Wednesday, August 09, 2017

Both Political Parties Start The 2018 Primary Season Mired In Civil War


Instead of Heller vs Rosen, how about Sbaih vs Tarkanian?

Yesterday, you may have seen that an American Research Group poll of likely presidential primary voters in New Hampshire showed that John Kasich leads Trump 52-40%. And if Trump is replaced by Pence, the news is even better for Kasich. In a 2-man head to head, Kasich leads Pence 41-27%. Also yesterday morning, Nevada Trumpist-- and serial loser--Danny Tarkanian went on Trump's favorite TV show, Fox & Friends, to announce his primary challenge to Republican Senator Dean Heller. Heller, who vehemently opposed TrumpCare, was threatened by Trump and Pence-- threats that included a negative TV ad paid for by a PAC for which Pence raised the money-- and he flip-flopped and sold out Nevada voters rather than man up and take the heat the way Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), Susan Collins (R-ME) and John McCain (R-AZ) did. Heller, no doubt, imagined he would be safe from Trumpist rage by surrendering. That doesn't seem to be working out for him. GOP pollster Strategic National showed Heller having a tough time in a match with Tarkanian, edging him, 38-34%, within the poll's margin of error. In a 3-way match up including Rep. Mark Amodei, Amodei leads with 27% to Heller's 26% and Tarkanian's 21%.

David Drucker reported for the Washington Examiner, a GOP website, that Trumpanzee and the GOP "are increasingly at each other's throats at a time when lawmakers are back in their districts for recess. Trump sometimes treats congressional Republicans as an opposition party, tweeting criticism of them and reprimanding them in public settings. Republicans have taken to doing the same-- ignoring the president as if his spotlight-grabbing tweets don't exist and rebuking him on key elements of his foreign and domestic priorities."
Trump's rise has elevated the populists, often working-class and rural voters, who tend to be less fiscally conservative and hawkish on foreign policy and more motivated by cultural wedge issues like guns and same-sex marriage, than traditional conservatives, who tend to hold down white-collar jobs and live in the suburbs.

The conflict has infected intraparty relations in the states and at the grassroots level as well, leading to factionalism and a group of party loyalists who are a separate and distinct group from Trump loyalists, although there is overlap.

"The populist-conservative fusion has been coming for some time," Republican strategist Brad Todd said. "The trick is going to be finding some things that each branch of the party wants that the other branch can live with."

The impact has been felt among Republicans on Capitol Hill. Whether on repealing Obamacare, controlling government spending or immigration reform, they periodically run into trouble in advancing their own agenda because of they can't agree among themselves. But Trump certainly controls the party apparatus.

The installation of Kayleigh McEnany as national spokesman for the Republican National Committee is the latest example of Trump's takeover. McEnany doesn't have experience as a professional GOP communications operative, as an individual in her position usually does.

But she is a Trump loyalist who excelled in an arena important to the president: on CNN as television surrogate.

Trump nevertheless remains, in many respects, a stranger in his own party. That's most evident in his reliance on Vice President Mike Pence, a traditional Reagan conservative, for political and policy outreach.

Pence was an essential tool Trump used during the general election to reassure skeptical Republicans that they could trust the GOP nominee. Pence also forged connections between with a standoffish party establishment whose work on the ground was important to helping Trump win.

The president's dependence on Pence has continued long past Election Day, however.

Two-hundred days into his administration, Trump hasn't developed the array of relationships with members of his party on Capitol Hill that the previous Republican other president had or, in place of those connections, strong personal and political loyalty.

Pence is still the president's conduit to many Republicans on Capitol Hill-- the White House figure congressional Republicans actually trust and prefer to deal with. As Sen. Jim Inhofe told the Washington Examiner during an interview in late June when asked what Trump could do to ensure passage of legislation to repeal and replace Obamacare:

"Keep in mind, his greatest ally in helping him is the vice president," the Oklahoma Republican said on June 22, roughly one month before the Senate GOP bill failed. "That's an area where he's going to be more prominent in trying to help get this through than the president, because he has the direct contact with the individuals."

