Thursday, May 24, 2018

Trumpanzee Bails On Kim

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This morning the erratic Señor Trumpanzee (Adderol + finasteride) canceled his summit with Kim Jong Un, planned for June 12 in Singapore. As North Korea had noted, publicly, Mike Dense is a "political dummy," a statement that hurt the political dummy's feelings. Trump sent Kim a letter, ostensibly breaking their date. Trump was/is counting on the summit to get him a Nobel Peace Prize just like real presidents get. No one knows if this is some dumb Trump negotiating ploy or if Bolton is getting his way (war). The imbecilic Señor T says he's open to meeting in future, but only on his terms.

Last night North Korea had destroyed it's nuclear test site, which had already collapsed. Whomever writes the crap that Trumpanzee reads off his teleprompter cited "tremendous anger and open hostility" as the reasons for the cancellation. Bellicose as ever, the school-yard bully said that the North Koreans talk about their nuclear capabilities, "but ours are so massive and powerful that I pray to God they will never have to be used." By afternoon Trump was back into his threaten stance, saying the U.S. military is ready to respond to any "foolish or reckless acts" by North Korea. And, of course, he started babbling about sanctions and how the "maximum pressure campaign is continuing."



At a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing, the Ranking Democrat, Bob Menendez blamed Trump's withdrawal on the regime's failure to prepare properly, pointing out that "the art of diplomacy is a lot harder than the art of the deal" and that Trumpanzee shouldn't have been surprised that that North Korea "is acting as North Korea might very well normally act... I’m not sure that constantly quoting the Libya model is the diplomatic way to try to get to the results that we seek in North Korea because that didn’t work out too well for Gadhafi."

Ben Sasse (R-NE) who has twisted himself into a Trump apologist over the last year congratulated Trump on making "the right call... [calling Kim] "a murderous despot and habitual liar."

The guy who put the whole thing together, President Moon Jae-in of South Korean, was caught off guard and is trying to figure out "what Trump’s intention is and the exact meaning of it." Well, since Trumpanzee was still behaving respectfully towards Kim-- referring to him as "his excellency" instead of insulting his appearance-- I guess there's still a chance the White House drama queen wants to get the whole thing back on track so he can take credit for something or other. Here's the crazy orange-hued monkey's letter:


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UNITY, Baby, UNITY!

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Don't forget Kara... and Amy McGrath

After her defeat Tuesday--even before the official runoff tally was announced-- Houston progressive candidate Laura Moser was urging her supporters to get behind her opponent, Lizzie Fletcher. And, in fact, Blue America had originally endorsed Jason Westin in that district but when Laura knocked him off the ballot, we immediately, even happily, endorsed her.

How about in Chicago, where Blue Dog Dan Lipinski-- an anti-Choice, anti-gay Republican masquerading as a "Democrat?" Are we supposed to unify behind him now? Tuesday one of my favorite candidates, Lillian Salerno, lost the Dallas race she was fighting with Colin Allred. I would have loved to have seen her in Congress. It would have helped the whole country. I don't see Allred doing much of anything for anyone. But I don't see him as evil either. I'm not going to contribute any money to him but if I lived in the district I wouldn't hesitate for a moment to vote for him against far right and very corrupt Republican Pete Sessions.

Tim Canova was defeated-- if you call being cheated "defeated-- by Debbie Wasserman Schultz. I doubt anyone who reads DWT to ever imagine anything would get me to vote for her. In fact, I immediately called Canova and begged him to run again. When he did, I contributed to his campaign... several times.

I don't notice the DCCC getting behind the progressives who are beating their conservative primaries-- practicing what they preach-- and I sense it's a one way street. They want progressives to back their shitty corrupt conservative candidates but don't think they should back the primary winners who they didn't get behind. What the hell is that supposed to mean? Last week the grassroots progressive Kara Eastman beat a putrid DCCC Blue Dog, Brad Ashford in Omaha. Ashford, an ultra-conservative "ex"-Republican had already been in Congress and was rejected by NE-02 voters and defeated after one miserable term of him voting with the Republicans and against working families. But he's who the pig-headed party bosses wanted. Then this happened:
Kara Eastman- 20,239 (51.43%)
Brad Ashford- 19,113 (48.57%)
The DCCC immediately removed Ashford from their Red-to-Blue list. But they didn't replace him with Kara. Why's that? They've been crowing all cycle that NE-02 was one of the most flippable seats in the country. But not for a progressive? Not for a woman? No for someone with an independent mind? What's their problem? They're always winning about the money. But, as of the April 25 FEC reporting deadline-- and with their help-- Ashford had spent $397,194 and Kara has spent $284,880. But she won anyway. Does that mean she knew how to spend her money more wisely? Does it mean that her volunteer army is worth more than corporate money? Or should we look at what Pelosi had to say back in February when she barged in on the editors of the Austin American-Statesman and started babbling away about how the DCCC decides which candidates to back and which to abandon? Jonathan Tilove called it her "cold-blooded to Democratic primary voters." Pelosi:
[C]andidates know, this is almost like a competition. They have to do their share. This isn’t an entitlement program. We need people  to run, oh you’re good, you look good for the district, here’s the money, No, they have to work. How do you connect with your constituents? That’s the most important thing. First of all, it’s would you win, but even before that, chronologically, show how you are going to represent them. How are you going know them, how are they going to know you.

...Forgive me for using this word,  you have to be very cold-blooded about how you make these decisions about the races because everybody’s so great, but one in five children lives in poverty in America and we have to have our best fighters go out there to win.

...We have to be cold-blooded in what we do. In other words, if the wrong person wins-- well nobody’s wrong-- but if the person who can’t win, wins, it’s not a priority race for us anymore, because we’ve got 100 races.
Maybe if Pelosi and the DCCC and the establishment Democrats really did know which duly nominated primary winner can and can't win, they would not have lost hundreds of seats at every level of government over the last decade. Maybe if the DCCC stuck to using their resources to fighting Republicans and not to fighting progressives and grassroots candidates the Democrats would be in better shape today. I wonder if that thought ever crosses Pelosi's mind. I sincerely doubt it. I what kind of Democratic leaders are coming up behind her. She has certainly failed in nurturing a next generation of leaders. No one could be worse than Joe Crowley, reportedly her pick to run the Democratic caucus. He's even worse than Stenchy Hoyer-- and as bad as Wasserman Schultz. Where does it say in the rule book that the Democrats can't get behind someone younger and better suited to the newer century-- men and women like Ted Lieu, Ro Khanna, Pramila Jayapal, Jamie Raskin, Mark Pocan?

