Thursday, July 13, 2017

Are New Hampshire Democrats Finally Wising Up To How Awful New Dem Ann Kuster Is?


Putin missed one. Trump very narrowly lost New Hampshire to Clinton 348,526 (47.62%) to 345,790 (47.25%). The first in the nation primary should have been a warning for Clinton; Bernie cleaned her clock-- 152,193 (60.14%) to 95,355 (37.68%). New Hampshire Democrats were infuriated when Wasserman Schultz's delegate-rigging system awarded that massive Bernie victory just 16 delegates to Hillary's 15. Many vowed they wouldn't vote for Wasserman Schultz's candidate in the general-- and they didn't. But the primary day result I want to draw your attention to-- the Bernie Woulda Won numbers-- is a comparison of Bernie's 152,193 total to Trump's sad, anemic 100,735 total. In fact, Bernie had more primary votes in New Hampshire than 1st place Trump PLUS send place Kasich (44,932) combined.

The Senate race was also very, very close. Democrat Maggie Hassan ousted GOP incumbent Kelly Ayotte 354,649 (48.0%)-- more votes than Hillary got-- to 353,632 (47.8%)-- way more votes than Trump got. It gets a little tricky in the House. The second congressional district is the bluer district (Hillary beat Trump there 48.6% to 46.2%) but NH-01 is always sketchier. Trump won it, in fact-- 48.2% to 46.6%. NH-01 had a Republican incumbent, teabagger Frank Guinta. Progressive Democrat Carol Shea Porter-- though massively outspent-- ousted Guinta, even though there was a rich right-wing corporate Democrat, Shawn O'Connor (masquerading as a Berniecrat) in the race explicitly trying to draw Democratic votes from her. The results on election day:
Shea-Porter- 162,080 (44.3%)
Guinta- 157,176 (43.0%)
O'Connor- 34,735 (9.5%)
Although each candidate spent approximately the same amount of money-- around $1.5 million-- the NRCC spent $1,294,212 attacking Shea-Porter while the DCCC "responded" with a pathetic $96,200 time buy.

Next door in much easier NH-02, conservative Democrat Ann Kuster, a New Dem beat Republican Jim Lawrence 174,371 (49.8%) to 158,825 (45.3%). Kuster raised $3,159,505 to Lawrence's $95,443. But even though Kuster's district is far bluer and more easily navigated for a Democrat, she is much more likely to vote for Ryan's agenda than Carol-- by about 10 points and, according to the FiveThirtyEight Trump adherence page Kuster votes more frequently with Trump than Shea-Porter does, even though Shea-Porter's district has far more Trump voters than Kuster's.

On Tuesday New Hampshire Public Radio's Josh Rogers had a somewhat startling piece on how Kuster uses naked politics in her votes for Trump's ugly, bigoted and xenophobic immigration agenda, Kuster: Votes For Trump-Backed Immigration Bills Part Common Ground, Part 2018 Strategy. She's always been clear that she was looking for "common ground" where she could work with the Trump regime, but not in the way progressives want to work with him by bringing him over to progressive positions. She's just looking for places she can sign to his toxic agenda-- which she's done in about 1 out of 5 votes. "One of those, it turns out, is Trump’s signature issue of immigration," reported Rogers. "So far this year, Kuster is among a minority of Democrats in the House to support some Trump-backed GOP bills that aim to crack down on illegal immigration."
Kuster’s votes are angering some Democrats, but Kuster sees them as good politics.

When Kuster opened the floor to questions at her town hall meeting in Nashua Monday, her support for what’s known as Kate’s Law got plenty of attention.

Margaret Wheeler of Windham begged Kuster to rethink her position on the GOP bill, which targets criminal undocumented immigrants but would also stiffen penalties for immigrants without criminal records who repeatedly attempt to cross the U.S. border illegally.

“This city, I know, your city, is full of people, they won’t leave their homes, because they are afraid of being deported and never being able to come back,” Wheeler said.

"So I am opposed to what the Trump administration ran on, and what they are doing to discourage people from staying here. And I want to just balance welcoming people and keeping the community safe," Kuster responded.

Kuster also seems to want to strike a political balance.

The same day she supported Kate’s Law, she also opposed a separate Trump-backed bill aimed at crimping the flow of federal aid to so-called sanctuary cities. But as one of just twenty-four Democrats to back Kate’s Law, Kuster’s vote was conspicuous-- and frustrating-- for liberals.

Lynn Tramonte is with the D.C.-based pro-immigrant advocacy group America’s Voice.

"We should not be giving any inch to Donald Trump on immigration, and the fact that Democrats are even considering these to be tough votes, I think is outrageous."

...When asked about what’s driving her recent immigration votes-- Kuster also split with most of her caucus to back a Republican bill to relax hiring standards for U.S. Customs and Border Agents-- she’s quick to cast them as tactical, a way to outmaneuver Republicans looking toward 2018.

“They are using votes to set people up who are in swing states. And I’m not going to set myself up for an ad, but I think we should have comprehensive immigration reform.”

Kuster claims that’s more doable than most think. As for the bills she’s voting for now, Kuster says people should see them for what she expects them to be, meaningless.

“They are not going anywhere. They are not going to be taken up in the Senate. None of these things are going to happen.”

This may or may not be persuasive to many of Kuster’s core supporters.

Longtime Democratic activist Sylvia Gale said she didn’t like what she heard from Kuster on Kate’s Law in Nashua, but she didn’t say she was shocked.

“Is it about reelection? Perhaps. Is it about financial support to get reelected? Perhaps. I like to think the people I believe in, are not that shallow. But I think that’s a political reality in this state and many other places.”

