Wednesday, February 21, 2018

How A Good Candidate Becomes A Better Candidate-- By Running For Office


Perhaps you remember that last year Kathie Allen was one of the first Democrats after Trump was installed who took on the difficult task of running in a special election in a red, red district, in her case Utah's 3rd Congressional District, the seat that Jason Chaffetz was abandoning. The district is 90.5% white, 10.2% Latino and just 0.6% Black. The Utah County portion of the district is one of the reddest counties in America and it proved impossible for Kathie. It proves impossible for any Democrat. Hillary took only 14% of it. In 2012 Obama took 10%. We're happy Kathie is running for an open state Senate seat this year-- and we're happy Utah County isn't part of it!

The Utah state Senate is comprised of 29 senators, and only 5 are Democrats. Her district was held by a moderate Republican physician who resigned in December to take a regional post in the federal Department of Health and Human Services.

  Goal Thermometer45% of state Senate 8 lies within CD-03 where Kathie spent 2017 campaigning. And she won that part of the district by 16 points. This is probably the most easily flipped state Senate seat in Utah. And Blue America endorsed Kathie for that seat today. Please consider clicking on the ActBlue thermometer for state legislative seats on the right and contributing to her campaign. In her new race, she will benefit from the great name recognition she got last year from TV ads, billboards, and publicized debates. We have many reasons to be optimistic about flipping this seat. A pressing need she has right now is to collect 2,000 signatures to insure her place on the ballot. Although she have a good base of volunteers, signature collection is slow, painstaking work. She told me yesterday she's trying to accelerate the process by hiring professionals to collect them full-time. We want to help her do that. Before is a fascinating guest post she wrote that I urge you to read. You can check out her Facebook campaign page and follow her on Twitter @kathieallenmd.

The Evolution of A Progressive
by Kathie Allen

Last year, I took on the enormously difficult task of running for Congress in the 3rd Congressional District of Utah, for the seat vacated by Jason Chaffetz. When Chaffetz was still in the race, he made a series of tone deaf comments, which I mocked on Twitter. His most egregious remark was when he said that people had to make tough choices and forego that "shiny new iPhone" so that they could pay their health insurance premiums. My responding tweet indicated that, indeed, people do have to make difficult choices-- and it suggested that people consult my CrowdPac funding page for a better choice of Congressional representative. That tweet got my Congressional campaign off to a roaring start. I earned about $500,000 in just a few weeks and still hold the fundraising record on CrowdPac for most money raised in a day.

In my case, money came in long before I had really had time to crystallize my views on various issues. I hadn’t even definitively made up my mind to enter the race when FEC rules dictated that I file due to the influx of donations. It took time for me to sort out my priorities. As a physician, I knew that healthcare would be a major focal point, but I started out with a much more "moderate" stance than where I landed.

For more than 25 years, I had been active in my state's medical association, the Utah Medical Association. Like a lot of organized doctor groups, it tends to be reactive rather than proactive. As I went through various positions of leadership within the organization, I tried to be a voice for progress and I tried to be very patient. Sometimes it would literally take decades for me to see the issues I care about finally addressed. Some of my physician friends were far less patient. In trying to advocate for universal healthcare, we would inevitably be labelled with the S word-- socialist. There could hardly be a more repellent term to some of these stodgy old doctors primarily interested in protecting their own turf and income. A lot of my progressive colleagues left this organization in frustration long before I did.

Thus, at the beginning of my campaign, I was reluctant to use terms like "universal health care" and "single payer." I'd been conditioned to expect a huge backlash. I was also running in a gerrymandered district where most of the votes came from Utah County, one of the most conservative in the nation. I thought that my message had to be tempered to this constituency.

But last summer was a time of upheaval for U.S. healthcare. We saw the inexorable efforts to repeal the ACA. People lived in fear that they would lose their coverage altogether, or that it would go back to being unaffordable with the reinstitution of "pre-existing conditions." It was in this environment that I decided to launch a series of my own healthcare townhalls. One of our speakers was Dr. Joe Jarvis, a conservative Republican. His power point show clearly demonstrated how much waste we have in our inefficient and expensive system. Dr. Jarvis showed step-by-step how healthcare cannot be considered a "commodity" and how it does not respond to market forces. I also wrote my own op-eds on healthcare reform, went to numerous rallies, and debated with people on social media. All of these interactions helped embolden me. I came to advocate for universal health care without apology or ambivalence.

In the same way, my view on legalizing medical cannabis swung from a "maybe" to a strong "yes." As a physician I knew how to look up the most current research, and I became persuaded that the evidence was strong that medical cannabis is effective for chronic pain and for childhood epilepsy. More evidence is coming in all the time that suggests additional uses-- for PTSD and depression, for example. The opioid crisis in Utah continued to worsen throughout 2017. Every week 5 Utahns died from accidental overdoses related to them. I knew that we could have additional tools with which to manage chronic pain if medical cannabis were legalized. As I witnessed this scourge, it reminded me of what it was like to live with someone with an opioid addiction, namely my physician father. I wrote an op-ed about how his addiction affected my life, and it was published in the Deseret News and can be read here.

There is a ballot initiative circulating to put legalization of medical cannabis before the voters on the November ballot. The people driving the initiative became exasperated with the slow pace with which our legislature embraced the data, and decided to appeal directly to voters, 70% of whom favor legalization.

It is this discordance between what the citizens of Utah want and what our state legislature does that induced me to run for a state senate seat. We have a record number of ballot initiatives this year, aiming to expand Medicaid, institute a fair redistricting advisory board, legalize medical cannabis, and increase state spending for education. We have no female physician and no Democrat physician in either house of the legislature. There are only 5 Democrats out of 29 in our Senate. And my race, in district 8, is said to be the most flippable. District 8 is completely contained within the boundaries of Salt Lake County, which tends to be much more progressive than the rest of the state. And, I have a proven record-- 45% of this Senate district was within my congressional district race just last November. I won this 45% by 16 percentage points! I definitely moved the needle in Salt Lake County, almost tying my Republican opponent who went on to win. Fortunately, the most conservative elements of Salt Lake County are not part of Senate district 8. The demographics of the remaining 55% are similar to the 45% I won a mere 3 months ago. This is not Trump country.

I did pay a price for some of my progressive views. I sought the endorsement of the Utah Medical Association. During my candidate interview I stated that I was in favor of universal healthcare and medical cannabis. Despite my having won an award from the UMA for my prior activism, they chose to endorse my opponent, a non-physician Republican who was in favor of letting the free market decide healthcare. That was the last straw for me, ending my long membership in the UMA. It's not easy being on the vanguard of change!

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Who's Going To Win In November?


Meet Democraps Jon Ossoff, Conor Lamb and Andrew Janz

170 members of the American Political Science Association who specialize in presidential history participated in an annual poll that ranked every U.S. president. Trump displaced one-termer James Buchanan-- a pro-slavery Democrat from Pennsylvania-- as the nation's worst president. It was obvious from the second Putin installed him in the White House that he would wind up as the worst president ever... but this fast? In an interview yesterday on C-SPAN, historian Douglas Brinkley said "Trump represents kind of a dark underbelly of America." Richard Florida was less specific but tweeted yesterday that "In many ways, the US no longer qualifies as an advanced nation." The point he's been making since Trump took over is that this will ultimately limit ability America's "ability to attract global talent & improve its economic competitiveness."

