Friday, June 30, 2017

Is The DCCC Starting To Re-Think Its Hands Off Approach Towards Paul Ryan?


One of the biggest shocks of the 2016 election was Trump winning Wisconsin. He was the first Republican to win the state since 1984 when Reagan was reelected, defeating Walter Mondale 54.19% to 45.02%. Since then, Michael Dukakis beat George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton won both times he ran, Al Gore beat George W. Bush, John Kerry beat George W. Bush, Obama beat McCain 56.22% to 42.31%, and Obama beat Romney 52.83% to 45.89%. Trump didn't do much better than Romney-- just 47.9%-- but Hillary underperformed Obama significantly-- 46.9%. Trump beat her statewide 1,490,282 to 1,381,893. Bernie would have been a far better candidate against Trump, not just having beaten Clinton 56.6% to 43.1% statewide but winning far more votes than Trump on primary day. Bernie's total primary vote in Wisconsin was 567,936 to Trump's 386,370. Of the state's dozen biggest counties, Trump beat Bernie in just one, blazing red, crazy Waukesha:
Brown (Green Bay)- Bernie- 22,471; Trumpanzee- 18,705
Dane (Madison)- Bernie-102,585; Trumpanzee- 20,884
Eau Claire- Bernie- 13,058; Trumpanzee- 6,505
Kenosha- Bernie- 14,612; Trumpanzee- 11,139
La Crosse- Bernie- 15,139; Trumpanzee- 8,271
Milwaukee- Bernie- 93,714; Trumpanzee- 29,516
Outagamie (Appleton)- Bernie- 16,985; Trumpanzee- 13,848
Racine- Bernie 14,651; Trumpanzee- 11,756
Rock (Janesville)- Bernie- 17,337; Trumpanzee- 10,264
Sheboygan- Bernie- 8,537; Trumpanzee- 6,532
Waukesha- Bernie- 26,339; Trumpanzee- 27,186
Winnebago- Bernie- 17,818; Trumpanzee- 13,293

This week Marquette University's Law School released their latest state polling of registered voters--not great news for Republicans on any level. Trump's disapproval is up to 51% and his approval is steady at 41%. As for Obamacare, 54% say they want to keep it and improve it, 6% want to keep it as is (so that's 60% total) while 27% want it repealed and replaced and 7% want it repealed and not replaced (34% total).
While details of a replacement for the 2010 health care reform law are currently being debated, 49 percent of respondents think a replacement law will decrease the number of people who have health insurance, 23 percent think the number of insured will not change and 20 percent think a replacement law will increase the number of insured people. That is little changed from March, before the House of Representatives passed its health care bill, when 49 percent thought a replacement would reduce coverage, 25 percent thought coverage would not change and 18 percent thought more people would be covered.

Forty-seven percent think a health care replacement bill will increase the cost of health insurance, 17 percent think the cost will not change and 29 percent think costs will decrease under a replacement bill. In March, 45 percent thought cost would rise, 21 percent thought there would be no change and 28 percent thought costs would go down under a replacement bill.
So what about Paul Ryan? Statewide polling isn't that important for him because only the voters in his own district get to decide on his fate-- and we'll get back to that in a moment. But, statewide, the Marquette poll found that Ryan holds a 44% favorable to 44% unfavorable rating. In October, 45% were favorable and 38% unfavorable. In his own district, though, the story is a little different. PPP polled voters in WI-01 and this is what they found:

This could lead an even greater 2018 Wisconsin upset than the 2016 Wisconsin upset. Speakers rarely lose. For over a decade, a pusillanimous DCCC has been adamant about not going after Ryan. This time local activists have found their own candidate and told the DCCC to either get on board or go go fuck off. The DCCC had already decided to ignore Wisconsin for 2017. But the Randy Bryce-Paul Ryan race is starting to shape up as the hottest race in the country. The DCCC rethinking the situation. A Ben Ray Lujan staffer told me he attended a recruitment committee meeting Wednesday and Randy Bryce's video was shown, generally blowing everyone's mind. I'll believe it when I see it, but I'm starting to hear whispers that the DCCC might drop its longstanding hands off policy towards Ryan. Meanwhile, I want to recommend two fantastic new pieces on the race, one by John Light for Bill Moyers and one by Sarah Jaffe for Truthout. Light:
Segments of the political left are hungry for a candidate who will not just attack Republicans, but who will do so while articulating a positive political agenda. This hunger only grew following the Georgia special election, during which donors threw $23 million behind Jon Ossoff, a candidate who, by the end of the race, didn’t seem to stand for much at all. In an interview with the New Republic’s Sarah Jones last week, Bryce reaffirmed his progressive politics, including his support for single-payer health care, the Fight for $15 movement, abortion access and LGBT rights.

