Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Midnight Meme Of The Day!

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-by Noah

Within 24 hours of tonight's meme being posted, we should know where Alabama stands. Will they vote for Roy Moore to, once again, endorse racism, homophobia and other indecency; this time while adding their support for child molestation, or, will they vote for Doug Jones, a decent man who prosecuted those who killed four young girls in a church bombing in Birmingham? Judging from the past, even the very, very recent past, I suspect that many Alabama voters despise Doug Jones for that very fact. One need only look at the voter suppression tactics that have been codified into law by the state's republican dominated legislature.

I know that a Senator Roy Moore probably wouldn't be the first accused pedophile in the U.S. Senate, but he may be the first one to be banned from a public shopping mall for being a clear and present danger to young girls. He's been open about his proclivities since the day he telephoned a local high school looking for a date. Today's Christians support that kind of thing. To them, when they say "Let us pray," it's spelled "Let us prey." They are all for protecting babies in the womb, but, once a little girl can walk... well, she's on her own and fair game.

A severely mentally ill president who reportedly has his own history of the same tendencies has repeatedly urged Alabama to send Moore to the nation's capitol. No one wants to be the only out in public pedophile in town. Virtually his whole party, from Senate Majority Leader McConnell and House Speaker Ryan on down have embraced Moore and all of the disease he stands for. If, in the likely event that the Devil wins this round, I will feel sick and worried for those young women in the congressional page program. I will await the irony of one of them, armed with a Republican-approved concealed carry permit and a gun, violently defending herself on the steps of the Capitol Building. After all, the Lord works in mysterious ways, doesn't she?

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Monday, December 11, 2017

Otis Redding Died Yesterday, 50 Years Ago, Age 26... 26--Hard To Believe

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I took my job as chairman of the Student Activities Board at my college, Stony Brook, very seriously. I did all I could to offer the students the best concert and lecture series anywhere in America. We had historic concerts by Jimi Hendrix, The Doors, the Jefferson Airplane, The Who, Pink Floyd, Joni Mitchell, Ravi Shankar, Smokey Robinson, The Byrds, Tim Buckley, Big Brother, The Dead, The Temptations and in 1967-- in between the release of King & Queen with Carla Thomas and his tragic death, at 26 years old, in a plane crash in bad weather-- Otis Redding. That tragic plane crash was on December 10 50 years and one day ago.

Sunday morning Jonathan Gould commemorated the day with a brief retrospective and memorial for the New Yorker. Gould wrote that Redding was "the most charismatic and beloved soul singer of his generation, the male counterpart to Aretha Franklin, whom he had recently endowed with the hit song Respect. In the preceding year, on the strength of his triumphant tours of Britain, France, and Scandinavia, his appearances at the Fillmore Auditorium in San Francisco, and his domineering performance at the Monterey Pop Festival, Redding had pushed beyond the commercial constraints of the so-called 'Chitlin’ Circuit' of ghetto theatres and Southern night clubs. He was determined to become the first African-American artist to connect with the burgeoning audience for album rock that had transformed the world of popular music since the arrival of the Beatles in America, in 1964." The concert at Stony Brook was part of that determination-- his and mine.
Redding’s success with this new, ostensibly hip, predominantly white audience had brought him to a turning point in his career. Thrilled with the results of a throat surgery that left his voice stronger and suppler than ever before, he resolved to scale back his relentless schedule of live performances in order to place a greater emphasis on recording, songwriting, and production. In the weeks before his death, he had written and recorded a spate of ambitious new songs. One of these, the contemplative ballad (Sittin’ On) The Dock of the Bay, became his self-written epitaph when it was released as a single, in January of 1968. A sombre overture to the year of the Tet Offensive, the assassinations of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and Senator Robert Kennedy, and the election of Richard Nixon as President, the song went on to become the first posthumous No. 1 record in the history of the Billboard charts, selling more than two million copies and earning Redding the unequivocal “crossover” hit he had sought since his début on the Memphis-based label Stax, in 1962. To this day, according to the performance-rights organization BMI, “(Sittin’ On) The Dock of the Bay” remains one of the most frequently played (and streamed) recordings in the annals of American music.

In an age of pop culture replete with African-American superstars like Michael Jackson, Prince, Usher, Bruno Mars, Kanye West, and Jay-Z, it is hard for modern audiences to appreciate how revolutionary the self-presentations of soul singers like Otis Redding were when they first came on the scene. Prior to the mid-fifties, it had simply been taboo for a black man to perform in an overtly sexualized manner in front of a white audience in America. (Female black entertainers, by contrast, had been all but required to do so.) In the South, especially, the social psychology of the Jim Crow regime was founded on a paranoid fantasy of interracial rape that was institutionalized by the press and popular culture in the malignant stereotype of the “black brute,” which explicitly sexualized the threat posed by black men to white women and white supremacy. Born in Georgia in 1941, the same year as Emmett Till, Otis Redding grew up in a world where any “suggestive” behavior by a black male in the presence of whites was potentially suicidal.



In 2007, forty years on, a panel of artists, critics, and music-business professionals assembled by Rolling Stone ranked Otis Redding eighth on a list of the “100 Greatest Singers of All Time.” This placed him in a constellation of talent that included his contemporaries Aretha Franklin, Ray Charles, Sam Cooke, Marvin Gaye, Stevie Wonder, and James Brown, who together represented the greatest generation of church-bred African-American singers in the history of popular music. What distinguished Redding in this august company was the heartbreaking brevity of his career. In his five short years as a professional entertainer, his incomparable voice and vocal persona established him as soul music’s foremost apostle of devotion, a singer who implored his listeners to “try a little tenderness” with a ferocity that defied the meaning of the word. His singular combination of strength and sensitivity, dignity and self-discipline, made him the musical embodiment of the “soul force” that Martin Luther King, Jr., extolled in his epic “I Have a Dream” speech as the African-American counterweight to generations of racist oppression. In the way he looked and the way he sang and the way he led his tragically unfinished life, this princely son of Georgia sharecroppers was a one-man repudiation of the depraved doctrine of “white supremacy,” whose dark vestiges still contaminate our world.
Jim Morrison, Jim Hendrix, Janis Joplin, Otis Redding were all kids when they died, each soon after I had gotten to know them, fell in love with their music and eagerly shared it with my fellow students. I buried the horror-- of that, of the assassinations, of the brutal war against Vietnam-- in drugs and then left the country for over 6 years to try to discover who I was and why this was all going on around me. I'm still working on it. But I sure do hope Otis and the rest are singing for Jesus in Heaven today.



