If you’re a Republican Cowardly Lion Member of Congress, you aren’t scared of Democrats. Protests are a nuisance, but you have to be betting that Trump will do all his dirty work quickly, and once that’s done, the protests will stop. By the time 2018 rolls around, you’re counting on the usual apathy of off-year Democratic voters, as well as the historic lack of quality opposition, to power you back into office. Traditionally, you’re far more scared of the 27% – Breitbart-reading, Fox-watching old people who will support an even more feral right wing candidate if you show anything less than total devotion to the Dear Leader.
In my experience, the only way to change this is for a loud-mouthed, proud Democrat to start campaigning in the Cowardly Lion’s district this year, the sooner the better. This candidate needs to be papering local media with press releases criticizing every vote that Rep. C. Lion makes, and pointing out all the hurt that kissing Trump’s ass is causing the district. This candidate also needs to go to every Rotary, Kiwanis and other social group and make a broad-based appeal stating his or her case to the group. She or he needs to march in parades, meet with local committees, push a broom at clean-up day, and generally be present in the district. This is hard work. It requires a skeleton staff (volunteer or low-paid), charisma and organizational skills. It requires money – not millions, but certainly tens of thousands.
I’ve seen it happen here in Western New York, in the former 29th Congressional District. Eric Massa, a good candidate who turned out to be a terrible human being, absolutely fucked with Rep Randy “Cowardly Lion” Kuhl’s mojo. Every morning, like clockwork, Massa (or, later, his bulldog press secretary) would push out a press release that pointed out something wrong with the Bush Administration and how Kuhl supported it. He also had weekly media calls, which at least a few reporters attended. In addition to getting some free media, Massa’s efforts also served to inform other Democrats, giving them talking points for their morning coffee or with their Republican relatives. Massa lost to Kuhl in 2006 but beat him in 2008 in a R+5 district. Watching Kuhl dance around trying to distance himself from his pro-Bush voting record in both races was worth the price of admission, and it worked.
Trump is far less popular than Bush, but you still need someone to hang Trump around the neck of every Cowardly Lion in the House. The only way to do that effectively is to get candidates in the field now. Easy for me to say, but hard to do.
Doug Applegate, who lost to Darrell Issa by about 2000 votes last November, has said that he’ll run again in 2018. I’d like to see him try this strategy because hanging Twitler around Issa’s scrawny neck can only help.
ETA: Looky here:
I didn’t know you were in the Southern Tier, Mr. Mix! Isn’t DougJ just a bit north of that?
I have certainly been thinking about Massa’s successor, Tom Reed. Do you think he is gettable? He has survived two pretty decent Dem challengers in the last four years, and he has a power-base in Corning.
Is that the district where New York Dems should put their efforts, or is there a more realistic pick-off?
I’m in a very, very safe Blue district (Lakeview, Chicago). I kicked $50 to both the ACLU and Planned Parenthood this morning.
I may look to throw some bones to contested districts too.
Corning is tiny compared to Ithaca, which is also in Reed’s district. And Reed as continually tries to destroy jobs in Ithaca, he is hurting the surrounding area whose jobs depend on Ithaca.
Reed has not had two good challengers. Martha was horrible and the latest guy had almost no campaign presence. If anything, Nate Shinagawa was a better challenger 6 years ago.
Seems like a good place to plug this website: Swing Left. You put in your location and it shows the closest swing district to you. They offer ways to get involved.
All good points, but the candidate needs to point out, that his policies are making us less safe. By removing the Joint Chief and the DNI from NSC meetings is making us less safe.
@Eric S.: does anyone have a link to that swing left organization ?those of us in safely democratic seats would like to kick a neighboring Republicans ass
And only slightly off topic, the Downfall for Trump’s first week.
mai naem mobile
@FlyingToaster: the hitlers fake funny translations never get old.
@Yarrow: The nearest swing district for me is the Virginia 10th, and I have enduring frustration that such a blue area has never been able to field a better candidate. I signed up to get involved, but they absolutely need a better candidate than the last two or three.