The new Quinnipiac poll was released yesterday-- a birthday present for me. "American voters say 53 - 38 percent, including 47 - 36 percent among independent voters, they want the Democratic Party to win control of the U.S. House of Representatives this year. Voters say 54 - 39 percent, including 51 - 38 percent among independent voters, they want the Democrats to win control of the U.S. Senate this year." (That's the generic balloting people have been foolishly fretting about over the last month. That Democratic lead is 15 points. Is that why Florida Republican Tom Rooney announced he's retiring yesterday? Or wa sit because Vern Buchanan's lost a state legislative race last Tuesday to an unknown Democratic women in a district not all that far from Rooney's district? Or is because Rooney is still nauseated by Trump?

Not everybody is (nauseated by Trump). [Before we get back to Richard Florida, let me mention that last night Linda Belcher flipped the reddest district a Democrat has won since Trump got to the White House. Kentucky's state House District 49 (Bullitt County) gave Trump a colossal 72% of the vote in 2016. But yesterday voters helped Linda jturn it blue, winning the support of more than 68% of voters. How's that for a swing-- 86 points?] Now, back to Richard Florida. Last week he wrote a post on his blog, The Geography of Trump's First-Year Job Approval. "Trump’s average first-year approval rating," he noted "sits at a lowly 38 percent-- the worst of any president since Gallup started measuring presidential job approval in 1945. But this overall average belies huge variation in that approval rating across the 50 states, according to a recent Gallup poll based on surveys conducted throughout 2017. Indeed, Trump’s approval rating reaches above 60 percent in West Virginia and above 50 percent in 11 other states, including the Dakotas, Wyoming, Idaho, Montana, Alabama, and Oklahoma... [T]here is a broad Trump approval belt across the Plains, Appalachia, the Deep South, and parts of the Midwest, and a broad disapproval belt on the coasts and in New England, as well as in states like Texas, Colorado, New Mexico, Illinois, and Minnesota... [T]his jagged geography of Trump’s approval rate mirrors the fundamental contours of America’s long-standing political, economic, and cultural divides."
Opinions of the president reflect the fundamental cleavage of class, which has long divided Americans along political as well as economic lines. Trump’s approval is overwhelmingly concentrated in less affluent, less educated, more working-class states. It is positively associated with the share of workers in blue-collar working-class jobs (0.76), and negatively associated with income (-0.72), wages (-0.79), education (measured as the share of adults with a bachelor’s degree and above, -0.86), and the share of workers doing knowledge, professional, or creative work (-0.72).

Contrary to the idea that support for Trump is a function of rising unemployment, there is no statistical association between Trump’s approval rate and a state’s unemployment rate. The conventional wisdom suggests that Trump’s rise was bolstered by those losing out from America’s gaping inequality. However, the data complicates that story. Approval of Trump is actually higher in states with lower levels of income inequality, approval being negatively correlated with the Gini coefficient measure of income inequality (-0.40). On the other hand, states with higher levels of inequality are much more likely to disapprove of Trump, with a positive correlation between income inequality and the share of people who disapprove of Trump (0.38).

Approval and disapproval of the president powerfully track America’s widening spatial divide. Approval is concentrated in less urbanized states, while disapproval is concentrated in denser, more urbanized ones. Trump’s approval rate is negatively correlated with two measures of urbanity: the urban share of population (-0.52), and to an even greater extent, the urban share of a state’s total land area (-0.62). (Interestingly, neither Trump’s approval nor his disapproval has any statistical connection to the overall population size of states.) Another dividing line is the car. Approval of the president is positively associated with the share of commuters who drive to work alone (0.45).

...Despite his record low level of overall approval, President Trump retains considerable support in traditionally conservative states in the Plains and Deep South and in parts of the Midwest. Trump’s approval rating is not a break with the past; its geography both reflects and reinforces the basic fault lines of class, geography, race, and culture that have long divided this country. If anything, Trump’s support has deepened America’s persistent red-blue divide.

All of this fits the pattern of Trump’s support as being premised on what Ron Brownstein, my colleague at The Atlantic, has aptly dubbed the “coalition of restoration”-- a geographically concentrated band of working class, white, suburban, and rural support that is bent upon restoring a bygone America.

This political backlash not only signals a more reactionary political agenda, it is also an agenda for economic retreat, undermining key pillars of America’s economic growth and rising living standards. “The much bigger, long-term danger is economic rather than political,” I wrote of the rising tide of conservatism in less prosperous states back in 2011. “American politics is increasingly disconnected from its economic engine. And this deepening political divide has become perhaps the biggest bottleneck on the road to long-run prosperity.”

This is far more the case today.
Not unrelated, the aforementioned Ron Brownstein wrote for CNN yesterday about the places that will decide the 2018 election. He wrote that control of the House will depend on what he calls "red pockets, Romneyland, and blue-collar blues."
Red Pockets

The clearest opportunity for Democrats is the relatively few remaining Republican-held districts in blue metro areas with large populations of college-educated whites, and in many cases substantial minority and youth populations as well. These are places crowded with voters who tilt toward liberal positions on social issues and recoil from Trump's volatile persona, particularly the way he talks about race.

The renewed visibility of gun control issues after the horrific Parkland, Florida, massacre could provide Democrats another lever in these districts, since the Republicans in them have almost universally voted with the National Rifle Association to loosen gun regulations in recent years.

These "red pockets" include the four seats Republicans control in Orange County -- the districts held by Mimi Walters and Dana Rohrabacher and the open seats that will be vacated by Darrell Issa and Ed Royce -- as well as their sole remaining seat in Los Angeles County, held by Steve Knight.

Others that fit this description include the seats in the western Chicago suburbs held by Republican Peter Roskam and in the eastern Denver suburbs held by Mike Coffman; the three suburban Philadelphia seats held by Ryan Costello, Mike Fitzpatrick and Pat Meehan (who has announced he will not seek re-election amid a sex scandal); the northern Virginia seat held by Barbara Comstock; two open seats in New Jersey as well as the one defended by Rep. Leonard Lance; Lee Zeldin's seat in eastern Long Island; the suburban Minneapolis seats now held by Jason Lewis and Erik Paulsen; the Seattle-area seat that Dave Reichert is leaving; as well as the Miami-area seat being vacated by Ileana Ros-Lehtinen and the nearby seat held by Rep. Carlos Curbelo.

Though Romney carried many of these seats-- often narrowly-- in 2012, Hillary Clinton won all of those listed above in 2016 except for the seats held by Lewis and Fitzpatrick, which Trump won by eyelash margins. These resemble the places where Democrats showed the most dramatic gains in 2017, for instance in their sweep of legislative seats and the huge margins they generated in the governor's race in northern Virginia.

Compounding the GOP's vulnerability, the new congressional map the Pennsylvania Supreme Court issued Monday, after earlier ruling that the current district lines represented an impermissible gerrymander, strengthened the Democrats' hand in all three suburban Philadelphia seats.