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Tomorrow Is Election Day In Alabama. Would Moore Be The Most Vile Man Ever Elected To The Senate? We Already Have the Most Vile President

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Tomorrow is election day in Alabama. I'm rooting for Doug Jones. He doesn't just seem better than Roy Moore-- now there's a low bar-- but better than Jon Ossoff too. I bought into Ossoff, contributed some monet to him personally and Blue America endorsed him and raised him some money. So I was pretty disappointed as the race proceeded from when I first talked to him and the guy who persuaded me he was a progressive came increasingly under the sway of Beltway money-men, consultants and strategists who persuaded him to change his tone and going in a less progressive direction-- away from the energy and more towards the conventionally safe ground the DCCC always gravitates to in red districts: Republican-lite. It sickened me that Ossoff raised and spent $29,544,195 (to Karen Handel's $6,163,039), while the DCCC spent another $5,065,390 on him (and Pelosi's House Majority PAC threw in $650,571). In all, outside groups spent around $8 million bolstering Ossoff and outside Republican groups spent over $18 bolstering Handel. Handel beat him 134,799 (51.8%) to 48.2%-- in line with Trump's 48.3% to 46.8% winnower Hillary a few months earlier. Handel did about 3 and a half points better than Trump had and Ossoff, despite all that money, did about a point and a half worse than Hillary (who didn't campaign in GA-06 at all. He was a weak candidate. And Jones, down in Alabama is better-- and far more authentic.

Alabama's senior senator, Republican Richard Shelby, won't be having a very collegial relationship with Roy Moore if Moore wins tomorrow. On State of the Union yesterday, Shelby told Jake Tapper that he voted already-- but not for Moore. "We call it a tipping point. I think, so many accusations, so many cuts, so many drip, drip, drip-- when it got to the 14-year-old's story, that was enough for me. I said I can't vote for Roy Moore." He added that if Moore is elected, the Senate "will have to seat him, and we'll see what happens after that... The Senate has to look at who's fit to serve in the Senate."

Still, Jones very well may win tomorrow. The Real Clear Politics average of polls has Moore at 49.1% and Jones at 45.3%, too close to call. The only one of the 7 most recent polls Jones was ahead in was from the Washington Post November 30 that showed Jones leading 50-47%. All the others show Jones winning by between 3 and 7%. But... you know how in normal states, people are often embarrassed to say they plan to vote for a Republican and often lie to pollsters? In Alabama it may be the opposite: people are embarrassed to say they'll vote for a Democrat and lie to the pollsters. We'll see; Republicans could be embarrassed-- should be embarrassed-- to admit they're voting for a child molester.

As of September 22, the last FEC reporting deadline, Jones had spent $9,034,232 and still had $2,543,090 in his campaign warchest and the child molester had spent $4,455,952 and had $636,046 left. Over $7 million has been spent against Moore (mostly by Luther Strange allies in the primary) and $1,529,978 had been spent opposing Jones. A ton of right-wing money has poured into the race in the form of independent expenditures in the last 10 days and we have no figures on that yet.


But if you look on the Blue America Senate endorsement page, you won't find a slot for Jones. We reached out to him the day he announced but he never got back. We reached out a week later and a week after that. People from his campaign even told me at one point they'd get us on the phone together. It never happened. And even though nearly everything I've read about Jones indicated he would be a good candidate, without an interview, I couldn't ask Blue America donors, who expect a degree of vetting, to contribute their money to him (instead of, say, to Tammy Baldwin's reelection campaign or even Beto O'Rourke's race against Ted Cruz). So, like I said, I'm rooting for Jones tomorrow and I'll probably pray for him when I wake up at 4am. But... I didn't contribute my own money, we didn't endorse him and I never asked Blue America donors to send him any money.

That said, I was pretty surprised when I read a critique of Jones from a North Alabama DSA member: Doug Jones is a Terrible Candidate. The DSA member seems to think Jones is not much more than the lesser evil compared to, in her words, the candidate who "is a wretched, disgusting, pedophilic rapist who deserves absolutely no place in any leadership position." Then the big "but." She wrote that "The problem with Doug Jones is revealed not when you point out what he hasn’t done that Roy Moore has, but rather when you look at what Doug Jones says he plans to do, or, as is often the case, not do. At a time when the already abysmal American healthcare system is at threat of being outright gutted by congress, Doug Jones has repeatedly shied away from supporting Bernie Sanders’s Medicare For All plan, and has not backed single-payer healthcare (an immensely popular policy proposal) despite the fact that his very own website states that he believes “Health care is a right, not a privilege limited to the wealthy and those with jobs that provide coverage.” Jones has also shied away from dedicating himself to supporting a $15 livable wage, again, despite the fact that his own website says that he “strongly support[s] ensuring working Alabamians receive a living wage for their hard work.” And, in a time when the college debt crisis is racking up in the trillions of dollars, he has not endorsed any sort of tuition-free college education program, despite--  and I know this is getting tiresome--  his own website stating that “Providing a quality education to all children is the key to a long-term thriving economy.”
[L]ooking at Doug Jones’s campaign website is an enlightening look into the extent of his tiptoeing mediocrity. Clicking the “Priorities” section immediately greets you with a phrase that thrusts into your face Jones’s nauseating fetishization of respectability politics: “Bring integrity back to Washington.” Moving on from the meaningless blurb that is that sentiment is the “Economy” section of this page which starts out with the very telling phrase “Small businesses are truly the backbone of the American economy.” This, despite the fact that workers, not businesses, are the backbone of any economy, and that American workers are continually laboring longer and harder for less and less pay while the capitalists who own these businesses are making more and more, is what Doug Jones feels is most important to state first in his campaign website’s “Economy” section.

Going back to respectability politics; Doug Jones loves it. A lot. It is difficult to hear Jones speak for more than thirty seconds without him mentioning “bipartisanship” or “reaching across the aisle.” Jones cares so much about respecting the “other side of the issues” that his campaign put out an ad that described the Civil War as “two sides believing so strongly in their cause that they were willing to die for it”, and citing the example of a Confederate and a Union General coming together as a virtuous act that should be encouraged. One must think hard about what exactly Jones is willing to compromise on if he sees shaking hands with a General who fought for the preservation of chattel slavery as even a possibility.



The Civil War ad is not the Jones campaign’s only advertising misstep. In a move that garnered some national headlines, the Jones campaign decided it appropriate to mail out fliers that read “Think if a black man went after high school girls anyone would try to make him a senator?” with the picture of a black man underneath. Being that it was a flier that was clearly indicative of some racialized thinking of its creator, there was justified backlash to it--  many calling blatantly racist.

It would seem as if the Democratic Party of Alabama decided to back not only one of the most mediocre and uninspiring candidates possible in a time of strong populist sentiments, but also a candidate who is too racially insensitive to run ads that don’t glowingly reference Civil War “compromise” or spit directly in the face of the black community.

Come election day, Alabamians will have the sacred honor of participating in the democratic process by voting for either a child rapist or a weak-kneed white blob in a suit to go work on Capitol Hill for some unknown corporate donor. Personally, I can’t say that I will be taking part.
OK, since she brought up "sacred," I'll definitely pray when I wake up tomorrow morning and ask Jesus to grant Alex the wisdom to do the right thing and vote to help the guy who prosecuted the KKK terrorists get into the Senate instead of the deranged Trumpist who would be working to harm her every single day in every single way. But... a nice new poll from, of all places, Fox News. This looks like a very wide margin-- and is at odds with all the other polls we've looked at. Fingers crossed! We'll see how accurate they were mañana, won't we?



