We asked him about the people who say he’s lost their vote; people like retired veterans who were on the verge of losing their disability checks next month.
He said the stalemate in Washington was necessary to achieve party goals.
“I feel like my mandate when I was elected was to go reduce the size of government, lower taxes, and increase freedom, and freedom isn’t free, and sometimes you have to make a small sacrifice to move forward with what you’re after,” Congressman Farenthold said.
In 2010, Farenthold won an 799 vote squeaker over long-time Democratic Rep Solomon Ortiz in a district that stretched from Corpus Christi to Brownsville and was 70% Hispanic. In 2012, re-districting moved Brownsville and other southern counties out of the district and added in some rural northern counties to make TX-27 a R+13 safe seat, and Farenthold won 57-39. His new district is just under 50% Hispanic and majority minority (55%), so pissing off veterans is probably not in Blake’s best interests, but he’ll probably survive the next election if he learns to shut his fucking mouth. That said, this should be an interesting district to watch for voter suppression, and the effect of doing nothing on immigration reform.
It’s easy to say “50 state strategy” and talk about fighting in districts like TX-27 but think about the task of recruiting and fundraising. If you’re running for this seat, you’re essentially waiting for lightning to strike. In a target-rich environment like 2014, the DCCC isn’t going to put money into a R+13 when there are so many swing districts up for grabs. Farenthold can raise a couple million bucks by virtue of being a Member of Congress. Your job is going to involve a year of begging for money to raise probably 1/3 of what Farenthold can. As you raise that pittance, which is just enough to hire a couple of staff and get some ads on the air, you’ll have to put thousands of miles on your car traveling the district to address whatever social clubs and party gatherings will hear you. It’s a year or 18 months of hard labor, bad food, little sleep, taking shit from mouthy Republicans, kissing babies and kissing ass, all with the almost certain reward of being crushed in November.
Especially Republican® brand freedom, which has a 10,000% markup over generic freedom.
I find this framing and its apparent frequency repugnant. If there’s any awareness of Hispanic voters as more than a useful voting bloc with unaddressed concerns that are separate from (and frankly, more important than) the Democratic party’s prospects, it’s missing from this quote. In a paragraph that briefly alluded to their disenfranchisement as voters and their displacement as residents of this country, it’s disturbing that your primary point of relation and concern was how their suffering makes it more likely that Republicans will lose later on. That framing reduces one of the most energetic and relentless sources of political activism in this country (much less in modern Democratic politics) to little more than a statistic that incidentally confers votes to The Team. They’re more than that, and they should be discussed as more than that.
I don’t think it’s too much to ask for more focus on immigration activists, Dreamers and the disenfranchised in those states, from their perspective. If anything, it would allow a transfer of humanity and empathy to a topic that’s become yet another source of self-congratulatory backpatting with a racial component that’s so dehumanizing, convenient and obnoxious that it’s difficult to overlook.
Democrats may not be able to win in districts like this in 2014, but they can make inroads toward winning in 2016. If the DCCC doesn’t make an investment early and often in Texas this time around, especially with Wendy Davis running for governor, they are making a big mistake. They need to take the long view.
peach flavored shampoo
Somewhat OT, but this this Cruz guy just never shuts up. I understand that he’s not interested in being friends with all his colleagues, but now it seems as if he’s deliberately trying to make enemies with all of them. This seems pathological.
Your pain is a small sacrifice, but I am more than willing to make it.
I’m always amazed that this jerkwad is connected, even remotely (step-grandson) to the great progressive Frances “Sissy” Farenthold. Family gatherings in the Farenthol household must be … interesting.
“Increasing freedom” may be the worst euphemism for voter suppression I’ve ever heard.
@peach flavored shampoo:
Washington is a nasty town, full of snakes. If you attack people in power, they’ll have a long memory, and one day soon you will pay.
Usually, I think this is a bad thing. But with Senator Cruz, I rest easily, knowing just how many shivs are being sharpened for him as we speak.
@EconWatcher: I agree. One of the few things that Senators Reid and McConnell probably agree on is antipathy for Senator Cruz. I predict (and devoutly hope for) a bumpy ride for him eventually.
Making an effort to field and support a quality candidate is what the democratic voters in that district [actually in all districts] deserve from the Democratic Party.
If they ever want to be taken seriously in that district and in neighbouring districts too, some kind of competence and competitive fire needs to be demonstrated. I guess that kind of long term thinking might be a bit beyond the current Dems that run the House election organization, but surely they can see that they are basically disenfranchising those voters, as much or more than those that are pushing voter ID and other voter suppression efforts.
@peach flavored shampoo:
The irony is that Cruz is claiming to be working for the 24M Texans, but his lack of collegiality in the Senate will end up costing them in the long run. He’s not going to be able to get much of anything done for his state.
But he doesn’t really care. His game at the moment appears to be to play the role of the Tea Party Champion, and use that role to raise as much money as possible to prepare for a national run at POTUS in the next cycle.
He’ll probably end up getting creamed in the primaries, but I doubt there’s much that could happen that would ever significantly impact his egomania. I’d just prefer the media not give him so much attention, because clearly he hasn’t done anything to deserve it.
Cruz shouldn’t sleep on Turtle Lips..
Turtle Lips is a vicious mofo.
He knows how to slit throats and have no fingerprints on the knife, Rafael.
He had better be as pure as the driven snow, or the come-uppance he will soon face will not just be political. It will be deeply personal.
It’s ;posts like this that remind me of what Howard Dean was up against when he initiated his 50-state strategy. Marshall “the Bullshit Moose” Whitman and the rest of the DLC ridiculed him. But Dean’s ground game resulted in Democrats taking both houses of Congress. Of course, he was then driven out of the DNC chair position as a reward for his success.
