Wednesday, May 30, 2018

When Dylan Ratigan Said He Might Have Voted For Trump, Everyone's Jaw Dropped. When Richard Ojeda Said He Did Vote For Trump, He Won The Democratic Primary


Elisse Stefanik's North Country district (NY-21) is the biggest in New York State. Obama won it both times he ran but in 2016 it saw a big red swing. An even PVI is now R+4. Trump crushed Hillary 53.9% to 40.0%. And Stefanik was reelected in a landslide-- 65.3% to 30.2%. The DCCC had insisted on another conservative candidate to replicate their last congressman in the district, an exceptionally bad Blue Dog Bill Owens, who had retired in 2014.

The district includes all of Clinton, Franklin, St. Lawrence, Jefferson, Lewis, Hamilton, Essex, Warren, Washington and Fulton counties and parts of Saratoga and Herkimer counties. Democrats up there don't go for status quo, establishment conservaDems. The district vote overwhelmingly for Zephyr Teachout against Andrew Cuomo in the last gubernatorial primary and this is how each county voted in the 2016 presidential primary:
Clinton- Bernie- 73.5%; Hillary- 26.5%
Essex- Bernie- 73.2%; Hillary- 26.8%
Franklin- Bernie- 70.95%; Hillary- 29.1%
Fulton- Bernie- 61.1%; Hillary- 38.9%
Hamilton- Bernie- 63.1%; Hillary- 36.9%
Herkimer- Bernie- 56.0%; Hillary- 44.0%
Jefferson- Bernie- 50.9%; Hillary- 49.1%
Lewis- Bernie- 59.1%; Hillary- 40.9%
Saratoga- Bernie- 55.8%; Hillary- 44.2%
St. Lawrence- Bernie- 58.9%; Hillary- 41.1%
Warren- Bernie- 61.7%; Hillary- 38.3%
Washington- Bernie- 64.1%; Hillary- 35.9%
So, you've probably noticed by now, that every single county-- most in landslides, voted for the progressive, not for the establishment mode4rate who had been the state's senator. Does that make the DCCC stop and think about what kind of a candidate Democrats want in that district? Of course not; DCCC staffing decisions favors morons and conservatives.

Currently there are five Democrats competing in the June 26 primary for the opportunity to go up against Stefanik. Not all of them have raised enough money to run a competitive campaign against Stefanik, who is sitting on a $1,301,870 warchest.
Tendra Cobb- $293,256
Emily Martz- $215,084
Katie Wilson- $166,464
Dylan Ratigan- $150,948
Patrick Nelson- $53,620
The only candidate who had raised substantial money, Don Boyajian ($492,873) withdrew this month to run for an Assembly seat instead. and the candidate with the most name recognition, former MSNBC host Dylan Ratigan, made a possibly fatal error a couple of weeks ago at a Democratic women's luncheon. He didn't voted in 2016 but told the audience that if he had he might have voted for Trump.
The statement is significant because Trump remains deeply unpopular and even toxic among many of the rank-and-file Democrats in the 21st House district who will decide next month's primary.

“It’s mind-boggling that a Democratic candidate asking for my vote would say this,” said Julie Wash from the town of Stillwater. She told North Country Public Radio that Ratigan made the comment in response to questions she posed.

“He said, I would have voted for Trump,” Wash recalled. “There was silence and everyone’s jaw dropped.”

...Asked by NCPR to detail her exchange with Ratigan, Wash said it began when she asked who he would have supported in the 2016 presidential race, if he had voted. He first named Bernie Sanders, she recalled.

Wash reminded Ratigan that Sen. Sanders wasn’t on the general election ballot and asked again who he would have chosen. That’s when Ratigan voiced a preference for Trump, she said.

Three other people at the table that day corroborated Wash’s account: “She kind of pressed [Ratigan] to choose between Clinton and Trump,” said Alan Stern, a Democrat from Greenwich. “He said, I would have voted for Donald Trump. I was pretty shocked as I think most of the people at the table were.”

