Thursday, January 03, 2019

Holding Bad Democrats Accountable-- Long Island New Dem Kathleen Rice Has Earned A Primary


New Dem Kathleen Rice and progressive Siela Bynoe

Kathleen Rice was one of the key instigators in the New Dem mini-rebellion against Nancy Pelosi late in 2018. Seth Moulton gets almost all the blame but it really was Rice who acted the part of the poisonous viper slithering around hissing in peoples' ears. You've probably heard a lot about Moulton getting a primary challenge but much less about Rice's. Rice epitomizes the Wall Street Democrat. And that's not because her Long Island district is so close physically. This past cycle-- in which the GOP didn't bother fielding a serious candidate against her-- she raised $1,391,804 and her single biggest source of campaign cash was... Wall Street ($142,400). As you can see, from the Open Secrets chart below, the Finance Sector is, by far, her biggest source of funds. Predictably, as soon as she got to Congress she joined the New Dems. She serves on the Homeland Security Committee and will chair its Subcommittee on Transportation Security. Progressive Punch has graded her voting record an "F" and her crucial lifetime vote score is a dismal 62.93, not as terrible as Sean Patrick Maloney's, but far to the right of other New York Democrats'.

Rice, a former Nassau County prosecutor, was elected to Congress in 2014 in NY's 4th congressional district (D+4, where Hillary beat Trump by about 10 points in 2016). The district includes most of southwest Nassau County, the inner suburbs my family moved to when I was 2 (first to Valley Stream and then to Roosevelt). It includes the storied Five Towns (actually only 4 of them now, Inwood having drifted west into NY-05), as well as Long Beach, Jones Beach, Freeport, Hempstead, Rockville Centre, Garden City, Floral Park, Mineola, Westbury and New Hyde Park. I went to college at Stony Brook and I think half the students came from NY-04. Rice always bragged how she was New York's toughest DWI prosecutor. She was also tough on students who cheated on exams and was a big anti-drug fanatic. Cuomo appointed her as one of the 3 chairs of the notorious Moreland Commission on Corruption, basically a vehicle to cover-up his own and his cronies' corruption. In 2010 she ran as the right-of-center Democrat for Attorney General. She was heavily pushed by EMILY's List, spent the most money by far and was defeated in the primary by the progressive in the race.

You may have noticed a passing reference to a primary above. But that's the reason for this morning's post. Rice has one coming this cycle. Well-liked Nassau County legislator Siela Bynoe, a progressive, is being recruited by activist and reform groups to run for the seat. Right now, she represents the heart of the congressional district in the county legislature-- Hempstead, Lakeview, Westbury, New Cassel, Uniondale, and Rockville Centre. This is a CrowdPac page recently created by the Young Progressives of Nassau County:
We are outraged that our Democratic Congresswoman Kathleen Rice (NY-4) has been working with the Republican Party to sabotage Nancy Pelosi from becoming Speaker of the House.

Rep. Rice has supported cutting Social Security benefits (by raising the retirement age), banning Syrian refugees, rolling back Obama regulations on Wall Street, and gutting the Americans with Disabilities Act. At the height of Trump’s racist birther campaign to delegitimize President Obama, Rice accepted $53,100 in campaign contributions from Donald Trump himself. Her spokesman Michael Aciman said, “Rice has no intention of returning these contributions.”

Let us call Rice what she is: a Trump-funded Democrat who has been collaborating with the Republican Party to dismantle President Obama’s legacy piece by piece. It’s time to replace her with a progressive Democrat who will fight for working families.

We, the Young Progressives of Nassau County, are drafting Nassau County Legislator Siela Bynoe to run for Congress in 2020. Bynoe has represented the communities of Hempstead, Lakeview, Westbury, New Cassel, Uniondale, and Rockville Centre in the Legislature since 2014. She has also been the Executive Director of Huntington Housing Authority since 2006. She has fought for a $15 minimum wage, affordable housing, criminal justice reform, clean water, public transit, and many other issues.

Siela Bynoe is a candidate who would truly champion the interests of working people of New York's 4th. Kathleen Rice, on the other hand, has failed to represent the residents of the 4th Congressional District, a district Clinton won by 10 points and Obama by 13 points. In addition to her abysmal political record, she hasn't held a town hall in nearly two years.

 Please chip in whatever you can to replace Rice with a true progressive. No corporate PACs. Only people power. Your card will only be charged if Siela Bynoe runs for Congress in NY-04.
Earlier this morning, Alex Kaufman, reporting for HuffPo, pointed out that "new polling shows older, suburban women in Democratic Rep. Kathleen Rice’s Long Island district overwhelmingly support a Green New Deal" and that her opposition to it makes her vulnerable to a primary challenge. If Bynoe goes through with the primary, it will be Rice's first since being elected to Congress. Kaufman points out that Rice was endorsed by a handful of GOP officials in her district in 2016 and since then has voted with Trump around 30% of the time.
Her vulnerability to a challenge could speak to the changing nature of the Democratic electorate. Support for a Green New Deal unites disparate primary voters from the 2016 election. Among New York 4th Congressional District voters who picked Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) in 2016, 55 percent said they would support a pro-Green New Deal candidate, compared to 8 percent who wouldn’t. Among voters who picked former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in the 2016 primary, support for a Green New Deal proponent hit 46 percent, compared to 19 percent who don’t.

The results mirror support for Ocasio-Cortez, whose surprise primary victory over the summer skyrocketed the 29-year-old to national fame. In Rice’s district, 52 percent of those polls viewed Ocasio-Cortez favorably, of which 56 percent said they’d support a Green New Deal proponent in a 2020 primary.

“Ocasio-Cortez has clearly broken through,” Sean McElwee, the co-founder of Data for Progress, said by phone. “People like Ocasio-Cortez are more than willing to primary a Democrat for not supporting a Green New Deal.”

But reaching a point where there’s enough “organic buzz” around a Green New Deal that it’s a “topic of discussion beyond the direct actions of a primary opponent,” will require a lot of work, said Jeff Hauser, a veteran progressive strategist.

...“It is seems more than plausible to me but rather very likely that if made salient to voters, opposition to a Green New Deal would be deeply dangerous for the primary chances of any incumbent Democrat,” Hauser said by email. “However the work of making it salient is no small task.”

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At 10:45 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I can't see Long Island electing someone who resembles the Hampton ideal of domestic labor no matter how good she would be for the rest of the nation.

At 6:13 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

replacing that democrap would not have prevented Pelosi nor paygo.


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