Sunday, June 11, 2017

I Feel Badly Writing A Post Like This... I Really Do. And I Really Want To See Devin Nunes' Career End


Goal Thermometer The thermometer on the right puts the strongest and most effective voices of congressional Resistance to Trumpism all on one page. The men and women on the page that opens if you tape the thermometer are the ones who have put a lot of effort into calling out Trump on his outrageous excesses. But look at the names on that page. None of them are just sitting around all day taking pot shots at Trump, the way, for example, Adam Schiff-- who wants to run for Feinstein's US Senate seat-- does. Sure, Ted Lieu's anti-thump twitter feed has a huge and rapidly growing national international audience, but somehow Ted has found time to write the best infrastructure plan Congress has ever seen.

And Seattle's Pramila Jayapal doesn't let Trump get away with any of his abhorrent behavior but still finds the time to lead Congress in protecting the families the GOP is scapegoating and victimizing. "It is vital that elected officials confront hate, wherever it appears, with action and love; condemn attacks on minorities; and reaffirm that our communities are welcoming to all," she said Friday. "Recent stabbings in Portland are only the latest manifestation of a well-documented surge in hate crimes that has coincided with the rise of Donald Trump and his anti-Muslim agenda. We pledge to double down on our moral obligation to fight injustice, to hold this administration accountable for its role in furthering hate and to be there for those who are afraid and suffering from hate crimes. Our strength is in our numbers and we are many. Together, we will build a hate free America." Her office added that "According to the latest FBI crime data, hate crimes against Muslims spiked by 67 percent in 2015 and hate crimes increased by seven percent across the board. Attacks against Hindu, Muslim, Arab, Jewish, South Asian communities and communities of color everywhere have been on the rise."

Bernie's on that list and so is Elizabeth Warren but both have work to do-- lots of it-- and anyone who is watching DC is well aware that Trump is just one aspect of how they're fighting to make America live up to its promise to all of us, not just the super-rich. Watch this new video Warren asked her constituents in Massachusetts to consider. This is what she's doing besides just razzing SeƱor Trumpanzee:

You may know I spend my days-- between writing posts-- talking with congressional candidates. Some (like these, for example) are great. Others are works in progress. And others are pretty much as bad as-- or almost as bad as-- Republicans. (I only ever came across one Democratic candidate who was actually worse than his GOP opponent-- in 2012 the DCCC ran a homophobic, anti-Choice reactionary, Steve Pestka, against Justin Amash in the Grand Rapids area. Although Pestka outspent Amash $2,076,680 to $1,193,611, Amash beat him 53-44%.)

Anyway, not long ago one of my neighbors, a progressive who reads DWT and is supportive of the work Blue America does, came over with a $100,000 check. He wanted our PAC to use it to defeat arch-Trumpist Devin Nunes up in the Central Valley. I had been writing enthusiastically about the opportunity Democrats have to take back that seat, if not in 2018 (a possibility in a big wave election), then with a sustained 2-cycle effort in 2020. The district, which stretches from Clovis and the suburbs north and east of Fresno down through Dinuba, Visalia and past Tulare, is around 46% Hispanic and just 41% white. Asians make up 7% of the citizens. McCain took 56% and Romney took 57% but last year the totals for Trump fell tp 52%. The DCCC has never taken the district seriously and have never fielded a candidate against Nunes. He's always gotten a free pass. So I was gung ho.

Then a candidate stepped up to the plate: Andrew Janz. When I called him I figured Blue America would soon be endorsing him and my neighbor's check would be the down payment on an effort to replace Nunes. Alas... First off, Janz is better than Nunes, NO QUESTION about it. But the kind of candidate Blue America would support. Nope... we don't do lesser of two you know what. When I started talked with Janz he was uncomfortable about the issues that are key to progressives-- like single payer, for example-- and he quickly changed the subject to the issues he told me are important to him and on which he said he wants to campaign: his love for the Second Amendment and his devotion to the Death Penalty. I was pretty shocked, not that this are his positions, but that that's what he chose to bring up to discuss about why Blue America should back his campaign. I asked him if he had a favorite congressmember he would emulate and like to work on legislation with. Not a second's hesitation-- Blue Dog Jim Costa, one of the two worst Democrats in the California congressional delegation. Costa's voting record is barely that of a Democrat. ProgressivePunch rates him a solid "F." Only 12 Democrats have worse vote score for the current session than his horrific 35.29-- and all but a couple of those Democrats, unlike Costa, are in tough red or red-leaning districts. There are even some Republicans with better voting records than Costa! we don't need more Jim Costa's. We need fewer Jim Costas. In fact, Blue America has actually spent money and effort trying to defeat Jim Costa.