@Yarrow: Thanks for reposting this. I was going to go looking.
The “clip his wings in 2018 and kick him out in 2020” strategy assumes we have two years.
That’s 100 more weeks like this last one. How much damage will be done by the end of that?
Reps still need votes. Trump can’t guarantee those. Governors need votes. Trump can’t do that either. Yes, we have time to work those. But don’t forget local elections this year-city, legislative, whatever. Elections are run by the states-Trump can’t cancel them. And there’s precedent. Lincoln had a full-fledged Secession movement on his hands. And Maryland was under Martial Law. But local elections and Federal elections went on anyway. Indeed, Lincoln’s party lost seats in 1862 and he was worried about 1864 elections due to the Copperheads and the seeming lack of progress in the War. Atlanta win came fairly late in 1864 and turned the tide.
So elections happened anyway.
Senior WH official just told NBC that the EO remains in effect and will be enforced. Apparently court orders don’t matter. Guess I will use my copy of the constitution to light the fireplace for all that it applies.
MSNBC is also reporting that the names and numbers of detainees are unknown.
That one’s pretty good!
@Timurid: It is what it is.
@Yarrow: Oh dear. The closest swing district is a two hour drive away in Indiana. A testimony to how thoroughly my state is gerrymandered.
OT Did you see the photos of Trump & Theresa May holding hands and wonder WTF? May’s aides have said Trump is afraid of stairs and needed her help. What a loser.
My mistake–I forgot all about Martha Robertson, and thought Shinegawa was 4 years ago (my memory slipping). I though Shinegawa was decent, and I don’t know why Plumb didn’t show better–he looked plausible on paper.
@D58826: It’s spin. The court orders were narrow.
@Renie: or the photo of Ivanka and her hubby? The reverse image in the mirror has him with his hand on her butt. Since they are married I guess it;s ok but still looks creepy
I know they were narrow but at JKF they seem to be ignoring it. MSNBC is talking to a lawyer about the experience of one detainee. Her phone was confiscated. She could not call a lawyer and did not have phone access to her family until she was returned to Europe. Freedom!!!!
Plumb had no presence. I am Ithaca and could not even find out who the democratic challenger was for the longest time.
@Jeffro: I linked it above.
Aren’t you in the Dallas area? What about Pete Sessions district that goes up into Garland? Didn’t Hillary win that district? Seems like an opportunity.
A Ghost to Most
Sounds like you have a calling, mistermix. Run.
I myself am disqualified from public office on account of my public profession of non-faith. Well, that and being a misanthrope.
@Renie: or he really does have Alzheimer’s. This type of disorientation is very common, as I know all too well (mom and FIL).
@CarolDuhart2: Trump is no Lincoln.
In addition, there’s no mechanism to cover the completely local elections downballot. What about mayoral elections, county elections, judge elections, and referenda, levies, and city council elections? There’s no way to fill those seats besides elections occurring normally and on time.
We are scaring ourselves unnecessarily. We did it when Bush was selected. We thought that he would cancel the 2004 election. But our system doesn’t allow for such a fudge because of fixed terms of office and federalism.
Nothing like it exists with states. Governor Joe/Jane is completely independent, voted in by the state and by the state constitution. So and so is Governor regardless of who is in the White House. They owe nothing to Orange Cheeto in terms of votes or position.
Even worse than that, Honest Abe also had a bunch of blood sucking vampires after him!
The executive order was chaotically sloppy, probably unconstitutional and certainly counterproductive in terms of safeguarding the country.
That expressed, how will it play politically? I could argue that round or flat.
@Ohio Mom: I’ve put in various locations around the country to the website and it’s given me odd results back. I’m not sure their algorithm is that good. I replied to Jeffro above about Pete Sessions district in and north of Dallas that Hillary won. If I put in Garland, TX (which is in that district) it doesn’t come up as a possible district. So I think some digging about districts near you might be helpful.