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Trump In A Hole... But So Is The Democratic Party

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A sink hole-- no doubt a message from God that Americans wake up-- has opened on the White House lawn. It may be more than just the swamp inside draining too. And Politico reported another hole in Trump World yesterday-- a poll showing that Trump's reelection bis begins in a hole. Just 36% of voters say they would vote for Trump over a generic Democratic candidate in 2020, compared with 44% who would pick the Democrat, the poll shows. One in five voters, 20%, are undecided. The poll shows that while 86% of Democratic voters would support the Democratic candidate, just 79% of GOP voters would vote for Trump. Among independents, the Democratic candidate has an 8-point lead, 36% to 28%.
“While nearly four in 10 GOP voters say Donald Trump should face a primary challenge in 2020, no clear challenger has emerged, and Mike Pence’s appeal appears to be declining,” said Kyle Dropp, Morning Consult’s co-founder and chief research officer. “Today, 64 percent of Republicans say that they would prefer Trump as president, compared to 19 percent who pick Pence. That gap has grown since August 2017, when 58 percent picked Trump and 28 percent picked Pence."
Some other interesting points asked of registered voters: "If the election for U.S. Congress in your district was held today, which one of the following candidates are you most likely to vote for?"
Democrat- 43%
Republican- 37%
Let's see why. First let's see which issues motivate voters choices. The first question: "thinking about your vote, what would you say is the top set of issues on your mind when you cast your vote for federal offices such as U.S. Senate or Congress?"
Economic issues- 30%
National Security issues- 19%
Health care issues- 15%
Senior's issues- 17%
Women's issues- 4%
Education issues- 6%
Energy issues- 4%
The pollster then asked which congressional party the voters trusted on each of the following issues: The economy:

Democrats- 36%
Republicans- 41%

Jobs

Democrats- 37%
Republicans- 40%

Health care

Democrats- 44%
Republicans- 33%

Immigration

Democrats- 39%
Republicans- 39%

The environment

Democrats- 47%
Republicans- 25%

Energy

Democrats- 41%
Republicans- 31%

Education

Democrats- 44%
Republicans- 30%

National Security

Democrats- 33%
Republicans- 44%

Sexual Harassment and misconduct in the workplace

Democrats- 40%
Republicans- 24%

Gun policy

Democrats- 39%
Republicans- 36%

Later in the poll these ten questions were asked:

1- How important of a priority should passing legislation placing additional regulations on gun ownership be?

A top priority- 45%
An important but lower priority- 20%
Not too important a priority- 10%
Should not be done- 17%

2- Do you support or oppose stricter gun control laws in the United States?

Strongly support- 45%
Somewhat support- 22%
Somewhat oppose- 10%
Stronly oppose- 16%

3- Do you support or oppose requiring background checks on all gun sales?

Strongly support- 81%
Somewhat support- 9%
Somewhat oppose- 3%
Strongly oppose- 2%

4- Do you support or oppose banning assault-style weapons?

Strongly support- 57%
Somewhat support- 13%
Somewhat oppose- 9%
Strongly oppose- 12%

5- Do you support or oppose making private gun sales and sales at gun shows subject to background checks?

Strongly support- 70%
Somewhat support- 15%
Somewhat oppose- 5%
Strongly oppose- 5%

6- Do you support or oppose preventing sales of all 􏰁firearms to people who have been convicted of violent misdemeanors?

Strongly support- 68%
Somewhat support- 16%
Somewhat oppose- 5%
Strongly oppose- 4%

7- Do you support or oppose banning fi􏰁rearms from schools and college campuses nationally?

Strongly support- 54%
Somewhat support- 13%
Somewhat oppose- 10%
Strongly oppose- 14%

8- How much do you blame Democrats in Congress for mass shootings?

A lot- 12%
Some- 21%
Not much- 17%
Not at all- 33%

9- How much do you blame Republicans in Congress for mass shootings?

A lot- 23%
Some- 20%
Not much- 14%
Not at all- 27%

10- How much do you blame the NRA for mass shootings?

A lot- 32%
Some- 13%
Not much- 10%
Not at all- 33%

The pollsters then asked about favorability for individual politicians. First up was Mitch McConnell (R-KY)


Favorable- 16%
Unfavorable- 47%
Never heard of/no opinion- 37%

Paul Ryan

Favorable- 27%
Unfavorable- 48%
Never heard of/no opinion- 25%

Nancy Pelosi

Favorable- 26%
Unfavorable- 50%
Never heard of/no opinion- 24%

Chuck Schumer

Favorable- 22%
Unfavorable- 36%
Never heard of/no opinion- 42%

Mike Pence

Favorable- 40%
Unfavorable- 42%
Never heard of/no opinion- 18%

Señor Trumpanzee

Favorable- 43%
Unfavorable- 52%
Never heard of/no opinion- 6%

Republicans in Congress

Favorable- 31%
Unfavorable- 56%
Never heard of/no opinion- 13%

Democrats in Congress

Favorable- 37%
Unfavorable- 50%
Never heard of/no opinion- 13%

I guess the Democrats would be doing better if they had some discernible economic policies that voters identified with them... and dumped Pelosi as the face of the party. That isn't that complicated, is it? Certainly not for Alan Grayson. Yesterday he pointed out to me that "Polls show that voters-- not just Democrats, voters-- overwhelming favor a minimum wage increase, paid sick leave, universal healthcare, Social Security and Medicare increases, lower taxes on working people, etc. You have to wonder how long Democratic 'leaders' are going to continue to wear the hair shirt."

"I feel like I’m being completely unoriginal" Paul Clements told me, "but still it should be said: people don’t know what the Democratic Party stands for. I’ve heard it time and again at house parties and Democratic events around the district. I’ve given my stump speech so many times: (besides Trump) economic inequality is the issue, money in politics the cause, yes fix taxes and raise the minimum wage but we need to fix the basics: health care for all, education, and criminal justice. Then I fudge a fourth one, calling it a forward looking economic policy, and include renewable energy, energy efficient technologies, agricultural research, and major infrastructure investments. Then, oh, of course, we have to deal with climate change or all of this is off the table. The details matter, but you can probably pretty much fill them in. I know that these planks and more are in the last Democratic Party platform, but, seriously, so what? The Democratic Party does not have a clear agenda and people don’t know what it stands for. I think the agenda should address the basics. It should speak to economic inequality. But at least there should be a vision, there should be a program, so in house parties and such we don’t have to do all the work."