...JL: Tell me some of the ways in which your view of your district and your district’s needs differs from Paul Ryan’s view.

Goal Thermometer RB: Well, to start, I’ve always been committed to standing with working people to get us as much as I can-- to get better wages, to get safe working conditions, to have access to health care. I’ve been an ironworker for 20 years and Paul Ryan has been in Congress about the same amount of time. I look at what’s happening with him in office, and I see all the good paying auto jobs leaving. General Electric, an entire factory-worth of some of the best-paying jobs in Waukesha County, is going up to Canada. And now, especially with this health care thing, he’s trying to make rich people richer, and strip us of our health care. It’s a very cruel thing that he’s doing to us.

JL: How do you think Democrats have been doing fending off the Republicans’ latest assault on Obamacare?

RB: I think we’re doing as good as possible considering that we’re definitely in the minority. People have been standing up, and that’s good to see. I like the fact that Democrats are saying that we want people to have health care and pointing out how this is being done behind closed doors. Even though Paul Ryan has been absent from the 1st District for the last 600 days, I give credit to Rep. Mark Pocan (D-WI) for coming into the area. And I know it’s happening in other places too: Nearby Democratic congressmen are going into Republican areas and informing the people.

JL: Why do you think your first video prompted such a large response?

RB: Everybody saw themselves in it, and people want to be heard. That’s going on throughout the country. We want to be healthy, and we can’t be ourselves-- we can’t work, our kids can’t grow-- if we have to spend all of our time trying to get money for our elders to go see a doctor. It’s an intergenerational issue that effects everybody, regardless of where they live and where they’re from.

...JL: Let’s just say, hypothetically, that the Democrats retake Congress in 2018, and you’re one of the new members of Congress. What are three things you’d want to see your party do right away?

RB: The first thing is to make sure that everybody is covered by health care. I would be in favor of the Conyers bill [for “Medicare for All”].

The thing is, right now, I think we need to be careful. I’ve said “if somebody’s freezing, and they just have a bedsheet to cover them, you don’t strip the bedsheet away from them until they have a blanket.” We need to be able to provide access as much as we can until we get to that place [single-payer health care].

We need to get rid of this closed door that we have in the government-- the way that they’re passing laws is in secrecy, behind closed doors. We need transparency so that working people have trust in the government again.

And we need to make sure that every working person has a job. I spent time after the Army working two full-time jobs just to make ends meet. And you can’t raise a family like that or even have any time for yourself. So we need to make sure that all workers are paid a livable wage and don’t have to worry about flipping a coin to decide “should we pay rent or should we take our child to see a doctor?”

JL: You’ve mentioned that you’ve participated in events with the Fight for 15 campaign. You would push the $15 minimum in Congress?

RB: Absolutely. No person who works a full-time job should have to depend on any kind of government assistance. That’s corporate welfare and I’m completely against that.

JL: How does the fact that you’re a veteran inform your politics?

RB: It has me putting people over party. When I was in the Army, Ronald Reagan was president. And it was country first. You take care of this country and politics doesn’t play. It’s about defending the country.

Then, getting out, you have an appreciation for others that also served. If we’re having an event, if there’s a rally or something, and there’s people from the opposing viewpoint, I’ll seek out other veterans that have a Vietnam veteran hat or something like that. I’ll go over to them and I’ll thank them for their service and I’ll point out, “Even though we’re on opposite sides of the political spectrum, it’s because of our service that we can stand on opposite sides and shake hands right here.” That’s always a great ice breaker and everybody involved, on both sides, sees that and it defuses a lot of tensions. Right away you don’t feel as antagonistic.

