Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Dan Lipinski-- A Marked Man


Tuesday night, with 483 of 500 precincts counted (97%) Marie Newman refused to concede to reactionary Blue Dog Dan Lipinski (who also refrained from declaring victory). By bedtime, the score was 45,615 (50.9%) to 44,016 (49.1%). Newman said she "would like Mr. Lipinski to have a very painful evening" and that the contest was too close to call. The weight of the Chicago Machine plus the DC Democrats led by Pelosi, Hoyer and the DCCC were all behind Lipinski, although he has rarely voted for the agenda items they claim motive them. He is virulently anti-Choice, anti-LGBTQ, anti-healthcare, anti-immigrant. In fact, he has tended to vote with the GOP on most crucial matters that have come before Congress. The DCCC always favors conservatives over progressives. It's in their DNA. Lipinski led in the Chicago ("Bungalow Belt") parts of the district and Newman led in the suburbs.

As of the February 28 reporting deadline, Lipinski has spent $815,764 to Newman's $694,014, but he was sitting on a massive $1,364,307 alt the time, which looks like it was deployed over the last three weeks in a barrage of deceptive and viciously negative ads. The dark money Republican anti-choice operation, Susan B. Anthony List, spent $117,360 on Lipinsky's behalf. And the so-called United for Progress SuperPAC spent $875,654 smearing Newman and $101,072 trying to bolster Lipinski's decidedly anti-progressive image. United for Progress was financed by a 10 right wing multimillionaires:
Chris Stadler (NJ)-$250,000
Jerry Reinsdorf (IL)- $200,000
Howard Marks (NY)- $125,000
Michael Sonnenfeldt (NY)- $125,000
Carl Ferenbach (MA)- $125,000
Craig Duchossois (IL)- $100,000
Jim Frank (IL)- $100,000
Mitch Hart (TX)- $50,000
Robert Judelson (UT)- $50,000
Michael Robinson (NY)- $50,000
Before the votes were all counted, Ryan Grim wrote a piece for The Intercept, trying to explain the meaning of the hottest Democratic primary contest in the country, calling it "a bellwether of the future of the Democratic Party... The race was indeed a signal of which direction the party is headed."
The questions about the future of the party gained new momentum after Conor Lamb’s upset victory in a special election in a deeply conservative western Pennsylvania district last week, with centrist Democrats arguing that his win showed that the true path was through moderation. They cited Lamb’s embrace of gun culture, his personal (but not political) opposition to abortion, and his unwillingness to back single-payer health care. But the lesson only goes so far: even though Lamb ran in a far more conservative district than Lipinski, he ran a far more progressive campaign-- and still won.

So a more precise question might be: Is there still room in a solidly Democratic district for a Blue Dog who opposes abortion rights, LGBT rights, immigrant rights, a $15 an hour minimum wage, and voted against Obamacare?

And the answer, at least in Illinois’ 3rd District, is probably. For now.

The race also answered a different question, one perhaps more relevant to the future of the party: Can the progressive wing of the party mount a powerful enough challenge to entrenched, well-funded incumbents that it can threaten the status quo?

The answer to that question, clearly, is yes. Lipinski may have held on, but he got the kind of political scare that no incumbent wants. Newman, taking the stage at her election-night party at Marz Taproom in Chicago’s Bridgeport neighborhood, declined to concede the race, but said that whatever happens, voters had shocked Lipinski into a more progressive place. “No matter what happens tomorrow, we have moved him on immigration, we have moved him on healthcare. I scared the crap out of him on 12 vs. 15,”-- a reference to their debate over the minimum wage-- “there’s many things we can move him on more, so let’s be clear. The fight is not over. It’s not done.”

Just how present that threat was became clear about two hours after the polls closed, as vote totals showed Newman, who’d been trailing by 2 to 3 points all night, surging ahead. At the Marz Taproom, volunteers and staffers hugged each other, with one screaming, “I can’t believe this is happening!”