For Republicans, the key in these booming districts will be whether the good economy helps them recapture voters recoiling from Trump's personal behavior. One complication is these blue-state upper-middle-class suburbs are among the most likely losers from the GOP tax plan, which limits the deductibility of mortgage interest and state and local taxes. Democrats are highly unlikely to win back the House without maximizing their gains in the red pockets.


The next bucket of seats is demographically similar to the red pockets but politically distinct because they are in metro areas that lean much more reliably toward the GOP.

I call this group of seats Romneyland because they are filled with voters who resemble Romney demographically and ideologically: professionals and corporate middle managers who want a president who will shrink government and even pursue a center-right social agenda, but also exude professionalism and decorum.

Romney won virtually every seat in this category in 2012. In 2016, Trump lost ground relative to Romney in almost all of them, though the residual Republican strength was great enough that he still carried many, albeit often narrowly.

The districts in this bucket include the Omaha-area seat held by Don Bacon; the seats in suburban Houston and outside Dallas held by John Culberson and Pete Sessions, respectively; the two suburban Atlanta seats held by Karen Handel and Rob Woodall; David Young's seat outside Des Moines; the Tucson-area seat Martha McSally is vacating to run for the Senate from Arizona; the Lexington, Kentucky-area seat held by Andy Barr; the seats outside Detroit that Dave Trott is vacating and Mike Bishop is defending; and Kevin Yoder's seat in suburban Kansas City, Kansas.

These seats are not immune from the forces threatening the Republicans in the red pockets: Handel, for instance, only narrowly survived last June's special election in Georgia, though her predecessor Tom Price had carried over 60% of the vote there as recently as 2016.

But as Handel's slim victory over Democrat Jon Ossoff showed, Republicans have more of a cushion in these places than in the red pockets. That's partly because more of the white-collar whites in them are social conservatives than their counterparts in the Democratic-leaning metro areas.

Blue-collar blues

The third key test for Democrats is the districts I call "blue-collar blues." These are the blue-collar, exurban, small town and rural seats in states that generally lean Democratic.

These include Republican seats held by John Faso, John Katko and Claudia Tenney in upstate New York; Mike Bost, Rodney Davis and Randy Hultgren in downstate Illinois; the northeast Iowa seat of Rod Blum; Bruce Poliquin's northern Maine district; and the Central Valley, California, seats of Jeff Denham and David Valadao.

These seats present an especially revealing test for Democrats. Former President Barack Obama carried almost all of them at least once and many of them have elected Democratic House members in the recent past. But House Democrats were routed in these places in the 2010 and 2014 midterm elections under Obama, and almost all of these districts turned further toward Trump in 2016.

The 2017 results in Virginia and Alabama showed Democrats almost completely failing to crack the GOP's hold on blue-collar and rural voters. But some Democrats argue that terrain is much tougher for the party in the South than in the Northeastern and Midwestern states where these competitive House seats are concentrated.

Democrats see an opening in polling, such as the 2017 average of Gallup's daily approval ratings for Trump, that shows a significant erosion in his support across the Rust Belt among working-class white women, even as he remains very strong among blue-collar white men. Converting that female disillusionment with Trump into votes for Democratic congressional candidates is likely the key to seriously contesting the "blue-collar blue" seats.

One early test will be March's special election in the heavily blue-collar southwestern Pennsylvania district that Republican Rep. Tim Murphy has vacated: Democrat Conor Lamb, a former Marine, is running competitively against Republican state Rep. Rick Saccone in a district Trump carried by nearly 20 percentage points.
The Democrats' advantage: in like a lion, out like a Lamb

There he's wrong. Conor Lamb, as we mentioned yesterday, is a truly shit candidate, wrong for the district, wrong for the energy of the day, perfect for the Beltway Democratic establishment and nothing more. Trump-hatred may swing the district towards the Democrats somewhat but Lamb and his campaign are fighting that swing with every move they make. Candidates and campaigns matter. The more garbage candidates like Jon Ossoff and Conor Lamb the DC Democrats nominate, the safer the Republican majority will be. Yesterday, Lamb shot himself in the foot again. This from him... in a district he might have had a chance to win if he had won back the union vote: "I think [$15 an hour] sounds high based on what I’ve been told by many small business owners in our area. I would rather see something that was agreed on by both sides." Republicans already have their candidate. The Democrats desperately need one.

More candidates, for example, like Congressman Ro Khanna (D-CA), who happened to mention this to me today: "The Democrats must deserve victory. We should contrast a politics of restoration with a politics of preparing the nation for the future. And we should have candidates run on a bold platform of a $15 minimum wage, Medicare for All, regulating magazine clips and an assault weapons ban, supporting net neutrality, making college debt free as Robert Reich has proposed, and strong antitrust enforcement. These policies have broad support among people and particularly younger voters. We need a clear contrast and to stand for a substantive agenda to win."

I'm not 100% sure what category Austin Frerick's Iowa district would be in, but I asked him to take a look and he sent me a note saying that "Folks in Romneyland to those in the blue-collar blue areas loves our economic concentration message. Who doesn't want fair, free, and competitive markets? Only the robber barons of this era don't like this message. It just takes courage to stand up and say enough is enough and refuse that dirty money." As you can probably guess, he's more like a Ro Khanna candidate than from the confused Ossoff GOP-lite school.

UPDATE: How To Win In A Trump District

David Gill has a prescription: "Even in my district (IL-13), which Trump carried by 5 points, voters will respond to a message from a Democrat that actually addresses their concerns-- that's why I came within 0.3% of victory here in 2012, while all other Democrats have lost here by 50 to 60 times that margin. My message of single-payer healthcare, a $15/hour minimum wage, and tuition-free access to public higher education & trade schools resonates with voters here, whether they consider themselves left, right, or somewhere in between. If I can once again get by the corporate-funded establishment Democrats in the primary, as in 2012, I have little doubt that I can succeed in November."

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Midnight Meme Of The Day!


by Noah

Even after Friday's 13 indictments, Kremlin Agent, Donald J. Trump refuses to defend America against Russia's cyber war on the core of our alleged democracy itself, a war he well knows Russia will step up later this year and in 2020. First, he brazenly asked for Russia's help during his campaign by asking for Hillary's emails, and we know now there is much, much more. More recently, he has refused to put the sanctions of Russia into place, even after they were voted on and approved by Congress. He took an oath to protect and defend the United States and the Constitution from all enemies foreign and domestic.

This isn't just appeasement. It is dereliction of duty, if one wants to be soft and polite. It's far worse if one wants to be realistic.

