Thursday, March 30, 2017

Bernie's Revolution Has Taken Off And Could Help Power Democrats Into Congressional Wins Despite A Hopeless DCCC


This morning we looked at a new bill introduced this week by Ro Khanna and Beto O'Rourke that would end the pervasive influence of PACs on Congress. It's another example of how Democrats are getting behind Bernie Sanders' most salient ideas. Ro Khanna endorsed Bernie during the 2016 cycle and Beto O'Rourke had endorsed Hillary. Both are strong supporters of the core progressive principles that made Bernie's campaign so popular among Democrats and independents-- like muscular campaign finance reform. Writing this week for Newsweek, Tim Marcin explained how Bernie's ideas are winning in the Trump era. Marcin points out that "recent polls have shown that progressive ideas are catching on, largely as a function of organized opposition to President Donald Trump's policies. Half of Americans now believe in climate change and are concerned about it, Gallup found this week. This, as President Trump walked back Tuesday environmental regulations put forth by former President Barack Obama."

Carol Shea-Porter (D-NH) and Bernie have long been on the same page when it comes to climate issues, but, in 2016, she endorsed Hillary in the primary and Bernie-- perhaps stung-- promoted some clueless, reactionary independent candidate, Shawn O'Connor who had about as much in common with Bernie's agenda as your standard Blue Dog does. But Tuesday, just as Trump signed his 4 executive orders promoting the end of efforts to promote clean energy and combat Climate Change, Carol Shea-Porter was front and center in the pushback, telling New Hampshirites that "The threat of catastrophic climate change is very real, and today’s short-sighted actions from the Trump administration leave us less prepared than ever to confront it. I will fight to restore these protections." Just like Bernie.

Single payer was one of the biggest issues that Bernie was pushing-- an issue Hillary was not enamored of. Today single-payer, or Medicare for All, has become pretty standard among all but the Republican wing of the Democratic Party (the corrupt New Dems and reactionary Blue Dogs). Marcin wrote that as soon as Ryan's TrumpCare proposal got flushed down the toilet, Bernie "indicated he planned to put forth legislation creating a single-payer system. He admitted it would probably not pass Congress but added, 'it is a common sense proposal, and I think once the American people understand it, we can go forward with it.' New York Times op-ed writer David Leonhardt wrote that after the AHCA didn't pass, Republicans have two choices: stick with Obamacare or gradually move toward a system resembling single-payer, and that it seemed things were heading toward the latter. At the very least, amid the battle over whether the GOP should replace Obamacare, support for the Democratic bill ticked up to 49 percent."
A Fox News poll in mid-March, meanwhile, found 61 percent of registered voters had a favorable view of Sanders, compared with just 44 percent for Trump. The president's approval rating, meanwhile, fell to just 36 percent, according to the latest poll from Gallup this week.
Gallup has found that a majority of Americans now favor Medicare for All. And Democrats serious about winning congressional seats are running on it. This week I noticed that OurRevolution, the group headed by Bernie's former campaign manager, Jeff Weaver, had endorsed Rob Quist in Montana based on his support for unflinching universal health care. DFA didn't just endorse Quist, they also endorsed James Thompson, running for Mike Pompeo's now empty seat in Kansas and running on many of Bernie's popular ideas, not on a DCCC-Republican-lite platform.

"Rob Quist," explained DFA in a mailer to their members, "is a beloved rancher and musician. He supports single-payer health care, opposes Citizens United and he's ready to take on corporations that outsource jobs and hurt workers-- but first he has to beat the carpet-bagging New Jersey billionaire the Republican is running against him. James Thompson is a civil rights attorney and military veteran from Wichita who acutely understands the struggles both urban and rural working class families are facing under increasingly unpopular Republican leadership in his deep red district... After November's upset defeat, Republicans crowed that Hillary Clinton's failure to compete in rural areas meant that Democrats were doomed. But we know better. Bernie Sanders won both Montana and Kansas by running on populist progressive ideas, focusing on real conversations with voters, and refusing to compromise away core values of racial, gender, and economic justice. These candidates are ready to make that happen at the Congressional level and send shock waves to the Republican party."

