Friday, June 22, 2018

Disappointing News For Señor Trumpanzee: Racist Presidents Are Not Eligible For Nobel Prizes


Trump grew up in a racist family. His father, who he has always emulated, was arrested as KKK street brawler and Trump was taught at an early age to discriminate against blacks and Latinos in their real estate business. "Throughout his public life," asserted the Washington Post [NOT FAKE NEWS] yesterday, "Trump has pitted one group of Americans against another and inserted himself in racial controversies… As he leads his party into the potentially perilous midterm election five months from now, Trump is trying to make cultural identity a central theme of the Republican pitch to voters. His messages have been amplified by his surrogates as well as by friendly broadcasters on Fox News Channel and elsewhere in the conservative media... Trump is calculating that by playing to people’s fears and anxieties he can maximize turnout among hard-core supporters to counterbalance evident enthusiasm on the Democratic side. Fueling Trump’s approach, advisers say, is an unremitting fear of his own: that his base could abandon him if he is deemed too weak on immigration, which was a centerpiece of his 2016 campaign."

I hope you took a look at our post yesterday on white evangelicals and racial anxiety. James Hohmann gave Post readers a comprehensive look at how Trump and Stephen Miller-- his in house neo-Nazi-- have outraged the county with their racist, xenophobic policies and how they have made a tactical retreat-- for now. "Young boys," he wrote, "who were forcibly taken away from their parents are waking up this morning at an old Walmart in Brownsville, Texas, that’s been converted into a shelter called Casa Padre. Painted on the wall is a mural of President Trump and a quote from The Art of the Deal, his 1987 book. 'Sometimes by losing a battle,' it reads, 'you find a new way to win the war.' Make no mistake: The executive order Trump signed Wednesday to end his own policy of separating families who are caught crossing the border illegally was a tactical retreat. It was not a surrender. The president’s war on immigration-- both illegal and legal-- rages on.
Trump made clear during a campaign-style rally last night in Minnesota that he hopes the order will let him shift the immigration debate back toward terrain he’s more confident he can win on. Speaking to 9,000 supporters at a hockey arena in Duluth, the president leaned into the us-against-them language that propelled his 2016 bid.

“I signed an executive order (so) we’re going to keep families together, but the border is going to be just as tough as it’s been,” Trump said. “Democrats don’t care about the impact of uncontrolled migration on your communities, your schools, your hospitals, your jobs or your safety. Democrats put illegal immigrants before American citizens. What the hell is going on?

“The media never talks about the American victims of illegal immigration,” he added. “What's happened to their children? What's happened to their husbands? What's happened to their wives? The media doesn't talk about American families permanently separated from their loved ones.”

As the crowd chanted “build that wall,” Trump attacked the caliber of Mexican immigrants to the United States: “They’re not sending their finest,” he said. “And we’re sending them the hell back!”

To wit, the Border Patrol says Trump’s “zero tolerance” approach will continue, which means any adult caught crossing the border will be prosecuted with a misdemeanor and families will now be held together in federal custody pending the trial. There’s a great deal of uncertainty among experts about whether this can pass legal muster, but immigrant advocates worry that Trump is laying the groundwork for indefinite detention.

“And senior administration officials said the order did not stipulate that the more than 2,300 children already separated from their parents would be immediately reunited with them … Top officials at the Department of Health and Human Services, which oversees their supervision, were unable to say when the families would be reunited,” David Nakamura, Nick Miroff and Josh Dawsey report. “One senior DHS official acknowledged that Immigration and Customs Enforcement has almost no ability to add detention capacity for families because its jails are already full. … The DHS official said ICE is not planning to put children in adult detention centers as prohibited under the 1997 court settlement in Flores v. Reno, which stipulated immigrant children must be placed in the least restricted environment possible while awaiting immigration court proceedings.”

Trump reiterated that Congress must come up with a solution. Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen even told lawmakers during a private briefing that the family separations could resume if they fail to act.

...White House Counsel Donald McGahn pushed back internally when the president ordered an end to the separations yesterday morning, arguing that an order could not be written to comply with the existing legal limits on child detentions. “Many aides, though, including Ivanka Trump and Kellyanne Conway, urged the president to end the separations. Eventually, after a number of meetings, ideas and drafts, McGahn said the final product could be legal,” David, Nick and Josh report.

Meanwhile, the Justice Department has formally requested the Defense Department's help in prosecuting the surge of new immigration cases, and the Pentagon has agreed to deploy active-duty military officers to the border in Texas, Arizona and New Mexico to serve as special assistant U.S. attorneys. These judge advocate generals, known as JAGs, are being told to expect six-month tours of duty, MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow reports.

ICE is also ramping up raids in the heartland: While we were watching the Southern border this week, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement arrested 146 workers at a meatpacking plant in rural Ohio. It was one of the largest workplace raids carried out so far by the Trump administration. Agents lined up dozens of workers, in white helmets and smocks. Two weeks ago, ICE arrested 114 workers at a gardening company’s two Ohio locations. In April, the feds raided a meatpacking plant in rural Tennessee and arrested 97 immigrants. In January, ICE agents blitzed dozens of 7-Eleven stores-- but made only 21 arrests.

These raids, too, are tearing families apart. “One father said to me, ‘I feel like my heart is being pulled out.’ His wife was taken, and he has two children under the age of 2,” Sister Rene Weeks, director of the Hispanic ministry at St. Paul Church in Salem, Ohio, told Kristine Phillips after this week’s raid.

Trump remains keen on displaying resolve against illegal immigration and may look for other ways to do so. The president used the word “strong” nine times in rapid succession to describe himself during a meeting with conservative lawmakers in the Roosevelt Room, where he announced the order was being drafted. “We are very strong,” he said. “If you’re really, really pathetically weak, the country is going to be overrun with millions of people, and if you’re strong, then you don’t have any heart. That’s a tough dilemma. Perhaps, I’d rather be strong.”

The president has no intention of rebranding himself as “a compassionate conservative” a la George W. Bush. He made that clear a few hours later when reporters gathered in the Oval Office to watch him sign the order. Before Trump signed it, Vice President Pence announced that doing so showed “compassion and … heart … and respect for families.”

“But it’s still equally as tough,” the president clarified, “if not tougher.”