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Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Pelosi, The Fate Of The Democratic Party... Stuff Like That


When people ask about Republican gains in generic polls I always point to Republican losses in deep red legislative districts in Missouri, Oklahoma, Florida, Wisconsin...-- what Vanity Fair's Abigail Tracy reported as a potential harbinger of the legendary blue wave in the 2018 midterms that could rob of the G.O.P. of its majority in the House—and possibly, the Senate. Get ready for a big reversal of fortune next month. On Trump's electoral toxicity, she wrote that "since he ascended to the Oval Office, Donald Trump has maintained a vice-like grip on the base of the Republican Party. And yet, while Trump’s popularity has largely proven to be non-transferable, his flagging approval rating-- which, despite a recent uptick, is still hovering in the low 40s-- augurs suppressed Republican turnout and heightened energy on the left in the midterms. So Republican candidates are facing an impossible strategic choice, one that is to some degree independent of the president’s approval rating or any economic factor: tack toward Trump, and potentially lose the center, or forgo Trumpian red meat and watch the base stay home."
“What you do when you appeal to that 33 percent is you peel off another 50 percent of the voters who will go, ‘Fuck you, I will crawl over broken glass to vote against you because you are a goddamn Donald Trumper,’” Rick Wilson, a G.O.P. strategist and vocal Never Trumper, told me, adding that without Clinton, Trump “has to stand on his own two feet.” And although Trump won’t be on the ballot in 2018, every Republican candidate this fall will be viewed as a Trump proxy. Meanwhile, Democrats will have the luxury of focusing their energy elsewhere. “They get to do that because they’re out of power. That’s a big advantage to them,” the Republican strategist told me. “They let the national environment take care of it and they run on issues that are local and important.”

...A string of Democratic upsets in conservative strongholds in special elections since the New Year have opened G.O.P. eyes to the challenge. Last month, Democrat Patty Schachtner secured a nine-point victory in a contentious battle for a state Senate seat in Wisconsin’s 10th District, which Mitt Romney and Trump won by 6 points and 17 points, respectively. Trygve Olson, a G.O.P. strategist who previously managed campaigns in the district, warned on Twitter, “A wave is coming . . . This a suburban-rural district. If the G.O.P. is losing WI-10 lookout!” Even Republican Governor Scott Walker took to Twitter to express his concern about the seat flip. “Senate District 10 special election win by a Democrat is a wake up call for Republicans in Wisconsin,” he wrote.

Republicans were similarly rattled by the Democratic performance in two Missouri special election races. Democrat Mike Revis edged out his opponent by three points in Missouri’s 97th District, which Trump won by 28 points and Romney won by 12 points. Strategists have also noted a trio of elections for bellwether seats in Florida-- the state’s 40th Senate District in Miami-Dade, the St. Petersburg’s mayoral race, and Florida’s 72nd House District-- in which Democrats triumphed. “This is beyond a trend. The results are in. Republicans have a real problem in this state,” Tom Eldon, a Democratic pollster who surveyed the race, told Politico.

...While the political environment may seem primed for a blue wave in the fall, anti-Trump sentiment alone won’t be enough to flip the House. And, fortunately for Republicans, Democrats have struggled to coalesce around a party message. “The mood might help get a few points, but you still have to close the deal on things that are important in your own communities,” Schale said in reference to tight Congressional races, drawing on Jon Ossoff’s special congressional election loss in Georgia as evidence of the limits of anti-Trump enthusiasm on the left. “One of the reasons he lost was he was just another guy who happened to be a Democrat. . . . Ossoff, for all the money he raised, is still a young guy who didn’t have a lot of currency in the district and the race turned on national issues. That wasn’t good enough to close the deal.”
The Republicans are literally running millions of dollars of TV ads in southwest Pennsylvania against Conor Lamb. Lamb outraised Saccone $557,551 to $214,675 but that's chump change in this super-nationalized race. Trump's SuperPAC, Ryan's SuperPAC, the NRCC's SuperPAC and a couple of Dark Money neo-fascist operations-- 45 Cmte and Ending Spending-- financed by anti-American billionaires have flooded the airwave with ads trying to persuade PA-18 voters that Conor Lamb, an inept, nearly worthless Ossoff-like candidate is just Nancy Pelosi in a man's suit. The DCCC has already fled the field and not a single ad has run tying Saccone to the even more unpopular Paul Ryan.

Last week, writing for The Atlantic, Russell Berman asked if the GOP's successful demonization of Pelosi will be what prevents the Democrats from taking back the House. "[A] small group of restive Democrats is gunning for Pelosi," he wrote. "They’re maneuvering in public, and recruiting support behind the scenes, to force her departure. They want to set off a generational shift for Democrats that they believe is long overdue. And their efforts-- joined to the familiar attacks from Republicans, who have made them the linchpin of their bid to retain the House-- are calling Pelosi’s political future into question just as she sits on the cusp of regaining power... If Pelosi’s considerable talents and accomplishments are undeniable, so is her enduring unpopularity."
Pelosi has been a favorite piñata for Republicans from the moment she stepped onto the national stage. The formula of tying just about any Democratic congressional candidate to Pelosi’s record, words, or merely an unflattering image of her face may be stale, but that Republicans keep coming back to it election after election is evidence that it’s effective. Pelosi’s Democratic critics quickly blamed Jon Ossoff’s defeat in Georgia on that tried-and-true tactic. “Nancy Pelosi is not the only reason that Ossoff lost. But she certainly is one of the reasons,” Representative Filemon Vela of Texas said at the time.

And like an army gift-wrapping its battle plans and air-dropping them over enemy lines, Republicans have told Democrats exactly what’s coming this fall. Their ads against Conor Lamb, the candidate running in the next hotly contested House special election in Pennsylvania in March, have starred Pelosi-- despite the fact that Lamb has vowed not to vote for her. “She’s our secret weapon,” Trump let slip during a speech in Ohio, drawing knowing laughter from the crowd. “I just hope they don’t change her. There are a lot of people that want to run her out.”

Pelosi’s allies see a barely-concealed sexism in the Republican strategy, and they argue that it’s no more or less effective than any effort to demonize a political leader. As far back as 1980, Republicans ran ads targeting then-Speaker Tip O’Neill. Democrats did the same to Newt Gingrich, and they’re likely to try to take aim this fall at Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell, who polls show are just as widely reviled as Pelosi, if not more.

To a greater degree than presidential candidates, congressional leaders have their public image defined by their political opponents. Their job is less to inspire than to govern, to translate lofty promises into tough compromises. There are no gauzy ad campaigns on their behalf to counter the attack ads or tout their personal accomplishments; voters outside San Francisco rarely see Pelosi in soft focus, as a mother of five and a grandmother of six. “Maybe she should have launched a more aggressive personal public relations campaign to create an image,” Lawrence said. “But I don’t really think that’s important to her.”

In private, Pelosi tends to shrug off the attacks. She’ll flick at her shoulder as if swatting away a fly. “I’ve never seen her upset by it,” Lawrence told me. “She’s been in this business since she was in sundresses in grammar school. She understands the nature of this business. She’s very unsentimental about the business of politics.”

...There has been an undercurrent of Democratic discontent with Pelosi for years. When the party was in the majority, it generally came from Blue Dogs, who fretted that her liberal image was toxic in their conservative districts. Others chafed at her centralized leadership style. Now, however, the opposition is more generational, coming from a cadre of more vocal members-- Ryan, Moulton, Vela, and Kathleen Rice of New York, among others-- who are younger and in most cases newer to Congress and looking to advance. [Berman was probably unaware that they are also all conservatives from the Republican wing of the Democratic Party, esp[ecially Long Island slime-bucket Kathleen Rice, one of the most venal Democrats in Congress.]

