HomeOpen Thread3/6 News Roundup – Our Revolution Brings Progressive Populism Back To Texas, DCCC Promises More Primary Interventions & More
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Establishment Dem consultants are a plague


After two decades of losses, you might think that the Ohio Democratic Party would have figured that out. But for the most part, it has not. Instead, the current crop of Democratic candidates has focused on critiques of Trump, Kasich, and the Ohio legislature. They’ve raised concerns about gerrymandering and voter suppression, the opioid crisis, Ohio’s pitiful record on women’s issues, and the almost uniformly bad performance of for-profit charter schools. Valid concerns all, but the Democrats running for office in 2018 have offered almost nothing in the way of concrete economic platforms.

The website of gubernatorial candidate Richard Cordray, for instance, features only biographies of him and running mate Betty Sutton and a button to donate. It’s not as if he hasn’t had time to develop a coherent policy agenda, since he has been planning to run for governor for more than a year. Nor does the website identify any specific plans for addressing Sutton’s “kitchen table issues”: jobs and wages, education, health care, and a secure retirement. Cordray has raised considerable money, but he can’t count on his personal story to defeat primary opponents like Dennis Kucinich, the former congressman and mayor of Cleveland.

Kucinich and Senator Sherrod Brown are the most notable exceptions to this pattern. Kucinich’s website provides the most concrete—and progressive—platform in the Democrats’ gubernatorial field. Similarly, Brown’s 77-page white paper, Working Too Hard for Too Little: A Plan for Restoring the Value of Work in America, lays out a comprehensive and concrete program to raise worker wages and benefits, give more workers voice and power at work, improve retirement savings, and encourage workforce investments. That he released his plan in March 2017, on the heels of Hillary Clinton’s defeat, shows that he understands that the Democratic Party needs more concrete economic programs squarely aimed at improving the economic lives of working people.

Why haven’t Ohio Democrats come out swinging with a populist campaign that could appeal to the working class? First, the Party’s leadership is too conservative to mount a persuasive populist campaign. As well, the ODP is inbred, relying on a relatively small circle of consultants who have been responsible for past defeats. Furthermore, Richard Cordray has chosen to rely on the same strategic campaign communication specialists that mainstream Democrats have typically hired.

The ODP is controlled by David Pepper, who chairs the state party. Pepper is the son of the former CEO of Proctor and Gamble, and his close circle includes downstate lobbyists and operatives. This group has shown no affinity for working-class voters or their concerns. After the disastrous 2014 election, in which Democrats lost seats statewide and Kasich was re-elected, the ODP rejected Brown’s suggestions for changes in the Party as well as his choice for state chair. Since then, Brown and the Party have had an uneasy and transactional relationship. Sources close to Brown’s campaign estimate that between 30 percent and 40 percent of the contributions to the state party are tied directly to Brown’s involvement. At the same time, Brown needs the party to help get out the vote.


Millions of Americans’ Right to Vote Is at Stake in This Case

In 2016, Stricker joined a lawsuit filed by the ACLU against Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, the architect of the law, who the following year would be named vice chair of President Donald Trump’s now-defunct election integrity commission. The proof-of-citizenship measure prevented 1 in 7 new voters from registering between 2013 and 2016, nearly half of whom were under 30. A federal appeals court temporarily blocked a key part of the law before the 2016 election, finding “there was an almost certain risk that thousands of otherwise qualified Kansans would be unable to vote in November.”

On Tuesday, the case will go to trial in federal court in Kansas City, Kansas. The outcome has significant national implications for voting rights. Kobach views his Kansas law as a model for the rest of the country and wants every state to adopt proof-of-citizenship laws. If he loses in the lower courts, Kobach is almost certain to appeal to the Supreme Court. And if he wins, millions of eligible voters across the country could be disenfranchised if other states adopt similar laws with the knowledge that they’ll hold up in court. According to the Brennan Center for Justice, 7 percent of Americans do not have ready access to their citizenship documents.

Kobach also has a backup plan if he loses the case. He’s already shared a draft of federal legislation with the Trump administration that would allow states to require proof of citizenship for registration, and he has asked Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa), an anti-immigration hardliner, to introduce the bill in the House. (He was fined last year by a federal court for telling the court that “no such document exists,” despite having shared a copy of the legislation with Trump.)

The trial will shine a spotlight on Kobach’s frequent claims of mass voter fraud. He says the proof-of-citizenship law is necessary because in Kansas, “the illegal registration of alien voters has become pervasive.” But there’s little evidence of voting by non-citizens in Kansas, as Mother Jones has reported.


Kansas Secretary of State seeks to deliver a devastating blow to voting rights

The ACLU intends to highlight voters who have been or could be disenfranchised because of the law, including young voters and voters of color, to convince the court that the law is discriminatory and unlawful.