Quite simply, if the Democrats never put any effort into getting the party message out to people who are swamped with rightwing bullshit, then the party should not be surprised that those people never hear the party message and never vote Democrat.
Yertle was on the radio last week trying to thread the needle on this, and not real well. He came off as a craven bootlick, and the brief shining moment of realizing that he walked out of the event with a huge plate of earmarked pulled pork was dimmed by the fact that he got it out of luck as opposed to skillfully sending a signal that the Senate is back in the infrastructure business.
He’d have been better off electorally keeping quiet, but that Senate Conservatives Fund thing rattled him, and he’s making an incorrect assumption as to the actual size of the number of primary voting suicide bombers, ready to push the button on the vest while at the medical clinic that serves their village. The level of state resident interest in KyNect should have given him a clue.
I guess the Democrats learned Nothing when Howard Dean was in charge and implemented a 50 state strategy that was poised and ready with candidates in unlikely places. They were ready for the likes of Macaca dude to step on his dick (I’ve been watching Dexter) and lose.
Ya know, it’s not like the goopers are exactly squeamish about just making up shit.
dpm (dread pirate mistermix)
I’ll tell my Mom, who is a member of the first generation of her Mexican family to vote in a US election, that you care. I’m sure she’ll be touched.
But what does your caring buy Hispanics if they can’t express themselves as a voting bloc? Not a fucking thing, my friend.
When Blake Farenthold is running scared because 50% of his district is Hispanic, then we’ll have Republicans voting for immigration reform, or, more likely, we’ll replace the Farentholds of the world with Democrats who are going to vote for reform. Right now, because of voter suppression and the fact that Hispanics have a (deserved) reputation of not turning out, we have a a 55% majority minority district is represented by a teabagging asshole like this. Words don’t mean shit until guys like this can be turned out by voters voting their interests.
While his district would be hard to win, the Democrats would probably earn a fair bit of return on their dollar if they were to really concentrate on Texas in 2014. Yes, obviously support the places that it looks like Republicans assholery over the debt has cost them support. But, in Texas, if the party were to bring people in to help Latinos register to vote and educate them about what they need to do, and get Texas Latinos up to voting at the level of other states, we could turn Texas purple.
One recommendation for Latino voter registration effort: Make sure to tell the new voters that they can get a ballot in Spanish.
They do, but Democrats need to take the long view, too.
I’ll just give you my experience with long-shot congressional candidates on the local level. It’s very difficult to recruit a candidate because as mistemix (rightly) notes, it’s no fun running 10 points behind. They have to work for a year, unpaid, and essentially abandon their families because they’re out a lot of nights and every weekend.
So the candidate volunteers to run. Thus begins constant and unrelenting criticism, not from Republicans, but from Democrats. The candidate is too religious, or not religious enough. The candidate is male or female, and this is a year for male/female, take your pick. The candidate is not enough of a populist, or too much a populist which will alienate liberals/Right-leaning Democrats.
In this district, which is about 55/45 R/D, halfway thru the race we will get a poll. The poll will indicate that the Democrat is at 45 and the Republican is at 50, with 5 undecided or no clue or whatever. The local Democrats will then determine this race is “winnable” and it’s simply a matter of tactics/messaging/support from the national Party/charisma of candidate. They’ll completely ignore that the Democrat is always at 45% at the midway point because 45% of the district are Democrats. Five points in Ohio isn’t a small number, it’s HUGE, it’s the whole deal.
Then when the candidate loses it’s because he/she is too liberal/too conservative, lacks charisma, bad campaign, not enough support from the national Party, and we start all over again.
The 50 state strategy is hard. There has to be a recognition of that. I wouldn’t run as the Democrat in this district. It’s awful. The last two women who ran were fighting Democrats the whole time.
We have a new volunteer who was inspired to run by the shut-down. I hope it is less horrible for him, but I don’t have a lot of confidence that it will be.
@Botsplainer: Funding that dam was brilliant. Firstly, because it’s a worthwhile project that actually needs to be done, and I have no problem with three billion dollars going to constructions workers.
Secondly, it drives the wedge between the teahadists and the merely insane Republicans a little deeper. It looks as if the most powerful Republican in the senate sold them out to get increased government spending in his state.
Thanks for volunteering to be our candidate. When are you moving to Texas.
Oh you didn’t volunteer.
DRAFT dread pirate mistermix. Keel haul him and put him on a bread and rubber chicken diet until he agrees to run.
It’s a dirty rotten job but someone’s got to do it and that someone is you.
I find myself saddened by the notion that Senator Inhofe (R-Kochistan) wouldn’t have gotten his life saving quad bypass had he been covered through Obamacare.
Clearly, we could have used earlier implementation of the program, and full staffing of the death panels.
dpm (dread pirate mistermix)
How many R+13 districts were flipped in the 50-state strategy?
I’m all for contesting R+ single digit districts, hard. We will have a Democratic Congress if we flip some of those. TX-27 is in Hail Mary territory. The DCCC doesn’t have unlimited resources. I see why they won’t put serious cash into this district.
@Kay: I understand all that and my problem is not with prospective candidates. It is with the national party that comes to Texas to raise money that is spent out of state but hesitates to spend money here to help local Democrats just because things look difficult.
He’s been saying (and I kind of believe him) that the dam was a request from Feinstein and Alexander, and he had nothing to do with it.
It feels like a well-planted shiv from Alexander, with an extra little twist from Feinstein.
Nonetheless, it is an important item, huge for Ohio and Mississippi barge traffic, and the current hodgepodge of funding in the absence of earmarks has made that and a lot of other projects REALLY expensive.