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Why Aren't More Democrats Using Anti-Monopoly Arguments In Their Congressional Campaigns?

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"Democrats don’t know how to use this rhetoric politically, since they haven’t really paid attention to the politics of commerce for decades. They are starting to learn."
-Matt Stoller
Obviously, Bernie, Elizabeth Warren and a few progressives in the House like Mark Pocan (D-WI), Rick Nolan (D-MN), Keith Ellison (D-MN) and Ro Khanna (D-CA) are very involved with the anti-trust movement. And Blue America has endorsed a handful of candidates who are campaigning on anti-trust issues, particularly former Obama Administration employees Lillian Salerno (D-TX) and Austin Frerick (D-IA). But I'm not getting a sense that monopolies are part of the Democratic Party national discussion-- certainly not the way healthcare, Putin-Gate and #MeToo are. Yesterday, The Hill, of all places, published a good look at the recent efforts Warren and some other Democrats are making to put monopoly issues back on the front burner. "Democrats," wrote Ali Breland, "aren’t just taking aim at the behemoth deals themselves: they’re looking at the specific government policies that permit them. Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) on Wednesday directly attacked the Chicago school of economics-- the principles that have significantly influenced how federal regulators evaluate mergers. Warren and other Democrats say that these principles allow and, in some cases, encourage larger mergers, which they believe threaten competition and potentially hurt the public as well."
Democrats’ criticism comes amid a new wave of mega-mergers in 2017, which Wall Street expects to continue into 2018. Over the past year, companies including AT&T and Time Warner, CVS and Aetna and Monsanto and Bayer have pursued multibillion-dollar mergers. Overall, billion-dollar plus mergers are up from a year ago.

The debate could have impacts on how mergers are treated down the road. Disputes over merger policy have already played a part in a controversy over how to handle AT&T’s $85 billion merger with Time Warner.

In her Wednesday speech, Warren said that adopting such laissez-faire frameworks for enforcing antitrust means government tools meant to increase competition in markets are “gathering dust.”

“With the growth of Chicago school economics in the 1970s and 1980s … instead of blocking mergers that posed significant threats to competition, [antitrust enforcers] signed off on settlement agreements that allowed bad mergers if the companies promised to take actions later on that were supposedly designed to protect competition,” she said.

The Chicago school of economics, named after the University of Chicago whose faculty, including economist Milton Friedman, were largely responsible for its intellectual underpinnings, preaches aggressively free market capitalism and an aversion to regulation.

Warren’s complaint lies with how the Chicago school, and contemporary federal antitrust policy in the government treats vertical mergers-- deals between two companies that aren’t direct competitors, like Amazon’s recent $13.7 billion acquisition of Whole Foods or AT&T’s now-contested merger with Time Warner.

Generally, vertical mergers don’t cause problems within the Chicago school ideology of economics-- or, as a consequence, with the Justice Department. When antitrust regulators raise concerns, a merger can still be allowed after companies agree to government stipulations meant protect competition.

Warren isn’t the only Democratic lawmaker scrutinizing the ideological underpinnings of antitrust law.

“I think the Chicago school has basically made consumer welfare the litmus test, the gold standard of antitrust policy,” Rep. Ro Khanna (D-Calif.) who co-chairs the House Antitrust Caucus and represents Silicon Valley, told The Hill on Wednesday.

Khanna argued that antitrust policy should factor in the overall impact of consolidation on the public, including how a merger would affect product quality and price.

“What we need to do is go back to our roots and that means considering the impact of mergers and economic concentration have on wages, job and communities,” he said.

Former Treasury economist Austin Frerick, running in Iowa's third district, is as outspoken about this as Elizabeth Warren. I can't wait to see the two of them working together on the issue! "This anti-monoploy message," he told us today, "only connects with Americans if you actually name corporations, because otherwise folks just think of that board game that takes forever to play. But it is risky to name names. You can't put a bigger target on your back then when you say a merger shouldn't happen or a company should be broken up. Since August, I've not only opposed the Monsanto-Bayer merger, but I've also called for Monsanto to be broken up. No one else in my primary of 7 has come out to join me in opposing this merger. Heck, after my announcement, Monsanto donated $5,000 to the Republican opponent David Young and $2,700 through their Iowa lobbyist to Democrat Theresa Greenfield in my primary. I've called on both to return that money and oppose this merger, but it's been over a month and neither have done so."

Goal ThermometerHawaii Rep. Kaniela Ing is Majority Policy Leader in the state legislature and a candidate for Congress. He's been the tip off the spear for progressive legislation in his state and it's no surprise that he's leading on anti-trust issues as well. This morning he told us how he sees it:
It's a shame that we're still talking about austerity economics in America, let alone needing to argue against it in our political discourse. The anti-community, anti-human Chicago-school way of thinking has already obliterated economies across the globe.

The truth is most American economists know better-- that we need to defend against concentrated market power in order to save capitalism. As for the others, I suggest following the money.

The dangers of monopolization goes beyond price controls. Here's an example:

Monsanto, a chemical company, is already among a handful of multi-national corporations that control America's seed supply. This allows them to create varieties of crops that best respond to Monsanto's patented pesticides, force farmers to use them, and ultimately sell more chemicals. Meanwhile farmers and consumers lose options and inevitably pay more. Now, Monsanto wants to merge with Bayer, the drug company. Are we really going to allow a single corporation to have market power over medicine and (when unregulated) sickness-causing chemicals at the same time?

When austerity politicians say there's no such thing as a free lunch, Democrats should respond there's no such thing as a free-market. We know that systems concentrate and funnel power and wealth upward, and it's up to our elected leaders to shift it back to the working and middle-class people who drive our economy. Democrats must lead the way to save capitalism from itself.
The Guardian ran Elizabeth Warren's Wednesday speech at the Open Markets Institute as an OpEd, Three ways to remake the American economy for all. "The central question America faces today is this: who does our government work for? Does it work only for giant corporations, for the rich and the powerful? Or does it work for everyone? This isn’t hard to understand. Americans don’t need to review the complexities of the Herfindahl-Hirschman Index to get what’s going on in this country. Folks at the top are getting more and more and everyone else is left to fight over the scraps. Powerful interests have invested eye-popping amounts of cash into making sure it stays that way-- tilting the playing field against small businesses, against entrepreneurs, against innovators, against workers, and against just about everyone else. To keep us distracted, those in power tell lies built on fear-- fear of people who look different than we do or worship differently than we do or come from a different nationality. All the while, those powerful interests have been locking down their control over our economic system. Strong, healthy markets are the key to a strong, healthy America. But today, in every corner of our economy, big, powerful corporations are killing off competition. Airlines, banking, healthcare, pharma, agriculture, telecom and tech-- in industry after industry, monopolies, duopolies, and oligopolies are calling all of the shots-- exerting alarming control over markets. The results are devastating."

