Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Lesser Of Two Evils-- And You


These numbers aren't random-- there are reasons

If I lived in Virginia I'd be facing a real dilemma-- to vote for someone with as conservative a record as Ralph Northam as a way of preventing a potentially catastrophic Republican victory in the gubernatorial election in 2 weeks. There's no doubt who the lesser of the two evils facing Virginia voters. Lobbyist Ed Gillespie is a garden variety corrupt Republican and in a period when checking Trump and GOP power is tantamount, stopping Gillespie is crucial. But yesterday there was a little dust-up on Twitter because Our Revolution endorsed 6 progressive candidates-- Elizabeth Guzman, Kimberly Tucker, Joshua Cole, Lee Carter, Jennifer Carroll Foy and Will King-- for the House of Delegates without saying anything about Northam one way or the other. [Blue America has also endorsed Lee Carter, Elizabeth Guzman and Kimberly Tucker and 5 other House of Delegates candidates-- but hasn't endorsed in the gubernatorial race.]

I can't speak for Our Revolution but I can tell you why we've endorsed in the legislative races and why Northam is not on our gubernatorial page. Blue America's endorsement is tantamount to asking our members to contribute to a candidate. And endorsement is not about asking for someone for a vote-- most of our members don't live in Virginia-- it's about asking for a contribution. I'm not even sure if I would vote for Northam and I know for certain I wouldn't contribute a dime to his campaign. I would much rather give that money to our House of Delegates candidates or to gubernatorial candidates like Tom Wakely (TX), Ben Jealous (MD) or Daniel Miss (IL), proven progressives.

Northam is a proven something else-- a proven conservative. He admits he voted for George W. Bush-- both times. Is that your kind of Democrat? In his 2013 campaign Northam said "I don’t consider myself as a liberal... I think the less government, the better" and said he is "very conservative fiscally." He has a record to back it up. He's also been generally anti-immigrant over the course of his career until very recently.

Soon after Northam was first elected to the state Senate in 2007 he announced he was leaving the Democratic caucus and joining the Republicans, throwing control of the state Senate to the GOP. He said the reason he was switching was because of his fiscal conservatism. I don't know what the Democrats promised him-- plenty, no doubt-- but they persuaded him to change his mind. Whatever political calculus you decide on in regard to voting, if you live in Virginia, do you really want to back Northam without holding your nose?

The two most recent polls--Oct 17-- show him winning. Quinnipiac predicts a very substantial Northam win-- 53-39%-- and Fox News has Northam up a more modest but still definitive 49-42%. The reason Northam is up is because he's killing Gillespie among independent voters and among women. He has a favorable rating of 51% to Gillespie's 39%. And when respondents were asked "If a candidate for governor supports President Trump, does that make you more likely to vote for them, less likely to vote for them, or doesn't it have an impact either way," only 18% of likely voters said more likely, while 51% said less likely. Among independents 15% said supporting Trump would make them more likely to vote (for Gillespie). All the national pundits rate the race as "lean Democrat." And as of August 31 Northam had spent $10 million to Gillespie's $7.8 million. Northam had $5.6 million on hand, more than double Gillespie's $2.6 million. All that makes it easier to recommend to Blue America members to concentrate scarce resources on races that could flip the state legislature blue and do whatever they want about Northam.

OK, let's leave Virginia on the side for a moment. Look at these two, the picks of the Democratic establishment bosses in the Arizona and Nevada Senate races, two of the absolute worst Democrats in the House. (In the case of Kyrsten Simema, the worst of all.) Same dynamic as the Northam race-- supporting the lesser of two evils. I don't want to go into what pieces of crap these two are and how unfit they are for elected office-- you can read about that here and here-- and here. Or listen to Alan Grayson discussing it in a more theoretical way in this video:

