Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Democratic Candidates Are Advocating A Progressive Agenda And Are Happy To Make The Election A Referendum On Trump


GOP candidates rallying behind Trump read an ABC News headline yesterday. Some are, of course... and some aren't. The line that interested me most, though, was "Republicans appear far more comfortable touting Trump’s leadership than Democrats do arguing against it." Again, some are and some aren't-- on both ends of that statement. More than a few Republicans are leaving Congress altogether rather than even attempt defending Trump, a compulsive liar-- on any level. As for Democrats not feeling comfortable arguing against Trump's leadership... what sort of Democrats are we talking about? I asked some of the savviest Democrats I know about their posture towards Trump.

Alan Grayson is running on his record when he was in Congress, as he works to take back his Orlando area House seat, held my a centrist Democrat with no record at all. Grayson was able to pass more legislation than any other member of Congress and he hopes to continue doing that when he's back in Congress... that and impeaching Trump. "Republicans," he told me, "started campaigning against Obama from the day that he was elected, with no basis whatsoever. As I said once on the Floor of the House, if Obama had a BLT sandwich, the Republicans would try to ban bacon. More recently, however, mysterious forces pushed the most unpopular presidential candidate in the history of polling across the finish line, with 54% of Americans voting against him even before we saw how miserable he is as President. Yet somehow, certain Democrats think that we should lay off him. Those are the Democrats who never miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity."

 Jamie Raskin (D-MD) has the highest ProgressivePunch score in Congress-- yes, he's #1, he's #1-- and he's the organizer of Democracy Summer, a program educating high school and college students on the dynamics of political change and deploying them to swing districts. "Our people," he told me today, "are sick of Donald Trump and the depraved corruption of this administration. From Virginia to New Jersey to Alabama to western Pennsylvania to Colorado, we’re winning elections across America because we’re focused on restoring government to the people. But there’s no popular demand for wallowing in Trump’s crimes against the common good. Our people want hope for progressive renewal and strategies for practical change to take America back from the abyss."

Saira Rao is running for the Denver seat occupied by middle of the road Democrat Diana DeGette. They have very different approaches. DeGette is basically a centrist looking out for her own career. Rao wants to make Denver-- and the country-- better. "Why," she asked, "isn't white supremacy an impeachable offense? We have a President who calls Nazis and members of the KKK 'very fine people,' countries with people of color 'shitholes' and undocumented immigrants 'animals.' Hitler used that word to describe Jewish people.  Democrats in Congress continue to tweet about Trump but when it came down to it, they voted to table the vote on impeachment. If more brown and black people were in Congress, we'd move to impeach him. White supremacy is life and death for us." It doesn't sound to me that with Jamie or Saira is having a tough time questioning Trump's leadership.

Goal ThermometerBefore Levi Tillemann (CO-06) takes on Trump-adverse Republican, Mike Coffman, he has to beat a corrupt right-wing Democrat. Levi is sticking to running on his own progressive agenda. He told us today that as he's "spoken to thousands of voters around Colorado, it's clear that people want accountability in Washington, and that means impeaching Trump. He is unfit to be president and voters know it. Voters know that I'm fighting for universal healthcare, getting corporate influence out of politics, and protecting kids from guns, and along with that, they know that I'm fighting to impeach Trump."

Yes, people can walk and chew gum at the same time. Paul Clements (MI-06) is working to get through a gaggle of conservative Democrats before facing Trump rubber stamp Fred Upton, like Tillemann, he's fighting for progressive issues and holding Trump accountable: "Trump," he told me without flinching, "is the greatest threat to American democracy in my lifetime. He seems to think the separation of powers does not apply to him, that our judges and law enforcement officials should promote his political and personal agendas. His racism, lies, disrespect, and encouragement of violence undermine the civic friendship that democracy depends on. His economic policies continue our slide into oligarchy. His foreign policy supports authoritarians. His environmental policies threaten our common future. In world-historical terms this is a moment when we face an urgent call for real democratic leadership.

Of course, right wing extremists who are counting on the GOP base to turn out and not thinking about independent voters to get them over the finish line are adhering to Trump in a big way. But more Republicans are worried about Trump's toxicity with independents. If you're some crackpot in a crackpot district like Matt Gaetz (FL), Paul Gosar (AZ), Hal Rogers (KY), Doug Collins (GA), Phil Roe (TN), Liz Cheney (WY), Michael Conaway (TX) or Rob Aderholt (AZ) you can be reelected without one independent voter-- and without one person with a 3-digit IQ.
Trump's visit Tuesday to Nashville highlights the unmistakable trend: There is virtually no room between Trump and the Senate candidates hoping to maintain his Republican majority this year. And Republicans appear far more comfortable touting Trump’s leadership than Democrats do arguing against it.

