Saturday, May 13, 2017

Even Congressional Districts The DCCC Has Written Off As "Too Red" Are Up For Grabs In 2018 Thanks To Trump


Yesterday, we looked at WV-03, Trump's strongest congressional district in West Virginia. He beat Hillary there 72.5-23.3%. It was one of Hillary's worst performances in any district in America. And the point yesterday was that a progressive Democrat, running on a populist economic platform, would stand to win there in 2018 or 2020. Caveat: there's no Democratic candidate yet for this open seat. Today, though, I want to bring us to another red bastion-- Oklahoma, It was one of Trump's strongest states. He won every single county and beat Hillary 949,136 (65.3%) to 420,375 (28.9%) statewide. His "weakest" showing was in OK-05, the Oklahoma City-centered district represented by radical right kook Steve Russell. The district, which also includes Pottawatomie and Seminole counties, gave Trump a 53.2-39.8% win over Clinton last November. In the primaries, though, Bernie out-performed Trump in each of the district's 3 counties!
Oklahoma Co.: Bernie- 32,368; Trump- 22,912
Pottawatomie: Bernie- 3,400; Trump- 2,309
Seminole: Bernie- 1,194; Trump- 673
The DCCC rights this district off as "unwinnable" and they don't contest it. Though Bernie did so well here, the Democratic Party keeps nominating conservative-leaning establishment types... who routinely lose. The leading candidate this cycle is Tom Guild, a strong Berniecrat and longtime party activist whose platform has 6 very basic planks-- all about what he can do to help rebuild and strengthen working families and Oklahoma's threatened middle class. This comes directly off an announcement of his campaign kickoff event today at Don's Alley Restaurant in Del City (3pm):
Increase Social Security benefits
Support public education
Increase the minimum wage
Reduce college student debt
Keep our country's commitment to veterans
• Invest in infrastructure by repairing crumbling roads, highways, bridges and schools
So how is this blood-red district worth contesting? Time for a little history. In 2015 long-time Republican state Rep., David Dank, a banker, died, triggering a special election in this very red state legislative district within the confines of the 5th CD. Once the seat of Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin (R), Democrat Cyndi Munson beat Republican Robyn Matthews 47% to 35%. Last year, on the same day Trump was beating Clinton, Munson was reelected over Republican Matt Jackson 54% to 46%. That wasn't a good day for Oklahoma Democrats statewide-- they lost a net of 4 state House seats and 3 state Senate seats-- but it was a different story in OK-05, where Democrats, aside from reelecting Munson, picked up 2 Democratic House seats, electing Collin Walke and Mickey Dollens to seats previously held by Republicans, beating, respectively Bruce Lee Smith (48-45%) and Jay Means (60-40%).

This past Tuesday there was more good news for local Democrats. Voters in Pottawatomi and Seminole counties, the reddest part of the district, elected Republican Zack Taylor by just 56 votes for a state House special election-- this is a legislative district Trump had just won 69-31%! Taylor's 50-48% win contrasts shockingly with Tom Newell, whose resignation created this vacancy, who had won re-election last year 67-33%.

Meanwhile progressive groups Change Oklahoma, the Brennan Society, & Our Revolution OK came together to form one single caucus at the recent Oklahoma County Democratic Convention, which they dominated, electing progressives Jesse Jackson and Jane Anderson Oklahoma County Democratic Party chair and vice chair with comfortable margins. A few weeks after the county convention, the same coalition elected Bernie national convention delegate Nadine Gallagher, chair of the OK-05 party and another progressive, Wyatt McGuire, vice chair, also with around two-thirds of the votes.

Even if the DCCC acts as though they've never heard of Oklahoma and fails to recognize the potential to take back OK-05-- which had been a Democratic bastion from1907 until 1975 when longtime Congressman John Jarman switched parties and became a Republican, bitching about how liberals were forcing their views on the party and "punishing those who do not adhere to the liberal party line as laid down by the caucus." It's been Republican ever since. We asked Tom Guild why he thinks he can win it back in 2018.