Janz was a very raw candidate when we spoke. Some campaign pros have gotten their hands on him and are teaching him how to speak to Democrats now. But they can't change who he is. Yesterday he sent an e-mail asking for money with the flyer below. Is there anything on that which tells you what kind of a congressman he would be? A little back story that means nothing and could just as easily belong to a psychopathic Republican. In fact, almost the whole thing sounds like it could have as easily been sent by a Republican. "I'm not a politician." That's what they all say, dude. It's just one canned meaningless line after another. If there's a massive anti-Trump/anti-Ryan tsunami we may have another crap Blue Dog in Congress but my bet is that he won't win, not even against as reprehensible a villain as Devin Nunes. What a waste! But I've still got that uncashed $100,000 check... in case a worthwhile candidate shows up. It's still early.

An important note: this morning, like all of our readers in Colorado, I got an e-mail from Jared Polis, an old friend and one of the few Democrats who is both in the Progressive Caucus (he's pro-Choice, pro-LGBT, pro-environment, pro-pot and generally very liberal on social matters) and in the Wall Street-owned New Dems (yeah... he's that too). Jared gave us a heads up that tomorrow he's announcing his long-anticipated run for governor of Colorado. Fine, I wish him luck and Godspeed. I seem to recall he's the richest Democrat in the House and he'll probably do great against the more conservative New Dem Ed Perlmutter and Cary Kennedy, the identity politics EMILY's List recruit.

Jared wrote that he's running "because I want to turn bold ideas into real results for your family." OK... but what candidate of what party could not say the exact same thing? What kind of a message is that? One that wins in an anti-Trump tsunami but... I hope he has something better up his sleeve. Meanwhile, Jared was recently elected Regional Vice Chair of the DCCC for a wide swath of middle America, including the crucial state of Texas. In preparation for his gubernatorial bid he doesn't seem to have lifted a finger in that capacity. I haven't spoken to a single candidate who was even aware he's the Vice Chair for their region or that there even is a vice chair for the region. Texas has 9 contestable Republican-held seats-- the biggest batch in the whole country. The current DCCC hasn't ever contested most of them and they need to get going with an intense 2-cycle strategy for winning districts currently held by Republican misanthropes like John Culberson, Pete Sessions, Lamar Smith, Ted Poe, Joe Barton, Mike McCaul, Pete Olson, Will Hurd, Kenny Marchant, Roger Williams and Blake Farenthold. This is serious stuff and the Democratic Party desperately needs someone-- someone as smart as Jared-- who is focused like a laser beam on winning and holding seats in 2018 and 2020. I suggest Jared resign as Vice Chair today and nominate either Phoenix Congressman Ruben Gallego or Austin Congressman Lloyd Doggett to replace him.

I would have also suggested El Paso Congressman Beto O'Rourke but he's busy putting together a winning campaign to replace Ted Cruz in the Senate. In fact today he contrasted himself and Cruz by pointing out how starkly they differ on the bill the House Republicans just passed gutting the Dodd-Frank financial consumer protections, a bill which Cruz strongly supports. Beto: "I voted no. The purpose of Dodd-Frank was to protect Americans from the same predatory behavior that ignited the 2008 financial crisis. The bill the House just passed will leave consumers vulnerable to predatory financial behavior. This cynical bill shows how PACs and Wall Street banks buy influence in Congress. In 2015-2016, the financial sector reported spending $1.1 billion on campaign contributions and $898 million on lobbyists. They're spending billions to buy influence that helps corporations, but hurts families. Protecting American families from being preyed on by big banks should transcend politics... I'm going to continue fighting back against the influx of corporate interests taking over our government. It's why I've introduced legislation that would curb congressional candidates from accepting PAC money. And it's why our campaign won't take a dime of corporate cash. If I'm elected to represent Texas families in the U.S. Senate, you should never question who I'm thinking about when I pull the lever to cast a vote. The answer will always be the people of Texas. As one of the very few members of Congress who didn't accept contributions from PACs during the 2016 election, I've proved that it's possible to win without it."

Now that's some good messaging. I hope Jared Polis, who also voted against the Republican bill, is paying attention. And every other Democratic candidate running for office as well.

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At 6:23 PM, Blogger Elizabeth Burton said...

I'd like to support Beto, but I'm still waiting for him to offer something besides "not Cruz." His website has nothing in the way of information about his positions, and all of the social media stream is "support me" and "dump Cruz." I understand that he's voted progressively, but given how long he's been at this, why is there nothing by way of a position statement? Or did I miss it somewhere?

At 7:27 PM, Blogger Gadfly said...

Elizabeth, you'll keep waiting 16 more months. And with Dowd not doing the indy run, just running as "not Cruz"? O'Rourke's gonna get killed. I expect anyway to vote for any halfway competent Green nominee.

At 10:55 PM, Blogger Kurt said...

Money aside, Mike Johnston might make a better, more progressive Democratic candidate for governor in Colorado.

At 5:38 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Jared Polis? Charter school-loving Jared Polis? Nope.

At 5:43 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Once again proving, anecdotally, my thesis. All the data points are there. Draw the vector. What is the end point?

Find someone who is NOT a democrat/p and start there. Gadfly gets it.


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