Why is ObamaCare so unpopular? Among sane people, it's because there is no public option. Why is there no public option? Lesser of two evils Democrats defeated it. That simple. During the battle over the public option polling predicted a 2010 landslide for the GOP is the Democrats failed to pass the public option-- a prediction that came true as dozens and dozens of Democrats were defeated, primarily the Blue Dogs and New Dems from the Republican wing of the Democratic Party who opposed the public option. The polling found that
68% of voters want a public health insurance option
By 5 to 1, voters want their Representative to fight to add the public option over simply passing the Senate bill
By 3 to 1, persuadable voters are less likely to vote for local Democrat if Congress doesn't pass a public option as part of reform
55% say Democrats need to do more to fight big corporations
56% say Democrats haven't done enough to fulfill Obama's 2008 campaign promises
52% of Democrats less likely to vote in 2010 if Congress doesn't pass public option-- Republicans more likely
There were 39 Democrats who joined the Republicans to vote against the public option in November of 2009. Almost all were defeated or forced to retire. But the DCCC is currently recruiting the exact same kind of garbage candidates for Congress, as if they want to reenact the same disaster in 2022 that befell the Democrats in 2010. Here's the list of the anti-healthcare "lesser-of-two evils":
John Adler (Blue Dog, NJ)- DEFEATED
Jason Altmire (Blue Dog-PA)- DEFEATED
Brian Baird (New Dem-WA)- RETIRED
John Barrow (Blue Dog-GA)- DEFEATED
John Boccieri (Blue Dog-OH)- DEFEATED
Dan Boren (Blue Dog-OK)- RETIRED
Rick Boucher (VA)- DEFEATED
Allen Boyd (Blue Dog-FL)- DEFEATED
Bobby Bright (Blue Dog-AL)- DEFEATED
Ben Chandler (Blue Dog-KY)- DEFEATED
Travis Childers (Blue Dog-MS)- DEFEATED
Artur Davis (New Dem-AL)- DEFEATED/Switched to GOP
Lincoln Davis (Blue Dog-TN)- DEFEATED
Chet Edwards (TX)- DEFEATED
Bart Gordon (Blue Dog-TN)- RETIRED
Parker Griffith (Blue Dog-AL)- DEFEATED/Switch to GOP
Stephanie Herseth Sandlin (Blue Dog-SD)- DEFEATED
Larry Kissell (Blue Dog-NC)- DEFEATED
Suzanne Kosmas (Blue Dog-FL)- DEFEATED
Frank Kratovil (Blue Dog-MD)- DEFEATED
Dennis Kucinich (contrary-OH)- DEFEATED IN PRIMARY
Betsy Markey (Blue Dog-CO)- DEFEATED
Jim Marshall (Blue Dog-GA)- DEFEATED
Eric Massa (NY)- RESIGNED
Jim Matheson (Blue Dog-UT)- RETIRED
Mike McIntyre (Blue Dog-NC)- RETIRED
Mike McMahon (Blue Dog-NY)- DEFEATED
Charlie Melancon (Blue Dog-LA)- DEFEATED
Walt Minnick (Blue Dog-ID)- DEFEATED
Scott Murphy (Blue Dog-NY)- DEFEATED
Glenn Nye (Blue Dog-VA)- DEFEATED
Collin Peterson (Blue Dog-MN)
Mike Ross (Blue Dog-AR)- DEFEATED
Heath Shuler (Blue Dog-NC)- RETIRED
Ike Skelton (MO)- DEFEATED
John Tanner (Blue Dog-TN)- RETIRED
Gene Taylor (Blue Dog-MS)- DEFEATED/Switched to GOP
Harry Teague (Blue Dog-NM)- DEFEATED

