Monday, May 21, 2018

The Worst Democrat In Congress Is, I'm Sorry To Report, A Woman


Not second worst or third worst

The worst Democrat in Congress, chair of the Blue Dogs, is Kyrsten Sinema. Kyrsten is a woman. Of the 78 Democrats rated "F" by ProgressivePunch 15 are women. Any list of the worst Democrats in the House would have to include, Kyrsten Sinema, of course, as well as Stephanie Murphy (Blue Dog-FL), Cheri Bustos (Blue Dog-IL), Jacky Rosen (NV), and Kathleen Rice (New Dem-NY). ProgressivePunch rates 37 House Dems "A." 16 are women and this cycle only 3 members of Congress have 100% perfect crucial vote scores, two of whom-- Jan Schakowsky (IL) and Barbara Lee (CA)-- are women. It's hard to say who the best member of Congress is, but any list of contenders would have to include Pramila Jayapal (D-WA), Katherine Clark (D-MA), Jan Schakowsky (D-IL), Barbara Lee (D-CA) and Judy Chu (D-CA). All of these people I've mentioned-- both the best and the worst-- are women, the biggest identity group in American politics. And then there's Debbie Wasserman Schultz. What can I say?

In Pennsylvania last week, there were really good women candidates who defeated really bad male candidates. And that's excellent. But what happens when a terrible woman candidate beats an excellent male candidate? That happens too-- and that isn't so wonderful, is it? (It may be to EMILY's List, which has a business model it's concerned about.)

That said, Lauren Gambino, writing for The Guardian Sunday asked if the wave of females House candidates lead to a tsunami of wins for the Democrats. She starts with a candidate from not just the female identity group, but from the military identity group. (Again, there are great veterans running and far less than great veterans running. VoteVets doesn't distinguish much. "This should anger you greatly," Jon Soltz, their chairman wrote yesterday. He was pissed off about an ad running against Amy McGrath, a Marine combat fighter pilot running for Congress in Kentucky. "[H]er opponent released an ad on Friday night attacking her for not living in Kentucky for much of her life. "Why... well, because she was overseas serving our country, fighting in wars. The ad also includes the line, 'In fact she moved here from Maryland just last year to run for Congress.' Yeah, it's true... because she was teaching at the US Naval Academy in Annapolis." I can see why Soltz was pissed off.

By the way, McGrath is a mediocre candidate and, if she wins-- unlikely-- she'll make a dreadful member pf Congress. Her opponent is not just worse than she is... he's way worse than she is. And he's from another identity group: LGBTQ... also Blue Dog. What a mess. "Every once is a while," wrote Gambino in The Guardian, "a voter will approach Amy McGrath, a first-time candidate for Congress in Kentucky and a retired Marine fighter pilot, and tell her they won’t support her because she is the mother of young children who need her at home. 'I always point out that the incumbent who serves in the seat has young children the same ages as mine,' McGrath said. 'But I can’t imagine they would say that if I was a man.' ...[It] illustrates the challenges women still face on the road to Washington even as record numbers of them prepare to run."
There are 408 Democratic and Republican women still in the running for the US House of Representatives, compared with 167 in 2016 and 159 in 2014, according to Rutgers University’s Center for American Women and Politics (CAWP), which tracks women in elective office.

The wave of women running also have more diverse backgrounds and résumés. Many are political newcomers, spurred by the rage of losing a presidential election to a candidate with a history of berating women and the #MeToo reckoning against sexual assault and workplace harassment.

“For years, women have had to walk this fine line between being capable and being likable,” said Erin Loos Cutraro, the CEO and co-founder of She Should Run, a nonpartisan organization that seeks to increase the number of women in elective office. “But with this massive groundswell we’re seeing women from all backgrounds run as themselves.”