The vice president is also Trump's go-to for much of the party-building activities outside of Washington that are normally overseen more directly by the president and his staff. It's that dynamic that created the atmosphere for speculation to flourish that Pence had ulterior motives for launching a leadership PAC and traveling the country to raise money and campaign on behalf off down-ticket Republicans.

"The party is damaged and fractured," a former House GOP leadership aide said. "Part of that was a pre-existing condition, and part of that is Trump throwing gas on the fire every day."
Good to know it isn't just the Democrats going through a primary season civil war. With Pelosi's DCCC and the DC establishment Democrats using Medicare-for-All-- and a progressive agenda in general-- as a litmus test to oppose congressional candidates, Beltway media outlets like Politico are helping them twist the framing to make it sound like progressives are enforcing a litmus test against the Republican wing of the Democratic Party. "House and Senate Democrats," wrote Gabriel Debenedetti, "have wondered for months whether Bernie Sanders’ supporters might choose to focus their energy on launching primary challenges to party moderates in 2018. They’re about to get an answer... The Vermont senator himself has not explicitly said he’ll support primary challenges to those who won’t support his push for a so-called Medicare-for-all health care plan. But there are plenty of signs that Sanders and his allies view the issue as a defining moment for Democratic lawmakers."

As we showed yesterday, the DCCC spends tens of millions of dollars backing Blue Dogs, New Dems, "ex"-Republicans and others from the Republican wing of the Democratic Party, while starving progressives of any meaningful support. But for lazy, easily-spun Beltway types like Debenedetti, it is the Bernie backers who are about litmus tests. In his reporting about the Nevada Senate primary Debenedetti doesn't even mention that the extremely right-of-center establishment candidate, Jacky Rosen, is one of the Trumpiest Democrats in Congress with one of the worst voting records of any Democrat in the House and an "F" score from Progressive Punch.
[E]ven as leading party figures have drifted toward supporting a single-payer system similar to the one proposed by Sanders, almost none of them expect anything like it to become law while Republicans control Washington.

With Sanders promising to play a major role in 2018 races, that’s led many party officials to worry about the prospect of his involvement in primaries that could upend the Democratic establishment’s plans to win crucial House, Senate and gubernatorial seats.

The fears are acute enough that when the Nevada chapter of Our Revolution-- the political group spawned from the Sanders presidential campaign-- endorsed long-shot candidate Jesse Sbaih in the state’s Democratic Senate primary over party favorite Rep. Jacky Rosen, retired former Sen. Harry Reid felt the need to call Sanders directly.

Don’t endorse Sbaih, and don’t let the national Our Revolution group accept its Nevada chapter's recommendation to back him either, the former minority leader implored his friend. Sanders agreed, said a Democrat familiar with the interaction.

“There’s a concern that [Sanders allied] people will try to make a stir,” said a senior Democratic aide working on a 2018 campaign. “You can’t just be a liberal Democrat in a lot of these states and be elected. [So] the question is how we improve the lives of people instead of playing these political games."

Sanders allies don’t find that argument convincing.

“Any Democrat worth their salt that doesn’t unequivocally say Medicare-for-all is the way to go? To me, there’s something wrong with them,” said former Ohio state Sen. Nina Turner, president of Our Revolution. “We’re not going to accept no more hemming and hawing. No more game playing. Make your stand.”

...The Vermont independent has signaled that he expects serious resistance even from Democrats, but he has yet to spell out how he'll fight back.

“We will be taking on the most powerful special interests in the country: Wall Street, the insurance companies, the drug companies, the corporate media, the Republican Party and the establishment wing of the Democratic Party,” he emailed supporters last Tuesday.

What’s clear is that Sanders’ large and politically active following has stopped Democrats from confronting him directly — including when it comes to offering alternatives to his Medicare-for-all measure. Many still remember the swift and angry January response from grass-roots progressives including Sanders supporters toward Booker for a symbolic drug importation vote, and toward Sen. Elizabeth Warren for her procedural vote in favor of Ben Carson’s nomination as Housing secretary.

