Monday, November 16, 2020




In fact, you can click on our new home here... and, like a miracle, you'll be transported to the new DownWithTyranny home.

Midnight Meme Of The Day!



by Noah

That's right, Donnie Psycho! And no Nobel Prize for you either! You don't even get a hamberder named after you at Burger King. Instead I suggest a nicely engraved tombstone with an epitaph of my choosing. Something like this:

He came. He saw. He failed, and failed, and failed.

Grand Wizard in Hell.

Donald Trump Buried Here. Wash hands after urinating.

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Sunday, November 15, 2020

The Georgia Senators Are Afraid To Debate Their Democratic Challengers Before The Runoff



Neither David Perdue nor Kelly Loeffler has much to say other than pre-digested, one-size-fits-all Republican Party propaganda. Even in a red state like Georgia, people are growing weary of their crap. Which is why neither was reelected on November 3 and why each faces a runoff against Democrats Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock on January 5.

Today, Perdue, who was beaten up pretty badly by Ossoff the last time they debated, declined to accept an invitation from the Atlanta Press Club to debate before the runoff. Loeffler hasn't responded but observers say she is likely to follow Perdue's lead on this, especially because Warnock is incredibly charismatic and she's kind of a babbling wet blanket.

Ossoff was quick to respond, telling CNN that he had accepted the debate proposal and then tweeting:

Last time they debated Ossoff called him a "crook" to his face-- and accurate assessment-- and he was unable to defend himself. After that he cancelled a debate he had already scheduled. Ossoff has told crowds that debating is the "the bare minimum" voters should expect from candidates.

Goal ThermometerPerdue and Loeffler are feuding with Georgia's Republican Secretary of State, Brad Raffensperger, so they could stick with Trump's bullshit about election fraud. That makes it hard for them to bang too hard on the top talking point-- that President Biden must be denied a Senate majority. Earlier today Perdue was on Fox Business News insisting that "What's at stake is this is that Schumer will change the rules in the Senate so they can do anything they want with 50 votes plus the vice president's vote as a tiebreaker."

Today, Trump and Georgia's Trumpist governor, Brian Kemp, caused Georgians to suffer 2,084 more COVID cases, bringing the state total to 424,989-- 40,028 cases per million Georgians. You can contribute to Warnock and or Ossoff by clicking on the Blue America Senate thermometer on the right.

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Just Two More Congressional Races Left To Call In California-- One District Held By A Democrat And One Held By A Republican



Officially, there are 3 uncalled congressional races in California-- CA-21 in the northern Central Valley, CA-25 in the northern part of L.A. county and part of Ventura County and CA-39 in northeast Orange County with bits of Los Angeles and San Bernardino counties. But... there really are just two races left, and both are incredibly close.

New Dem Gil Cisneros, the lottery winner who bought a seat in 2018 with $9 million of his winnings, didn't want to spend much of his own money and not many people wanted to donate to him... and he lost to Young Kim, the woman he beat two years ago. AP called the race late Friday. So far, Biden is beating Trump in Orange County 811,916 (53.51%) to 674,231 (44.44%)

Cisneros, a pointless New Dem, was a waste of a seat. His ProgressivePunch grade is "F" and there isn't a reason in the world for anyone to vote for him other than knee jerk Democrats. That wasn't enough this year, even though Hillary beat Trump in CA-39 by about 8 and a half points in 2016. Of the 4 Democrats elected in the 2018 anti-red wave, the two progressives were re-elected and the two rich, reactionary "ex"-Republicans lost. Cisneros' district has an even PVI so it should have been easy to hold by a halfway decent incumbent. Katie Porter's seat is much trickier (PVI is R+3) but she's a great congresswoman and her constituents love her. She won by 7 points. Levin's district has a PVI of R+1 and he has been an outspoken champion of the Green New Deal and won reelection by about 6 points. The other loser, like Cisneros, Rouda, a right-of-center New Dem who contributed money to Romney when he ran against Obama, lost by a bit over 2 points in a difficult R+4 district. The DCCC and Pelosi's PAC spent $9.5 million, $840 on Katie Porter, $135 on Mike Levin and $2.6 million on Cisneros (who conceded on Twitter).

So, that leaves one Democrat-- a New Dem actually-- and one Republican in races still too close to call: TJ Cox and Mike Garcia. Cox's district has a PVI of D+5 and should be an easy hold for a decent candidate (which he isn't) and Garcia's district's PVI is even, although the Democrats have a registration advantage and, again, a decent Democrat should win there-- which Christy Smith is about as far from being as anyone could imagine.

Absentee ballots being counted now in CA-21 heavily favor Cox and Valadao's election night lead has been cut in half. As of Friday, just 2,065 votes (50.6% to 49.4%) separate them and Cox still has a decent shot at reelection. It's one of the most pitifully low-turn out districts in the country but perhaps more people would vote if there weren't always being asked to pick the lesser of two evils. In 2018, the race wasn't decided for weeks of counting, surprising everyone when Cox ousted Valadao (57,239) to 56,377 (49.6%). Cox raised $4,798,088 to Valadao's $3,721,619. The DCCC and Pelosi's PAC kicked another $7 million into the race. There is no real telling who's going to win this time but the absentee ballots need to be stronger than they've been for Cox to pull this one off.

CA-25 is another sad district with two dreadful candidates, neither of whom should be anywhere near Congress. Christy Smith isn't a real Democrat and Garcia is a Trumpist imbecile. But it's one of the closest races in the country, just 104 votes separating the two of them. On Friday Garcia was leading by 219 votes so it looks like Smith will win if there are enough absentees to be counted, something that is unclear now.

By the way, New York has 7 uncalled congressional races. We'll get to that mess soon.

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Election Reflections-- Blue Dogs, Schumer, Texas, Florida... You Want To Know What Went Wrong?


Anthony Brindisi (NY) and Joe Cunningham (SC) were elected to the House in the 2018 anti-red wave-- just when Blue Dog chairwoman Kyrsten Sinema graduated to the Senate. Sinema was the worst Democrat in Congress-- by far. She voted against anything and everything that smacked of progressivism. She voted with the GOP on progressive roll calls around 75% of the time. Now she's the worst Democrat in the Senate, although we'll soon see if Frackenlooper gives her a run for her money.

Back in the House, Brindisi and Cunningham spent the last two years see-sawing back and forth for the #1 and #2 worst Dems. Both are virulent Blue Dogs with ghastly voting records that could only be analyzed in one way: Republican. At the moment, Cunningham's record is slightly worse-- 76.54% against progressive initiatives, while Brindisi "only" voted against progressivism 75.31%. None the less, Pelosi and Bustos decided to waste $4 million trying to save Cunningham and $5.5 million trying to save Brindisi. Two of the GOP's best friends inside the Democratic caucus-- but especially Brindisi-- spent their time whining about how if anything progressive was brought to the floor for a vote it would doom their reelections.

Cunningham was defeated by Republican Nancy Mace (having out-spent her by $2 million) 216,042 (50.6%) to 210,627 (49.4%). It looked like Brindisi would be joining him in the losers' column-- and he still may-- but... yesterday reported that Brindisi has surged back into contention, winning the absentee count 73-27% (25,998-7,787)... Brindisi has now cut Tenney’s lead to 10,294 votes, down from 28,422 votes on Election Day. There are at least 20,000 ballots remaining to be counted across the district. Brindisi will have to win at least 77% of those ballots to overtake Tenney." That's a steep hill to climb but it isn't impossible that Congress will be stuck with Brindisi and his whining for two more years.

Let's flip back to the Senate for a minute-- although the DCCC operates exactly like to DSCC-- and take a look at a post from July by Andrew Perez, with the benefit of hindsight-- Senate Democrats’ Machine Spent $15 Million To Destroy Progressive Primary Candidates. Short version: "The Democratic establishment has successfully blocked progressive Senate candidates in primaries, with the help of labor unions, Wall Street tycoons and corporate interests."

Now that the Schumer and the DSCC have managed to confound every pollster and lose the Senate again, it's worth looking at how they undermined every single progressive who tried to run-- spending $15 million in the process during the primaries. They hate progressives and fear them more than Republicans, who they have much more in common with.

