Sunday, July 09, 2017

Hillary Back On The Campaign Trail?


This morning I mentioned in passing that candidates have been clamoring for visits to their districts from candidates with brands that voters admire-- Bernie, first and foremost, but also Elizabeth Warren in a major way and a small number of House members who have been prominent in Resistance against Trump, Ted Lieu, for example. But no one wants public events in their districts with congressional big shots like Pelosi, Hoyer, Crowley, Lujan or Wasserman Schultz... nor with Hillary Clinton. Right after I finished writing that, The Hill published a piece by Amie Parnes, Hillary Clinton looks for her role in midterms, asserting that some candidates would like to have Hillary doing events in their districts. Most of them are Republicans eager to motivate their own base. As for Democrats? Maybe some Blue Dogs and the Wall Street-owned and operated New Dems, but no real Democrats that I could find.

Of course, as always with Clinton, it's all about her, not anyone else. She wants to play a role but isn't sure what the role will be. She started a PAC-- sucking money out of the system-- that she claims she'll use for campaigns. Rake-offs and "expenses" from those kinds of vanity efforts are just short of being criminal. "She also is looking," wrote Parnes, "at the House districts she won in last year’s presidential contest against Donald Trump as part of an autopsy of her failed campaign, according to two sources who have spoken to the former Secretary of State." These are the districts:

We reached out to candidates-- some who have declared and some who haven't in almost all 23 districts. Very few wanted to talk about it on the record. Kia Hamadanchy, who's running for the CA-45 seat Mimi Walters is holding, was the first. "Orange County," he told me, "is the key to the next house majority for Democrats and unless we win all 4 of these seats we are going to continue to be in the minority. Hillary Clinton helped demonstrate that this is not the same old conservative Orange County that everyone thinks it is and whether its Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, Bernie Sanders, Joe Biden, or another national Democrat leader out here campaigning, the most important thing is that the national party continues to invest the attention and resources we need to win these seats."

Michael Hepburn is the progressive candidate contesting the Miami-Dade seat Ileana Ros-Lehtinen is giving up. It's the deep blue South Florida district Debbie Wasserman Schultz has help keep in Republican hands for over a decade-- and it's the GOP-held district Hillary won most overwhelmingly, clobbering Trump by nearly 20 points! Michael was happy to go on the record with this statement:
I personally do not have an issue with receiving support from Hillary Clinton after we win this Democratic nomination. I actually voted for Senator Sanders in the presidential primary-- since I felt that this country needed something different to push us forward and some of his policy perspectives closely resembled my point of view. However, I’m about people over politics and I wake up every day aspiring to inspire others to believe in their dreams and goals. So as long as she’s comfortable with knowing that I am running to be a champion for public education, healthcare, and economic justice for all-- I have no problems with receiving her support.

Across the board among candidates enthusiasm for Hillary coming into the districts in person was... muted. I didn't bring up Bernie or Elizabeth Warren to anyone but many of the candidates took the initiative of bringing one or both of them up-- and almost everyone said they would want Obama campaigning for them. One candidate in a district Hillary won narrowly said he hopes she "stays away and sends money... She's a lightning rod for negativity and she's yesterday's news... She won this district but an awful lot of people didn't vote for her as much as they voted against Trump. She was the lesser-of-two evils" in a lot of voters' minds. They did pick the lesser evil but no one in [deleted] wants to see her again anytime soon." One of the candidates in John Culberson's district told me, again, off-the-record, that "this is not a district where having Hillary here would help; unlike say Ileana's, where she won by double digits. She barely scraped by in this one!" Another Texas candidate was much harsher: "She'd muddle the message in a bad way. We're out here pushing a very clear message on climate, jobs, and health care. I don't know what she could add, given her slowness in coming our way on those issues. She will fire up a certain section of the base, sure, but no one has suggested in any precinct in any county that I try to bring her in."

Another candidate in a fiercely contested primary isn't interested in seeing her show up in his district and wouldn't invite her. "Totally off the record," he said, "I think it's probably a bad idea. Obama would be a different story as would Bernie. I just am not sure people have a stomach for relitigating 2016."

One of the top Orange County candidates told me, off the record that "she wouldn't be my first choice (I'd rather have Bernie or Obama). Hillary and the Clintons in general represent a different era and a different Democratic party, which I don't really identify with. She's also just generally been too hawkish and overly cautious for my taste. I also just have the sense that she's had her moment and as a party it's time for new faces a new generation of leadership. Now with all the said she did win this district and the 3 other OC ones and the only reason [the DCCC] is actually trying to contest these seats is for that reason. I don't think having her out here to campaign with me would hurt me in the way that having Trump out here campaign for [the GOP incumbent] would hurt them."