In interviews over the last several weeks, they acknowledged Pelosi’s strengths and accomplishments, conceding that she was not wholly to blame for the constant barrage of GOP attacks against her. But, these Democrats say, Pelosi sometimes makes it too easy for Republicans by bungling the party’s message or by making an offhand remark that goes awry. They winced when, during an appearance in November on Meet the Press, she referred to Representative John Conyers as “an icon” while the party was trying to get the long-serving Michigan Democrat to resign following allegations of sexual harassment. Rice said Pelosi’s comments “ceded the moral high ground” and set women and the Democratic Party back “decades.”

More recently, Republicans have mocked Pelosi’s arguably over-the-top rhetoric about their new tax law, which she compared to “Armageddon” in the days before it passed Congress. When Pelosi dismissed as “crumbs” the $1,000-plus bonuses and tax cuts going to the middle class, the GOP quickly put the comment in ads characterizing her as out-of-touch with working people.

 “Great leaders know when it’s time to step aside, and I obviously have been calling for her leadership team to step aside,” Rice told me. “I think it would be advantageous to us if that were made clear before the election.”

Pelosi, she told me, “has her reasons for staying, but at some point, it’s up to the caucus to decide.”

Privately, however, Pelosi’s critics in the caucus are far less diplomatic.

“For us to go into this election with her as our leader is absolute insanity,” one House Democrat told me on the condition of anonymity to speak candidly about Pelosi. “No one in their right mind would think this is a good idea. I just think she is putting her own personal interests in front of the caucus’s. And if we don’t win the House back, it is going to be because of her. These districts are hard enough to overcome, and to overcome with an anchor around our neck is political malpractice.”

In an effort to force the issue, this member of Congress is personally advising Democratic candidates to say that they won’t vote for Pelosi as speaker. If enough potential majority-makers rule out supporting her in the crucial first vote on the House floor, she would effectively have no path back to the speaker’s chair.

So far, however, just two Democratic candidates in competitive districts have done so: Lamb in Pennsylvania, and Paul Davis, a former gubernatorial nominee who is running for an open seat in Kansas.

Among more junior House Democrats, there is frustration not only with Pelosi but with the entire senior leadership team, including Hoyer, 78, and Clyburn, 77, who have blocked the paths of younger, ambitious members for more than a decade. Some of them are pushing for the party to join Republicans in adopting term limits for top committee slots, a sore spot for veterans in the Congressional Black Caucus for whom the color-blind seniority system was once the only assured way to accumulate power in Congress.

Pelosi’s allies tend to dismiss her internal critics as a small-but-vocal chorus of attention-seekers. But in the fall, a member of her leadership team broke ranks: Representative Linda Sanchez of California, who as vice chairwoman of the caucus is the fifth-ranking House Democrat. In an appearance on C-SPAN, she called for each of the top three-- Pelosi, Hoyer, and Clyburn-- to transition out. “They are all of the same generation, and, again, their contributions to the Congress and the caucus are substantial,” Sanchez said. “But I think there comes a time when you need to pass that torch. And I think it’s time.”

Then there is the freighted question of who might replace Pelosi whenever she does step aside.

Hoyer, her former rival, has long wanted a shot at the top spot, and he has given no indication of having given up on that goal. He is well-regarded across the caucus and has defeated challengers before, but he’s a year older than Pelosi, more moderate politically, and would be an odd choice for a party that has grown more diverse and moved farther to the left in the last decade. In the event that Pelosi steps down, Democrats close to Hoyer view him as someone with the necessary experience to serve as a bridge to the next generation of party leaders, according to a Democrat familiar with those conversations. Whether the caucus would go along with that kind of transitional plan, however, is unclear.

The top contenders now figure to include Sanchez and Representative Joseph Crowley of New York, a Queens powerbroker who is chairman of the caucus. Both have made no secret of their desire to move up, and Crowley briefly considered challenging Pelosi in 2016. The same goes for Ryan and Moulton, who have also not ruled out long-shot bids for president in 2020. Representative Adam Schiff of California is another possibility, having used his post as the top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee to become the party’s leading voice on the Russia investigation and a fixture on cable news-- and drawing Trump’s ire in the process. Schiff also owes his newfound prominence almost entirely to Pelosi, who as party leader had sole discretion to elevate him on the committee.
Again, no mention that Crowley is the single most corrupt Democrat in Congress-- the conduit for Wall Street bribes to the caucus-- as well as the former leader of the right-wing New Dems. Adam Schiff, after his district was redrawn to include seriously left-wing parts of L.A. (Hollywood, Silverlake, West Hollywood and Los Feliz) gave up his membership in the Blue Dogs and became a nearly as conservative rotten New Dem. Members who serve with Moulton in committee tell me it's like serving with a Republican.

I've been very critical of Pelosi for a very long time. Is she better than Hoyer, Crowley, Rice, Moulton, Ryan, Schiff? Yes, a million times better. Why is it that the mainstream media always talks about garbage members as possible replacements? Why not Mark Pocan? Why not Ted Lieu? Why not Pramila Jayapal? Why not Ro Khanna? Who feeds these shitbag congressmembers to the media as the only choices if Pelosi retires? Thank God they at least stopped talking about Wasserman Schultz as an heir.

Gaius sometimes reads these posts before they get published. Now and then he suggests fixes to outrageous typos, Today he suggested something more important: "I would ask, why is it that none of the congressmembers named above is putting her or his name 'out there'-- in bold Sanders-like fashion-- as a caucus choice? Of course they won't win. But popular opinion can't coalesce around a hat that's never in the ring, that's always waiting for 'just the right time'? Worse, it makes these progressives seem compliant, or careerist, or frightened. Makes it look from the outside that 'bold progressives' may never think it's the right time to openly challenge for Party leadership. If people ever get that idea, support for them will fall."

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The Far Right Is Trying To Make A Case Against Electing Romney To The Senate


Although Bannon is apparently sidelined from electoral politics and Miss McConnell and the Senate Republicans are trying to persuade Señor Trumpanzee to kiss and make up with Romney [Update: it worked, at least for now], there are figures on the right who are opposed to Romney waltzing into the open Utah Senate seat. There are some other Republicans running-- Chris Forbush from Nevada, an environmental engineer named Timothy Jimenez and a very right-wing Trumpist attorney named Larry Meyers, who is running on a platform that points out that electing Romney would be restocking the swamp and that the FBI is corrupt. And three Democrats are trying to get their party's nomination-- Salt Lake County councilwoman Jenny Wilson (who's raised about half a million dollars) and what appears to be a couple of vanity candidates one named Mitchell Vice and one named James Singer.

Last week, the Salt Lake Tribune reported that the chairman of the Utah Republican Party, Rob Anderson, blasted Romney for being a carpetbagger. Anderson is a moderate who's no fan of Trump. The GOP establishment landed on Anderson like a ton of bricks and he's since apologized, saying over the weekend that "I was thrilled when he moved his residence to Utah. I would be even more thrilled to see him run for Senate."
But Anderson, while surely the most prominent and the most vocal, isn’t the only dissenter. Romney’s expected candidacy is also annoying primarily right-wing GOP members who suggest that he’s ignoring the party and will win by name recognition and money alone-- not platform.

