Monday, October 24, 2016

Not Every Candidate Running As A Democrat Is Actually Anything You Might Define As A Democrat


Friday, I had dinner with former congressional candidate and Air America host Richard Greene, to talk strategy in congressional races beyond just candidates. Richard wants voters to focus on issues that are important to them and then vote for the candidate whose positions coincide with their own. Last week he wrote a guest post here about the concept.

Like many progressives, Richard wants to see voters go beyond the personality shit-show between Clinton and Trump and vote rationally down-ballot. The overwhelming majority of Americans, for example, want stronger, saner gun safety laws-- and say it's a motivating factor in election decisions for them-- but Republicans, who oppose gun safety, still hold the majority in both houses of Congress. On a completely different level, most Americans strongly oppose cruelty to animals, yet the Humane Society congressional scorecard shows clearly that there are really bad members of Congress on animal protection issues, who get elected over and over again, like Darrell Issa, Jim Costa, Dana Rohrabacher and KevinMcCarthy in California, Steve King (R-IA), Fred Upton (R-MI), Cresent Hardy (R-NV), Sean Duffy (R-WI), Collin Peterson (Blue Dog-MN), Frank Guinta (R-NH), and like Mike McCaul, Louie Gohmert, Henry Cuellar, Bruce Babin and Lamar Smith in Texas.

Richard-- who tends not to obsess over the Republican wing of the Democratic Party and their right-wing positions the way we do at DWT-- makes the point that on a dozen important issues, Democrats and Republicans have clearly different stands-- from women's choice, gun safety, climate change, equal pay for equal work, LBGT equality and increasing the minimum wage to making college affordable for kids from working class families, getting dark money out of politics and tax fairness-- and that if voters focus on their own most important issues, Congress will change hands in 2 weeks.

"If you want women to continue to be able to have the right to choose an abortion, vote for Clinton and Democrats," he said. "If you want abortion to again be illegal in various states, vote for Trump and Republicans." Generally speaking, fair enough... but, when I told Richard that his old friend Tim Ryan (D-OH) is anti-Choice and has a bad voting record on abortion, he was more than mildly surprised. And Richard is an extraordinarily knowledgeable voter. And, by the way, Tim Ryan isn't even at the bottom of the Democratic barrel on Choice. Democrats with ugly anti-Choice voting records include Stephen Lynch (MA), Kurt Schrader (Blue Dog-OR), Jim Langevin (RI), Mike Doyle (PA), Dan Lipinksi (Blue Dog-IL), Collin Peterson (Blue Dog-MN) and Henry Cuellar (Blue Dog-TX). Oops.

"If you want to increase the minimum wage," said Richard, "vote for Clinton and Democrats. If you don’t want to increase the minimum wage, vote for Trump and Republicans. OK, again, mostly true... mostly. The Republicans just coordinated with conservative Democrats to kill an Obama Administration rule that would have expanded the number of workers who get paid for overtime work. Blue Dogs and New Dems helped make opposition to that "bipartisan," so that Ryan and his henchmen could claim their anti-worker approach was supported by members of both parties... which is was.

Fact is, if issues are really important to you, you have to go beyond not just personalities, but beyond party identification as well. You like doggies? Republican Ileana Ros Lehtinen, an otherwise reprehensible and extremely corrupt Republican in Miami-Dade, led, along with Democrat Katherine Clark (MA) to curb cruelty to pets, while Blue Dog Democrat Henry Cuellar of a solid blue south Texas district votes worse on animal protection issues than lots of Republicans.

In a perfect world, Richard's perspective about supporting all Democrats against all Republicans works perfectly. Alas, though, today the Democratic congressional party has a large and growing Republican wing-- including inside the leadership-- and the Republican/bad, Democrat/good, narrative doesn't always work. It's more like Republican/bad, Democrat/maybe good-maybe bad, so... buyer-- or voter-- beware.

And these are Democrats with voting records! What do voters do about candidates who are not congressional incumbents? Well, of course, some recruits come from legislatures where they have records. State Senator Isadore Hall, a favorite of the California Democratic Party, has the most corrupt, vote-selling record in Sacramento and Lou Correa, another California Democratic Party fave, was as corrupt as Hall when he was in Sacramento and has a record of being the deciding vote against progressive legislation for his entire miserable right wing career. He's probably going to Congress-- as is Florida state legislator Darren Soto, someone the NRA adores, endorses and awarded an A+.

This year, the DCCC has 43 candidates on it's Red-to-Blue list, most of them conservatives. On the 43 about half have been endorsed by the Blue Dogs and or New Dems. These are the candidates the DCCC and Pelosi's House Majority PAC are spending most of their money on, not on policy and values oriented progressives like Zephyr Teachout, Pramila Jayapal, Tom Wakely, Paul Clements, Mary Ellen Balchunis, or Carol Shea-Porter. All the conservative Democrats on this list of candidates have been endorsed by the New Dems and/or the Blue Dogs. They are the candidates being pushed by the Democratic House leadership. They are not necessarily in favor of all the issues Richard wants voters to vote on. I'm eager to help Richard with his initiative and help him perfect it but, personally, I wouldn't vote for any of them:
Tom O'Halleran (AZ)
Matt Heinz (AZ)
Salud Carbajal (CA)
Lou Correa (CA)
Isadore Hall (CA)
Lou Correa (CA)
Gail Schwartz (CO)
Darren Soto (FL)
Val Demings (FL)
Charlie Crist (FL)
Randy Perkins (FL)
Joe Garcia (FL)
Colleen Hanabusa (HI)
Monica Vernon (IA)
Brad Schneider (IL)
Shelli Yoder (IN)
Emily Cain (ME)
• Lon Johnsonl (MI)
Gretchen Driskell (MI)
Angie Craig (MN)
Terri Bonoff (MN)
Josh Gottheimer (NJ)
Kim Myers (NY)
John Plumb (NY)
Pete Gallego (TX)
Doug Owens (UT)
LuAnn Bennett (VA)
None of these progressive candidates, on the page that clicking the thermometer will bring you to, are Blue Dogs, New Dems, conservaDems... and none are corrupt careerists either. Oh-- and none are being helped in their campaigns by the DCCC or by Nancy Pelosi.
Goal Thermometer

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At 3:08 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

That said, Republicans worthy of voting for are extremely rare. Like virtually nonexistent. They either support what "the deplorables" like, i.e., racism and destroying democracy as we know it, or else the typical old conservatism, i.e., making the rich richer. Either is despicable. I did like Mayor Lindsay way back when! Now he would be considered a liberal Democrat. But the Blue Dogs are the worst - a gift from Shumer and Pelosi.


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