Thursday, June 09, 2016

"Transitioning to general election footing"

"Everybody's doin' a brand new dance now."

Democratic discussion fora no longer wish to host discussions that don't build up the Democratic candidates, which is leaving a lot of people who used to call themselves Democrats out of the fold...

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... but not out in the cold.  Now to be sure, there's quite a few Bernie bitter-enders at that shop, which is comprised mostly of folks from the other two, but hey, transitioning is hard work.  It sure beats oligarchy, though.

-- No criticizing DWS at the old places for this.

After mainstream media outlets recently started reverberating what Bernie Sanders’ supporters have been saying about DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz for almost a year now, Wasserman Schultz has gone into damage control to save her career.

Among Wasserman Schultz’s stances considered most controversial by fellow Democratic colleagues is her opposition to federal guidelines announced by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau to regulate predatory payday lenders. Payday lenders offer short-term loans to borrowers at high interest rates, often as a last resort for individuals in low-income communities. Debbie Wasserman Schultz’s opposition to the guidelines can be linked to $68,000 in campaign donations she has received from payday lenders, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. Her Democratic primary challenger, Tim Canova, has used the donations and her opposing stance to the guidelines as a means to contrast the difference between the two candidates. A liberal group in South Florida has even dubbed her “Debt Trap Debbie.”

On June 3, in a statement released on Facebook, Debbie Wasserman Schultz flip-flopped her opposition to the payday loan guidelines.

Still looking for that elusive Hillbot who has denounced DWS.  Anybody point one out to me?

-- I'm surprised Republicans in Texas haven't enacted 'Top Two' voting.

California Attorney General Kamala Harris (D) and Rep. Loretta Sanchez (D-CA) will square off to fill the U.S. Senate seat being vacated by retiring Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA). For the first time since California voters began electing U.S. senators in 1914, there won’t be a Republican on the ballot.

That’s due to the “jungle primary” system California voters signed off on when they approved Proposition 14 back in 2010. The measure transformed the state’s June primaries into open contests where all voters vote for all candidates, with the top two finishers regardless of party advancing to November.

Cali Dems must be feeling pretty good about that whole 'tyranny of the majority' thing.

Beyond the absence of a Republican on November’s ballot, the election will be significant for another reason. Harris, who won the state Democratic Party endorsement, would be the first African American woman to serve in the U.S. Senate since Carol Moseley Braun (D-IL) was defeated by Peter Fitzgerald (R-IL) and left office in 1999. Sanchez, meanwhile, would be the first Latina ever in the U.S. Senate.

That covers a lot of identity caucuses, which is allegedly a good thing.  Harris appears to be farther from neoliberalism than Sanchez.

As Bloomberg reports, Sanchez has established a reputation during her two decades in the House as a moderate who has voted with Republicans on issues like gun control and regulating for-profit colleges. In fact, thanks in part to the “jungle primary” system, her candidacy heading into Tuesday was supported by a number of prominent Republicans. She voted against invading Iraq and the Patriot Act, and as a senior member of the House Armed Services Committee and the Homeland Security Committee, is a respected voice on national security issues.

Harris, meanwhile, has won the endorsement of Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA). On her website, she strikes a populist tone by vowing to “be a fighter for middle class families who are feeling the pinch of stagnant wages and diminishing opportunity.” As Attorney General she’s sought to reduce California’s prison population, reduce police violence, and prosecute polluters. Earlier this year she began investigating ExxonMobil for misleading the public about the risks of climate change, and she recently sued the Southern California Gas Company for failing to report a massive methane leak. 

-- California won't be helping flip the Senate, but Wisconsin will.  Ron Johnson needs to go.

Sen. Ron Johnson (R), running for re-election in Wisconsin, is one of Congress’ more vulnerable Republican incumbents, and polls show him trailing the Democrat he defeated in 2010, former Sen. Russ Feingold (D). Johnson, however, is flush with cash, which he’s eager to put to use.

And while not every campaign commercial deserves special attention and scrutiny, the Wisconsin senator’s newest spot is amazing for an important reason. Roll Call reported:

Republican Ron Johnson is a first-term U.S. senator from Wisconsin. The voters back home wouldn’t know it watching his re-election campaign’s first TV ad.