@OzarkHillbilly: Yes, he’s no Lincoln. But precedent matters as well.
Remembering how Cheney and Ashcroft operated, I’m expecting Dolt 45 to announce he has stopped the the biggest terr. attack ever in the shortest period of time there ever was.
@oldster: I’m in the Rochester area – no longer in Tom Reed’s district. Reed is definitely get-able.
What you’re seeing in his opposition is the usual bad run of opponents that Democrats get in districts that are not classified as “winnable” by the DCCC. Absent a truly exceptional candidate, Reed buries them in “carpetbagger” charges and the natural Republican leaning of the district carries the day.
@Martha: his father had it and IMO he is heading that way; his behavior shows it and the fact that he needs family around all the time. makes him more dangerous cuz country is being run by bannon who no one elected
@Ohio Mom: At least the new guidelines for drawing state legislative races will be in place in 2021. According to this article in HuffPo, efforts will be focused on new guidelines for US Congressional races. The linked article has some good stats on how many more Democrats voted in Ohio state races but Dems still lost because of gerrymandering.
ETA: I also got Indiana as closest race!
@Yarrow: My bad – didn’t see your link to Swing Left, thank you x a million! Between this and Indivisible (plus a few phone calls per day and a march every month), we really are going to pound Trumpov and his Congressional enablers in the ground, folks!
If you are going to these things, Don’t take your primary cell phone. Buy a cheap burner android phone DO NOT put a SIM in it and install Firechat and use that to co-ordinate using mesh networking. Don’t say anything incriminating with it use it for co-ordination and co-ordination alone.
@Renie: Many older people have balance issues, and of course Trump is most likely older physically than chronologically. As I understand it, the part of your inner ear that sends the signals needed to maintain balance starts to calcify and become less effective.
Vision problems with depth perception can also make stairs a challenge. On a related note, I’d say it was curious that someone his age does not have reading glasses (Schumer always has his) but we all know he doesn’t read.
@Yarrow: Not speaking for Jeffro but I am pretty sure he is in Virginia area. I think he visited TX recently for an event. IIRC.
@Oldgold: I’m hoping and I think reasonably so that it will be a net negative for them. It’s too soon to peal huge numbers off and the base will probably never peel (it’s not likely but would be fascinated how an open Mattis/Trump-Bannon conflict would play out since Mattis is basically deified by a significant portion of that base conflicting authoritarian impulses) but I’m thinking continued energized opposition, hardening of hardcore base, peeling of some of whatever tepid support admin has and some uniting of opposition as “but her emails” fades away. I could be wrong but that’s my read/hope.
Thanks, I needed that.
I was in the Dallas area a few weeks ago to watch JMU knock Youngstown State around =)
Home district is VA – 11, Gerry Connolly, a pretty reliable Dem. We turned out the vote like all heck this past November – even Trump’s asshole VA campaign manager was impressed.
Nearest swing district is VA – 10, though, with the incredibly horrible Barbara Comstock. I just signed up on Swing Left to get email updates and I will be sure to direct my time and efforts to getting the incredibly horrible Barbara Comstock out of office in 2018. I think I’ll call her office tomorrow to let her know, too!
There’s always Portman.
@Dave: probably very likely. The lack of attendance at his inaugural was a tell. Not enough enthusiasm for him to even make a respectable showing. That TV ad saying Trump is under attack with an 1-800 number? That it even had to be made at all is a tell. Enthusiastic support self-organizes and doesn’t need a toll-free number. We were able to get protestors within hours using Facebook, which is much cheaper.
@Yarrow: Good to know. While it may very well be that my congressional district is unflippable, I don’t think that is completely true of my state representative district.
Though it was redrawn to make it less competitive, there may still be some wiggle room. This is all stuff I did not pay very close attention to but the days of that luxury are over.
@CarolDuhart2: I was being sarcastic in pointing out something you already knew. It was a comment not intended to be taken seriously. My bad.
@Corner Stone: You are correct, Corner! (see #44 above) My reading & responding here today has been a little jumbled running back and forth between the kids’ sports activities.
