Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Will Michigan Democrats Allow Themselves To Be Rescued By A Progressive In A District Bernie Won Decisively?


Michigan's 7th district is the southeast corner of the state, carefully gerrymandered by the Republicans to keep Lansing and Ann Arbor residents out of it. Most of the voters live in Jackson, Monroe, Eaton, Washtenaw and Lenawee counties. The district was definitely not Hillary country. The folks there wanted change and Bernie decisively won the primary. Trump then beat Hillary just as decisively. The PVI went from R+3 to R+7. The Democrats ran an especially bad candidate against weak incumbent Tim Walberg in 2016. Despite Bernie crushng Hillary in the primary, the brain surgeons at the DCCC decided they should run an utterly worthless establishment Blue Dog, Gretchen Driskell, virtually the opposite of Bernie. So she lost badly. Walberg beat her 183,549 (55.0%) to 133,697 (40.1%). Walberg raised $2,403,861 and Driskell raised $2,554,488. Pelosi's House Majority PAC wasted another $559,314 on the race and the DCCC thew in $96,200 before abandoning her as hopeless.

She was a dreadful candidate in every way, so, of course, EMILY's List and the Blue Dogs have endorsed her again. So far this cycle Walberg has raised $654,797 and Driskoll has brought in $233,218 and the DCCC hasn't decided what to do.

An exciting new candidate just jumped into the race, Steve Friday. Sam Pernick, chairman of the Michigan Young Democrats, Liano Sharon and Sue Vasquez wrote a post for Michigan Progressive and offered DWT the opportunity to publish it. We gladly accepted.
Steve Friday, a progressive organizer from Dexter, recently launched his campaign for US Congress in Michigan’s 7th district, seeking to unseat Republican Tim Walberg. Friday is a social worker, a US Air Force veteran, and an activist with many progressive organizations, including Indivisible, Ann Arbor for Revolution, and Michigan for Revolution. Friday is the second Democrat to enter the race for the 7th. He will face off in the August primary against Gretchen Driskell, who tried to unseat Walberg in 2016. Her campaign spent over $2.5 million dollars in the 2016 race and lost by 15 points.

At his campaign kickoff event,. Friday spoke about the economic challenges many are facing in Michigan. He said, “I think everyone here at some point in their lives has struggled to make ends meet. Worried about their car breaking down. Worried about paying medical bills. How many people have used a credit card to pay a medical bill, because if you don’t pay that bill, they’re going to report you to the credit card companies and your credit score will go down?“

Friday is running on a unique slogan: “Human First.” Friday said this means setting aside partisan blinders, and letting go of the personal attacks and baggage that comes with politics. Just treating one another with respect.

“I think that no matter who you are, and no matter what you bring to the table, whether you’re a Democrat, Republican, or Independent, we all need to band together and work together to solve problems,” Friday said. “That’s what people are looking for.”

Friday’s first hurdle is the August primary against Gretchen Driskell. The primary pits the party’s rising progressive wing against its establishment wing.

Two years ago, Driskell’s campaign was considered one of the most promising by party insiders. She drew significant behind-the-scenes help from the Democratic Party in Michigan and nationally. A look at her recent donors this cycle shows significant establishment-democratic backing, with contributions from Loreen Powell Jobs (wife of the late Steve Jobs) and Democratic mega-donor Don Sussman. But it remains to be seen if the party establishment coalesces around her as they did in 2016. Instead, they may choose to focus on other races, like Michigan’s 8th and 11th congressional house seats.

That might be because despite strong backing in 2016, Driskell struggled to connect with voters. Walberg’s support of bad trade deals led her to attack him with the nickname “Trade Deal Tim” and urged voters to “Trade Him In.” The attacks fell flat.

Friday said that he and other progressive activists spoke to Driskell in early 2017 as part an organizing effort prior to the Democratic Party convention. They told her they would support her if she ran on a progressive platform and refused to take corporate money. She said “we’ll talk about it,” but the conversation never happened. When asked about her stance on taking corporate money at the 7th congressional district meeting in Adrian last October she replied, “We’ll deal with that after I get elected.”

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At 9:39 AM, Anonymous Tracy B Ann said...

A smart candidate will stay as far away from the DCCC as possible. 2017 is a ground up election year. Way to go Young Michigan Dems.

The current issue of Jim Hightower's, The LowDown has the blazing title:

"Fed up with corporate-rigged politics, ordinary people are working together to win elections."

They are doing it old school, the Dr. Reid Sr. way, from the bottom up. Precinct by precinct, city by city, state by state, until we have us a country.

For full disclosure - I grew up in Michigan. (It's really cold there!)

At 12:52 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

They should, but they won't. It would reveal that their current strategies aren't going to deliver that fabulous victory they keep predicting for themselves in the fall. You know, the one where running "ex"-Republicans as candidates is going to take the House away from the GOP. Maybe someone should remind the DNC about Harry Truman's observation about giving voters a choice between a wannabee Republican and a real one.

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

Let me see if I got this correctly:

Steve is a "progressive" who is running. But only after he asked a corrupt democrap to run instead PRETENDING to be progressive so he would support her?

And you want actual sentient voters to support the guy who wanted to support the fake progressive?

Izzat it?

If so, I got news for you'se. He ain't no progressive and he's not worth voting for, much less writing about.

Is that the best you got? And, yeah, I know the pool is shallow in Michigan.


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