While Schumer's DSCC hand-puppet, Catherine Cortez Masto (NV) promised last year that the DSCC would support progressive incumbent Ed Markey if he faced a primary challenger, they reneged entirely when he was challenged by a far less progressive Rep. Joe Kennedy III. Although a SuperPAC set up by Kennedy, the New Leadership PAC, spent $4,126,114 bolstering him, neither the DSCC nor Schumer's slimy Senate Majority PAC, spent a nickel helping Markey. Instead, they spent millions helping very right-wing Democrats like Frackenlooper to defeat progressive former Colorado House Speaker Andrew Romanoff. "In the final weeks of the race," wrote Perez, "SMP spent $1 million to boost Hickenlooper, after he spent his failed presidential campaign attacking key tenets of progressives’ legislative agenda, including Medicare for All and the Green New Deal. At the time of the cash infusion, Hickenlooper was losing ground in the polls and engulfed in scandals: He had just been fined by Colorado’s Independent Ethics Commission for violating state ethics law as governor, the local CBS station uncovered evidence of his gubernatorial office raking in cash from oil companies, and a video circulated showed Hickenlooper comparing his job as a politician to a slave on a slave ship, being whipped by a scheduler."

The Schumer-controled SMP spent $228,490,266, "pooling cash from both organized labor and business titans to promote corporate-aligned candidates over more progressive primary challengers. Working for Working Americans, a super PAC funded by the United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners, has donated $5 million. The Laborers' International Union of North America’s super PAC has given $1.5 million. The International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers’s political action committee has chipped in $1.3 million. SMP has received also big donations from groups affiliated with labor unions like the Service Employees International Union ($1 million), the National Association of Letter Carriers ($750,000), and Communications Workers of America ($500,000). Overall, the top donor to SMP so far this cycle has been Democracy PAC-- a super PAC that’s bankrolled by billionaire George Soros and the Fund for Policy Reform, a nonprofit funded by Soros. Democracy PAC has contributed $8.5 million to SMP. Other donors from the financial industry include: Renaissance Technologies founder and billionaire Jim Simons and his wife Deborah ($5.5 million) and billionaire D. E. Shaw & Co. founder David Shaw ($1 million)."
Some major donors have financial stakes in current and future legislation.

For instance: SMP received a $1 million donation from billionaire Jonathan Gray, an executive at Blackstone, which owns the hospital staffing chain, TeamHealth. SMP also received $2 million from the Greater New York Hospital Association.

In late 2019, Schumer helped stall Senate legislation that would have kept patients from receiving “surprise medical bills,” the hefty charges that occur when they visit hospitals that are in their insurance network but are unknowingly treated by providers who are considered out-of-network.

SMP is affiliated with Majority Forward, a dark money group focused on attacking Republican Senate candidates. Majority Forward received $450,000 in 2018 from pharmacy giant CVS Health-- which also owns health insurer Aetna. The group also received $300,000 from the American Health Care Association (AHCA), a trade association that represents the nursing home industry.

The Democratic primary candidates backed by the DSCC have expressed reservations about Medicare for All, arguing they believe people should be allowed to keep their private health insurance if they want it. Many of the DSCC’s favored candidates do support creating a public health insurance option.

Meanwhile, the Real Estate Roundtable, a trade group for real estate investors, donated $50,000 to Majority Forward. Schumer and Senate Democrats recently helped Republicans unanimously pass pandemic relief legislation that included a special, little-noticed provision that amounted to $170 billion worth of new tax breaks for wealthy real estate investors.

In addition to the Colorado race, SMP has waded into at least three other Senate primaries this year.

In North Carolina, SMP funded Carolina Blue, a super PAC that spent $4.5 million to help veteran and former state senator Cal Cunningham win the primary in March. Cunningham handily defeated his chief opponent, state senator Erica Smith, who was running to his left...

In Iowa, SMP spent nearly $7 million to promote real estate developer Theresa Greenfield. She easily bested her two primary opponents, including progressive Kimberly Graham, who campaigned in support of Medicare for All and the Green New Deal.

SMP has already spent more than $2 million in Maine, including nearly $500,000 to promote House Speaker Sara Gideon in the Democratic primary. Some of the group’s advertising against Republican Senator Susan Collins was also designed to boost Gideon.
The final polls and final predictions showed Sara Gideon, Theresa Greenfield and Cal Cunningham beating, respectively, Collins, Ernst and Tillis. Instead the 3 Republicans are returning to the Senate. Gideon's share of the vote was a pathetic 42.7%, Greenfield's was 45.2% and Tillis' was 47.0%. The DSCC and Schumer's PAC spent ungodly amounts, as did the Democratic candidates.
In North Carolina, Cunningham raised $46,795,495 to Tillis' $21,474,728. The DSCC spent $24,542,003 and Schumer's PAC spent $35,838,924.

In Maine, Gideon raised $68,577,474 to Collins' $26,511,555. The DSCC spent $4,667,250 and Schumer's PAC spent $27,909,459.

In Iowa, Greenfield raised $47,004,937 to Ernst's $23,536,707. The DSCC spent $27,899,050 and Schumer's PAC spent $41,225,046.
Both the DSCC and the DCCC have decided to blame progressives for their cataclysmic losses, even though every single incumbent who lost was a conservative and every single progressive-- including progressives in tough districts like Matt Cartwright, Dan Kildee, Andy Levin, Peter DeFazio and Jahana Hayes-- won.

Last week Ryan Grimm asked progressive challenger Mike Siegel this question: "Do you have to run as a kind of centrist or moderate in some of these districts, or can a progressive message win in a swing district in Texas?" Mike began by comparing his race to that of another re-match Texan, Sri Kulkarni (who had an open seat this time). Kulkarni is an avowed conservative, a corporate Democrat and careerist endorsed by both the Blue Dogs and New Dems. He raised $4,863,231 compared to Troy Nehls' (R) $1,532,299 and the DCCC and Pelosi's PAC spent $7.3 million bolstering him. He lost 209,735 (51.6%) to 181,318 (44.6%). Mike Siegel is a Squad-grade progressive who raised $2,332,415 compared to Michael McCaul's $3,515,771 (as of Oct. 14). The DCCC, which preferred a conservative Democrat run, spent $270 on Mike's race and Pelosi's PAC spent zero. Yes, you read that right-- $270. McCaul was reelected 215,896 (52.5%) to 186,350 (46.3%). Had the DCCC spent part of the $7.3 million they wasted on Sri, would Mike have won? We'll never know, will we?

In answer to Grim's question, Mike pointed out that being conservative didn't help Kulkarni and even though he campaigned loudly on Medicare for All, the Green New Deal and racial justice, Mike outperformed him by every possible metric.
[W]hat I would have liked to have tested is if we had an entire progressive ticket. You know, it could be that the most consequential decisions about my campaign were made March 3, Super Tuesday, when we decided that Bernie Sanders wasn’t gonna be the presidential nominee and, in Texas, we decided that Christina Tzintzún Ramirez wasn’t going to be our Senate nominee.

So with my analysis that I’m doing now with our team and many others in Texas is what would it take to really get out more poor voters? I mean, I’m talking about poor people. Like, when you canvass in rural Texas, in a town like Eagle Lake, or Brenham, in the summer, you meet people who are in these rundown, double-wide kind of houses, basically falling apart at the seams-- people who have to survive three months of 100-degree weather with no air conditioning at all, people who have very marginal employment. What’s it going to take to get those folks to care about an election? You know, whether you’re talking about black folks and Latinx voters in a city, or poor rural voters-- black, Latino, and white-- what’s it gonna take for them to really care about an election?

And to me, Bernie Sanders would have helped us make that populous case. You know, Texas has this tradition of populism; it goes back 100 years or more. But like, if we were really talking about farm policy, if we were really talking about water policy, if we were talking about rural jobs programs, things that really affect their lives. I mean, as a congressional candidate, I was talking about these things, but it’s hard to really break through.

