Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Why Would Anyone Expect A Political Careerist To Have A Worthwhile Campaign Message?


Politico was eager to remind its readers that "Democrats are just as divided as Republicans these days." When there's a lot of money at stake, isn't that always the case... not just "these days?" Some "big news" this weekend was that Hillary isn't going to run for office again. Oh. I guess there were some people who breathed a sigh of relief and some who wept a bitter tear after all that investment they put into her... but I suspect that most people just shrugged. Who ever imagined she would run again? There are plenty of corporate centrists ready to stand in for her-- from Kirsten Gillibrand, Cory Booker, Joe Biden or Joe Kennedy III, to Jason Kander, a Castro brother or Seth Moulton. A friend of mine was at a Senate fundraiser for "former" Blue Dog Adam Schiff over the weekend and their were wealth conservaDems there yelling for him to skip the Senate run and just run for president. Adam Schiff! Can you imagine?!? I suppose a Trumpanzee in the White House sets the bar rather low.

But Politico's main point is that Democrats "are fighting over everything from their diagnosis of why Trump beat them in 2016 to how much to stake themselves on an oust-him-at-all-costs strategy now. Their internal battles may not be as sexy as the unprecedented hostile takeover of the GOP by an outsider president not beholden to it-- yet they are just as consequential."

What a laugh! There are real issues at play in the battle for the soul-- and the levers of power-- within the Democratic Party... and Trump isn't part of it. Democrats, Inc. being devoid of "a shared mission" has nothing to do with Trump and everything to do with defining whether theirs is the party of Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt or the party of the Blue Dogs, the New Dems, the Wall Street banksters and the corporate plutocrats. The whole idea of values and message get lost when some many incumbents are so indebted to and dependent on the bad guys. In the House, for example, there are 4 top-dog Dems (all conservatives, of course) who have accepted over $5,000,000 in bribes from the finance sector, each of them working to advance the interests of Wall Street:
Crooked Joe Crowley (New Dem-NY)- $6,491,559
Steny Hoyer (D-MD)- $6,094,848
Carolyn Maloney (D-NY)- $5,774,077
Jim Himes (New Dem-CT)- $5,773,452
And last cycle alone, Wall Street gave over a million dollars each to 5 House Democrats who were viewed-- because of their slimy records-- as being worth further investment:
Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), Senate candidate- $3,300,369
Patrick Murphy (New Dem-FL)- Senate candidate- $2,380,989
Joe Crowley (New Dem-NY)- future party Leader- $1,064,673
Tammy Duckworth (D-IL)- Senate candidate- $1,044,388
Kyrsten Sinema (Blue Dog-AZ)- 2018 Senate candidate- $1,003,940
14 other mostly corrupt conservative House Democrats were given between half a million and a million last cycle alone and that doesn't count Florida sleaze bag Debbie Wasserman Schultz's 2016 haul of $489,904. And the Senate... even worse. This is the list of current Democratic senators who have taken over $5 million from the finance sector:
Chuck Schumer (NY)- $26,628,675
Kirsten Gillibrand (NY)- $8,416,631
Robert Menendez (NJ), currently on trial for taking bribes- $7,867,355
Mark Warner (VA)- $7,793,321
Michael Bennet (CO)- $6,574,477
Ron Wyden (OR)- $6,062,499
Bill Nelson (FL)- $5,970,386
Dianne Feinstein (CA)- $5,627,426
Cory Booker (NJ)- $5,002,925
Since 1990, Wall Street has handed out over 2 and a half BILLION dollars to members of Congress (including candidates for Congress). $1,412,008,344 went to Republicans and $1,079,408,308 went to Democrats. See, the Democrats aren't as bad as the Republicans. Maybe Democratic bribe taker should get cells with windows. But how does anyone expect a party that is led by bribe-taking leaders to embrace values and a message that's supposed to appeal to ordinary American working families?