Yesterday, Nate Cohn explained something we've been talking a lot about here at DWT, namely that a progressive Democrat has a good shot at winning a Georgia congressional seat that the DCCC has always considered hopelessly Republican and out of reach. "Jon Ossoff, a Democrat, has fared well in recent polls and has raised an astonishing $3 million in only a few months," wrote Cohn. "Trump struggled to victory in this district, a well-educated suburban area north of Atlanta. He won by just 1.5 percentage points, down from Mitt Romney’s 23-point win in 2012."
The idea of a competitive race here would have come as a surprise to many just a few months ago. Mr. Price won re-election with a healthy 62 percent of the vote, which observers have held up as a stronger indicator of the district’s partisanship than Mr. Trump’s performance. Democrats also have a poor track record in special elections.

But Mr. Trump’s weak performance last November was a sign that this race could be competitive... National political conditions are worse for the Republicans than they were in 2014 or 2016. Republicans now hold the presidency and the Congress, with Mr. Trump’s approval rating around 40 percent. On paper, these are the sort of conditions that tend to build up to so-called wave elections, like the ones that swept the Republicans out of power in 2006 and back into power in the House in 2010.

...When the seat opened up, it was reasonable to assume that a special election would work to the advantage of Republicans. The Democrats didn’t have a candidate. And in recent years, Republicans have excelled in special elections because they’ve done well among the older and reliable voters who dominate low-turnout elections.

Instead, everything has been breaking toward the Democrats-- and it probably wouldn’t have happened without a special election.

Start with the money. Mr. Ossoff, a 30-year-old first-time candidate, has benefited from timing. He was basically the only Democrat seeking federal office at a moment when Democratic energy was surging and when progressives were looking to “do something.”

Mr. Ossoff probably would not have raised nearly as much money if he’d been competing for attention with 434 other races. His fund-raising tally is better than that of 96 percent of the congressional challengers who raised more than $100,000 in 2016, and there’s still time for him to move up the list.

Instead, it’s the Republicans who are struggling to coalesce. They have 11 candidates on the ballot, with none emerging as the obvious favorite, although former Georgia Secretary of State Karen Handel, the businessman Bob Gray and state senator Judson Hill are considered among the strongest contenders. Whoever advances to a runoff (assuming anyone does) will have only two months to coalesce support and raise funds with the benefit of party unity.

Low turnout could work to Democrats’ advantage, too. The enthusiasm that brought millions of Democrats to the streets and millions of dollars into Mr. Ossoff’s campaign account might just translate into an unlikely and possibly big turnout edge.

So far, 55 percent of early voters in the special election-- either in-person or absentee-- have most recently participated in a Democratic primary, while just 31 percent have most recently participated in a Republican primary.

For comparison, just 23 percent of voters in the district in the 2016 general election had most recently participated in a Democratic primary, compared with 46 percent in a Republican primary.

The huge Republican field probably helps the early Democratic turnout edge: Republican voters are less likely to know at this stage whom they’re going to vote for. But the Democrats also enjoy a similar 45-to-21-point edge among the larger group of voters who have requested but not yet returned absentee ballots.

These sorts of lopsided turnout advantages aren’t sustainable in a high-turnout presidential election or even a midterm. But in a low turnout election like this, it doesn’t take much to generate a meaningful turnout edge.

All these factors might be enough to get Mr. Ossoff over the top, but these are also reasons the result might not say much about Democratic or Republican fortunes next year and beyond.

Democrats can’t count on huge fund-raising, a split Republican field and a low turnout for future victories.

Goal Thermometer But a strong Democratic turnout in Georgia’s Sixth would certainly raise the possibility that the party can cure its enthusiasm gap in the midterms. And if the Democratic turnout stays anything like what it is so far, it will be fair to start wondering whether Mr. Ossoff will win the election outright, with no need for a runoff. Weird things happen in special elections.
You can contribute the Ossoff's campaign by tapping the thermometer on the right, where you'll find not just him, but other progressive candidate running against a pretty loathsome bunch of Republicans-- like Kim Weaver, who's opposing Iowa racist Steve King and Doug Applegate, the progressive marine ready to finish off the villainous Darrell Issa in the San Diego area.