JL: Wisconsin was in the headlines earlier this month because, as I’m sure you’re very aware, the state is heavily gerrymandered, and the Supreme Court agreed to hear a challenge related to Wisconsin’s gerrymandering. Yesterday, the Associated Press reported that Republicans had captured as many as 22 seats in Congress just by changing the way districts are drawn. How should the Democrats be pushing back against this?

RB: It’s definitely an issue. In Wisconsin, on the state level, there were thousands more votes for Democrats, yet Republicans gained more seats. There’s a fine line between demanding that justice be served and coming across as-- I don’t know if “whining” is the right word? Looking for an excuse? But overall, it’s wrong. It’s wrong that the representatives are able to choose who their voters are. The voters should be the ones choosing who their representatives are.

JL: When you announced your candidacy, Republicans pointed out that you’ve run for office before and lost. What’s your response to that?

RB: Well, we just talked about gerrymandering. The two times I ran were for State Assembly and State Senate-- and especially for the Senate, it was one of the most heavily gerrymandered districts in the state.

Both times I had been asked by elected representatives. The first time, it was the state minority leader in the Assembly who asked me to run. The local county party also had someone they wanted to run and there was a lack of communication. So I was running against someone that I really respected and liked. She was an Emerge graduate and she worked hard. She had a lot of support and deserved the victory. She went on to lose because it was a gerrymandered area.

And then, for the State Senate, I was asked to run because of the John Doe investigation of Scott Walker. It was a possibility that that was going to blow up that summer, and they wanted a good candidate in place if it did. Plus, it helped me get the message out to try and help Mary Burke, who was running for governor against Scott Walker. So, I knew what the probable outcome was going to be, but there were reasons I got in anyway-- in order to make someone fight for the seat.

JL: Paul Ryan won past elections by a healthy margin. Do you expect to attract some of his voters, or to turn out people who don’t tend to vote? Is there a certain type of voter you’re going after?

RB: I’ve already had people, like in the grocery store, who are Republican-leaning voters who know I’ll talk to them-- we have stuff in common-- come up and say, “Hey, I hear you’re running against Paul Ryan; I think that’s great.” We even had some union members who voted for Trump. They thought he was going to be really great for working people. But people are fed up. And all I have to say is, “Are you healthy? Look at Paul Ryan’s kids. They’re all healthy. They have great health care. He’s trying to take away your ability to see a doctor.” And he’s not here. He’s not here. So I’m reaching a lot of people. We’re definitely counting on turning up the vote. Just the way that our launch took off shows that there is excitement everywhere-- not just in this district, but across the country-- for people willing to stand up to see one of their own elected.

JL: A lot of people in the national media and political scientists are still trying to figure out the November election and Trump voters. What’s your view of Trump voters and the decision they made last election?

RB: He had a decent working person’s message. Somebody told him what to say to appeal to working people. Now I just tell the people that voted for him, “Nothing says ‘sticking it to the man’ like voting for a billionaire. How’s he helped you out?” And they’re like, “Well,” and they kind of hang their heads. He’s not doing anything. So there’s a lot of buyers’ remorse.

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At 12:46 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Somebody better want Bryce to not accept anything from the Democratic Party. He'll find himself Roofied and Slate-raped without any memory of how it happened.

There is no expecting honesty out of the corrupted.

At 9:55 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wrong question. It's "Are the DCCC and Pelosi's donors willing to tolerate a well-funded democraTic challenge to their goose laying golden eggs?"

Bryce should never take anything from the DCCC. They'll want an oath of fealty to their donors first (see: ossof). And he'll lose.

He'll probably lose anyway, but if he avoids the DCCC, he could return home without needing to be deloused.

If WI workers gave a flying fuck, Walker would have been recalled and repudiated. He wasn't and it wasn't even that close.
If WI-01 voters gave a flying fuck, ryan would never have been elected or re-elected so many times.

At 6:21 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Randy Bryce seems to assume that WI-01 voters are mostly fully-formed human beings.

If they were fully-formed human beings, paul ryan would be a male model posing for the covers of gay men's fitness magazines and NOT their rep trying to kill their grandparents to steal their capital.

So, he's asking way too much of his electorate.


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