There was no reason for the Democratic base to turn out and support most of these shitheads-- so it didn't and they lost and the Democrats lost the House and... well, you know. There's a cost to allowing these conservatives pretending to be Democrats to get into Congress. So far this cycle the Blue Dogs and New Dems-- usually with the connivance of the DCCC-- are backing a large list of conservatives. Among them:
Gretchen Driskell (MI-07)
Brad Ashford (NE-02)
Jay Hulings (TX-23)
Anthony Brindisi (NY-22)
Roger Huffstetler (VA-05)
Brendan Kelly (IL-12)
Dan McCready (NC-09)
Paul Davis (KS-02)
Dave Min (CA-45)
Hans Keirstead (CA-48)
Harley Rouda (CA-48)
Mikie Sherrill (NJ-11)
Elissa Slotkin (MI-08)
Angie Craig (MN-02)
Jana Lynne Sanchez (TX-06)
And even if you decide that a New Demo or Blue Dog is better than a Republican-- which on many things they are, even if not on many of the most important things-- this is still primary season we're talking about, when the best thing to do is to make sure progressives are nominated, not Blue Dogs and not New Dems. Here's a New York version of what I'm trying to get across:

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At 7:19 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

You were doing SOOOO well there until the end. You still can't fathom that even a progressive that wins a primary is unlikely to win a general, and that even if a few do win a general, they will serve under the jackboots of the pelosis and scummers who will still determine what is and is not done (assuming majorities in their respective toilet stalls of congress).

But your final paragraph just proves that you can name all the trees, but cannot suss out that it makes a forest. And that forest won't change even if you plant a few new progressive saplings.

But thanks anyway for reiterating, validating and emphasizing nearly all of what I've been saying since 2009. Nice to know I'm not, actually, preaching to a totally deaf audience.

But thanks anyway for reiterating, validating and emphasizing nearly all of what I've been saying since 2009. Nice to know I'm not, actually, preaching to a totally deaf audience.

Except for this: "Why is there no public option? Lesser of two evils Democrats defeated it."
You neglect to mention that obamanation vowed to the relevant lobbies that there WOULD BE NO PO. It's true that during the ACA chapter plays in congress, certain progressives in the house were allowed to propose the PO as amendments from time to time. And it was even allowed to pass the house, making the senate put the kibosh on it. But all this was simply performance art meant to fool the rubes on the left who still think democraps are better, somehow, than Rs. Even though fellow democraps defeated all the PO amendments, these morons still vote democrap.. though, as we both now have said, 15 million fewer in 2010 than in 2008.

Lesser evilism only guarantees that you end up with evil. And as time goes on, the evil becomes greater and greater.

But what can you say? Voters keep that auger going deeper and deeper. It's not just stupidity. It's that the voters are, themselves, more and more evil.

Without a truly left party for 2 out of 3 voters to consider, it won't ever change. WILL IT??

At 7:21 AM, Blogger Ron said...

We know Republicans want a sufficient number of governorships to call a constitutional convention - and they almost have them. Wouldn't it be prudent to vote Northam if only to help prevent Republicans from re-writing our Constitution?

At 7:41 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Look at that polling. Then realize that Bernie was net positive and $hillbillary was net negative (bigly) during '15 and '16. Then tell me how the fuck $he won the nom (hint: fraud).

I also recall that one state's D party had binding caucuses (won by $hillbillary) and a nonbinding primary vote that Bernie won huge.

Just pointing out that Ds are lying and dishonest. The lesser of ALL evil. Still evil.

At 7:50 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anonymous @ 7:19 AM:

Where's your third party, then, asshole? Where is it? What is its name? Where is its platform? Who are its candidates? Maybe if you actually, you know, promoted a candidate, who had a party attachment, and came on here promoting that candidate, and that candidate's party, and that party's platform, maybe you wouldn't be getting this reaction to the "Democrap" crap you post here, appended to every single one of Howie's articles.

The Democratic Party, warts and Blue Dogs and all, is what we have to combat the right. It's up to us to take it over and make it what we want it to be. You're not doing one fucking thing toward that effort, and you're not doing one fucking thing toward the effort you claim to favor. If you were, you'd be telling us about it.

Nobody gives a shit what you have "been saying since 2009." Chances are that's because all you have been doing is saying shit, and not doing shit. So please fuck off and go away. Because the rest of us are doing shit.