Yesetrday Josh Krasushaar at National Journal went so far as to speculate that "Demo­crats now have a real­ist­ic shot at re­tak­ing the House in 2018. "Re­pub­lic­ans," he wrote, "with con­trol of the White House and Con­gress, look em­bar­rass­ingly in­cap­able of gov­ern­ing. The polit­ic­al con­sequences are severe: GOP voters are likely to be de­mor­al­ized in the run-up to next year’s midterm elec­tions, es­pe­cially if Pres­id­ent Trump is un­able to achieve any oth­er le­gis­lat­ive vic­tor­ies. This, at a time when Demo­crat­ic polit­ic­al en­gage­ment is sur­ging-- fueled by their off-the-charts an­im­os­ity to­wards Trump."
Each of the past three midterm elec­tions have swung wildly against the party in power-- re­flect­ive of the long­stand­ing dis­sat­is­fac­tion of voters to­wards polit­ic­al lead­er­ship, no mat­ter who’s in charge. Trump’s job ap­prov­al rat­ing is hov­er­ing around 40 per­cent, a tox­ic level for the dozens of Re­pub­lic­ans run­ning for reelec­tion in swing dis­tricts. Re­pub­lic­ans would be fool­ish to as­sume that Pres­id­ent Obama’s co­ali­tion of mil­len­ni­als and non­white voters-- many of whom stayed home in past midterm elec­tions-- re­mains dis­en­gaged giv­en their aver­sion to Trump.

Polit­ic­ally speak­ing, the health care bill couldn’t have been more dam­aging for Re­pub­lic­ans. In a dis­cip­lined Con­gress, safe-seat Re­pub­lic­ans would be more will­ing to take risky votes so those in com­pet­it­ive seats could main­tain some in­de­pend­ence from the party. But this time, hard-line con­ser­vat­ives in the Free­dom Caucus de­clared their un­stint­ing op­pos­i­tion early on, for­cing some vul­ner­able Re­pub­lic­ans to go on re­cord in sup­port of the un­pop­u­lar le­gis­la­tion-- which didn’t even come to a vote. Adding in­sult to in­jury, Trump bragged on Twit­ter that the health care ex­changes would col­lapse as a res­ult of his in­ac­tion-- the worst pos­sible mes­sage to send to any­one who viewed Trump as a can-do ex­ec­ut­ive.

The end res­ult is the worst of all worlds: a party that can’t get things done, a pres­id­ent with de­clin­ing job-ap­prov­al num­bers, swing-dis­trict mem­bers flushed out, and the base dis­il­lu­sioned.

“The midterm elec­tions are all about who shows up. Demo­crats are already up­set and angry; you’re already see­ing this dy­nam­ic at the protests and town halls. Now the Re­pub­lic­an base be­comes dis­pir­ited after this,” said former Rep. Tom Dav­is, who twice chaired the GOP’s House cam­paign com­mit­tee. “You might be able to hold the House with just your base, but this is bad.”

There are already signs that Trump’s sag­ging ap­prov­al rat­ing is rais­ing the pos­sib­il­ity of a stun­ning up­set in an up­com­ing con­gres­sion­al elec­tion in sub­urb­an At­lanta. The race, to fill the va­cant seat held by Health and Hu­man Ser­vices Sec­ret­ary Tom Price, couldn’t be more rel­ev­ant to the health care de­bate. One pub­lic poll shows the Demo­crat­ic front-run­ner, Jon Os­soff, nar­rowly lead­ing sev­er­al of his GOP op­pon­ents in a run­off-- this in a con­ser­vat­ive dis­trict that has elec­ted Re­pub­lic­ans to Con­gress for over four dec­ades. Fear­ing an em­bar­rass­ing de­feat, the party’s lead­ing House su­per PAC is spend­ing over $2 mil­lion on at­tack ads con­nect­ing Os­soff with Nancy Pelosi.

Of the 36 at-risk House Re­pub­lic­ans, ac­cord­ing to the Cook Polit­ic­al Re­port’s rat­ings, 28 rep­res­ent urb­an or sub­urb­an dis­tricts where Trump isn’t par­tic­u­larly pop­u­lar. In last year’s elec­tion, most of these GOP rep­res­ent­at­ives sig­ni­fic­antly out­per­formed Trump as voters dis­tin­guished between the pres­id­en­tial nom­in­ee and the re­cord of their own mem­ber of Con­gress. But with Trump as pres­id­ent, that dis­tinc­tion is harder to make.