Newman’s slight lead lasted only a few minutes, before Lipinski crawled back on top for the rest of the night.

If Newman decides to run in 2020, she’d be the favorite in the race. This cycle, an actual neo-Nazi ran unopposed in the GOP primary in the 3rd District. Because the state has an open-primary system, Republican voters in the district could have chosen to vote in the Democratic primary and back Lipinski. (The irony of a Bernie Sanders-backed candidate losing thanks to crossover votes in an open primary was not lost on Twitter.)

Sophia Olazaba, a field manager for the Newman campaign, said she doesn’t doubt that some Republican voters crossed over. “Even when we were canvassing, a lot of homes have had both Jeanne Ives and Dan Lipinski signs, so those people could have crossed over,” she said, referring to the GOP gubernatorial candidate whose entire campaign was premised on her opposition to legal abortion.

Another volunteer, Sabrina Ithal, also from the 3rd district, mentioned that the open primary format could have actually worked in their favor: “I converted quite a few Republicans who voted Democrat for the first time in 30-40 years today.”

The Susan B. Anthony List, a group that opposes legal abortion, made re-electing Lipinski a major priority, dumping big money into the race and working the ground to get out the anti-abortion vote on his behalf.

Volunteers at the party said that a key challenge in the campaign was familiarizing voters with Lipinski’s voting record-- a task they eventually got done. “Our main opponent wasn’t Dan Lipinski, it was the fact that Dan Lipinski’s record had been hidden so long,” said Travis Ballie, an associate field coordinator for NARAL. Knocking on doors in the 3rd District, Ballie said he ran into two groups of people. “The first were the folks who were well aware of his record and had been waiting for someone to challenge him for years. The second were the folks who frankly did not know.”

Ithal echoed this: “People were shocked. Who sits around saying, ‘Gee, I wonder how Lipinski votes on every issue.”

Bill Lipinski, Dan’s father, an old-school machine pol, was elected to Congress in 1982 and retired after the 2004 primary, replacing his name with son’s, so that he waltzed into Congress with no competition. Anyone born in the district after the early 1960s has only known a Lipinski on on the congressional ballot, which makes his margin of victory in Chicago understandable. In 2011, as Democrats redrew state boundaries, Lipinski made his own district more conservative, to fit his politics. But his new constituents were less familiar with him, and he was still stuck with some of the more liberal suburbs, which went for Newman on Tuesday.

...Despite Lipinski’s hostile record on reproductive freedom-- he regularly spoke at the March For Life in Washington-- EMILY’s List and Planned Parenthood initially stayed out, while organized labor either endorsed Lipinski or stayed neutral.

It wasn’t that the groups wanted Lipinski to win, but, according to sources close to the situation, that they expected him to win no matter what they did, so they didn’t want to antagonize him and burn capital-- neither political nor financial.

But as Newman’s campaign gathered momentum, there began to be signs that Lipinski could truly lose. He agreed to a debate of sorts, appearing with Newman in front of the Chicago Sun-Times editorial board in January and, for the first time since he began speaking, he skipped the March For Life, despite having been billed as a 2018 speaker.

In front of the Sun-Times, Lipinski rejected a key union priority; “Union-Backed Democratic Congressman Rejects $15 Minimum Wage,” we wrote at the time. That was enough for the Service Employees International Union, known as the SEIU, to pull the trigger and endorse Newman. The Illinois Federation of Teachers joined in, breaking Lipinski’s labor wall that had held since his ascension to Congress in 2004.

That domino brought in EMILY’s List and Planned Parenthood into the race by early February, and from there it was a sprint to the March 20 primary.

Often, with endorsements, the groups make an announcement, wish the candidate the best, and move on to the next race. If they’re feeling particularly charitable, they might help organize a fundraiser.

The progressive groups backing Newman, however, got serious. NARAL organized the groups into a coalition called Citizens For A Better Illinois that raised and spent more than $1.6 million to go after Lipinski, evening out her cash disadvantage. To counter it, Chicago-area mega-donors pumped close to a million dollars into the race to bolster Lipinski. They used the group No Labels, which backs pro-corporate centrists in both parties, as a front.

