Monday, April 02, 2018

Who’s Electable? Why Ask The DCCC? They’ve Been Getting It Wrong For A Solid Decade. They Have No Idea


Dan Sena-- lucky for all of us there's a wave coming

Over the weekend, a quartet of Washington Post reporters tried writing about some congressional races in America. The Post should probably stick to what they know about: crap inside the Beltway. There’s a new Democratic Party emerging,” wrote the quartet, “united over the most liberal policies in decades but sharply divided over which candidates to run against President Trump and Republicans in the midterms.” Somehow they neglected to frame their “analysis” in terms of the power struggle between progressives and the Republican wing of the Democratic Party-- the New Dems and Blue Dogs and their allies at the DCCC.

If they spent more time outside the Beltway than inside it, they might not have written that “The party taking shape will challenge the GOP with a distinct populist tilt, marking a departure from the centrist views that had dominated during the era of Bill Clinton and Barack Obama. This year’s candidates have largely endorsed universal health care, a $15 minimum wage, easing the financial burden for college students and tougher gun control.”

In reality, there are progressive candidates who do support that agenda, and conservative candidates-- many backed by the DCCC and groups allied with the DCCC like End Citizens United, No Labels, EMILY’s List, etc, who may mouth some of the principles but are not part of the progressive energy determined to enact the progressive agenda. And of course, “there is sharp disagreement as more than 1,100 candidates have filed, with disputes over tactics-- how to criticize Trump or how best to talk about issues-- and sparring over who should be the standard-bearers, either first-time hopefuls or experienced politicians.” Isn’t there always? Politicians and would-be politicians are usually about their own career trajectories to one extent of another. It’s not all that different this year. In many of the instances The Post uses to illustrate their theory, the disputes are between people, not necessarily ideas. Voters want to know what politicians propose to do for them, not about what they propose to do for themselves career wise.
In Kentucky, for example, a female fighter pilot is lashing out at Democratic leaders after they recruited a wealthy mayor for the race against a Republican congressman who has staunchly supported Trump’s agenda.

…The day after Trump was elected, Amy McGrath was dumbfounded.

“I woke up the next morning with a hole in my heart. I felt like, ‘What just happened? How did we get here?’” the former Marine Corps pilot recalled.

These days, McGrath is flummoxed by something else: the Democratic establishment, which she has accused of lining up against her candidacy.

Amid the distilleries and horse farms that dot a district stretching from the urban center of Lexington to rural areas, McGrath and five other Democrats have entered the race to challenge three-term Republican Rep. Garland “Andy” Barr.

Like so many others, McGrath was itching to do something after Trump won. So she moved back to Kentucky and ran in a district Trump won by 15 points. She became a national sensation when she released a slick launch video touting her time as a fighter pilot.

It wasn’t enough to satisfy party power brokers, most notably those at the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.

“Instead, they went out and recruited the mayor of Lexington to run against me,” said McGrath, 42. “I mean, it’s like, what are you guys doing?”

The mayor, Jim Gray, is a wealthy former construction executive with an ability to fund his own campaign. He also is a familiar name, losing to Sen. Rand Paul (R) in 2016, but carrying the 6th District. Gray also is openly gay, which he says is not an issue, even in this conservative area.

Gray, who launched his campaign months after McGrath, acknowledged that people at the DCCC “gave me some encouragement” to run. He noted the committee has not officially endorsed him. The DCCC did not comment.

To hear Gray and McGrath talk about issues is to hear echoing voices. Neither wants to go to Washington just to fight Trump; both see opportunities to work with him. Neither will commit to voting for Nancy Pelosi as House Democratic leader. Both are staunch defenders of the Affordable Care Act, though they stop short of embracing a single-payer health-care system.

So they have taken to highlighting their personal backgrounds in an effort to stand out ahead of the May 22 primary.

“I feel like what our country is experiencing today really calls on leadership, and it really calls on experience,” Gray said in an interview at a coffee shop in Lexington.

Gray, 64, repeatedly highlighted his tenure as mayor and his business accomplishments.

In a telephone interview, McGrath emphasized her unique background as an asset.

“We cannot as Democrats keep pinning our hopes on older, rich, white guys to save us,” she said. What Democrats need, she said, “is people from all walks of life.”

One woman described choosing a primary candidate as “hard and stressful.” Winning in November was on everyone’s mind.

“If somebody can give me polls and numbers and an idea of who can go against Barr and who’s really got the biggest chance of beating him, I would be comfortable with any” of the three leading candidates, said Cathie Griggs, 64, a retired speech therapist. “People want to vote now,” she added.
So what did The Post miss? McGrath and Gray-- an admitted Blue Dog-- are both conservative candidates. He has a record and electoral wins in the district behind him. She has a good video someone made for her that she proved utterly unable to follow up on with a decent presentation of anything resembling an inspiring agenda. Instead, she’s just a flaccid identity politics candidate. She’s as likely to come in third as she is to come in second in the primary. Reggie Thomas agrees with McGrath that it’s time to move beyond old rich white guys. So how about a popular black state senator? Besides, he’s afraid to say “single payer” or “Medicare for All,” just like the two white conservatives.
Indiana’s 2nd District

The question posed to three Democratic congressional candidates at a debate in South Bend was supposed to be a softball: “If you are not the winner of the Democratic primary, will you actively support the winner?”

