It takes a local party

Building on Betty’s post this morning on how we need to build a leftward pendulum swing at all levels of government and society, I want to endorse and fundraise for promising candidate for Oakland County Commissioner in Michigan:

Charles Gaba is the guy behind ACASignups.net which is the go-to source for all enrollment information about the Exchanges and a very good clearinghouse for lots of other health wonkery.

He is running for County Commissioner in a suburban county in the Detroit metro area where the Presidential top-lines have the county as a lean Democratic area but the local government has a significant Republican presence.  He is doing something about that and I want to help a colleague and a fellow wonk.  So if you can spare a few bucks, help elect a wonky progressive to a county government board:

 

Here is Charles’ Act Blue link:   https://secure.actblue.com/contribute/page/gaba



Saturday Morning Open Thread: One Makes Room for More

The Democratic delegate count for New York has been finalized — Clinton 139, Sanders 108 (full pledged delegate count: Clinton 1444, Sanders 1207). Reporters are feeling secure enough to start pestering Clinton surrogates about her VP choices. John Podesta promised the Boston Globe that Hillary’s short list would include a woman (because of course they asked, and what else was he gonna say?) The Washington Post‘s premier horse-race tout Chris Cillizza likes Amy Klobuchar, Tom Perez, Tim Kaine, Sherrod Brown, and Julian Castro, and his explanations are reasonable enough to consider them the Conventional Wisdom picks.
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But apart from nitpicking the backup Prom Queen/King, Ann Friedman at NYMag has pointed out that there’s more women running for office than ever:

There are currently 27 women in the running for the U.S. Senate, and 216 are vying for U.S. House seats. Plus six women running for governor. Not all of them will win their primaries to make it to the ballot in November. But there are hundreds of women campaigning right now — you’re just not hearing much about them.

The silence is a real shame, because in 2016 we could see a record-breaking number of women elected to the Senate. There are nine pro-choice Democratic women running for Senate this year, most of whom have a good shot at election. Compare that to the supposedly watershed “Year of the Woman” in 1992, which only saw four women senators elected. And, this year, four of the nine contenders are women of color, which is huge because only two women of color have ever, in history, been elected to the Senate…

Not all of these women candidates, it’s worth noting, have endorsed Clinton. And for those of us who are just voters — whether we’re Clinton superfans, merely lukewarm on her, or Sanders supporters who care about electing women — it’s time to look down the ticket. A lot of signs point to 2016 being a big year for women voters — especially if Donald Trump, who seems to actively hate women, is the Republican nominee. If we’re smart, we’ll use the wide gender gap among voters to lift women candidates at all levels of politics.

Here’s how to start: Rutgers’s Center for American Women in Politics has a list of women who are running in every state. Read it. Find a woman near you, or a woman on the other side of the country whose values you share. And decide to support her — financially, if possible. But in other ways, too. Volunteer. Talk her up. Do what you can. Many candidates are facing primary elections in May and June, so now is a great time to get onboard with their campaigns…

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Apart from bickering about terminology working towards change, what’s on the agenda for the day?



Walking the Walk: DeRay McKesson Is Running for Mayor of Baltimore

Wesley Lowrey, in the Washington Post, “DeRay Mckesson, Black Lives Matter activist, launches last-minute bid to become mayor of Baltimore”:

… The activist waited until the final hour before the 9 p.m., Feb. 3, filing deadline to launch the surprise, long-shot bid, which begins just 83 days before voters head to the polls. Because Democrats far outnumber Republicans in the city, Baltimore’s April 26 primary is expected to determine who replaces Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, the once-rising star in national Democratic politics who announced last year that she would not seek reelection.

“Baltimore is at a moment,” Mckesson, who becomes the first of the prominent post-Ferguson activists to seek public office, said in a phone interview on Wednesday night. “I’m running to usher Baltimore into a new era where our government is accountable to its people and aggressively innovative in how it identifies and solves problems.”

Mckesson, 30, joins a crowded field that includes former mayor Sheila Dixon, who is leading in the polls, state Sen. Catherine Pugh, and city councilmen Carl Stokes and Nick Mosby as well as 10 other Democratic candidates…
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… [O]n a brisk Saturday afternoon in January, a paper sign was taped to the building’s thick glass front door: “DeRay’s meeting: third floor.”

The four-hour policy meeting — attended by a Washington Post reporter on the condition that details of the gathering would not be reported until after Mckesson made his final decision on whether he would enter the race — was a free-for-all, in which a dozen participants reviewed data on education, housing, and criminal justice.

