Thursday, June 08, 2017

Why Jimmy Gomez's Victory In CA-34 Was A BFD


Tuesday night Jimmy Gomez became the first Democrat to win a House seat since Trump was elected president. He won pretty overwhelmingly-- 60-40%-- in a deep blue Los Angeles district. Generally Republicans don't even try in districts like CA-34. The jungle primary, in fact, resulted in 2 candidates with "D" next to their names facing off this week in the general election. One was Gomez-- a nose-to-the-grindstone progressive Assemblyman and proven, recognized champion of working families. The other was a wealthy, conservative "ex"-Republican, Robert Lee Ahn, who was backed by prominent Republicans and flagrantly campaigned for GOP votes.

It didn't work out for Ahn. He spent $498,400 of his own money ($1,372,545 in total) on the race and appealed strictly along ethnic lines to fellow Koreans, the second biggest ethnic group in the district. Korean-American turnout was very high, but not high enough, especially when Republicans wound up not turning out, just staying home-- a warning to other Democrats around the country who think this is a viable strategy for career advancement.

When Gomez declared for the seat, he was not favored to win. The establishment was already getting behind a far better known and more senior political leader, former Assembly Speaker John Pérez... and Gomez was viewed as the "too far left" interloper. "Too far left" is a weird idea in the only congressional district in Los Angeles where Bernie beat Hillary-- a a district that Democrats regularly win with over 80% of the vote. Blue America was the first group to urge Gomez to run and the first group that endorsed him when he decided to. And the reason we did is the same reason, essentially, he was able to win the primary (among two dozen candidates!) and then win the general on Tuesday. The magic formula? To be honest, there are two pieces of this: his record and his campaign.

Forget about the Republican stooge and his incoherent conservativism. In the primary, several candidates tried running to Gomez's left based on two things: basically meaningless utopian promises and the fact that each had licked envelopes in Bernie's campaign. What Gomez had to offer instead-- aside from a robust record on constituent services-- was an admirable and inspiring list of actual progressive accomplishments. So not just a good voting record but actual accomplishments. He co-wrote the state's Medicare-for-All bill. He wrote and passed a Paid Family Leave bill that fixed flawed legislation that saw virtually all the benefits going to women making over $80,000 and none going to the women who most needed it. His approach is now the national model. He conceptualized, wrote and passed-- in a bipartisan manner-- a green energy bill that didn't just subsidize wealthy Tesla buyers and people putting expensive solar panel arrays on their roofs, but also working class communities. Talk is cheap. A record of accomplishment like Gomez's goes way beyond talk.

As for the campaign... Monday a contact at the DCCC was trying to sell me on their new DCCC University-- "better," he told me, "than Trump University." Ha, ha. DCCC U is supposed to train campaign operatives. "There are less than 30 competent campaign managers in the whole country," he told me. That's true, although I didn't mention that the DCCC has been turning out scores of incompetent ones for at least a decade. But the point is that Gomez was lucky enough to snare one of the 30: David Keith.

Keith had just finished a successful Assembly campaign for Eloise Reyes, beating a corrupt conservative Democratic incumbent, Chevron Cheryl-- no one even remembered her name after Keith tarred her with that monicker. He knows how to win races, not by following the flawed one-corrupt-size-fits-all DCCC playbook but by eschewing expensive and ineffective TV ads that do nothing but make consultants very very wealthy, instead putting together the kinds of field operations and GOTV efforts that crooked organizations like the DCCC and EMILY's List hate (since they can't use them to rake off any dough for themselves through commissions). Today top Washington Democratic Party officials are begging him to fly to Washington to "debrief" them on how to win races. He laughed. Rumors are running wild that he was packing his bags to fly to Racine, Wisconsin... where some say he plans to spend the next 17 months helping Randy Bryce beat Paul Ryan.

"I've been asked to work on a couple of Senate races and some interesting House campaigns here in beautiful sunny California," he told me this morning. "But repealing and replacing Paul Ryan with @IronStache... is something any red blooded, patriotic American would have to give real consideration to. You know how much I love my mother and this great country... Any idea what the weather is like in Racine," he asked earnestly.

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At 5:59 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

DWT, you disappoint me. The Gomez win cannot be a BFD in a true-blue district.

What you saw was a decent democrat beating a DCCC stooge, which further supports (for the past 30 years now) my thesis that the democraps must die for anything to get better (as opposed to worser a little slower).

If Ahn had won, would you be animated about the house D count going up by 1 in the expectation or hope or delusion that when the Ds took the house they'd clean up anything at all... ever???

Gomez might be a decent and fully formed human being. But as a democrap, he's a bit less than one half of one percent of the contingent, is subject to the whims of Pelosi/hoyer as to committee assignments and will be impotent in putting forth lege that helps people over corporations/billionaires/war.

So.... YAY... we won!!! I hope he and Pramila and maybe 5 others have fun being thwarted/suppressed/neutered by the party for the next 2 years before having to self-fund to get re-elected against some other former R or corporate $hill that Pelosi recruits.

Again... YAY!!!

At 8:48 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

What the electoral results should mean to observers is that Nixon's bastion has disintegrated. The County as a whole is heavily Hispanic, with large blocs of Asian voters. White flight has moved and diluted Republican power to suburbs as distant as Hemet CA (near Palm springs for the non-CA person). It is highly unlikely that the GOP can again mean much in Orange County CA. They are done.

At 9:13 AM, Blogger Anon said...


Too stupid; didn’t read


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