Friday, July 07, 2017

Lyin' Ryan And His Death Spiral


According to his latest FEC filing at the end of March, Paul Ryan has already spent $2,586,047 this cycle and has a campaign archest of $9,399,416. Last cycle he spent $13,393,345-- against a vanity candidate the Democratic Party ignored and who spent a grand total of $16,890-- far less than the crackpot Trumpist, Paul Nehlen, who primaried Ryan from the right and spent $1,402,877. Nehlen appears to be running against Ryan again-- but this cycle the Democrats-- despite the DCCC-- have a real candidate to run against Ryan, an iron worker and union/vets activist who raised half a million dollars in small contributions in just 2 weeks since announcing and has already assembled the best congressional campaign team anywhere in the country. And the DCCC had decided to ignore Wisconsin this cycle! They can forget that bad idea!

Goal Thermometer Whether Randy Bryce beats Paul Ryan in 2018 will be up to the voters in Kenosha, Racine, Rock, Walworth and Waukesha countiies and in the suburbs south of Milwaukee, but this time Ryan won't have Pelosi protecting his back the way she's done for the last decade. One Democratic Party county chairman told me that "the irrelevancy of the DCCC in this state has become clearer and clearer in the last few election cycles. Everyone knows in their heart we're better off without their interference... They'll probably hop on Bryce's train at some point, but I can tell you this: he'll never be their candidate. Bryce is a people's guy, not an establishment ass-kisser. Ryan's in for the political shock of his lifetime."

Wednesday Jonathan Chait tagged Ryan with his Obamacare "death spiral" lie again. In January, PolitiFact had already branded Ryan a liar again for this one:
A death spiral is a health industry term for a cycle with three components-- shrinking enrollment, healthy people leaving the system and rising premiums. The latest data shows enrollment is increasing slightly and younger (typically healthier) people are signing up at the same rate as last year. And while premiums are increasing, that isn’t affecting the cost to most consumers due to built-in subsidies. So none of the three criteria are met, much less all three. We rate Ryan’s claim False.
So why has Ryan kept lying about it for the last 5 months? Who does he think he's kidding? The voters in Kenosha, Racine, Janesville, Franklin, Muskego, Burlington, Elkhorn and Caledonia? They've been increasingly wising up to Ryan's deceptions. "Trump," wrote Chait, "likes to says things like, 'Obamacare’s dead, it’s gone.' More traditional Republicans-- i.e., ones who don’t talk like characters in Goodfellas-- express the same idea in more highbrow terms. 'You have to remember the law is in what the actuaries tell us [is] a death spiral,' Paul Ryan told reporters earlier this year."
Actually, the actuaries have never said this. A death spiral isn’t just a term people who hate Obamacare get to use to predict that the law is going to fail because they hate it. It’s a specific phenomenon that can happen to insurance markets, in which the risk pool gets increasingly unhealthy, driving up prices and forcing healthy people out until the price level is unsustainable. Independent private-sector analysts, like S&P and the American Academy of Actuaries, have both found that the exchanges are not in a death spiral.

But it’s not only the private sector that has reached this conclusion. Last week, as Topher Spiro noticed, the federal government said the same thing. Here is a June 30 report by the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services. CMS is run by Trump’s own appointee, Seema Verma, and he has cited its findings in the past. Here is the paragraph where CMS finds that the customers on the Obamacare exchanges have not been getting sicker:

The “risk score” is a measure of the health status of enrollees. If the exchanges were going into a death spiral, the risk scores would be rising fast. They’re not, according to Trump’s own government.
Meanwhile, Randy Bryce has-- much to the chagrin of the DCCC-- created a platinum brand for himself and has managed to generate over a million dollars in free media exposure. Know any DCCC recruits who have done that? Yesterday Justin Miller interviewed him for the American Prospect noting that "The internet blew up. Bryce’s campaign video quickly went viral, with many commentators calling it one of the most effective political messages in years. People flocked to his Twitter account, fawning over his handle (@IronStache) and his humble life story. One Twitter user described him as 'genetically engineered from Bruce Springsteen songs.' His campaign launch has been wildly successful, generating heaps of media coverage and leading thousands of small donors from around the country to contribute to his campaign."
Miller: Based on the people you know and conversations you’ve had with folks in the district, how do people feel about Paul Ryan’s “Better Way” plan [which boils down to cutting taxes for those at the top, gutting health-care programs, limiting social services, and rolling back labor protections]?

Bryce: Well for one, we didn’t know how it would affect us because he hasn’t been here for almost two years to hold a public town hall. We had to find out from neighboring [Democratic Representative] Mark Pocan, who came in to hold two town halls, and they were packed.

So people are very concerned with what’s going on. People are scared. It’s a combination of being scared and being upset. The majority of us that live in the district are not the big donors that Paul Ryan’s been visiting. That’s the issue, too-- he’s not talking to us but he’s traveling the country and charging $10,000 to have your picture taken with him. It’s not that he doesn’t have the time. It’s either he doesn’t care about us, or he’s afraid to face us.

Miller: And I assume there are not many people in the district actively calling on him to cut taxes on the rich, gut Medicaid, and so on?

Bryce: I haven’t seen one person. I know some people that are well off, but even those people are saying they don’t mind paying their fair share. I don’t know of anybody who would be able to, or would want to, pay $10,000 to have their picture taken with him. There’s not one person here that’s looking forward to tax cuts for these richest people who already have everything.

Miller: Why do you think Ryan has been re-elected pretty easily each time since taking office in 1998?