This is why we love her. This is why the country so desperately needs a Sander-Warren partnership in 2020.
When those giants kill off competition, prices go up, quality goes down, and jobs are eliminated. But that’s not all. Massive consolidation means the big guys can lock out smaller, newer competitors. It means the big guys can crush innovation. It means the big guys can muzzle ideas they don’t like and voices they don’t like. Studies show that consolidation even contributes to driving down wages and driving up income inequality.

Concentrated market power also translates into concentrated political power-- the kind of power that can capture our government. And that’s exactly what’s happening, as President Trump and the Republicans in Congress bow to the power and influence of these industrial giants and financial titans.

Donald Trump used to talk about the danger of monopoly. But that talk has pretty much disappeared now that he is president. Once he took the oath, he began stacking his administration with a who’s who of former lobbyists, Wall Street insiders, and corporate executives committed to tilting the scales even further in favor of their powerful friends and against everybody else. And just days ago, the Republican Congress handed out a giant tax giveaway to Wall Street corporations and the super-rich, leaving working families and college students to pick up the tab.

To rebuild an economy that works for everyone, not just the big guys, it is critical to reduce concentrated power in our markets. The federal government has the tools to do it; Congress handed antitrust enforcers those tools over a century ago. But those tools have been sitting on the shelf for decades, gathering dust.

Antitrust enforcers placed those tools on the shelf when they adopted Chicago School principles that narrowed the scope of antitrust laws; they moved away from the goal of protecting competition. It’s time to demand that antitrust enforcers pick up those tools, dust them off, and start enforcing the law again. Let’s talk about how.
Here's where she outlines the 3 steps. If you have the time, read the entire explanations. I wish I had a video of the speech, but these are the 3 steps:

• Step one: block mergers that choke off competition

• Step two: it’s time to crack down on anti-competitive conduct

• Step three: get all government agencies in the game

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How Candidates Should Talk About Medical Marijuana In Red States And Win

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Back in September we introduced a candidate into the mix, Kendra Fershee, running in one of the Trumpiest district in the country-- WV-01, where Trump beat Hillary 68-26% and where the PVI is R+19. The DCCC "strategy" for a district like that-- a losing strategy-- is to run a Republican-lite campaign-- to throw authenticity to the wind, deny you have anything to do with the Democratic Party and wave a gun-- or two-- around But that isn't who Kendra Fershee is. She isn't some careerists politician looking for a job; she's running to help West Virginians have better lives. The DCCC might want her to use Republican talking points and play down the Democrat thing but she's saying things like "this Democrat shares West Virginia’s values. West Virginians-- like all Americans-- believe in freedom. But you can’t be free if you don’t have health care. And you can’t be free if you don’t have a good job. And you can’t be free if you don’t have access to quality education for your family."

Kendra isn't shy about reminding WV-01 voters that "in the West Virginia 2016 Democratic presidential primary, Bernie Sanders outperformed Hillary Clinton by more than 15 percentage points, and beat her by even higher percentages in most counties in the West Virginia First District. Also, and perhaps more importantly, in some counties in the district, Bernie Sanders earned more votes than Donald Trump in the Republican primary. These numbers show that West Virginians are yearning for real change."

"West Virginians are, quite literally, struggling to survive," she told us a few months ago. "The drug addiction epidemic, a lack of healthcare, too many educational systems that do not have the resources to prepare people for a changing economy, and a near total lack of an economic base in countless communities all combine to make living in West Virginia incredibly difficult for families who have lived here for generations. This is heartbreaking for West Virginians because we love this wild and wonderful state fiercely and never want to leave. So, I’m ready to go to Washington to fight for our freedom to stay in West Virginia... I’m ready to go to Washington to fight for healthcare for everyone. I hear it from people all over the district; too many West Virginians are in a prison of ill health and drug addiction and we need a Representative who will treat our health crisis like the emergency that it is. At the same time, we know we need to support families and communities from the ground up. People who live in healthy, thriving communities are less likely to seek the escape of drugs because they have purpose and are fulfilled."

This morning Kendra released her first campaign ad (above)-- and it's a doozy... and not something the DCCC would suggest a candidate use even in a swing district. "Medical marijuana," Kendra told us, "is a safe alternative to opioids that will help people manage pain without risking becoming addicted to a deadly drug... It can also help addicts get off deadly drugs and begin to rebuild their lives. It helps stop addiction before it starts, and helps addicts recover."

Goal ThermometerOur friends at Green Wave in Kentucky helped Kendra produce the ad. Jasper Ward and his dad, former Congressman Mike Ward, are working with several Blue America candidates on presenting the medical marijuana issue in a way that is compelling and salient to voters across the country. "I'm thrilled," Jasper told us yesterday, "that two progressive candidates in red states are running on a positive message about jobs, opioids, and public safety.  And I'm so excited that Dan Canon and Kendra and other Green Wave Democrats have proposed a real way to fund progressive priorities that voters and Democrats need in 2018 and beyond agree with. The next generation of elected Democrats have a plan to govern, and legalizing marijuana nationwide is clearly going to be a part of it." If you agree-- and want to help Kendra get this ad up on TV in Parkersburg, Wheeling, Morgantown, Clarksburg and Parsons-- please click on the thermometer on the right and contribute what you can to her efforts.

Kendra is out campaigning by telling her neighbors throughout the district that "broadening West Virginia's struggling economy with a lucrative resource like medical marijuana would put people back to work and help us fix our schools... West Virginia has legalized medical marijuana, but implementing the law is difficult while the federal government looms with dated laws that could shut down legal operations. West Virginians fueled the build of the United States, so the U.S. government should get out of our way and let us rebuild our economy with this resource we can grow for other states as well."

And just as we were about to hit "publish" this morning, Dan Canon's Indiana campaign for Congress released their new ad on medical marijuana as well. Please take a look; he makes a lot of sense:



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TODAY, Pennsylvania's Supreme Court Could Deal A Fatal Blow To Gerrymandering

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As we mentioned late Friday, today is D-Day for gerrymandering in Pennsylvania. Yes... TODAY. There are 3 gerrymandering lawsuits wending their way through the courts in Harrisburg and the first one makes its judicial splash today. "The litigation," reported Reuters on Sunday, "is part of a growing set of legal challenges to partisan redistricting, including a U.S. Supreme Court case out of Wisconsin that could for the first time establish a constitutional standard to measure the legality of such map-making. The high court is scheduled to decide that case by June 2018, five months before the midterm elections.
In addition to the state case, two pending federal lawsuits also challenge the district lines as unconstitutional. Legal observers consider the state lawsuit the most likely to succeed in time for the voting next November.

The Democratic-majority state Supreme Court has ordered the presiding judge to render his decision by Dec. 31. The high court will then determine whether to accept his ruling or issue its own conclusions.