In addition to helping drive the incredibly horrible Barbara Comstock from office, I’m going to check in w/ my local Dems and make sure all other offices in this area are covered. I’m pretty sure they are – Fairfax is about as blue as it gets these days. I guess if everything’s sewn up, the only thing left will be to run for president. (j/k Baud!)
(But if I weren’t kidding, I’d probably switch party affiliations and primary Orangemandias, just to help the Rs turn on each other and speed their little weirdo Alex Jones conspiracies along – what fun!)
@CarolDuhart2: Agree with this. I do wonder how much the attendance was impacted by the fact that DC residents have approximately zero overlap with Trump voters and I’m mostly worried because I don’t want to be blindsided in a bubble at same time now is not the time to be timid because we might be misreading a situation.
@Oldgold: I think that politically, this was a hugely missed opportunity for Trump. He handed out a draft that was different than the actual order, didn’t brief relevant actors, and created chaos which impacted very credible and sympathetic people. This was the Kahn thing all over again. They were not prepared with their own propaganda stories when this went down. And then they lost in court. I think it might have all gone flat, but Trump made it a big round zero for his team.
@OzarkHillbilly: Okay. Of course he’s no Lincoln. Lincoln would have drop-kicked him into the heart of the Confederacy hoping who could work his usual negative mojo.
@Corner Stone: @Jeffro: Ah, okay! My mistake. But, if we have any people here in the Dallas area, I think Pete Sessions could be vulnerable. And he’s not coming up on the Swing Left list, even if you put in Garland. So the additional lesson is, check your local districts yourself as well because there could be some subtleties that aren’t clear on the website.
Yarrow linked to “Swing Left”, which advises me to work on NY22 instead of NY23 (i.e. Binghamton north to Rome and Utica, rather than the Southern Tier).
It says the republican incumbent won NY22 by only 15k votes. That’s a lot less than the 42k margin in the NY23 district this most recent cycle, but more than the 9k difference in NY23 when Shinegawa lost in 2012.
So is NY23 gettable? So much depends on running a good candidate, as well as DNCC support.
@debbie: The other day I got an email from the Ohio Democratic Party asking if I or anybody I knew wanted to run for office, any office.
Now I suspect they were mostly looking for whom they can target for cash and volunteer time but my very first reaction was, Wow, the bench has to be *very* shallow if they think I’m a likely candidate!
I’d love to see Portman gone but he just started a new term. The upcoming work will be defending Sherrod Brown from that squirt Josh Mandel (at least that is the rumor I heard).
Welp, then this happened:
BREAKING: Americans Banned From Iraq – Retaliation Measures
ETA – I am not familiar with the source and can’t find a second mainstream confirmation so take this as is with some table salt.
Iowa Old Lady
@Immanentize: They lost in court, but I’m not sure they’re following the court order. At least that’s what NPR news was just telling me about Atlanta. My heart actually sped up hearing that. What is happening here?
@oldster: Binghamton is my hometown and that too is part of the southern tier of New York, no? NY 23 is winnable — especially if you can get the University community to vote there instead of more solid D downstate….
Iowa Old Lady
@Corner Stone: Does that include service men and women?
@Dave: It shouldn’t have mattered. Back in 2001 and 2005 Bush2 was able to get 300k and 400k even with a less-than enthusiastic local population. And Bush wasn’t exactly charismatic and wasn’t promising to “Make America Great Again”. He barely squeaked by both times and was suspected to having a few local officials helping him in that task.
@Iowa Old Lady: As I understand it, the court order(s) addressed those with Visa and green cards returning. It might not cover valid visas issued previously from people who never entered…. I am emailing a lawyer/colleague who has been working on this all night in Boston to better understand….
@Iowa Old Lady: I added an ETA as the article was sparse on details. Both Reuters and AP still say Iraqi Parliament are discussing the action.
@CarolDuhart2: That’s a more than fair point.
