Tuesday, June 13, 2017

A Baker's Dozen House Democrats Who Have Earned 2018 Primaries


There are a lot of very insistent voices out there clamoring for Democratic Party unity in the face of the very real dangers posed by Trump and Trumpism. I couldn't disagree more strongly-- at least now, at the time when the Democrats are looking for candidates. The DCCC-- and especially their recruitment committee heads, Rahm Emanuel protégée Cheri Bustos (Blue Dog-IL) and Denny Heck (New Dem-WA)-- are working to replicate versions of themselves as candidates. They are looking for wealthy self-funders (like Heck), Republican-lite conservatives (like Bustos) and mediocre non-leaders who will do what they're told by leadership and not make waves. Screw that! Blue America and other progressive groups are busy recruiting stalwart, trustworthy, values-driven progressives for 2018 (like these men and women). During primary season, we should all be doing our best to find the most stellar possible candidates to run, people who are dedicated to working for ordinary Americans, not dedicated to working for special interests who will further their own careers. After the primaries there will be plenty of time to talk about party unity.

In fact, as the headline indicates, there are plenty of incumbents who have done a lousy job and are little better than Republicans. The Democratic Party can-- and should and must-- do better. The incumbents listed below are muddying up the Democratic brand and making voters, especially young voters, why its worthwhile to pick between two evils. Let's start with the worst of the worst-- Arizona Blue Dog, Kyrsten Sinema. This is the definition of an opportunistic values-free political hack. She stands for nothing at all except her own career trajectory. Sinema actually start running for office as a Socialist, then switched to Green and then to the Democrats. She then joined the Blue Dogs and has made a name for herself as the most anti-progressive Democrat in the House. Other than women's issues and gay issues-- which are both personal top her-- she's really a Republican. Her ProgressivePunch rating is an "F" and her crucial vote score for the current session is an astounding 10.53, the lowest for any Democrat I have ever seen in contemporary congressional history. There are 11 Republicans with identical 10.53 scores and 9 Republicans with better scores. Example, conservative North Carolina Republican Walter Jones votes in favor of progressive legislation 38.89%-- more than 3 times more often than Sinema. And his R+11 district gave Trump a huge 60.5% to 36.9% win over Hillary, while Sinema's district voted for Obama both times and gave Hillary a very strong 54.7% to 38.4% win over Trump.

Are the Democrats punishing her for her reprehensible, odious behavior? Of course not. Steny Hoyer has recruited her for a future leadership role and she's patted on the back for taking massive bribes from the Financial Sector while sitting on the House Financial Services Committee and supporting Wall Street against Main Street and against her own constituents ($1,003,940 alone in 2016, more than any other current House Democrat except Wall Street crook Joe Crowley, who we'll get to below). Worse yet, Chuck Schumer has tried to recruit her to run for the U.S. Senate, as though the Senate doesn't stink from too much garbage already! Not only has she merited a primary-- and Talia Fuentes is giving her one-- but she is one Democratic incumbent that doesn't even deserve a favorable vote in a general election!

Goal ThermometerThe primary thermometer on the right includes Talia, as well as the other intrepid progressives who have put themselves forward to run primary campaigns against some of the worst Democrats in the House. Dan Lipinski is another Blue Dog in a safe Democratic seat. IL-03 is a D+5 Chicagoland district that Obama won both times he ran and that voted for Hillary over Trump even more strongly than it did for Obama over Romney-- 55.2% to 39.9%. And yet Lipinski persists in voting with the Republicans far more frequently even than most Blue Dogs. His "F" rating from ProgressivePunch yields a score of 21.05 this session, just absolutely abysmal.

Blue America is very excited about the high calibre progressive running against him, Marie Newman. This morning she told is that she "was first driven to run against Dan Lipinski in the primary for one simple reason: as a resident of the 3rd district I felt ignored and misrepresented, and I knew many of my neighbors felt the same. In a very blue district, our only choice as Democrats had been a man who voted against the Affordable Care Act, takes two-thirds of his campaign money from corporations, supported and sponsored legislation allowing anti-LGBT discrimination, and has had a general disregard for the working families and small businesses that make up the district. Residents, particularly Democrats, are fed up with his complete lack of results as well as the constant voting against the interests of the district."

Marie couldn't be more different. She's told us that her own "chief concern is bettering the lives of the working people who live in the 3rd, not corporate donors like congressman Lipinski. By advocating for things like health care for all, education that leads to real jobs, and advancing small business, I'm certain residents will feel like they have a true representative when I'm in Congress." (And, again, please consider tapping on that thermometer above and helping her raise the money she needs to get her message out to the voters.)