One thing that isn’t addressed enough is the role of elected Democrats in candidate recruitment and support. Texas has some elected Democrats. Part of their job (particularly in Congress, but also in a governor’s race) is to act as an advocate within the national Party for Texas Democrats, like you, because you want more resources allocated to Texas races.
Marcy Kaptur is a powerful Democrat, because she’s been there a long time and she’s extremely smart. Marcy Kaptur COULD sit back and just be re-elected every two years, but instead she recruits candidates and pressures the national Party to support them. They all have one thing in common. They say “I have spoken to Marcy Kaptur…”
So that might be your entry point. Contact Texas Democrats and ask them why Texas doesn’t get national Party resources, and what their role might be in that.
I keep reading ‘Fahrt-en-hold’ every time I see the name.
The smarter brother may have learned something after the Schiavo fiasco.
Sorry, Jeb, you’re not going to see any alternatives proposed except for selling shit products across state lines, tort reform and mandated denial of care to undocumented aliens. That’s the whole kit and kaboodle.
The Pale Scot
Obama’s dismantling of Dean’s efforts was short sighted. If there is a resource of people able to ” put thousands of miles on your car traveling the district to address social clubs and party gatherings” it would be (angry) under employed young people who have no chance of finding a job that finances the journey to adulthood. Not being able to afford children and housing should push a button even in Texas. Get ’em a fucking car and a gas card. The polls say that young people have liberal views about the gey and race, that’s a place to start.
Though there’s nothing to be done about talk radio, we can call Washington Journal on C-span fi you’re not working in the morning. Used to be such a gem of polite, rational conversation, then the mouth breathers and ringers found it, This morning a conservative retired “women of color” her description, not mine, went on rant about how the ACA was going to take away her pension. Go talk to your union rep lady. Unions in Fl? Tea raving black people? in FL?
I guess she could have worked for Raytheon and is being incited about defense cuts, but that ain’t the ACA
Why didn’t he put in a conservative solution in Florida? The Laboratory of The States!
I love how it is completely ignored that Jeb Bush was a governor, unless it benefits Jeb Bush to note that Jeb Bush was a governor. Where’s his Florida health plan?
I read this blurb on TPM about Cruz –
This is one of the reasons I like Reid. Anyhow, it sounds like Cruz thinks he’s till the smartest kid in class. Last week Cruz was telling the other GOP senators that he would introduce bills that would create difficult votes for Dems and one of his colleagues had to point out to dumbass that he was in the minority and could not just introduce his own bill..
@Ramalama: @Ramalama: I’ve never understood why they had Tim Kain and then DWS as the DNC head. Dean did a damn good job and it’s fine by me that Obama didn’t use him but why would you, first use a sitting governor and then an active US Rep. Is this SOP? The ones I remember did not have elected positions while they were DNC chairs. I would think you want somebody who can concentrate fully on fundraising and motivating the troops instead of having another full time job.
@Kay: Thanks. That is an excellent suggestion. My rep is an elected Democrat, so I will start with him.
@Kay: The GOP has never had a practical alternative. Hell, Obamacare was their alternative in ’92 until it became Obamcare. Their current alternative consists of selling insurance across state lines and tort reform. That ain’t gonna cut it. If they want to do selling across state lines, I suggest they set up a Southern Compact selling across state lines and see how much worse their current situation gets. Hell, Texas could always go up to 90 percent not worth he paper it was written on catastrophic insurance.
reduce the size of government, lower taxes, and increase freedom, and freedom isn’t free
One of the things I hate most about the right wing in this country is the way they have totally debased the words “freedom” and “liberty”. The moment I hear a politician using either of those words, I stop listening, because the smell of bullshit immediately becomes unbearable. I don’t know whose freedom and liberty he wants to protect, but I sure as hell know it’s not mine.
Why do you hate America, Kay? Do you REALLY want to be ruled by Islamofascist terrorists?
/GOP activist pundit/blogger/commenter, circa 2004
Jim, Foolish Literalist
I think the Iraq War, Katrina and Mark Foley may also have had some effect.
ETA: Forgot about Jack Abramoff, him too.
IIRC, Dean’s 50 State Strategy succeeded in electing a lot of Blue Dog Democrats – who voted against large parts of the Democratic agenda, who were consistently vilified in progressive circles, and who were largely voted out of office in 2010 in favor of “real” Republicans.
I support a 50 State Strategy… but we need to be realistic about the types of Democrats likely to be elected in deep red territory. Their primary usefulness would be in putting the House under Democratic control – IOW, not in voting to support Democratic initiatives, but in enabling those initiatives to at least see the light of day because Dems will fill the committee chairs and major leadership positions.
My election law instructor in law school was recruited by Kaptur to run in a deep red OH district. He is an entertaining and cheerful person, generally, and his stories about that race are hilarious.
he had a GF that he was infatuated with at the time and she wasn’t happy because he’s running around every weekend attending flag-raising ceremonies and such. So he decides to do a “visibility event” where one would have their supporters stand outdoors and hold signs for the candidate. Except his 6 or 7 supporters don’t show up, so he’s standing their holding a sign with his name on it in the rain at an intersection. His GF pulls up, rolls down the car window and tells him he is “pathetic”.
@mai naem: Rendell was the mayor of Philly, Romer was gov of Colorado, Dodd was in the Senate.
It seems to be split pretty evenly between sitting politicians and unelected party people.
@rikyrah: thats because turtles don’t have fingers. Also mconnel is not at all a dirty street fighter. I wouldn’t worry about his revenge if i ws cruz either.
Higgs Boson's Mate (Crystal Set)
Low IQ & Conservative Beliefs Linked to Prejudice
Interesting article and worth reading at the link, above.