It can't happen, not with party leaders like Schumer, Pelosi, Hoyer, Crowley, Wasserman Schultz. Quoting Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis-- "Sunlight is said to be the best disinfectant"-- the progressive running against Pelosi next year, Stephen Jaffe, told us today that his "campaign platform calls for the public financing of political campaigns, which will go a long ways towards mitigating the disastrous effects of the Citizens United decision.  Until that happens, more transparency in the political financing process must occur. To make informed decisions on candidates and ballot proposals, voters must have access to as much information as possible, especially who or what are financing their choices." Another progressive candidate, speaking on condition of anonymity, for obvious reasons, told me he hates the Democratic Party and wishes he could run as an independent. "With Party leaders like Pelosi and Schumer chasing special interest money 24/7, the Democratic Party will never agree to the platform I'm running on-- single payer, free college education, a living wage rather than a minimum wage, protection of Wall Street criminals. If WallStreet criminals are prosecuted, who will finance Schumer's career? And who will pay for Crowley's ascension to the party leadership?"

susan Glasser's Politico post made it clear that the Democratic wing of the Democratic Party and the Republican wing of the Democratic Party can't agree on much messaging "beyond agreement over their shared disdain for Trump and the extent to which animus toward the 45th president is the galvanizing factor behind the unprecedented mobilization of Democrats across the country." It's convenient for worthless-- and ambitious-- conservatives like, say Adam Schiff or Seth Moulton, to talk about what Democrats are against without having to get into the bold progressive vision that grassroots Democratic voters crave. Conservativeve Democrats are all about persuading low-info voters that antipathy towards Trump equals a progressive vision. It doesn't; not even a little.

Back in 2016, when Clinton was in the middle of her general election campaign and virtually no one expected her to lose to Trump, Democrats "were divided over whether to court [disaffected white working class] voters, or essentially write them off and emphasize instead Clinton’s appeal to the Democratic base of big-city liberals and minority groups. It was a debate, we later learned, that played itself out inside the Clinton campaign too-- with the play-to-the-base side beating out those like former president Bill Clinton who worried about not competing for such a wide swath of the electorate." They kissed goodbye to Pennsylvania, Michigan, Wisconsin, Ohio, North Carolina and Florida and picked up electorally meaningless votes in Orange County, California-- whose electoral college votes were going to Clinton without them anyway-- and in the suburbs around Dallas, Houston, Austin, San Antonio-- whose electoral college votes weren't going to Clinton no matter what.

Today Democratic Party leaders are still scratching their heads over whether "the economic fears Trump claimed to address really [are] just a cover for a darker Trump agenda of racial exclusion and immigrant-bashing that Democrats won’t and shouldn’t cater to?" And then the scary kicker for anyone interested in a sustainable Democratic Party useful as a vehicle for the legitimate aspirations of working families:
[T]he ideological debates will probably have to wait. The Trump show is such a spectacle that any talk about the politics of policy inevitably gets overwhelmed-- and quickly-- by the politics of the overwhelming personality now in the White House. Can the party get rid of Trump by pushing hard on the rapidly proliferating investigations of his campaign’s alleged collusion with the Russian hacking of the 2016 election? Would Trump’s historically high unpopularity boost them in 2018?
How do you know which Democratic candidates are worth supporting and which are just DCCC puppets who will-- as the Republicans love to point out (quite effectively)-- just be rubber stamps for Pelosi and her corrupt leadership team?

Notice the Democrats who campaign not on Trump but on the bread and butter issues Bernie raised in 2016. There is virtually no energy around any sad-sack DCCC recruits.

We reached out to the Blue America-endorsed congressional candidates-- and to a few who are successfully finishing the vetting process-- and asked each for a one-sentence summation of what motivates their campaign. First back to me was Wisconsin iron worker and union activist Randy Bryce, who mentioned neither his opponent, Paul Ryan, nor Trump. "I'm running for Congress," he told me flatly this morning, "to help raise everyone's standard of life; everyone is worthy of being healthy which is why Medicare-for-All is a top priority."

State Rep. Kaniela Ing, who will hopefully be running for the open Hanabusa seat in Honolulu, had a similar message-- and just as fast: "People need hope and inspiration, which is why Democrats must look beyond resistance and offer a bold progressive vision of Medicare-for-all, 100% renewable energy by 2050, and a future economy that leaves no one behind."

The rest of the candidate responses, in order of how fast they came in:
Paul Clements (MI-06)- "To counteract the rising tide of money in politics, I'm running get our economy working for the people not the 1% through tax reform, single payer health care, dramatic improvements in education and infrastructure, and criminal justice reform."

Jenny Marshall (NC-05)- "Our campaign is focusing on economic equity by supporting an increase in the minimum wage and jobs that provide security and stability for working families."