Two other atrocious House Democrats have earned primaries and have opponents this year: Queens party boss Joe Crowley and the contemptible slug from South Florida (via Queens by the way), Debbie Wasserman Schultz. Both define congressional corruption and both see themselves as future leaders of the party.

Progressive professor and activist Tim Canova gave Wasserman Schultz the scare of her career last cycle and is taking her on again in 2018. "Debbie Wasserman Schultz," he told us today, "has failed to adequately represent her district on a wide range of issues of great importance to people's everyday lives, from the crisis in the jobs market and the Main Street economy to health care and education, energy and the environment. On many issues, Wasserman Schultz tries to talk like a progressive, but because she takes so much money from big corporate interests through their PACs and SuperPACs, she does not walk the walk. DWS has spent her entire political career pushing the interests of Wall Street banks and predatory lenders, Big Sugar companies and other corporate polluters, private prison companies, and the fossil fuel industry. The Democratic Party needs a new direction, we need campaigns that are financed by the grassroots and responsive to the needs of the American people. That's why we are running to replace Wasserman Schultz and finish the job we started last year." (And we're trying to help him-- namely on the thermometer again.)

The only other Democrat on our list with a primary challenger is Stephanie Murphy from the Orlando area. Former Orlando area ACLU president Chardo Richardson declared his candidacy in this video last week. We haven't spoken with him yet so we haven't added him our endorsement page. He seems like a good candidate and we've seen enough of Murphy to know the Democrats would be way better off without her. She's another EMILY's List garbage candidate who represents special interests and votes with the Republicans on most important matters. Her ProgressivePunch rating is an "F" and her crucial vote score is 27.78. Hillary won her district handily-- 51.4% to 44.1%.

The other Democratic incumbents in our hall of shame don't have primary challengers yet-- and, unfortunately, are unlikely to get any. These are all awful legislators, all but one a Blue Dog and that one, Ami Bera is a New Dem who's even more reactionary than the average Blue Dog. Most of them reek of corruption, of course, and Bera is so corrupt that the California Democratic Party refused to endorse him for reelection last year and will probably do the same thing this year. This guy is so low that he made his poor, sick, elderly father take the fall for a corrupt scheme to launder illicit money into his campaign. His father is in prison now. He also has an F from ProgressivePunch and his score is an abysmal 26.32, the worst of any non-Blue Dog among House Dems. It speaks to the dismal shape of the Democratic Party that Bera has no primary challenger.

There are two other slime ball Democrats in the California delegation who should have, but don't, primary opponents reactionary Blue Dogs, both in heavily Democratic seats, Lou Correa and Jim Costa.

That leaves us with 5 reactionary Blue Dogs: "ex"-Republican Tom O'Halleran (AZ), tied with Wall Street whore Josh Gottheimer (NJ) for the worst voting record of any freshman Democrat-- each has a 26.32 score, the exact same as conservative Republicans Thomas Massie (KY) and Jimmy Duncan (TN)-- and 3 right-wing old timers, Collin Peterson (MN), Henry Cuellar (TX) and the aforementioned recruitment maven Cheri Bustos (IL). This pile of garbage is all part of the Republican wing of the Democratic Party, the members Ryan, Trumpanzee and McCarthy are talking about when they boast that some crap piece of their agenda has passed with "bipartisan" support.

Personally, I wouldn't vote for any of these candidates, not even in a general election. But I can understand the argument that some Democrats make about how every seat is crucial in winning back the House. In primaries, however, it is absolutely essential to rid the party of this garbage and replace them with real Democrats. These people do more harm to the Democratic Party than any Republican ever could.

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At 2:53 PM, Anonymous Dorothy Reik said...

Let's make Howie chair of the DNC!

At 4:04 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I might say let's make Howie the chair of the replacement party that pushes out the democraps, except he's still enthralled with the democraps... for some reason.

He cherry-picked 12 but could have made a list of at least 100 who need to go. There are probably only 8 or 10 worth keeping. The rest would probably go along with the new party if they could keep their job.

A tall order. Literally billions in corporate/oligarch money to guarantee it never happens. Every one of those 12 will get a ton of support to stay corrupted.

At 5:13 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Let's make Howie chair of the DNC!"

Let's not, Dorothy. He'd never have the time to vet the candidates like he now does. I have wanted someone to take this role on for decades, and finally someone is. I'd rather not mess with that since we can trust Howie's judgement.

" Every one of those 12 will get a ton of support to stay corrupted. " -4:04

While likely true, making a good showing -such as Rob Quist did in Montana- puts him in a good place for a retry. So many current veteran politicians lost their first races and ended up elected in a subsequent one. Even if our choice doesn't win at first, there's no victory if one doesn't try again.


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