Friday, March 31, 2017

Every Race In Every District Is Different-- Trump Or No Trump


NJ-07 is a red-leaning north-central suburban New Jersey district, primarily in Somerset County, but with significant chunks of Union and Hunterdon counties as well. It's the home of Trump's mobbed-up Bedminster Gold Club-- which may explain, at least in part, why Trump did so much worse in NJ-07 than Romney and McCain did. Romney beat Obama 53-47% and McCain did nearly as well 4 years earlier. Hillary, on the other actually beat Señor Trumpanzee 48.6% to 47.5%. Suddenly the brain surgeons at the DCCC, who usually ignore the swingy district, are hoping to ride of Hillary's two year old coattails. It won't surpriise you to hear that the DCCC completely ignored last year's Democratic candidate, Berniecrat Peter Jacobs who only managed to spend $395,886 against incumbent Leonard Lance's $1,276,330-- and then lost 184,309 (54.2%) to 146,350 (43.0%), which isn't bad for a first time candidate against a 4-term incumbent.

Peter Jacobs may run again but another progressive former candidate, Ed Potosnak (2010), is also considering a run. And more than likely, the DCCC will find some pile of human garbage like Blue Dog Josh Gottheimer to run. Yesterday, though, Walter Bragman, writing for Paste brought up an entirely different route for displacing the shilly-shally incumbent-- a primary... from the left. "Why," he asked, "is this progressive millennial running for Congress as a Republican? And, according to Bragman, Lindsay Brown is a bold progressive, no less. You see, what she believes in isn't a natural fit for the corrupted Democrat establishment, so she's trying something unique.
Her big goals include checking the influence money has in politics, fixing gerrymandering with nonpartisan redistricting, passing single-payer health care or, at the very least, a public option, addressing man-made global warming, raising the minimum wage so it keeps up with inflation and making sure cost-of-living increases from companies do the same, breaking up the banks, tackling student debt, taking in and welcoming Syrian refugees, and, of course, seeing more women and millennials represented in government. On top of that, she is socially progressive-- a strong supporter of LGBTQIA, gender, and racial equality. What’s more, she plans to win by taking only small donations.
And the reason she gave could be echoed by dozens of idealistic progressives who have come up against the Wasserman Schultzes of the Democratic Party-- or, in New Jersey, the George Norcrosses, Joseph DiVincenzos and Joseph Ferrieros. "I’m actually planning to run in the Republican primary because-- especially in NJ-- the Democrats and the way the Democratic Party establishment is run is not supportive of young people who don’t have deep, deep political experience or a lot of money to fund their own race. We shouldn’t all have to be millionaires or deeply politically connected to represent constituents."
The argument goes that the Democratic Party is too heavily focused on patronage and raising capital for grassroots efforts to succeed-- a sentiment rooted in the fact that since November, the Democrats have doubled down on the same establishment that shoehorned Clinton into the nomination and most recently selected Tom Perez for the position of DNC Chair, who has done little to win over progressives.

New Jersey Democratic Party politics are a machine in which “you’d better be putting in the money or the sweat equity” to earn the support of “party bosses,” Brown tells me. “It’s everything I’m running against.” Though personally a fan of Hillary Clinton, Brown reminds me that her nomination was essentially shoehorned by the establishment-- a way to illustrate that the problem is not isolated to her state. However, she does caution that the New Jersey Republicans are also an insider club.

Still, Brown and progressives like her see the GOP, which has proven more susceptible to outside efforts like the Tea Party Movement and Donald Trump’s meteoric campaign, as the inevitable path. That’s because, in addition to holding a permanent majority in the House due to its 2010 redistricting efforts, the party controls 33 of 50 governorships and 32 of 50 state legislatures. With the 2020 Census around the corner, and the Democrats doubling down against the grassroots, the Republicans may further cement their hegemony in 2020 following the Census.

“It’s a numbers game,” Brown tells me. “With NJ’s version of ‘fair districting’, a Dem will never be elected in my district, regardless of platform or message.”