@Jim, Foolish Literalist:
I do too,
Also, does no one remember Culture Of Corruption? Culture of Corruption was huge here. True, too. Both at the state and federal level.
@Botsplainer: The brilliant part of Obamacare is that it was the Republican alternative, the result of decades of Republican thought on pro-business approaches to heathcare reform. 4+ years later and they still haven’t come up with any new ideas beyond what Democrats borrowed from them. Like most here, I would have preferred a single-payer option rather than having to continue dealing with insurance companies. Still, the Republican rage against Obamacare has been fascinating in it’s total incoherence. It is like an ideal proof of Cleek’s law.
LOLOL. “Obamacare” WAS the “free market alternative.” The one dreamed up by the Heritage Foundation in the nineties because they needed to put something out there as an alternative to the plan Clinton was trying to pass.
What is the “brilliant” part of that?
Jim, Foolish Literalist
@Corner Stone: It passed both houses of Congress.
The Pale Scot
@mai naem: Reminds me of this>
This is self-defeating silliness. If you do not put up a fight, you will never win. Contrary to what this new generation of powder puff Democrats may think, political parties aren’t doled out by fate or shipped out via Amazon, they are built. And as often as not, the building process is arduous and lengthy, but the ground work is essential.
That is why the GOP has been punching above it’s weight class for so long – they actually seem to relish the “hopeless” fights and they have engaged in them until they build the hope themselves, brick by brick.
It can be less than 50% if only Hispanic voters would diligently turn out. They don’t. I say that as someone who has been involved in many Texas campaigns.
@Keith G: The RNC doesn’t put money into D+13 races either. Sure, they get people to run, but they’re on their own. If you can find a Dem that wants to run in an R+13, great. I’ll cheer for them but I wouldn’t want the national party to dump millions of dollars that could have gone towards a R+3 race into it.
People do love the 50 state strategy, but they also forget that Dean found Dems who could win in conservative districts. IOW, hated Blue Dogs. I’m all for it, since they’re not nuts, just slimy awful toads, but don’t forget-to win, we’ll need conservadems in these areas. And they’ll be assholes at the first opportunity and you’ll detest them. But we’ll have the majority.
Edited to reflect the Hispanic vote issue: If they don’t turn out, then why should anyone listen to their issues? Sorry, but you don’t spend time and money on people who aren’t able to put their own interests forward and just fucking show up to vote. And I say this as a person who’s done GOTV in ag areas and pushed for the Latino vote.
@mai naem: I’ve never understood the logic of that either. Unless the Chair is retiring, half their time is spend making sure they get re-elected and trying to say things that won’t piss off cross-over voters.
It seems to me that someone who is either retired and has no plans to be appointed, or a former campaign manager like Plouffe would be a better fit for party-building and recruitment work. A political operative with no-or no further ambitions can be an honest broker, a fulltime activist and rabble rouser, and raise money without worrying about how it would look to “the folks back home”.
Here is your true enemy.
@CarolDuhart2: The audience for the chair of the DNC is not the general public, it’s candidates. People who are running for office want to hear from people who have been successful running for office.
He was not driven out. If there is a Democratic President, he is head of the DNC ex officio. Dean retiring was SOP.
We can’t argue that this CD is not R+13, as it currently is. I think the argument is that there is no reason this CD *should* be an R+13 district. Not with the potential voter makeup it presents.
Also, talking about the now near-mythical 50 State Strategy (which to us here locally was a collection of power point slides and a part-time “organizer” who lived 60 miles away and who we saw a total of three times) and then announcing that Texas should secede or all southerners are white, racist Tea Party members is a little contradictory.
50 states includes Alabama and Idaho.
@Jim, Foolish Literalist: The brilliant part of it being the Republican alternative was that it passed through Congress with no Republican votes?
@NorthLeft12: You are basically asking for a Democratic politician to sacrifice a year and a half of his own life, and quite possibly his own health and/or livelihood (if he’s not rich… or should we recruit exclusively rich candidates?), for a tiny chance of any gain, because the voters there ‘deserve it’.
So who do you nominate to waste three to five percent of his remaining lifespan tilting at windmills? In Texas, in summer? If no one volunteers (as, indeed, they have not) should we induce someone? Perhaps in lieu of prison?
@ruemara: There’s another alternative: running actual decent progressive Dems everywhere we can recruit them. They may be slightly less apt to win (though people do like politicians with actual convictions) but they push the envelope. Unopposed Republicans do too, but in the other direction.
@MikeJ: Someone who has been successful in getting people into office, or who has already run and won would be sufficient. What I’m thinking of is candidate recruitment, constituency group interfacing, helping build state parties, getting and recruiting party officers, et cetera- in short, improving the party infrastructure in between elections and running the organization itself.
@Keith G: spot on.
dpm (dread pirate mistermix)
Look, I grew up in the Dakotas and we did this every single election. I know what it takes to win in tough districts. Right now both Dakotas are R+10. They are a tough push but I think we can get a Blue Dog in on occasion, especially in the Senate where we need Blue Dogs badly. R+13 is just a bridge too far in terms of expecting big money from the DCCC in 2014.
It is easy to say that you should put up a fight, but the man or woman who does the fighting has a thankless task, and that needs to be understood as part of the challenge when you’re criticizing the national party.
@Drexciya: I find this framing and its apparent frequency repugnant. … [It’s] disturbing that your primary point of relation and concern was how their suffering makes it more likely that Republicans will lose later on. […] I don’t think it’s too much to ask for more focus on immigration activists, Dreamers and the disenfranchised in those states, from their perspective.