“He’s being coronated,” said Don Guymon, a member of the Republican State Central Committee. “I’m very concerned by that.”

“The general public perception is that Mitt Romney will be the automatic next senator,” said Phill Wright, former state GOP vice chair.

“Mitt Romney will be UT’s next US Senator,” wrote state Auditor John Dougall on Facebook. “Not necessarily because of his vision for the future or his hard work but because the press and the UT Republican Party will help ensure his coronation.”

On Tuesday evening, Dougall wrote an extensive Facebook post on his thoughts about Utah’s soon-to-be-available U.S. Senate seat.

In the post, he said everyone has been focusing on who they want Utah’s next senator to be-- not what they want that person to be.

Dougall said Utahns want a strong conservative who supports Trump and understands the state’s issues. As far as Dougall can tell, he wrote, Romney doesn’t like the president very much. Dougall also said he’s concerned about Romney’s knowledge of Utah.

“We need to understand where Mr. Romney stands before we decide where he’ll sit,” he wrote.

After posting, Dougall shared an article from U.S. News and World Report, which says the state auditor is “seriously considering” running against Romney for the open seat.

Romney, who supported the Count My Vote initiative, is expected to gather signatures to get on the primary ballot, a relatively new option. It’s unclear if he would also go the traditional convention route, getting approval from party delegates, but he said in 2014 that system will “rarely produce a result that reflects how rank-and-file Republicans feel.”

If he doesn’t go through the convention, it might further inflame those who already doubt his allegiance to the state party.

At least two other Republican candidates plan to participate in the caucus and convention. Tim Jimenez, an environmental engineer who launched his campaign in January, said there’s “contention and anger” that Romney might bypass delegates.

“Everyone I’ve talked to has been positive that someone else is running besides Mitt Romney. They’re just glad to have someone else in the race,” Jimenez said. “I don’t believe he represents those of us who live in Utah.”
I wonder if he's talked with far right lunatic, huckster and anti-Mormon bigot Tricia Erickson, who bills herself as the conservative pundit. She adamantly refuses to get psychiatric treatment, although virtually everyone who knows her personally says she has been severely mentally ill for years. Yesterday, she sent her latest column out to residents of Utah (and me) with a little intro: "Hello Utah! Because Utah is mostly a conservative state, I believe that it is important for your voters to know the truth on Romney's liberal record. I, unfortunately, am not available for interviews. However, please read this info. It is all vetted and I am horrified that Utah would even consider the founder of Obamacare (RomneyCare) for any position at all in your state. Please shout these FACTS to the mountain tops... and elect a true conservative!"
Mitt Romney is still licking his wounds from losing to Obama in 2012. So what is there left to do in his endless quest for power and a possible re-run for POTUS? Well…become a senator, of course. But, does anyone care about his deplorable performance record? Romney’s record as Governor of Massachusetts:
In 2002, Romney refused to sign a no new taxes pledge while running for governor.
Under Romney, Massachusetts was in the BOTTOM THREE OF THE NATION FOR JOB CREATION, only above post-Katrina Louisiana and Michigan
Massachusetts ranked third highest for population loss in a state
According to the National Association of State Budget Officers (NASBO), under Romney, spending in the Bay State rose 20.7 percent (Government bytes)
Romney raised corporate taxes
As Governor, Romney raised taxes and fees seven times by multi-millions of dollars to the tax payer and increased 57 fees while creating 33 new ones, earning him the nick name of “Fee Fee”
Romney also, during a fiscal crisis in his state, imposed a 2 cent per-gallon gasoline fee, imposed an internet sales tax and legislated to facilitate the local governments within his state to raise business property taxes, while claiming that he would not “raise taxes”, He also raised local property taxes, created an Internet sales tax and raised business property taxes.
Under Massachusetts RomneyCare:
By March, 2009, employer backed premiums were the highest in the nation
By 2009, the average expense for family coverage was over $15,000.00
Peter Robinson on reported “In the last two years alone, spending on free and subsidized plans for low-income citizens of the bay state has doubled from $630 million in 2007 to an estimated 1.3 billion this year”
The wait to see primary care physicians for new patients rose to 44 days with some doctors refusing to accept new patients and the wait time to see specialists rose to roughly 50 days. Emergency rooms visits increased due to lack of availability to expediently see doctors
55,000 illegal immigrants received more than $93 million in Massachusetts Health benefits for emergency medical services in just one year
Caused Massachusetts to employ between 15,551 and 21,422 fewer people and slowed growth of disposable income (Thomas R. Eddlem study)
The Washington Times, August 2007: “As governor, Mr. Romney wielded control over a significant budget and oversaw three cities that were proud of their designation as ‘sanctuary cities:’ Yet as governor, he recommended millions of dollars in state funding of them and made no attempt to force these cities to change their policies.”
Romney’s record on abortion:
Romney was “PRO CHOICE” in 1994, 2002, 2005 and 2006. He was “PRO LIFE” in 2001, 2004, 2006 and now, of course, prolife for the purposes of being elected as our next Republican President
On his 1994 campaign flyer, Romney lists “Retain a woman’s right to choose” as one of his foremost matters.
In 1994 the Boston Globe also reported Romney’s stance on the RU-486 abortion pill, quoting Romney as saying “I would favor having it available”
During a debate in 1994, Romney stated “I believe that abortion should be safe and legal in this country”. He further stated “I believe that since Roe v. Wade has been the law for 20 years we should sustain and support it”
Mitt singed in to law $50 tax funded co-pay abortions as a “healthcare benefit” under his RomneyCare
Gave Planned Parenthood an instrumental role on the policy board in his Massachusetts healthcare plan, after his “pro-life conversion”
Appointed a pro-choice judge, Matthew Nestor, to a lifetime appointment on a Massachusetts court, after his “pro-life conversion”
Judicial appointments:
Mitt appointed a pro-choice judge to a lifetime appointment on a MA court AFTER his “pro-life conversion”
Romney gave Planned Parenthood an instrumental role on the policy board in his Massachusetts healthcare plan after his “pro-life conversion”
Mitt awarded a MA district court judgeship to Stephen Albany part of the MA Lesbian & Gay Bar Association & activist to repeal sodomy laws
According to the Boston Globe: Romney passed over GOP lawyers for three quarters of the 36 judicial vacancies he faced as governor, instead, tapping registered Democrats or independents, including two gay lawyers who supported same sex rights
Gay Marriage:
Mitt Romney was the “Father of Gay Marriage to America”
Romney in 1994: Romney’s letter to Log Cabin Republicans: “As we seek to establish full equality for America’s gay and lesbian citizens, I will provide more effective leadership than my opponent”
1994: Romney informed the Log Cabin Club that he favors ENDA
Bay Windows: “Do you support the Protection of Marriage Amendment?”, Romney: “No, because it would outlaw domestic partner benefits for same-sex couples”
Mitt simply “paid back” the Log Cabin Republicans for their instrumental role in getting him elected to the governorship, by purposely looking the other way so that gay marriage could be forced on to Massachusetts, and ultimately the United States of America. There is no law on the books in MA to this day that legalizes gay marriage.
Romney increased funding for the homosexual indoctrination of children in Massachusetts schools
Romney’s policies caused Catholic adoptions centers to close down, rather than to turn innocent children over to gay couples.
Romney’s liberal record:
Romney did not support the Bush Tax Cuts
“Almost five years after he refused to sign a ‘no new taxes’ pledge during his campaign for governor, Mitt Romney announced yesterday that he had done just that, as his campaign for the 2008 Republican presidential nomination began in earnest.” (Boston Globe, January 2007)
Romney in 1994: on his support of the Brady Bill and an assault weapons ban: “That’s not going to make me the hero of the NRA.” Also at a campaign stop “I don’t line up with the NRA”
Serving his country?
Mitt received 3 draft deferments from the Viet Nam War to serve as a Mormon Missionary to draw people to the Mormon cult, nothing more, nothing patriotic. He did NOT serve his country!
Romney siphoned an estimated $1.5 billion out of the U.S. Treasury, all in the name of the Olympics. This was more than all US Olympic games together
Romney reaped more than $1.5 million in campaign funds during his governorship from individuals and families with ties to the Olympics
Mitt Romney has not recovered from his 2008 and 2012 campaign losses. True to form, I believe that Liberal Romney is regrouping to possibly run an effort against Donald Trump from within the senate.
In the letter, though not the column, she ended with "Romney's ego precedes every venue and room that he walk in to...there's a word for that that starts with an 'N.' And now, to make himself relevant again, he is re-branding as the the 'anti-Trump.' Doesn't American know yet that Mitt Romney's ego is more important than the The United States Of America?" No, not every Republican is certifiably insane, but those among us who are certifiably insane certainly know where their crazy theories will be appreciated.