The pro-Newman coalition spent, according to its own tabulations, $350,000 on mail, $600,000 on cable ads, $280,000 on broadcast TV, $275,000 on digital advertising and $130,000 on a Latino voter turnout program. It’s the kind of campaign that can-- and almost did-- win. The question going forward will be how scalable it is nationally.

Hogue, echoing what the campaign volunteers said, told The Intercept that the challenge in knocking off an incumbent is in penetrating the consciousness of a community, letting them know who their congressperson really is, and who the challenger is. “What we always knew is that if voters knew his record, they were going to move,” she said. “The voters in this district had no idea how out of step he was, and we experienced a lot of anger from them when they found out…In a district that’s been changing more and more to resemble the rest of America, when they heard about Marie, it was not a tough sell.”

Outside progressives groups don’t need to offer that kind of support in every district to have an impact, though. The NRA and AIPAC, two of the most feared organizations in Washington, after all, built their power not by electing lots of candidates, but by beating just a few-- loudly.

Lipinski may have escaped that fate for now, but he’s a marked man. “I’d work again tomorrow” if Neman makes another run at Lipinski, said Patti Ernst, a Newman volunteer. “And that’s how everyone in this room is.”
Yep... a marked man, just like crooked Maryland conservative Al Wynn was after he initially fended off a challenge by progressive reformer Donna Edwards-- who came back to drive him out of Congress two years later. Wynn had also been bolstered by corrupted establishment Democrats with long past-use-by-expiration-dates Steny Hoyer and Nancy Pelosi, the two who helped keep Lipinski from being defeated yesterday. Today Wynn is one of K Street's most corrupt  and sleaziest lobbyists. After 2020 Lipinski will probably be joining him there.

Goal ThermometerAnd by the way, there's a far more dangerous-- and far more corrupt-- conservative Democrat with a primary coming up: sleazy New Dem Joe Crowley, who is very similar to Lipinski in several ways, especially how he managed to first get into office without a real election. He's more dangerous because he is the Pelosi-Hoyer handpicked candidate to be the next Democratic leader (and speaker) and because he is completely-- lock, stock and barrel-- owned by Wall Street. He is the conduit for bankster bribery into the Democratic House caucus. Since he first "ran" for Congress in 1998 he's taken Financial Sector bribes to the tune of $6,889,801, more than any Democrat currently serving in the House. Last cycle his bankster haul was $1,090,923, more than any Democrat currently serving in Congress. And so far this year he's already taken $726,037. Compare that to slimy little Lipinski, who took $48,150 from the banksters last cycle and just $55,801 this year. If you supported Marie Newman this year, please learn more about Alexandria Ocasio, Crowley's opponent in NY-14 (parts of Queens and the Bronx). And if you want to contribute to her campaign, you can do it by clicking on the Blue America thermometer on the right.

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At 2:13 PM, Anonymous ap215 said...

Here's Marie's post i hope runs again down the road great candidate.

At 2:15 PM, Anonymous ap215 said...

I meant to say i hope she runs again down the road.

At 2:50 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"voters had shocked Lipinski into a more progressive place..."

Oh my friggin gawd! Just how delusional can someone be?

You didn't shock that Nazi into a more progressive place. You made him soften his STATED positions to fool a few of the voters who are too stupid to live.

When congressional votes are taken, he'll still be a Nazi. Bank on it. He and I both know that once the counts in Nov are done, nobody will be paying attention from then on.

The blame here, as always, is on colossally stupid voters. You can blame the DCCC and the Chicago machine for promoting a democrap Nazi. But they didn't make all those fucking dipshits vote for him.

CHI sucks. That's all you can conclude from this.

At 5:30 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Lipinski was marked by whom? Why is that going to matter as long as he hands over a lot of money to the DCCC and uses their media consultants to spend the rest? They will help him keep his seat as long as he plays this game by these rules.


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