New Dem)- safe
FL-07- Stephanie Murphie (Blue Dog)- safe
FL-13- Charlie Crist- safe
IA-02- Dave Loebsack- safe
IL-17- Cheri Bustos (Blue Dog)- safe
MA-09- Bill Keating- safe
MD-06- John Delaney (New Dem)- safe
MI-05- Dan Kildee- safe
MI-09- Sander Levin- safe
MN-01- Tim Walz
MN-07- Collin Peterson (Blue Dog)
MN-08- Rick Nolan
NH-01- Carol Shea-Porter
NH-02- Ann Kuster (New Dem)- safe
NJ-05- Josh Gottheimer (Blue Dog)
NM-01- open
NM-03- Ben Ray Lujan- safe
NV-03- Jacky Rosen
NV-04- Ruben Kihuen- safe
NY-03- Tom Suozzi- safe
NY-18- Sean Patrick Maloney (New Dem)- safe
OH-13- Tim Ryan- safe
OR-04- Pete DeFazio- safe
OR-o5- Kurt Schrader (Blue Dog)- safe
PA-17- Matt Cartwright- safe
WA-06- Derek Kilmer (New Dem)- safe
WA-10- Denny Heck (New Dem)- safe
WI-03- Ron Kind (New Dem)- safe

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At 6:29 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Once again, I remind folks that replacing Rs with Democraps won't change much except ryan... for a couple years. With the senate remaining R forever, most likely, having a slim and very temporary DemocraP house majority is for the most part meaningless.

We can't actually accomplish change by creating a 2-year stasis by putting OUR fascists in seats displacing, for only 2 years, THEIR fascists.

And the DCCC won't find nor help anyone who is worth a damn.

I know it's discouraging and all that, but face reality. Playing ball with the democraps, the best we'll ever accomplish is a 2-year relative pause in our sprint toward 1938 Germany. We will never actually CHANGE anything unless we divest from the less racist fascists and coalesce around some other TRULY LEFT political movement. Dormant left voters aren't going to get excited with anyone the DCCC (or DSCC) hork up. And for actual change, we're going to NEED millions of the dormant left to have some reason to wake the fuck up.

2008, a lot woke up with hopey changey. 2010, they returned to dormancy after the democraps failed, betrayed and generally screwed the pooch.

At 6:39 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just got e-mail from Ron Kind asking for donation...via Act Blue!!

At 5:55 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


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