Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Who Would Make A Better Representative For Bakersfield, Civil Rights Leader Dolores Huerta Or Corporate Whore Kevin McCarthy?


Republican House Whip Kevin McCarthy used to be in a safe Central Valley red seat. CA-23 shares Bakersfield with Republican David Valadao, Lancaster with Republican Buck McKeon and Visalia with Republican Devin Nunes. Valadao and McKeon are likely to be serving their last terms as Members of Congress now and the demographic changes in their districts have already started changing McCarthy's as well. It's still a pretty red district (PVI is a daunting R+16 and Obama didn't crack 40% against McCain or Romney) but the Hispanic population in McCarthy's district is rapidly growing and is now a full 35%. He hasn't had a serious challenge since being elected in 2006. In fact, he hasn't had any challengers most of the time. The DCCC studiously ignores the district and hasn't even bothered making a case against McCarthy for the future. Last year McCarthy's opponent, Terry Phillips, was an independent and he managed to get 27% of the vote. Phillips spent $48,521 and McCarthy spent $4,027,748, the majority of it from PACs. Only 1% of McCarthy's contributions came from small contributors. McCarthy did worst in the Antelope Valley part of the district-- which McKeon lost in his battle to stave off defeat last year-- and that's a heavily Hispanic area where a great deal of voter registration work has been done by local Democrats and by national Hispanic organizations.

For years, I've been begging Dolores Huerta, beloved civil rights leader and co-founder of United Farm Workers who lives in the district, to run against McCarthy. I made my pitch today and promised to max out to her campaign if she did it. I have no reason to think she would but last week, a board we both serve on for People for the American Way released a powerful report on the battle over comprehensive immigration reform, Congressional Republicans' Clear Choice on Immigration: Stand With Pro-Reform Majorities or Cave to Anti-Immigrant Extremists. The report was aimed directly at Republicans like McCarthy, Valadao, McKeon, Nunes (and Jeff Denham). It wasn't something any of them were eager to hear, after spending their careers bashing Hispanic immigrants.
The voices of right-wing nativism, divisiveness, and extremism are still with us in 2013 even as the world has changed around them. Republican members of Congress face a defining question: will they stand with the majority of Americans, and majority of Republicans, who support comprehensive immigration reform that includes a path to citizenship for undocumented people living in the United States? Or will they stand with the extremists who are trying to block the new bipartisan momentum for reform?

While some GOP strategists have been warning for years that the Republican Party should not continue to alienate America’s fastest-growing demographic group, they had been largely shouted down by anti-immigrant hard-liners and Tea Party activists and the politicians they helped elect. During the 2012 Republican presidential primary, eventual GOP nominee Mitt Romney lashed himself to the anti-immigrant Tea Party base with his hard-line rhetoric and calls for “self-deportation” – so much so that even some conservative evangelical leaders denounced his proposals as immoral and un-American.

But the 2012 general election gave Republicans a hard dose of reality. Latino voters supported President Obama by an overwhelming 71-27 percent margin, and by even higher margins in some battleground states like Colorado. Supermajorities of Asian Americans also voted for Obama as did an overwhelming number of African Americans. Republican leaders began to view the immigration issue in a new light, accepting the evidence that most Latinos will not be open to voting for Republican candidates as long as the Party is widely seen as hostile to the rights and interests of immigrants.

The fact that most Republicans now support comprehensive reform should strengthen congressional Republicans’ resolve to stand up to the admittedly very vocal opponents of reform. Recent polling by the Public Religion Research Institute and Brookings Institution documents that a majority of Republicans and a majority of white working-class Americans agree that immigration reform should provide a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants now in the country. That polling also confirms the challenge facing reform-minded Republican leaders, something columnist E.J. Dionne calls a “coalition management problem.” Support for a path to citizenship drops to 44 percent among the “Teavangelicals”-- white evangelicals who are also Tea Party members-- a vocal part of the Republican base. In fact, Tea Party supporters are the only group expressing majority support for the kind of “self-deportation” strategy that was promoted by failed GOP candidate Mitt Romney.
This week Dolores explained the context of the report to HuffPo readers. "Senators and representatives," she wrote, "are well into their August recess, but some of them left behind pretty hateful words about Latino immigrants before they went. We have been told recently that many immigrants are drug-runners. We have heard them compared to dogs or even rats. While Latinos and Latinas have long fought against bigotry and lies about our communities, recent remarks from the far right fringe of the Republican party have reached a new pitch."
Those of us who have devoted our life's work to creating a better life for workers, for immigrants, for women, y para todos know the danger inherent in denying someone else's humanity. All communities deserve respect, and when our representatives smear entire communities as drug runners or compare them to animals, it diminishes both their humanity and the dignity of our civic discourse.

In reality, immigrants-- both documented and undocumented-- are a vital part of all American communities. Passing realistic and commonsense immigration reforms, like creating a roadmap to citizenship for undocumented immigrants in the country today, makes our country better for everyone. Why? Because immigrants make immeasurable contributions to our country each day. They are building houses, running small businesses, caring for children and seniors, and so much more. Immigrants enrich our communities with the diversity of their backgrounds and experiences. And despite the lies the far right has been pushing, immigrants are good for our country's economy, adding billions to the economy and creating millions of jobs.

This August, we are not sitting on our hands and letting far right Republicans in Congress block immigration reform without a fight. Making the case for a common-sense immigration policy in the House is an uphill battle, no question. But we have faced uphill battles before - with strength and resolve. We have to educate our communities and representatives about the humanity of immigrants and the value they have always brought and continue to bring to our country. We have to organize and educate our communities about the work organizations like People For the American Way are doing to expose the lies that the right-wing fringe likes to tell about immigrants.

And while Republicans in Congress are home in their districts this recess, they have to think about whose side they are on in this fight. Are they with their party's extreme fringe, pushing bigoted lies about immigrant communities? Or are they with the majority of their party-- as well as the majority of their country-- in supporting a humane, commonsense immigration policy that would make this country better for everyone?
Imagine replacing McCarthy, who serves as a block to any progressive changes on any and all fields, with a woman like Dolores Huerta who had already done more for this country when McCarthy was still a teenager running the Bakersfield Kevin O's Deli he used gambling money to open, then he will ever accomplish in Congress!

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At 11:14 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

OK, the readers can play the game, too!

To answer the question posed in the title: "Well, it depends do mean for the biological people or the whoring corporate people?"

John Puma


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