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Ellen Lipton Beat Betsy DeVos In Lansing-- And Will Continue Beating Her In DC


Last month Digby introduced me to another extraordinary woman running for Congress, this one in Michigan, Ellen Lipton. Ellen's district is the 9th, from which Sandy Levin is retiring. This is a safe Democratic district in the suburbs north of Detroit (PVI is D+4 and Hillary beat Trump there 51.5% to 43.7%. Obama had beaten Romney by a much better margin: 57.2-41.9%.) The district is southern Macomb and eastern Oakland counties and includes Royal Oak, Fernadle, Warren, Eastpointe, Mount Clemens, Franklin and Bingham Farms.

Ellen raised two kids, worked as a patent attorney, helping universities and small businesses often in competition with large, powerful corporations. As a survivor of Multiple Sclerosis (MS), she became involved in public life when she joined the fight to allow life-saving stem cell research in Michigan. She ran for State Representative in 2008 and served three full terms, the maximum allowed in the state. As a legislator, she led the fight against Betsy DeVos’ efforts to destroy Michigan’s public-school system. After leaving Lansing, Ellen founded and was named President of the Michigan Promise Zone Association, which supports free community college tuition, technical training and certification to Michigan students in selected communities across Michigan, a blueprint for free college tuition across America.

Goal ThermometerShe's the only woman in a four-way Democratic Primary, a progressive through and through and her work with the Promise Zones and in holding DeVos at bay prompted me to ask her to share those specific experiences with DWT readers. Read this below and if you like what you hear, please consider contributing to the campaign of Blue America's newest endorsed candidate. Just click on the ActBlue congressional thermometer on the right. Let's make Michigan great again!

Guest Post
-by Ellen Lipton

Before Betsy DeVos became nationally reviled for her corporate education reform agenda as Trump’s Education Secretary, she spent years attacking public schools in Michigan, her home state. We were her political petri dish.

One of her most damaging proposals was the Education Achievement Authority (EAA), a program that would implement a statewide school district tasked with turning around “low performance schools.” Her metric for measuring performance was to look at standardized test scores, a highly flawed metric of school performance that by design discriminates against low income and minority students.

I served three terms in the Michigan State House, and for two of those terms I fought tooth and nail against DeVos and others like her who were intent on destroying public schools in Michigan. While I was in Lansing, a bill that would have codified the EAA into state law was being rushed through committee, backed by Republicans and even a few Democrats. None other than John Covington, a nationally infamous proponent of privatizing public education, came to our committee to testify about how successful an EAA pilot program had been in Detroit, and announced that we ought to just trust him to work his magic across the rest of the state. Needless to say, his record in Detroit was abysmal-- our schools in the city have been demonstrably worse off because of his work.

The problem with John Covington and Betsy DeVos and their one-size-fits-all, pro-privatization “solutions” to problems in education is that there are no magic bullets in turning around schools. Solving problems in education requires a lot of work, a lot of patience, and crucially, a lot of additional funding. During the committee hearing, I grilled Covington about his wild claims of success because the math just didn’t add up. When he couldn’t answer my questions, I sent an extensive FOIA request to the EAA, which they promptly ignored. It wasn’t until I threatened a lawsuit that they finally released the documents, which made it clear as day that the failed experiment of the EAA was riddled with abuses of power and misallocations of funds. Betsy DeVos’ dream of destroying Michigan’s public school system finally came to an end.

I’m proud of the work I did taking on Betsy DeVos in Lansing-- but being a legislator, whether in the State House or in Washington, isn’t just about stopping bad things from happening. It’s about reshaping the narrative around issues we care about, proposing bold solutions to those problems, and mobilizing the community around supporting a progressive agenda.

One narrative I hate the most is this idea that our schools are failing, and so our students are failing. Our kids aren’t failing at all-- they’re doing incredible work in the face of enormous challenges. And one of the greatest challenges they face is our nationwide crisis of college affordability. So many bright, hardworking students that want to attend college can not afford to go; those that do graduate often find themselves saddled with a lifetime of crushing student loan debt.

In Michigan, we’ve taken a stab at addressing this critical issue. Nearly ten years ago, the legislature created ten “promise zones” in economically distressed communities throughout the state. These promise zones guarantee two years of free college for every single student that graduates from public school in that district. As a legislator, I worked with community leaders in Hazel Park, a community that had been battered during the Great Recession, to establish the Hazel Park Promise Zone, and I am the current treasurer of the organization.

The results in Hazel Park have been incredible. Students who never thought they could go to college see a path to the future. The school district has been strengthened, the community has been brought together, graduation rates have improved, and property values have increased as young families are moving to Hazel Park because of the opportunities they and their children now have.

In addition to providing students with free tuition, the promise zones assist students with completing FAFSA applications and provide help with applying for other public and private scholarships, so that every student can attend college free from the burden of student loans.

After I left the legislature, I founded and became the President of the Michigan Promise Zone Association. I remain committed to my mission to strengthen what we have achieved in Hazel Park and communities all across the state. I am proud to say that just three years after I left Lansing, the number of promise zones in Michigan has grown from 10 to 15.