“Stoking racial tensions is a feature of Trump’s presidency,” White House bureau chief Phil Rucker reports: “Echoing the words and images of the white nationalist movement to dehumanize immigrants and inflame racial tensions has become a defining feature of Donald Trump’s presidency and of the Republican Party’s brand. Trump has stirred supporters at rallies by reading ‘The Snake,’ a parable about a tenderhearted woman who takes in an ailing snake but is later killed when the revived creature bites her. It should be heard as a metaphor for immigration, he says. The president referred to some African nations as ‘shithole countries.’ He posited that ‘both sides’ were to blame for last summer’s deadly white supremacist rally in Charlottesville. And, again and again, he has accused black football players who took a knee during the playing of the national anthem to protest police discrimination of being un-American.

...The Trump administration changed its story on family separation no fewer than 14 times before ending the policy. JM Rieger tracks the evolving messages: “First it was a deterrent. Then it wasn’t. It was a new Justice Department policy. Then it wasn’t. The Trump administration was simply following the law. Then it said separations weren’t required by law. It could not be reversed by executive order. Then it was.”

...A Nobel Committee member says Trump is “no longer the moral leader of his country or the world.” Thorbjorn Jagland, one of the five members of the Norwegian committee which picks the winner of the peace prize, said: “Everything he does excludes him from the role American presidents have always had. He can not speak on behalf of the so-called free world.” Jagland is the head of the Council of Europe, a Strasbourg-based international human rights organization with 47 signatory states.

Melania Trump made increasingly clear to her husband in recent days that he should use his power to fix the mess he made. The Slovenian-born first lady’s own lawyer says the family separation policy evoked the internment of the Japanese during World War II and the inhumanity of detention in Nazi Germany. “It reminds us of past mistakes. It’s a big disappointment,” Michael Wildes told Mary Jordan. He also represents Melania’s parents, Viktor and Amalija Knavs, and her sister Ines, also from Slovenia. (Wildes declined to say what Ines’s immigration status is at this point…)

Theresa May condemned Trump's immigration policy, even as the British prime minister reiterated the importance of keeping open the lines of communication with the United States: “On what we have seen in the United States, pictures of children being held in what appear to be cages are deeply disturbing,” she said. “I clearly, wholly and unequivocally said it is wrong.” But she dismissed calls to cancel Trump’s upcoming U.K. visit., adding that when “we disagree with what they’re doing, we will tell them so.”

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Even In The Localest Of Races, It's All About Trumpanzee


There are 3 South Florida districts held by Republicans that are heavily Latino:
FL-25- Mario Diaz-Balart (70.4% Latino)
FL-26- Carlos Curbelo (69.5% Latino)
FL-27- Ileana Ros-Lehtien 72.7% Latino)
Trump fared poorly in all three- losing with 38.9% in FL-27 and with 40.5% in FL-26 while narrowly winning in FL-25 with 49.7%. Debbie Wasserman Schultz has prevented Democrats from contesting the seats held by her old pals Ros-Lehtinen and Diaz-Balart. Ros-Lehtinen (whose district now has a PVI of D+5 and is the second bluest district in the country held by a Republican) is retiring. FL-26 is the absolute bluest district-- PVI is D+6-- held by a Republican and Curbelo is running scared and can sometimes be a former vote for progressive legislation in Congress than Blue Dogs like Kyrsten Sinema (AZ), Josh Gottheimer (NJ), Henry Cuellar (TX), Collin Peterson (MN) and fellow Floridian Stephanie Murphy.

People say it would be hard even for the least competent, most badly run DCCC in recent history to lose these 3 seats this cycle. But that's exactly the kind of challenge the DCCC is best at-- losing sure things. They are entirely ignoring Mary Barzee Flores' race against Diaz-Balart. A former judge, she's too progressive for the DCCC. With no help from the DCCC, she's already raised $728,231 up against Diaz-Balart's $1,118,990. She makes sense as a candidate, being a Latina in a heavily Hispanic district. The DCCC doesn't seem to get that when they don't want to. The DCCC candidate in FL-26 is Debbie Mucarel-Powell, an Ecuadorian immigrant running against Curbelo and the 3 top Democratic candidates running in the open FL-27 seat are non-Hisapnic. The GOP will run either Bruno Barreiro or Maria Elvira Salazar. The DCCC hasn't weighed in but the likeliest Democratic candidates are David Richardson, Donna Shalala and Matt Haggman. No Hispanic-- although number 4, is Kristen Rosen Gonzalez, who had a Latino husband and is using his name for politics. Shalala seems to be way ahead of the pack for the August 28 primary. Her ethnic heritage is Lebanese. Can she win in a heavily Latino district? I didn't think so, but I may be wrong there.

The Miami Herald reported that on Tuesday Eileen Higgins-- not a Latina-- won a seat on the Miami-Dade County Commission, "defeating the better-funded campaign of the former commissioner's wife to scramble the conventional wisdom of who can get elected in a heavily Hispanic district in Miami."
Higgins, a Spanish-speaking Ohio native who adopted the campaign moniker "La Gringa," won by six points over Zoraida Barreiro, the Cuban-born wife of Bruno Barreiro, who resigned to run in a Republican congressional primary [FL-27]. With all 60 precincts reporting, Higgins had 53 percent of the vote, and Barreiro 47 percent.

...With the Democratic Party deploying money, office holders, candidates and volunteers to boost Higgins early on in the special election, an officially nonpartisan contest became a proxy battle with Republicans.

 The GOP used U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, a Republican from Miami, in robo-calls and mailers. Her husband's Republican congressional campaign also became her top donor, with at least $95,000 in contributions.

District 5 straddles parts of Miami and Miami Beach, with a heavy concentration of active voters in Little Havana and other enclaves where older Cuban-American voters are considered vital to win in low-turnout elections.

Turnout was nearly 15 percent, meaning voter interest increased after the four-person primary on May 22, when about 13 percent of the district's voters participated. For the runoff between Barreiro and Higgins, 14,023 ballots were cast, according to results posted after 9 p.m. Higgins took 7,449 and Barreiro 6,494. 
...Democrats outnumber Republicans in the district, and Hillary Clinton carried District 5 by double digits in 2016. But Republicans tend to turn out in low-profile, local elections.

Bruno Barreiro, the only Miami-Dade commissioner to openly support Donald Trump in the 2016 presidential campaign, held the seat for 20 years. He vacated it in March to run in the GOP primary to replace retiring Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, a Miami Republican, in Florida's District 27.

...Though running for what would be her first political office, Barreiro enjoyed financial support from Miami-Dade's circuit of lobbyists, developers and vendors who dominate fundraising for incumbents. Tuesday represented the second loss for Barreiro in as many years, after she failed to win a Miami commission seat in 2017.

