Monday, May 22, 2017

Democratic Candidates Need To Talk More About Paul Ryan's And The GOP's Dystopian Vision Than About Trump's Insanity


Yesterday, writing for The Hill, Christina Marcos reported that Republican members of Congress are now afraid angry constituents will kill them or do them physical harm.
A growing number of House Republicans are facing physical threats from angry constituents in their districts, leading many to fear for their safety.

In the last few weeks alone, the FBI arrested a man threatening Rep. Martha McSally's (R-AZ) life, a woman pursued Rep. David Kustoff (R-TN) in her car, and Rep. Tom Garrett (R-VA) heightened security at a town hall event in response to death threats.

Other Republicans still holding town halls say they haven't felt physically threatened by protesters, but they worry about the depth of anger from some constituents in the polarized environment and what it means for political civility... [A]n increasing number of lawmakers’ encounters with constituents, even in deep-red districts, have gotten ugly.
Poor snowflakes... maybe they should contemplate why their constituents are so angry-- starting with the ugliness behind a Republican agenda that includes gutting the social safety net, kicking their families off health care and redistributing the nation's wealth further in the direction of the 1%. Georgia Republican Party activist Erick Erickson, has been contemplating this, as he mentioned yesterday in a Washington Post column and has come to the conclusion that "Voters are increasingly dissatisfied with a Republican Party unable to govern. And congressional Republicans increasingly find themselves in an impossible position: If they support the president, many Americans will believe they are neglecting their duty to hold him accountable. But if they do their duty, Trump’s core supporters will attack them as betrayers-- and then run primary candidates against them."

Erickson is wrong if he thinks this is all about Trump though, rather than about the Republican agenda. Trump may be a clown and a fool, but Ryan and Ryan's enablers are the real heart of darkness for the Republican Party. Ericsson continued:
It is becoming ever clearer that Trump has the potential to cause more damage to the Republican Party than Obama did the Democrats. While there is no doubt the Democrats saw serious electoral setbacks under Obama, there remains a key difference here: Obama is deeply respected and liked by a majority of voters. Trump is increasingly disliked, and the Republicans who enable him are increasingly distrusted.

With a horde of vocal Trump supporters cheering on every inane statement, delusion, lie and bad act, the majority of the American people can be forgiven for thinking the GOP as a whole has lost its mind. The Republicans may soon lose a generation of voters through a combination of the sheer incompetence of Trump and a party rank and file with no ability to control its leader.
It isn't Ericsson's job to help Democrats figure out how to navigate this-- and the lack of any kind of vision inside the DCCC will insure that nothing meaningful or effective welcome from that quarter but, as Jonathan Martin pointed out over the weekend in a NY Times piece, local Democrats outside of the sway of the DCCC are looking for a way to reach voters over and above the DCCC-pushed themes of "Trump/Bad" and "Putin/Putin/Putin."

Katie Hill, the local, progressive, non-DCCC candidate running against Republican backbencher Steve Knight in the Simi Valley, Santa Clarita, Antelope Valley district of Southern California dealt with the question in a guest post here at DWT Saturday. "Trump," she wrote, "is not the problem. He’s the symptom of a damaged political consciousness in America" and asked-- and took a stab at answering-- the key question: "what is our vision? We have a great, grassroots resistance that has emerged, but right now, all we’re doing is reacting to Trump’s every move. He is setting the agenda, maintaining the initiative, and we’re screaming on the sidelines. It’s understandable. Trump is a disaster. He’s doing things that would have been unimaginable in any other time. He is putting our country at risk, going against our every value with every unhinged twitter outburst. We, of course, must resist. But that’s not enough. We must be more than the anti-Trump party or we fail." Martin looked towards the special election coming up Thursday in Montana.
As the nation’s capital was rocked by revelation after revelation from the investigation into any connection between the Trump campaign and Russia, Democrats in Washington were focused on what they saw as nothing less than saving the republic.

More than 1,800 miles away, Rob Quist, a Democratic candidate in one of the House special elections that will gauge the mood of the country this spring, was concentrating on high insurance premiums, not high crimes.