James Thompson is the progressive Democrat running in the Wichita-centered 4th Kansas district. His primary is August 7. And then he'll be facing right-wing Republican Ron Estes. He's all about the issues that Democrats need to speak to the voters about. Here's what he told me today:
When I was homeless and struggling to make ends meet I didn’t give a damn about the stock market, I was worried about putting food on the table and keeping a roof over the heads of myself and my baby brothers. The stock market and trade agreements are important parts of our economy, but until Democrats get back to protecting the kitchen table economy it will be hard to pull people back into the Democratic Party. Before people can care about things outside their own circle, they must feel confident in their own financial situation, which means they must have a stable job with a livable wage. That means a guaranteed jobs program and affordable healthcare and education. It means expanding Medicare and Social Security not cutting it. It means taking care of the farmers who feed us. It is the basic hierarchy of needs. Democrats as a party need to return to being FDR Democrats looking out for working people rather than corporate shills for Wall Street. We must remember that this is a government not of corporation interests, but a government of the people, by the people and for the people. We can get there, we just need to keep moving forward with electing progressives.
Goal ThermometerSam Jammal, running in Orange County against a pack of carpetbagger multimillionaires trying to buy the seat, is also a progressive trying to talk with the CA-39 voters about issues. He goes everywhere-- even goes to the Republican debates that his fellow candidates avoid. "Democrats win," he said, "if we have a positive economic message focused on lifting up the middle class. This means focusing on the cost of prescription drugs, student debt, housing affordability and creating good-paying jobs so families can enter the middle class. We won't win by just being anti-Trump. We also won't win if our campaigns are not focused on people's pocketbooks. The reality on the ground is that families are still struggling. We need to be identitied as the party that actually has a plan for lifting people up."

Kara Eastman, the progressive Democrat who won her primary against a Blue Dog last Tuesday, won, in large part, because she campaigned on issues that real people are excited about. "It is time," she told me, "for policy makers to put people first. Common sense policies that prevent illness, ensure families can make a living wage and provide jobs should be at the core of what elected officials want to accomplish. Raising the minimum wage (which is actually supported by 74% of Americans) is one federal policy that would have a huge ripple effect in the nation. Universal healthcare (also supported by more than 60% of Americans) would also boost the economy by freeing employers from the shackles of being in the healthcare business. In addition, investing in infrastructure such as replacing lead service lines and creating green and healthy housing would create jobs while making our children healthier and safer."

Over in Maine Jared Golden, a proud working class progressive who understands what solidarity means, is running for Democratic nomination in a June 12th primary. "If America had its priorities straight we could fix our economy," he told me today. "We need to fight for a fair tax plan that doesn’t give away trillions to the wealthy-elite and multinational corporations that aren’t investing in America. Take that revenue back and put it to work rebuilding American roads, rails and bridges. We need to stand with unions for better pay, and healthcare and retirement benefits. And renegotiate and reject bad trade deals that undermine wages and safety for workers. We need to stop allowing corporations and billionaires to waste so much capital on buying elections, so they can instead put that money to work on Main Street, creating jobs and paying people their real worth."

This is Jarred's convention speech where he talked with the party delegates about the issues that are fueling his campaign. This is how Democrats need to talk to the voters, not all mealy-mouthed like the DCCC and their overpriced consultants insist they do:



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Midnight Meme Of The Day!

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by Noah

Where would you send Señor Trumpanzee? Where would you send him if all options were possible?

This meme has been making the rounds of late. It's a reflection of just how Trump inspires people. I guess the first places I thought of were the moon or Mars, but then I thought about how hard our scientists try to not contaminate our neighboring planets and moons, so, they are definitely out. Then I figured, why not play nice and send him to a place where he'd rather be anyway? Surely, his buddy Putin would welcome him in Moscow. I wouldn't be surprised if he gave Trump a nice villa in the Crimea. Of course, then my sense of justice came roaring back. Why not, since he loves Russia so much, send him to still radioactive Chernobyl. Trump is so diseased already that Chernobyl would be like a spa to him. Who knows, if his lunacy is being caused by syphilis, the radiation might cure him.

Then I thought, no, sending him to Russia is too obvious. How about someplace really horrible, like Kansas? There, Trump could see first hand the ravages brought about by years of Republican economic and tax policies. Nah, that would be lost on him. He lacks the sensitivity to take it all in. It is a pretty white place, though. That led me to the idea of sending him somewhere where there are no white folks at all; somewhere way up a remote tributary of the Amazon where he could spend his remaining days "fearing the other" and depending on the human kindness of a "lost" tribe or a tribe that has had no, or very minimal, contact with the outside world and had no idea who he was. How would they react, especially when he started throwing his tantrums. Would they just shoot a poison dart into his fat neck? What would they think of his hair? Would they think it would look even more freaky if they shrunk his head?

Damn, so many choices! Trying to decide on just the right gift is so hard! Then, I saw it! I saw the spectacular footage of that erupting volcano in Hawaii. Perfect!

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Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Trade War With China? Trump, The Great Negotiator Seems To Be Backing Down On This Too

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When will Señor Trumpanzee start referring to Rubio as "Little Marco" again? I doubt Trump cares as much that Rubio votes for everything the Regime wants as he does about Rubio tweaking him on Twitter-- which he did again yesterday: "China is winning the negotiations. Their concessions are things they planned to do anyways. In exchange they get no tariffs, can keep stealing intellectual property and can keep blocking our companies while they invest in the U.S. without limits. #Losing." There are so many ways this in exactly how to infuriate Trump. I mean, literally, this tweet could have been written by Ted Lieu!

And Rubio could have been referring to two reports from the failing NY Times one asserting that "Chinese negotiators left Washington this weekend with a significant win: a willingness by the Trump administration to hold off for now on imposing tariffs on up to $150 billion in Chinese imports. China gave up little in return, spurning the administration’s nudges for a concrete commitment to buy more goods from the United States, and avoiding limits on its efforts to build new high-tech Chinese industries. The trade fight is far from over. And large Chinese technology companies in particular could be vulnerable if the United States starts punching again, with administration officials appearing to back away from Mr. Trump’s pledges to help ZTE, a Chinese telecommunications company hit with severe American penalties. Still, the latest round of negotiations showed that a confident China could be more than a match for divided American officials who have made often discordant demands." Little Marco wasn't done either:



And the other blaming the losses on the team Trump put together "Ceaseless infighting and jockeying for influence on the White House’s trade team helped deprive Mr. Trump of a quick victory on his most cherished policy agenda… The deep internal divisions carried over into how officials characterized the agreement and muddied the outlook for the next phase of the negotiations between Washington and Beijing."