The state lawsuit asserts the redistricting included numerous examples of blatantly partisan lines.
It's so complicated that Reuters then flubbed the whole thing, writing that "Democrat-dominated Reading, one of the most economically depressed cities in the state, was carved out of the 6th district and placed into the reliably Democratic 13th, a move the plaintiffs said was intended to render the city’s votes meaningless." What reporter Joseph Ax should have written was "Democrat-dominated Reading, one of the most economically depressed cities in the state, was carved out of the 6th district and placed into the reliably Republican 16th, a move the plaintiffs said was intended to render the city’s votes meaningless." Reading's Democratic voters are swamped by Lancaster County's huge Republican majorities. If Reading was still part of the 6th, the 6th, a more swingy district, would be a safe blue district. I remember when my old friend Aryanna Strader (now Lt. Governor candidate Aryanna Berringer) ran against entrenched Republican Joe Pitts in the 16th in 2012. There are 3 counties (or parts of counties) in the 16th-- Berks, whose county seat in Reading, Chester and Lancaster. There were about 30,000 votes that came out of Reading and it was a landslide for Aryanna. She beat Pitts 65-30%. Chester County, which provided around 38,000 votes, is more swingy and Pitts was ahead by a nose-- 48-47%. But when Lancaster County came in, it was clear what the Republican legislators had done-- close to 190,000 votes from an exceedingly red county made Reading's voters meaningless. Pitts won Lancaster Co. 125,310 (60%) to 69,033 (33%).

Ax got his next example quote right though. It demonstrates another GOP tactic legislators use to make Democratic votes meaningless-- exactly what they did to blue, blue Austin, Texas, for example. "Montgomery County," he wrote, "where state senator Leach lives, has approximately 820,000 residents, slightly more than the 711,000 needed for a single congressional district, but has been sliced into five separate districts." Ax reported that Daylin Leach, the progressive lion of the state's Democrats, "is running in one of the country’s most gerrymandered congressional districts, one with such a twisting, winding shape that it has earned the derisive nickname 'Goofy Kicking Donald Duck.' The 7th congressional district has become a national poster child for critics of gerrymandering, the process by which one party draws district boundaries to ensure an advantage among voters. Democrats say the lines have helped Republicans like U.S. Representative Patrick Meehan, the four-term incumbent Leach seeks to unseat, to stay in office... Leach said he would make gerrymandering a campaign issue. 'It’s theft of democracy,' Leach said. 'This is horribly destructive.'... The 7th district is so precisely engineered that at one point it narrows to the width of a single seafood restaurant, snaking past two other congressional districts so it can link two far flung Republican-leaning areas."




“Three congressional districts all converge on this spot,” Leach said from the parking lot at Creed’s Seafood and Steaks last week, as cars whizzed overhead on the Pennsylvania Turnpike.

“This is the sixth; over there is the seventh; and down that road is the 13th,” he said, pointing in several directions. “This is what gerrymandering looks like on the ground.”

...Critics of gerrymandering say it helps explain why Pennsylvania has sent 13 Republicans and only five Democrats to the U.S. House since the 2011 redistricting, despite being a closely divided swing state.

...The Democrats have targeted six Republican-held districts in the state as part of their quest to pick up the 24 House seats they need to overturn the Republicans, who also have a Senate majority and President Donald Trump in the White House.

Democrats need to win the nationwide popular vote by at least 10 points in 2018 to do so, in part because of gerrymandered lines, according to Michael Li, a redistricting expert and lawyer at New York University’s Brennan Center for Justice.

“Pennsylvania is probably the most aggressive of the gerrymanders,” he said. “You look at some of the maps in the Philadelphia suburbs, and it looks like a 4-year-old just slapped paint around.”

The non-partisan League of Women Voters of Pennsylvania sued the state in June, arguing the maps violate the state constitution by depriving residents of a meaningful vote.

The litigation is part of a growing set of legal challenges to partisan redistricting, including a U.S. Supreme Court case out of Wisconsin that could for the first time establish a constitutional standard to measure the legality of such map-making. The high court is scheduled to decide that case by June 2018, five months before the midterm elections.

“The politicians are not supposed to pick their voters; the voters are supposed to elect their leaders,” said Mimi McKenzie, an attorney with the Public Interest Law Center who represents the League of Women Voters and other Pennsylvania voters.
Last week Rep. Matt Cartwright told us that ""Pennsylvania’s Congressional map is an abomination, a perfect example of politicians selecting their voters, instead of vice versa. I think we are fortunate to have a majority on the state Supreme Court willing to dive into this question and fix our preternaturally bollocksed up Congressional boundaries. It is hard to imagine that any tribunal could conclude that this map is not violative of any reasonable standard of electoral fairness. The real question is the one you have asked at the beginning:  whether the Supreme Court has the will to race time and put a new map in place for 2018. My prediction is that the Olympic-caliber foot-dragging Republicans in Harrisburg will test the high court’s resolve-- to do the right thing-- to the utmost."

Yesterday we discussed it with Daylin Leach again and he told us that when he started talking about the evils of gerrymandering 15 years ago, "I felt like I was talking to myself. It was on nobody's radar. Now, the issue is popping, and I'm extremely gratified that we appear to be finally on the precipice of progress on this insult to democracy. Hopefully, the courts will deal with this in a thoughtful, but aggressive way to consign the theft of votes that gerrymandering is to the ash heap of history."



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Midnight Meme Of The Day!

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-by Noah

For yesterday's meme, I threw a glaring prison yard spotlight on the 22 Republican creeping lowlife senators who, led by Mitch McConnell, voted against the reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act back in 2013. You can consider today's meme Part 2. It too, reflects the basic attitude of Republicans towards women. It's not just about their legislation ideas. Groping is bad enough but, to them, as evidenced by Trump's own recorded statements, republicans just consider groping and forced kissing to be "foreplay."

You can start with the cretin in today's meme, Maine state representative Lawrence Lockman. As additional evidence, I offer the exact quotes from a few of our most disgusting lawmakers. I'm surprised that a psychotic like Paul Ryan hasn't introduced a bill to make rape legal. It would be so Taliban of him and his party of sociopathic knuckle-dragging cavemen. It would certainly fit the rest of his personality profile.

Here they are. You know there's a lot more where this came from. Some will be familiar to you as being from the lengthy catalog of the GOP's Greatest Hits. Others, not so much, but every bit as grotesque and heinous. I've added editorial comments in parenthesis for each of these sub-human morons. And, yes, there are bad Democrats, but this is about overwhelming percentages and an attitude that serves as a qualification of party membership every bit as much as being a racist does.

1. Clayton Williams (R-TX) - Rape is kinda like the weather. If it's inevitable, relax and enjoy it. (Texas. Say no more.)

2. Todd Akin (R-MO) - If it's a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut the whole thing down. (Oh, the mysteries of them female bodies!)

3. Rick Santorum (R-PA) - Rape victims should make the best of a bad situation. (It's bad enough that Santorum dresses like the neighborhood perv, but, apparently, he wants credit for admitting that rape is bad.)

4. Richard Mourdock (R-IN) - Even when life begins in that horrible situation of rape, it is something that God intended to happen. (Wow, that some god these republican talibanistas have!)