Mr. Quist, who is running to fill the seat vacated by the Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke, was in Wolf Point, Mont., assailing his Republican rival, Greg Gianforte, over the repeal of the Affordable Care Act. The appearance was part of a weeklong “Hands Off Our Health Care” tour that Democrats hope will hand them an upset on May 25.

“Russia is important to the American public, but health care hits home directly in people’s lives,” said Nancy Keenan, executive director of the Montana Democratic Party. “Regular Montanans are talking about the heck of a spring snowstorm we just had, this health care bill, the stuff that’s hitting them every single day. They know something is amiss in Washington, but in their everyday lives it doesn’t affect them right now.”

The contrast between what Democrats in Washington are consumed by and what their candidates are running on illustrates an emerging challenge for the party as the president becomes ever more engulfed in controversy: For all the misfortunes facing their foe in the White House, Democrats have yet to devise a coherent message on the policies that President Trump used to draw working-class voters to his campaign.

And at least for now, the voters whom Democrats need to win back are more focused on their own troubles than those of the president.

After a campaign in which they learned the hard way that an anti-Trump message was insufficient, Democrats are again grappling with how to balance responding to Mr. Trump’s apparent transgressions and devising an affirmative policy agenda of their own.

“The country wants answers on this, but they don’t want to see us be so consumed we can’t do anything else,” said Senator Sherrod Brown, a Democrat from Ohio facing re-election in 2018, citing a need to address infrastructure, trade agreements and health care.

Finding that equilibrium now is even more difficult because the party’s lawmakers believe they have a solemn constitutional duty to pursue what they see as the president’s misdeeds.

...“There’s this Washington narrative, and then there’s a voter narrative,” said Anita Dunn, a longtime Democratic strategist. “Significant parts of our base are following the Washington narrative very closely, but for voters who voted for Donald Trump or voters who didn’t vote at all, I think Democratic candidates are going to have to make the election meaningful to those voters’ lives.”

The more effective way to do that, in the eyes of many Democrats, is to draw more attention to the repeal of the health law than to the investigation of Mr. Trump’s campaign.

“The Trump story happens without us,” said Ms. Dunn, noting that the leaks will keep coming and Democrats have little control over the F.B.I. inquiry; the investigation by the newly named special counsel, Robert Mueller; or the inquiries being led by the congressional Republican majorities.

“But the health care contrast, which is a very, very powerful one if you look at the polling, is where we can draw a sharp contrast,” she added.

Ms. Warren, while insisting that Democrats could link the Trump campaign inquiry and his policy agenda under the rubric of accountability, acknowledged that she did not hear much from voters about Russia-related matters.

“The two issues people raise the most with me are health care and student loans,” she said in an interview. “And both of them make people cry.”

Some in the party are gamely trying to break through on the policy front, as Senator Brian Schatz of Hawaii demonstrated on Friday shortly after yet more developments related to Mr. Trump were reported. In an all-caps Twitter post, Mr. Schatz wrote, in part, that in the middle of the White House’s troubles, “they are still trying to take away your healthcare and ruin the internet.”

And those Democrats facing voters next year in states Mr. Trump won are particularly eager to shift attention to policy, to demonstrate to voters they are focused on their most pressing concerns.

...Quist is putting his money where his message is: After a week of health care-focused events, he began airing a pair of closing television commercials. Both were focused on how the Republican-passed health bill would imperil individuals with pre-existing medical conditions.

As we've mentioned before iron worker and union activist Randy Bryce is likely to mount a campaign for the southeast Wisconsin congressional seat Paul Ryan operates out of. This is a district Obama won in 2008 and Trump won in 2016. Hillary was the wrong candidate in this kind of blue collar district. Bryce is the exact kind of candidate Democrats need in this kind of district, He's not counting on the DCCC to figure that out. He's putting together a locally-based/values-driven grassroots campaign now. His appeal is Wisconsin-oriented, working families-oriented... not DC-oriented. We reached him yesterday and he told us the issues his neighbors are talking about are kitchen table, bread-and-butter issues, far more than Putin-Gate and Trump's personality defects. Here's what he had to say:
One word best describes what the voters of Wisconsin’s 1st CD are concerned about-- survival.