Dan Canon (IN-09)- "I'm fighting for things that will strengthen the working class in America, such as: single-payer healthcare, comprehensive campaign finance reform, tuition-free public college, paid family/medical leave, and the decriminalization of cannabis."

David Gill (IL-13)- "I'm fighting hard for a single-payer healthcare system, a $15 per hour minimum wage, and tuition-free access to public universities, colleges, and trade schools."

Marie Newman (IL-03)- "It goes without saying that I will stand strongly against President Trump's cruel and dangerous agenda, but my days in Congress will be spent advocating for the working families and small businesses who deserve a fair shake."

Katie Hill (CA-25)- "Working and middle class families in my district aren't interested in hearing about how we're not Trump, or how we're going to stop him; they want to hear about how we're going to rebuild the middle class, ensure health care for everyone, and most importantly, how we can fix our broken political system and allow people to trust government again-- that's what we're talking about, and it resonates with people regardless of party or anything else."

Derrick Crowe (TX-21)- "We're fighting for liberty and justice for all-- and in practice that means tuition-free college, Medicare For All, real climate change action, a $15-an-hour minimum wage, and a pro-rural agenda that gets the Democrats back to their populist roots."

Sam Jammal (CA-39)- "As an Arab American and Latino, Donald Trump makes you step back and pay more attention, but its not enough to just run against Trump; I am running because we need to get back to the basics and help the next generation achieve the American Dream-- this means focusing on wages, health care, home ownership, student debt and retirement security."

James Thompson (KS-04)- "I'm running for Congress to restore the American promise-- equality must be our guide and justice our compass-- and the promise that if you work hard, do the right thing, make smart choices, and treat everyone fairly, you can achieve your dreams regardless of your race, sex, religion or sexual orientation, which means universal healthcare coverage for every American with control returned to the doctor and patient rather than insurance companies or the government; K-16 education for those who wish to pursue it; proper treatment of our nation's veterans and elderly; a livable wage that can support a family and a jobs program to rebuild and modernize our infrastructure-- this is my progressive vision for the American people."

Tom Guild (OK-05)- "I will work to increase Social Security benefits, support public education, increase the minimum wage, reduce college student debt, keep our country's commitment to veterans, and invest in infrastructure by repairing crumbling roads, highways, bridges, and schools and I will fight to restore our economy and revitalize our political system to make them work for all Oklahomans, especially working people and the vaunted and disappearing American middle class."

Tim Canova (FL-23)- "I am campaigning to put basic human needs and human values ahead of unfettered corporate greed and profits and I'm proud to support a people's agenda: election integrity reforms to ensure transparency and accuracy in vote counting, Medicare For All, federal subsidies for K-12 and tuition-free higher education, a voluntary national service program modeled on New Deal public works programs, rebuilding infrastructure with solar and other renewable energies, a new national infrastructure bank and other public banking institutions to finance huge investments in mass transit, public housing, healthcare, and education."
Goal ThermometerWhose sentence did you find most appealing? Really, which one? Please let us know by tapping on the Blue America 2018 congressional thermometer on the right and contributing a couple of bucks to the candidate (or candidates) you felt were most on target. Yes, they can all use the campaign contributions, BUT, we're going to share the results with each one of them, and that can be useful feedback to understand where the Democratic base-- at least the DWT portion of the Democratic base-- stands on the compelling issues being raised above. Thanks for the help-- and, of course, for the contributions. None of these candidates could do what they're doing without the help of grassroots donors who are themselves motivated by values and issues more than personalities and all the partisan media bullshit.

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At 11:29 AM, Blogger Bill Michtom said...

"hostile takeover of the GOP by an outsider president not beholden to it"

Hostile takeover?! Trump is the GOP golem.
These people are journalists? Holy shit!

At 4:47 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

How sad. Just a few decent candidates. And many will lose in the primary. And many will lose in the general.

You know who won't lose? Pelosi, scummer and the corrupt leadershit team, who will enjoy yet another intra-party election to their leadershit posts again.

You know who gets ratfucked by this every cycle for 40 years now? Everyone except them.

These few individual candidates aren't the problem. The party is the problem. Voters who keep affirming the malignant party are the problem.

How can a good person run as a member of such a corrupt evil body?
How can a well-meaning DWT keep enabling the affirmation of that corrupt, evil body?


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