Even for a time when incumbent lawmakers try to distance themselves from their job titles, Johnson’s new ad takes that approach to an extreme. It doesn’t once mention his work as a lawmaker or even identify him as a senator.

That may sound like an exaggeration, but it’s not. The Republican’s re-election ad is carefully designed to give viewers the impression that he’s not already a senator.
In the spot, Johnson makes literally no references to any work he’s done while in office; he doesn’t identify himself as a senator; he doesn’t note any Senate achievements; and he doesn’t mention that he’s running for re-election.

Instead, the far-right Wisconsin lawmaker and committee chairman boasts in the ad, in the present tense, “I manufacture plastic,” which is sort of true, except for the fact that he also currently helps shape federal laws from Capitol Hill.

He goes on to say, “I’ve stayed put, right here in Oshkosh, for 37 years.” Left unmentioned: the last six years in which he’s been a powerful Beltway insider.

The GOP has used this ruse before.

Long-time readers may recall this piece from four years ago, featuring a variety of Republicans in Congress running re-election campaign ads that pretended they weren’t in Congress at the time.
My personal favorite was this spot from Rep. Dan Benishek (R-Mich.), who didn’t want voters to know he was a congressman, and who blasted his Democratic challenger who’d never served in Congress as a “career politician.” (It worked; Benishek won re-election.)
The New York Times reported at the time on the larger phenomenon: “Bragging about one’s voting record used to be a staple of political advertising, and a career in Congress was worn as a badge of honor. But this year, many House candidates are deciding not to mention their service here, a blunt acknowledgment of the dim view that a vast majority of voters have of Congress.”
Not one of these incumbents, however, was a sitting U.S. senator. As best as I can tell, Ron Johnson is the first Senate incumbent in recent memory to run ads predicated on the assumption that his constituents don’t know he’s already in office.
Johnson appears confident he hasn’t made much of an impression on Wisconsin voters over the last six years – as if that were a good thing.

"Government is broken, and elect me to break it into smaller pieces" just wasn't effective any more, I suppose.  Now we're playing the "Vote for me because I'm not the incumbent, even though I am" card. 

The sad part is that -- having elected, re-elected in a recall, and then re-elected Scott Walker governor again after that -- the people of Wisconsin might be stupid enough to fall for this.  It's a presidential year (higher D turnout) with Trump at the top (Ted Cruz beat the Orange-utan in April 48-35), but with a very restrictive voter photo ID law still in place (despite various court challenges still pending, much like ours in Texas) so really, anything could happen.

-- Here's a good post on the Central Texas Berniecrat taking on Lamar Smith, the climate change denier who is chairman of the House Science committee.  Let's try not to let him be another sacrificial lamb, shall we?


Gadfly said...

First, agreed that we can vote for Dems in offices where there's no Green, or no good Green, which also can happen.

Second and more importantly is your callout of tribalist bullshit.

Hey, "Dems right or wrong"? Keep doing this and some of us will be more reluctant to actively support downballot candidates.

Gadfly said...

Per a previous post of yours, without the jungle ballot, I had been thinking Loretta Sanchez as a possible Hillary Veep. That said, two minority women scrambling for Democratic support should be fun.

PDiddie said...

Sanchez isn't on this short list (Castro and Labor Sec. Perez, my personal favorite, is). Despite all the chatter around Warren, I can't see Clinton picking her to assuage Berners, and not just because she's from a blue state; as you know, the R guv picks her replacement, costing Ds a vote in the Senate. This whole Warren talk feels like a head fake to me.

Presidential nominees usually go with someone they're comfortable with, and today I'd mark Tim Kaine as the front-runner.

Gadfly said...

Agreed on Warren, on both reality on the ground and on head fakes, tho Reid seems to like her. And, I think Sanchez prolly wasn't on the short list because this was the expected primary result some time ago.

Perez is on my guessing list; I'll be doing a post for Monday morning.

That's the word from @realDonaldTrump.

meme said...

Pandering to Hispanics, be you be? We, Latinos, are probably the least tribal (your words) when it comes to supporting candidates. Even the sexuality of the person running is not much of a consideration.

But years ago I discovered that the Harris County Democratic Party was anti-Latino not in words but in action. But probably the Sander type Democrats can't imagine that they are racists and or bigots. They don't talk the talk but they do the walk.