So she’s taking her chances in a party that would appear to be her ideological opposite. Brown’s departure should worry establishment Democrats because millennials like her are about to be America’s largest voting bloc. Their realignment could very well mean the end of the party.
Goal Thermometer She's wrong about a Democrat never being able to win in NJ-07 but Bragman is right that establishment Dems should be worried about people like Lindsay Brown. This week Gabriel Debenedetti and Scott Bland did a post for Politico about how anger at Trump is fueling massive numbers of small donors giving contributions for Democratic candidates-- millions of dollars online. They're looking at evidence in the form of federal disclosures that suggest "many Democratic Senate incumbents-- particularly those who have been most outspoken in their resistance to Trump-- are on a trajectory to raise more money online than in any previous nonelection year. That could help level the fundraising playing field at a time when Republicans are poised to reap the financial rewards of holding all the levers of power in Washington." Jon Ossoff has raised over $2 million. Steve King's opponent, Kim Weaver, raised more than $138,000 over one weekend after King started spouting his racist bullshit again. And every time Trump's popularity rating ticks down, Democratic fundraising ticks up. "Democrats," they asserted, "minted money online in February." I know progressives did-- but did the dregs of the party, the Wasserman Schultzes and the other New Dems and Blue Dogs?

This week "elections expert" Nate Gonzales makes the case to the Beltway establishment that what people outside the Beltway have known since Trump was elected-- Democrats should be able to take back the House in 2018.
[T]he contours of the 2018 midterm elections depend on what the Republican Congress-- and the Trump White House-- does or does not do on health care, taxes, environmental policy and other areas over the next 18 months. If Americans are content, the economy is expanding and the nation is at peace, any Democratic midterm “change” argument will be weak.

  The great risk for the GOP is that voters are likely to tire of the turmoil and tumult that surrounds Trump. If that happens, especially if other aspects of the Republican agenda frighten swing voters, the midterm electorate is likely to be receptive to House Democrats’ “check Trump” message.

Since the House has no role in confirming Cabinet or judicial nominees (including any future Supreme Court vacancies), voters can use their midterm House vote to check Trump without giving Democrats too much power.

The GOP’s inept handling of health care insurance raises doubts among all but the most enthusiastic Trump supporters about the party’s ability to govern. For most voters, that’s crucially important, regardless whether “governing” means a more conservative or a more progressive America. Voters next year will want competence, at the very least.

Former Republican congressman Tom Davis was surely correct when he wrote in a recent op-ed that either House Republicans get their “act together” or else “face losing the majority.”

The problem for Republican officeholders is that many Trump/GOP actions already can be portrayed as benefiting corporate America and leaving the average American unprotected. To Republicans, this narrative may seem completely unfair, but it is likely to be effective for Democrats because it plays into long-time caricatures of the two parties.

Both the Republican and Democratic congressional campaign committees have released lists of 2018 targets, and each includes some reasonable names and a few that aren’t.

Count me as skeptical that the National Republican Congressional Committee really believes that it has a chance to threaten Kyrsten Sinema (Arizona 9), Denny Heck (Washington 10) or Sander Levin (Michigan 9), or that the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee is going to devote resources to defeating Bob Gibbs (Ohio 7) or Pete Sessions (Texas 32).

...It is still early in the candidate recruitment cycle, but it’s likely that the Trump Administration’s early actions and the defeat of the GOP health care effort will encourage potentially strong Democratic challengers into races. If that does not happen, it will be a serious blow to the DCCC.

If history is any guide, the midterms are likely to turn out a disproportional share of angry anti-Trump voters, and that is likely to make it difficult for Republicans, who control Congress and the White House.

It is far too early to say that the House will or will not be in play in 2018.  Today, the Republicans’ handling of health care is the top issue, but a year from now Americans could be talking about war with North Korea, inflation, taxes or some issue not now on anyone’s radar screen. And we certainly can’t know how popular the president will be as autumn 2018 approaches.

However, we already have reasons to believe that one thing has changed dramatically since November 2016.

The midterm elections are not likely to be about Barack Obama or Hillary Clinton. Instead, they are more and more likely to be about the GOP and, more specifically, President Trump. As one veteran Democratic strategist put it to me recently, if the 2016 campaign was about “he said, she said,” 2018 will be about “he said, he did.”

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At 5:06 AM, Blogger Procopius said...

I don't know why we never thought of this before. Especially since the neolibs have been blocking progressives since 1996. The Dixiecrats were totally opposed to nearly everything the 1930s and later Democratic Party stood for, but continued to run as Democrats because no Republican could be elected. So in places where the Republicans have gerrymandered the districts so only a Republican can get elected we need a novel way to form alliances, which now have to be across party lines. I don't know how we're going to be able to recognize each other. I don't see how discipline in the coalition can be enforced. Maybe that's a good thing. This is really an exciting idea.

At 7:31 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

And there you go. Since the democraps thwart progressives and liberals from running, they have to pretend to be republicans.

The problem is that fake Rs are going to be unsupported by the RNC just like real FDR Ds are unsupported by the DxCCs.

This illustrates just how big a cluster fuck American politics has become.

Voters still should refuse all democraps forever. Again, you cannot fill a vacuum until you create one.


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