Monday, June 30, 2014

What Makes People Vote? What Makes Them Stay Away From The Polls?


Friday we were looking at the grave danger the corrupt, conservative Democrats have put the party and the country in by recruiting grotesque candidates in their own image. The vast majority of congressional Democrats voted for Tom Massie's amendment to curb NSA domestic spying but corrupt, conservative Democratic leaders-- primarily Steny Hoyer (K Street-MD), Steve Israel (Blue Dog-NY) and Debbie Wasserman Schultz (New Dem-FL)-- crossed the aisle to vote with the worst of the Republican authoritarians. The same day, most Democrats voted for Barbara Lee's amendment to prevent funding of another war in Iraq. But, again, Hoyer, Israel and Wasserman Schultz crossed the aisle to vote with the Republicans against their own caucus and against what most grassroots Democrats passionately want. And these three have been determining the outcome of the 2014 election cycle, by replaying-- precisely-- the same disasters they helped engineer in 2010. It's all about discouraging grassroots Democrats to even bother turning out. That's how the DCCC lost the House majority and along with a net of 63 seats.

According to low voter turnout "is usually attributed to political disengagement and the belief that voting for one candidate/party or another will do little to alter public policy." Leaders like Hoyer, Israel and Wasserman Schultz consistently have done just that by blurring the distinctions between a working class party and the party of Big Business. Most developed democracies boast turnout rates both of 70% while the U.S. is lucky to average 60% during presidential elections and 40% for midterms.

Steve Israel warns his motley array of wretched conservative recruits to not talk about controversial issues. It's his losing "mystery meat" strategy. In 2012, while Israel was failing to win back the House, Elizabeth Warren ousted GOP incumbent Scott Brown, Wall Street's favorite-- and most heavily rewarded-- politician. She didn't do that with a mystery strategy or by laying low and not speaking her mind. And you know what happened? Well you know she won, of course-- and that she won big, 1,696,346 (54%) to 1,458,048 (46%). But what may have slipped by you is that it was the biggest election turnout in the history of Massachusetts, 73%. That's what happens when you give voters a real choice. Democrats and independents flocked to the polls in record numbers to defeat a likable "moderate" Republican with the most outspokenly progressive Democrat anywhere in the country. And while Big Business in general and Wall Street in particular led the way in showering Scott Brown with an unprecedented $28,159,602 for his reelection bid, ordinary Americans chipped in $42,506,349. Her average contribution was less than $50.

One poll showed that "only half of young people who voted for President Obama in 2012 say there is a chance they'll vote Democrat in 2014. If you want to know why the DCCC is unable to persuade voters to come to the polls to prevent another electoral debacle, go no further than the conservative candidates Israel and his Blue Dog/New Dem cronies have recruited. There is virtually no reason for a values-driven Democrat to bother getting off his or her couch and driving to the polling station for candidates who are anti-Choice, anti-gay, pro-NRA, in favor of cutting Social Security benefits or gung ho about more wars and more domestic spying. And, although Israel has instructed his candidates to keep their mouthes shut on these topics, the overwhelming majority of the weak collection of losers he has recruited for the 2014 cycle and are part of his Red-to-Blue program can be described as supporting one or more of these positions. Many have already admitted being New Dems and/or Blue Dogs and ordinary voters have begun figuring out that that means candidates are from the Republican wing of the Democratic Party and will consistently vote against their interests.

The easiest of the Israel candidates to talk about-- one with a clear, well-defined record-- is Jennifer Garrison. She ran for the state legislature on a virulently anti-gay platform… literally. In 2004, her GOP opponent, Rep. Nancy Hollister, was the only Republican to vote with the Democrats against an anti-gay marriage bill. During the campaign, Garrison attacked her for putting Ohio's children in jeopardy with her pro-LGBT stand. She sent out a mailing that read, "If you believe marriage is between one man and one woman, there’s something you should know about Nancy Hollister… DOMA was enacted precisely to protect Ohioans from having to accept 'marriages' or 'unions' entered into in other states. Despite the value of DOMA, Nancy Hollister voted against it. Jennifer Garrison believes marriage is between one man and one woman and will fight to protect our values." Garrison won and two years later was able to kill the Democrats' attempt to include LGBT children in anti-bullying legislation. Who would even think of recruiting someone like Garrison? Obvioulsy, someone like Steve Israel, whose own homophobic voting record is, according to ProgressivePunch an abysmal 28.57 over the course of his whole congressional career. And Garrison isn't just bad on LGBT issues. She's violently anti-Choice, to the point that NARAL sent out a letter to women in Ohio stating flatly that "Representative Garrison does not share our values." NARAL may oppose her but the NRA loves her-- and so do the fracking interests. In fact, she makes a living by persuading her neighbors to allow fracking on their property.

Garrison typifies the kind of garbage candidates the DCCC under Steve Israel has come to stand for. When they beg you for money to help with equality or help with the environment, virtually ALL the money they raise goes to candidates like Garrison. Among the other candidates, all part of his Red-to-Blue program, with positions at odds with basic Democratic Party values are Patrick Henry Hays (AR), James Lee Witt (AR), Pete Aguilar (CA), Gwen Graham (FL), Ann Callis (IL), Joe Bock (IN), Jerry Cannon (MI), John Lewis (MT), Brad Ashford (NE), Kathleen Rice (NY), Domenic Recchia (NY), George Sinner (ND), Kevin Strouse (PA), Suzanne Patrick (VA), Glen Gainer (WV) and Nick Casey (WV). Many of the other just refuse to take a stand on anything and offer no opportunity for voters to figure out why they should vote for them. Offering a pig in a poke may be better than offering Jennifer Garrison, but it isn't going to get a 73% turn-out the way Elizabeth Warren did.

And alternative to what the DCCC is serving up? How about real progressives, like Elizabeth Warren, campaigning on issues that serve the interests of working families-- like these candidates, most of whom Steve Israel and the DCCC are overtly hostile to. There is only one reason-- in most cases-- to vote for any of Steve Israel's candidates: a Democrat is a lesser evil than a Republican. The progressive candidates the DCCC ignores are offering a positive vision people like Israel, Wasserman Schultz and Hoyer find abhorrent and a danger to their personal political power.

The DCCC never mentions Jennifer Garrison's record when they plead with you for contributions

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