Monday, December 21, 2015

Conservative Democrats Use Politics To Make Sure Their Policy Goals Aren't Threatened By Progressives


Once Rahm Emanuel got the power to fire Howard Dean as DNC chair-- the first catastrophic decision of the Obama presidency-- replacing him with 2 consecutive talentless sieves-- first Tim Kaine and then, much worse, Debbie Wasserman Schultz-- and scrapping Dean's 50-state strategy, it was apparent the Republican Party would have a free-hand in scores of districts where they could be challenged over the long term and that Washington would no longer back sensible strategies for winning back congressional seats or state legislatures.

It was an identical realignment from one I saw taking the music industry, where I had been working, into the toilet. Once the record companies abandoned "artist development" and opted for instant gratification, the industry was finished. At my own label, for example, we had worked on artists like Depeche Mode and Barenaked Ladies for many years before breakthrough albums exploded their catalogue and brought the company millions of dollars in profit. The Emanuel/DNC/DCCC/DSCC strategy is to never look past the current cycle and never develop anything. The result has been a net of nearly 70 lost congressional seats and an even more horrific result on the state legislative level.

If Wall Street and the Republican Party wanted to destroy the Democratic Party from within, they could not have found someone better to do it that Rahm Emanuel and the chimpanzees from the Wall Street-funded New Dems-- like Wasserman Schultz-- who have worked to cut the Democratic Party's now tenuous ties with the kind of Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt progressivism that has always made Democratic insiders and elites uncomfortable.

Saturday night when an ABC host asked Bernie if corporate America will love a President Sanders and the candidate responded "No they won't... and Wall Street will like me even less," the Democratic base exploded with approval. The Rahm-Wasserman Schultz Wall Street wing of the party, felt justified in trying to rig the nomination for Hillary, the overwhelming establishment choice.

This dynamic plays out locally, of course, up and down the ballot. Ever since Rahm was head of the DCCC-- and Wasserman Schultz was head of the Red-to-Blue Committee (until she was caught trying to rig 3 Miami Dade congressional elections for her Republican buddies, Ileana Ros-Lehtinen and the Diaz-Balart brothers and against the 3 Democratic candidates)-- the DCCC has had a monumentally failed recruitment system that disadvantages progressives and recruits Republican-lite and Republican candidates. People like Rahm, Chris Van Hollen and Steve Israel-- the 3 consecutive worst DCCC chairmen in history-- who do not believe in progressive values and principles, look for corrupt, compromised centrists like themselves and insist that only that kind of candidate can win. The record of the DCCC shows they are entirely wrong but Pelosi and the rest of the House leadership seem incapable of reading the results of elections or of understanding why there are dozens and dozens fewer Democrats in Congress now than there were a decade ago.

Last week the Kaiser Foundation released a poll that showed that most Americans, for example, favor single-payer Medicare for all, a progressive idea that hacks like Israel, Wasserman Schultz and the rest of the New Dems fight against as strongly as Republicans do. 58% of Americans-- not to mention 81% of Democrats-- are in favor, as, of course, is Bernie Sanders, the candidate the Democratic Party establishment is working feverishly to derail.

Again, once Rahm murdered Dean's 50 state strategy, there were obviously going to be no wins to the South outside of urban cores. But even in the northeast, the DCCC has utterly dropped the ball and failed to hold or win seats that should be in Democratinc hands. Lets look at two that are in the news today, NY-22 (Utica, Rome and Binghamton) and PA-06 in the suburbs and exurbs northwest of Philly. Both have relatively mainstream Republican congressmen, Richard Hanna in New York and freshman Ryan Costello in Pennsylvania, Both seats are swing districts that the Democrats must win if they are going to take back the House while writing off huge sections of the country. Obama performed well in both districts, 49-49% ties with McCain and Romney in NY-22 and a 53-46% win against McCain and a 48-51% loss against Romney in PA-06.

Weak DCCC candidates did far worse. After progressive Democrat Maurice Hinchey retired in 2012, the DCCC recruited a weak Hinchey staffer, Dan Lamb, who lost every single county in the district to Hanna-- who won 157,941 (56.4%) to 102,080 (36.4%)-- drastically underperforming Obama, and with the DCCC abandoning the race early and refusing to spend any money on Lamb's behalf. In 2014, the DCCC didn't bother recruiting a candidate and Hanna was reelected without opposition after a bitter primary fight with a teabagger.

With the retirement of long-time incumbent Jim Gerlach in 2014, PA-06 was an open seat, the perfect opportunity for a Democratic win. Instead, the DCCC re-recruited two-time loser Manan Trivedi, another uninspiring, values-free centrist, who had lost to Gerlach in 2010 42.9-57.1% and in 2012 42.9-57.1%. So why would anyone be surprised that Trivedi would lose 43.7-56.3% in 2014, especially with the DCCC spending zero dollars on the race?

Over the weekend, when Hanna announced his retirement, the clueless Beltway trade press reacted by immediately projecting a "tossup" from a "safe Republican" designation. That's because they don't take DCCC incompetence into account. The crazy teabagger who ran against Hanna in 2014, Assemblywoman Claudia Tenney, had already announced she would primary him again-- so she's all in-- but Oswego County GOP Chairman Michael Backus and Oneida County Executive Anthony Picente are also interested in running. The Democrats are looking at Assemblyman Anthony Brindisi who has a superb environmental record but doesn't have a good record on guns and is way more appreciated by the NRA than most Democrats in the state legislature. He was endorsed by NARAL and has a good voting record on Choice and was endorsed by the AFL-CIO and has a good record on unions and workers, although he voted with the Republicans against raising the minimum wage in 2012.

The Pennsylvania district is more problematic. Steve Israel has been adamant about handing the nomination over to another of his "ex" Republicans, Mike Parrish, who has until very recently been contributing thousands of dollars to Republicans like Mitt Romney and Pennsylvania's hated ex-governor, Mike Corbett. But Parrish has been unable to raise any money this cycle-- just $74,517 even with DCCC help-- and Roll Call reported that the DCCC has dumped him as a candidate and is looking for someone else. (In 2014 he raised $150,318 for a quickly aborted primary against Trivedi.) Presumably there will be a time in the future-- apparently after Pelosi retires and we get a viable DCCC-- when the Democratic Party realizes that recruiting Republicans for run as Democrats is a bad idea on every level.

And, yes, yes... Hillary Clinton is better than the Republicans running for the presidency. But is this what you want to see as the Democratic nominee? You can contribute to Bernie's campaign and to the campaigns of congressional candidates who have endorsed Bernie right here on this Blue America ActBlue page. I urge you to watch this video and to share it with your friends:

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At 11:32 AM, Blogger Unknown said...

I could vote for any of the other Democratic 2016 candidates for President, I will not vote for Hillary Clinton under any circumstances.

At 5:09 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I couldn't vote for Bill, and I sure won't vote for Hill.

At 5:52 AM, Blogger Procopius said...

I really, really don't want to have to vote for Hillary, just as I really, really didn't want to have to vote for Obama in 2012, but look at the alternative. In 2012 it really wasn't obvious that Obama was going to actually take a majority of the votes cast (51%), so voting Green wasn't that attractive. This time I'll be strongly attracted to writing Bernie in (if he doesn't get the nomination), but if it looks close, can I really say I'm going to risk a President Cruz? Or Trump? With at least one Supreme Court seat almost certain to become vacant, and more likely two or three?


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