Tuesday, February 18, 2020

Trump To Campaign For Congressional Republicans? Kara Eastman Says "Bring It On!"


Hole-in-One by Nancy Ohanian

During the 2016 election, a putative Democrat from the South Bronx, Rubén Díaz, Sr., backed Ted Cruz for president and invited him to speak in his district. It didn't do Cruz much good. In the Republican primary, Cruz came in third-- with just 1,022 votes, in New York's bluest county. Trump won the county in the primary with 2,702 votes but in the general election, Hillary eviscerated him 318,403 (88.7%) to 34,424 (9.6%). Today, still running as a Democrat (or some kind of Democrat), Díaz Sr. is trying to sneak into the NY-15 congressional district from which progressive icon Jose Serrano is retiring.

NY-15 doesn't have many white conservatives. In fact, only 2.5% of the district's population is white. And when Republicans run there, it's usually just a vanity run or a publicity stunt. NY-15 is the bluest district in America. Obama won it with 95% the first time he ran and with 97% the second time. In 2016, Trump performance in the district was just 4.9%-- his worst results in the Bronx, in New York City, in New York State and in the U.S.A. This cycle, though, conservatives might get lucky. One of their own, Díaz Sr., is running for the open congressional seat... and running as a Democrat.

A a 77-year-old, cowboy hat-wearing Pentecostal minister known for his constituent services and ugly controversial statements on social issues, Díaz Sr. has a clear path to victory-- a split among a dozen progressive and mainstream candidates that could actually leave the crackpot with a primary win. Díaz was the only Democrat in the state Senate to vote against a bill legalizing same-sex marriage in 2011. He is vehemently anti-Choice and against stem-cell research. And last year he told New Yorkers that the City Council is "controlled by the homosexual community," which led to him being stripped of his chairmanship of the For-Hire Vehicle committee. City Council Speaker Corey Johnson told him to resign.

The best way of beating Díaz is for progressives and normal Democrats to get behind Tomas Ramos... but that isn't going to happen, especially not with political careerists like Ritchie Torres and Michael Blake. But there's another way to beat Díaz, Sr.-- and Ramos told us about it today. An Alayna Treene post at Axios over the weekend pointed out that "In the lead-up to the 2018 midterm elections-- buoyed by Republican control of both chambers-- President Trump viewed campaigning for the House as a lower-tier priority and instead poured his energy into rallying for the Senate. But after the GOP reckoning in 2018, and experiencing firsthand how damaging a Democratic-led House has been to him, Trump is now personally invested in helping Republicans regain the majority in November. If Trump wins re-election and Republicans are able to hold the Senate and take back the House, Trump will essentially have free rein to do whatever he wants in his second term." Tomas Ramos, like many Democrats running for Congress, hopes Trump will come to his district to campaign.

It isn't likely to happen, but a Trump-Díaz rally would be an immense GOTV moment for real Democrats in the Bronx. "This," Ramos told me, "would give my campaign a huge boost. My district consists of 98% people of color from all over the world. It would expose Rubén Díaz, Sr. for what he really is, a conservative Republican who has been running as a Democrat in the most Democratic congressional district in the country. Remember, this is the same guy who brought Ted Cruz to the Bronx in 2016."

Goal ThermometerOmaha, Nebraska is very different from the Bronx and the congressional district there, NE-02, is a quintessential swing district. It went for Obama in 2008 and for Romney in 2012. Last cycle, Hillary lost NE-02 by less than 2 points. But Trump is incredibly unpopular there now. In 2018, progressive Kara Eastman won Douglas County (Omaha convincingly). Like Tomas, she would love to see Trump come to Omaha to campaign with his Nebraska-clone, Don Bacon. "If Trump wants to come to my district-- where polls show him under water by 14 points-- to campaign for Bacon," she told me, "I say bring it on!"

Liam O'Mara is less certain what a Trump visit to Riverside County to bolster endangered Republican Ken Calvert would mean. "Trump being here could energize Calvert's base and mine. Trump won the 42nd by 12 points," Liam continued, "But remember, he was running as a populist and talking about the working class. Yes, the district has a conservative history, but many of its independent voters have a populist streak. And Republicans make up only 38% of the electorate, and falling. The answer to a right-populist is a left-populist who knows how to frame the issues well." O'Mara thinks that if Calvert campaigned in the district with Trump, he could win with a campaign stop by Bernie. "Standing with him would do the most good... and his popularity in the district is growing. His appeal crosses party lines and scoops up the independent populists more easily than Trump. It is worth remembering that about 12% of Bernie's 2016 primary voters went for Trump in the general. These are swing voters that we can only win with the right kind of candidate."

Tom Winter is the progressive Democrat likely to take on Matt Rosendale for the open at-large Montana House seat. He reminded me that in 2018 Trump was in Montana four times campaigning for Rosendale when he was running against Democrat Jon Tester. "One of these campaign rallies was in a state legislative district Trump had won by 11 points the previous election and the one I was running in to replace an incumbent Republican that was seated right behind him as he spoke. While that local GOP lawmaker was enjoying his VIP tickets to that rally, I knocked dozens and dozens of doors that day right across the street. I talked with my neighbors about how politics was failing the working families of Montana. I laid out my progressive policy agenda that I felt would make it more affordable for all of us to live in the place we love. With loud cheers in the background as the president complimented our incumbent Congressman, Greg Gianforte, for body slamming a reporter that had asked him a tough question, I spoke with my neighbors about the need to restore civility in our politics. Gianforte, Rosendale, and that local legislator all laughed as the president praised the assault on journalists, 'Any guy who can do a body slam is my kind of guy.' They laughed and Jon Tester and I won. We won because we had not lost faith in Montanans and laid out our cases for how we would fight for them, each in our own way. Our good Senator won that year by his largest margin ever in his three statewide election victories. So, as I run to replace that body slamming Congressman I welcome the president to stop by our great state for as many times as he'd like. He can find me speaking with my future constituents."

Other districts where Trump visits would likely kill GOP chances include seats currently held by John Katko, Peter King, and Lee Zeldin in New York; Fred Upton in Michigan; And Barr in Kentucky; Jaime Herrera Beutler and Cathy McMorris Rodgers in Washington; Chris Smith in New Jersey; Ann Wagner in Missouri; Brian Fitzpatrick and Scott Perry in Pennsylvania; Denver Riggleman and Rob Wittman in Virginia; Rodney Davis and Mike Bost in Illinois; Bryan Steil in Wisconsin; Pete Stauber and Jim Hagedorn in Minnesota; Devin Nunes and Tom McClintock in California; Mario Diaz-Balart, Ross Spano, Brian Mast and Vern Buchanan in Florida; Dan Crenshaw, Michael McCaul, John Carter, Chip Roy and Roger Williams in Texas; and Steve Chabot, David Joyce and Mike Turner in Ohio.

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At 2:10 PM, Blogger sam said...

thanks for this breakdown


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