I wonder if Trump reads Axios. Less words, easier to digest for someone as illiterate and ADD as he is. Early Tuesday Jonathan Swan and Mike Allen had a headline that would have sent Señor T into orbit 3 factors behind Trump's cave on his China trade war. "Who knows how the chest-bumping over China ends. But for now, President Trump’s anti-China advisers are right: The president is buckling on his threats to punish China with fundamental, lasting changes to trade tariffs and rules." Then the 3 reasons: "North Korea, Steve Mnuchin and a lack of focus internally." The third is the one:
Fleeting attention
The president's attention is spread too thin — Iran, North Korea, Mueller and more-- to wage a sustained battle with China.
Aides describe a White House deluged with big decisions and scant deciders-- and a president perpetually obsessed and distracted by Mueller.
Be smart ... The Chinese have played this beautifully:
They know Trump wants Singapore to work, and that they hold the cards on North Korea.
And they know that Trump is obsessed with one number-- the trade deficit.
He wants concrete things to boast about (jobs and buying American products).
No matter their promises, they can’t deliver a meaningful change in the trade deficit. But they canpromise to buy billions of politically-useful U.S. products.
Breaking ... "China will cut the import duty on passenger cars to 15 percent, boosting auto makers such as BMW AG and Ford Motor Co.," per Bloomberg:
"While the levy reduction could be claimed ... as a concession to Trump and will be a boon to U.S. carmakers such as Tesla Inc., the move will also end up benefiting European and Asian manufacturers from Daimler AG to Toyota."
Meanwhile, more than a few people are convinced that the reason Trump is backing down on the dispute has something to do with the bribe China paid Trump for his Indonesian development (half a billion dollars). The Wall Street Journal reported that the U.S. and China are closer to resolving their trade dispute, and that a resolution would include U.S. help for the Chinese telecom company ZTE.

Robert Weissman, president, Public Citizen: "How to explain President Donald Trump’s pending sweetheart deal for ZTE-- a repeat lawbreaker and alleged threat to U.S. national security-- at the very moment the Tough-Talking-on-China president is failing to win economic concessions from China to benefit American workers? North Korea and geopolitical considerations are part of the equation to be sure. But there also is the matter of a $500 million loan from a state-owned Chinese company to an Indonesian resort development featuring Trump-branded properties. Is there anyone in America who believes that benefiting indirectly from a Chinese loan would NOT influence Trump’s decision to intercede? This affair is a screaming violation of the U.S. Constitution’s emoluments clause, which flatly prohibits the acceptance of gifts and benefits from governments in the absence of congressional consent. In this case, there’s nothing hypothetical about how the emolument-- the loan-- might affect the president’s actions. It’s almost inconceivable that it didn’t."

Also from Public Citizen: "Voters who made Trump president because they believed his promise to get tough on China and restore some of the millions of American jobs lost to unfair China trade will be irate about his caving in to Wall Street instead of achieving any real change and even intervening to reverse national security sanctions for a specific Chinese firm that had admitted to wrongdoing. So imagine the reaction when they realize that he not only betrayed them, but that doing so benefitted his personal business interests. Trump caving in to Wall Street on China trade in general and ZTE in specific at this pivotal moment when the U.S. capacity to change the situation is time-limited is so threatening to our country’s future that even the Democratic strategists celebrating how Trump’s betrayal of working-class voters will ruin his reelection chances are quietly worrying about the long-term damage this move will cause."

Meanwhile, the Senate Banking Committee thwarted Trumpanzee on his plans to dump the sanctions on ZTE. Will China now cancel the half billion dollar bribe to Trump Indonesian loan? The vote was a pretty astounding 23-2 against Trump and his corrupt regime.

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Who's Embarrassed By Devin Nunes?

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What does "off the deep end" mean exactly? The Urban dictionary's take: "To degenerate cognitively, to be in the process of having a mental breakdown, the process of going crazy." The Cambridge Dictionary is a little more formal and less emotive: "to get very angry about something or lose control of yourself." And Wikipedia had the best take of all, although, alas, unrelated to my purpose: Off the Deep End is the seventh studio album by 'Weird Al' Yankovic, released in 1992. This album was the first album self-produced by Yankovic, after six albums with Rick Derringer. Recorded between June 1990 and January 1992, the album was a follow-up to the unsuccessful soundtrack to Yankovic's 1989 film UHF. Off the Deep End and its lead single 'Smells Like Nirvana' helped to revitalize Yankovic's career after a lull in the late 80s."




The reason why everyone was buzzing about the phrase yesterday is because Chuck "Chucky Schmucky" Schumer gave a speech on the Senate floor and said the "White House has put extraordinary, unusual and inappropriate pressure on the Department of Justice and the investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 election... A man like Devin Nunes, who, I hear privately from my Republican colleagues-- they think he's off the deep end."




Is Nunes literally off the deep end? People in his district-- CA-22, a compact Central Valley district that stretches from Clovis and the northern and eastern outskirts of Fresno south through Dinuba and Visalia past Tulare-- tell me they see him as infrequently as everyone else does. He's another absentee Representative. An old friend who I met while I was attending UNLV inherited his parents dairy farm near Visalia. He told me everyone he knows voted for Nunes in 2016 and no one he knows he sure they're going to do so again. "Tulare County," he told me, "is the more Republican party of the district. Trump beat Hillary by double digits here. And Nunes' vote gets up around 70%. It won't be that in November... People think he drank the kool-aid. Everyone I know thinks he's more concerned about Trump than about us. We have problems here-- water is what we're concerned with, not getting Trump off the hook with all that Russia stuff."



Eric Bauman, chairman of the California Democratic party is no fan of Nunes, to put it mildly. This morning he told me that "Nunes has all the time in the world to serve his number one constituent, Donald Trump, but never has even five minutes for his district-based constituents. It’s time we help him spend all of his time with number one." And, it isn't only Democrats like Bauman who are sickened by Nunes' Trump-worship. Jeff Flake is a Republican too, an Arizona senator nothing like Devin Nunes. He's giving the commencement address this year at Harvard Law. Among his assertions: "Our presidency has been debased by a figure who has a seemingly bottomless appetite for destruction and division and only a passing familiarity with how the Constitution works. And our Article I branch of government, the Congress is utterly supine in the face of the moral vandalism that flows from the White House daily." None of that bothers someone with a low sense of ethics and lower sense of integrity like Trump lackey Devin Nunes.

I caught up with Nunes' progressive opponent yesterday, Ricardo Franco, the guy who made that awesome video up top. [If you haven't watched it, please do.] This is what he had to say about this race. If you'd like to help him win his campaign, please click on the ActBlue "Bluer California" thermometer on the right, below.



Nunes' refusal to do anything about immigration shows you he doesn't work for his constituents. His lack of opposition to the President's trade war shows he doesn't care about local farmers and other commodity industries. Now, with his fellow Republicans calling him out on not helping the cause of his own party it's clear that Nunes only works for one person: Trump.

Goal ThermometerOur region has some of the highest concentrations of poverty in the United States. Instead of working to get us access to clean drinking water, clean air or access to healthcare Nunes is hijacking a traditionally non-partisan oversight committee to act as the political bodyguard of the Trump administration. This is exactly what we DO NOT want our tax dollars funding. The investigation should be left to Mueller. Congressman Nunes would do better to work on solving real, local issues that we have instead of spending all of his time out of the district fundraising for his friends like Rohrabacher or making a celebrity of himself on Fox News at our expense.