Sister Rail Gun of Warm Humanitarianism
@Ohio Mom: Yeah, but it does explain the tacky escalator entrance and the comments about KAC choosing an office that he would have to climb stairs to get to.
Somewhat OT: Google doc listing every senator and their stance on trump’s Muslim ban: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/u/1/d/1hSGjyWJZIQJpGz4V2ftX_qioCgBtL59oJkkhx146nFE/htmlview?sle=true#gid=0
Virtually every Democratic Senator has come out against it but there are still some holdouts: Joe Manchin-WV, Bill Nelson-FL, and Jon Tester-MT have all remained silent.
Virtually every Republican Senator has said nothing except for: Benjamin Sasse-NE, Jeff Flake-AZ, and Susan Collins-ME have all come out against it. Orrin Hatch-UT has at least mentioned it but hasn’t come down on one side or the other.
Yeah, Mandel is planning to run and he must be stopped at any cost. Hopefully, Sherrod knows just how slimy this guy is and just how low he’ll go to win. Sherrod should expect to be called a Muslim and who knows what else.
Can somebody please take Rudy Ghouliani out for a long RV ride across country. Jeebus.
Apologies–Binghamton is indeed part of the Southern Tier. I guess I was just thinking of that broad expanse of more sparsely populated state out west of you.
@Sister Rail Gun of Warm Humanitarianism: I am not quite an old enough lady to be completely conversant on these things, but I think heart issues can also make stairs a challenge — you get out of breath climbing them.
One of my smaller hopes is that Trump is quickly felled by he physical stress of the office. It wouldn’t solve everything but it would be something.
@Corner Stone: Members of our military are American citizens. This ban might make it harder to implement Trump’s new ISIS policy he ordered developed.
@Kathleen: thanks Kathleen. That is a great article, it really explains the details very clearly. Also, I feel vindicated. I knew Ohio was gerrymandered but I did not know we were in the top four states.
And now I must, must, must put down the phone and take care of things IRL. I will be back two clean bathrooms from now.
I’m old enough. Poorer vision doesn’t help, but it can also be very hard to see clearly looking down when you’re wearing bifocals. I bought new glasses in December and they were fine until I was at the top of the steps in my apartment, looked down and couldn’t see shit. Curbs would also be a problem.
@Ohio Mom: I wouldn’t want that this needs to have a full accounting and a political cost to as many involved as possible not just an act of entropy. Unless of course it prevents a major war with say China or the use of nuclear weapons. Then entropy would be acceptable.
@Corner Stone: I’d rather take for a long walk on a short pier.
Trump presents a greater existential threat to the US than imperial Japan did, but we sustained that war at a panic pitch for 4 years. The same fight is against the GOP establishment.
@Corner Stone: @OzarkHillbilly: I’d rather take HIM for a long walk on a short pier. grumble grumble
Iowa Old Lady
Merkel’s office says that in her phone conversation with Trump, she explained the war refugee requirements of the Geneva Convention.
A German leader explained moral treatment of refugees to the American president.
Suck on that one for a while.
A Ghost to Most
Steve Bannon overrode DHS decision to exempt green card holders from travel ban.
Jon Ossoff https://electjon.com is going to run in the special election for Tom Price’s seat (GA District 6), which is supposed to be held in March. (I’m assuming Price will make it through his nomination vote.) Jon was a congressional aide for 5 years and now runs a non-profit that investigates political corruption and organized crime; he seems like a good guy. John Lewis has endorsed him. It’s a solid red district, so a very long shot, but it’s a special election so if he could turn out all of the Democrats in the district he might have a shot. One of my daughters overlapped with him in high school and she and some of her friends are planning to get involved in his campaign. They all live in the 5th district, so can’t actually vote for him, alas.
A Ghost to Most
And already backtracking
I don’t know, It’s gotta piss off the Williams/Bannon/Spencer types that their ideal “Aryan princess” is by all indications happily married to a Jewish guy.
Sister Rail Gun of Warm Humanitarianism
Protest at RDU today. It’s yoooooge.