5. Jodie Laubenberg (R-TX) - In the emergency room, they have what's called rape kits where a woman can get cleaned out. (Saving the "best" for last. This one comes from a woman, but, like Clayton Williams, she is from Texas. Do you think she'd feel the same way if, one night, her fellow Texan offered her a ride home and stopped the car on a dark side street and raped her?)

Like I always say, context is everything. Given the above quotations from such republican luminaries as these, is it any wonder that something like a Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA) can just laugh at the press about pedophilia when they ask about his support for Roy Moore? For all we know, rape of an underaged girl is the best rape of all, in the mind of a Republican.

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Sunday, December 10, 2017

For Those Who Believe The Democratic Party Is Salvageable...

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As you may-- or may not-- know, the DNC has been working to heal the wounds left from Wasserman Schultz's reign of terror, particularly over how she worked to undermine Bernie's campaign and rig the primaries for Hillary, making the party weak and un-unified and giving Trump more opportunities to gain ground. Over the weekend the 8 Bernie appointees to the Unity Reform Commission-- Our Revolution Board Chair Larry Cohen, Our Revolution President Nina Turner, Our Revolution Board members Lucy Flores, Jane Kleeb, and Jim Zogby, as well as former Berkeley Mayor Gus Newport, Jeff Weaver, and Nomiki Konst-- participated in the last of 5 meetings on how to reform the DNC. These were some of the top recommendations that came out of their work:
Reducing the number of unpledged, "superdelegates," in the presidential nominating process by 60 percent.
Electoral reforms and a process for rewarding states that have same day registration, same day party change, open primaries, other measures that increase civic participation
Commitment to re-evaluating allocation formulas so primary and caucus winners receive more pledged delegates
Commitment to reexamine the primary calendar, and offer incentives to states to ensure the calendar is appropriately spread out so voters in each state receive the necessary exposure to the candidates
Steps toward transparency and greater inclusion in Democratic National Committee spending including the creation of an Ombudsman Committee and strengthening the conflict of interest provision.
Larry Cohen, who served as Vice Chair of the Commission, reported that the "proposals, assuming adoption by the DNC in 2018, lead to a Democratic Party that would be a beacon in voting rights and transparency. Much of the attention of the Unity Reform Commission is on the Presidential nominating process, particularly the cut in unpledged superdelegates on the first ballot from 715 to less than 300. Just as important, the reforms mandated for party caucus and primary reform provide for same day registration and same day party registration. Similarly party leadership elections must be open and transparent rules for nominations and deadlines must be simple not controlled by insiders. In all of our recommendations we are saying to party officials in all states: This party must be inclusive in building membership and leadership-- no barriers."



Our old friend, Norman Solomon, one of the authors of the 2016 Autopsy, isn't as high on the Commission's work. He pointed out to the Real News Network that the chair of the commission is Jennifer O’Malley Dillon, a co-founder of Precision Strategies, a consulting firm that in the years 2015 and 2016 received more than half a million dollars from the Democratic Party. "Dillon, holding a gavel, oversaw a discussion about a series of proposals to basically cut back on what one Bernie Sanders supporter on the commission referred to as 'outright corruption of the Democratic Party,' involving consultants. So, the very measures that were aimed to eliminate financial conflicts of interest between the party and high-rolling consultants, those proposals were being overseen by a chairperson who had received a great deal of money, including in the four-month period between February and June of 2016, 230,000 dollars to the consultant firm that she co-founded. You look at the big picture, and you see that there’s a lot of money that keeps flowing to Clinton-aligned political consultants from the Democratic Party, and the majority on this commission clearly does not want to shake up that game, much less end it."
Keith Ellison is in a bind and a box, really, when he lost a close election nine months ago to be chair of the Democratic National Committee to Tom Perez. Then Perez immediately invited him to be deputy chair. In that role, Ellison is supposed to be a team player, but when it comes down to these nitty gritty power issues, he’s pretty much in a hamstrung position. So, we know that in 2016 at the national convention, 712 of the delegates were superdelegates. That’s 15 percent of the total. There’s a proposal on the table, and it looks like it’s now being recommended by the Unity Reform Commission, to cut that number back to perhaps about 250 or 300 superdelegates.

Just to sort of recap, superdelegates means that people get to vote for the nominee for president at the national convention without any accountability or relationship to what voters or caucus members have voted for. A good example is that 11 weeks before a single vote was cast in a caucus or primary in the Bernie Sanders/Hillary Clinton battle, Hillary Clinton had already lined up half of all the superdelegates. It’s as though in a race, the starting gun goes off and immediately one of the candidates, one of the people in the race in an instant is far ahead of the other.

That’s the way the corporate forces like it. Naturally, the superdelegates being made up largely of members of Congress who are Democrats, Democratic governors, not that there are many of those anymore, others who are on the Democratic National Committee, including a lot of lobbyists and elite insiders. They love being able to put their money down literally and figuratively with endorsement quickly for their preferred candidate. It puts them ahead as media frontrunner immediately. They’re part of the delegate count as superdelegate and also gives enormous fundraising advantage. It likes to or is aimed to put forward the image that perception as reality idea that hey, there’s a frontrunner. There’s a sort of inevitability.

Another way to put it is the superdelegate battle is the question of whether corporate power in the party is going to continue to dominate. As we say in the Autopsy report, “Autopsy: The Democratic Party in Crisis,” it’s really not possible for the leaders at the national level of the Democratic Party to have a close working relationship with the base when it’s afraid of the base. I think what’s happened here at this final meeting of the Unity Reform Commission is a further indication that those in control of the DNC by a small but significant margin are afraid of the grass-roots. They did everything they could for this ostensibly open meeting to prevent access by the public to even show up at the meeting.

...[M]ore than half, and we saw this on a number of votes today, more than half of the commission is composed of people who, when push comes to shove, when the chips fall, they make the chips fall in a way that protects corporate interests that prevent transparency or accountability about the hundreds of millions of dollars that are spent by the Democratic Party. It reminds me of something that Bernie Sanders said more than six months ago in speaking to a reporter from The New York Times Magazine when he put it this way, there are people in the Democratic Party who don’t mind being on the Titanic as long as they have a first-class cabin.

There are vested interests, both personal interests of lucrative contracts and power and so forth in and in relation to the DNC as well as the big Wall Street and big bank firms and so forth. And they want their party. It’s sort of a tacit division of labor. There’s an unspoken sense that yeah, you have African Americans and Latinos and lower, working class people. You want them to turn out and vote but when it comes to the policies, those policies that will be pursued by the Democratic Party are largely circumscribed by the donor class.

So, it’s talk about you support the working class. Have the ship steered by the donor class, by Wall Street. This is so corrosive because when you get real about politics and power and the future of the country, there is no way to split the difference and say we’re going to help the big bankers. We’re going to help the multimillionaires and billionaires and we’re going to help the working class. This Democratic Party has a split identity. There’s the rhetoric that says we’re for the working people. There’s the overarching policy and control the DNC that’s vested in those who feel a direct kinship, a connection with and often are of the banker and donor and Wall Street class. That’s a part of the battle that I think is being fought and must be fought.