At 9:23 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I thought this piece was pretty straight-forward and non-controversial.

e.g. progressives don't have unlimited resources -- you have to prioritize.

In the case of Northam, he has a 2 to 1 cash advantage over his GOP opponent. If he loses at this point, it won't be because of a lack of money. Meanwhile there are a handful of quality progressive candidates also running for lower offices in the same election, who actually need the funds -- some are being outspent. Helping those candidates turn out more voters doesn't hurt Northam or the Dems -- it helps achieve two objectives at once. So why is anyone complaining about this strategy?

I think voters should vote with the full knowledge of what they are voting for, and not simply pretend that candidates are great when they aren't. I'm voting for Northam in a couple weeks along with the rest of the D ticket. I have no problem with Howie's assessment of Northam -- it's on the mark.

Also, I give plaudits to Howie for his knowledge and information. The party has sucked up billions of dollars of resources since 2009 and lost a net 1,100 seats at the federal and state level. At a certain point you have to ask why that is. Blaming voters and not the people responsible for running the campaigns and getting paid big bucks to conduct party strategy seems misguided, to say the least.

At 9:28 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anonymous at 9:23 am says, "The party has sucked up billions of dollars of resources since 2009 and lost a net 1,100 seats at the federal and state level. At a certain point you have to ask why that is. Blaming voters and not the people responsible for running the campaigns and getting paid big bucks to conduct party strategy seems misguided, to say the least."

A very well laid out perspective, dear sir/madam. Now, this seems to be the perspective that a large portion of the erstwhile Democratic voters seems to be adhering to.

At 11:25 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Northam beat Perriello (a Bernie endorsed Virginia Progressive) in the Dem primary that is open to all voters regardless of party. Seems like voters can't recognize progressive values as being in their own interests in the state of Virginia. Northam won 56% to Perriello's 44%. So how do you change a population taste for progressive policy?

At 4:01 PM, Blogger DownWithTyranny said...

Perriello was no progressive, even if he tried selling himself as one. Many in Virginia remembered he was a worthless liar who swore he would never vote against women's choice-- before voting against women's choice. Bernie was picking the lesser of too evils. More info about Perriello:

At 4:14 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

7:50, if 'the rest of us' have been DOING shit... you've failed miserably. Perhaps it's because you, like DWT and BA, are not DOING anything useful. Perhaps it's because none of you truly understand what the problems are.

Perhaps it's exactly because you all are supporting the lesser evil, no matter how evil THAT becomes, because you cannot fathom any kind of alternative.
At this late date, I cannot help you understand why you keep punching yourselves in the face. But by all means, keep swinging. With luck, you'll knock yourselves out and then something helpful can happen.

The first step in fixing a problem is fully understanding that problem.
This is my role. I lack billions of dollars and a platform from which to shout. But I do know stupidity when I see it, especially when I see it iteratively.
It is stupidity to keep trying to fix the democraps from the ground up with very limited resources. It hasn't worked for 35 years. It didn't work last cycle. It didn't work ANY of the previous cycles. It won't work this time either.

The only way to fix this is to give the active lefty voters and a big number of the long-dormant voters a real reason to participate. The only way to do THAT is to have a truly left party built over the smoldering pit that the party of FDR has made of itself.

Toward this end, DWT and BA COULD be a catalyst. But as long as they, and you 7:50 and your "rest of us", continue to facilitate a failed, corrupt and truly evil democrap smoldering pit, NOTHING can be done.

As long as the democraps, DNC and DxCCs exist to whore for and squander billions every cycle, the elections will ever be won by the larger of the Nazi voters and the hapless leftys who still bother to hope the lesser evil won't actually be more evil than the last time.
Since 1988, each demographic has about a third of the eligible voters (the last third are the dormants). Elections are won, then, by the opposite third of whomever fucked up the worst last time or by whomever the Russians helped.

But keep swinging. By all means, THIS one may be the magic bean that lifts us all to Valhalla.

why do I waste my time with idiots like this?