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At 3:16 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Bernie's revolution? He fucking endorsed the utterly corrupt goldman-sachs $hill. SOS different day is not a revolution.

The graphic at the end of the piece puts it into perspective. Medicare for all was first floated by John Kerry in his hapless campaign to lose in 2004, but he never tried to sell it. Nobody since has tried to sell it until Bernie last year... but he then did his Emily Litella "never mind" when he crapped all over his entire campaign and endorsed the only relatively sane republican running.

The DxCCs still have the candidacies for seats in their money chokehold. They still pick whom to buy and whom to sell and whom to shun. As well, they decide which REAL issues will be done and not done once, if ever, they regain a chamber.

The Democraps will gleefully welcome any proposals that resonate with voters. After all, they just had their asses handed to them. They need to find some way to hornswoggle their erstwhile and thoroughly disaffected voters. So I am not surprised that SP and PACbans are being proposed NOW that the Rs are flailing in their own shitstorm.

But don't be fooled. Neither idea will get any love if the DxCC's money still owns the big majority of their seats.

Look again at the graphic at the end. Says it all. These people are so corrupt they can't even pretend to favor a good idea lest their owners lose confidence in their fidelity.

At 3:22 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I would add that a "party" that employs the following tactics should be destroyed:

1) lose
2) let the Rs transfer billions from the bottom to the top, assrape and kill people, denude the planet, despoil the air and water...
3) run as the "better than them" party
4) occasionally win
5) serve corporations and billionaires while grimacing about how it's too hard to do good shit with those Rs there.
6) lose

lather, rinse, repeat.

At 6:19 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'd prefer that Bernie stop trying to fix the Democorrupts and go his own way.

At 4:02 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I love the "these 120 House Dems do NOT support single-payer" chart.

That's almost 2/3 of the entire (massively) MINORITY caucus ... yet the chirpy post about passage of HR676? The time for that was the beginning of the Obumma administration when the desire was strong for passage of a "signature" health care insurance legislation.

Can anyone remember that bygone era? Two historic Dem majorities in congress? Sixty-two percent polls FOR the single-payer option?

Obumma was pressured, as he had asked to be, for single-payer option in his "legacy" bill ... and he immediately lashed out with his idiotic, infantile, if all too revealing, contemptuous live-tweet about the wrong-thinking from "the professional left" peanut gallery.

Then "New York Times op-ed writer David Leonhardt wrote that after the AHCA didn't pass, Republicans have two choices: stick with Obamacare or gradually move toward a system resembling single-payer, and that it seemed things were heading toward the latter."

The GOP moving towards single-payer?!? Has anyone bothered to clue Mr Leonhardt that the AHCA didn't pass precisely because a sufficient fraction of the GOP (massive) MAJORITY caucus did not think it was sufficiently draconian and destructive of Medicare, Medicaid, not to mention the overall health and well being of Americans?

If this guy wrote one word during the recent campaign, perhaps he, too, should be investigated for unfairly influencing it.

John Puma

At 7:34 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Appreciate the comment, John. Coupla things:

I think the "professional left" epithet came from rahm Emmanuel. But those two have always been sympatico.

Also, it was reported just before obamanation's first post-inauguration lie-fest wrt ACA that he'd already met with the lobbies and had vowed to them that no PO nor SP would be passed. It was at this meeting that the lobbies got max Baucus as the leader of the special "gang of 6" to "craft" the bill. And remember that Baucus was schtupping Elizabeth fowler, who was the head writer of the bill.

Baucus left the senate in 2009 to lobby for the same group as fowler. In 2014 he was named ambassador to china as a gift from obamanation for services rendered.

At 12:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

6:19, I'm reminded of Ron White's "you can't fix stupid".

you can't fix stupid NOR corrupt without killing them.
And neither will ever fix itself.

At 12:23 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

To Anon @ 7:34 AM,

After quick check, apparently "professional left" was coined by Robert Gibbs, the press secretary at the time.

I rather doubt it was a "rogue" comment!


At 7:41 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

OK, JP. No, not a rogue comment. The proof is palpable. The obamanation admin treated progressives like dogs treat fire hydrants for 8 years. But the fire hydrants continue to vote for the dogs. morons.


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