Higgins drew the underdog title throughout the 10-week sprint to replace Bruno Barreiro. In the May 22 primary, she faced two well-known names in the district: Zoraida Barreiro, along with Alex Diaz de la Portilla, a former state senator who used to represent the area in Tallahassee. Higgins pulled off her first upset when she took a narrow first in that contest with 35 percent of the vote to Barreiro's 33 percent. As the top two finishers, they advanced to the June 19 runoff.

Conventional wisdom had Barreiro the favorite, since she was expected to pick up most of Diaz de la Portilla's voters, a fellow Republican Cuban American. But Diaz de la Portilla didn't endorse in the race, and the Higgins ground game appeared to narrow the traditional advantage Republicans enjoy in mail-in balloting, which accounted for six out of every 10 votes cast in the District 5 runoff. While Republicans led Democrats by three points in mail-in ballots and early voting last week, the margin shrank to just a single point by Sunday.

"This is a transformational election," said Fernand Amandi, a Democratic pollster who supported Higgins. "This is an election where you had an unknown defeat two of the titular Cuban dynasties in local politics. and it wasn't even close."

...She also sided with the liberal wing of the commission on a string of issues, including mandatory workforce housing requirements for new developments, ending the acceptance of detention requests from federal immigration authorities, and opposing the extension of the 836 expressway southwest into Kendall.

The District 5 results are a blow for Bruno Barreiro, who transferred $95,000 from his congressional campaign to his wife's election effort. That made him his wife's top donor.

By her own admission, Barrerio is not a strong public speaker. She turned in a halting performance during the single televised debate with Higgins. Her online campaigning was minimal. While Higgins posted multiple daily updates from the campaign trail on her Twitter account, @eyesonmyworld, the @ZBarreiroFL feed hasn't been updated since last August.

In remarks at her Election Night event, Barreiro linked the loss in part to her husband's congressional campaign, saying Democrats targeted her to derail him.

And by the way, there may have been some voters who were offended by the Barreiros playing fast and loose with Florida election law. You cannot move more than $1,000 freely from a federal campaign-- his-- to a state campaign-- hers-- even if both campaigns are for the same candidate, let alone for another candidate, even if it is a spouse. That may come back to but Mr. Barreiro in the ass in November.


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Midnight Meme Of The Day!


by Noah

Those who don't know history are doomed to repeat it. Others know history and repeat it gleefully.

And now a word about Herr Trump's favorite slogan; "America First": As a slogan, "America First" came to major prominence in the late 1920s. It was the slogan most often used by the Ku Klux Klan. The Klan didn't invent the slogan. In fact, as early as 1916, Woodrow Wilson, a man of racist persuasions, used it as his platform. Presidents Coolidge and Harding used it as well, with various implications. Even as far back as President McKinley, the slogan was in use, but, it was the Klan that took the phrase to new heights, or should I say, lows, and branded it with it's fully white supremacist meaning. As the original cartoon shows, at the time of FDR's tragic mistake involving the turning back of Jewish refugees, the slogan was still in use, and not for any good reason. As recently as 2016, David Duke, not just Donald Trump adopted the slogan. Peas in a modern day pod.

As events in Texas unfold, it's clear that there is no coincidence involved in Trump using "America First" and continuing its sad history.

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Thursday, June 21, 2018

Will Independents Step Up To The Plate And Save America From Trump?


Beset by growing opposition from every direction-- except neo-Nazi Stephen Miller and the vilest of the hard core Trumpist bigots, Señor T appears to have raised the white flag of surrender yesterday. (We'll see-- it might be just trading family separation for family internment.) This is how Bernie put it this afternoon: "Trump’s executive order merely replaces one inhumane act with another. In response to the overwhelming public outrage at his administration’s policy of tearing children away from their parents at the border, this administration thinks the appropriate response is to indefinitely detain families. This executive order is an affront to our moral values and runs afoul of our nation’s laws. When you have the most powerful nation on Earth saying that it is acceptable to detain families indefinitely, you are sending a signal to countries around the world that this is how they can treat immigrants and minorities. I am hopeful that, as we have seen with other racist and xenophobic Trump policies, the courts will step in to rein in these unlawful actions." Congressional Republicans have their bloomers all tied in knots, forced him to do something.

A number of recent polls show that a very significant number of voters are telling pollsters that the most motivating issue for how they vote will be electing someone who will help put a check on Trump-- a much higher number that said their motivation would be to elect someone who will help protect Trump and pass his agenda. Then yesterday the new poll from Pew Research, Voters More Focused on Control of Congress-- and the President-- Than in Past Midterms came out-- and the twisted bloomers must have gotten tighter. A record share of registered voters (68%) say the issue of which party controls Congress will be a factor in their vote in November. "A 60% majority say they consider their midterm vote as essentially a vote either for Donald Trump (26%) or against him (34%). These are among the highest shares saying their view of the president would be a factor in their vote in any midterm in more than three decades."

Trump is now a bigger negative factor in voting decisions for Democrats than Barack Obama was for Republicans during the midterm campaigns in 2010 and 2014. However, Trump also is much more of a positive factor for Republicans today than Obama was for Democrats in the previous two congressional elections.

About six-in-ten Democratic and Democratic-leaning registered voters (61%) say they think of their vote as a vote against Trump; in June 2006, a comparable share of Democrats (65%) considered their midterm vote to be a vote against George W. Bush. In both 2010 and 2014, smaller shares of Republican voters thought of their vote as a vote against Obama (54% in 2010, 51% in 2014).

Currently, 52% of Republican voters view their midterm vote as a vote for Trump, which is higher than the shares of Democrats who said this about Obama in 2010 (43%) and 2014 (35%), or the share of Republicans who saw their vote as being “for” Bush in 2006 (33%).

...Overall, 54% say they trust what Trump says less than they trusted what previous presidents said when they were in office; just 25% say they trust Trump more than his predecessors, while 19% say they trust him about the same amount. About half of Republicans (52%) say they trust what Trump says more than previous presidents, compared with 5% of Democrats. Fewer Republicans express more trust in what Trump says than did so in April 2017 (66%); there has been little in change in Democrats’ views.

...About four-in-ten Americans (41%) say they are very (23%) or somewhat (18%) confident that Trump keeps his own business interests separate from the decisions he makes as president, while 56% are not too (15%) or not at all (42%) confident that Trump does this.

Roughly three-quarters of Republicans and Republican leaners (77%) express confidence in the president to keep his business interests separate from presidential decisions. Still, a wider majority of conservative Republicans (84%) say this than moderate and liberal Republicans (65%).