Pat Hackett, a 58-year-old lawyer and first-time candidate seeking the seat held by three-term GOP Rep. Jackie Walorski, kept silent for 10 seconds before responding: “Yes, I’m a Democrat, and a Democrat is preferable to Jackie Walorski, but my statement shouldn’t be construed as it doesn’t matter. It matters enormously. I’m the Democrat on this stage.”

Her equivocation enraged fellow candidates and party officials in Indiana’s 2nd District, where six Democrats are seeking nomination in the May 8 primary.

Although party leaders see a prime opportunity to flip a GOP seat that has long been considered out of reach, energized liberals are making clear that they are not going to keep quiet and happily back a centrist, soft-edged candidate.

While party organizations have made no endorsement, the candidate with clear backing from the Democratic establishment is Mel Hall, a Methodist minister turned health-care executive who describes himself as a “ruthless pragmatist.”

“Certainly people talk about tweets, and he does create distractions, and I think there’s probably a slice of maybe the far left that do talk maybe a little more vociferously,” Hall, 64, said in an interview. “But what people in this district want are someone who shows up and gets something done.”

Hall also is facing competition from Yatish Joshi. The 67-year-old self-made immigrant business executive and local philanthropist has loaned his campaign $200,000 and is seeking to upend a national Democratic platform that he calls “obsolete.” He also openly resists a president he sees as rolling back American ideals. Three other Democrats will be on the ballot but have not mounted extensive campaigns.

On the issues, Hackett and Joshi want a “Medicare for All” single-payer health-care system, while Hall supports revising the Affordable Care Act and lowering the cost of prescription drugs and medical equipment. Hackett and Joshi call for free college and forgiving student debt, while Hall calls for refinancing existing debt and capping free tuition for wealthier households. And on gun control, all three candidates support banning high-capacity magazines and instituting universal background checks, but unlike the others, Hall stops short of supporting an assault weapons ban.

Hackett, who suggests censuring Trump, and Joshi argue that running an unabashedly liberal campaign will get a group of voters to the polls who tend to skip elections when their choices range from the political center to the hard right. But Democratic officials like Jason Critchlow, the St. Joseph County party chairman, fear Hackett is starting down a path that, should she win the nomination, could make it impossible for Democrats to oust Walorski.

“You have this sort of new breed of activist,” he said, adding, “for some reason, it’s very important to them that they have this enemy within--  not just Republicans and not just conservatives.”
Clearly, there are now two district wings-- a Democratic wing and a Republican wing-- the Democratic Party. Are the reconcilable. Only wave elects allow the DCCC to move their Republican-lite candidates into office. In the following midterm, Democratic votes notice they vote with the GOP and don’t bother going to the polls. And they lose. That’s what happened in the 2006 wave--lots of crap Blue Dogs and New Dems were swept into office. And in the next midterm, 2010, virtually all of them were defeated when turn out sank, primarily because Democratic enthusiasm was wiped out by these crap candidates from the Republican wing. Now Ben Ray Lujan, a moron without the capacity yo understand even basic abstracts, was appointed DCCC so Pelosi could tick off two identity politics boxes-- Hispanic and LGBTQ (albeit a closeted one)-- and he’s doing everything he can to replicate 2006, setting the Democrats up for a catastrophic 2022. Anything would be better for the establishment Dems than to see progressives get into power. Don’t be surprised to see the Congressional Progressive Cause, now basically little more than a subsidiary of the New Dems, vote en mass for Joe Crowley, ultra-corrupt Wall Street slime bucket and former New Dem chair as the next party leader (and Speaker).

The found a conservative moron in VA-10 to interview, someone solely capable of parroting banal DCCC/DLC/DNC talking points that have been proven wrong-- and disastrous-- for a solid decade. Listen to this fool say exactly what the careerist Beltway establishment trained him to say. Meet Bob Settle, an old retired gentleman with a 2-digit IQ who “held up a copy of two-term Republican Rep. Barbara Comstock’s latest newsletter, which he considered light on accomplishments. ‘I want a candidate who can beat her,’ he said at a recent meeting of local Democrats. And wouldn’t you know it, he’s all for the most conservative of the candidates, the one the DCCC is desperate to get the nomination.
His pick, in a field of seven, is state Sen. Jennifer T. Wexton, a former prosecutor with deep roots in Loudoun County. He likes that she is well-known. Wexton has the support of Gov. Ralph Northam as well as Democratic Reps. Gerald E. Connolly and A. Donald McEachin.

“You can be in favor of banning assault weapons, you can be in favor of universal health care, you can be in favor of everything in the world,” said Settle, 70, “but if you can’t beat Barbara Comstock, you’re not going to do any good.”

Wexton makes a succinct pitch about her experience as a legislator passing bills on day-care regulation, the opioid crisis and domestic violence, issues that appeal to suburban moms, who were key to Northam’s win.

