Monday, March 05, 2018

Incredibly, Pelosi Still Hasn't Fired Ben Ray Luján-- How Many States Does He Have To Screw Up Before She Does?


DCCC's fearless leader

Tomorrow is the first step in the process of Texans deciding who will represent them in Congress. Although the state is one of the most gerrymandered in the country, demographics-- and an enormous anti-Trump backlash-- seem to be negating GOP gerrymandered advantages in many districts. Not all though. Yes, there is at least one Democrat running in every Texas district, there are half a dozen that are so unbelievably red, that the incumbents are immune even to the kind of wave that is shaping up to define the 2018 midterms:
TX-01- Louie Gohmert R+25
TX-04- John Ratcliffe R+28
TX-08- Kevin Brady R+28
TX-11- Mike Conaway R+32
TX-13- Mac Thornberry R+33
TX-19- Jodey Arrington R+27
Normally Brian Babin's R+26 seat (TX-36) would be on the list as well. But Babin is such a weak and ineffective congressman and the Democrats have such a powerful and well-liked candidate in Dayna Steele-- formerly Houston's most popular rock dj-- that some are predicting an upset in this district east and northeast of Houston. As of the February 14 FEC reporting deadline Babin had raised $572,452 and Steele had raised $275,946, enough to make her competitive. All the competitive Texas races tomorrow are likely to result on May 22 runoffs-- except for TX-36, where Steele is favored to win her primary outright. These are the half dozen districts that are viewed as the most likely to flip from red to blue and are the most competitive in Tuesday's primaries:
TX-07- John Culberson R+7
TX-21- (Lamar Smith) R+10
TX-22- Pete Olson R+10
TX-23- Will Hurd R+1
TX- 24- Kenny Marchant R+9
TX-32- Pete Sessions R+5
Over the weekend, Jackie Wang, writing for the Dallas Morning News stunned many who hadn't been paying close attention by reporting that the early voting numbers were lopsidedly favoring Democrats across the state. "According to the Texas secretary of state’s website-- which tracks only the 15 counties with the most registered voters-- 161,607 people voted in the Democratic primary in 2014 during the first 10 days of early voting. This year, 310,275 people voted in the Democratic primary in the same span-- a 92 percent increase... On the GOP side, 273,293 people had voted in the Republican primary as of Thursday. That’s still an 18 percent increase from 2014, when 231,530 voted in the Republican primary during the first 10 days of early voting." Democratic enthusiasm is sky-high. GOP enthusiasm... meh. The Democrats already have a nearly 37,000 vote lead.
Political experts attribute much of Texas' increased voter turnout as a reaction to the election of President Donald Trump in 2016, as well as the state's eight open congressional seats.

Harold Clarke, a political science professor at the University of Texas at Dallas, said one reason Democratic primary voting numbers are up is because people think Democrats have a reasonable chance of winning.

“One of the things we know is that competition stirs turnout, and it looks now that here in Texas, perhaps especially for the first time in a long time, winning the Democratic primary is really a prize worth having because you have a real shot at the general election,” Clarke said. “That perception is fairly widespread both among potential candidates as well as Democratic voters.”

Dallas County's traditionally strong Democratic base appeared to respond to that competition, with turnout increasing 89 percent from 2014. Republican turnout decreased 6 percent.

The jump in Collin County, which votes for more conservative candidates, is even greater-- the number of Democratic primary voters increased 235 percent from 2014, while Republican voters increased by 47 percent.

...According to Ryan Data & Research, 85 percent of early voters this year have a history of voting in Republican primaries, but not Democratic. Derek Ryan, who runs the research group that supports Republican campaigns, analyzed voter data from the top 17 counties with the most Republican turnout in the last primary election.

He said the biggest takeaway was that nearly a quarter of the people who voted Democrat this year had never voted in a primary.

“I don’t necessarily know who these people are, but my thinking is on the Democratic side, these are probably people who voted for Hillary Clinton or even straight party Democrat in the 2016 general election and prior general elections,” he said. “But this is the first time they’re getting involved in the Democratic primary process.”
In Culberson's west Houston district, TX-07, the DCCC may have inadvertently increased turnout by clumsily big footing into the race with a savage attack against one of the two progressives in the primary, Laura Moser. Democrats (not just in Texas but all over the country) are furious that the DCCC in Washington is trying to rig the primary in Houston. Abby Livingston has been covering the self-inflicted controversy for the Texas Tribune, as Moser's slim chance to get into the primary appears to have increased significantly in response to the DCCC's blunder.
Last week, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, fearing Moser would be too liberal to beat Culberson in the district were she to nab the nomination, dumped a pile of opposition research about her onto the internet, sparking a firestorm in the political world.

It is near-impossible to find anyone in Houston who thinks the move was fair-- or even smart.

Even those in the heat of Houston Democratic politics who agree with the DCCC in spirit are appalled with the tactic and fear it has backfired and strengthened Moser. Republicans, meanwhile, watched the pyrotechnics with delight.

...Seven total candidates are running for the seat, but University of Houston fundraiser Joshua Butler, attorney James Cargas and former Congressional staffer Ivan Sanchez lag behind Fletcher, Triantaphyllis, Westin and Moser in fundraising and prominence.

The impetus for most of these candidates running this time around was that Hillary Clinton got more votes than Donald Trump in the district in 2016, while Culberson faced marginal Democratic opposition spending. But within the top tier, it is hard to find anyone who will say that the DCCC’s action is on the minds of voters.