But my work is far from over. If Betsy DeVos had had her way in Michigan, the promise zones would never have come to fruition, and public schools would have continued to be degraded for the benefit of the wealthy few. If I am elected to Congress, I will do everything in my power to stop Betsy DeVos dead in her tracks once again, and prevent her harmful privatization agenda from destroying our public education system. I’ll also be a leader in solving the crisis of college affordability. What we’ve done in Michigan with the promise zones can happen on a national level. We need a tuition-free, debt-free path to college for every young person in this country, and I will work hard in Washington every day to make that dream a reality.

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It's MOTHER Nature, Not Father Nature


I was fascinated a few days ago to hear Marianne Williamson address a crowd of Laura Oatman supporters in Huntington Beach. Laura is the progressive woman running against Putin's favorite congressman, Republican Dana Rohrabacher. Marianne and Laura spoke to the crowd about the special strength and power of mothers that has evolved over millennia to ensure the longevity of the species. And if we, as a society, ever needed that power, it is now, with Trump and his self-serving enablers in power.

Yesterday, outgoing Florida Republican Ileana Ros-Lehtinen told Face the Nation that her party is in trouble. "When you look at the future of the Republican Party," she said, "I think that we would be foolish to not see that we’re heading into trouble. Part of that problem is that the GOP is a predominantly male party, with few women running and with a generally hostile attitude towards women. "Far greater numbers of women are identifying themselves as being in the Democratic party," she said. "When you look ahead, what's our future going to be? Are we going to end up a marginalized party? I think that we need to look toward the future, and we need to have the policies that attract millennials, women and minorities. I don't see that... I don't see those Asian women and-- and those minority women, serving in the House GOP or in the Senate GOP... we used to be more accepting of having moderate positions, and now-- now it's getting harder."

Greed-driven, selfish, entitled patriarchs-- the Trump crowd-- aren't going to protect anyone or anything but their own wealth and status. Trump doesn't recognize the concept of a future, very much the opposite of the role that has evolved for women. From the website, Motherhood: "While there are many characteristics that make up a good mother, protecting their young is a common quality that both the human and animal mother share. The mother bear has always been the quintessential example of a mother’s love, and this is mainly because of their fierce, protective nature. It is a widely accepted belief that the most dangerous place to be is between a mother bear and her cub... seventy percent of human deaths caused by grizzly bears are related to a mother grizzly bear protecting her cubs."

Some of this year's best candidates are fierce women who talk about preserving the environment about protecting children from the NRA-coddling Republicans, from the oligarchic tendencies the GOP has adopted that will turn the majority of people into victims. Women like Lisa Brown (WA), Jenny Marshall (NC), Katie Hill (CA), Jess King (PA), Lillian Salerno (TX), Katie Porter (CA), Marie Newman (IL), Nina Ahmad (PA), Antoinette Sedillo Lopez (NM), Mary Matiela (AZ), Wendy Reed (CA), Laura Oatman (CA), Kara Eastman (NE), Marge Doyle (CA) and Alexandria Ocasio (NY) are the future of the Democratic Party... and the future of America. There are 22 women in the Senate, so 22%-- 5 Republicans and 17 Democrats. There are 84 women (19.3%) in the House-- 62 Democrats and 22 Republicans. By the way, 51% of Americans are women and 49% are men. Do we need more women in Congress? Desperately. But keep in mind, some of the very best members of Congress are women-- take Pramila Jayapal (D-WA), Judy Chu (D-CA) and Jan Schakowsky (D-IL)-- while some of the most horrible members-- even among Democrats-- are also women-- Kyrsten Sinema (Blue Dog-AZ), Stephanie Murphy (Blue Dog-DL) and Cheri Bustos (Blue Dog-IL). And the Democrats have some amazing women running this cycle, like the aforementioned Nina Ahmad, Jenny Marshall and Lillian Salerno, right alongside some of the worst candidates you'll find on the 2018 campaign trial, from Ann Kirkpatrick (New Dem-AZ), Susie Lee (New Dem-NV) and Mike Sherrill (New Dem-NJ) to Gretchen Driskell (Blue Dog-MI) and Angie Craig (New Dem-MN)... and that even before we look at neo-fascist Republican monstrosities like Diane Black (TN), Virginia Foxx (NC), Liz Cheney (WY), Vicky Hartzler (MO) and Marsha Blackburn (TN).

And you want to talk about destructive corruption? Three little words: Debbie Wasserman Schultz.

And that's not to say that women politicians can't become as jaded, vile and self-serving as men. In fact, the longer someone is in Congress, the more likely that becomes. Look at Kirsten Gillbrand for example, who is desperately trying to turn the #MeToo movement into a stepping stone for her own careerist ambitions. She's corrupt, racist and devoid of a moral core... but she knows an opportunity when she sees one. Doesn't this look like it was cribbed straight from DWT?
The Gillibrand we see today looks very different than the one we saw back in 2007, when she was on her way to becoming the unlikely winner of a House seat in a largely rural and heavily Republican district in upstate New York:
Upon winning, she became a member of the Blue Dog Coalition of conservative Democrats. She supported a balanced budget amendment and a ban on deficit spending. Her immigration platform was of a piece with the proto-Trumpism brewing during George W. Bush’s second term-- no amnesty or benefits for illegal aliens; a crackdown on sanctuary cities like New York; more agents, fencing, and tech for the border; and legislation making English America’s official language. The Human Rights Campaign, an LGBTQ advocacy group, gave her the lowest rating of any New York Democrat in Congress for her positions on gay rights issues. Her rating from the National Rifle Association, meanwhile, was a solid 100 percent.
All of that made her a controversial pick to fill the Senate seat that opened up when President Obama tapped Hillary Clinton to be his secretary of state in 2009. Asked about why her views had changed, Gillibrand had an unusually straightforward answer.

“After I got appointed, I went down to Brooklyn to meet with families who had suffered from gun violence in their communities,” she said. “And you immediately experience the feeling that I couldn’t have been more wrong-- you know I only had the lens of upstate New York.”

She offered up a similar answer on immigration: “I came from a district that was 98 percent white… And I just didn’t take the time to understand why these issues mattered because it wasn’t

right in front of me. And that was my fault. It was something that I’m embarrassed about and I’m ashamed of.” As Alfonsi pointed out, to say Gillibrand “only had the lens of upstate New York” is somewhat misleading, since she had lived in New York City for a decade before returning to upstate to a run for a congressional seat. From their exchange:
Alfonsi: But you had-- lived in New York City...

Gillibrand: I know.

Alfonsi: ...for a decade.

Gillibrand: And that’s why I was embarrassed.

Alfonsi: You traveled abroad.

Gillibrand: I was wrong. What it’s about is the power of the NRA and the greed of that industry. Let’s be clear. It is not about hunters’ rights, it’s about money.

Alfonsi: Your critics will say it’s political opportunism.

Gillibrand: As is their right. They can say what they like.
Gillibrand is doing her best to air out the issues now, hoping that liberals in Iowa and New Hampshire will focus on her unblemished record in the Senate and not a handful of highly damning House votes from a decade ago. As Gillibrand herself said in the 60 Minutes interview, “if you’re wrong, just admit it and move on.”
No mention of Al Franken? Did he get a chance to apologize and move on before Gillibrand scalped him and then mercilessly ripped him to shreds and forced him out of the Senate? Or is that dirty little episode already deep down the national memory hole?

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