Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Blogger Candidate Forum: Primary Tuesday



Hello Everyone:

It is a sparkling Wednesday afternoon and time for Blogger Candidate Forum.  Yuge news from the Special counsul's office.  Mr. Donald Trump's attorney, former New York City Mayor Rudy Guiliani, announced that Robert Mueller's team cannot indict a sitting president.  Essentially, the special counsel can  write a report with recommendations for further action.  The only thing this news means is that the president can breathe a sigh, albeit a short sigh, of relief.  This comes on the heels of news that Mr. Trump had a role in crafting a statement regarding that now infamous Trump Tower meeting in 2016, in which his eldest son, Jared Kushner, and Paul Manafort met with Russian agents regarding "dirt" on Hillary Clinton.  The statement, dictated to Trump campaign spokesperson Hope Hicks, said that the meeting was about lifting the sanctions on adoptions of Russian children by Americans.  This contradicts the email chain released by the president's eldest son last summer which clearly documents his glee over the possibility of getting incriminating information on Madame Secretary.  In other major news, CNN is reporting that former White House advisor Steve Bannon used Cambridge Analytica to suppress the African American vote in the 2016 election.  In better news, #NetNeutrality lives.  The United States Senate voted to uphold net neutrality.  The bill now goes to the House of Representatives where it has a more rocky path.  Stay tuned.  This definitely beats all the royal wedding drama.


Tuesday is primary day in Pennsylvania, Nebraska, Idaho, and Oregon.  Speaking of primaries, friendly reminders to California fans, followers, and friends.  Primary day is June 5th and the registration clock is ticking loudly.  If you have not registered to vote, stop reading and go to ca.gov for information.  If you are registered to vote, in any state, go vote.  Okay, back to the subject: Primary day in Pennsylvania, Nebraska, Idaho and Oregon.

In a word, "The #Resistance had a very good night" according to fivethirtyeight.com (May 16, 2018). The #Resistance is more progressive wing of the Democratic Party and it means business.  Nathaniel Rakich reported today on the website, "The more progressive candidate won in Democratic primaries around the country.  The question, however, is whether those more liberal candidates will hurt the party's chances in November."  The biggest shocker of the night was the nomination of Kara Eastman, a nonprofit executive, to Nebraska's 2nd Congressional District.  Ms. Eastman, a progressive Democrat, narrowly beat the establishment candidate former Representative Brad Ashford 51 percent to 49 percent (electionresults.sos.ne.gov; date accessed May 16, 2018) despite Mr. Ashford's support from the Democratic Party.  Ms. Eastman stoked the liberal by tossing red (blue?) meat on the flames (omaha.com; Apr. 26, 2018; date accessed May 16, 2018).  Whereas, Mr. Ashford touted his ability to build bipartisan consensus, Ms. Eastman promised resistance and confrontation.  Blogger sincerely hopes that California's senior Senator Dianne Feinstein was paying attention to yesterday's primary races.  

Mr. Rakich points out a potential problem for the Democrats, "The potential problem for Democrats is that Eastman's outspoken liberalism may turn off general-election voters in Nebraska's 2nd District, which, while not ruby red, is still red."  Although former President Barack Carried the district 50 to 49 percent in 2008 (dailykos.com; Nov. 19, 2012; date accessed May 16, 2018) but that was a decade ago and in an election where Democrats carried the popular vote by 7 percent (transition.fec.gov; date accessed May 16, 2018).  Former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney carried the district by 7 points in 2012 and Mr. Trump won it by 2 points.  Mr. Rakich writes, "All in all, the 2nd is 6 percentage points more Republican-leaning than the nation as a whole, according to FiveThirtyEight's partisan lean metric.  Right now, Democrats lead the generic ballot by the very same 6 points (projects.fivethirtyeight.com; date accessed May 16, 2018).  If this holds going into November, it could mean a tie game in the Nebraska 2nd-where small things, like a candidate appeal to voters could swing the race in either direction.