Fully 85% of Democrats and Democratic leaners say they are not too or not at all confident in Trump to do this, including 68% who say they are not confident at all.

Liberal Democrats are especially likely to say they have no confidence at all in Trump to keep his business interests separate: 77% say this, compared with 62% of conservative and moderate Democrats.

...Less than five months before the 2018 midterm elections, about half of registered voters (51%) say they are more enthusiastic about voting compared with previous congressional elections. About a third (34%) say they are less enthusiastic than usual, while 13% volunteer that their enthusiasm is about the same as in the past.

The share of voters saying they are more enthusiastic than usual is at its highest level dating back to 2006. At about the same point in 2010, 46% of voters said they were more enthusiastic about voting than usual. In 2014 and 2006, 40% and 38%, respectively, expressed greater enthusiasm than usual about voting in congressional elections.

In the past, voters’ enthusiasm about voting did not change much between the summer and fall of midterm years. Today, a greater share of voters say they are more enthusiastic about voting than did so in the closing weeks of the three previous midterms.

Democrats hold a slight edge in voter enthusiasm: 55% of registered voters who plan to support the Democrat in their district say they are more enthusiastic about voting than usual, and 50% of registered voters who plan to back the Republican say the same.

The share of Democratic voters who say they are more enthusiastic than usual about voting is much higher than it was at about this point in 2014 (37%) or 2010 (42%).

Enthusiasm for voting among GOP voters is about on par with similar points during the 2010 (55% more enthusiastic) and 2014 (45%) midterms.

Among voters who support the Democratic candidate, liberals are especially enthusiastic: 64% say they are more enthusiastic about voting than usual, higher than in the four previous midterms. About half (48%) of moderate and conservative Democratic voters express greater enthusiasm, which is higher than in 2010 but about the same as the share saying this in other midterms since 2002.

Among voters who back the Republican candidate in their district, divides by ideology are more modest: 53% of conservatives say they are more enthusiastic than usual about voting, compared with 46% of moderates and liberals.

...Trump is a bigger factor in midterm voting preferences – positive or negative – than any president in more than three decades. About a third (34%) say they consider their vote for Congress as a vote against Donald Trump, while 26% consider their ballot as a vote for the president. Fewer than half (39%) say that Trump is not much of a factor in their vote.

At about this point in 2010, nearly half of voters (47%) said their view of Barack Obama would not be a factor in their vote; among those who said their view of Obama would matter, slightly more said they considered their vote as a vote against Obama (28%) than for him (23%).

And in 2014, 49% said their view of Obama would not be a factor; among the remainder, more considered their midterm vote as being against Obama (29%) than for him (19%).

Democrats broadly view their midterm vote as a vote against the president. Overall, 61% of Democratic and Democratic-leaning registered voters say they consider their vote for Congress to be a vote against Trump; a much smaller share (32%) says Trump is not much of a factor in their vote. Democratic opposition to Trump in their midterm vote is somewhat higher than Republican opposition to Obama eight years ago. In June 2010, 54% of Republicans said they considered their vote as a vote against Obama, while 41% said he was not a factor.

The share of Democrats who say they are voting “against” the president in the midterm is comparable to the share who said this in 2006, during George W. Bush’s second term. In June 2006, 65% of Democrats said they considered their midterm ballot as a vote against Bush.

Among Republican and Republican-leaning registered voters, 52% say they think of their vote for Congress as a vote for Trump, while 42% say he isn’t much of a factor. In the summer of 2010 and 2014, smaller shares of Democrats said their vote was for Obama (43% and 30%, respectively). And the share of Republicans who think of their midterm vote as a vote for Trump is much higher than in 2006, when just 33% of Republicans thought of their congressional vote as a vote for Bush.

Among Republicans and Republican leaners, nearly six-in-ten conservatives (58%) think of their congressional vote as a vote for Trump. Moderate and liberal Republicans are somewhat less likely to say this: 41% consider their midterm vote to be for Trump.

Among Democrats there is a more modest gap in views by ideology: Majorities of both liberals (65%) and conservatives and moderates (59%) say they consider their vote for Congress as a vote against Trump...

For the first time since 2006, registered voters who plan to vote for the Democratic Party’s candidate in their district this fall (74%) are more likely than those who plan to vote Republican (54%) to say that they do not want to see most members of Congress re-elected. Anti-incumbent sentiment among Democratic voters is up from a similar point in 2014 (when 67% said this). The share of GOP voters saying this (54%) is down 18 percentage points compared with summer 2014 (72%).

...The majority of voters are concerned that-- regardless of who is in control after this fall’s elections-- Congress will not strike the right balance in its relationship with the Trump administration.

Nearly six-in-ten voters (58%) are very or somewhat concerned that if Democrats take control of Congress this fall they will focus too much on investigating the Trump administration.

An equal share (58%) is concerned that Republicans will not focus enough on oversight of the Trump administration if they keep control of Congress.

Partisans express great concern about how the other side would handle its relationship with the Trump administration, but they are less concerned about their own party’s approach.

A large majority of Republican and Republican-leaning registered voters (80%) say they are very or somewhat concerned that if Democrats win control of Congress, they will focus too much on investigating the administration. If the GOP retains control, far fewer Republicans say they are concerned the party will not provide enough oversight of Trump (though 31% say they are at least somewhat concerned about this).

Likewise, a large majority of Democrats and Democratic leaners (85%) are concerned that Republicans would not focus enough on oversight if they retain their majorities. Four-in-ten (40%) say they would be concerned about a Democratic-led Congress going too far investigating the Trump administration.
This is what all that looks like to me: Democrats will vote Democratic candidates, Republicans will vote for Republican candidates and the only way Democrats will be able to overcome Republican gerrymander is for enough independents to decide Trump is too dangerous (or crazy or whatever) to vote for Republicans running for Congress. And that's how the midterms seem to be playing out at this point. Republican--the vast majority of whom are cowards and enablers anyway-- are going to pay for Trump's behavior with their own careers. Trump's lies are working on Republicans-- "we love the poorly educated"-- nut not on any normal people.