“Even though most people have these documents, there are some people who don’t and that means they’re going to pay some money for it, and that’s not constitutional,” Ho said. “That’s the problem.”

Tad Stricker acknowledges that as a 39-year-old, property-owning white man, he is not the typical disenfranchised voter. But his experience being told he could not vote made him realize the scope of the harm that can be caused by proof of citizenship laws.

“My experience is something that really could happen to anyone,” he said. “If this can happen to me — I have proof of citizenship, I was born in the United States, I own a home, I am a contributing member of society — this can literally happen to anybody. That to me is the scariest thing.”


Anything that hurts Cuomo is fine by me

For Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, the political damage, it seems, is already done.

Over the last six weeks, federal prosecutors in Manhattan unspooled a streaming spectacle of unflattering tales of how Mr. Cuomo, 60, conducts himself and how his administration has conducted the people’s business in Albany.

Witnesses and court records told stories of the governor’s pitching a screaming fit after an upstate development deal fell through; allowing Joseph Percoco, a former top aide and confidant who is one of four defendants on trial, to continue to use a state office and phone while he served as his campaign manager in 2014; being cajoled into talking cars, for a half-hour, with an executive of a company now accused of trying to bribe Mr. Percoco to do their bidding.

State election laws were ignored or flouted, critics say, and campaign finance rules exploited to allow Mr. Cuomo’s donors to use multiple, anonymous companies to give amply to his coffers, a practice urged on by a longtime Cuomo associate.

The governor has not been accused of illegal acts, and prosecutors and the federal judge in charge of the case, Judge Valerie E. Caproni, have stressed that the donations in question were legal. . Nonetheless, the corruption trial, which enters its fourth day of jury deliberations on Tuesday, may well tarnish the well-groomed reputation of Mr. Cuomo, a second-term Democrat facing re-election in the fall. It may also complicate or undercut any national ambitions, which would need to take flight in places like Iowa and New Hampshire next year.

“Any time a close adviser or aide is charged with corruption reflects badly on a politician,” said Ben Tulchin, a pollster for Bernie Sanders during his presidential race. “It’s even worse if it’s New York: Voters in the heartland already have a jaded view of New York politics and politicians.”


Oh yeah Tester, the voters in Montana are desperate for this bill. According to this article, Dem supporters are up to 13 from 12. The bankers are relying on the $ they give to these Dems to get their wish list passed.

Congress is getting ready to demolish Dodd-Frank banking regulations

The bill is a bizarre 10th birthday present to the massive financial crisis that prompted the new rules in the first place when it spilled over from the investment world to cripple the real economy and tank the class mobility of hundreds of millions of families.

In these heady days of Trumpian flailing and #resistance theatrics, you might expect Democrats to fight back against an effort to gut critical technicalities from the Dodd-Frank Wall Street reforms. But that’s not how the history of financial deregulation works. This time, as every time, the bankers are relying on a large minority of the Democratic caucus in the Senate to get their wish-list passed. Thirteen of them stand ready to help Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) break a filibuster that would likely be led by Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA).

It’s an old strategy that the banking industry has profited from over and over again: Some number of relatively conservative Democrats will always join with ideologically anti-regulation Republicans to pass attacks on the rules and agencies aimed at policing Wall Street. Monday morning, the old strategy appeared to have worked anew: “Victory in sight for Democrats defying Warren on banking bill,” Politico declared. In the story under that headline, one of those “Democrats defying Warren” quoted is Sen. Jon Tester (D-MT), who seems to believe that racking up bipartisan accomplishments is a surer path to re-election than defying the White House.


In all 16 Dems voted for this. Joining the 12 we already knew were Nelson (FL), Stabenow (MI), Hassan (NH), and Shaheen (NH). So states with both Dem senators voting for this bill were Delaware, Michigan, New Hampshire, and Virginia


In the Senate this week, Democrats and Republicans are poised to “break through the partisan gridlock that has plagued Washington,” and “show voters that it’s still possible to get things done in an often paralyzed Congress.”

Specifically, they’re prepared to show voters that it’s still possible for lawmakers to put aside their differences, and work together to help banks discriminate against black people, coerce mobile-home buyers into predatory loans, and pursue high-risk lending strategies that increase the likelihood of a future financial crisis.

Alas, the most plausible explanation for the Democrats’ capitulation is the vulgar Marxist one: We’re living through an era of peak partisan polarization — and record corporate spending on lobbying and campaigns. The former reality has made it impossible for the Senate to pass immigration and gun control reforms, despite broad public support for bipartisan bills on both issues; the latter has made it easy for the Senate to deliver bipartisan gifts to their Wall Street benefactors, despite broad public opposition.

And the dismal condition of our Fourth Estate just might allow these mercenary “moderates” to frame their feat of cooperative corruption as proof that our political system isn’t broken.


And another one down and another one down another one bites the dust.

White House economic adviser Cohn stepping down


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