“He said Donald Trump,” agreed Stern’s wife Mary Lou. “We all kind of looked at each other, like, did we hear that correctly?”

A fourth Democrat, Jill Nadolski from West Hebron, wasn’t interviewed by NCPR, but sent a public letter to the Glens Falls Post Star last week describing the exchange. Nadolski, who is Mary Lou Stern’s sister, wrote that she heard Ratigan voice support for Trump, while comparing himself to the Republican as “an outsider like me.”
Later, on a radio show, he tried worming out of it by saying he was joking and that the reports are part of a dirty tricks campaign designed to harm his campaign. He said "Somebody is trafficking in rumors to try to take me down because they’re threatened by my candidacy, which is part of our broken political system."
The Democrats who recounted the conversation are all supporters of Tedra Cobb of Canton, one of Ratigan’s primary opponents. All voiced anger about his Trump comments, but denied being part of an orchestrated effort to weaken his candidacy.

They described themselves as average voters, low-level unpaid volunteers and small-scale donors for the Cobb campaign, not the kind of experienced operatives who would take part in a political hatchet job.  None attempted to contact NCPR, but agreed to be interviewed after being telephoned by a reporter.

During those interviews, they also pushed back against Ratigan’s assertion that he spoke about Trump in jest. “In no way did I get that this was sarcastic or humorous,” Wash said.

“This is not a joke. Our republic is falling apart and for him to even insinuate that he was joking [about voting for Trump] inflames me.”

Trump remains a deeply polarizing figure in the North Country. After his surprise victory in November 2016, many Democrats in the 21st district joined marches and protest rallies focused on issues ranging from immigrant and women’s rights to healthcare and climate change. In interviews with NCPR, many Democratic voters say opposition to Trump has energized them ahead of the mid-term election.
On one level this reminds me of the battle in southern West Virginia where Democrat Richard Ojeda is facing off against Carol Miller in the third district. Ojeda-- like the 2016 primary voters in his district-- went heavily for Bernie. In the general election the district went heavily for Trump (a 72.5% to 23.3% landslide, one of Hillary's most catastrophic performances anywhere in the country). Ojeda was one of the Democrats who voted for Bernie in the primary and flipped to Trump in the general election. In the May 8th primary, he beat the 3 other Democrats combined.
Richard Ojeda- 29,837 (52.05%)
Shirley Love- 14,251 (24.86%)
Paul Davis- 9,063 (15.81%)
Janice Hagerman- 4,176 (7.28%)
He also beat the top Republican running, eventual GOP nominee Carol Miller, who got 8,936 votes. In fact, Ojeda took more votes than the 3 top Republicans combined. 57,327 Democrats were motivated to get out and vote in the primary but just 37,585 Republicans bothered showing up. Ojeda could actually win this thing. He's running on Bernie's economic populism but on the social conservatism that has helped Democrat Joe Manchin win both gubernatorial and Senate races deep in the heart of Trump country.

Will the same dynamic propel Ratigan to a victory next Tuesday in upstate New York? He's been trying to explain why he has disdain and contempt for the Democratic establishment and how that establishment has enabled Trump. We'll see if that works for him and short circuits the DCCC.

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At 5:46 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Not to defend ratigan, who has always struck me as a dipshit. But after he said that, why didn't anyone ask him why? What the fuck is wrong with people? Are americans too stupid and too incurious to want to know why?

Maybe ratigan was expecting that follow-up so he could 'splain. maybe he's dumber than even I thought.

but those in the room who should have asked and didn't... fucking morons.

Maybe THAT should be the gist of this piece instead of ratigan saying something surprising...

At 6:04 AM, Blogger edmondo said...

Damn, I voted for Trump too. If they were going to fix the nominating contest, what did they think was going to happen in November.

FYI - I would vote for anyone running against Nancy Pelosi too. Sometimes you gotta go backwards to go forward.

At 6:45 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ojeda won because his Republican opponents were all so bad. Can Ratigan say the same in the district he seeks? Even so, being so overt at a meeting of Democratic voters would be costly. He might well have ended his candidacy right then.


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