And it will hurt the GOP brand-- everywhere-- when members of Congress are seen to be defending Trump. Yesterday Kevin Cramer, a North Dakota Republican congressman running for the Senate kissed up to Trump made a real boo boo. See if you can catch it in this statement he gave to KTGO: "By the way, chain link fences are around playgrounds all over America, all over North Dakota. And chain link fences allow line-of-sight visual connectivity with children and families. You know, there’s nothing inhumane about a chain link fence. If it is, then every ballpark in America is inhumane... I think [chain] linked fences is irrelevant to the crying of children. My commentary is on the chain-link fence. There’s all this hoopla, because I think there are people on the left that clearly want the country to fail at this. And they would like the chain-link fence, they called it 'dog cages.' Well, chain-link fences have been used to protect children from predators on playgrounds, baseball diamonds, all sorts of sports courts and what-not. To me it’s not the chain-link fence, that’s not the issue. That’s a ruse by some on the left to try to create an image that’s far worse in description than it is in reality."

Play ball!

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Today Congressional Republicans Proved Once Again That They Can't Govern-- Just Complain


I don't think anyone really thought Goodlatte's extreme hard-core anti-immigrant bill (HR 4760) had a chance of passing this afternoon. And it didn't. With every single Democrat and 41 Republicans voting NO, it went down 231-193. It was interesting that most of the Republicanos with tough reelection battles looming voted against it. They know which way the wind is blowing. This were some of the frightened Republicans who voted NO:
Mike Coffman (CO-06)
Barbara Comstock (VA-10)
Carlos Curbelo (FL-26)
Jeff Denham (CA-10)
Mario Diaz-Balart (FL-25)
Brian Fitzpatrick (PA-01)
Will Hurd (TX-23)
John Katko (NY-24)
Peter King (NY-02)
Steve Knight (CA-25)
MacArthur (NJ-03)
Cathy McMorris Rodgers (WA-05)
Erik Paulsen (MN-03)
Dana Rohrabacher (CA-48)
Pete Roskam (IL-06)
Steve Russell (OK-05)
Elise Stefanik (NY-21)
Fred Upton (MI-06)
David Valadao (CA-21)
As Duwayne Gregory-- the progressive Democrat running for the South Shore Long Island seat Peter King occupies-- just told me, "Republican members of Congress can only grow a spine when they feel their re-election will be directly impacted. Peter King has not shown the leadership that his district and quite frankly the country deserves from a longstanding member of the Republican majority in Congress. Our country doesn’t need members in Congress who do the right thing only when they feel they elections are threatened. We need leaders who will stand up with courage and conviction to do what is best for our country regardless of the consequences."

The "compromise" bill (it shields DREAMers from deportation), which is slightly less extreme has been postponed until tomorrow-- at the soonest. It is expected to fail as well.
House conservatives have been asking GOP leaders for more time to review the legislation. And House Majority Whip Steve Scalise (R-LA) has been advocating for additional time to whip the bill all week.

Speaker Paul Ryan called a meeting early Thursday afternoon with other Republican leaders to discuss the situation.

“I think it is a mistake that leadership is rushing this [compromise] bill to the floor today,” Rep. Raul Labrador, one of the top negotiators of the text, said before the leadership meeting was announced.

"I actually think with a little bit more conversation, we could actually get to an agreement on things,” the Idaho Republican said. “Somebody suggested this today: we don’t have the White House picnic. Let’s spend those two hours in a room as Republicans talking about how we can actually get to 218.”

...The expected failure of both measures is also a setback for Trump, who pitched himself to voters as the world’s greatest dealmaker. Not only does the exercise make the president look weak, the collapse of the bill will undercut his message of blaming Democrats for problems at the border. Republicans can’t get on the same page themselves... Trump fired off a flurry of immigration tweets Thursday morning but, notably, none were a direct push for House Republicans to back the compromise bill. Instead, the president attacked the U.S. asylum system and accused Democrats of preventing action on immigration.

“What is the purpose of the House doing good immigration bills when you need 9 votes by Democrats in the Senate, and the Dems are only looking to Obstruct (which they feel is good for them in the Mid-Terms),” Trump tweeted. “Republicans must get rid of the stupid Filibuster Rule-it is killing you!”

Time and again in his dealings with Congress, and especially with Republicans, Trump has shown that he doesn’t know how to close deals on legislation. At crucial times, he hasn’t been able to move votes, due in part to his failure or unwillingness to grasp the intricacies of legislation and policy.

Trump can attack Republicans in Congress, he can confuse them, and he can scare them, but he often can’t make them vote how he wants.

“We’re still working through a lot of questions that members have,” Majority Whip Steve Scalise (R-LA) said Wednesday night after leaving a whip meeting. “I think the president had a really good meeting at the White House with a number of members as well and he was really strong in his support and why he wants this bill on his desk.”

Scalise acknowledged, however, that GOP leaders still don’t have 218 votes.

The votes on a pair of immigration bill come a day after tensions between leaders, conservatives and moderates boiled over on the House floor. House Freedom Caucus Chairman Mark Meadows accused Ryan of lying to him about which conservative bill he’d allow to come to a vote. The North Carolina lawmaker, who rarely raises his voice, also fumed that two provisions he’d won in the compromise bill were left out, breaking their agreement.

GOP leaders huddled Wednesday night after the clash. Ryan called Meadows and told him they would give him the provisions he wanted, leaving both sides chalking up the run-in as a misunderstanding.

Some people close to the negotiations and aligned with leadership complain that conservatives were shifting their demands as the vote approached. Immigration hard-liners counter that leaders have been unwilling to do enough to secure the border. And even though a compromise was reached on what the House would take up, ill will lingers.

Conservatives are disappointed by Trump’s inability to sell the compromise bill and are therefore wary of voting “yes.” The package includes a pathway to citizenship for Dreamers and some other types of immigrants, devised by immigration hawk Rep. Raúl Labrador of Idaho.

But conservatives don’t like the final product. It would significantly curb family migration, end the diversity visa lottery program and appropriate $25 billion for a border wall. Critics on the right wanted additional provisions, such as E-Verify, which mandates that all businesses check the legal status of their workers.

Trump met with a handful of lawmakers at the White House on Wednesday and appears to have moved some of them, according to one Republican source. Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen were on the Hill separately Wednesday to try to drum up support.

But GOP leaders say the only way the compromise legislation would pass is if Trump himself tells conservatives explicitly: Vote for the compromise bill.

Trump hasn’t done that. Neither, it appears, did his Cabinet officials, who echoed Trump’s careful talking points: the president would sign either a conservative bill or a moderate bill, they said.
The "compromise" bill provides DREAMers with a pathway to citizenship and gives Trump the $25 billion for the wall, most of which he plans to steal and enrich his friends. It also prevents families from being separated at the border-- incarceration instead of separation?