Trump claimed that his sway drove Sen. Bob Corker from running for another term in Tennessee, and kept him out when he flirted with returning after all.

In his place is Rep. Marsha Blackburn, who faces only nominal opposition in August’s GOP primary. She is set to join nominees who have already emerged out of states including Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia, by winning fights that centered on who the most staunch Trump loyalist would be.

It’s also telling that while Trump is primed to attack the likely Democratic candidate in Tennessee, Phil Bredesen, Bredesen is already on TV promising to "separate the message from the messenger."

"Look, I’m not running against Donald Trump," Bredesen said in a recent campaign ad.

Interesting race there in Tennessee. Bredesen has always run Republican-lite campaigns and his ability to be elected and re-elected governor of the deep red state has a lot to do with his innate conservatism and his ability to appeal to independents and moderate Republicans. He's consistently been running ahead of Blackburn in all polls because voters see her as an extremist and him as more mainstream. Progressives who vote for him will be voting against Trump in a referendum and for Bredesen as the lesser of two evils.

Katie Porter (CA-45), on the other hand, is running hard for an Orange County seat occupied by a total Trump rubber stamp, Mimi Walters. This morning she told us that she's "running to stand up to Trump's reckless and hateful agenda. Senators Kamala Harris and Elizabeth Warren have endorsed our campaign because they know that in Congress, I will hold Donald Trump and powerful special interests accountable, fight for Medicare for All, for common sense gun reform, and always protect a woman’s right to choose."

Sam Jammal (CA-39) works his disdain for Trump into the reasons that impelled him to run. "We are," he told me, "running a campaign focused on our values and the middle class-- two things Trump stands against. The 39th district is a diverse community that is welcoming. This is why the Fullerton City Council rejected attempts to join the sanctuary city lawsuit. We also have a lot of families who are working hard to get by. Trump's tax reform bill is an attack on these families. 80% of our homeowners will be hit by the lower mortgage interest deductions. Thousands of individuals have pre-existing conditions and are at risk of Trump taking away their health care. And the new $1.5 trillion deficit we now face thanks to Trump's tax reform means our schools have less money for educating our students and making sure our schools are safe places to learn. There is no neutrality in Trump's direct attacks on California families. We have to stand up and push back against not only his division, but the very real attacks on our economy."

Let's close this out with a few words-- and some excellent advise for candidates-- from the West Coast Regional Vice Chair of the DCCC, Congressman Ted Lieu. "Congressional Republicans," he told us, "are stuck between a Trump and a hard place. As they prepare to go before voters later this year, many Republicans find themselves in the unenviable position of having to defend the constant barrage of insanity that comes from the White House. Some will lean into Trump in the hopes that his popularity with a certain segment of the Republican base will save them (though there aren't really any great examples of his popularity transferring to other candidates). Others will try to walk the tightrope of finding common ground when possible and creating distance when Trump goes off the rails, and some will reject him altogether. None of those are great options when you are running a tough reelection campaign. In a world where many prominent conservatives (Bill Kristol, Mitt Romney, George Will, Jeff Flake, John McCain, Charlie Dent to name a few) have been critical of the President, all Democrats should feel free to point out the harm Trump has caused and will continue to cause to our great nation. In addition, the first rule of elections is you have to energize your base. If you don't do that, it becomes very difficult to win."

Labels: , , , , , , , , , ,


At 7:28 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

After the hopey-changey election in 2008 and the 2-year refusal of the hopey-changey congress to affect anything at all in their mandate, only a blithering idiot would believe any of the manure the party is shoveling.

Make no mistake... all congressional elections are either a Nazi vote for or a desperate vote against trumpism. The democraps offer nothing and more voters than you can possibly imagine know or suspect this.

If the 'craps get a majority (only in an anti-red tsunami year) and refuse to act again, I believe that 20 million of their desperate voters will just check out permanently. And how will Pelosi/hoyer/Crowley whore for money when corporations know they are permanently irrelevant?

I've been hoping the voters would wake the fuck up since the '84 election... maybe the democraps will finally convince them in 2019.


Post a Comment

<< Home