At 4:27 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

@ 4:14:

Why? Because it's all you CAN do. It's all you're good for.

At 9:41 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

4:27, um... yeah. As I 'splained. I ain't no billionaire. I'm good for a great deal more than this.. but not in this context.

You keep feeling smug in your lesser evilism belief... and watch things get worse.

I'll keep pointing out why you're wrong.

And you still won't believe any of it... that things are getting worse because of you and that there is only one way to make improvements, thus illustrating (one of) the human psycho-emotional flaw that will doom our species to extinction.


At 9:52 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

11:25, as history shows us, when the population gets hungry, sick and miserable enough, they reach a critical mass.

In this shithole, it'll take masses of white pinheads dying before any of the white pinheads wake up to what they've been electing for decades... if even then. Every malady that befalls white pinheads up until that epiphany will be blamed on gays or women or blacks or Hispanics or takers or ragheads. The odds of the epiphany EVER occurring is fairly remote, given the low potential of these pinheads along with their highly cultivated propensity to believe any nonsense their clergy (or favorite celeb) tells them.

I wouldn't wait for VA to have their epiphany. It won't happen there. It'll be somewhere like the OC or where there is a college... where SOME of the white population is a tiny bit more sentient than a ficus.

At 10:29 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

really love how Peter Daou and Neera found your blog, Howie.

At 2:53 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

To the Anon commentator at 11:25 AM, Northam won the primary because he had the backing of most county and state party officials. In VA state politics, the local relationships are incredibly important. The primary is in June, and turnout is low. The people who vote tend are party regulars. Perriello had significant support from national figures -- he had Sanders endorsement, but Perriello is really more of a creature of the Obama-world. Obama's former staffers largely lined up behind his candidacy, including very close associates like Valerie Jarrett and Kathleen Sebelius.

Northam's relationships with local party leaders and the Washington Post endorsement, are what helped put him over the top. Perriello staked out the more progressive ground on environmental policy, and labor policy. But ultimately, the election turned more on relationships, than policy debates.

As far as a general election goes, I think Perriello would have been stronger, based on his ability to keep margins close in the west of the state (an area that Dems usually lose). He lost a June primary by ~60,000 votes, but he cobbled together 240,000 votes in about 5 months, against an opponent who currently serves as in a state office.

I don't see Northam's candidacy as a test of what the limits of left politics are in the state.

Creigh Deeds presented himself as a very conservative Democrat in 2009, and was crushed by an even more conservative Bob McDonnell. Terry McAuliffe ran as a pretty conventional liberal in 2013, and squeaked out a victory against a far-right opponent. In 2006, Jim Webb ran for a Senate seat as a self proclaimed "economic populist" and beat George Allen.

A really dynamic progressive, will eventually win a statewide election in Virginia. Whether that's 4 to 10 years is another question. In the interim, hopefully Northam et al find enough success so that we can at least hold the line against the GOP. The General Assembly races are important for building a talent pool for the future, so that we can expand the limits of what is possible in the future.

At 7:01 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Re: the poll data at the top of the post - I was surprised to see that all three (Bernie, Trump, HRC) had VERY similar declines in popularity. For all three, the positives went down about 5%, and the negatives went by about 5%.

For Trump, that certainly makes sense - buyer's remorse. Hillary's decline makes sense, too - she's lost a lot of us disaffected Progressives. But what happened to Bernie? Is that HRC Dems blaming her loss on him?


PS: IF YOU POST AS "ANONYNOUS", PUT A BYLINE/TAG IN YOUR COMMENT (like my "-elkern"). (Caps intentional, it's an obvious nicety, and I'm pissed you that you bozos don't bother) Top or bottom of comment, whatever, wherever, just do it.

At 10:07 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I would only add that if you've been fixing the democraps from the bottom for 30 years... and the democraps have been getting rapidly worse for 30 years... perhaps it's time, finally, to review your strategy and tactics. They don't work.



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