This Tuesday, progressive Democrat Tom Guild has his primary against some establishment candidates Today he told us that his Republican opponent "Steve Russell has made a living by logging a radical voting record and his bloviating and extreme rhetoric. When all of his Oklahoma Republican House Colleagues voted for the extreme immigration measure, Russell vote no. He was for the bill before he was against it. He must feel the heat on the immigration issue our campaign has focused on him and his radical views. Since Russell wakes up in a new world every day, we’re waiting with baited breath to see what his next naked political chess move will be."

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Racial Anxiety-- Not Economic Anxiety-- Drove 80% Of White Evangelicals To Support Trump


Can you imagine Blue America working with an evangelical group? Stretch your mind. We found one-- or rather, they found us. A few weeks ago Ted Lieu and I had dinner with some evangelical pastors and some of their supporters to discuss their plans for the 2018 election. They feel that evangelicals have been key to Trump's support and they would like to help progressive Democrats and progressive evangelicals connect before the midterms. The organization is Vote Common Good, and the Executive Director is Doug Pagitt, Minneapolis' leading progressive pastor. Today he told us that "We firmly believe that true Christians realize that Trumpism is completely antithetical to anything that Jesus actually stood for. Quoting scripture to justify inhumane policies is not Christianity. We also know that we have the infrastructure and capability to reach this incredibly large portion of the population that the Republican Party has chosen to take for granted and the Democratic Party has decided to ignore. We seek to transcend identity and partisan politics and direct our members to vote for the Common Good."

The Washington Post ran a disturbing piece by Janelle Wong Sunday, Racial Fear Is Key to Trump’s Support Among Evangelicals. (It's not economic anxiety.) The media has been getting it all wrong, obsessing over white evangelicals’ unmovable support for Donald Trump. But Wong's new book, Immigrants, Evangelicals and Politics in an Era of Demographic Change, shows white evangelicals are more conservative than other whites on policy issues including welfare, climate change and immigration. Their conservative reaction to demographic change is at the heart of their political agenda and perhaps a response to increasing racial diversity within their own religious community.

[A]ccording to Election Day exit polls, 80 percent of white evangelicals supported Donald Trump. Among all other-- nonevangelical-- whites, 59 percent voted for Hillary Clinton.

That is true in part because white evangelicals are more conservative on a range of issues. According to our survey, for example, 27 percent of white evangelicals don’t believe the federal government should pass laws to combat climate change-- while 20 percent of other whites hold that position. More than 25 percent of white evangelicals oppose more federal spending on the poor, while that is true for about 14 percent of all nonevangelical whites. And about 50 percent of all white evangelicals believe immigration is bad for the economy, compared with about 33 percent of other, nonevangelical whites.

Even among evangelicals, there are wide racial divides on political positions. It is true evangelicals of all racial backgrounds hold more conservative views on issues such as abortion and same-sex marriage than does the general U.S. population.

Aside from these issues, evangelicals are very politically different by race. White evangelicals are markedly more conservative than Latino, Asian American and, perhaps not surprisingly, black evangelicals on climate change, federal funding to aid the poor and taxing the wealthy.

White evangelicals are more than twice as likely as any other group of evangelicals to oppose government funding to combat climate change or policies to tax the wealthy. No more than 10 percent of black, Asian American or Latino evangelicals oppose government regulation to combat climate change. Less than 15 percent of any of these groups oppose a tax increase on the wealthy, compared with about 30 percent of white evangelicals. White evangelicals are also more conservative on racial issues, whether those are attitudes about Black Lives Matter or the U.S. apologizing for slavery.

White evangelicals are much more conservative on immigration than nonwhite evangelicals. Fully 50 percent of white evangelicals in our survey agree that “immigrants hurt the economy,” compared with 22 percent of black evangelicals, 25 percent of Latino evangelicals  and 21 percent of Asian American evangelicals.

...Rank-and-file white evangelicals have the most negative attitudes toward immigrants of all U.S. religious groups. That’s true despite the fact that conservative white evangelical leaders strongly favor a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants.

My research indicates white evangelical conservatism correlates strongly with their perceptions anti-white discrimination, even after taking into account economic status, party, age and region. Fully 50 percent of white evangelical respondents to our 2016 survey reported feeling they face discrimination that’s comparable to, or even higher than, the discrimination they believe Muslim Americans face. Those who hold this perception are more likely to hold conservative attitudes on issues as wide-ranging as climate change, tax policy and health-care reform.

Here’s what is not behind these beliefs: economic anxiety. Like PRRI and political scientist Diana Mutz, I find economic anxiety isn’t a primary reason for supporting Trump. Rather, white evangelicals fear losing racial status. White evangelicals’ perceptions they’re the targets of discrimination-- more so than other groups-- influence far more than simply their votes for Trump.

Yes, 80 percent of white evangelicals supported Donald Trump in 2016. And the racial fears and anxieties that underlie their support for the president will probably remain the driver in their political views long after he leaves office.

Stephen Miller's great grandfather flunked his citizenship test in November of 1932 for "ignorance." The apple hasn't fallen far from the street, as Stephen Miller, a neo-Nazi, has proclaimed himself the architect of Trump's policy of kidnapping and abusing immigrant children, an all out anti-Christian agenda. Frank Schaeffer's father, Francis Schaeffer, was one of the founders of the "religious right" and Frank, a friend of mine, grew up in that environment. He left it long ago. After reading Wong's Washington Post article yesterday, he wrote this for us:
The public image of the leaders of the religious right I met with so many times in the 1970s and '80s contrasted with who they really were. In public they maintained an image that was usually quite smooth. In private they ranged from unreconstructed bigot reactionaries like Jerry Falwell, to Dr. Dobson, the most power-hungry and ambitious person I have ever met, to Billy Graham, a very weird man indeed who lived an oddly sheltered life in a celebrity/ministry cocoon, to actual madmen like Pat Robertson who, in any other line of work (where hearing voices is not part of the job description), would have been institutionalized.

They were all white. And with the exception of Graham had never been on the side of the civil rights movement. Falwell was an outspoken segregationist who only dropped public bigotry against blacks because he feared for his college’s accreditation.

Falwell disliked blacks and in private I was told used the N-word. He knew my father was against racial bigotry so never spoke that way to us. But when it came to gay rights and gays Jerry got personal. Dad and I were sitting in Falwell’s study just after Dad spoke at Jerry’s church. (Later I preached there too, endorsed Falwell, and also gave a talk to the whole student body.) Out of the blue Jerry brought up the gay issue. Dad said something about it being complicated and Jerry replied: “If I had a dog that did what they do I’d shoot him!”