You can’t really infer someone’s “primary” concern from one or two paragraphs about electoral strategy and tactics. And while you’re right that goals and policy should be discussed and the voice of the disenfranchised should be heard, it’s silly to condemn every piece of writing that does not fulfill these roles.
@dpm (dread pirate mistermix):
I don’t get this. I would assume that a party is an organization, and the organization will have some sort of reward for candidates. At least to the extent that it won’t be a “thankless task”.
@dpm (dread pirate mistermix): Forgotten is this: while everyone is focusing on Senate and House seats that may be a long shot, what about state house seats and school board seats and commissioner seats? It’s just as important to have some sane people at the local level-and while a district may be too far for Congress, depending upon lines, it might be winnable for a state house seat. Some of the crazy we’ve seen is on the local level.
@liberal: Reward? Like what?
dpm (dread pirate mistermix)
@liberal: How is an organization that does not control anything in the area or the state going to reward the candidate? They can’t give them a state government job – the party does not control the state government. They can’t give them a local or state party job – the party probably has only enough money to support a few low-paid staffers. As for federal jobs, there aren’t ~150 federal patronage jobs that come open every two years that are just sitting around for former candidates to take. There is no reward for running for Congress in an almost sure loser district like this one.
Don’t know. But the description makes it sound like the Party is just a brand that you franchise or something, and you’re totally on your own. That’s lame.
@dpm (dread pirate mistermix):
Yawn. Like I say, if the party is anything more than a brand that is franchised, there will be myriad ways to reward people, directly or indirectly.
dpm (dread pirate mistermix)
@liberal: Name one that’s legal. BTW, in addition to the effort and no pay, the candidate will also probably loan the campaign thousands of dollars that will never be repaid.
So, is the new Republican talking point about voter access the Orwellian reversal of the old saw about our soldiers dieing for my right to vote? Since people fought & died ostensibly for my right to vote, I should share in the sacrifice by having my vote stripped by not having the correct papers or by being a student or by being a minority and poor. There was that State Rep from NC that pretty much said that & by your headline I thought this guy would be making the same argument.
About talking more about hispanics as more than a likely cause of GOP comeuppance in the future….we can do that, just not every time we mention them. This thread has mostly been about winning Democrats seats because that is seen by us as desperately needed. We seem to be under constant threat of disaster caused by the GOP’s latest insanity so winning seats seems like job one.
We assume hispanics interests coincide with our own and don’t repeat why every time but I’ll take a little time to spell out some of the reasons that occur to me off the top of my head. I start from the basic assumption that they are people just like me with feelings and I would not like the nasty things the GOP has been doing and saying about all the “non Americans” “illegals” etc for the last decade especially. It’s been ugly. I don’t see how it could be unnoticed and polls say other minorities have noticed.
I think it’s dangerous to have a large group of people in the country illegally that we don’t know about, that are vulnerable to exploitation, that are being spit upon which could cause angry destruction and it’s also making some real sleezy dangerous types rich.
Basically I think the legal immigration process has the quotas set way too low for the market reality which has lead to an underground economy. Economic bad times historically always increase resistance to immigrants and others in ugly ways but resisting has never actually worked.
I rather like the patriotic images of my youth which had a lot of feel good stuff about how we were the melting pot. People still chat around the copy machine about how many different kinds of ancestors they have. the statue of Liberty was about hope in coming here. I despise the bigotry that overlooks other people.
We need immigration reform. but we are not going to go into that in every thread on this blog. Go ahead and mention stories about people you know to personalize it to us, but we will still spend a lot of time talking about winning votes anyway.
There are a bunch of very urgent things going wrong or in danger and all of them are caused by what seems to us like an exceptional level of nuts in the GOP right now. they are scaring us to take winning to be the most important thing.
Cornerstone is right. With an minority/majority district such as TX 27 there is now way it should be +R13. The problem is two fold; getting potential Democratic voters registered, and then getting them to the polls on election day. In Texas there are plenty of hurdles to both. But they are hurdles, not block walls. It is a grind, but it can be done.
Sorry for double posting. More on topic – I think the Democratic Party does need to fight where they can. There will be some districts that are out of reach, but even running a candidate will mean the Republicans have to spend resources to protect it.
The other place where Democrats have to fight is at the local & state levels. We need to make inroads in almost every state to resist further gerrymandering and reverse the damage done by Republicans.
The GOP doesn’t make any small sacrifice. They impose the sacrifice on others for their own benefit.
Jesus didn’t hoist someone else on the cross as a ‘small sacrifice’ for mankind’s sins.
@liberal: After repeated exposure to both local and state D party efforts, over the course of several election cycles, I can tell you that the party has no mechanism to reward any failed candidate.
They do their best to locate self-funding candidates, and in very longshot CD pickups like TX-27 or TX-10 or TX-14 they don’t even provide low level staffers. It’s like the national party is using a burner phone the whole time because you’ll never hear from them.
I’m honestly curious as to what you believe they may be able to provide a candidate who stumps for 2+ years on their own dime (and friends family supporters), but fails to win the seat.
@Seanly: Fighting where you can is a great idea. But should the national party put anywhere near as much into an R+13 district as they do an R+6?
That’s a horribly fatalistic way to look at it. And the volunteers for the candidate have to go through the same struggles too. But if people are fired up, they’ll make the sacrifice. If the stakes are high enough, they’ll do it.
Look, if the Civil Rights activists in the South in the 1950s had that attitude, we’d still have Jim Crow now. You have to do hard things against impossible odds in order to acheive justice.
Tough races against entrenched challengers got won in 2006. Yeah, we didn’t have the gerrymandering then, but we didn’t have the teabaggers either. I think it’s a wash, and we can do it again.