“So why me? I have shown that I have what it takes to run and win challenging races in the district and then to govern once I get there,” she told three dozen Democrats at the recent committee meeting Settle attended.

But voters have plenty of choices­ in a district that includes suburbs of the nation’s capital and which Clinton won by 10 points. And the pressure is on to defeat Comstock, whom one nonpartisan analyst rated as the most vulnerable Republican incumbent.

Pennsylvania’s 5th District

John Nee, the local Democratic Party chairman, gave strict instructions to seven candidates for a newly drawn congressional seat: Introduce yourself, your background, and then tell us your top three issues.

The first response seemed predictable. “Pushing back against the Trump administration and the Republican Congress that has been enabling it,” said Mary Gay Scanlon, a lawyer, tapping into the anti-Trump energy of the 60 to 70 activists who trudged through a cold Sunday night to a township hall for a candidate forum.

What came next was less predictable. One by one, the remaining six candidates focused on key issues. Gun control ranked high. A couple chose creating a single-payer health-care system. Nearly all mentioned jobs and education.

No one else mentioned Trump.

In fact, throughout the 75-minute forum, the seven candidates-- only half the field-- largely ignored the elephant in the room. Democrats in this onetime GOP bastion-- where new liberal energy and a redrawn district has Democrats champing for victory-- have a baseline assumption that anyone running for office now despises Trump and will work to rein in his administration in Congress.

New York’s 19th District

Faced with seven candidates, Democratic voters in New York’s 19th Congressional District had one question: Who could win in November in this rural district south of Albany?

“Who can beat [John] Faso?” asked resident Dorothy Dow Crane, 73. “Any of them would be fine. It’s about who’s electable.”

At a crowded voter forum, there was little daylight between the candidates on issues. They favored a ban on assault weapons, reversing the Republican tax cuts and instituting Medicare for all, though they differed on how quickly such a monumental health-care change could occur.

Democratic candidates and voters were fed up with Trump, but months before the primary, few were focused on him. The president, the impetus for so many people entering the race, had faded into the background.

“I’ve said for the better part of a year that it’s not about Trump,” said Brian Flynn, a medical device company founder who entered the race in September. “Trump’s a symptom, not the cause.”

At Dietz Stadium Diner, two voters said excitedly that they’d just settled in the district from Brooklyn and were desperate for a Congress that could stop Trump.

“I worry about my grandchildren,” said Marilyn Ippolito, 71. “I don’t want them to die in a nuclear war.”

California’s 39th District

When Sam Jammal was done speaking, he put the mic down. Then, people stood up and cheered.

Jammal, one of six Democrats running in California’s 39th District, had just delivered an impassioned plea on behalf of undocumented immigrants-- a topic that energized the crowd at a Thursday candidate forum in Fullerton.

“If you’re eating a salad, that salad was picked by immigrants!” the attorney for technology and clean energy companies said, his voice rising as he began to speak over sustained applause. “We can’t just abandon immigrants because of a talking point in a campaign.”

Jammal is running for the seat that encompasses parts of Los Angeles, Orange and San Bernardino counties. At the forum, he and two other Democratic hopefuls toed the liberal line on every issue that came up, including health care, the environment, the Republican tax overhaul and protecting young undocumented immigrants. They opposed Trump on everything.

The race to succeed retiring Republican Rep. Edward R. Royce is one of Democrats’ best pickup opportunities this year. The first hurdle they must clear is a nonpartisan primary on June 5. The top two finishers, regardless of party affiliation, will advance to the general election.

“I want somebody who’s elected to stand up to Trump. Trump is a walking disaster,” said Julie Suchard of Placentia, a former Republican. “I can’t tell you how many times where I check my phone in the morning when I wake up, and it’s like, ‘Oh god, what did he tweet? What is he going to do to this country?’ ”
Tragically, the DCCC is determined to hand the nomination to the leaqsdt qualified candidate, not just the least qualified for CA-39, the lest qualified anywhere! It’s Gil Cisneros who only knows one thing about politics-- bribing people with the millions of dollars the unaccomplished lummox won in a lottery. He buys endorsements from dishonest members of Congress and from the shameless DCCC. Jammal, clearly would make an exceptional member of Congress. Cisneros just wants a business card that says he’s a congressman. The DCCC would rather have some no account conservative-- did I mention Cisneros is also a Republican pretending to be a Democrat? And from another district?-- than a progressive with ideas and energy. Ideas and energy-- that scares the hell out of the geriatric ward that some people call the sclerotic House Democratic leadership.

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At 6:19 PM, Anonymous wjbill said...

seems pretty early to imagine a great wave in Oct/Nov.
The landed aristocracy will not go quietly. So much can
happen in the next 7 months.

At 4:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The DxCC is only going to do what it takes to ensure that the rivers of corporatist donations for services rendered don't dry up.

What they have done for too long is only "wrong" to us, for many of us still have expectations that the Party dan be returned to supporting the New Deal values which brought the Party great success for decades. But to the DxCC and hangers-on, what we want of them is wrong. Receiving mass quantities of corporate cash is all they exist to acquire.

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