“It represents the broader question of what the Democratic Party stands for, [so] this is a fundamental moment for Democratic senators. It’s an issue that everyone is going to be watching to see how they respond,” said Chuck Idelson, a senior operative for the National Nurses United union, which served as one of the most prominent backers of Sanders’ campaign and has long been a needle in the side of establishment Democrats.

Like many Democrats who are closely aligned with Sanders’ political operation, Idelson stopped short of primary threats. But he refused to rule out the possibility that his group might consider backing challenges of sitting Democratic lawmakers who don’t back the plan.

“Our organization, and plenty of other people out there, are going to be holding the Democrats accountable,” Idelson said. “What are we electing people for if they’re not going to be fighting for getting people health care when they need it?”

Other Sanders-allied progressives have been equally adamant on the need to give his Medicare-for-all push a starring role in forthcoming primaries after the recent Capitol Hill health care fights and the stalling of a much-publicized California state legislative proposal.

“We should run on Medicare-for-all in the 2018 and 2020 elections,” said Bay Area Congressman Ro Khanna, a Sanders backer who has encouraged primary challenges. “The Democrats that are activists are there, the Democratic voters are there, but now we just need enough of the elected officials to listen to where their constituents are.”

The distrust between Sanders forces and the establishment is increasing the tension. Some Democratic senators privately bristled at the health care rallies that Sanders and others organized across the country in January: They were shocked to be greeted by angry Sanders backers in the crowds who loudly urged them to back a single-payer plan, according to several Democratic senators and aides. There is also longstanding grumbling over his refusal to share his campaign email list with other Democrats and, more recently, over his vote against a new round of sanctions against Russia and Iran.

On the other side of the divide, Sanders allies insist the party seldom acknowledges the role of the senator’s 2016 presidential bid in shaping the party’s new agenda, whether on health care, a $15 minimum wage, or free college. And they express frustration that Democratic gatekeepers are still slow to accept Sanders’ likely front-runner role if he chooses to run for president in 2020.

In the words of one senior aide to Sanders’ campaign, “A special cloud of denial formed over the swamp when polls started coming out showing Bernie was the most popular politician in the country."

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At 11:05 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's now clear what Kasich was up to across the past few months. With the Democrats unable to admit that Bernie was their best option last election, and with Hillary again campaigning because it's HER! turn, Kasich is going to have his past "rational" persona to present as both parties continue their divisive fraternal fights. Those sick of party entanglements will readily accept Kasich's pose as the only one which makes sense to support - no matter how vile he ends up becoming once power is his.

At 7:49 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

11:05, totally agree. Kasich only looks palatable in comparison to Rs and democraps.

"The populist-conservative fusion has been coming for some time. ... The trick is going to be finding some things that each branch of the party wants that the other branch can live with."

Well, kind of. Here you are clearly talking about what campaigns will be talking about. However, there shall be no "populism" in any lege that comes from that conspiracy.

The exact same sentence from the exact same perspective is true of the democraps, but with one caveat. The DxCCs (and DNC) are doing their best to throttle the populism as much as they can.
And it isn't so much that they worry about what each sect of their voters care about but what their big donors will live with. Their aversion to MFA proves this, just like it did when they had the lobbyists write ACA to pretend to be an altruistic health care bill.

MFA would be an absolute good. Their refusal to support it speaks volumes.

And for the democraps to be "mired in a civil war", the civil war would have to have been the union against a single rural county in bumfuck Kentucky. That's about the ratio of progressives fighting against the beheamouth, entrenched, totally corrupt democrap machine. You got your Lieu, Jayapal and fewer than a dozen total. If a few more win in '18 in spite of the efforts of the DxCCs to thwart them, it'll maybe more like 15-18. That's out of about 250. And these progressives will continue to throw little weight with the party, with the exception maybe of Lieu as a regional honcho of the DCCC.
And the donors won't have anything to worry about.

At 7:53 PM, Blogger kdub1 said...

The sooner both parties--and the two party system--collapse, the better off this country will be


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