Same thing with Christina. You know, statewide in Texas, we’re not going to flip Texas if we don’t win the RGV, the Rio Grande Valley. And, you know, if you haven’t been to Texas, you might not realize there are communities along the border called colonias, where they don’t even have running water and municipal sewage in some of these developments. I mean, these are like, you know, sometimes undocumented residents, sometimes U.S. citizens who are living in abject poverty. What’s it gonna take to get those folks to care? And it’s not some slick TV ads, it’s not a poll-tested message. Even for me, I got some DCCC support, and some of my messaging was about prescription drug prices and protecting pre-existing conditions. But I feel like that’s too nuanced for these folks. I mean, it has to be more direct.

You know, this, this might be a little off-topic, but one of the things I’m thinking about is, think about the movements in Venezuela under Hugo Chávez or Bolivia under Evo Morales. Evo Morales is supported by the poorest indigenous farmers from the high plains of Bolivia. Those people are engaged in the electoral process. In this country, poor people are not engaged in the electoral process.

And so, for me, on a gerrymandered map, I don’t know if I could have gotten more than 210,000 votes, like McCaul got, unless we were really doing organizing with poor people. And I think that’s a longer-term investment. That’s where it’s this question, these people who gave me $2800, when I called them and spoke to them for a minute, would they give me $1,000 if I was gonna say: We’re going to invest in a five-year project to do deep organizing these communities? Is the donor class willing to invest in changing the fundamental conditions in areas like mine that would really enable progressive change in the long term?

...[O]ne of the things I’ve been preaching on the campaign trail, you know, and I got to do some events with Bernie and he absolutely loved it-- you know, this is our New Deal moment, American history: crumbling U.S. infrastructure, massive wealth inequality, unemployment-- major crises we need to confront. In the 30s it was fascism rising in Western Europe; now, it’s climate change.

And how did we enact a New Deal in this country? You know, a 15-year program, the Works Progress Administration, massively investing in infrastructure, putting people to work in all sorts of jobs. It was FDR, when he ran for president the first time, talking about the New Deal every chance he gets: We’re gonna give you a New Deal. Whatever the question was-- economic policy, jobs, health care, you name it, we’re gonna give you a New Deal.

Imagine we had a candidate for president who for 10-12 months is talking nonstop about fundamental economic change. That’s what it takes. And that’s where the Democratic establishment, which to some extent supported me, although not as strongly as they could have, they’re not talking about that, because we’re too invested in conservative donors who don’t want us to say that.

And so we’re caught in between. You know, half the Democratic Party is still taking the corporate PAC money, moderating the message, saying: OK, we’re only going to talk about this extremely narrow issue, you know, protecting pre-existing conditions or negotiating prescription drug prices downwards, whereas like people don’t have AC and it’s 100 degrees every day, they don’t have gas in the car, they’re making $10 an hour and getting 20 hours a week. I mean, they are struggling to survive. They’re completely cynical about democracy as something that’s even real in the world. And we’re not speaking clearly to them about why it matters to vote.
Today, the Washington Post reported that "The parts of America that have seen strong job, population and economic growth in the past four years voted for Joe Biden, economic researchers found. In contrast, President Trump garnered his highest vote shares in counties that had some of the most sluggish job, population and economic growth during his term. Trump fared well among voters who said the economy was their top concern, and he even won votes in places that didn’t fare particularly well under his presidency. This is perhaps a continuation of the 2016 election, when Trump won a huge share of places that had struggled under President Barack Obama. Democrats tended to view the 2020 election more as a referendum on Trump, especially his response to the pandemic." It's worth hitting that Intercept link above and reading Ryan's whole interview with Siegel. But now I want to leave you with a quirky but apocryphal story by Richard Cooke in yesterday's Daily Beast: I Covered Congressional Races in Florida in 2018, and Boy Do I Know Why Trump Won the State in 2020. "One party’s aides were courteous and organized," he wrote. "The other’s could barely tell me when the candidate was speaking next. Wanna take a guess?" He covered FL-26 and FL-27 in 2018, when Debbie Mucarsel-Powell and Donna Shalala both flipped those very blue (but Republican-held) districts blue. This year, both flipped back to red.
Situated in and near Miami, these districts make up some of the most volatile and interesting political territory in the United States. FL-27 had voted heavily for Hillary Clinton in 2016, but the House seat had been held by a socially liberal Republican, Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, for 30 years. Ros-Lehtinen was retiring, and on paper the district seemed a natural Dem pick-up. The districts also overlapped with Miami-Dade, the most populous county in Florida, whose turnout would be critical in deciding a narrow gubernatorial race.

Instead of requesting interviews, I decided to see the candidates like an undecided voter would, joining the audience for stump speeches and campaign events. This seemed standard, almost old-fashioned reporting. It never occurred to me that it would be hard, let alone so hard that I’d need to extend my stay in Miami. By leaving time, I felt not like an undecided voter, but like a private detective. Finding a schedule of Republican campaign events took 15 minutes. With Democrats, this process took five days.

...Perhaps this information was at one of the other offices. Volunteers tried to be helpful. One suggested a website might have the information, and when pressed, offered unsarcastically that I “try Google.” Another showed me an event dated two weeks prior. Finally, with fanfare, someone produced a number for another campaign office. They could put me in touch with the right person. I stepped outside and dialed. I had called the switchboard for the City of Miami Gardens, Florida.

Irritation was turning into intrigue, and while the next few days were mileage and frustration-heavy, they were in some ways a reporter’s dream. The factional fighting between Miami-Dade Democrats, Florida Democrats, Senate campaign offices and the national party was flagrant. One of the few times I saw the operation energized was when I mentioned the Miami-Dade Democrats to a staffer for and she rolled her eyes. I heard more than one volunteer try to remember the names on the ballot and fail. I was left unsupervised in campaign offices, in prime eavesdropping real estate, though this was just a bonus: campaigners were ready to vent their frustrations, and I opened my confessional.

By comparison, the Republicans I encountered were courteous, organized, and dedicated. I heard a speech by the GOP challenger for FL-27, Maria Salazar, and afterwards her apparatchiks handed me business cards. At voting locations drowned in GOP paraphernalia, campaign staff showed me detailed spreadsheets, tallying how early turn-out numbers tracked with their booth-by-booth strategy. They asked if I needed anything. The competition dynamic was starting to remind me of 1980s comedy movie: a ruthless, well-heeled team up against a band of plucky misfits.

My grail quest became no easier. At one field location, I arrived just before the advertised opening time and waited by myself for hours before leaving empty-handed. Finding the number for one press secretary took phone calls to 22 different people, most of whom didn’t know who he was. Several times I was told that a particular volunteer was important and “knew everything.” Tracked down at a polling booth, he turned out to be a young backpacker, freshly arrived from Spain, who knew as little as anyone else. Later, I realized the source of this special status: he was one of the few people on the ground who could speak Spanish. Donna Shalala herself (i.e. the candidate) could not.

Following a hot tip about a possible press contact, I turned up at another campaign office with a different strategy: I would refuse to leave. After the traditional greeting-- bewilderment, being offered a chair within earshot of indiscrete conversations-- there was a short conclave. I could speak with Ben. Ben and I sat facing each other, in the middle of an open-plan office. By this time I had become a kind of connoisseur of incompetence, and I sensed that Ben was good at something, but he had not dealt with a reporter before. “Can I ask what your role with the campaign is?” Ben was a policy adviser. He had no idea if his candidate had any events that day, and no idea why he was speaking with me.

When the comms person did come in (this was treated as a special occasion), our conversation had an informality that was almost charming. I explained my difficulty with the Democratic campaigns, and the contrast with Republicans. “They’re a lot more organized than us!” she said, and I had to laugh. They sure were! Here at last was some kind of schedule, but as we stepped through it, something was missing. Through exhaustive internet searches, I had found a digital ticketing website offering a Q&A event featuring Donna Shalala. Why wasn’t it on the schedule? “Ohhh, that’s cancelled.” Perhaps, she said, they could line up an interview instead? I explained that I had been trying to see the election from the perspective of a voter, not a reporter, and how information was freely available from Republicans and almost non-existent from Democrats. Catching my drift, she started to flush.

The call came through later, when I was in a Haitian-owned coin laundry. A DNC flack in Washington, D.C. had heard I was making trouble, planning some kind of “Dems in disarray” story, and as I scribbled notes on top of an industrial dryer, I picked up the story that had been relayed to him, as much from his tone as his words. A foreign correspondent had arrived in Miami expecting VIP treatment, then got miffed when the red carpet wasn’t rolled out. Smearing the ground game would be revenge for a bruised ego. “Money at a national level has gone into these seats,” he assured me.