“It depends who we’re talking to-- there’s the social media bubble and the indivisible crowd that’s engaged in the race-- they all heard about it, and in general the reaction is ‘Why the heck did they do that?’ But if you’re knocking in doors in Jersey Village or Katy and talking to voters, it’s rare that they’ve heard about it," Westin said.

"It’s the second universe that is probably more relevant" he added. "Social media can feel like real life, but it’s not, and voters are a bit more important than Twitter and Facebook."

...Harris County Democratic early vote turnout has exploded, and no one is sure exactly who is voting-- will moderates frustrated with Trump decide this primary? Or are newer, first-time Democratic voters coming to the polls?
Livingston also wrote that "This is shaping up to be a must-win seat if Democrats take control of the U.S. House next fall, and the national party is taking extraordinary steps to influence the primary." But she may be incorrect about that. Meet Kyle Layman, bungling right-of-center DCCC staffer in Orange County... California. Granted, Layman is an inept idiot, the worst of teh garbage staffers the DCCC hires. Layman was practicing his magic last weekend in a San Diego bar during the California Democratic Party convention. He told anyone who would listen that the DCCC has written off TX-07 as unwinnable and that the DCCC doesn't give a damn about Moser. He claims that the attack on her is all about Orange County and that they smeared Moser to strike fear into the hearts of progressive candidates in California who the DCCC is trying to chase out of congressional primaries.

Layman was particularly riled up about one of the self-funding multimillionaires, Andy Thorburn-- who has already self-funded his campaign to the tune of $2,335,900 and is trying to run as a progressive against the DCCC's joke of a candidate (another self-funding multimillionaire), "ex"-Republican Gil Cisneros, a former Fitto-Lay's potato chip taster who won $266 million in the state lottery and has been spreading the money around among easily bribed Democrats to win their backing. He's self-funded his campaign with checks amounting to $1,352,762 and the DCCC is worried that Thorburn will outspend him and allow one of the progressives in the primary, Sam Jammal or Jay Chen, to outpace Cisneros in the jungle primary. Layman is trying to clear the field and claims the DCCC has deadly opposition research on Thorburn. Thorburn's campaign says that, unlike Moser, if the DCCC smears him, he'll sue their asses off. Pelosi still adamantly refuses to fire the pathetic excuse she has for a DCCC chairman, ridiculous closet case Ben Ray Luján. It's 2018. Why does a Democrat still think he has to sneak around in closets and base his life on deceit? And why is Pelosi clinging to this bungling imbecile?

Or maybe this bungling imbecile is doing just what Pelosi is telling him to do. As Tim Murphy wrote this week for Mother Jones, "Pelosi has shown a greater tolerance for Blue Dog Democrats than others in her caucus have. When progressives criticized the DCCC for refusing to apply a reproductive rights litmus test to 2018 candidates-- it never has-- Pelosi insisted there was room in the party for anti-abortion candidates. 'This is the Democratic Party, this is not a rubber-stamp party,' she told the Washington Post. Notably, Pelosi is showing Lipinski a degree of loyalty that the congressman has never extended to her-- Lipinski has routinely voted against Pelosi for minority leader. After helping elect Pelosi speaker of the House in 2009, he voted against her in 2011, 2013, 2015, and 2017. Notably, he was also a major impediment to Pelosi’s top legislative accomplishment-- the Affordable Care Act-- and was one of only a few blue-district Democrats to vote against the measure."

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At 6:54 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sounds like the narrative out of TX is meant to stir further R enthusiasm by threatening that democraps might be showing up.

Early voting warnings usually are meant to stir up the Rs in tx. And the increase in R early voting, in an electorate that always shows up, can be seen as validation.

Let's wait for the final "tally" to see who is more juiced to show up, shall we.

And Pelosi doesn't give a flying fuck about states or districts. She cares only about donors and their money. Lujan is good for donors and donations (as in non-threatening with any kind of progressive rhetoric -- a reliable fascist). He's the perfect democrap functionary.

At 7:14 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I would point out that as of right now, your page has no fewer than 4 (!) pieces on the awfulness and overt corruption and ineptitude of the DCCC.

Yet this site still foments a modest slate of D candidates, most of whom won't win, as the "true left's" best and only hope to "reform" the party that, as this site keeps reminding us, relentlessly screws good candidates, must recruit from the further right fascists, is open about their corruption and doesn't seem bothered by 4 decades of utter failure.

See where I'm going here?

At 8:49 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


This presentation on DWT is of "democrats" who can "win" whether or not they are seen as such by the voters. There are some who see winning -regardless of the quality of the "democrat"- as the goal, which as I see it indicates that this position resembles that of the corporatist quarterly profit strategy. In other words, we'll worry later about real progress later as long as we win now. No progress can be made when the short game is the only strategy in play.

As you point out, there is some coverage of the corruption of the Party and its operative combinations. But it means nothing if the support effort ends up being applied to the status quo rather than the future.

At 9:59 AM, Anonymous ap215 said...

Two words on Pelosi & Luján Status Quo.

At 12:01 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Three more words on Pelosi and Luján: Betrayal; sell outs.

At 12:08 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wasn't there a Dilbert book called Bring Me The Head of Ben Ray the Fail Boy?

At 9:46 PM, Anonymous ejf said...

How do we get rid of Ben Ray here in his NM - 3 district? There are no primaries and not much dissatisfaction.
I wish I could afford to unsettle that guy for a round or two.

At 6:30 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The goal should not be to remove one tiny part of the tumor. The goal should be to remove the entire tumor, kill all remaining nascent cells and hope the organism does not die from the treatment.

The organism will surely die if the tumor is not totally excised.

ben ray is a nascent cell. the democraps are the tumor -- just in case the metaphor was too much for you.


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