Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Omaha Democrats Voted For Bernie In 2016-- No Reason To Vote For Blue Dog Brad Ashford In 2018


If you've been following DWT for any length of time, you're aware this isn't exactly Blue Dog headquarters. The Republican wing of the Democratic Party is not something we celebrate here. The bullshit about how you need a reactionary Democrat to win in a "red" district isn't something we ascribe to-- because it isn't true; it's just an excuse for the establishment to run what they see when they look in the mirror. If the voters want a Republican, there's a party for that. Democrats need to stand for something that people want and then educate the voters about the disconnect between the Republicans they vote for and the policies they actually support.

There is an important race coming in Nebraska's second congressional district-- basically Douglas County (Omaha and it's suburbs) plus more rural Sarpy County to the west. Obama won the district in 2008 and lost it in 2012. Last year Hillary lost to Trump 48.2% to 46.0%. The district's PVI is R+4 but part of why Hillary lost last year was because the Democratic incumbent, Blue Dog Brad Ashford was the worst candidate who could be running in the district. His presence on the ticket discouraged Democrats from turning out-- the opposite of what down-ballot candidates are supposed to do. We'll come back to Ashford in a moment.

Last week I met the actual Democrat running this cycle, Kara Eastman, who started the Omaha Healthy Kids Alliance (OHKA) which has grown from a small, start-up lead poisoning prevention organization to a nationally recognized, award-winning nonprofit that has raised more than $13 million to support green, safe, and healthy housing in Omaha. "We have directly served over 4,000 Nebraska families over the last decade.," she told me. "In the process, I created dozens of jobs within the organization, in city government, and through partnerships with the small businesses and contractors we work with. I was honored to win election to the Board of Governors of Metropolitan Community College in 2014 with 64% of the vote and subsequently to be elected as Vice Chair of the Board. At MCC, I’ve been proud to strengthen the college’s non-discrimination policies, develop contractor training programs that created jobs in the community, and lead the initiative to ban tobacco usage on all campuses. It’s fair to say that I strongly believe in a tradition of service to others-- it was ingrained in me, and it’s a fundamental part of what my family stands for. That’s why I’m running for Nebraska’s Second Congressional District. I’m a life-long Democrat, and I’m not going to sit on the sidelines while our political system is assaulted and undermined by those who don’t represent Nebraska’s values. Nebraskans need someone who isn’t afraid of a fight, someone who will take the lead in healthcare, education, the environment and jobs."

Now, back to Ashford, a Republican, an independent, a Blue Dog Democrat at various times, but always a conservative knucklehead and opportunist out for himself. Ashford, according to the Omaha World Herald, voted with the Republicans while in Congress more than all other Democrats except for two. Ashford was a Republican for most of his long political career and ran for Omaha mayor as an independent. In Congress only 2 Democrats voted against President Obama more frequently that Ashford.

Ashford, the DCCC's idea of a wonderful candidate, is a consummate flip-flopper who has been on both sides of many of today’s most important issues.

For: Today, Ashford speaks out in favor of protecting Dreamers.
Against: Ashford voted for a bill that stripped DACA protections that kept Dreamers from being deported in January 2015, one of only 2 Democrats to do so.


For: In October 2014, Ashford received the endorsement of the League of Conservation Voters.
Against: Ashford voted with all of Nebraska’s Republicans (Fortenberry and Smith) and was one of only 4 Democrats to vote against the Clean Power Plan rule (SJ Res 24) that established carbon dioxide emission guidelines for power plants. This bill was so toxic, it was vetoed by President Obama.


For gun control: He sponsored a bill in the Nebraska Legislature in 2008 to require trigger locks on every gun sold in the state, among other regulations.
Against gun control: Ashford watered down his own gun regulation bill. Nebraska journalists suggested it was because of NRA pressure. And while in Congress, Ashford was one of the very few Democrats to vote for a Republican-sponsored bill (HR 2406) to allow unregulated hunting and ammunition on federal lands and in certain national forests, prohibiting the government from curbing the use of toxic lead ammunition in these parks as well.


For: Ashford claims he supports the Obama Administration’s signature health care bill, the Affordable Care Act, and would not repeal it.
Against: Mr. Ashford cast several key votes while in Congress that would have led to the undermining of the Affordable Care Act if they had become law.

Keystone Pipeline

For: He voted to authorize the Keystone XL Pipeline in 2015. According to Jane Kleeb of Bold Nebraska: "Ashford continues to support eminent domain for private gain with his vote for the risky Keystone XL pipeline."
Against: He now says he opposes the controversial pipeline.

Iran Nuclear Agreement:

For: Ashford voted against a bill to prohibit President Obama from removing sanctions against Iran, a bill that helped cement the Iran nuclear agreement and lift sanctions against the Iranian government. He voted with Democrats on this.
Against: Ashford voted with Republicans to block the Iran nuclear deal.

Women’s Reproductive Health:

For: Running for Congress in 2016, he was endorsed by pro-choice organizations.
Against: While he was in the Nebraska Legislature, Ashford was not a supporter of reproductive rights. He and then Senator Deb Fischer voted for the ultrasound bill and voted yes on LB 1103, a bill that prohibited abortions in Nebraska after 20 weeks.
If you want to figure out how it's possible Democrats lose, look no further than Brad Ashford, if you even want to count him as a Democrat at all. He certainly had no intention of running again after he lost his seat in 2016 but he was fired from his job working for an Omaha street car development firm. Last cycle, Ashford lost to Don Bacon while outspending him $2,515,416 to $1,576,183. On top of that, the DCCC and Pelosi's House Majority PAC wasted $3,429,714 pushing Ashford. Ashford stands for nothing... but his own career aspirations. At best, he's the lesser of two evils, which shouldn't be a factor during primary season when voters have the opportunity to elect a real Democrat. It's probably worth mentioning that Bernie beat Hillary in NE-02 last year, 54-46% in Douglas County and 59.6-40.4% in Sarpy County.

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At 6:38 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nebraska has a long history of sending hard right republicans to DC with a D by their name. Ben Nelson was one of a dozen or so during the 2009 congress that joined filibusters regularly to give the Ds cover for not doing shit. He was so bad he retired after that term. But he got repaid... being named president of a coalition insurance commission.


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