I am out talking to voters in the district every single day. Most of the Baby Boomers now admit that the country will be worse off for the next generation of millennials and it will take a progressive agenda to fix it. On the international stage our biggest threat is economic: China will surpass us as the world's largest economy and we must find a way to make sure the basic needs of our citizens are attended to. Domestically, our largest threat is Devin Nunes and others that are trying to destroy our democratic institutions. It's frustrating for all of us as we see our tax dollars going to the destruction of America as we know it instead of preparing ourselves for the challenges on the near horizon.

This district and the country at large deserve better. Someone who will passionately fight for Medicare for All, protect our environment while helping small businesses thrive and ending our system of welfare for American's wealthiest corporations. The government should be there to work for all of us, not be the piggy bank for the top 1%. Lastly, we all deserve a representative that will WORK for us, not alienate themselves by name-calling the opposite side of the aisle. More than resistance, what we demand is immediate action. Nunes doesn't have an ounce of it in his body.

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Did We Learn Anything About November From Yesterday's Primaries?

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The DCCC found something to run on that probably won't mean much as most voters decide who to pull the lever for-- nor will it get many people out to the polls-- the Republican tax bill. But Dan Sena, executive director of the DCCC, is all over it. He hired the over-priced Democratic polling firm, Greenberg Quinlan Rosner, to reassure him that more people oppose the GOP tax bill than favor it. That's what the graph up top shows-- 50% oppose it and 41% favor it. I hope that gave Sena district by district breakdown too, because this national polling doesn't mean a hell of a lot.

Greenberg Quinlan Rosner certainly know how to wrap this stuff up in shiny, colorful paper and put a bow on it. "The dropping popularity of the tax bill," they sent in their memo, "is no surprise considering that voters do not expect to benefit from much of the trillion-dollar tax bill, which reflects the reality that the vast majority of the bill’s tax cuts flow to the wealthy and large corporations. This drop in support is also consistent with the fact that Republicans have dramatically decreased their promotion and advertising of the tax bill since it was signed into law. Reuters reports that Republicans are not talking about this unpopular piece of legislation in their districts. In the special election in Pennsylvania, Republicans stopped all advertising on the tax bill in the final weeks-- after Congressman Conor Lamb successfully push backed on the realities of the bill. Republicans did not even attempt to sell the bill in a too-close-for comfort special election in Arizona... [T]he DCCC’s latest national polling provides several key metrics on the national environment when comparing Democrats in Congress versus Republicans in Congress.
Asked which group would “stand up for people like me,” Democrats in Congress have a 9-point advantage (54-45%).
Voters believe Republicans in Congress are more likely to “enrich themselves and their friends at the expense of taxpayers,” by a 14-point margin (56-42%).
Voters believe Republicans in Congress are more “out of touch with people like me,” by a 10-point margin (54-44%)
While many voters believe the economy is improving, this does not translate to a Republican advantage: voters divide evenly between the parties (49-50%) on who they trust more to handle jobs and the economy.
So how will this impact Republican incumbents? Let's take a look at two races-- a Senate race in Texas and a House race in Kentucky. JMC Analytics and Polling released their own poll yesterday for Texas Republicans. And while Greg Abbott would be reelected with double digit majorities, not so for Senator Ted Cruz. His lead over Beto O'Rourke is just 7 points-- 47-40%. His unfavorables (42%) are also higher than his favorables (44%). Beto's favorables are much bigger than his unfavorables-- 35% to 20%. He has a lot of ground to make up though. 44% either have no opinion of him or have never heard of him.

Cruz trails in Austin and El Paso and Dallas/Ft Worth is a tie. The worst news for Cruz is that among Independents, he trails O’Rourke 38-45%.

The DCCC would love to win KY-06. The Lexington-centered district has an R+9 PVI and Trump "only" beat Hillary there 54.7% to 39.4%. Obama did better than her both times he ran. She was the wrong candidate for the district, although in Fayette County-- which is the only county in the district with a significant population-- Hillary and Bernie both had way more voters than any-- or even all-- of the Republicans.
Hillary- 20,014
Bernie- 17,048
Cruz- 4,330
Trumpanzee- 3,727
Rubio- 3,320
• Kasich- 3,266
Going into the KY-06 primary, none of the candidates looked any good to me-- which means none of them looked like they would add anything worthwhile to Congress. McGrath looked like a collection of identity politics bullshit looking for a career with an excellent video someone made for her. Jim Gray, mayor of Lexington, looked worse-- a mixed up gay conservative Blue Dog. Two wastes of House seats. By the May 2 FEC reporting deadline she had spent $1,727,325 and Gray had spent $876, 368, including on a terrible negative ad, accusing her of not living in the district while she was in the service. That may have lost him the race. And that whole Blue Dog thing. Party bosses, and especially the DCCC, love those Blue Dogs. When will they ever learn that Democratic voters don't? Amy beat Gray 48,859 (48.7%) to 40,684 (40.5%) in a 6-canddiate race. Andy Barr, the Republican incumbent also had a primary. Amy drew considerably more voters than he did. A National Journal story worth looking at, before the votes were cast:
Mark Nickolas, the campaign manager for Kentucky congressional candidate Amy McGrath, took a late flight on April 25 to have breakfast the next morning on Capitol Hill with a top political strategist at the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.

The contested primary was more than three weeks away, but the conversation centered on general-election strategy: how McGrath, a retired Marine fighter pilot, could best take on Republican Rep. Andy Barr in November.

It was a meeting that would have been unremarkable, except that it signaled a stunning reversal by the same national Democrats who recruited Lexington Mayor Jim Gray into the primary in December, four months after McGrath launched a credible, well-funded campaign.

“They thought they had a better option,” Nickolas said. “I wanted to show them that they made a mistake, and I think I succeeded at it.”

That behind-the-scenes maneuvering, which incensed McGrath’s team and instantly relegated her to underdog status, led to a multimillion-dollar primary battle. Top Kentucky Democrats watching the race now say McGrath is at least slightly favored in Tuesday’s primary against the well-known and wealthy mayor of the district’s largest city who boasts high name ID from a 2016 Senate run.

Though Gray started as the overwhelming favorite, McGrath has since caught him in internal polling, outpaced him in total TV ad spending, and built a formidable ground game in the district’s rural counties to counter his support in the major cities.

“He’s underestimating me,” McGrath said in a Monday phone interview between campaign events. “I just think the DCCC sometimes is disconnected with real America. It’s sad that they recruited him, but we’re going around them.”

In what is perhaps an acknowledgement of McGrath’s late surge, Gray, after largely ignoring her for much of the nearly six-month primary, released an eleventh-hour attack ad Friday that accused her of being a carpetbagger. The spot drew public criticism from veterans’ groups and Rep. Ted Lieu of California, a DCCC vice chairman.