"Running against James Lankford for Congress this district in 2012, I received 97,504 votes in the general election. Our race was the strongest race any Democratic nominee for Congress in OK-05 has run since 1992. I feel that with my organization, ability to raise money, name identification, and particularly my unapologetic progressive populist platform, I will win in November of 2018 and become the first Democratic congressman in the district since 1975, and perhaps the first progressive congressman in this congressional district in state history. The incumbent, Steve Russell, is a corporatist who votes the interests of Wall Street, Big Corporations, and billionaires. He has completely lost touch with real people in our district. He opposes raising the minimum or even having a minimum wage law. I favor raising the minimum wage to a living wage. I favor increasing Social Security benefits, Russell opposes increasing them. I support Medicare and will do what it takes to keep the program sound. Russell is offering the same old/same old tired voucher plan that has been peddled by extremists in the GOP for decades."

And Russell, of course, was a big cheerleader for Ryan's TrumpCare legislation and was happy to vote for it, despite the fact that it would throw 23,196 of his constituents off their health insurance coverage-- more than in any other Oklahoma district. This is from a letter Russell sent to a constituent after he was shaken up when a recent town hall in Shawnee (in Pottawatomie County), the most conservative part of his district, erupted in boos when he refused to answer participants' questions.
Thank you for contacting me about Medicare and Social Security policies. I appreciate your input on these important issues.

Both Medicare and Social Security are funded by working Americans throughout the lengths of their careers and help millions of seniors achieve health and retirement security. Therefore, it is understandable that proposals to fundamentally restructure them are met with concern. I support careful, well-designed reforms to these programs, and I appreciate the opportunity to share why I believe they are necessary to preserve Social Security and Medicare for today’s seniors and strengthen them for future generations.

America’s national debt is growing at an unsustainable rate, and the hard truth is that the climbing cost of these programs is the main reason why. It is now projected that by 2030, every single dollar in federal tax revenue will be spent in just four places: Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, and the interest payments on our national debt. At that time, any other function of the federal government, including national defense, will have to be borrowed and added to our national debt for future generations to pay.

When these programs were conceived in the 1930s and 1960s, American demographics were quite different than today. The ratio of employed workers to retirees was much larger at the creation of Medicare and Social Security, and American families gave birth to nearly twice as many children. This created a robust workforce for the last few decades, but is now resulting in a large influx of retirees. These programs are unsustainable in the long-run, and they will eventually lead to a painful collapse unless we act soon.

I support restructuring Medicare from a single-payer, fee-for-service program into a free-market structure which would help seniors receive the best health care for the lowest possible cost. This would provide premium support from the federal government to help seniors purchase private insurance from a list of several guaranteed options. This is the same type of plan that most federal employees utilize today. It is essential to note, however, that no changes to Medicare would apply to anyone who is currently 55 years old or older.

Steps must also be taken today to start addressing Social Security’s long-term solvency. This begins by having conversations about ideas, including: modestly raising the retirement age to match longer life expectancies; adjusting the cost of living; allowing workers to invest Social Security funds privately; and asking wealthier Americans to contribute more during their working years.
In 2018 voters are going to decide if they want to replace this guy and his 19th Century world view with a progressive Democrat with a platform seeking the make the lives of Oklahoma residents better, not worse. If you'd like to help Tom campaign, please consider contributing by tapping on the ActBlue thermometer below. The DCCC isn't going to do it for us.
Goal Thermometer

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At 12:54 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

So lets say that Democratic leaders act as they have for years, promoting only corporatist DINOs. Will that finally be the last straw necessary to break the donkey's back and form a new party?

At 6:15 PM, Blogger Thomas Ten Bears said...

The DCCC DLCC (DIPSHITS) still can't find in an otherwise solid Democrat state Oregon District Two, encompassing all of Central and Eastern and most of Southern Oregon, in a state not much small than Montana and a district larger than most, often even combinations of most, on a map with really large letters.

At 9:39 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The DxCCs cannot and will not support progressives or true liberals. That's not who they are and that's exactly who their donors forbid them from supporting.

Wake the fuck up.

At 5:20 AM, Anonymous OldVet said...

DCCC/DLC Motto: Even a crazy teabagger republican is preferable to a progressive democrat who might challenge the democratic party power structure.


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