At least two women running for governor-- Kelda Roys in Wisconsin and Krish Vignarajah in Maryland-- have run ads featuring them breastfeeding their babies while discussing their political platforms. Nadia Hashimi, who is running for Congress in Maryland, promised voters less “mansplaining.” And Sol Flores, who lost her bid for Congress in Illinois, shared her story of sexual abuse in a campaign ad, promising: “I’ll fight as hard for you in Congress as I did to protect myself.”
[No need to mention Flores only got 21.6% of the vote and was beaten by a much better candidate, Jesus "Chewy" Garcia. She's the woman candidate and what else could possibly matter? Next up: another mediocre candidate running against an accomplished man, Duwayne Gregory, who's actually gotten stuff done while she... hasn't.]
“It feels like we have this support system in women running across the country,” said Liuba Grechen Shirley, a first-time Democratic candidate for Congress in New York.

This month, Grechen Shirley, the mother of two young children, won approval from the Federal Election Commission to use campaign funds for childcare. Two dozen members of Congress and Hillary Clinton sent letters of support for her request.

“This ruling will allow more women-- and men-- to run for office,” she said, adding: “Our babysitter is a staff member in the same way that our field director and finance manager are staff members.”

As women storm the ramparts of the Democratic party, female Republican candidates are fewer in number. Of the 408 women still running for the House, 305 are Democrats and 103 are Republicans, according to CAWP.

Still, Republicans boast an impressive and unusually large crop of female hopefuls, said Andrea Bozek, a spokeswoman for Winning for Women, a new political organization that aims to be the conservative counterweight to Emily’s List.

“Our goal is to build a lasting momentum that’s not just contained to a year,” Bozek said. “We want a lot of ‘years of the woman’.”

She noted that the top two Republican fundraisers last quarter were women: Marsha Blackburn, who is running for Senate in Tennessee, and Martha McSally, who is running for Senate in Arizona. And the only two women elected to Congress since Donald Trump took office have been Republicans: Karen Handel in Georgia and Debbie Lesko in Arizona.
Women, yes, but-- with the exception of McSally, a mediocre mainstream congresswoman-- also dangerous right-wing insane people. You like Trump? Then you'll love Blackburn Handel and Lesko who don't differ from much policy-wise, just personality, character and Physiognomy. All that said, this is important:
Whatever happens in November, the quest for a more representative democracy will still be far from realized. Women currently comprise 19% of the House of Representatives and 23% of the Senate, shares that are unlikely to swing significantly even if more women are elected. And the women in Congress are disproportionately Democratic and white.

“Let’s absolutely celebrate the women who are on the ballot but let’s also look at who’s not there,” Cutraro said. “This is just the beginning-- we still have so much more work to do.”

The results of the early primaries show that women aren’t just running-- they’re winning.

More than 50 women filed to run in Texas. Nearly half of the candidates who finished first in the Democratic primaries were women, including two Latinas who are likely to head to Congress in November. In Nebraska, Kara Eastman bested a former congressman to win a primary to represent a congressional district in Omaha. Meanwhile, the Democrat Jane Raybould will face off against the Republican senator Deb Fischer, in one of several general election races featuring or likely to feature two women.

Pennsylvania, a state with an all-male Congressional delegation of 20, stands out as a particularly bright spot for women this year. Last Tuesday, voters selected female candidates in seven primaries held in the state’s newly redrawn congressional map, three of whom are running in districts favorable to Democrats.

But for all the enthusiasm and energy, political observers warn it is too early to declare 2018 a “year of the woman.”

“We’re really hopeful that we’ll see gains for women in November,” said Kelly Dittmar, a political scientist at CAWP.

“But we’re being careful about the extent to which this wave of women running will translate into a tsunami of women winning in November.”

The route to Washington is complicated by several factors, Dittmar explains.

More Democratic men are running, too, which means primary races are crowded. Plenty of Democratic women are running in the same districts as each other, such as in Texas, where a handful of races featured as many as three female candidates. This means that women will be eliminated in the primaries.