Walking him through what I’d seen-- and hadn’t seen-- only made him angry. “We’re going to win both of those seats,” he said, berating my ignorance. It was a strange reaction. By then I probably had as clear a snapshot of the election in Miami as anyone. Wasn’t that information useful? Potentially important, even? Instead, someone hundreds of miles away was blithely junking this eye-witness evidence in favor of obnoxious confidence. “You’ll see,” he insisted, “when we win FL-26 and FL-27 on election night, I’ll message you.” And they did, and he did.

In my reply, I pointed out that Andrew Gillum, the Democratic favorite to become Florida’s governor, had lost by a narrow margin, and that poor turnout in Miami-Dade was the culprit. And perhaps you can imagine my lack of surprise two years later, when FL-26 and FL-27 both fell to GOP challengers, one of them Maria Salazar. On the presidential ballot, Clinton’s 30-point lead in Miami-Dade shrunk to a 7-point margin for Biden.

In a piece titled What the Hell Happened to Democrats in Miami-Dade?, Rolling Stone observed ruefully that “Miami-Dade is considered safe—until election night, when suddenly it’s not,” and quoted Maria Elena Lopez, first vice-chair of the Miami-Dade Democrats.

Lopez lamented how the Democratic National Convention did not talk to, fund, or advise the local parties. “We don’t get any feedback from the DNC,” she said. “They don’t come to us and say, ‘Hey, what is the messaging that would work in your community? Where are we weak?’ [The party] doesn’t do that, at all. We are on our own.”

“Unfortunately, this is not the first time that we’ve seen this,” she said. It was not the first time I had seen it either.
Debbie Mucarsel-Powll raised $6,178,239 compared to Carlos Gimenez's $1,946,504. The DCCC and Pelosi's PAC spent about $6 million trying to save her. She lost the blue D+6 seat 177,223 (51.7%) to 165,407. Donna Shalala (the one who speaks no Spanish in a 71.7% Latino district) raised around the same $3,000,000 that her opponent, Maria Salazar (from 2018) spent. Shalala was so out of touch with her own constituents that she didn't even request help from the DCCC. In fact, she gave them money! She lost 176,114 (51.3%) to 166,705 (48.6%).

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How Long Will The Trump Family Be Able To Maintain Their Lifestyle By Grifting?


Like most DWT readers, I would like to see Trump rotting in prison for the rest of his miserable life. Alas, that's probably as likely as me waking up tomorrow with a pet unicorn in my backyard. But this morning Wall Street Journal reporters Brian Spegele and Caitlin Ostroff painted a different kind of hell that awaits a post-Oval Office Trump, one that may be a more realistic expectation-- a reckoning for his business sparked by "some of the deepest financial and legal challenges in his family business empire in decades. No matter what he focuses on after the presidency, the businesses will require his attention. Two New York investigations will continue after he leaves office and the Trump Organization will need to avert a potential cash crunch caused by looming debt maturities at the firm’s real estate holdings. Personal guarantees Mr. Trump made on some of the organization’s debt add urgency to shoring up its financial position."

Expanding his business interests into China may not be as easy as it once looked, since he is now loathed and distrusted there. And his brand is not just crap in Europe, some of his trademarks have been eliminated by legal challenges.

Spegele and Ostroff asserted that "the Trump Organization might soon slim down. Several properties are for sale, including its Washington hotel and two skyscrapers in New York and San Francisco that are part-owned by the Trump Organization. The organization also has been considering selling its Seven Springs estate outside of New York" to help avert a lending crunch of more than $400 million of debt due in the next few years. They wrote that "many lenders have indicated they are wary of doing business" with Trump, who has been exposed worldwide as an amoral, ethics-free crook and sociopath.
It is unknown whether Mr. Trump will want to resume an active management role. When elected, he turned over management of the business to his sons Eric and Donald Jr. while keeping ownership. Some Trump associates predict the president will return to his office on the 26th floor of Trump Tower in New York. “He won’t be able to help himself,” longtime friend and business partner Phil Ruffin previously told The Journal.

Others, including former chief of staff Mick Mulvaney expect he could run for president again. Mr. Mulvaney said in recent days he “would absolutely put him on the shortlist of people likely to run in 2024.”

Since Mr. Trump launched his run for the presidency in 2015, his businesses have become closely linked with the GOP.

Republican spending at Trump properties has topped $23 million since 2015 compared with less than $200,000 in the five years prior, according to an analysis of Federal Election Commission data by the nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics.

Those revenues will likely decline, including $37,000 of monthly rent payments the Trump campaign has made to Trump Tower in New York. The office tower, where the Trump Organization is based, has suffered from falling occupancy rates since Mr. Trump took office...

Financial challenges facing the Trump Organization are compounded by long-running legal issues, with New York probes of Mr. Trump’s businesses set to continue after he leaves office. Mr. Trump has also been contending with an Internal Revenue Service audit of his finances.

Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr., a Democrat, has been pursuing years of Mr. Trump’s financial records, and says criminal tax fraud and falsification of business records are among the laws investigators believe may have been broken. Mr. Trump’s lawyers have sought to block a subpoena for the records, arguing the request was overbroad and issued in bad faith.

Another investigation, by New York state’s Attorney General Letitia James, also a Democrat, is examining whether Mr. Trump inflated asset values to obtain loans and get other economic and tax benefits. The Trump Organization has called the investigations politically motivated and denied wrongdoing.

Mr. Trump is unusual among U.S. presidents because much of the legal scrutiny he faces today stems from actions before he became president, said Jeffrey Engel, a presidential historian at Southern Methodist University in Dallas.

“The fact that Trump thought he could run for president and be president with potential clear irregularities in his financial background and not be discovered, that’s the most surprising part to me,” he said. “It reinforces that he did not fully appreciate what it meant to be president.”

With Mr. Trump in the White House, the Trump Organization said it has put foreign deal-making on hold. But Eric Trump said in an interview this summer that growing internationally would be a key focus when his father left office.

Polls suggest that Mr. Trump’s strident nationalism and trade protectionism made him unpopular in many countries, including China, where he previously sought to benefit from the country’s growth.

...In Scotland, meanwhile, the Trump Organization spent more than $100 million to buy and renovate the Trump Turnberry golf resort. That property hasn’t turned a profit since Mr. Trump bought it in 2014, records show. This summer, around 70 staffers at Turnberry were cut, say former employees.

The Trump Organization said it has been investing heavily in Turnberry to make it one of the world’s top golf resorts.

Those challenges notwithstanding, the Trump family says it believes the president’s supporters will stick with them. For example, Mar-a-Lago, his private club in Palm Beach, Fla., will still be a draw, said member Whitney Schneider. “People will always want to see Mar-a-Lago and they’ll always want to see where the president lives,” she said.
Can a family maintain billionaire status as notorious grifters? I'm sure they plan to try and for at least a few years, they should be very successful at it, given the relationship between Señor T and 72,936,343 American voters (47.3%). And Trump is also popular among large segments of the population in fascist countries like Hungary and Israel. As Ron Reagan, Jr. noted last month, "We've got a bunch of grifters there in the White House."

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DownWithTyranny Housekeeping



If you're a regular visitor to this blog you may be interested in knowing that I'm moving and changing the way we work here... starting tomorrow. First of all, I'm leaving blogspot. If you imput you'll get to the new site which is almost finished being built. Take a look.

I travel a lot-- or at least I did before the Trump Pandemic turned the world upside down. But I want to mention one trip-- it was to Mali a bit over a decade ago, and deep into the backwoods of Mali. I never missed a post while I was traveling through that country, one of the world's most technologically backward. I was personally amazed. You may have noticed that we post on a schedule. Not only did I never miss a post in Mali (nor in Bali), but I never missed a post when I was living at City of Hope and getting a complete stem cell replacement. I had a giant industrial tube going into me with new stem cells and a giant industrial tube going out of me with the old stem cells. I was drugged out of my mind-- and blogging. Never missed a post.