“At the moment, she’s got the momentum,” said Terry McBrayer, a former Kentucky Democratic Party chairman who is friendly with both candidates. “The big question is whether he can pull it off and stop that. His name recognition is better, but she’s gained name recognition in a big way.”

McGrath’s insurgent campaign stayed largely positive, using her compelling history-- as the first female Marine to fly in an F-18 fighter jet in combat-- to tap into a national donor base and raise her profile. Eventually she won tacit support from a Democratic establishment that initially insisted that her opponent would be the stronger foil against Barr.

McGrath retired from the Marines to run for Congress only after receiving assurances from Gray in the spring of 2017 that he was not interested in running. But the committee repeatedly urged Gray to enter the race, according to multiple sources, hoping to capitalize on his high approval ratings and ability to self-fund-- much to the chagrin of prominent Democrats allied with McGrath who warned the committee that it was creating an unnecessarily costly contest.

At the start of the primary, McGrath and her allies made no secret of their disdain for the DCCC’s meddling and hit Gray as a pawn of the establishment. Her campaign even considered going nuclear on the national party that burned them. It spent $17,000 to film a video on Nickolas’s Woodford County farm where McGrath, direct-to-camera, bashed “party bosses for choosing the same, old, unelectable candidates.” But her campaign team scrapped it.

Initial polling indicated that there was a hunger in the district for someone with her background and message, a political outsider and military veteran. Still, McGrath started out with 44 percent name ID, while Gray had 92 percent.

By February, Nickolas watched with apprehension as the DCCC tore into Texas congressional candidate Laura Moser, whom it deemed unviable in the general. He initiated contact with the committee-- for the first time since Gray entered-- and shared recent internal general-election polling to blunt that argument against his candidate. McGrath trailed the incumbent by 4 points, while Gray was up 2 points, though less than half the electorate was familiar with McGrath.

Nickolas asked the campaign pollster, Fred Yang, to brief the DCCC political team on the full findings, which he did in a mid-March phone call. The committee acknowledged that McGrath would be a credible nominee, according to a source familiar the call.

Tensions continued to thaw; Jason Bresler, the DCCC’s political director, texted frequently with Nickolas during the past couple of months. And in May, McGrath received donations from Democratic Rep. Lois Frankel and from Rep. Cheri Bustos’s leadership PAC. They are the first members to contribute since Gray entered the race, according to McGrath’s campaign.

When reached for comment, DCCC spokesman Jacob Peters said: “It is common and expected for us to be in regular contact with Democratic campaigns running in targeted districts. Rep. Andy Barr is one of the most vulnerable incumbents in the country.”

Privately, some Kentucky Democrats attribute McGrath’s rise, in part, to a series of missteps by the Gray campaign. Though he has personal wealth, he invested relatively little in his campaign and let McGrath outspend him on the air every week in April. In fundraising emails, Gray trained his focus on Barr, rarely using a primary threat to persuade donors to write checks.

But Jamie Emmons, Gray’s campaign manager, disputed that narrative.

“Of course, we took it seriously, we raised and spent a million-and-a-half dollars. That’s a very serious primary,” Emmons said, adding that the campaign’s recent internal polling showed Gray in the lead.

Multiple internal polls conducted as late as early March showed McGrath trailing Gray by more than 30 points. Then, an April internal poll by McGrath’s campaign surprised even her staunchest allies—she led Gray by 7 points, a swing of more than 50 points from its December primary poll. Her name ID shot up nearly 40 points to 83 percent, and her favorables more than doubled to 64 percent.

It was the results of that poll that precipitated Nickolas’s meeting with the DCCC.

“Conventional wisdom tells you Jim Gray should be winning and winning big,” said a national Democratic source based in Kentucky granted anonymity to speak candidly. “David and Goliath is what this is. It should never have been happening.”

McGrath and Gray spent more than $550,000 apiece in April alone. If she wins Tuesday, McGrath admitted she will start with very little in her campaign coffers, but said the fierce primary battle helped hone her skills.

“It’s kind of like you do the minor leagues before you get into the major leagues,” she said.
Time for the DCCC to stop recruiting the damn Blue Dogs already? Past time, way past time.

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Which Democrats Work For Wall Street? Just Look At The Voting Records

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Mike Crapo's Senate bill to roll back a huge chunk of Dodd Frank passed the House Tuesday, 258-159. Only one Republican voted against it. 33 Democrats crossed the aisle to vote with the Republicans and give the Republicans-- and airhead media (see video above)-- an opportunity to call it "bipartisan." Before we look at the 33 Democrats, let 's take a quick look at what they voted for.

The bill exempts all but the mega-bucks banks from most rules-- like the ability of banks to use consumer and business deposits for speculative investments, allowing banks to fund risky investments with deposits and, if their bets went bad, turn to federal deposit insurance to make good the losses-- put in place after the financial crisis to keep banks from failing. It was the biggest roll-back of Dodd Frank so far. The New York Times reported that "While the legislation offers little for the very largest banks, the Trump administration has already been working through the regulatory system to make things easier for them."

Currently the rules impact banks with assets of $50 billion and above. After Trump signs the bill that will go up to $250 billion and above. Scrutiny will all but disappear for these "small" banks, just what the lobbyists have been aiming at. Elizabeth Warren: "These banks are back to making record profits, but Washington insists on doing them more favors, even if it means raising the risk of another bailout."

The House Democrats voting with the Republicans on this were primarily from the Republican wing of the Democratic Party-- the New Dems and Blue Dogs. These are the malefactors Tuesday:
Ami Bera (New Dem-CA)
Sanford Bishop (Blue Dog-GA)
Lisa Blunt Rochester (New Dem-DE)
Andre Carson (New Dem-IN)
Lou Correa (Blue Dog-CA)
Jim Costa (Blue Dog-CA)
Henry Cuellar (Blue Dog-TX)
Danny Davis (friend of lobbyists-IL)
John Delaney (New Dem-MD)
Bill Foster (New Dem-IL)
Vicente Gonzalez (Blue Dog-TX)
Josh Gottheimer (Blue Dog-NJ)
Alcee Hastings (friend of lobbyists-FL)
Jim Himes (New Dem-CT)
Ron Kind (New Dem-WI)
Ann Kuster (New Dem-NH)
Rick Larsen (New Dem-WA)
Al Lawson (New Dem-FL)
Sean Maloney (New Dem-NY)
Stephanie Murphy (Blue Dog-FL)
Rick Nolan (MN)
Tom O'Halleran (Blue Dog-AZ)
Scott Peters (New Dem-CA)
Colin Peterson (Blue Dog-MN)
Kathleen Rice (New Dem-NY)
Brad Schneider (Blue Dog-IL)
Kurt Schrader (Blue Dog-OR)
David Scott (Blue Dog-GA)
Terri Sewell (New Dem-AL)
Kyrsten Sinema (Blue Dog-AZ)
Tom Suozzi (New Dem-NY)
Marc Veasy (New Dem-TX)
Filemon Vela (Blue Dog-TX)
There were some New Dems who voted against it-- many in tough 2018 election battles, like Debbie Wasserman Schultz (FL), Colleen Hanabusa (HI), Beto O'Rourke (TX), Tony Cardenas (CA), Darren Soto (FL) and Jared Polis (CO).

