Friday, August 03, 2018

Incumbents Who Suck Should Be Primaried-- Not Incumbents Who Are Doing An Excellent Job


I don't have any firsthand knowledge of Ayanna Pressley. Everything I've heard about her has been excellent. But I do know Mike Capuano-- and he's nothing like Joe Crowley. I'm certain there was no one in the country working harder and more consistently than I was to displace Crowly over the last decade-- although it took a grassroots wonderwoman and her team to eventually do it. Before Alexandria was old enough to vote, I was calling local elected leaders in the Bronx and Queens asking them to challenge Crowley. Most were not sympathetic. And even the ones who were said it was impossible and politically suicidal. Alexandria-- in touch with the street-- knew something they-- in touch with Albany and the politicos-- didn't: virtually no one in the district even knew who Crowley was. Crowley is a corrupt, right-of-center hack who was concerned with his own career trajectory, not his constituents' well-being or aspirations. That's not my experience of Mike Capuano.

Crowley was, for years, the head of the Republican wing of the Democratic Party. As the chairman of the New Dems, his bread and butter politics were barely Democratic. Until he decided to enter the House leadership, he was virtually wrong on every crucial issue. Capuano has a ProgressivePunch score of  "A" and has never had anything less. Massachusetts is a very blue state, but of its 9 members of the House only 3 have excellent voting records: Katherine Clark, Jim McGovern and Mike Capuano. Joe Kennedy has a "B." Richard Neal, Niki Tsongas and Bill Keating have "C"s. (This cycle, Keating has swung noticeably right.) The other 2 suck. Stephen Lynch has an "F" as does Seth Moulton. Moulton's the worst-- and with the biggest national ambitions. He needs to be stopped. Pressley would have been doing everyone a favor if she had decided to take on Moulton, Lynch or Keating. They're way too far right for their solidly Democratic districts.

I first looked at this primary battle on May 3 and didn't think it was a great idea then... and I still don't. Apparently neither do the voters in the 7th district. According to a just-released poll from WBUR, Capuano is ahead 48-35% among likely primary voters.

"What typically happens in primaries is they're pretty low-turnout affairs," he said, "and we see that although this district is majority-minority, in the past the majority of voters who have turned out for primaries have been white and they tend to skew much older."

Pressley leads among voters under 45.

"I think she's more representative [of] a change compared to what I've heard about the other candidate," said Aliza Stern, 41, of Boston.

Forty percent of voters polled say they would prefer a candidate who has been around awhile, with experience in how Congress works. Forty percent say they prefer someone new to Congress with fresh ideas and perspectives.

"I hope that the same way I'm planning on going out to vote that more people, really, instead of just complaining about the way politics are, that they actually make a difference and get out there and vote because I think unfortunately we're in a rough situation now, and if we don't vote to make a change for who is in office it's going to be a real problem for our country," Stern said.

When she says she wants to see change, Stern says she means not just in the White House eventually, but also in Congress now.

The district encompasses parts of Boston, Cambridge and Milton, and all of Chelsea, Everett, Randolph and Somerville.

Pressley also leads among nonwhite voters. Among African-Americans, she leads by 23 points.

"I think that we need to be proactive and throw caution to the wind and vote in some new blood," said Judith Scott-Hammerquist, of Boston.

Pressley has argued that in her life experience as an African-American woman, she represents the voters of the district better. Most voters, 55 percent, say a candidate's gender should not be a consideration when deciding whom to support.

Capuano leads among both men and women.

But race is a consideration for most registered voters. Fifty-three percent of voters say race is a major or minor consideration when deciding whom to support.

"We need to be more inclusive and have a greater diversity in our congressional representation," said Scott-Hammerquist, a retired paralegal. "I like Mr. Capuano and I think he's done a somewhat decent job, but I think with the Trump administration, we're in for the fight of lives, and we need to get some new energy into the Democratic Party."

Both candidates are extremely well-liked. Sixty-five percent of voters hold a favorable view of Capuano.

"It's not just that he has a long track record, and it's not just that he's right on the issues, and it is not just that he has a good position for his constituents in the House," said Sarah Buermann, of Jamaica Plain. "It is all of that plus. His energy is what we need right now."

Fifty percent of respondents hold a favorable view of Pressley, and she has room to win over more: 26 percent still have never heard of her.

"I think the difference is one of emphasis and not of content," Buermann said.

Forty-four percent say the candidates' positions are somewhat or very similar, with another 37 percent saying they don't know or refuse to answer.
There have been and still are terrible incumbents running, though few have had or have strong primary opponents. An exception is Alan Grayson, going up against New Dem Darren Soto in Orlando. Soto opposes Choice, sported an "A" from the NRA and an "F" from ProgressivePunch. He hasn't accomplished a thing for his constituents and doesn't deserve to be reelected. Grayson was one of the best members of Congress in our lifetimes. Sarah Smith's uphill WA-09 primary against Adam Smith is another good idea. She's a good candidate who would make a good congresswoman-- something Adam Smith has never been. In a D+17 district, voters are entitled to something better than a mediocre moderate  with a career-long "F" voting record, like Adam Smith. That said, Pressley seems like an excellent political leader. Capuano has earned reelection though.

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At 2:42 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

don't know nuthin about sarah, but adam smith is shit and always has been.

At 3:22 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Every single D who does not speak truth about how miserably horrible their party has become is a part of the problem. That kind of means they ALL are part of the problem.

But we simply must hold our noses... right kimo-sabee?

At 6:08 PM, Anonymous Caro said...

Voters should receive good treatment.

At 5:25 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

In a piece labeled "Incumbents Who Suck" Mike Capuano is a very inappropriate inclusion - no matter how much we love Pressley. Sorry, guys, this primary is like having to choose between Ben & Jerry's or Haagen Dazs - and you get to have only one.

At 8:34 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't live in the district, but shouldn't Capuano's relationship with the Party be under scrutiny in this post? Just how much control over Capuano does the Party hold? That would be the deciding factor for me, since the Party is clearly an obstruction toward achieving effective change. Anyone beholden to them -no matter the record- needs to go.

At 7:45 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nothing will ever change until Pelosi, hoyer, scummer and dozens of others can be primaried by good people.

short of that, it doesn't matter at all whether Capuano or pressley is marginally better. the only decision makers are not ever going to be either of them.


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