For everyone reading this, phone calls to your elected representatives should be your baseline, normal, every week activism.
You Senators and Representatives are not reading your BJ comments. They do read summaries of the phone calls they get.
I call at least once a week, more like 3X/week.
@zhena gogolia: Thank you.
Every one of us here needs to. Our elected officials need to hear from us. Teabaggers made calls, staged protests, took over town halls, and flooded letters to the editor. Pressure works.
NY-22 was close because the incumbent, Richard Hanna retired and it was an open seat. Kim Meyers ran a lack luster campaign and Hanna supported Tenney’s primary challenger. Tenney is a back bencher with Tea Party sympathies and zero leadership. Tying her to Trump may solidify her base in the cow country that is Madison and Oneida counties.
A Ghost to Most
So, if I’m reading this right, Trump broke the law by excluding DNI and JCS from the NSC. Adam?
Rudi’s so proud of himself, he can’t stop himself.
Amanda in the South Bay
I agree, but having never set foot in NY state I don’t get the late 00s love fest for Massa that mistermix and DougJ have.
Trump won, in part, by repeating “Hillary has no stamina”, and when she fell, after the 9/11/01 ceremony, it sort of galvanized the image of a frail old woman in people’s minds.
No respect paid to trying to tough it out, when she was ill.
@A Ghost to Most: According to James Joyner at OTB, no he did not break the law.
Trump filing for re-election five hours after the inauguration is super creepy. Most of the commentary I’ve seen talks about how non-profits will be limited in how they criticize him. The real danger is that he can now keep fundraising, that the Super PACs can keep raising money, all the black money can just flow his way. And with our horrible election laws, and the Citizen United decision, Trump can keep it all.
My headcanon on this is that Bannon sold it to Trump by telling him this is how he could keep having rallies, knowing all the while that it would be an awesome way to soak up that sweet, sweet PAC cash. Gotta keep himself in the hookers and blow.
A Ghost to Most
@OzarkHillbilly: thanks for the pointer.
Seriously? Maybe if his ties weren’t so long, he’d be able to see the steps when he’s looking down. I wonder if he is escalator phobic too.
@Iowa Old Lady:
I’m not sure they’re following the court order
Customs and Immigration in several locations has decided that they’re above the rule of law, and will ignore the court order (until and unless a local judge finally finds it necessary to hold them in contempt).
Vox also had Charlie Dent and Justin Amash listed last night.
@Ohio Mom: We’ll know if steps are really a problem if they change the ones for Air Force One into an escalator or elevator. Or if he stops using it for flights.
He does seem to me to be in terrible shape, but I don’t know if we should put much stock in all of these rumors about him and his health. Supposedly he’s a germ-a-phobe, too, yet puts his hands on people quite a bit (Obama, May, his daughter, infants, etc.).
Someone please give me some hope. I’m in NY 27th – covering an odd piece of Western NY from Buffalo to south of Rochester. Chris Collins is the rep. He id on the transition team. A large part of his campaign funds were donated by Carl Paladino, of porn email fame and more recent inflammatory racist remarks – hoping that he will soon be forced from his seat on the Buffalo School Board. HIs association with both should be brought up every day till election day 2018.
The odious Reed is also on the transition team, sigh. I will call him about Bannon & Priebus, but I doubt it will help. I had the misfortune to meet him when he toured our lab. Creepy guy. Every Backpfeifengesicht nerve in my body was on edge.
“We’re going to take out seven countries in 5 years, starting with Iraq, and then Syria, Lebanon, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and, finishing off, Iran”
Kinda strange how you cross out Lebanon and put in Yemen and you Find that we’re cancelling visas for the same list of countries. Are we cancelling visas or closing the borders for some ahuuuge display to get our precious respect back?
@Catherine D.: I did not know Reed was on the team too. I know the exact creepiness you feel – Unfortunately, I always remember the story about him skinny dipping or whatever when they went to Israel and I cringe and gag.