I suspect it’s true of other states, but speaking of just Texas, it is an almost impossible task to be a state legislator unless you’re wealthy, self-employed (lawyer, insurance office) or retired.
Beyond the overwhelming turnout of fundies which skews results, actual working citizens can’t fulfill their role as state legislators very easily and so many do not ever run.
This is one explanation for the TX statehouse to be R.
We also had the Iraq War and a severe case of Bush Fatigue.
@Fred Fnord: Spend money, fail to win. Well, I can’t see the flaw in that plan. Let’s throw a few million at it.
PBO on the TV right now, talking about healthcare.gov.
CSpan 1; on local NBC and CBS affiliates in DC.
Now he’s about to address the politics.
I realize the repubs have made blocking the aca their signature effort. in fact it seems to be the one thing that unifies the party
I want to remind ppl: we did not run this long battle just to run a website
it’s time for folks to stop rooting for its failure, because hardworking am families are rooting for its success
@Fred Fnord: Yes Fred, I know it is a tough job and a big committment. I worked for a friend who was a candidate three times for office up here in Canada. He was an NDPer who never get elected in this riding [provincially or federally], but gave it his all anyway. We got beat badly every time, but I felt pretty good about our effort and how we actually gave people in our riding a good choice. I know it was hard on him. It is tough to lose to other candidates who are complete idiots, but there you go.
Also, I know your process is very different and seems to be a year round process. Up here, it is nowhere near that level of committment or cost. My hat is respectfully doffed to those who fight the hopeless fight to give people a realistic choice.
The Pale Scot
Bullshit, with a real unemployment rate of +15% there are no jobs here that couldn’t be filled by citizens. Apparently there are many employers that are unwilling to pay the market rate for employees, and want to bring in immigrants to force that down. The examples of people complaining that they can’t find experienced trained help who are then revealed to low balling wages or refusing to train current employees because then they’ll leave for better paying gigs is endless.
And the situation of tech companies preferring H-1B visas holders they can threaten to citizens trying to pay off their Masters or PHD degrees in computer sciences is a crime, not to mention that the previous generation of degrees holders have stalled careers because their job, if they have one, is managing people in SE Asia or freelancing doing piece work.
They only job that requires immigration is farm work, because despite what the yahoos say, you can’t release a crowd of city dwellers into a field and not expect them to ruin the crop. Those farm workers should get temporary visas and decent wages and living conditions.
You need really persistent and patient people, because even if you win one it doesn’t (really) make any difference as far as immediate results and people get dispirited and wander off.
We did a school board race here which was easy and a lot of fun but at the end of the day it got us 1 out of 5 members. He advocates, he votes “no”, he even collected and presented his own data on how “pay to play” would affect low income kids here (he’s an engineer) but he’ll be stepping down and we never got further than 1 out of 5. Also, he’s come to hate the job. It’s not a great job. No one ever thanks them and everyone blames them for everything.
I don’t know what the solution is, but “national leadership” strikes me as a little distant and vague.
Depends on where that district is. In Ohio? You bet, because you may not win that House race, but the swing that you do affect will win you a Senate seat, a Governor’s seat or EVs in the Presidential race. In CA? I wouldn’t bother. Nor in Utah.
The long game here need to be to turn Texas into a swing state. Yeah, you may fail to pick up some seats elsewhere by putting your money in Texas, but if you can turn Texas then you’ve broken the back of the GOP. They’ll have to enact fairly fundamental changes to their party and their policies. And that’s worth way more than some seats in the House.
@The Pale Scot:
Well, no. Some training can alleviate that. And if farm work were considered a career instead of either a lifestyle or something done by migrant workers then the training would follow. The real problem with farm work is that if the farmers paid competitive wages for farm work, nobody outside the top 10% of the country could afford to eat and only the top 1% would have any money leftover for other things. Our farm system is completely broken and dependent on poorly paid migrant farm workers who send their paychecks back to Mexico (where they are worth far more than they are here).
@The Pale Scot:
There are millions of unfilled jobs that prove you wrong. There is no Sorting Hat here. People take jobs they are willing to take. Why would I move to North Dakota, something that would cost me tens of thousands of dollars to take a job that I don’t want in a place I (and my family) don’t wish to live?
You realize that we pay domestic students to earn those degrees, and we can’t fill more than 25% of our seats with domestic students. Foreign students will pay full ride to earn the degree. There aren’t a shortage of MS/PhD seats in tech disciplines in this country, but even paying domestic students isn’t getting us those degrees. That’s the real problem. Solve that, and the H-1B problem goes away.
The Pale Scot
@NonyNony: Was trying to politely say stoop labor isn’t something you can start doing as second career. Most farm workers are born and raised on a farm, very few people go into farming after their teens.
Labor being paid a living wage would not price 90% of the country out of the food market.
I haven’t read the numbers lately so I don’t want to quote them. I do recall they’re much like paying fast food workers a living wage. A price bump up to be sure but much lower than advertised. Much like every potential wage hike is demagouged by the right as a job killing business bankrupting horror akin to the cultural revolution… or great leap forward or something.
Fart & Hold wants you to sacrifice for the greater good of his career.
@? Martin: Those are all fair points. I think they support my general idea that 50 state strategy does not require that each race in the 50 states be given the same effort. To me the priorities should supporting winnable races – especially in swing states and supporting fighters anywhere.
For those who were wondering what reward state and national parties have for someone who takes on the forlorn hope races, the best thing they can do is promise to back them on a future winnable race. In Ohio, Rich Cordray took on a popular state AG and lost. A short time later the party slotted him in as a candidate for a county treasurer gig. He won and that restarted his political career.