And two more off-the-record candidate comments: "I would prefer we move forward as a party and she just focus on fundraising. I am not sure she helps bring in any new voters. Those who like her are going to turn out anyways. My campaign is all about next generation leadership, which runs counter to how people feel about her."

And... "I really think she would do more harm than good but I think that should stay off record. You can quote me anonymously if you want but my take is that so many people voted for her in districts like mine not because they liked her but because it was between her and Trump and most rational people felt like she was the lesser of two evils. Next year it won't be about that and she has so much baggage attached to her that I personally think she should just stay out of it. She won't sway people towards me and there is a good chance she would push others away... especially people on the Bernie side or Republicans we are able to bring over."

Democrats are focused on the Golden State as they seek to win back the House majority.

[Wretchded, crooked Blue Dog] Ellen Tauscher-- a Clinton ally and former California congresswoman-- along with a longtime aide Katie Merrill, have started a super PAC focused on seven of the so-called “split districts” in that state that voted for Clinton but backed a Republican candidate for the House.

Democrats are still mapping out a game plan for 2018 along with a message for their rudderless party. But another Clinton confidant said part of the plan might be to have Clinton campaign for candidates in the places where she won.

“No one can argue that Clinton helping in those areas wouldn't be helpful,” the confidant said. “That is a priority for her.”

If Clinton hits the campaign trail, Republicans are ready to pounce. They say they would welcome Clinton's presence on the stump because it would help GOP candidates.

"For 30 years, Hillary Clinton has essentially been Old Faithful for Republican candidates," said Doug Heye, a Republican strategist. "Her continues prominence only helps GOP candidates with an electorate that historically is more favorable than what they faced in the last presidential election.

"The more Clinton weighs in and tries to tell voters "I'm baaaack," the more Republicans will tell her to keep on trucking," Heye continued.

Still, Chris Lehane, a Democratic strategist, added that Clinton, “could have a real voice in these places, absolutely.”

“She can go into those districts and make a case that there is an opportunity to do a course correction and do it in a fairly compelling way,” Lehane said, particularly if Democrats strengthen their message and give voters a reason to vote for them.

In May, during a question and answer session at the Code Conference, an event focused on tech, media and politics, Clinton indicated her focus is on winning those House seats for her party.

“Everything will change if we win in 2018,” she said at the conference. “We have to flip 24 seats. I won 23 districts that have a Republican Congress member, seven of them are in California.

“If we can flip those, if we can go deeper into where I did well, where we can get good candidates, I think flipping the House is certainly realistic. It’s a goal that we can set for ourselves,” she continued.

Even staunch Clinton supporters say that while there is room for her to play a role, she also needs to leave room for new leaders to emerge.

Garry Mauro, a longtime friend of the Clintons who led Bill Clinton’s 1992 campaign effort in Texas, thinks the House can be won with the help of the Longhorn state, where there are three “split” districts.

But he doesn’t want Clinton to be front and center.

“Would she be well received? Of course, she would be. But we’re not going to win these races because Barack Obama, Michelle Obama, Hillary Clinton or Nancy Pelosi comes to the state and campaigns,” Mauro said. “We’re going to win it because we represent new leadership and new ideas.

“I think Secretary Clinton has got to define her role in American politics and she can play a real role in helping the Democratic Party but…we need new leadership,” Mauro added. “She can play a heck of a role. She just can’t play the dominant role.”

Republicans have signaled they intend to link every Democrat running for the House next year to longtime Democratic leader and former Speaker Pelosi (Calif.), arguing a vote for the local Democrat would put Pelosi in charge.

It’s an argument many Democrats are wary of, as it was used successfully against Jon Ossoff-- the promising Democratic candidate who lost a special election in Georgia last month.

Merrill, who started “Fight Back California” together with Tauscher, said there is a role Clinton can play when it comes to driving turnout among Democrats and the ability to raise money for Democratic candidates.

“Midterm elections are notorious for low turn out and the ability to raise money-- those are the two places Democrats will have trouble in the midterms,” Merrill said, adding that Clinton could contribute by doing digital ads and social media outreach along with tapping into her vast Rolodex of donors.

But Merrill said the California races in particular are going to be “won on local issues” by talking to the voters about the records of the incumbents.

“I think it would be a mistake for any campaign to nationalize these elections,” she added. “It can’t be about Trump or the 2016 election. It’s gotta be about these local issues.”

Merrill said she expects Clinton to remain “an active part” of the Democratic Party.

“I imagine she’ll only continue that level of activity,” she said.

