Monday, September 04, 2017

With Hanabusa Running For Governor, The Battle Is On For The Honolulu Congressional Seat


Rejected by the voters in her Senate run, now she wants to be governor

News started breaking Friday afternoon that conservaDem Colleen Hanbusa intends to give up her Honolulu-based House seat again to primary another Democrat (again). This time Hanabusa's intended victim is Hawaii Governor Dave Ige. Hanabusa, politically, is a real pile of garbage garbage and her entire career has been an unending ode to corruption. Ige knew exactly how to deal with the contemptible Hanabusa: "I look forward to giving voters the opportunity to compare our records of achievement and visions for the future. I hope to build on the solid foundation my administration has established in our first three years."

Over the weekend, the Honolulu Star Advertiser reported that "Hanabusa apparently aims to capitalize on a general, seemingly nonspecific discontent with the Ige administration thus far."
Tourism is strong, unemployment is low and even the crime rate is down, but still there is “a sense that the state is not particularly well run,” [director of the Public Policy Center at the University of Hawaii, David] Moore said. “Whether that’s fair or not, I don’t know, but I think that is the sense from voters. … Whether it’s fair or not, he’s stuck with how people feel generally about state government.”

Some longtime political observers, who spoke on condition that they not be identified, agreed.

“David has to get his story out, or he will be defined by the rumor mills and the Colleen Hanabusa people … that he is weak and ineffective, and he has not been,” said one state official who has been active in campaigns. “The story has to come out before it’s too late, because once it sets in the minds of the voters, it’s going to be hard to turn their thinking.”

...Democratic primaries tend to be dominated by specific groups such as union members and Americans of Japanese ancestry, and Ige and Hanabusa might divide those groups up between them.

Both Hanabusa and Ige are AJAs, and that particular ethnic vote pool may be divided in the primary. Ige received strong support from Okinawans in particular and the AJA community in general in the 2014 primary when he defeated Abercrombie.

Ige recently reached contract settlements with almost all of the public worker unions, which might help him secure the support of tens of thousands of teachers and other unionized state and county employees, but Hanabusa also has deep and long-standing ties with unions in Hawaii.
She's a candidate only EMILY's List and the special interests that bribe her could like. The upside to all this, regardless of who wins the governorship, is that Hanabusa will be out of Congress-- one less corrupt New Dem voting with Wall Street and the Republicans to make life harder for working families. So who will replace Hanabusa?

There are strong rumors that U.S. Senator Brian Schatz is recruiting-- or has already recruited-- Attorney General Doug Chin to run. He's gotten a lot of name recognition due to his lawsuits against Trump's travel ban. But the progressive grassroots is urging the most progressive member of the state legislature, Kaniela Ing to run for the seat. What kind of a political leader is Kaniela? Well for readers on the mainland, we last wrote about Kaniela 2 weeks ago in regard to reports that the DCCC is urging its conservative anti-single payer candidates to pretend to back Medicare-for-All. "The consultant class," he told us, "is obsessed with having candidates try to sound like America's most popular politician while somehow not upsetting their donors. Unfortunately for them, authenticity matters, and voters are smarter than they think. A silver tsunami of aging boomers is approaching, and single-payer, Medicare-for-all is America's only sensible and sustainable healthcare solution. Anything short will continue to allow big-pharma, corporate hospitals, and insurance companies to exploit the sick and their cash-strapped families into paying way too much for needed services. This in turn could have devastating effects for our overall economy. Democrats know that healthcare is a human right. If you want to reach Republicans, add that Medicare is the most efficient system we got, and that Medicare-for-all will save taxpayers $17 trillion. We have facts on our side and shouldn't run from them. Voters in both parties recognize that the pharmaceutical industry, insurance companies, and corporate hospitals have too much power. The People's trust will go to the party or set of candidates willing to take them on."

It's also worth remembering that Kaniela was the only progressive elected official in the whole state to back Bernie's hugely successful primary campaign. (Yes, Tulsi Gabbard, for her own reasons, also endorsed Bernie but there is virtually nothing progressive about her other than that one bizarre moment.) The rest of the state's political elite backed Hillary, the status quo candidate, in the state's caucuses. And how did that work out? Not well for the status quo politicians. Although Wasserman Schultz had rigged the system to minimize the convention impact of Bernie's win, he took 20 of the state's 34 delegates, by winning an astounding 69.8% of caucus votes. On that day 23,530 voters caucused for Bernie, 10,125 for Hillary and 5,677 for Señor Trumpanzee.

Kaniela will be 28 at the end of December. He was first elected, the youngest member of the State House, at 23-years-old after taking on Hawaii's establishment New Dems and a tea-arty incumbent in a Republican district. He was grossly outspent, but won by knocking on over 15,000 doors. "While in office," he told us, "I stood on bold progressive values and actually got things done. I emerged as a leader on issues like marriage equality, climate change, regulating superpacs, voting reform, and reducing our economic reliance on war. I put myself on the line to endorse Bernie Sanders, faced a re-election primary where I was grossly outspent, and smashed my opponent by 26 points." We've been urging him to bring this energy to Congress... and it looks like he's getting closer to making a decision. This is what he told me this afternoon when I pressed him:
I come from a working poor background. We grew up as conservative Republicans. But that all changed when my father suddenly died at only 38. My mother was left with four kids and our grandmother to care for. We relied on the support of Social Security supplemental income, free school lunch, Medicaid, Pell Grants, and the support of dedicated public school teachers. I became a first generation college graduate and the youngest leader in the State House, but if Trump and the GOP have it their way, another poor kid like me may not even survive, let alone consider running for Congress.

Hawaii is becoming a place for the super rich, and leaders must stand up to the elites and billionaires' corporations, in both parties, in order to give everyday people a shot. I have always put the people ahead of powerful big-money donors, because it's the only way we will win the world we want to see.

If I do run, it will be on the boldest progressive platform Hawaii has ever seen. I will champion Our Revolution's People's Platform of Medicare-For-All, repealing Citizens United, legalizing marijuana, making college tuition-free, regulating Wall Street, opposing bad trade deals and oil pipelines, and investing trillions into infrastructure. This will be paid by ending expensive, counter productive wars-of-choice, savings and tax revenue from criminal justice reform, and demanding billionaires and corporations pay their fair share. If I run, my platform will further include banning corporate PAC money, guaranteeing jobs or a universal basic income, a national 100% renewable energy goal by 2050, and nationalized childcare. Hell yes, people here in Hawaii need a Representative to stand up to Donald Trump or any billionaires, but I can tell you this: if I do run, my campaign is going to go way beyond resistance. It won't be worth running unless I can offer the voters here a bold vision, and a new generation of progressive leadership for America.

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