These are when posts have been going up, come hell or high water (Pacific Time): 5am, 9am, 1pm, 5pm, 9pm, midnight. We'll keep midnight since that's Noah's Midnight Meme of the Day. Other than that... I'll post whenever I decide to. It might be at 5pm or it might be at 4:45pm or 7pm. I expect there will be more posts when there's a lot of stuff I want to write about and less posts when there's nothing I need to say. Right now, I'm still learning how to use Wix, the new platform, so bear with me for a few days. And, by the way, the first "official" post tomorrow is by a familiar guest who I suspect all DWT readers like and find interesting and valuable.


Midnight Meme Of The Day!



by Noah

Sunday Thoughts:

Tonight's meme presents a simple synopsis of the argument that Donnie The Death Machine's lawyers are currently making before the "Supreme" Court in yet another effort to deep six Obamacare, and, it's one of the main reasons why Moscow Mitch's fellow psychopaths in the $enate rushed through the confirmation of Amy Coney Barrett. They especially didn't want to wait until the pandemic ends. What fun would that be to a bunch of psychopaths that live to spread as much human misery as they possibly can? After all, even Moscow Mitch proudly calls himself "The Grim Reaper."

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Saturday, November 14, 2020

Trump Is Leaving Us The Worst Mess In American History-- Has Biden Got What It Takes To Clean It Up?



Cult of Ignorance-- Closed by Nancy Ohanian

North Dakota should get a medal... or at least a pat on the back. The state has the highest rate of COVID infection per capita-- 82,502 per million Dakotans. I think that means that by the time Trump is thrown out into the gutter in front of the White House, 1 out of 10 North Dakotans will have had or will have COVID. Today they reported 2,270 more cases, bring the state total to 62,872. They also reported 19 more deaths and since there is no more room in any of their hospitals, there is probably a lot of trouble ahead for this extremely Trumpist state, where they gave their fearless leader a 65.1% to 31.8% victory over Biden. The only county Biden won was Rolette (where 73.01% of the people are Native Americans).

But none of that is why I'm suggesting a medal or a pat on the head. Gov. Doug Burgum, who was reelected with an even bigger margin than Señor Trumpanzee (69.2%) last week, finally issued a statewide mask mandate Friday night. After adamantly resisting masks for 9 months, Burgum's statement suddenly admitted that "The most effective weapon against COVID-19 is wearing a mask. This is a simple tool, but one that’s critical in helping protect our loved ones and slow the spread." And anyone who doesn't like it... can go to South Dakota, where psychotic mass murderer Kristi Noem will happily give them refuge. (South Dakota has the second worst outbreak per capita in the country-- 72,550 per million-- with 1,855 more cases today and a total of 64,182. South Dakota also announced 53 more deaths today, an awful lot for a state with so few people. Noem seems to love every second of it.

California and our lame-ass governor is doing better than Noem and Burgum, of course, but California has 25,938 cases per million and that is starting to climb again, for two reasons:
1- Newsom is afraid to take stringent actions
2- Too many Californians ignore even the inadequate and weak, unenforced actions he has implemented.
Texas is the only state with more overall cases and the only state besides California with over a million cases (although Florida is probably going to catch up). Newsom was exposed as a hypocrite by the San Francisco Chronicle when he was caught at a super-fancy French Laundry dinner for Jason Kinney, a slimebag lobbyist (for, among other bad actors, Facebook) and one of Newsom's less than reputable cronies. There were 12 people at the dinner-- from more than 3 households-- so it violated Newsom's own guidelines. He apologized today and said he and the Kimberly Guilfoyle replacement shouldn't have gone. You think? Especially when he's telling Californians not to travel for Thanksgiving dinners.

This morning, L.A. Times reporters Maria L. La Ganga, Sonja Sharp, and Julia Barajas wrote about Californians' deteriorating mental health. "Pandemic Holiday Season 1.0 is taking its toll on psyches and pocketbooks," they wrote. "We’ve been cooped up for the better part of nine months, but instead of drawing up lists of guests and gifts, we’re cataloging the things we cannot do as temperatures drop and coronavirus cases soar across the country. Like visit far-flung family and friends. On Friday, the governors of the three West Coast states issued 'travel advisories,' recommending against nonessential travel and urging people entering California, Oregon and Washington to self-quarantine for two weeks to slow the virus’ spread. Or buy those loved ones holiday gifts. A second round of stimulus money to help hard-hit consumers is a distant dream because of a deadlocked Congress. And even if shoppers have money in their pockets, malls are what health experts warn against: closed-in spaces with the possibility of crowds. Or even, for the high school seniors among us, apply for college in any normal fashion. Campuses are largely on lockdown. Learning is remote. The extracurricular activities that burnish an application are on hold. And you can’t bump into your counselor in the hall for a little extra guidance."

Meanwhile, President-elect Biden implored Trump to confront the surging pandemic. Trump is angry and hurt he lost and would rather play gold while people die. Michael Shear reported that Biden called the "federal response 'woefully lacking,' even as Mr. Trump broke a 10-day silence on the pandemic to threaten to withhold a vaccine from New York."
In a blistering statement, Mr. Biden said that the recent surge, which is killing more than 1,000 Americans every day and has hospitalized about 70,000 in total, required a “robust and immediate federal response.”

“I will not be president until next year,” Mr. Biden said. “The crisis does not respect dates on the calendar, it is accelerating right now. Urgent action is needed today, now, by the current administration-- starting with an acknowledgment of how serious the current situation is.”

...A spokesman for Mr. Cuomo, Rich Azzopardi, responded on Twitter, saying that Mr. Trump “has failed with his pandemic response, lied to Americans about how bad it was when he knew otherwise & was fired by voters for his incompetence. @NYGovCuomo is fighting to ensure the communities hit hardest by Covid get the vaccine. Feds providing 0 resources.”
Biden has a terrible decision to make in a few weeks, one he's certainly not looking forward to and probably wishes Trump would do it instead. There's no chance of that so it will be up to Biden to take the tough steps-- extremely unpopular in half the country-- needed to get control of the pandemic. AP's Alexandra Jaffe reported that members of Biden's coronavirus advisory board are arguing among themselves about whether or not a national lockdown is needed-- or feasible.
That’s a sign of the tough dynamic Biden will face when he is inaugurated in January. He campaigned as a more responsible steward of America’s public health than President Donald Trump is and has been blunt about the challenges that lie ahead for the country, warning of a “dark winter” as cases spike.

But talk of lockdowns are especially sensitive. For one, they’re nearly impossible for a president to enact on his own, requiring bipartisan support from state and local officials. But more broadly, they’re a political flashpoint that could undermine Biden’s efforts to unify a deeply divided country.

“It would create a backlash,” said Dr. Amesh Adalja, a senior scholar at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security who added that such a move could make the situation worse if people don’t comply with restrictions. “Lockdowns can have consequences that diminish the value of such an approach.”

During his first public appearance since losing the election, Trump noted on Friday that he wouldn’t support a lockdown. The president, who has yet to publicly acknowledge Biden’s victory, would likely reinforce that message to his loyal supporters once he’s left office.

...Even if a nationwide lockdown made sense, polling shows that Americans’ appetite for a closure waning. Gallup found that only 49% of Americans said they’d be “very likely” to comply with a monthlong stay-at-home order because of an outbreak of the virus. A full third said they’d be very or somewhat unlikely to comply with such an order.

Kathleen Sebelius, who was the health and human services secretary during the Obama administration, said Biden would be wise to keep his options open for now, especially as Trump criticizes lockdowns.

“It’s a very dicey topic” politically, she said. “I think wisely, the president-elect doesn’t want to get into a debate with the sitting president about some kind of mandate that he has no authority to implement.”
Because of Trump the U.S. reported 162,229 new cases on Thursday, 187,896 new cases on Friday and 157,081 new cases today, bringing the U.S. total to a horrific 11,226,038. With the exceptions of Vermont, Maine, NewHampshire, Hawaii, Oregon, Washington and West Virginia, every state is in pandemic out-of-control territory. The half dozen states with the worst outbreaks per capital are all states were large numbers of people are willing to put themselves and their families in harm's way by listening to a deranged Trump rather than to public health officials and experts:
North Dakota- 82,502 cases per million residents
South Dakota- 72,550 cases per million residents
Iowa- 57,479 cases per million residents
Wisconsin- 52,609 cases per million residents
Nebraska- 49,070 cases per million residents
Utah- 47,144 cases per million residents
This, plus an incipient depression, is what Trump is leaving Biden-- and America.