That’s bullshit. Labor is about 25% of the cost of produce, and only about 5%-10% of that goes to the field worker. Farm labor has high fixed overhead costs – facilities for workers, transportation, etc that won’t go up if wages go up, and in some cases will go down as workers can afford their own transportation.
If you raised farm wages by 50%, the cost of produce would go up by 3%-5%. The reason why you see the issues now is cost arbitrage between different markets. Labor in Alabama is cheaper than in California, and the cost to ship produce is low enough that it’s sometimes worth importing it from farther away. Out there NAFTA allows for tariff-free produce to come up from Mexico where wages are much lower, but also operating costs. Lots of pesticides and fertilizers banned in the US are legal there.
The reason why farm wages are so low is because we have the usual commodity race to the bottom, which can be eliminated. Raise the minimum wage nationally, rather than state by state to get rid of the domestic arbitrage problem. Impose a tariff on imported goods that reflects a working wage. If they pay the higher wage in Mexico, then the tariff goes away. We already do this type of thing in a number of markets.
I’d say no. If you have 10 districts with varying chances of winning, the worst thing you can do is give each 10% of the resources. You have to spend enough to make the Republicans make the same choices. ie, they have to spend to defend meaning less for the toss-ups.
NAFTA specifically prohibits this, which is one of the big reasons it’s been so devastating on Mexican farming. We can’t exert any sort of price pressure on them, so Mexican farming went right to race to the bottom and a lot of smaller Mexican farmers got wiped out. One of the reasons the Mexican migrant labour force is so effective is because they were farmers in their own country as well but NAFTA (and other factors both domestic and international) cost them their livelihoods. It’s why they almost always are willing to return to Mexico in the off months: they’re not immigrants, they really just want to make a living.
The Pale Scot
So if they’re unwilling maybe lowballing wages has something to do with it? Making a job change that doesn’t have the prospect of improving your life isn’t always rational. And there really aren’t a lot of jobs in the Dakota’s, the oil workers aren’t bringing their families so there isn’t much of an economy, 1% unemployment is easy to do when the state pop. is 700,000. There have been studies done of the employment situation of machinists and truck drivers for example, the results show that employers typically insist on a narrow specific skill set and do not want train anyone into the job, they want the employee to pay for the training themselves and take the risk the job will be there when they’re finished with school. Try finding a job after finishing truck driving school, the co. want experience or private contractors that that own the truck.
And if your smart enough to get a STEM PHd you’re smart enough to know that in the US the payoff doesn’t match the commitment.
America Has More Trained STEM Graduates than STEM Job Openings
I know smart, ambitious, educated people whose career path has evaporated because the tech jobs, the jobs that were toted as the foundation of the New Economy, have been sent to SE Asia and the knowledge and skills they spent a decade acquiring are no longer in demand, they feel like failures. The people who run this country are attempting to make it into one of asset owning aristocrats and a massive underclass, with a thin layer of supervisory minor nobles to run things day to day. All specialty skills are to purchased by the piece, with no job security that might allow the craftsman to get uppity. It’s the world of the Chevaliers, the southern elite, that’s the goal of the Kochs etc.
@The Pale Scot: From your link:
There’s some disingenuous statistics in there. Chemical Engineers without an advanced degree earn $73K at midcareer. Starting ChemE PhDs are over $100K. You need that MS/PhD or that PE to advance.
650,000 advanced degrees in engineering will not be turned out by 2016. That’s the number including BS degrees, and there are a lot of BS engineers coming out of weak schools. Hell, only 60,000 PhDs in all disciplines get turned out annually in the US. Only 8,000 Engineering PhDs are produced annually in the US. Only 3,000 of those are to US citizens. By comparison 25,000 PhDs in science (non-engineering) fields are produced annually – mostly in biology. The decline of government support for science research is why those individuals struggle to find jobs – my son’s HS chemistry teacher has a PhD. That may have been her preferred career path, but I doubt it. But the 3:1 bias in favor of science over engineering in the STEM statistics paints a misleading picture for the engineers – which is where the H-1B situation is playing out. And the percentage of domestic PhDs in science fields is much higher than in engineering – closer to 60% domestic rather than 35% for engineering.
Of the 3,000 Engineering PhDs to US citizens, a sizable percentage are scooped up by the defense industry because they generally can’t use foreign workers. You never see those workers, the relatively large number of citizens at Northrop and Boeing and General Dynamics and so on. What that means is that for businesses that don’t have to get security clearances for everyone, they are ever more reliant on non-citizen PhDs in Engineering because of that structural block to employment that exists in defense. And part of the reason why those salaries are lower is that competition for the citizen PhDs is fierce – they are not a growing pool and the road to defense contracts is through R&D, and that’s inflating the citizen salaries and demonstrating an ever growing salary disparity between citizen and non-citizen. The first line on every engineering job ad here is the citizenship requirement. You don’t see that in most other professions, but it’s boilerplate here.
@Corner Stone: It passed, unlike all the plans in the previous 3 decades. And it has left Republicans sputtering in it’s wake for 4 years with no alternative but anger. Single-payer is the goal,but there weren’t enough votes for it 4 years ago. Getting dependable healthcare for as many people as possible is still an improvement over the fucked up system Republicans want to go back to.
Oh stop whining.
Oprah, Jay Z, and Tyler Perry together could hand every one of these guys $250k and count it as a rounding error.
It’s time for the liberal super rich to get off their asses and go all out to beat these guys 2014.
Make the GOP fight for every single seat everywhere with the Teahadists dragging them down.
Now that’s a frakking 50 state strategy.