Tuesday night some people asked me why I was making such a big deal on Twitter of the fact that Amy McGrath beat Jim Gray, a Blue Dog, in Kentucky's 6th congressional district. It's because of votes like this. Jim Gray may not have taken a position on this particular vote but, as a Blue Dog, there can be little doubt how he would have voted on it-- and how he would vote on similar legislation in the future. That's why there were so many tweets like these:



And that's why I was so happy a week earlier when progressive Kara Eastman defeated Blue Dog Brad Ashford in Omaha and why I'm so happy when any Blue Dog or New Dem loses their primary. Despitehelp from the DCCC, many Blue Dogs have been losing their primaries this year. That's a good thing. These are the Blue Dogs who have primaries coming up:
Anthony Brindisi (NY)
Paul Davis (KS)
Gretchen Driskell (MI)
Ben McAdams (UT)
Max Rose (NY)
Jeff Van Drew (NJ)
And these are the New Dems with primaries coming up (As you can see, several have been endorsed by both the Blue Dogs and New Dems. In Congress nearly ever Blue Dog is also a New Dem.)
Ann Kirkpatrick (AZ)
Greg Stanton (AZ)
Dave Min (CA)
Joshua Harder (CA)
Katie Hill (CA)
Hans Keirstead (CA)
Harley Rouda (CA)
Josh Butner (CA)
Jason Crow (CO)
Nancy Soderberg (FL)
Debbie Mucarsel-Powell (FL)
Lauren Baer (FL)
Paul Davis (KS)
Elissa Slotkin (MI)
Angie Craig (MN)
Dean Phillips (MN)
Mikie Sherrill (NJ)
Jeff Van Drew (NJ)
Tom Malinowski (NJ)
Max Rose (NY)
Anthony Brindisi (NY)
Susie Lee (NV)
Ben McAdams (UT)
Dan Kohl (WI)
Many people say, "well, they're better than the Republican." And, most of the time that's true-- though not on bills like the ones undermining Dodd Frank. And not when they're able to push the House Democrats right-ward (like they did when they killed the public option before it could ever get voted on). And many of them have hands as blood-soaked as Republicans when it comes to backing the NRA, particularly Jeff Van Drew (NJ), Ann Kirkpatrick (AZ) , Lauren Baer (FL) and Anthony Brindisi (NY). Anyway if you want to vote for the lesser of two evils in November, think about how awful New Dems and Blue Dogs are when you're voting during primaries. In Orange County, for example, you can vote for a proven progressive like Katie Porter or you can vote for a wretched New Dem like Dave Min. It shouldn't be too hard to figure that one out. Ann Kirkpatrick is running in Tuscon this time and she[s proven how horrible she is when she represented Flagstaff and she has two much better candidates running for the Tucson seat this time, Mary Matiella and Matt Heinz.

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Very Bad News In TX-21

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The Intercept was courageous to publish Zaid Jilani's post about TX-21 yesterday, a full day before the Texas runoff about how the DCCC had guessed wrong and backed a former Republican against a grassroots progressive. They must have imagined that Mary Street Wilson was a day away from replicating Kara Eastman's breathtaking victory over DCCC/Blue Dog-backed reactionary Brad Ashford in Omaha last week. But, alas, they miscalculated. Kopser won the primary runoff, looking more like the Lipinski win over progressive challenger Marie Newman:
Kopser- 14,636 (57.9%)
Wilson- 10,622 (42.1%)
Kopser, who serves on the board of the corrupt, anti-worker Texas Association of Businesses, identified himself as "the business candidate" and, although, he tries to brush over the differences between himself and normal Democrats, he's a conservative likely to be a truly horrible member of Congress. As of the May 2 FEC reporting deadline, he has raised $1,155,771. Mary had raised $91,105.
For Wilson and her supporters, Kopser’s insistence on maintaining his ties to the business lobby while it sues to force sick workers to show up or lose their jobs is just another example of why the Democratic Party is betting on the wrong horse in this race. National Democrats have coalesced around Kopser and have largely ignored Wilson, a favorite among progressives, who outperformed Kopser in the first round of voting, despite having significantly less resources than he did. (Derrick Crowe, the most left-wing candidate in the race, was eliminated in the first round and immediately endorsed Wilson.)

In December, Kopser earned the endorsement of Congress’s No. 2 Democrat, Maryland’s Rep. Steny Hoyer. He’s backed by the Democratic-leaning Brady Campaign to End Gun Violence, and, having spent over two decades in the U.S. military, he successfully won the backing of Massachusetts Democratic Rep. Seth Moulton’s Serve America PAC. VoteVets is backing him for similar reasons.

Wilson, meanwhile, is supported by a number of national and local progressive organizations, including Justice Democrats, Our Revolution Central Texas, and the Stonewall Democrats of Austin. The Austin Chronicle issued no endorsement in the runoff between the two candidates, with its editorial board split on the issue.

In Kopser’s telling, there is little difference between the candidates on the big issues. “I think in terms of policies, when people look at our websites, you’re going to find out that our policies are very aligned,” he told The Intercept.

But a look at the two candidates’ issues pages elides some significant differences. On health care, Wilson favors a single-payer health care system, under which the government would provide insurance, while Kopser prefers a public option and Medicaid buy-in, where Americans could voluntarily buy into a public insurance program with their own money, rather than automatically being covered by one. (That distinction is also a symbol of how the health care debate has moved. In 2009, during the debate over the Affordable Care Act, the public option was the rallying cry of progressive activists; now progressives prefer a single-payer system and establishment Democrats prefer a public option.)

When it comes to college education, Wilson has endorsed the House tuition-free college bill, which would make four-year public colleges and universities free for families earning up to $125,000 annually. Kopser, on the other hand, supports a more modest approach that would give tuition-free college to students whose families make less than the median income in their state and offer partial subsidies to other students.

The national Democratic support for Kopser, who has expressed his admiration for Ronald Reagan, could be explained by the fact that the district leans heavily Republican. In 2016, GOP Rep. Lamar Smith easily carried the district with 57 percent of the vote; his retirement as a longtime incumbent may weaken the party’s chances in the district, but few would describe it as anything other than conservative. Cook Political Report ranks the district as “likely Republican.”