Bryce: You know, the last time I saw him was probably five or six years ago. He comes across-- he almost sounds like a Democrat when he’s in the district. He says a lot of things. I mean, there were commercials running that were just blatant falsehoods, like, “Call Paul Ryan and thank him for saving pre-existing conditions.” He’s been in office for so long and people are starting to come around [to the reality] that he doesn’t care about us.

In early May, there was a Public Policy poll that showed more people would vote to replace him than keep him in office. After 20 years, he’s totally changed. He’s gone full-blown Washington at this point.

...Miller: Most members of Congress generally come out of the white-collar world-- many of them are lawyers, many of them graduated from elite universities. A majority of members are millionaires. The average member’s wealth is equal to that of 18 average Americans’ households. I don’t think a single one is a tradesman or woman, let alone a union member. Do you think Congress has any real grasp on the everyday struggles of working Americans? And why do you think it’s so important to have actual working people’s voices in Washington?

Bryce: Obviously I do think that Congress is not in touch with working people overall. You can just look at the decisions that are being made with health care. Right now, in the Senate, they’re doing it behind closed doors. They’re trying to keep it as secretive as possible.

If I didn’t think we needed more working people to run-- and don’t get me wrong, this is going to be extremely difficult for me, a guy who gets paid by the hour, I’m not salaried-- but I think it’s really important. I don’t need a law degree. I don’t need a doctorate. I have ears to listen. For the last ten years, I’ve been standing up and demanding that people be heard. It’s a combination of listening to my neighbors, listening to people in my district, and continuing to stand up and demand that our issues are heard wherever decisions are made.

Miller: Do you think Democrats can recapture working-class districts in the Rust Belt that have voted for Trump and Republicans?

Bryce: I absolutely do, and again, like I said, just the success based on our message that I’m one of us running for office. We need to get more of us to run.

Miller: You were a Bernie supporter in the Wisconsin Democratic primary and you were set to be an elector for Hillary in the general election. Are you concerned that those two camps are heading in different directions? How do you think the party can reconcile and come together?

Bryce: I think I’m in a really good position to be able to unite both camps into one. I understand the support for Bernie. I appreciated him going on picket lines as well as his stances. At the same time, I understand voting for Hillary. I did whatever possible to keep out Donald Trump, who ran on a populist message that some working people fell for. He made a lot of promises that he hasn’t kept. He hasn’t done one thing on behalf of working people that he said he would do.

I’m getting a lot of support from both camps. It seems to be a bigger issue on social media around the country than it does in the First Congressional District.

Miller: I’m sure you know plenty of people who voted for Trump from the district. Do you think the fact that he’s broken all these promises and gone the other way on so many policies is breaking through to the people who voted for him?

Bryce: Absolutely, and I tell them-- I know by face and name, because I work with them on the job site, former Trump supporters. I kind of joke with them, “Well, nothing says let’s stick it to the man like voting for a billionaire, eh? How’s this working out for you? What has he done?”

He promised to use U.S. steel on the pipeline-- do some research, see where it’s coming from. I hate being lied to. So do the people I work with who voted for him. We work hard, we earn every penny we make. And to be lied to, there’s a heck of a lot of buyer’s remorse going on.

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At 6:43 AM, Blogger Mark Gisleson said...

Excellent analysis. The eastern end of the district has underperformed thanks to party neglect. The people who have held those county parties together are real heroes but they're getting old and need new blood.

Do not neglect the rest of the CD. People are tired. Commuter traffic starts at 5 am, and many have two jobs (after a brutal extended high unemployment rate, Walker's biz give away tax incentives lured a lot of low paying warehouse jobs into the district). These folks aren't whiners but they know something's not right.

The key to winning WI 1CD? Make Ryan fight for it. He doesn't wear well on voters and the more they see him, the less they like him. But please, please, please tell Randy not to use negative jokes and insulting images. That may fire up our base, but it enrages Ryan's and results in them rallying around their boy from Janesville. Attacks on Trump need to be on substance, not suitability. Rank and file Republicans are being fed heaping helpings of well deserved hubris, so smart Dems will refrain from 'rubbing it in.' It's a gerrymandered CD and Randy can't win without attracting Republican votes.

At 4:57 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good analysis, Mark. It's Fucking WI-01! They've elected a known evil quantity 9(?) times. There is no mystery to what that pos is and WI-01 cannot be confused. Could not be confused in all but the first election.

Bryce cannot win without turning a bunch of the R voters, true. That means he has to be mean and hateful and evil so they'll take notice. The DCCC's donors will also want him to pledge fealty to them or he won't get a nickel.

BA will help, but can't do the job alone. If Bryce wins with DCCC help, it's because he's sold out to the DCCC one must assume. If he does not sell out and does not paint himself as a quasi-Nazi, the R voters won't care for him.

In fact, if Ryan loses, it'll be to the teabagger purist beating him in the primary.

Can Bryce beat either one of them? It's fucking WI-01!!!

Besides the questions about Bryce and the DCCC and Pelosi's corruption, probably the only real question is: Just how fucked up is WI-01 anyway? As we've seen in race after race, the Rs know what they're doing when they gerrymander the shit out of a district.

WI-01 is likely as fucked up as TX-01 (gomert), which is REALLY fucked up.

At 9:09 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Did "death spiral" start with ryan, mcturtle or the drumpfsterfire? Some paid consultant type pos prolly came up with it and everyone was directed to parrot it. You've seen the spliced snips on LWT (Oliver), "Real Time" and elsewhere where everyone with a mic in front will Wurlitzer the same phrase endlessly. If polling shows the drooling sub-sentients get angered, they keep it up for an eternity.


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