The Democratic Establishment is panicking progressives into voting for unspeakably corrupt conservative candidates, warning them that Trump is under the bed and that if they don't vote for Democrats up and down the ticket, he will kill and eat everyone– and not necessarily in that order. In recent days, we've been warning you about how the DCCC has orchestrated a return of the Blue Dogs. Blue Dogs and New Dems– the Republican wing of the Democratic Party– are getting millions of dollars in support for their campaigns from the DCCC and Pelosi's illegally coordinated House Majority PAC, while progressives have been almost entirely left to fend for themselves, often after the DCCC badgered donors into not contributing to progressives' campaigns.
This week, the New Republic ran a piece, Will 2016 Mark the Return of the Blue Dog Democrat? which throws around the term “Blue Dog Democrat” very loosely. Blue Dog Democrats fill out an application and there are membership dues and a secret handshake. It's not a randomly hideous state of mind; it's a defined group one joins. The Blue Dogs have turned people down who applied for membership– literally– for not being right-wing and corrupt enough. So… unless someone can show you the secret handshake, they're not really a Blue Dog. A conservaDem, on the other hand, that's a better description of Missouri Senate candidate Jason Kander.
Xander is running against one of the most egregiously corrupt Senate Republicans, Roy Blunt, whose wife is one of the “top corporate lobbyists in Washington” and whose 4 children are all K Street lobbyists as well. Kander is an anti-corruption reformer. But… the writers have bought into the old Beltway conservaDem conventional wisdom that only reactionaries can win in states like Missouri. They're incorrect and it's a fatal flaw of establishment Democratic strategy.
But should Kander win this Senate fight, he would be the most prominent member of a new crop of white, young, male Democrats emerging in the South—politicians who would have fit neatly into a Democratic Party with an influential conservative wing, but are somewhat anachronistic in a party that has grown more liberal, urban, and diverse in the Obama era. This is the irony of Kander’s candidacy: If the Democratic Party wants to start winning in the South, it may have to reach towards its Blue Dog past, rather than its multi-ethnic present and future. Twenty years ago, Missouri was a remnant of the solid South, a bulwark of conservative Democrats who were for guns and against abortion.
|Kander, better than Blunt|
Kander's approach is smart and is based on an assumption “that Missourians have grown tired of career politicians like Roy Blunt who have been grandfathered into political power. 'He is Washington through and through,' said his communications director, Chris Hayden. 'Jason believes that it’s time for a new generation of leadership.'” Not a word of policy there– just process. Nothing inspiring or about how Kander can help Missouri families make a better life. Ethics reform is good and it's a strength Kander is making the most of… but progressive policy is missing from his pitch. His “biographical campaign grounded in character, not ideology” is not enough for anything other than– at best– a step up the careerist ladder. When he gets into pushing policy, it's to show how anti-Obama he is.
“He was the first Democrat to come out against the Iran deal.” In an election season that has partly been defined by establishment vs. anti-establishment politics, Kander falls squarely in the latter camp. Not only is he running against Republican elites, but is also keeping his distance from Hillary Clinton. He appeared with Clinton at an early campaign rally, but hasn’t been seen with her for months and sat out the Democratic National Convention in July.
Kander’s twist is that he doesn’t belong to the main anti-establishment wing of the Democratic Party– the Bernie Sanders wing. When we asked Hayden which senators Kander most admired and would want to work with in Congress, he listed Iowa’s Joni Ernst and Arkansas’s Tom Cotton, two fiercely conservative Republicans who, like Kander, are also veterans.
It gets worse. The authors, Alex Shephard and Laura Reston, then ballyhoo a Democrat so bad– an “ex”-Republican, spoiled rich-kid with ZERO accomplishments and a loyalty to Wall Street and a wealthy and powerful Saudi family who's helped finance his career– Patrick Murphy, literally the worst Democrat the part is running in 2016. “Kander,” they wrote, “isn’t the only young, white Democrat to run for office in the South, drumming up national media attention as the Next Big Thing in the region. Patrick Murphy, the Democratic Senate candidate in Florida, fits a similar mold. He’s moderate and charismatic, a rising star in state politics.” He isn't “moderate.” He's conservative, nor is he charismatic; he's drunk. If he's a rising star in state politics, Florida is further up shit's creek with no paddle. They describe Murphy's (and Kander's) policies as “so bland, indeed, that they rely heavily on their youth to manufacture enthusiasm among voters. At the heart of their strategies is the idea that old order is corrupt and decrepit.” Youth doesn't last forever; Bernie still has his policies at 75 years old. As far as ethics… maybe Kander can do what few politicians ever do and stay straight. Murphy is already one of the most corrupt Washington politicians, a veritable case study in what voters find disgusting and reprehensible about politics. I suspect Shephard and Reston didn't do enough homework on Murphy before writing their piece to get a passing grade from a high school civics teacher.
