Friday, December 22, 2017

More On The Importance Of Primaries In Wave Election Cycles


This whole PPP Twitter thread on recent polling is interesting for folks who enjoy following elections on a congressional level. In almost every case they polled Republican incumbents against "generic Democrats," in other words, whomever wins the primary. In wave elections, even a dullard with nothing to say and no qualifications-- or even worse-- can be swept into office. In fact, the only time among the pieces of the thread I used where PPP didn't use "generic Democrat," were when they instead used extremely conservative Democrats endorsed by the Blue Dogs and being pushed by the DCCC, Anthony Brindisi in New York and "ex"-Republican shithead Brad Ashford. So Ashford has proven himself unfit for office and Omaha voters noticed it and defeated him last year after one really terrible term that found him consistently backing his Republican colleagues. He was, at all times, one of the worst Democrats in the House. But the DCCC loves corrupt right-wing conservatives like Ashford. They look at him and it feels like they're looking in the mirror. Besides, they hate the alternative, an outspoken progressive woman, Kara Eastman, a real reformer and exactly what Ben Ray Lujan does not want in the Democratic House caucus.

So what about Brindisi, a New York assemblyman? His website's issues page is carefully designed to say pretty much nothing about issues. It's vintage DCCC. Take healthcare for example:
I believe that everyone should have access to good health care. That’s why I strongly opposed the heartless bill to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA), raise premiums and take coverage away from more than 20 million Americans. This bill strips protections for people suffering from pre-existing conditions and reduces vital funding to protect older adults, children, women and people suffering from opioid addiction.

We need to stop the special interests attempts to dismantle the Affordable Care Act and fix the real problems with the ACA by tackling the problem of higher premiums by controlling health care costs. Some ways we can do that are by lowering the costs of prescription drugs and allowing Medicare to negotiate drug prices.
Sounds like a moderate Republican-- and, of course, no mention of single-payer or Medicare-for-All. The DCCC urges all their candidates to keep it uncontroversial and as meaningless as possible. His campaign is all about empty slogans. And wouldn't you know-- last year the NRA rated him 100%. Brindisi's two primary opponents, Patrick Madden and Heath Phillips, have both dropped out of the race. So... one more Blue Dog looks like he's on his way to Congress-- unless he falls victim to the #MeToo movement.

Let's look at the half dozen California races included, Republican-held seats: CA-10 (Jeff Denham), CA-39 (Ed Royce), CA-45 (Mimi Walters), CA-25 (Steve Knight), CA-48 (Dana Rohrabacher) and CA-49 (Darrell Issa). If reports about a wave are true-- and I'm certain they are-- these 6 seats are all flipping red to blue, as are at least one or two other California districts. But... in some instances there are really good Democratic candidates in primary battles with really bad Democratic candidates. In these 6 seats there are a grand total of 32 candidates. And those are just the candidates who have raised enough money to trigger an FEC report last quarter; there are even more.

So how do you know who to vote for? I don't think any of the candidates have records as state legislators. That makes it much harder to guess what they'd probably be like in Congress. Ted Lieu (D-CA) was a great state Senator and he turned out to be a great congressman. Pramila Jayapal (D-WA) and Jamie Raskin (D-MD) were awesome state legislators and guess what... they have the highest ProgressivePunch scores (along with Adriano Espaillat) of any House freshmen. It usually works that way, but how can you tell among people without voting records? Civic engagement in their communities is one way, though sometimes hard to investigate. Another way is to look at endorsements from trusted (or distrusted) organizations. Example: if the Blue Dogs or New Dems-- who are very thorough in their endorsement process and only endorse corruptible conservatives who will oppose progressive initiatives-- back someone, you know to look elsewhere. And, sure enough, they have endorsed several candidates in these races, namely Hans Keirstead (CA-49), Harley Rouda (CA-49) and Dave Min (CA-45). On the other hand, Elizabeth Warren has worked with and has endorsed Katie Porter (CA-45). An Elizabeth Warren endorsement for a House candidate-- unlike a Senate candidate, where she might be a little less discriminating-- means something; in fact, it means a lot.

Goal ThermometerThis California congressional ActBlue thermometer on the right will tell you which candidates Blue America feels good about. Some districts, like CA-45 and CA-48, include more than one candidate, generally because there are two good candidates in the crowded primaries. In CA-45-- the district carpetbagger and Trump rubber-stamp Mimi Walters is still hanging onto-- there are two exceptionally great candidates, both of whom Blue America has interviewed extensively and over a long period of time and found very well-qualified: Katie Porter and Kia Hamadanchy. And since I mentioned that Porter was endorsed by Elizabeth Warren, I should mention that Hamdanchy has been endorsed by Sherrod Brown and Tom Harkin. Below is a graph from CNN that shows the generic congressional preference poll advantage for Democrats going into the midterms. Enthusiasm among those who feel there must be a check on Trump and among those who feel the Republican congressional leadership has failed is high and growing. The 18 point edge for a preference for congressional Democrats is bolstered by a huge swing among independents away from the GOP. Among independent voters there is now a 51-35% preference for Democrats. It is absolutely essential that Democrats nominate progressives in the primaries and not Republican-lite corporate shills from the Republican wing of the Democratic Party (Blue Dogs and New Dems).

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At 8:37 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This post outlines exactly why there is no hope to reform the DINO-Whig Party into an entity which stands up for the average American citizen. The DCCC isn't going anywhere no matter how many worthy candidates rise up from We the People. Corporate interests own both parties completely, and using their media properties, can ensure that no populist movement will ever achieve power.

The only path is to leave the corporatist political organizations and rise up angry without them. Despite Bernie caving at the Coronation, he showed that it is possible to do. Ending Net Neutrality is but one tactic the now-frightened corporate interests have taken to reduce the likelihood that they will soon face torches and pitchforks. Voter suppression efforts are another.

The only question is how low do things have to sink before enough people wake up?

At 11:28 AM, Blogger Elizabeth Burton said...

Maybe Anonymous needs to get out more, as I seen hundreds, thousands, maybe even millions of people "rising up" to make the necessary changes.

The problem is that people who keep hammering on "the Democrat Party can't be saved" is causing people to abandon it just when, as this article stresses, they are desperately needed for the primaries. It's almost as though they want things to stay the way they are so they can continue to rail about it.

The facts are quite simple. As of this moment, there are two options most likely to ensure someone can be elected to federal office. The only one that's at least somewhat useful is the Democrat Party. It is vital that anyone who truly wants to oust the employees of the oligarchy from Congress stop embracing their definition of nobility, hold their nose, register Democrat and get as many progressives nominated as possible.

At 1:48 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

All of those "thousands" of Ms Burton's risers are attempting to work within the Party and will bet stabbed in the back. Then we'll see who needed to get out more.

At 2:32 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just as Dem Chair Tom Perez just held his nose and purged any Dem with Bernie links, kept the SuperDelegates hierarchy and basically said FU to progressives? The realization that lesser evilism (aka preventing one's olfactory senses from working correctly) means that voters accept that fascism doesn't stink.

At 4:24 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm truly gratified that all above but EB get it.

But Elizabeth is right about one thing. There are still only two options. Fascism or naziism. voters have let this go on for so long that maybe there just isn't any way out any more.

But accepting the swill the DCCC pukes up shouldn't make one feel good about it. It SHOULD make one a millimeter from eating a bullet.

For lesser evilism to have defeated our democratic process, it took 140 million complete imbeciles going into the booth every time and accepting that we just can't do better than shit.


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