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A Fox Guarding the Henhouse: 'Pocan, Norcross Announce Labor Caucus'



-by Jersey Jim

If it seemed strange that outgoing chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus Mark Pocan promoted transactional machine Dem Donald Norcross, the younger brother of South Jersey machine boss George Norcross, to be the CPC’s Vice Chair and Liaison to Labor in the 116th Congress, how much stranger yet is his newly announced choice of Norcross to be the co-founder of a Labor Caucus?
WASHINGTON - Congressmen Mark Pocan (D-WI) and Donald Norcross (D-NJ) are announcing the creation of the Labor Caucus, intended to advance the needs of the labor movement, combat the issues facing working families, and connect legislators directly with unions and union leaders. The new caucus will be organized by union members of Congress—Representatives Pocan and Norcross are both decades-long union members in the International Union of Painters and Allied Trades (IUPAT) and International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW), respectively.

“President-Elect Joe Biden’s new administration gives the Democratic Party the opportunity to reprioritize working families at the center of our legislative agenda,” said Congressman Pocan. “Under Donald Trump, we’ve seen the erosion of labor rights, rise in union-busting, and the prioritization of corporate profits over working people’s livelihoods and safety. In the 117th Congress, we must reaffirm our dedication to strengthening unions and helping works by urgently passing legislation like the PRO Act and the Raise the Wage Act. It’s time for working people to have a voice in Congress again.”

“Labor has shaped my life, taking me from the construction site to Congress,” said Congressman Norcross. “While the Trump Administration has tried to diminish labor rights, President-Elect Joe Biden’s incoming Administration understands the dignity of work and that workers’ rights are human rights. Every American worker should have the opportunity to earn a fair day’s wage for a fair day’s work, and working families deserve a bigger voice in Congress. I look forward to working together with our brothers and sisters in Labor to pass legislation for American workers and their futures.”

“It is absolutely imperative that we return this country back into the hands of working people and the Labor Caucus will do just that,” said Shane Larson, Senior Director for Government Affairs and Policy at the Communications Workers of America. “Congressman Pocan and Norcross are card-carrying union members and we are proud to support their efforts to prioritize workers’ rights and the labor movement in Congress. The Democratic Party has long been the party of unions and working families, and the Labor Caucus will ensure that legacy endures in every Congress to come.”
The New Jersey CWA was less supportive of Norcross in 2011. In fact, neither the CWA nor the New Jersey Education Association (NJEA) endorsed Norcross, then a state senator, or any of the other South Jersey DINOs connected with the Norcross machine, for reelection after they had joined with their Republican colleagues in the legislature and Chris Christie to gut pensions and benefits packages for public employees.

The rift in New Jersey labor wasn’t only between public and private employee unions; it was a division between the building trades unions and the rest of labor, as I explained in this 2011 DWT post.

This dubious alliance with Norcross tells us a lot about the purportedly progressive Pocan. With friends like him, avowed enemies of the progressive movement are superfluous.

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Will McConnell Have to Die Before Biden Is Going To Be Able To Govern?



The Washington Post headline of Mike DeBonis' story this morning reads Biden’s agenda may rest on centrist Republicans-- and the return of a bygone Senate era, but maybe a shorter version would be more accurate: "Biden's centrist agenda may rest on centrists."

When I was growing up, my grandfather, a Russian socialist who had been converted by FDR and was, by the '50s, getting very fed up with the Democratic Party, pointed out to me that though Congress was "controlled" by the Democrats, real power was in the hands of a trans-partisan coalition of anti-progressive reactionaries (many of whom were virulent southern Democratic racists who hadn't yet migrated to their new political home).

DeBonis' piece looks forward to another era of centrism in Congress with just such a coalition-- albeit without the racists and, he wrote, "if anyone can manage it, senators and operatives from both parties say, it’s Biden-- who spent 36 years in the Senate and will enter the White House as the most accomplished legislator to hold the presidency since at least Lyndon B. Johnson." Unless you're on an empty stomach, don't examine what Biden accomplished while he was in the Senate from 1973 to 2008. It ain't pretty.

Goal ThermometerUnless the Democrats Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock win both Georgia Senate seats-- almost unimaginable-- Team Biden will be sharing power with Mitch "Grim Reaper" McConnell. "At stake," wrote DeBonis, "is not only Biden’s policy agenda but the process of filling his Cabinet and other agency posts, as well as the increasingly partisan business of judicial nominations. How Biden navigates the political currents of the Senate could determine such essential matters as the federal government’s fiscal outlook or filling a possible Supreme Court vacancy."

If you want to contribute to Warnock and/or Ossoff, you can do so by clicking on the Senate thermometer on the right.
The scenarios tend to have Biden wooing a small number of Republicans with a reputation for bipartisanship-- centered on Sens. Susan Collins of Maine and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska-- as he seeks to build a governing coalition in a closely divided Congress. Both Republicans offered encouraging words in the days following Biden’s victory.

“Joe Biden knows exactly how to deal with this body. He’s worked within it. He has done some strong and important bipartisan deals with no less than Mitch McConnell,” Murkowski said in an interview Thursday. “If you truly have a view that what we’re going to try to do is be constructive rather than just throw grenades at one another, you can build anything.”

Biden phoned Collins-- who handily won her own reelection race despite tens of millions of dollars of Democratic spending-- shortly after Election Day, and she hailed her “very good relationship” with the president-elect in comments to reporters this week.

“As I would of any president, I want him to be successful,” she said Tuesday.

Weighing against the happy talk is recent history in the Senate, where groups of moderate senators have joined over the past decade to try to solve intractable issues such as illegal immigration, gun violence and a spiraling national debt with scant success.

A group that met in Collins’s office amid a government shutdown in early 2018, for instance, tried to forge a path to an immigration deal that never materialized. Bipartisan talks on modest gun control measures led by Sen. Joe Manchin III (D-WV) and Sen. Patrick J. Toomey (R-PA) have gone nowhere. Compromises struck by bipartisan “gangs” to preserve the rights of Senate minorities have been obliterated.

To many Democrats-- who vividly remember McConnell’s efforts to block President Barack Obama’s legislative priorities as both minority and majority leader-- there is simply no hope of progress as long as he sets the Senate agenda.

“We saw that horror film play out in the Obama years, and we don’t want to see it again,” Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-OR) said. “Unless there’s a group secretly meeting within the Republican caucus that says, ‘We really want to see the Senate work as a legislative body again,’ then my hopes are dim if Leader McConnell’s in charge.”

Ronald A. Klain, Biden’s choice for White House chief of staff, said in an MSNBC interview Thursday that Biden had yet to speak to McConnell post-election but noted the two men have known each other for decades, with a track record of cutting deals.

Klain expressed measured optimism that they “will have a working relationship when the time comes,” even though McConnell has yet to publicly acknowledge Biden’s win a week after the Associated Press and multiple news organizations called the race for him.

“They obviously need no introduction to one another,” he said, adding that Biden would “use all the tools that he has, his prodigious tools of persuasion, his ability to reach out to people on all aspects of our party and in both parties, to rally the voters and to do everything he can to move this country forward.”
I wonder how soon Biden will acquiesce to the GOP killing off what's left of the New Deal for some flashy temporary gains. And how loudly Schumer, Pelosi and Hoyer will cheer.

On the other hand, maybe the system is so broken that Biden-- pretty broken himself at 77 (78 in 6 days)-- won't make any headway with McConnell at all. As DeBonis noted "the power of personal relationships has drastically receded in the 11 years since Biden left the Senate, and his former colleagues warn that he will be battling fierce institutional obstacles. Former senator Kent Conrad (D-ND), who served 22 years with Biden, said the days of bottom-up lawmaking driven by committees and bipartisan coalitions of senators are 'largely gone. The ability of the majority leader to set the agenda is incredibly important. It gives him extraordinary leverage. And that, more than anything else, probably will dictate what the Biden legislative agenda is going to be,' Conrad said."