But Wilson proved to be a formidable opponent in the first round of voting in March. Of five candidates, she led the field with 30.93 percent of the vote, to Kopser’s 28.98 percent. She did this despite having only a fraction of Kopser’s resources. Wilson spent around $39,000 to Kopser’s more than $600,000 prior to the first round of voting. That means she spent nearly two and a half bucks for every vote she earned, while Kopser spent over $40 per vote. The surprising strength of Wilson’s campaign may show that the district is becoming more progressive.

Shannon Proctor, an Indivisible activist in the district, described herself as a “Derrick fan girl” to The Intercept, referring to Crowe, the now-defeated candidate. After Wilson’s surprising performance in round one, she quickly aligned herself with the candidate. “I was guilty of having said that Mary didn’t stand a snowball’s chance in hell because I honestly didn’t think Texas District 21 was ready for a woman or a gay minister,” she admitted. But Wilson’s first-place finish changed Proctor’s mind, and she now believes Wilson is the strongest candidate in the race.

In an interview with The Intercept, Wilson sought to cast the race as the difference between a grassroots candidate and someone supported by Washington, D.C.-based organizations with substantial resources. She pointed to heavy-handed interventions by the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee in other Texas districts. The DCCC has not formally gotten involved in the 21st District yet, but did call Wilson to learn about her campaign after her surprising performance in the first round of voting on March 6. Wilson has not heard from the committee since, she said.

“I am more concerned, however, with the DCCC handpicking our candidates. The DCCC has completely misread the mood of the electorate. They continue to recruit and push candidates who do not represent voters’ needs or interests,” she said. “That’s why I came in first place in our primary after being outspent 20 to 1 by my opponent. Voters want to support candidates who will give a voice to working-class people, not multimillionaires. This year, voters are standing up and saying ‘our elections can’t be bought.'”

Like many other first-time Democratic candidates, Wilson was inspired to run for office after Donald Trump’s election to the White House, but her politics are more populist than anti-Trump. She has a track record as a social activist who has used her background as a lesbian member of the clergy to push back against the religious right. In 2005, she testified against Texas’s proposed constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage. More recently, she has been involved in activism in support of Planned Parenthood and against so-called bathroom bills that would require people to use public restrooms that correspond with the gender listed on their birth certificate.

In early April, Kopser’s campaign dealt with complaints after it field-tested messaging that referred to Wilson’s sexuality. The San Antonio Express-News summarized the poll as so:
Poll respondents were presented with a glittering narrative about Kopser. They were asked if they agreed that it would be important for Democrats to have a candidate who is a 20-year military veteran and has been described by former President Barack Obama as a champion of change.

When it came to Wilson, the poll profiled her as a lesbian minister and asked if Democrats should vote for her in the runoff whether they think she can win in November.
Kopser’s campaign told the paper that it was not seeking to make the poll an attack on Wilson’s campaign. “We have great respect for Mary and wanted to understand the extent to which the electorate finds her profile and message compelling,” the campaign said in a statement.

Prior to the first round of voting, Kopser ran a primary campaign strongly branded around the Democratic Party and progressivism, using mailers and digital ads to tout an award he received from the Obama White House for his private sector work in green energy.

But Wilson’s supporters are skeptical of Kopser’s Democratic credentials, pointing to a 2016 CNN segment in which he is portrayed as a Republican who opposed Trump. “He’s a Republican. I don’t give a shit what anybody says,” Proctor said. “He’s a Republican.”

“At a taco joint in Houston, Kopser shared how the self-described Reagan, Republican, West Point graduate army veteran who served in Iraq turned high-tech entrepreneur sees Trump as a dangerous choice,” CNN correspondent Ed Lavandera narrated.

“If Ronald Reagan and John Lennon had a kid, I’d be their son,” Kopser said in the clip, describing his politics. “Donald Trump is not who he appears to be. Donald Trump is a great entertainer. Donald Trump is a great showman if you will, but Donald Trump doesn’t really represent the views of so many millions of Americans.”

In an interview with The Intercept, Kopser said that the CNN segment misrepresented him. “I wish I had control over how reporters or papers editorialize their summaries,” he said. “He decided for spite or for whatever reason was the purpose of his article that he was going to describe me as a Ronald Reagan Republican. What he failed to do was add that very important prepositional phrase or description: ‘as a kid in the 1980s.'”

Kopser said he comes from a longtime Republican family but that he started to drift away from the party in the late ’80s.

At an event last year, Kopser said he had voted for Democrats in every general election since 1992. For Wilson, Kopser’s political history remains a question mark. “Regarding Joseph Kopser’s voting history, from what I understand, there is no evidence that Joseph has voted in a Democratic primary, and it is unclear to me when he became a Democrat,” she said. State voting records provided by the secretary of state to The Intercept only went back to 2014 and showed Kopser voting in just one primary: his own Democratic race in 2018.

In a November 19, 2016, Medium blog post titled, “On Trump, Reagan was right, ‘Trust but Verify,'” Kopser expressed dismay that Trump had been elected, but rhetorically reached across the aisle to his supporters to ask them to adopt the Gipper’s slogan when it came to the incoming president. He didn’t espouse a strong partisan identity in the post.

“Moderation and conversation will solve this problem as well as people starting to put country over party,” he wrote. “I look forward to working with anyone who wants to work to solve our problems in a moderate, thoughtful way to achieve a compromise we can all live with.”

Kopser cites his military history as the reason for avoiding partisan political activity prior to his announcement that he was running for Congress.

“It has been a tradition in military service going back to the days of George Washington,” not to have strong political affiliations, Kopser said in an interview.

“I made it a point when I was in the military to have never registered with a particular party,” he added. “And so, if given a choice whatever of the nine places I lived in my 20 years in the army, I would either choose nonaffiliated, unregistered, no party-- I forget what the different options were-- or in some cases, if they gave me no option, I put independent just to be my own person, independent not following the current-day independents, whatever the heck that means, that labeling.”

As recently as February, Kopser showcased his sometimes noncommittal approach to partisan political labels. During an event at the Ranchers and Landowners Association of Texas, he explained to the audience that his time in Iraq was part of the reason he wanted to secure the U.S.-Mexican border.

The hawkish remarks took some in the audience by surprise.

A member of the audience called out, “Are you sure you’re on the right ticket?”

He replied, “I’m on the American ticket.”
Now TX-21 voters are stuck with a choice between the lesser of two evils in November. Good luck figuring that out. Nor did any of the other Texas congressional primary runoffs last night have happy endings. The DCCC can congratulate itself for having wrecked Laura Moser's campaign. An anti-union Democrat, Lizzie Fletcher beat her in a very low turnout race, 67.9% to 32.1%. Fletcher will lose miserably to Republican Jon Culberson in November. The DCCC would prefer that than to see Moser take the seat. In the 23rd, Gina Jones beat Rick Trevino 68.1% to 31.9% and in the 32nd, Colin Allred beat Lillian Salerno 69.5% to 30.5%.

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