The off-hand remark came from nowhere. Jerry wasn’t smiling. He was serious and just tossed his hatred out there the way gang members throw down hand signals.  Dad looked nonplussed but didn’t say anything, though later he growled, “That man is really disgusting.” Later still Dad commented, “You can be co-belligerents but don’t have to be allies.”

Make no mistake: white evangelicalism equals bigotry, racial hatred is par for the course. Look, if closing the border and separating migrant families wasn’t about race then evangelicals wouldn’t support Trump. Proof? The brown people coming north are Pentecostal Christians and conservative Roman Catholics. If they were Muslims or Hindus it could be argued that arresting them and deporting hem was about protecting our “Christian nation.”  But these ARE conservative Christians who share the white evangelical’s theology passionately! The only thing they don’t share with Trump’s evangelical supporters is a white skin.
A new Gallup poll finds that a record-high 75% of Americans, including majorities of all party groups, think immigration is a good thing for the U.S.-- up slightly from 71% last year. Just 19% of the public considers immigration a bad thing. A record-low number of Americans-- 29%-- saying that immigration into the U.S. should be decreased. Among Republicans and Republican leaners, 35% think immigration should be kept at its current level, 20% would like it increased and 42% say decreased.

Our friend, Harper Thorpe has written an alternative-- let's say updated-- version of Pete Seeger's "Where Have All The Flowers Gone?" The new song is "Where Have All The Children Gone?"

Where have all the children gone, all I’m asking?
Where have frightened toddlers gone, where did they go?
Where have our brown babies gone?
Picture cages everyone.
Oh, when will they be returned?
Oh, why aren’t you all concerned?

What can’t all the pictures shield, cruel harrassing?
What have all the tales revealed, what do we know?
What’s the story still concealed?
There’s no plan to bring them home.
Ivanka acts concerned,
What if my brand is spurned?

How come there’s no return plan, Kirstjen Nielsen?
How can you defend this man, his heartless show?
Think your mother’s still your fan?
Mother’s gone, but she looks on.
Think when she held you tight
And thanked the lord you’re white

Where have all the mothers gone, those trespassing?
Where have all the husbands gone, the human flow?
Where have all their children gone?
Trump pawns each and everyone
Are Mitch and Paul concerned?
Don’t want their guys mid-termed.

Where have Trump enablers gone, aura basking?
Senate, House, Republican, where did they go?
Cabinet and spokesmen gone?
Failed, jailed everyone.
Time they get what they’ve earned.
Enough of humans churned.

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Notes on Seymour Hersh's book "Reporter"


An American soldier stoking a fire of burning houses during the My Lai massacre on March 16th, 1968 (Ronald S. Haeberle/The LIFE Images Collection/Getty)

by Gaius Publius

Seymour Hersh recently released a book on his life as a reporter, called appropriately, Reporter. It's gotten praise from many quarters, including from novelist and former intelligence officer John Le Carré: "This book is essential reading for every journalist and aspiring journalist the world over."

Journalist Matt Taibbi has apparently taken le Carré's words to heart, read it (no surprise) and written an interesting commentary on it for Rolling Stone. I'm drawing the observations below from Taibbi's observations.

On Intelligence Agencies "Going Rogue"

Taibbi recounts a story from Reporter about a time when Hersh, who makes his living discovering information that intelligence agencies don't want people to know, was handed a "treasure trove" of secret information the CIA did want him to know.

Taibbi writes:
Late in his new memoir, Reporter, muckraking legend Seymour Hersh recounts an episode from a story he wrote for the New Yorker in 1999, about the Israeli spy Jonathan Pollard.

Bill Clinton was believed to be preparing a pardon for Pollard. This infuriated the rank and file of the intelligence community, who now wanted the press to know just what Pollard had stolen and why letting him free would be, in their eyes, an outrage.

"Soon after I began asking questions," Hersh writes, "I was invited by a senior intelligence official to come have a chat at CIA headquarters. I had done interviews there before, but always at my insistence."

He went to the CIA meeting. There, officials dumped a treasure trove of intelligence on his desk and explained that this material – much of which had to do with how we collected information about the Soviets – had been sold by Pollard to Israel.

On its face, the story was sensational. But Hersh was uncomfortable. "I was very ambivalent about being in the unfamiliar position of carrying water for the American intelligence community," he wrote. "I, who had worked so hard in my career to learn the secrets, had been handed the secrets."
From this Taibbi takes this lesson: "This offhand line explains a lot about what has made Hersh completely embody what it means to be a reporter. The great test is being able to get information powerful people don't want you to have. A journalist who is handed something, even a very sensational something, should feel nervous, sick, ambivalent."

From the same story I take an additional lesson: The CIA, through an active, serving, "senior official," attempted to use an unauthorized intelligence leak of massive proportions to undermine and potentially sabotage the decision of an elected, sitting president, nominally the official's boss via the chain of command, all this in 1999, decades before Donald Trump.

Should Pollard have been pardoned by Clinton? Likely not. Pressure on Clinton from Israel and the Jewish-American community was intense, but he eventually decided against a pardon, and a look at the facts shows he made the right decision. Pollard had done quite a lot of damage, was unrepentant, and acted for gain as well as in the interests of Israel. So justice was done.

Yet the method attempted by the CIA to influence this decision included not just normal chain-of-command influence (going into the president's office and arguing the case), but backdoor leaks to the press (Hersh) calculated to make a pardon politically impossible. In other words, to box in a presidential decision, the agency decided to "go rogue" — use its access to classified intelligence material to force the president it serves to make a decision it preferred.

This is first cousin to blackmail by the keeper of the nation's secrets via a third party (Hersh), and it would actually have been blackmail had someone from the agency gone to Clinton ahead of time and told him of the plan. Which they may well have done.

Keep this intelligence community behavior in mind as you consider (a) how that community operates with respect to U.S. politics; and (b) how it may be helping to get rid of another elected, sitting president, one that few in the Beltway political establishment want to continue in office.

To be clear: Should Trump be removed as president? I'm a strong yes on that, though you may disagree. How should he be removed? The answer to that sets precedent, doesn't it?

We've had presidents murdered out of office, most recently in 1963, in suspicious circumstances as a matter of fact. To my knowledge we haven't yet had one blackmailed out of office, though that clock has obviously not run out.