Democrats hope that by winning both Georgia Senate seats-- a steep climb, to put it mildly-- 50-50 tie votes will be broken by Kamala. But that assumes that virulent anti-progressives who frequently cross the aisle, like Joe Manchin (WV), Kyrsten Sinema (AZ), Angus King (I-ME), and Mark Warner (VA) will vote with the Democrats. And then there are the two right-wing Democratic freshmen, Frackenlooper (CO) and Mark Kelly (AZ). Good luck with that crew. Sinema, for example, voted with the GOP against progressive roll calls 55% of the time since being elected. And when she was in the House, she was the most GOP-voting Blue Dog in Congress, absolutely revelling in her role as an asshole.
Should Biden become the first president since George H.W. Bush to enter office without the Senate under his party’s control, the mere task of confirming a Cabinet threatens to become a partisan minefield, handing Republicans effective veto power over his administration’s staffing.

A clutch of GOP senators already signaled that they are likely to vote to confirm Biden’s nominees, but under certain conditions. Collins said she would have reservations if a nominee is “not qualified or is way outside the ideological mainstream or is unethical,” while Sen. Mitt Romney (R-UT)-- who has shown a willingness to cross party lines on some issues-- said he would confirm Biden’s nominees “barring some extreme individual or someone not qualified for the job.”

While McConnell might be unlikely to orchestrate a blockade of Biden’s Cabinet nominees, he is also unlikely to countenance any legislative deals the new president may seek to strike with two or three members of his conference. With a 60-vote threshold for major legislation all but certain to remain in place, any legislative negotiation will have to include a larger group of Republicans.

In one vivid illustration of his aversion to legislation that divides his ranks, McConnell refused for months to schedule a vote on a bipartisan criminal justice reform bill until Trump publicly pushed him. It ultimately passed 87 to 12.

Josh Huder, a congressional scholar and senior fellow with Georgetown University’s Government Affairs Institute, said it “seems improbable at best” that governing from the center would succeed in a hyperpartisan era.

“In the last decade and a half of divided control of Congress, we’ve seen historic gridlock-- the kind of stalemate where you can’t pass a budget or appropriations bills, much less touch on some of the most high-profile, high-stakes political battles that we have,” he said.

Even those senators most likely to cooperate with Democrats are warning their cooperation will only go so far. Murkowski, who is up for reelection in 2022 and whose state depends on oil and gas jobs, warned, “If there are issues that work against my state’s economy, we’re going to fight them tooth and nail”-- a dismal indicator for climate-change legislation.

Romney said Biden would be “making a mistake to think that the people of America chose a left-oriented policy agenda” given the mixed election results. “The country remains a center-right nation, and I will continue to fight for conservative principles that I think comport with not only my philosophy but that of the nation as a whole,” he said.

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Neoliberalism Is Not Your Friend-- But What Can You Do About It?



When it comes to discussing the dangers of neoliberalism to the Democratic Party, Adolph Reed is amazing. (Politico should have asked him to interview neoliberal Elissa Slotkin (D-MI) instead of Tim Alberta.) Look, I hate and avoid zoom, but please watch this enlightening video of Katie Halper's show above (or you may never understand what "McWokeyism" is). "A famous organizer," Reed said in reference to Jane McAlevey (also on the show), "once made a distinction between mobilizing, which is going to your standing constituency and getting them to do stuff, and organizing, which is building a constituency that you don't have." Do you think anyone at the DCCC has ever had a thought like that cross their mind? Or is it always just about raising money? I hope you're been reading DWT enough to know the answer to that already. And that the Democrats who lost their races-- both incumbents and challengers-- raised and spent far more-- in some cases two, three and four times more-- than the Republicans who beat them.

Just focusing in on Blue Dog losers from the class of 2018, defeated after one Republican-lite term:
Joe Cunningham (SC) raised $6,278,942 and was defeated by Nancy Mace who raised $4,891,696.
Xochitl Torres Small (NM) raised $7,509,987 and was defeated by Yvette Herrell who raised $2,498,130.
Max Rose (NY) raised $8,350,467 and was defeated by Nicole Malliotakis who raised $3,052,007.
Anthony Brindisi (NY) raised $5,359,636 and appears to have been defeated by psychopath Claudia Tenney who raised $2,053,931.
Kendra Horn (OK) raised $5,465,349 and was defeated by Stephanie Bice, who raised $3,089,972.
Ben McAdams (UT) raised $5,137,258 and appears to have been defeated by Burgess Owens, who raised $4,021,248.
Remember, in theory, every congressional district-- Montana has more and is about to be split into 2 districts-- has the same number of voters. But they don't really. Some districts have a culture oof participation and are filled with civic-minded citizens who make a point of voting. Other districts have really small turn-outs. Although ballots are still being counted, only 15 candidates for Congress (in contested races) had over 300,000 votes:
Barbara Lee (D-CA-13)- 327,278
Diane DeGette (D-CO-01)- 331,453
Joe Neguse (D-CO-02)- 316,916
Neal Dunn (R-FL-02)- 303,879
John Rutherford (R-FL-04)- 308,447
Daniel Webster (R-FL-11)- 316,958
Nikema Williams (D-GA-05)- 301,847
Matt Rosendale (R-MT-AL)- 335,214
Deborah Ross (D-NC-02)- 310,979
David Price (D-NC-04)- 329,679
Earl Blumenauer (D-OR-04) 342,458
Dusty Johnson (R-SD-AL)- 321,984
Don Beyer (D-VA-08)- 301,454
Pramila Jayapal (D-WA-07)- 386,321
Mark Pocan (D-WI-02)- 318,492
Who had the most votes of anyone standing for a congressional seat anywhere in America this cycle? Pramila Jayapal, who didn't even have a series opponent, is co-chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus and very much one of Congress' top organizers. That's her background, something she brought with her to the Washington state legislature, honed there and then brought it to Congress. She once asked me if I knew which members of Congress run anything other than a fundraising effort on their campaign side. Jamie Raskin sort of does, although not the way Pramila goes about it. Her campaign efforts on that front are mammoth and should be studied closely and emulated by the DCCC. The idea of her replacing Pelosi as Speaker is mind-boggling but-- with the power of the Republican wing of the Democratic Party (the New Dems and Blue Dogs)-- almost unimaginable.

This morning, Pramila told me that from the minute she got into Congress 4 years ago, "I was committed to running a year-round organizing effort through my campaign. What does that mean? It means instead of just having a fundraiser (or many of them) on the campaign side, I hired an organizer-- and depending on the time of year, several. We kept our thousands of volunteers engaged, not just on our race but on critical issues in the country, on ballot initiatives and on other critical races. I believe that is a big part of why we have such huge turnout here in the district-- because people stay engaged, they see me fighting for them all the time, and they have come to believe they can make a difference through their votes and their volunteering. That’s how we turned out the largest crowd for our healthcare rally in early 2017 when Republicans were gutting healthcare. Our volunteers played an important part in turnout for statewide ballot initiative on climate change and police accountability. They worked on Stacey Abrams' race in Georgia and on other swing district races across the country, like Katie Porter’s. And this year, in just 6 weeks, we trained over 600 volunteers who made over 140,000 phone calls into Pennsylvania and here in Washington state to turn out voters for Biden-Harris and other progressive candidates. When people donate to my campaign, they don’t just donate to keeping me in office-- they donate to the organizing we do all year to build leadership, to keep people engaged and to help drive the movement for progressive policies and candidates across the country."  
Pramila and AOC by Nancy Ohanian

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DownWithTyranny Housekeeping



If you're a regular visitor to this blog you may be interested in knowing that I'm moving and changing the way we work here... starting tomorrow. First of all, I'm leaving blogspot. If you imput you'll get to the new site which is almost finished being built. Take a look.

I travel a lot-- or at least I did before the Trump Pandemic turned the world upside down. But I want to mention one trip-- it was to Mali a bit over a decade ago, and deep into the backwoods of Mali. I never missed a post while I was traveling through that country, one of the world's most technologically backward. I was personally amazed. You may have noticed that we post on a schedule. Not only did I never miss a post in Mali (nor in Bali), but I never missed a post when I was living at City of Hope and getting a complete stem cell replacement. I had a giant industrial tube going into me with new stem cells and a giant industrial tube going out of me with the old stem cells. I was drugged out of my mind-- and blogging. Never missed a post.