Queens County boss and former New Dem head, Joe Crowley, is one of the most corrupt men to have ever served in Congress. Democratic members in Congress are being told that the next leader after Pelosi and Hoyer are gone will be either Crowley or Wasserman Schultz, also a New Dem and who may be even more corrupt than he is! If this is the best the Democrats can do for leadership, the party doesn't deserve to run Congress. Nor can Americans afford to let them. That's why so many millions of Americans just want to blow up the whole system and are willing to vote for a fascist pig like Trump.
They almost seemed more eager to get out the (DSCC) party line than giving their readers any insights into the face of the Republican wing of the Democratic Party. “Even running neck-in-neck with Blunt,” they assert, “Kander has shown that Democrats have a shot in the South if they rise above partisanship and engage in anti-establishment politics. His performance in Missouri will likely be seen as a blueprint for Democrats in the region and other conservative areas.” But then they did get into the crux of the problem.
The problem for the Democratic Party is that, if these candidates begin to win, it will introduce new tensions to a congressional coalition that has grown accustomed to being more uniformly liberal. Kander is a throwback from the conservative wing of the Democratic Party—the so-called Blue Dogs who were all but flushed out of Congress in the revanchist backlash to President Barack Obama that began in the 2010 midterms. Their influence has been supplanted by the coalition Obama cobbled together: women, African-Americans, Latinos, and young voters, who together constitute the future of the Democratic Party at the national level.
Blue Dog Democrats often frustrated the national party– to say nothing of the left– by refusing to tow the party line: Think of the unseemly deal-making that the Democrats had to undergo to get a single vote for Obamacare from Nebraska Senator Ben Nelson (which ended up being unnecessary anyway). Kander’s opposition to the Iran deal, to say nothing of his desire to work with far-right senators like Ernst and Cotton, suggest that he wouldn’t exactly be a rubber stamp for a Clinton White House. Of course, Kander is preferable to Blunt, just as Joe Manchin is preferable to any West Virginia Republican. The question is whether the Democrats, who have turned left over the last eight years, are capable of putting together a stable and coherent governing coalition, particularly in an institution like the Senate, which tilts power toward rural, conservative areas.
But having a conflicted, raucous coalition may be preferable to the alternative. The Republican Party in the past decade has gone through a series of purges that have resulted in a homogenous, shrinking party obsessed with the purity of its members. And look where the GOP is now.
Patrick Murphy doesn't understand why cutting Social Security and Medicare is wrong; he's too dumb to understand
I often hear naive Democrats talk about how even a fake Democrat as reactionary and corrupt as Patrick Murphy is “better than a Republican” or, in this case, “better than Rubio.” He will, after all, vote with the Democrats to confirm judges which Rubio will not do and he'll vote with the Democrats on other things as well. But, a Senator Murphy would mean that inside the Democratic party there is another force tugging it to the right, pushing Wall Street's agenda, closing down possibilities of serious progressive solutions to problems. Rubio, a Republican, isn't capable of impacting the Democratic Party that way. Blue Dog and New Dems (Murphy is a New Dem), drag the party brand into the toilet with him and make it more difficult for voters to see the difference between the two parties– because the difference blurs for the sake of the politicians' own careers. American families get lost in the shuffle. I'd never vote for Patrick Murphy, even if it meant Rubio getting another term. As George Orwell famously said, “A people that elect corrupt politicians, imposters, thieves and traitors are not victims… but accomplices.”
No Blue Dogs on this list:
“When fascism comes to America, it will be wrapped in the flag and carrying the cross.” — Sinclair Lewis