That voters, particularly Democrats, will accept that reality, is what Kuster seems to be banking on.
Again, although Kuster voted for it in a much bluer district, Carol Shea Porter, in a district Trump won, took a more courageous and principled stand in opposition:
“Today, I voted against H.R.3004, or ‘Kate’s Law,’ which is opposed by dozens of religious groups, including the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, Catholic Charities USA, the Church World Service, the United Methodist Church, the Episcopal Refugee and Immigrant Center Alliance, the New Hampshire Conference United Church of Christ Immigration Working Group, the American Friends Service Committee, T’ruah: the Rabbinic Call for Human Rights, and the Unitarian Universalist Association.

“Let me be clear: the killing of Kate Steinle was a horrible and inexcusable crime, and my heart goes out to her family and loved ones. This should never have happened. We must investigate the breakdown in policy that led to Kate’s tragic death. This bill would, however, have serious negative consequences by increasing the likelihood that innocent asylum seekers, trafficking victims, and other non-criminal immigrants will be imprisoned. These victims would be in trouble if they presented themselves at ports of entry to seek help.

“I also voted against H.R.3003, which the US Conference of Mayors strongly opposed and the Fraternal Order of Police said would unjustly ‘penalize law enforcement and the citizens they serve because Congress disagrees with their enforcement priorities with respect to our immigration laws.’ We must stand up for proper funding for law enforcement. It is unjust to jeopardize our local police agencies, which are already underfunded and understaffed. The policies this bill seeks to end are designed to improve trust in law enforcement and help our police officers do their jobs effectively. We should not take away local communities’ and law enforcement agencies’ ability to decide how to do their jobs.”
Kuster is just a disaster. When I asked her why she turned into such a piece of crap once she tricked progressives to help her get elected, she told me does does exactly what Steny Hoyer tells her today. She has no shame-- and no right being in Congress. New Hampshire Democrats should get rid of her already.

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At 4:04 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Annie must think that her base is secure, and I'm sure the party power brokers in the state (and at the DNC and DCCC as well) are telling her it's so. So she is toadying to the conservative voters in the district who will never vote for her - NEVER. Her opponent last November, Jim Lawrence, was the most inept candidate I've seen in 60+ years of election watching. Annie should have beaten him by 15%

I voted for her as I did for Hillary, holding my nose and deriving cold comfort that she wasn't the other guy. Hell of a way to spend election day!

At 6:57 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

As you derive your cold comfort, consider the further descent down the staircase you affirm by voting for awful.
Is it democracy when the only choices are awful vs. horrible? Is that the binary universe we are truly in?

If there is a state that might be able to figure this out, it is NH. But they'll have to toss the democrap's candidates out into the snow and find better. The democraps aren't going to be helpful. Haven't been for nearly 4 decades.

At 10:09 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

We have been too far down this road to break out of the Democrat - Republican (I prefer to use correct names and avoid what sounds like schoolyard taunting) binary model. 41 years since Buckley v Valeo and 7 years under Citizens United have written the story. Annie raised not quite $20 for every vote she received.

"If there is a state that might be able to figure this out, it is NH" You would think a grassroots, modestly funded campaign might just succeed in NH - something modeled on Walkin' Lawton's 1970 US Senate campaign in Florida. But without meaningful campaign finance reform that candidate would be swamped under a tsunami of negative ads (true or not) and all the other stuff money can buy.

At 11:18 AM, Blogger TaxiManSteve said...

She's good on banking de-regulations too, from what I've heard.

At 11:40 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

NH is small enough that a statewide candidate could actually cover the whole thing, meeting and talking to voters. AK, TX... not so much.
Also, NH has had something of an independent streak in the past, so a good candidate who is neither R nor D might be able to win.

All is lost if the state uses corruptible vote counting instead of paper, however. In states using these, nobody can ever assure anyone that the results are accurate.

At 12:16 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

To Anon 11:40
1. "...candidate could actually cover the whole thing, meeting and talking to voters." A candidate can only talk to the voters who are interested in being talked to. With the sophisticated voter suppression techniques in use today that number can be minimised. Of course the party faithful will listen, but they aren't who you need.

2. "...NH has had something of an independent streak...." Please insert "skinflint" in place of independent. NH has been colonized in the last 30 - 40 years by tax fugitives from Massachusetts. They selfishly want the high paying jobs south of the border and the low tax rates here. As to our famously "libertarian" bent, translated into English it means: Don't mess in my private affairs while I proceed to mess in yours. I don't think there's a single state representative out of 400 who isn't R or D. Statewide - fuggedaboudit!

At least my town uses paper ballots. I always looked forward to taking the oath and helping with the count until they bought scanning machines. But at least a hand recount is possible.

At 11:26 AM, Blogger susanthe said...

To Anon 12:16
There are actually 3 out of the 400 Reps. who have left their respective parties and joined the Libertarian Party. They are all young men. Caleb Dwyer was Republican. One ran as a Democrat, but that was a matter of convenience. Joseph Stallcop was recruited by members of the Free State Project to run as a Dem to get elected, then make a big public deal out of leaving the party to be a Libertarian.

It's likely that none of the young neckbeards will be reelected. The most recent, Brandon Phinney, former Republican, was just outed for being a Satanist.

NH has a 400 member volunteer legislature. They earn a $100 a year stipend. This means that the median age of the NH legislature is 66. It means that the House is full of the rich, the retired, or the flat out crazy. The younger neckbeard Liberty types may be getting private subsidies in order to serve. As long as we have a 400 member House, we're destined to live in the past.


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