Tuesday, August 07, 2018

Counties That Voted For Trump Are Being Left Behind


My friend John is from Lewiston in Maine's second district, aka- the other Maine district. The first district-- Portland, Augusta, Kennebunkport and the wealthy towns in York and Cumberland counties-- is thriving. But huge, sparely populated, rural ME-02 isn't. The Republican congressman in ME-02, Bruce Poliquin, is a Trump enabler and a Wall Street puppet. He's thriving. But his constituents are still struggling, even as the Obama boom continues and is now claimed by Trump. My friend John just moved to L.A. to fund work.

As the AP reported yesterday-- and was published by the Press-Herald-- the U.S. "is on pace to add about 2.6 million jobs this year," something Trump never tires of claiming credit for. "Yet the bulk of the hiring has occurred in bastions of Democratic voters rather than in the Republican counties that put Trump in the White House."
On average for the year-ended this May, 58.5 percent of the job gains were in counties that backed Democrat Hillary Clinton in 2016, according to an Associated Press analysis of monthly government jobs data by county.

Despite an otherwise robust national economy, the analysis shows that a striking number of Trump counties are losing jobs. The AP found that 35.4 percent of Trump counties have shed jobs in the past year, compared with just 19.2 percent of Clinton counties.

The jobs data shows an economy that is as fractured as the political landscape ahead of the 2018 midterm elections. As more money pools in corporate hubs such as Houston, San Francisco or Seattle, prosperity spills over less and less to smaller towns and cities in America’s interior. That would seem to undercut what Trump sees as a central accomplishment of his administration-- job creation for middle class and blue-collar workers in towns far removed from glitzy urban centers.

Job growth in Trump’s economy is still concentrated in the same general places as it was toward the end of Barack Obama’s presidency-- when roughly 58.7 percent of the average annual job gains were in Democratic counties.

Yet the lack of transformative job growth in Trump areas hasn’t seemed to erode his support among Republicans, while hiring in Democratic areas has done little to improve his standing with those voters. For Trump’s core supporters, cultural issues such as gun rights, immigration and loyalty to the president have become dominant priorities.

Trump has pointed with pride at a strengthening national economy in hopes that voters will reward the Republican Party by preserving its majorities in the House and Senate this year. The government reported the fastest quarterly economic growth since 2014 and the unemployment rate is a healthy 3.9 percent. At a Pennsylvania rally Thursday, the president declared, “Our economy is soaring. Our jobs are booming.”
The Democrat running for the ME-02 seat Poliquin occupies, is Jared Golden, the majority whip of the state legislature. He battled against a Republican governor and a Republican-dominated state Senate to raise Maine's minimum wage so that working families could afford to live on it. He fights for better healthcare for working families and for veterans and to protect workers from wage theft. A well-connected friend of mine in Lewiston told me that "As whip in the Democratic-led House, he consistently worked behind the scenes for a more progressive approach on the tough budget issues and some of the other bills we dealt with this year. A progressive marine who has the courage of his convictions is exactly the type of representative we need in these perilous times. Jared was tireless about advocating for a more progressive approach." He wrote a guest post for us at the time, just about one year ago. Here's a chunk of it:
Maine’s 2nd district, the largest district east of the Mississippi, used to be relatively reliable Democratic territory: Democrats held the seat from 1994 until 2014, and Bill Clinton, Gore, Kerry, and Obama all carried the district during their presidential runs.

Something changed recently. Republican Bruce Poliquin won the seat in 2014, and Trump carried the district in 2016. The Democratic Party needs to work to understand how it has lost support in districts like this and pay attention to the basic, kitchen table issues that matter to the people that live in my region.

My part of the country has been hit hard. Free trade deals that benefit CEO’s but not workers have led to mill closures and the loss of good paying jobs. The opioid epidemic is growing out of control. The poverty rate among Maine children has grown at eight times the national average in recent years.

I’ve seen what happens when our rigged economic system leaves people behind. In the Marines, I was taught to leave no one behind.

My district voted for both Bernie Sanders in the primary and Donald Trump in the general to send a message that the political establishment in both parties has let them down. They want action on infrastructure, jobs, and health care-- and they are tired of hearing politicians talk without walking the walk to protect their interests in Washington.

Bruce Poliquin’s vote for the disastrous Republican health-care plan is just the latest example, as it would have taken health insurance away from tens of thousands of Mainers and resulted in the loss of many good paying jobs at rural hospitals.

In the oldest state in the nation, with a struggling economy, real leaders shouldn’t be working to take health-care away from their constituents, they should be fighting to ensure access to health-care for all of them.

I think the Democratic Party has a lot to learn from us up here in Maine. In the State House, my job as Assistant Majority Leader is to serve as the whip, the guy who counts the votes. I’ve counted the votes-- and I can tell you, we can’t get to a majority in the U.S. House of Representatives without figuring out how to win districts like mine.

Goal ThermometerHow are we going to do it? By cutting through the rhetoric and talking plainly and directly to people about issues that impact their lives. We need to have the courage to stand by our progressive values while meeting people where they are to engage with them about how we can work together to make real progress.

My campaign is going to relentlessly focus on economic issues: creating jobs with investments in infrastructure, from transportation and public works to renewable energy; strengthening organized labor because as they’ve declined so have wages; opposing trade deals that benefit our neighbors to the north and south more than they do us; pushing for Medicare coverage for all and a fair tax code that benefits the working class.

In the Maine Legislature I’ve stood strong by our union brothers and sisters. It’s my great honor that the Maine AFL-CIO has awarded me its top honor for legislators, the Edie Beaulieu Award, this year for my work on behalf of working class people and priorities.

In 2017, I’ve sponsored and passed legislation to address wage theft by employers who steal from their employees, to make access to workers’ compensation easier for firefighters and police officers diagnosed with Post-Traumatic Stress, and to provide state health-care services for veterans experiencing a mental health crisis.

We can win back districts like mine by being strong on behalf of the people that need our help most, unafraid to expose the GOP agenda as disastrous for the people, and by connecting to them on a personal level. To win, we need to be honest about the struggles our communities face, and offer solutions that really improve people’s lives.

That’s been my record in the Maine State House, and it’s what I’ll do in Congress.

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At 6:14 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

We still have the issue of DINO fossils controlling the Party and steering it to "MeToo" Republicanism. I increasingly see opinions posted which posit that the nation might not last until these collaborators are swept away into the dustbins of history.

At 10:16 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The places that do well will do well no matter which party "rules". And it's because both parties will favor the same policies and will also ignore the least among us. This has been demonstrated for nearly 4 decades now.

The only thing that should be noted about this:

1) Nazi voters tend to be more concentrated in the demos that are regularly ratfucked by both parties. The Nazi party assigns blame to the 'craps and aren't wrong. Yet they never promise much. They just want the hate.
2) democrap voters are also too stupid to recognize this. The 'craps will blame the Nazis, and they also are not wrong, in order to get these fools to continue to vote democrap.

The Nazi voters will never vote their own interests. they'll always vote for their hate.

the democrap voters will always vote for the 'craps because they aren't Nazis.

both sects of the money are playing dumbfucktard americans like harry connick plays the piano.

At 5:28 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It seems to me everywhere I go in Maine and in other states companies are hiring.
Unemployment is at record lows for minorities.
The economy in Maine and the US is doing good folks. If you want to better yourself
the opportunities are out there.


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