Thursday, June 26, 2014

Steve Israel's Greatest Accomplishment Of 2014: The 2 Bluest Districts Without Democratic Candidates, Both In Florida


¿dónde está Steve?

We've made the case that Debbie Wasserman Schultz has, over the last decade, moved-- at times openly and at times stealthily-- to offer political protection to her old comrade, Ileana Ros-Lehtinen. Back in 2008, when Wasserman Schultz was in charge of the DCCC's Red-to-Blue program and publicly endorsing Ros-Lehtinen (and two other Miami-Dade Republicans) against Democrats, Ileana's 18th CD had a PVI of R+4. Since they, Florida has undergone some significant changes demographically (which we'll get to in a moment) and also in terms of cartology. FL-18 was redrawn into FL-27, a district evenly divided, registration-wise, between Democrats and Republicans. The last reported PVI was R+2 but by now the district is either even or D+1. In 2008 Obama lost the district (the current boundary lines) to McCain 123,543 (51%) but in 2012 won it against Romney 130,020 (53%) to 114,096 (47%).

The district is 74% Hispanic but the Cuban dominance isn't what it once was. Venezuelans, Colombians, Nicaraguans, Hondurans and Peruvians haven;'t tended to vote Republican-- and younger Cubans don't either. Little Havana itself, once the heartland of the Cuban exile community and the political base for right-wing refugees isn't nearly as Cuban-- nor nearly as Republican-- as it once was.

A vaguely competent DCCC Chairman would have told Wasserman Schultz to pipe down and targeted FL-27 as one of the easiest Red-to-Blue switches in America. Instead, Steve Israel has allowed Wasserman Schultz to recruit a ghost candidate in 2012 (Manny Yevancey, virtually all of whose ballot signatures came from the Tampa Bay area) and to frighten off all Democrats this year. FL-27 is the second bluest district in the country without a Democratic challenger. The bluest, also in Florida (FL-13), has no Democrat because Israel chased the head of the local NAACP out of the race on behalf of a Republican party switcher who was immediately caught lying about his résumé and withdrew, although not until Israel had managed to completely alienate African-Americans and progressives. And, no, Nancy Pelosi didn't fire him-- not for the screw up in FL-13 or the even worse screw up in FL-27. Who needs two seats in Florida anyway?

Between Puerto Ricans, Mexicans, South Americans and Central Americans, Cubans no longer call the shots for Spanish-speaking Floridians. At the time when Wasserman Schultz was openly calling for the reelections of Mario Diaz-Balart, Lincoln Diaz-Balart and, most strenuously, Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, she was a major funnel for both right-wing Cuban political money and corrupt sugar baron into the Democratic Party. From the August 15, 2007 Hill:
When Democrats gained control of Congress, hopes were high that Cuba travel and trade restrictions would be eased by a party historically opposed to a so-called hard line on Cuba.

So far, however, the Democratic-led House has been tougher on Cuba than when Republicans controlled the lower chamber.

Sixty-six House Democrats-- including 20 members of the freshman class-- recently voted against a farm bill amendment offered by Ways and Means Committee Chairman Charles Rangel (D-N.Y.) that would have made it easier for U.S. farmers to sell agricultural goods to Cuba.

...Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.) was instrumental in winning Democratic votes against the Rangel amendment. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla.) told the Miami Herald that Wasserman Schultz was “a tiger” on the Rangel vote, while Antonio Zamora of the U.S.-Cuba Legal Forum described her as a key party in building Democratic opposition.

“I was about as active as you could be,” said Wasserman Schultz, a second-termer who serves as a deputy chief whip for Democrats. At the same time, she said other members such as Reps. Albio Sires (D-N.J.) and Robert Andrews (D-N.J.) also worked hard to whip opposition.

...Wasserman Schultz’s position on Cuba puts her at odds with some Democratic leaders, but she said she has no worries that this might affect her if she seeks a higher leadership position in the future.
In 2007, two state House seats inside Ros-Lehtinen's congressional district flipped from Republican to Democrat and Democratic Senator Bill Nelson ran up significant majorities there in 2006 and 2012. This has been swept under the carpet by Wasserman Schultz and Israel. This week, Pew released another report verifying what the DCCC should have been working on all decade-- that Cubans are shifting towards the Democratic Party. Steve Israel is a monkey that will not see, will not speak, will not hear. So when the DCCC asks you for money, tell them it would be more usefully spent feeding monkeys at the zoo.
Cubans in the U.S. have long identified with or leaned toward the Republican Party, even as Hispanics overall have tilted Democrat. But the party affiliation of Cubans has undergone a shift over the past decade, according to a Pew Research Center analysis of survey data.

Less than half (47%) of Cuban registered voters nationwide now say they identify with or lean toward the Republican Party-- down from the 64% who said the same about the GOP a decade ago, according to 2013 survey data. Meanwhile, the share of Cubans who identify with or lean toward the Democratic Party has doubled from 22% to 44% over the same time period, according to the survey of Hispanics.

The Cuban population in the U.S. is centered in Florida, home to seven-in-ten of the nation’s 2 million Cuban-origin Hispanics. In the 1960s, the state’s Cuban immigrant population boomed as many left the island after Fidel Castro’s rise to power. The concentration of Cuban voters subsequently helped push the overall Hispanic vote toward the Republican Party in the Sunshine State. In 2004, for example, Republican presidential candidate George W. Bush won 78% of the Cuban vote in Florida, compared with 56% of the state’s Hispanics overall.

The shift is partly explained by the coming of age of U.S.-born Cubans, who have somewhat different political affiliations than their elders. Today, 44% of Cubans in the U.S. are native-born. Some 48% of Cubans ages 18 to 49 were born in the U.S., compared with 11% of Cubans who are 50 years and older.

…Looking at all Cubans, including those not registered to vote, only a third say they identify with or lean toward the Republican Party, according to the 2013 survey of Hispanics. On the other side of the aisle, some 48% of Cubans today say they identify with or lean toward the Democratic Party.

The impact of younger Cubans is reflected in those figures. Over half (56%) of Cubans ages 18 to 49 identified with or leaned toward the Democratic Party compared with 39% of those 50 years and older. Conversely, older Cubans tend to identify with or lean toward the Republican Party more than younger Cubans, by 44% to 23%. Even so, the share of older Cubans who are Republican has declined over time. In 2002, among all Cubans, some 68% who were 50 and older said they identified with or leaned toward the Republican Party.
Israel would rather waste donor money going after impossible red districts with his ridiculous Blue Dog candidates, districts he will lose… every single one of them. But what does he care? It's not his money.

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