These are when posts have been going up, come hell or high water (Pacific Time): 5am, 9am, 1pm, 5pm, 9pm, midnight. We'll keep midnight since that's Noah's Midnight Meme of the Day. Other than that... I'll post whenever I decide to. It might be at 5pm or it might be at 4:45pm or 7pm. I expect there will be more posts when there's a lot of stuff I want to write about and less posts when there's nothing I need to say. Right now, I'm still learning how to use Wix, the new platform, so bear with me for a few days. And, by the way, the first "official" post tomorrow is by a familiar guest who I suspect all DWT readers like and find interesting and valuable.


Useless Conservative Democrats Like New Dem Elissa Slotkin Keep Attacking Progressives And Then Start Screaming And Wailing When Progressives Punch Back



Freshman Elissa Slotkin (New Dem-MI) is aggressively anti-progressive. In the 2018 anti-red wave, she ousted Republican Mike Bishop 172,880 (50.6%) to 159,782 (46.8%), despite Trump having won the district 2 years earlier by 7 points. The Oakland-Ingraham-Livingston counties district has a PVI of R+4 and she just won her reelection bid 217,929 (50.9%) to 202,519 (47.3%). She out-raised her opponent $8,329,945 to $1,950,832. Trump's base turned out and he won Slotkin's district again.

Generally speaking, she's been a lousy member-- unless you like conservative Democrats. ProgressivePunch gave her a strong "F" and it's worth noting that she's the furthest right of any Michigan Democrat in Congress and that there are 217 members of Congress with more progressive voting records than hers, including several odious Blue Dogs like Stephanie Murphy, Tom O'Halleran, Max Rose, Jim Cooper, Brad Schneider, Dan Lipinski, Charlie Crist, Kurt Schrader... yeah, she really stinks.

Yesterday, Politico ran a puff piece by Tim Alberta on her, Elissa Slotkin Braces for a Democratic Civil War. She whined to Alberta that she watched some of her fellow right-of-center pals in Congress lose their jobs and how she listened to fake fellow faux-Dems "blame the party’s left wing for polluting the Democratic brand and watched progressives like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez critique the centrists [corporate shills like Slotkin] as stale and outdated in their approach." Here's Slotkin's own stale and outdated approach:
“It’s not just that [Trump] eats cheeseburgers at a big celebratory dinner. It’s not just that he does things that the common man can kind of appreciate. And it’s not even because he uses kind of simplistic language-- he doesn’t use complicated, wonky language, the way a lot of Democrats do. We sometimes make people feel like they aren’t conscientious enough. They aren’t thoughtful enough. They aren’t ‘woke’ enough. They aren’t smart enough or educated enough to just understand what’s good for them… It’s talking down to people. It’s alienating them. And there’s just certain voters who feel so distant from the political process-- it’s not their life, it’s not their world. They hate it. They don’t like all that politics stuff. Trump speaks to them, because he includes them.”

Alberta wrote that she worries that the Democratic Party is now "fundamentally unwelcoming to anyone with supposedly retrograde views of the world around them. This is not merely about race and racism. The schisms go far deeper, to matters of faith and conscience, economic freedom and individual liberty. Indeed, for the heavy losses Trump sustained among affluent college-educated whites, he nearly won a second term because of his gains with Black and brown voters. That these Americans were willing to support Trump, often in spite of his rhetoric, reveals an uncomfortable truth for the left. There are millions of voters-- working-class whites and working-class minorities-- whose stances on social controversies put them out of touch with the Democratic Party. It’s a truth they might be willing to overlook, if only the party could do the same." She seems to be afraid that people "feel looked down upon." And she feels like she's too unhip to be part of the in-crowd. Between her two twitter accounts the former CIA agent only has 111.5 followers-- a far cry from fellow Michigander Rashid Tlaib (1.2 million), let alone AOC's 10.3 million followers. Her jealousy of AOC is mind-boggling.
"What bothers me a little bit is that we have this false dichotomy-- either you’re young and bold and have big ideas and you’re passionate, or you’re old and moderate and boring and pragmatic. I hope this bench of leaders that are coming up in the freshmen class, my closest peers, are going to just explode that stereotype. Because I’m as passionate as the next person. I believe deeply in change on the issues I care about. I don’t think I’m that boring and I don’t consider myself that old. So, we have to break through that. But in the meantime, you represent your district. Don’t tell me how to represent mine when you come from New York or California."

...“If we are classifying Tuesday as a success from a congressional standpoint, we will get fucking torn apart in 2022,” Spanberger shouted.

With a few hundred ears now perked up, the Virginia Democrat proceeded to slam her progressive colleagues for flirting with two fads-- “defund the police” and democratic socialism—that she said cost the party multiple seats and threatened to doom those who did survive in their future campaigns.

“When we want to talk about funding social services, and ensuring good engagement in community policing, let’s talk about what we are for,” Spanberger beseeched her colleagues. “We need to not ever use the words ‘socialist’ or ‘socialism’ ever again. Because while people think it doesn’t matter, it does matter. And we lost good members because of it.”

Unfortunately, Spanberger, a far right Blue Dog with an even worse voting record than Slotkin's-- and Slotkin's best friend in the House-- survived, albeit barely. With 98% of the vote counted, Spanberger has 232,995 votes (50.9%) to neo-fascist crackpot Nick Freitas' 224,679 (49.1%). What if the Republican Party wises up and runs someone next time who isn't an actual Nazi?

Meanwhile Alberta reported that Slotkin "fired a warning shot at anyone who might pressure the Biden administration to chase big progressive policies out of the gate."
“I will not be voting for Nancy Pelosi,” Slotkin told me. “I have no idea if people are gonna run against her, or who might run against her. And I will of course have this conversation directly with her. But I believe we need new leadership. I would love to see more Midwesterners, because if you look across the leadership. … I respect these people, but it’s New York and California.”

To translate: “New York and California” isn’t simply code for liberalism. In this case, rather, Slotkin is hammering a perceived aloofness in the leadership-- a perception that spans the party’s ideological divides. Both Slotkin and her like-minded moderates, as well as AOC and her insurgent progressives, believe Pelosi and her lieutenants treat them with paternalistic condescension, insisting they know what’s best for them and for the party. Sometimes this approach has helped the center at the expense of the left, such as when Pelosi slow-walked impeachment proceedings. Other times, however, particularly over the past year, Pelosi’s refusal to engage in real negotiations with the White House has left moderates fuming.

When the speaker slapped down a bipartisan Covid-19 relief package this summer-- then gave a bizarre interview on CNN in which she insulted a member of her party who was pushing for it (and Wolf Blitzer for even bringing it up)—inboxes and cellphone screens lit up across the House Democratic Caucus. Even some of the members who backed Pelosi’s strategy of not moving from her initial offer were vexed by her imperious tone. In hindsight, given the closeness of the presidential election, Pelosi’s allies may have been politically astute to refuse any concessions that would have given Trump a timely victory at a time when his campaign was flagging. On the other hand, this gets to Slotkin’s basic point about the Democratic Party: It has spent the past four years defining itseleves by what it is against, and it very likely cost it on Election Day.

Slotkin isn’t sure how many other Democrats will join her in rebelling against Pelosi’s quest for a fourth term as speaker.
Also writing for Politico yesterday, Sarah Ferris, Heather Caygle and Ally Mutnick reported that many in the party are warning that the biggest priority for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee must be overhauling its message. They say it needs to craft a proactive campaign that counters GOP attacks on everything from Medicare for All to fracking-- if they have any hopes of keeping their majority in 2022." The "defund the police" ads the GOP used to attack Democrats did several conservatives in. Unable to intelligently defend themselves, Blue Dogs like Max Rose, Anthony Brindisi, Collin Peterson, Xochitl Torres Small and Kendra Horn are as against "defunding the police" as any Republican. But none are talented political leaders with the ability to persuade voters of anything. It's not tragic that they're gone; it's tragic that the DCCC will start working forthwith to recruit conservaDems just like them to run in 2022.

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