Perhaps the biggest hurdle for women this election cycle is that many are running against incumbents, who almost always win re-election. More than half of the female candidates running for House and Senate hope to unseat sitting members of Congress.

Ten states have held primaries so far this election cycle. Of the 125 women running for the House of Representatives in those races, nearly half-- 60-- have won, according to CAWP. But a large number of the Democratic primary winners will go on to face incumbents in safely Republican districts.

Even if 2018 falls short of being a historic “year of the woman”, the wave of female candidates has already changed attitudes to running, organizers say.

For decades, organizations like Emily’s List, the fundraising juggernaut dedicated to electing Democratic women who support abortion rights, have tried to narrow a so-called ambition gap by encouraging women to run for office and providing them with the resources to do it. Traditionally, those conversations require a degree of coaxing. But since the 2016 election, the phones have been ringing with women putting themselves forward.

“What’s so inspiring is that we have so many women who have crossed over that first obstacle: desire to run,” Stephanie Schriock, the president of Emily’s List, told reporters at the group’s national conference earlier this month. “Once that seed is planted, it doesn’t stop growing.”
Goal ThermometerIt's easier to babble about identity politics than it is to look for signs that will tell you who will be a better candidate in Congress. There can be, for example, no doubt what Kyrsten Sinema will be in the Senate if she wins. She's the worst member of the House-- the worst-- and she would be fighting a battle with Heidi Heitkamp, Joe Donnelly Claire McCaskill and Joe Manchin, if they make it through the midterms-- for the title of "worst Democratic Senator." Not a peep about anything remotely like that in The Guardian piece. It's a difficult thing to report on. Which is why we need better reporters. I just decided to count how many women are on the Blue America endorsement list of 2018 congressional candidates. There are 20 candidates in total. 9 are women and 11 are men. Damned! I wish it was 50-50. We need to try harder. Do you look at gender or any other identity group when you decide to contribute to a candidate?

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At 5:25 AM, Blogger Unknown said...

FWIW, DuWayne Gregory is the Joe Crowley Establishment supported pick (I.e. let’s keep Peter Kong in office) These things cut both ways sometimes. Even if he is the more accomplished candidate.

At 5:48 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said... nancy Pelosi would be among the worst congresswhores if the 'craps were not irrelevant. And she's a woman, though at this point she probably is no longer aware of that. That is, if you measure 'worstness' in terms of how fervently you whore for your money and how tyrannically you enforce your caucus to serve that money.

Also, you should note that much of what Kirsten does is now with an eye on running for president... you remember... like when $hillbillary went from liberal NY senator to neocon and neoliberal bastion in about 2006 who never saw a war or bill reaming the bill of rights that she did not just LOOOOOVE.

As obamanation's, $hillbillary's and Pelosi's record will show you, if you wants some power in DC, you has to earn that power... by dutifully whoring and serving the money, wars, torture, the NSA and so on and so forth.

At 8:27 AM, Blogger edmondo said...

I had no idea that ovaries were a qualification for office. Even if Kyrsten manages to half-ass her way into the Senate, there are a ton of "new" XX chromosomes willing to sell us out. I would point you specifically to the four women in Eastern PA who just won their respective district nominations. They are uniformly DCCC types who will go to the 2020 convention to vote for Hillary, or Kamala, or Cory and wonder how the hell Trump ends up re-elected. It's going to be ugly.

At 11:20 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

ovaries are not a qualification. But early and devoted service to the money is. kind of my point.

congresswhores come in every part of the spectrum. Their devotion to the money must be monochromatic if they ever wish to climb the ladder.

At 11:47 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Women are their own worst enemies. They were the ones who shot down the ERA over fears of the unisex bathrooms we now have in this nation. They are the ones who most vocally condemn other women for seeking abortions. White women were the ones who voted more for Trump while not remembering that they all owed their votes to HER!

There are reasons why men are leery of giving women power. Not all of them are specious and misogynist.


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