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4-5-6-7... All Good Cretins Go To Heaven

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Haaretz is one of the most respected Israeli newspapers. Yesterday they ran an analysis of what was behind Trump's decision to move the U.S. embassy from Tel-Aviv to Jerusalem in a few years-- less than an hour's drive: Armageddon? Bring It On: The Evangelical Force Behind Trump's Jerusalem Speech. "The U.S. evangelical community," they wrote, "is in raptures over Trump's decision to declare Jerusalem the capital of Israel, believing it moves the world closer to Armageddon." He was endangering world peace but shoring up his evangelical cretinous base before the big battle over Mueller and impeachment.

Friday night one of Trump's warm-up acts at his Roy Moore rally in Pensacola was Panhandle state Senator Doug Broxson, a very far right, mentally-disturbed sociopath. (Note: the drive time from Pensacola to Mobile is almost identical to the drive time between Tel-Aviv and Jerusalem.) Broxson, a crooked insurance agent, went to Evangel "University" in Missouri. He's best known for in the legislature for pushing a bill that would allow motorists playing music-- especially rap music-- to be fined. But Friday night he may have outdone himself when he told a cheering throng of insane Trump fans in a half filled auditorium that Trump's decision to move the embassy will bring on the End Times. "Now, I don’t know about you, but when I heard about Jerusalem-- where the King of Kings... where our soon coming King is coming back to Jerusalem, it is because President Trump declared Jerusalem to be capital of Israel."

Messhugannah State Senator Doug Broxson (R-FL), "one of us, one of us"


Earlier in the day every member of the UN Security Council-- except the U.S. condemned Trump's decision as being "not in line with Security Council resolutions and was unhelpful in terms of prospects for peace in the region." That was from a joint statement by the ambassadors from traditional allies Trump has been alienating with his erratic, anti-democratic behavior since Putin placed him in the White House-- Britain, France, Sweden, Germany and Italy. Meanwhile, council members Britain, France, Russia, China, Bolivia, Egypt, Ethiopia, Italy, Japan, Kazakhstan, Senegal, Sweden, Ukraine and Uruguay called for the emergency council meeting, as the Middle East exploded in spasms of protest and violence over Trump's boneheaded decision.

Rabbi Rick Jacobs is head America's Reform Union and the Netanyahu Regime is unhappy that he has spoken out against Trump's stupid and dangerous move. According to the Jerusalem Post, Jacobs wrote that although Trump’s declaration "affirms what the Reform Jewish movement has long held: that Jerusalem is the eternal capital of the Jewish people and the State of Israel. Yet while we share the President’s belief that the US Embassy should, at the right time, be moved from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, we cannot support his decision to begin preparing that move now, absent a comprehensive plan for a peace process."
Jacobs also said that the White House should not undermine efforts toward making peace between Israel and the Palestinians by "making unilateral decisions that are all but certain to exacerbate the conflict."

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How About A Nice Piece Of Art For Christmas? Blue America Contest

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Gung Ho! by Nancy Ohanian

The wonderful Nancy Ohanian has donated one of her gorgeous signed prints, "Gung Ho," to Blue America to use for raising money for the candidates we've endorsed this year. She would like to see Congress flip from red to blue and so would we... and we know you would too. So this is how this contest works. Just contribute any amount (up to $2,700 per candidate) to any of our candidates on this page. One dollar; ten dollars, $1,000... it's up to you. Split it between all the candidates, or give it to your favorite candidate or split it between 2 or 3 candidates... all up to you.

Next week (Monday, December 17), we'll pick one name randomly and send that person the print by Nancy. Easy, right?

This is an especially important, even crucial, election cycle. I don't think there's ever been more at stake... with this madman in the White House and a Congress filled with enablers and cheerleaders. We can't get Trump out of office next November... but we can and will put a check on him by defeating lots and lots of Republicans in Congress, starting with Paul Ryan and working our way down through the ranks. And what makes this cycle even more exciting is that there seems to be a mammoth anti-Trump/anti-GOP wave building and intensifying. All the polling shows it. As we saw a few weeks ago in Virginia and last week in Georgia, there are no districts that are too red to flip-- IF the right candidates are running.

The men and women on this list are for-real progressives of good moral character and with solid work ethics. Most important, these are the people who will make Congress a better place and force Congress to make our country a better place. Please give as generously as you can. And if you want to have a chance to win but find yourself in a tight financial situation, just send a letter to Blue America at P.O. Box 27201, Los Angeles, CA 90027 and tell us you want to be part of the Christmas "Gung Ho" contest (be sure to include your contact info).

Goal ThermometerThe FEC demands we make some lawyer language available for our contests. You can find it here. [Trigger warning: this is lawyer stuff and could make you glaze over real fast.] And one more thing-- this ActBlue thermometer on the right goes to the contribution page. These are the progressive candidates Blue America has endorsed so far this cycle. We talk to them-- sometimes for months-- and get to know them and don't endorse them until we feel as sure as is humanly possible that when they get into Congress they will earnestly endeavor to enhance the lives of working families and make the tough decisions necessary to move our country along in a more progressive direction. Let us know if you want more information on any particular candidate. You can write to me at downwithtyranny@gmail.com/

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In A Wave Election Cycle, Republicans Are Preparing To Wave Goodbye To Congress-- And Hello To K Street

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The DCCC brain surgeons are starting to figure out that PVIs don't count as much in wave elections and that this cycle there really are no safe Republican seats. Any seat where the Democrats + independents make up 50% + one of potential voters, is up for grabs. People are pissed off-- pissed off about Trump, pissed off about Putin, pissed off about Ryan's Tax Scam, pissed off about how the Republicans treat women (and children), pissed off... did I mention Trump?

Last Tuesday, in a Georgia runoff, progressive Democrat Jen Jordan broke the Republicans' supermajority in the state Senate by winning the seat abandoned by Hunter Hill, one of the crazy right-wing Republicans running for governor. That's a red, red district-- wealthy and white-- that includes Buckhead, Marietta, Smyrna, Vinings and Sandy Springs and Jen beat a conservative Democrat with a GOP-lite message by talking progressive issues. And we all know what happened in Virginia as seat after seat was taken from the Republicans in districts where they thought they were perfectly safe and as their Trump-backed gubernatorial candidate was swamped-- along with the other 2 statewide candidates.


