Sunday, June 16, 2019

Lee Carter Demolishes The Democratic Party Establishment's Convention Wisdom About How To Win Elections-- Just As Jessica Cisneros Declares Her Candidacy Against Blue Dog Henry Cuellar In Texas


In a primary cycle that ended this week, the Democratic establishment in Virginia got the results of their efforts to run an "ex"-Republican legislator and all around piece of dog crap, Mark Wolfe, against an incumbent of their own party-- free-thinking, Democratic Socialist Delegate Lee Carter. Carter never appeared all that concerned when I spoke with him and he easily turned back the challenge, winning the primary last Tuesday 57.72% to 42.28%. The outspoken Berniecrat-- a union electrician and Marine veteran-- was first elected in 2017 by winning the red Manassas House district-- with ZERO help from the Democratic Party of course-- against Jackson Miller, the powerful Republican majority whip. It was a feat that had been considered impossible since "everyone knows" the only way to beat a Republican in a red district is to run as a lesser-of-two evils Republican-lite candidate. Just ask Rahm Emanuel or Steve Israel or Steny Hoyer or Joe Crowley or Ben Ray Lujan or Cheri Bustos or Chuck Schumer... Miller's campaign was one long screech: "Socialist!" It must have been magic but Carter beat him-- in the biggest turnout election anyone in the district can remember-- 11,366 (54.42%) to 9,518 (45.58%). The Democrats were no more celebratory of Carter's win than the GOP was.

Goal ThermometerThis cycle, the establishment media was, predictably, virulently opposed to Carter again. "Carter," wrote InsideNOVA, "has proven to be interested only in pushing a far-left socialist agenda rather than listening to and addressing real issues and concerns of his district and constituents. Nothing could be a better example of this than his ill-fated attempt to repeal Virginia’s right-to-work law, which has been in place for more than 70 years and is an oft-cited reason for the state’s economic success... We’re glad Carter already has drawn significant Republican opposition in this fall’s election." Guess who won't be buying their bullshit. That's right, the voters.

This tweet, below, from Carter yesterday was classic. And every Democrat running for office-- from Blue Dogs and New Dems on the right fringe of the party to actual Democratic Socialists on the left-- is going to have to figure out how best to respond to these kinds of mindless attacks. The Republicans haven't been served well in the past by this strategy-- to put it mildly-- but that isn't stopping them from trying it again, from the presidential campaigns right down to state and local offices. As a party they have nothing positive to offer so they settled for this as their message.

Up top you can hear Carter pushing back against an MSNBC talking head dullard who knows her always-wrong-talking-points inside and out. He still has to beat a Republican in November and if you like what you heard him say, please consider clicking on the thermometer above and contributing what you can to his campaign. And that brings us to... the newest candidate who has tossed her hat into the ring-- Jessica Cisneros, a 26 year old Latina attorney from Laredo. As of Thursday, she's been running for the safe blue South Texas congressional seat, TX-28, currently occupied by one of the 3 or 4 worst Blue Dogs in Congress, Henry Cuellar. Sarah Jones, writing for The Cut, also noted that Cuellar "is one of the most conservative Democrats in Congress. He has co-sponsored anti-abortion legislation, fund-raised for a Republican congressman who went on to defeat a Democratic challenger, and supported legislation that would withhold public funding from sanctuary cities."
Cisneros is a strong candidate. A native of south Texas and the daughter of immigrants from Mexico, she’s running on a thoroughly left-wing platform that includes Medicare for All, the Green New Deal, and abortion rights. On her campaign website, she writes that “every day in her work as a lawyer,” she “is reminded of what she learned as a child: The rules of the game are not fair for most Americans.” Her race will pit the appeal of her progressive platform against the power of a well-funded incumbent, and her campaign will challenge a prevailing theory: The Democratic Party supports conservative members like Cuellar in order to safeguard conservative and moderate districts.

Cisneros isn’t the only candidate to bet against that strategy. In Illinois, Marie Newman is challenging Dan Lipinski, another anti-abortion Democrat, from the left. Her first run against Lipinski, in 2018, nearly succeeded, which undercuts his central justification for holding conservative views-- that they mirror those of his constituents. But the same logic that insists it’s an unacceptable risk to pressure Lipinski and Cuellar from the left presumes that charismatic candidates can’t persuade voters with progressive rhetoric and that abortion rights are secure enough to tolerate anti-abortion representatives.

American voters are broadly in favor of access to legal abortion. But even if we accept that abortion is a fraught issue in some districts, there isn’t much reason to think that Lipinski and Cuellar represent voters who would accept only conservative Democrats. Lipinski’s district favored Hillary Clinton heavily in 2016, and he only barely defeated Newman. Cuellar told press in January that polling proves his district has a moderate tilt, but Clinton won the same district handily in 2016 and, as Roll Call reported in January, Cuellar himself won reelection with 84 percent of the vote. Republicans didn’t even mount a challenge. In fact, the district has elected only Democrats to Congress since its creation in 1993, as the Laredo Morning Times notes. If his district is really so moderate, Cuellar should at least be facing legitimate threats from the GOP. Instead, it’s the left, not the right, that senses his vulnerability.

Koch Influence On Blue Dogs by Nancy Ohanian

Even so, Cuellar will be a difficult target. He’s an eight-term incumbent, and there are two schools named for the representative in his district; two other members of the Cuellar family occupy local elected office. Cisneros will face resistance from the Democratic Party, too: Its congressional-campaign arm blacklists vendors that work with candidates who primary incumbent Democrats, a policy that cost Newman some consultants in the early days of her campaign. But that rule might not be enough to fatally damage the Cisneros campaign. In a press release, the campaign says it raised “over $80,000 from over 3,000 contributions, with an average contribution of $24,” on the day of its launch. That’s an impressive sum, and its origins contrast sharply with Cuellar’s fund-raising strategy. The Cisneros campaign says that only one percent of Cuellar’s donations in 2017 and 2018 came from small donors, while Sludge, a news site that tracks campaign finance, reported in May that Cuellar has routinely taken money from KochPAC, which is connected to Koch Industries.

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At 9:46 AM, Anonymous ap215 said...

Welcome aboard Jessica good luck against Henry Cuellar.

At 9:47 AM, Anonymous Tracy B Ann said...

My favorite part of the article:

"The Democrats were no more celebratory of Carter's win than the GOP was."

That's how you know you're doing it right. Carter is totally in line with his constituents, despite what the old fart Dem Party thinks.

At 1:32 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

every single blue America fave could win every district. all it does is keep the gavel in Pelosi's hand.

and nothing changes. nothing.

I fail to see the upside to any of this.

The more you all strive... the more futile it all is. makes one wonder...


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