Saturday, January 27, 2018

How Democrats Can Win In 2018: Ignore The Party's Serial Losers-- In Other Words, The Establishment


Early yesterday morning we put up a post about how American voters see Trump's character. The premise is that the overwhelming majority of voters don't want children looking at Trump as a role model and don't see him as providing the country with moral leadership. Only 29% of the country-- virtually no one but partisan Republicans-- think Trump as a role model is just fine. Most Americans say they are "embarrassed" that he's the leader of the country, while 27% are proud to have him as the leader of our country. Only 35% believe he's honest. Only 40% think he cares about average Americans. And only 34% say he shares their values. Only 30% of respondents think he's level-headed. He's the most negatively-rated Oval Office occupier in the history of polling. How many Americans saw all this before election day?

Later in the day one of his GOP primary opponents--Jeb Bush, the establishment candidate who "everyone" thought would run away with the nomination battle-- warned that Trump's character could drag down the whole party in the midterms. He's right. Bush agrees with some of Trump's right-wing domestic agenda but the former Florida governor warned "that Republicans are in for a beating in the fall elections if congressional races focus on the rhetoric and character of President Trump." And that's exactly what many Democrats intend to make the midterms about. Alan Grayson goes even further. Although his campaign is primarily revolving around the traditional Democratic issues he's always campaigned on-- the importance of electing candidates who are unbought and unbossed, and also the overall importance of demonstrating how to use politics to improve people’s lives-- he told me that the issue of Trump’s impeachment is providing a very handy means of separating real Democrats from empty suits and posers. "The evidence," he said, "of Trump’s commission of 'high crimes and misdemeanors' already is overwhelming. He is an illegitimate President elected by means of overt collusion with a foreign power. And President Dotard is obviously unfit for office. This isn’t very complicated. As Freud once said, 'sometimes a cigar just a cigar.'" Now, back to the Jebster:
Bush lambasted Trump's erratic leadership style, obsession with Twitter and "racist" comments that could cost Republicans control of Congress in November if they can't distance themselves from the former reality TV star.

"If the election is nationalized and it's not about the economy, then we'll lose," Bush told USA Today as Trump prepares to deliver the State of the Union address rounding up his first year in office. "If it's about the economy and it's driven by state or district interest, incumbents can do well."

...Bush worried that Trump will not allow Republicans to steer clear of him because of "his incredible view that the world revolves around him."

Bush railed against reports that the president referred to Haiti, El Salvador and African nations as "shithole" countries. He criticized Trump's moves to isolate the U.S. from other global powers. And he decried the revolving door of staffers who have sullied the reputation of the White House on their way out the door.

"The character of the guy and the (turnover) and fighting, and just the constant chaos around his presidency that is self-inflicted has made it hard for him," Bush said. "I want the president to succeed. I don't think he will succeed if he continues on this path."
Derek Cressman is running for a state Senate seat in California. He penned a powerful OpEd for the Sacramento Bee on Thursday about how Democrats can win in 2018 and 2020, a point of view that the establishment-- whether Jeb Bush or Nancy Pelosi-- will never understand. "If the past year has taught us anything," he wrote, "it’s that too many voters have lost faith in key civic institutions such as the news media and political parties. If we are going to rebuild public trust, legislators need to become more partisan. That certainly flies right in the face of establishment preaching-- and Cressman knows it.
You might be surprised to hear someone like me, who has spent most of his career with nonpartisan good government groups, advocating for more partisanship. But that’s precisely what America needs right now.

Done correctly, political parties can serve as vehicles for volunteers and small donors to band together around a set of ideas-- a platform. Party endorsements inexpensively inform voters of candidates’ positions on the issues, but only if endorsements go to the candidate who most closely sticks to the platform. 
Unfortunately, too many voters now justifiably perceive parties as washing machines that launder special interest money to re-elect an old boys’ club of incumbents who promote their own careers. Huge campaign contributions from outside sources have undermined political parties since the 1970s by allowing candidates who disagree with their parties to use pricey marketing campaigns to communicate directly with voters. The Citizens United ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court has only made things worse.

Ironically, by playing the big money game to keep pace with super PACs, the Democratic Party has driven small donors into outside groups such as while tarnishing the party’s own brand image with voters and activists. According to a recent survey, only 72 percent of California Democrats have a favorable view of their own party. Worse yet, 59 percent of Democrats say a third party is needed.

The movement of voters who have lost faith in the Democratic Party contributed to the 2016 election results and shows that “compromise” by corporate Democrats is anything but pragmatic.
Sam Jammal, the progressive running for the suddenly open Orange County congressional seat that Ed Royce is abandoning (CA-39), told me this morning that "We win if we actually focus on what people are concerned about-- housing affordability, out of pocket health care costs, student debt and whether they can get a raise. We lose when we obsess over Trump and don't stand for anything. This isn't science-- Democrats need to be for something. But most importantly, we win when we are on the ground and in the community. We need to elect people who reflect their districts and will fight for their districts."

Goal ThermometerProgressive David Gill has a unique perspective, since he was the near winner in the 2012 cycle, "The situation here in IL-13 is ridiculous. My progressive message of single-payer healthcare came within 0.3% of victory in the 2012 general election (my message actually WON by 7 points, but a liberal independent took 7.3% and split the vote just enough to allow the Republican to become an 'accidental Congressman'). Since then, the DCCC has insisted on running conservative candidates with bland messages, and they've been slaughtered by 18-20 points. It's amazing that my lifelong party can't get behind me, and instead persists with a message that loses by 50-60 TIMES my margin of defeat. It appears as though they don't want a single-payer pushing practicing doctor anywhere near the halls of Congress. I watch people suffer and die in the E.R. on a regular basis because of the we way finance healthcare here in America, and it frustrates me to the point that I'm running for Congress again. I have to defeat my own party in the primary again this March (as I did back in 2012), and then I have no doubt that my message of single-payer, a $15/hour minimum wage, and tuition-free access to public universities and trade schools will succeed in November."

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At 4:36 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

David Gill: "I have to defeat my own party in the primary again this March (as I did back in 2012), and then I have no doubt that my message of single-payer, a $15/hour minimum wage, and tuition-free access to public universities and trade schools will succeed in November."

David, you're too smart a man to make a boneheaded, contradictory, self-repudiating statement like this. Your party is against all your listed and all your implied issues. You, as a prospective rookie rep will be absolutely impotent to affect any of those issues. Please expand on how *ANY* those issues have a prayer of succeeding in a universe so obviously devoid of a god.

David, if Pelosi fails to defeat you in the primary and fails to defeat you in the general, she will absolutely defeat you in your one and only 2-year debacle of a term in the house.

If you truly want to affect those changes, you'll need a different way to associate and/or a miracle. After your defeat, I do hope you affect positive change in one life at a time as a doctor. In this shithole at this time in history, that's about all one could hope for.

At 6:39 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

More proof that attempting to reclaim this party from within is a fool's errand.

At 7:24 PM, Anonymous Hone said...

I wish you luck, David. I like your message.


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