In Wisconsin, the Middle Class is disappearing faster than any other state in the country. The extreme anti-worker legislation brought on by Scott Walker is decimating us. With the Republicans having complete control over the U.S. Government, the rest of the country is now feeling what has been going on in the Badger State since 2011.

Just this evening I heard a story about someone who needed medical help that was just planning on letting their illness take them away. That’s right. In the wealthiest nation in the year 2017 someone will be dying because they feel that they can’t afford to live.

Think about that for a minute. It’s not hyperbole, it’s a factual story.

That’s not my America regardless of who is in charge. I didn’t wear an army uniform and donate years of my life defending some land where people felt that way about simply existing. I wonder how many others who wore the same uniform and put their lives on the line were discharged only to find that their lives had no worth while they were no longer dodging bullets.

Looking at coworkers, and, certainly at my own situation, I see our children having less opportunities than we did. (well, for most of us at least. 99% to be exact) That tells me that we are going in the wrong direction.

Since I can remember, I have heard about an “American Dream.” I have seen it on television, but, it seems to be disappearing in my neighborhood. I’ve heard a slogan referencing “making America great again” uttered by someone who inherited his dream.

I don’t ask for much for myself. My vision of America being great would include a genuine freedom to be able to stand on one’s own feet and be allowed to keep what is earned in order to not be dependent on any government agency. Stop stealing from the people who do the work in order to send millions to an offshore account in order to avoid paying taxes. Workers are the job creators. When we have extra money, we buy things. Buying things creates demand. Demand creates jobs.

We don’t need to go back to the 1950s in order to make America great again. We have the wealth. We have the workforce. All that we need is genuine representation who understands-- who CARES-- about us.

Once we take back our country’s soul, the rest will follow. Money is not speech. The cries of our hungry, our poor, our sick, our children who are having their futures stolen are the speech that I am hearing. Our solution is so very simple. We need people to make decisions on our behalf who not only live in our neighborhoods, but, who want to be with us. We need more people who help us up the ladder, not kick it down once they get to the top. The rooftop is a very big place. There’s enough room for all of us. The only time that we should be looking down at someone is when we help lift them up.

Let’s be Americans. Let’s help lift others up with us.

Let’s take back the power that our forefathers bequeathed upon us-- demand that those who we pay to represent us hear the same voices that we hear. They chose to make decisions on our behalf. If they don’t, let’s replace them with one of our own who genuinely cares about what happens to us.

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At 6:09 AM, Anonymous ap215 said...

Superb words by Randy Bryce he's 100% right.

At 6:34 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

How much longer can Ds win by just reflecting how terrible the Rs are?

How about Ds saying what THEY stand for? And then following through with actual deeds?

Saying "I may not be any good, but I can't possibly be as bad as him, can I" shouldn't be anyone's campaign slogan. Didn't work for Hillary.

At 7:05 AM, Anonymous Hone said...

Yes - Hillary could not even figure out why she was running.

Progressives are demeaned by many but they are the voice of reality and the direction our country needs to go in. Our country is for the American people, not just for the rich and the corporations, and the Dems need to rely of this message and put their mouths and their efforts behind it. What do the Dems actually offer to the majority of the American people?

Everyone should watch Michael Moore's "What Country Should We Invade Next? to see what many Europeans have from their governments. Just look at Germany for an example. And they are mighty industrially and quite wealthy - their welfare state has not stopped their corporate progress. Our workers can only dream about what their workers have. Strict working hours, great salaries, great health care, great vacations, great child care, great education and funding of higher education, etc. Too bad Americans are too ignorant and unaware to know any of this.

Nancy Pelosi cannot even get behind national health care.

At 3:27 PM, Blogger Thomas Ten Bears said...

"Because we're Capitalists." Nancy Pelosi


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