Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Last Call For Running On Something

With Republicans hiding from constituents over Trumpcare during the summer recess, Democrats in Congress are rolling out a positive message based on economics.  Sort of, anyway.

Democratic leaders are zeroing in on a new mantra for their long-promised economic agenda: a “Better Deal.”

The rebranding attempt comes as Democrats acknowledge that simply running against President Donald Trump wasn’t a winning strategy in 2016 and probably won’t work in 2018 either. The slogan, which is still being polled in battleground House districts, aims to convince voters that Democrats have more to offer than the GOP and the self-proclaimed deal-maker in the White House.

But even as Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi prepare a jobs package centered on infrastructure, trade and the minimum wage, some of their most vulnerable members are making other plans.

Several moderate Democrats facing reelection next year told POLITICO that no matter what leadership does, they’re preparing to craft their own pitch to voters. The ideological and political divides that gripped the party during the Hillary Clinton-Bernie Sanders primary wars are far from healed, and leadership may not find universal support for the left-leaning platform, particularly from those trying to defend seats in Trump-friendly states.

“Message has always been a challenge for Democrats, because it tends to get too convoluted and not very simple,” Sen. Jon Tester (D-Mont.) said in a recent interview.

“We ought to have a message already,” added Tester, a former chief of Senate Democrats’ campaign arm who is up for reelection in 2018. “I’m not sure we have a cohesive message. But we’ve certainly got one for Montana.”

Freshman Rep. Lou Correa (D-Calif.), who beat a progressive challenger to win his Orange County seat, which includes Disneyland, also declared his independence from leadership: “If the left and the right are going to have a certain message, I’m going to have my own message,” Correa said.

He isn’t alone.

Several lawmakers interviewed by POLITICO said the overarching lesson they learned from the 2016 election is not that Democrats need a more cohesive economic message. Instead, they say, they need to be able to run a strong campaign in spite of the national Democratic platform.

That’s not to say they won’t accept a new party plank if it materializes and fits their districts. But they’re not counting on it either.

“It would be helpful if there was a good national message, but the Blue Dogs do not count on that or rely on that,” said Rep. Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.), chairwoman of the moderate Blue Dog super PAC. “If you have the right candidate, who’s a good fit for his or her district, that is what matters the most.”

But I was told that a unified, solidly progressive and left-leaning economic message would win across the country, including winning over Rust Belt, Midwest, Mountain West and Southwest voters in Trump states.   I guess that's why Bernie won all the primaries outside of California and New York.

Oh, wait.

Instead, I see multiple Democrats announcing now that they are running on their own message.  Why, it's almost as if Dems in conservative areas understand that bold liberalism doesn't work in places like Montana, Orange County, California or southern Arizona.

A one-size-fits-all economic approach doesn't work in every state, rather you need to smartly contest all 50 states with people who can win?  That's crazy talk.

Obama-Scare Tactics

As part of the Trump regime's push to repeal the Affordable Care Act, the White House has been pushing the notion that millions of Americans are "victims of Obamacare" and that it's somehow a moral imperative to rescue these "victims" from the evil Democrats.  Indeed, several state GOP parties are joining in this parade of apparent bureaucratic brutality, including VP Mike Pence's home state of Indiana.

Only one problem: when asked what "horror stories" these "victims of Obamacare" had to share, they instead told the Indiana GOP how much the Affordable Care Act had improved their lives.

The Indiana Republican Party posed a question to Facebook on Monday: "What's your Obamacare horror story? Let us know." 
The responses were unexpected. 
"My sister finally has access to affordable quality care and treatment for her diabetes."

"My father's small business was able to insure its employees for the first time ever. #thanksObama"

"Love Obamacare!"

"The only horror in the story is that Republicans might take it away."


By 8:30 a.m. Tuesday, the Indiana GOP's post collected more than 1,500 comments, the vast majority in support of Obamacare. 
Within hours, Facebook users and pages, including county Democratic party pages and the popular Periods for Politicians/Periods for Pence page, shared the post to encourage their networks to comment in support of Obamacare, too.

And so it goes.  Remember, as Indiana's governor, Mike Pence signed on to Medicaid expansion. Yes, Indiana's hybrid Medicaid mess has a lot of caveats and hoops to jump through being touted as "skin in the game" and "personal responsibility" but people are getting coverage.

Remember, the GOP Senate bill would not only reverse Medicaid expansion, it would give states the option to opt out of Medicaid coverage altogether and take the money as a block grant instead that doesn't have to be spent on Medicaid at all.  And once a state waives its Medicaid program under the GOP Senate bill, it's permanent and cannot be changed.

This is what Republicans have been wanting for decades, and they're going to get it unless enough Americans start sharing stories of Obamacare's success like Indiana voters are doing.

It's About Suppression, Con't

The Trump regime's plan to assemble a national database of voters under the guise of "voter integrity" has run into not one but two buzzsaws: blue states understand full well that the information will be used for targeted voter suppression purposes, but red states know that voter registration systems have been completely compromised by the Russians.  Neither group trust the incompetent Trump regime and now 44 states have rejected participation in the scheme.

Forty-four states have refused to provide certain types of voter information to the Trump administration's election integrity commission, according to a CNN inquiry to all 50 states. 
State leaders and voting boards across the country have responded to the letter with varying degrees of cooperation -- from altogether rejecting the request to expressing eagerness to supply information that is public. 
Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, vice chairman of the Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity, which President Donald Trump created by executive order in May, sent a letter to all 50 states last Wednesday requesting a bevy of voter data, which he notes will eventually be made available to the public.

The problem is nobody trusts the regime with a massive database of personal info, especially since that info has already been shown to be vulnerable.

But the commission, which is chaired by Vice President Mike Pence, seemed to misunderstand voter privacy laws nationwide. Every state that responded to the commission's letter said it could not provide Social Security numbers, for example. Others said they consider information such as birth dates and party affiliations to be private. 
What's more, Kobach asked states to supply the information through an online portal. Many states have rejected this specific request, noting that the commission should file a voter information request through established state websites, as any other party would. 
As of Tuesday afternoon, two states -- Florida and Nebraska -- are still reviewing the commission's request. Another two states -- Hawaii and New Jersey -- have not returned CNN's request for comment. And while six states are still awaiting a letter from the commission, four of them -- New Mexico, Michigan, South Carolina and West Virginia -- have already pledged not to provide voters' private information. The other two of those six states, Arkansas and Illinois, have not released statements ahead of receiving the letter.

A few states have signed on at least.  Sort of.

Just three states -- Colorado, Missouri and Tennessee -- commended Kobach's attempt to investigate voter fraud in their respective statements. 
"We are very glad they are asking for information before making decisions," said Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams, a Republican. "I wish more federal agencies would ask folks for their opinion and for information before they made decisions." 
Missouri Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft, also a Republican, echoed Williams' sentiment in a statement Friday: "The commission's questions are fair and we will be glad to assist in offering our thoughts on these important matters," he said. "I look forward to working with Sec. Kris Kobach and the commission on its findings and offer our support in the collective effort to enhance the American people's confidence in the integrity of the elections process."

I'm betting state legislators and governors of those states will want to have a word on releasing that data, let alone the voters themselves.

Still, this has to be considered a complete failure by now if Trump can't even get blood red states like Texas and Oklahoma to play ball, or GOP-leaning swing states currently controlled by Republicans like Florida, Ohio, or Wisconsin to pony up data either.

The question now becomes if the regime will compel states to comply or not.


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