While excitement over Kara Eastman's candidacy will bring more progressive voters to the ballot box, she my have difficulty persuading the undecided voters.  Brad Ashford would have given the Democrats a few extra percentage points.  Mr. Rakich reminds us "In 2016, he lost his re-election race in Nebraska's 2nd District by 1 percentage point,...In 2014, he won the seat by 3 points in a year in which Democrats lost the national House popular vote by 6 points."  Keep in mind that candidates closer to the ideological poles do not fare as well more moderate ones: this was borne out in political scientific research (andrewbenjaminhall.com; date accessed May 16, 2018) and we witnessed the "shellacking" of 2010 which swept the Republicans did extremely well (fivethirtyeight.com; Feb 15, 2017; date accessed may 16, 2018) against a very unpopular first term president.  Still, Ms. Eastman could win "in a strong Democratic year, we may also look back on her nomination as Democrats' first 'tea party moment: a general-election opportunity squandered in a the primary..."

Meanwhile in Idaho, state Representative Paulette Jordan surprised everyone, cruising to the Democratic nomination for governor, 59 percent to 40 percent (nytimes.com; May 16, 2018), besting a ore moderate better funded rival.  If she wins in November, state Rep. Jordan would make history as the first Native American governor in American history. Yay.  She was endorsed (idahostatesman.com; May 1, 2018; date accessed May 16, 2018)  by Democracy for America, Indivisible, and Cher--not exactly known for exerting their influence on Idaho voters.

There were two Pennsylvania congressional primaries (fivethirtyeight.com; May 15, 2018; date accessed May 16, 2018) that pitted progressivism against pragmatism and the progressives went two for two.  Pennsylvania's 1st District was a contest between philanthropist Scott Wallace, the grandson of Henry A. Wallace the Progressive Party's 1948 presidential nominee (en.wikipedia.org; date accessed May 16, 20180 and former Navy prosecutor Rachel Reddick.  Mr. Wallace handily defeated Ms. Reddick 56 percent to 35 percent.  Ms. Reddick made her conversion from Republican to Democratic a centerpiece of her campaign (theintell.com; Apr. 14, 2018; date accessed May 16, 2018).  Over in the 7th District, a split in the progressive vote nearly gave the Democratic nomination to Northampton District Attorney John Morganelli, who made pro-Trump, anti-immigrant comments (philly.com; May 8, 2018; date accessed May 16, 2018).  He was beaten by Allentown City Solictor Susan Wild 30 to 33 percent, and Senator Bernie Sanders-endorsed candidate pastor Greg Edwards finished third with 26 percent of the vote.  Nathaniel Rakich reports, "More than Nebraska's 2nd District, both the 1st and th Districts in Pennsylvania are true swing districts, with a partisan lean of R+1 and D+0.04, respectively--in other words, they're almost perfect bell weathers for the nation as a whole."  In short, the Democrats have very little room for error in the Democratic-leaning national landscape.

Kara Eastman, Paulette Jordan, and Susan Wild's victories were indication of another trend: The political future is female.  Women won 11 out of the 16 contested Democratic primaries  for Senate, House, or governor where there is at least one female candidate and Democratic incumbent.  State Senator Kevin de Leon are paying attention.  Pennsylvania--"currently the largest state with no women in its congressional delegation--three women won Democratic primaries in seats likely to elect them in November:..."  They are: Madeleine Dean in the 4th District, Mary Gay Scanlon in the 5th District, and Chrissy Houlahan in the 6th District (her race was uncontested).  Yesterday's primaries also represents a strong election cycle for Emily's List, "the progressive political action committee that works to elect pro-choice Democratic women."  Three out of the five candidates, endorsed by the organization, won.

Finally, the Republicans were not left out of the primary fun.  Voters, in a bit of role, chose more electable candidates.  Idahoans opted for Lt. Governor Brad Little, who had the support of the state's Republican establishment, beat (nytimes.com; date accessed May 16, 2018) Trumpish businessman Tommy Ahlquist and tea party bomb thrower Rep. Raul Labrador in the governor's primary.  In Oregon, pro-choice Republican Rep. Knute Buehler swatted away two more conservative Republicans with 47 percent of the vote (Ibid) "preserving a potential path to victory for the GOP in the Beaver State's gubernatorial race."  Back in Pennsylvania, state Senator Scott--who nearly defeated Democtratic Gov. Tom Wolf in pre-primary polls (mcall.com; Apr. 13, 2018; date accessed May 16, 2018)--bested Paul Mango by a slender 44-to-37- percent (nytimes.com; date accessed May 16, 2018)