Let's look at the last district on the list, AZ-02, a quintessential swing district that includes most of Tucson, though not the Hispanic west and south sides. Obama narrowly missed winning both times he ran-- by about 1%-- and Trump lost to Hillary by almost 5 points, 49.6% to 44.7%. While Hillary was winning, Republican incumbent Martha McSally was beating Democrat Matt Heinz decisively, 179,806 (57%) to 135,873 (43%). McSally spent a massive $7,826,194 to Heniz's $1,576,119. Ryan's SuperPAC spent $662,677 bolstering McSally while Pelosi and the DCCC refused to spend a dime on Heinz, leaving him twisting in the hot sun. He's running again-- as are half a dozen other Democratic candidates-- Billy Kovacs, Will Foster, Jeff Latas, Mary Sally Matiella, Charlie Verdin and a right-wing corporate shill the DCCC is importing into the district, Ann Kirkpatrick, who has a long history of losing elections by trying to appeal to Republicans while alienating Democrats and progressive independents.

Heinz was willing to talk on the record. He told us that he's hearing from his "patients, my colleagues and many southern Arizona politicos that they are sick of the same cookie cutter career politicians spouting perfectly crafted poll-tested and focus-grouped talking points. That strategy has failed us-- most recently we saw that in GA-06 and SC-05. The money and DCCC went for Ossoff (a very talented man, btw) and totally neglected the genuine progressive Dem in SC-05 who came within 2700 votes of an amazing upset!

"We need candidates who are authentic and who have real connections to their communities. Most importantly we have to listen to the voters. That's the theme of my announcement video which you can see at When a hugely Republican district almost votes for a soft-spoken progressive tax attorney, that's because he was connecting with people and listening to their hopes and fears.

"I think we can learn a lot from these recent events and I know that in my own campaign I'm looking to my volunteers and precinct committee folks and everyday southern Arizonans for their input, not just a few expensive surveys. I'm also hearing every day from my patients about current events-- something I have never before experienced! People are very engaged and activated even now!

"As for Hillary helping out House candidates, that is very gracious of her to offer. We certainly don't agree on every issue. But I will say that she conceded without tipping the nation into civil unrest-- something that I believe she alone had the capacity to do, sadly. She also sent me a personal letter expressing how she was honored to share the ballot with me in 2016. It was an unexpectedly warm and personal gesture. I wish more people could have seen that side of her in the lead up to the Nov 8 election last year. It reminded me of VP Al Gore on SNL post the Nov 2000 election. He got into a hot tub and was absolutely hilarious! It was a funny and engaging more human side of him that we didn't see almost ever ahead of that fateful election.

"I believe that Hillary could be a very positive force in some of the districts she won substantially (south Florida, maybe Issa's seat in the San Diego area), especially with the buyer's remorse going on presently. That said, she remains a highly polarizing celebrity and some districts like mine are so evenly divided that such an endorsement could ultimately fuel turnout for my opponent who is suffering from very low approval (40%!!) because McSally could then start running ads against Hillary instead of me.

"For my part, I plan to stay focused on southern Arizona families. If elected, I will be tasked with making government work better for them. That is my passion and therefore will continue to be my highest priority and focus."

Right now, polling shows Heinz leading McSally 48-44%, but that will all go up in smoke if the DCCC brings in their losing candidate from across the state, Kirkpatrick, to shit all over the field and guarantee another term for McSally. It would be a classic DCCC/EMILY's List move, the exact kind of move that have turned so many grassroots Democrats against both organizations.

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At 5:18 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

coupla things:

$hillbillary is the queen of diamonds. Certainly NOT the queen of hearts. total whiff on that one.

IMO, if a candidate is running under the democrap banner, they should welcome the democrap oligarchs to come and appear with them.
What does it say about the malleability of principles of someone who is willing to run under a banner but recognizes the toxicity of that same banner's leadershit?
If you know the party is pig shit, you should run in a party that is NOT pig shit.

Voters have the same problem. But so do candidates.
Democraps are not good. If you're good, you have no business being a democrap.

At 8:10 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

JHimmy Dore posted a video of Roseann DeMoro (?) of the California Nurses Association warning the Democrats that they will walk away from the Party if health care for people isn't delivered.

Meanwhile, Major Democrats and Republicans are partying together in the Hamptons.


At 8:54 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I see I have another ally. If I live another 2000 years, maybe we can make a quorum in a small district somewhere... if we all move there together.

Perhaps $hillbillary's delusional persistence is what is needed to bury the democraps for good. Nothing I can think of will suppress the D vote more than having that lying corrupt warmongering bank whore marching at the front of the parade... still... after what was done to Bernie and after losing to... THAT.
Well, maybe Pelosi marching at the front would make more people stay home... hard to say.

As someone looking for ANY catalyst to make the barely sentient 65 million have this epiphany, maybe I should ROOT for the Clinton/Obama/Pelosi/scummer corruption cabal to keep at it for as long as they can breathe.


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