The Pale Scot
@? Martin: Thanks for the insight, so how do we get US kids into the pipeline? It takes the long view to get a degree in these fields, and the people I know who had the long view when we were young were looking for job security more than affluence. My knowledge runs to IT, but from what I know about defense contracting, engineers often find themselves slotted into esoteric areas that don’t have a lot of pertinence outside that skill set then have problems when that project ends. That isn’t what the long view people are looking for. Like I said, capital is trying to make everybody disposable. I don’t think you can run a civilization that way and expect it to endure.
But if you’re saying that that the only good paying gigs are in defense you’re kinda making my point about smart people not seeing the payoff for the effort required to get into those fields. That effort starts in the 7th or 8th grade, if you’re not on the AP math train by then it probably isn’t going to happen. They are going to be advised to go into medicine or finance.
@The Pale Scot:
We have no idea. I think it comes down to ‘pay everyone else better’. An engineering BS that can pass a security clearance can start at $60K+. That’s a hell of a disincentive to go for the advanced degree – at least at first. Hell, look at Snowden – no degree, earning 6 figures. Tearing down some of the national security complex would help as well. But when the new graduates look at their job offers compared to their friends who are often thrilled to get something in the $30Ks, grad school loses it’s appeal really quickly. They can pay off all of their loans and buy a new car, or get an apartment without a roommate. That’s big shit to a 22 year old, and though we’ll pay for them to earn the advanced degree, we don’t pay that well.
Yeah, but a bit differently than you indicate. It’s not that you need to be on the AP math train, but it’s 7th-8th grade that kids rule out STEM. They hit the ‘math is hard’ wall, and then just mentally check out of any career that is math based. The kids that don’t aren’t necessarily going to go into STEM fields, but they’ll at least consider them. My daughter is currently teetering right on that edge (7th grade). It’s all I can do to keep her on the positive side of it. I don’t care if she goes into a STEM field – I just don’t want her to limit her options when she’s 12.
@The Pale Scot: You are ignoring what is happening in OTHER countries. More people want to come here than we really need in our opinion but not theirs. they are going to come. I’d rather it was legal and we knew about it than illegal.
The demand is not equal in all fields of work. Lots more want to come in low skill levels because the situation in their home country is even worse than here.
Farm workers from Mexico who want to go back and forth need to have some sort of pretty easy specialized visa and we need to bring the hammer down on abusive American employers.
R+13 districts don’t fall from the sky – they’re made.
And while a lot of that has to do with GOP-run legislatures deciding where to draw the lines, it also has to do with Democrats deciding that they couldn’t possibly deign to do much of anything in those districts, because they’re supposedly full of enough impossibly conservative people. Basically, a huge part of their creation is this idea that the South (or the rural West, or rural areas generally) has been successfully “flipped” to the GOP because of Civil Rights, or anti-tax sentiment, or any number of things but can never be “flipped” back. It’s the Democratic version of “we’re a center right county” only it’s at least slightly evidence-based.
The problem is that for many voters that I think could be classified as “populist” – those that are socially conservative but open to (if not supportive of) economic redistribution – that attitude from Democrats confirms “both sides do it” narratives as they relate to economic policies. They aren’t stupid. They know the GOP are setting in place the tools for corporate governance. But when they see Democrats approaching them as intractable because of where they live (and that those regional stereotypes have everything to do with perceiving them as lower class), as far as they’re concerned, that’s shows how there’s nothing to be gained by voting against Republicans (let alone for Democrats).
If they’re particularly motivated by any socially conservative issue, they’ll vote knowingly against their economic interests and futures because at least then they’ll potentially get the social policies they want. If that doesn’t happen to them (and for a huge chunk of them, that’s where they are, remember the culture wars are mostly within the middle and upper class – the poor are often social centrists), then they sit the elections (especially local ones) out along with millions of other Americans.
Washington and many other state capitols are wired for Republicans, but that doesn’t mean that the Democrats have to make it even worse.
The Pale Scot
@gvg: In a nutshell, that’s not the problem of the American worker. That things are “bad” somewhere else is something that is the responsibility of the State Dept., if they’re fleeing from violence there are visas for that. Nobody is fleeing Mexico because of starvation, there isn’t a potato famine going on anywhere in the Western Hemisphere. People come, or currently at least, came, to improve their lot in life. That’s understandable, but the the end point of unfettered immigration are wages falling to the lowest common denominator. I don’t care what happens to me personally, mortal coil and all, but americans aren’t raising their children with the view that hopefully they’ll have it better than the people of Bangladesh.
Hiring illegal immigrants could be shutdown by just requiring that new hires don’t get paid until their W-4s and SS# are approved. You can start work, but you don’t get a paycheck until the paperwork clears, just like any other contract. That has been proposed repeatedly and shut down by the business and immigration lobbies. The stats are that 98% of W-4s clear immediately, and 80% of the rest clear in 48 hours. The only hardship on small business is the closure of access to low wage labor. And not many legal immigrants will be affected by a 0.5 failure rate.
@The Pale Scot:
The Pale Scot
Obviously I was referring to Hispanic immigration, but the Haitians DO have it bad, their resource stripped island cannot provide for them, and they’ve been getting screwed since 19th century bankers banned investment in Haiti over the unpaid debts of the slavers.
I’m with Derelict: Dear Dread, this is just an awful DLC tote-bagger kind of analysis. “It’s just too hard!” you’re saying and in effect why bother.
Freedom isn’t free, and a House majority isn’t easy.
Maybe 10k bucks would make the difference in getting a motivated, bad-food loving, beater-car driving opposition candidate in the field.
Also too, having to defend everywhere makes swing districts “swingier”. Jeebus! were you asleep in ’06?
Yes, running in a Republican stronghold is a slog, but that’s why you run out a ground ball — because the other side might fuck up, and you need to take advantage of it.