Less well known was how Trump's top Republican ally in New York, Rob Astorino, Westchester County Executive, was beaten by state Senator George Latimer-- despite Mercer and Bannon throwing a million dollars into the race to save Astorino. Latimer took the race handily-- 116,767 (57%) to 89,463 (43%). That same day a Democrat, Laura Curran, won the Nassau County Executive job over GOP heavy-hitter Jack Martins. Did I mention people are pissed? At Republicans? About a month ago the DCCC put its toe tepidly into waters it never plays in, adding nearly a dozen new districts it claims it will contest:
WI-01- Paul Ryan
NY-02- Peter King
IN-09- Trey Hollingsworth
WA-05- Cathy McMorris Rodgers
UT-04- Mia Love
CA-04- Tom McClintock
WI-06- Glenn Grothman
TX-21- Lamar Smith (retiring)
OH-12- Pat Tiberi (retiring)
PA-11- Lou Barletta (retiring)
PA-15- Charlie Dent (retiring)
I'd normally say, "welcome, jump in-- he water's fine"... but-- hey this is the DCCC we're talking about and that means Republican-lite, corrupt conservative candidates will be deployed. They claim to have their eyes on 91 districts now-- their largest battlefield since Rahm destroyed the committee's DNA and made it completely useless and dysfunctional. Not even a complete lunkhead like Luján would be stupid enough to mess with the energy around the Randy Bryce campaign up in WI-01, but the DCCC can be expected to back their usual array of self-funding crap-conservative candidates in most districts-- take Joseph Kopser in TX-21, Liz Watson in IN-09, Tim Gomes in NY-02 as examples. Garbage from the Republican wing of the Democratic Party-- or even worse... actual Republicans pretending to be "Democrats" or, to quote a frequent DWT commenter, Democraps.

Whoever writes Luján's pathetic memos for him claimed that "the DCCC successfully outlined and built an 80-district battlefield by landing highly qualified recruits with records of service and authentic messages that connect with voters in their districts." The DCCC persuades itself this is somehow true-- none of it is-- and proceeds, cycle after cycle, to hand Congress back to the GOP. Most of the memo is about money, even though in wave elections money takes a back seat to grassroots energy. The DCCC has never and never will understand this, so they recruit energy-less candidates who turn off the base completely often because they are self-funding conservatives totally out of touch with a Democratic they have never interacted with. Great examples are horrifying DCCC recruits like Gil Cisneros (the lottery winning Republican in CA-39), Hans Keirstead (CA-48), David Trone (MD-06), Sarah Jacobs (the Qualcomm heiress- CA-49), Lucas St. Clair (the Burt's Bees heir-ME-02)... One day Pelosi will just empty her whole roladex onto the DCCC candidates page.



What the DCCC has going for itself this quarter has nothing whatsoever to do with the DCCC-- the disdain in which voters hold Trump and Paul Ryan. If only the DCCC knew how to use that disdain as anchors around the necks of Republican incumbents. These are Republican districts whereTrump's job approval rating is in the toilet. Approval/Disapproval:
VA-10 (Barbara Comstock)- 37/59%
CA-10 (Jeff Denham)- 40/57%
CO-06 (Mike Coffman)- 41/55%
WA-08 (Dave Reichert)- 40/55%
CA-21 (David Valadao)- 41/55%
VA-02 (Scott Taylor)- 43/54%
IA-03 (David Young)- 43/53%
CA-39 (Ed Royce)- 33/53%
NY-24 (John Katko)- 37/53%
PA-08 (Brian Fitzpatrick)- 40/53%
FL-26 (Carlos Curbelo)- 37/53%
MI-08 (Mike Bishop)- 37/52%
WI-01 (Paul Ryan)- 42/52%
IA-01 (Rod Blum)- 34/52%
MN-02 (Jason Lewis)- 44/52%
PA-06 (Ryan Costello)- 43/52%
PA-15 (Charlie Dent)- 46/52%
NY-23 (Tom Reed)- 41/50%
MI-11 (Dave Trott)- 44/50%
CA-25 (Steve Knight)- 42/50%
ME-02 (Bruce Poliquin)- 43/49%
Now, let's look at polling that's been done on Paul Ryan and his favorable/unfavorable rankings. He is absolutely toxic! Independent, especially, HATE this guy now.
VA-10 (Barbara Comstock)- 20/71%
PA-06 (Ryan Costello)- 21/70%
WA-08 (Dave Reichert)- 20/67%
AZ-02 (Martha McSally)- 23/65%
IA-03 (David Young)- 24/65%
MI-11 (Dave Trott)- 22/65%
CO-06 (Mike Coffman)- 25/64%
CA-49 (Darrell Issa)- 25/63%
MN-02 (Jason Lewis)- 29/62%
IA-01 (Rod Blum)- 26/61%
ME-02 (Bruce Poliquin)- 25/61%
PA-15 (Charlie Dent)- 25/61%
NY-22 (Claudia Tenney)- 26/52%
CO-03 (Scott Tipton)- 24/52%
PA-08 (Brian Fitzpatrick)- 30/52%
NY-27 (Chris Collins)- 29/51%
NY-24 (John Katko)- 32/49%
CA-25 (Steve Knight)- 26/48%
CA-39 (Ed Royce)- 26/43%


Now, if only the DCCC could use Ryan against Republican candidates, the way the NRCC used Pelosi against Democratic candidates! Politico had some interesting reporting on this same topic on Friday. Fortunately Randy Bryce knows how to use Paul Ryan against Paul Ryan. If you missed the first post this morning, go back and look.
California Rep. Tom McClintock, who represents one of the newly added districts, acknowledged “a huge enthusiasm gap that favors the Democrats right now.”

“I think in a lot of ways, it’s the 2010 dynamic in reverse,” he said.

Rep. Glenn Grothman-- one of two Wisconsin Republicans on the list, which includes House Speaker Paul Ryan-- told the local WISN-AM radio station last month that his campaign was “not raising as much money as we should.”

“I am very apprehensive about the future,” said Grothman, who represents a Republican-oriented district in Central Wisconsin. “Right now it’s kind of the calm before the storm.”

Though Grothman and McClintock easily won reelection in 2014, they have good cause to be apprehensive. Aside from the potential drag of the president’s low approval ratings, both incumbents face the unusual prospect of well-funded Democratic challengers.

In Wisconsin, the state Democratic Party hired a campaign organizing director in an off-year for the first time this year, said the party’s chairwoman, Martha Laning.

She called the effort to unseat Grothman and Ryan “realistic.”

“People are frustrated,” she said. “They don’t see things getting done that are helping them.”

In McClintock’s sprawling, largely rural Northern California district-- where Donald Trump beat Hillary Clinton by more than 14 percentage points last year-- the congressman’s opponents are raising cash at a surprising clip. One of his Democratic challengers, Jessica Morse, raised more money than McClintock in the third quarter. Another potential Democratic foe, Regina Bateson, saw campaign contributions increase 10-fold the day after the Virginia election, her campaign said.

...Mark Graul, a Republican strategist in Wisconsin, was similarly skeptical about the prospect of Democrats toppling Ryan or Grothman. However, he said, “Anyone who thinks they know what’s going to happen a year from now is smoking crack rock.”

“You can certainly make a plausible argument that if you’re a Republican you’ve got to be on guard, and wary and ready to run a good race next year based on what we saw in Virginia,” he said.

The secret weapon for Democrats smart enough to use it

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