On CIA Assassination

Taibbi also brings up the history of political assassination carried out by the CIA: "Hersh was also among the first to describe a burgeoning American assassination program that to this day is poorly understood."
Within weeks of 9/11, for instance, Hersh quoted a "C.I.A. man" claiming the U.S. needed to "defy the American rule of law… We need to do this – knock them down one by one." He later reported on the existence of a "target list" and cited an order comparing the new tactics to El Salvadoran execution squads, reporting that much of this was going on without Congress being told.
That quote, about defying American rule of law, can be found in this New Yorker analysis of Hersh's writing about the executive assassination program in the post 9/11 years, "Close Read: What Did Seymour Hersh Say About Assassination?" published in 2009. It's quite revealing.

For even more about executive assassination, I strongly recommend reading this Hersh account of what really happened to Osama bin Laden — "The Killing of Osama bin Laden" — published in the London Review of Books.

A taste:
'They knew where the target was – third floor, second door on the right,' the retired official [one of Hersh's sources] said. Go straight there. Osama [by now an invalid] was cowering and retreated into the bedroom. Two shooters followed him and opened up. Very simple, very straightforward, very professional hit.' Some of the Seals were appalled later at the White House’s initial insistence that they had shot bin Laden in self-defence, the retired official said. 'Six of the Seals’ finest, most experienced NCOs, faced with an unarmed elderly civilian, had to kill him in self-defence?'
The whole thing, including Obama's shameful, self-serving sabotage of the agreed-upon plan, will fascinate you.

How to Be a Reporter

Taibbi ultimately reflects on the journalism business:
The job in many quarters has devolved into feeding captive audiences a steady stream of revelations framed to fit their preconceived ideas about the world, in order to keep them coming back. From Fox to MSNBC, the slant of programming has become more predictable, because audiences hate surprises and dislike being challenged. ...

Hersh's career is a tribute to the pursuit of the "unpredictable result." We used to value reporters who were willing to alienate editors and readers alike, if that's the way the truth cut. Now, as often as not, we just change the channel. This has been bad for both reporters and readers, who are losing the will to seek out and face the unpredictable truth.
I found myself speculating a little as I read those paragraphs. Matt Taibbi is already one of our most valuable journalists. Still, could this signal a change in his own career, or is this just an comment about someone else's career from his own desk at Rolling Stone? Taibbi's admiration is certainly obvious, as is his criticism of his peers.

Either way, Seymour Hersh has committed journalism of the most dangerous kind, putting him several steps ahead of what is now delivered to us as reporting. It would be nice to find a few more like him among the current crop.


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Why Is Joe Crowley Dissing The Bronx Part Of His Own District Again?


The editorial board of the NY Times slapped down Joe Crowley this week: If You Want to Be Speaker, Mr. Crowley, Don’t Take Voters for Granted. The editorial is especially poignant since Crowley hired a lobbyist to remove the Bronx part of his district removed from NY-14. Crowley is the machine boss of Queens and he doesn't like dealing with the residents of Throggs Neck, City Island, Eastchester Bay, Silver Beach, Locust Point, Schuylerville, Middletown, Pelham, Parkchester, Morris Park and Baychester. So he ignores them-- and hopes they don't vote. (In the 2014 midterm 79,790 of NY-14 voters came from Queens and just 48,580 came from the Bronx.

The Times' editors beef with Crowley was that, though he went to the Queens debate last week-- a debate he was not prepared for and clearly lost to Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez-- he skipped the Bronx debate entirely.
When asking New Yorkers for their vote, most candidates would begin by showing up.

Not Representative Joseph Crowley. No, Mr. Crowley, a 10-term Democratic congressman who reportedly has ambitions of serving as House speaker, chose to skip a debate Monday night with his primary challenger, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. He sent a surrogate instead, former City Councilwoman Annabel Palma.

This is the second primary debate in which Mr. Crowley was a no-show. A spokeswoman for Mr. Crowley said he had scheduling conflicts that wouldn’t allow him to attend the two debates, inevitably leaving voters to wonder-- what are we, chopped liver?

Indeed, the snubs should be galling not only to Ms. Ocasio-Cortez and Mr. Crowley’s constituents in New York’s 14th Congressional District, in Queens and the Bronx, but also to anyone who cares about the democratic process.

Mr. Crowley, 56, is a powerful congressman who leads the Queens County Democratic Party. Ms. Ocasio-Cortez, 28, has presented him his first major primary challenge in years. Despite long odds, Ms. Ocasio-Cortez, a former Bernie Sanders campaign organizer, has garnered significant support, waging a high-energy campaign and positioning herself as a grass-roots alternative to Mr. Crowley.

The candidates have met once, in a Spectrum News NY1 debate last week at which both candidates held their own.

Instead of attending Monday evening’s debate, which was hosted by the Parkchester Times, Mr. Crowley visited a civic association meeting in Queens. Ms. Ocasio-Cortez was left to debate Mr. Crowley’s chosen surrogate, Ms. Palma. Ms. Palma once represented the Bronx on the City Council and now serves in Mayor Bill de Blasio’s administration as a deputy commissioner at the Department of Social Services.

Mr. Crowley’s constituents might well now wonder whether he intends, if re-elected, to have Ms. Palma make his floor speeches and cast his votes as well.

Crowley aides said they had told the newspaper weeks ago that there was a scheduling conflict and had asked to change the event. The publisher of the Parkchester Times said he had no idea that Mr. Crowley wouldn’t attend.

Ms. Ocasio-Cortez said on Twitter after the debate that in sending Ms. Palma, Mr. Crowley chose “a woman with slight resemblance to me” as his surrogate. Both Ms. Ocasio-Cortez and Ms. Palma are Latina. Crowley aides dispute that Mr. Crowley chose Ms. Palma because of her ethnicity. A campaign spokesman, Vijay Chaudhuri, said Ms. Palma was chosen because she is a “phenomenal local leader.”

Mr. Crowley is far from the first candidate to decline to debate a challenger he is heavily favored to beat. But as a longtime incumbent with a powerful role as a party leader, he should relish, not shirk, a chance to make his case to voters. Mr. Crowley has decades of experience that can serve his constituents well in Congress. But his seat is not his entitlement. He’d better hope that voters don’t react to his snubs by sending someone else to do the job.
Blue America has been working with a very grassroots group in NY-14, Queens Against Crowley, to run a Facebook ad campaign and do robocalls to public housing residents in Queens and the Bronx that we hope will help people understand the difference between Crowley and Alexandria Ocasio. Below are a couple of the ads that have already gone out... if you'd like to listen. And if you want to chip in for more calls and ads, you can do that by tapping here and contributing to the Blue America Independent Expenditure Committee.

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