In attendance were Johnetta Elzie and Samuel Sinyangwe, two activists who, with Mckesson, run Campaign Zero (the fourth partner, Brittany Packnett, joined the meeting via conference call); Donnie O’Callaghan, an education policy analyst and Mckesson’s best friend, and several city officials who knew Mckesson from his time working for the school district and his prior nonprofit and community organizing work.

While Mckesson is best known publicly for his advocacy around criminal justice and policing policy, the bulk of the meeting was spent discussing a host of other issues: education, housing and public health…

Much more detail, and useful links to other long profiles of Mckesson, at the link.



Democrat Wins in Louisiana (for What It’s Worth)

Mother Jones reports:

Republican Sen. David Vitter lost his bid to be the next governor of Louisiana on Saturday, and it wasn’t even close. The two-term senator lost the runoff election to Democratic state Rep. John Bel Edwards by double digits, setting the stage for the state to potentially become the first in the Deep South to accept a pivotal part of Obamacare…

Edwards, an anti-abortion, pro-gun, West Point grad, became the first Democratic candidate to win a statewide election in Louisiana since 2008, and benefited from support from Republicans who were dissatisfied with Vitter’s personal troubles and who were disappointed by the state’s financial woes under outgoing Gov. Bobby Jindal. (By the time Jindal dropped out of the presidential race on Wednesday, the one-time rising star’s approval ratings had dropped to 20-percent.)

Jindal also rejected federal funding to expand Medicaid. Edwards has pledged to sign an executive order authorizing the expansion of the program on his first day in office. That’s a really big deal. Such a move would provide coverage to about 225,000 residents in one of the poorest states in the nation.

John Bel Edwards is not exactly the perfect candidate of my progressive dreams, but then, I’m not an uninsured poor person in Louisiana. So props for the win, about-to-be-Governor Edwards, and may your every legislative decision be 180 degrees in opposition to that of the incumbent.



Goose Eggs

Yeah, Richard Mayhew is probably right about why Bevin won, because Kynect/Medicaid wasn’t a factor to voters.

You want to know why it wasn’t a factor to voters?

Big ol goddamn goose egg, that’s why.

You can feel all the sympathy you want for people who voted against their self-interest here in the Bluegrass State, but considering Conway was too busy telling people how awful Obama is, he gets a big chunk of the blame too.

Democrats.  Who Run Away.  From Obama.  Lose.

Why is this so goddamn hard for people to understand?



Lying Until The Very End

Tomorrow Kentuckians hit the polls to see whether or not Matt Bevin will kick 400,000 plus people off Medicaid.

Bevin has lied the entire campaign about wanting to get rid of Medicaid expansion. It’s right here in his “Bevin Blueprint” for Kentucky. right there at the top of page 10.

I mean, I don’t know what else you can say about it.  He flat out says it “should be repealed”.  There’s nothing in there about any transition, any help for the 450,000 added to Medicaid under the expansion and the thousands more getting insurance through Kynect, he just closes Kynect and puts Kentucky on the federal health insurance exchange.  That’s his plan.

Nearly half a million people would lose their health insurance, point blank.  It’s in Bevin’s own position paper, guys.  It’s his stated policy, right there, verbatim.

Oh, and the rest of the Bevin Blueprint is a disaster: ending unions in the state, cutting thousands of state employee jobs, ending state pensions, shifting education dollars to private, charter and home schools and ending state education standards, and massive tax cuts for the rich and for businesses and expecting Laffer Curve unicorns to make up the lost revenue, just like in Kansas.

Oh, and he ends with refusing to enforce federal laws and regulations he doesn’t agree with. Nullification uber alles!

Time to vote, Kentuckians.  You’ve got a choice to make: Conway, or this recipe for economic and austerity disaster that will burn the state to the ground.

But don’t take my word for it.  Let John Oliver explain with the help of a pangolin.



Kynect Versus The Purple People Eaters

Speaking of state exchanges and the color purple (prose or otherwise) heading into the final weekend before Tuesday’s gubernatorial election here in Kentucky, just a gentle reminder of what’s at stake here should Republican Matt Bevin win over Democratic AG Jack Conway and Kynect and Medicaid expansion goes away for 450,000 Kentuckians.

Two years into Obamacare, clear regional patterns are emerging about who has health insurance in America and who still doesn’t.

The remaining uninsured are primarily in the South and the Southwest. They tend to be poor. They tend to live in Republican-leaning states. The rates of people without insurance in the Northeast and the upper Midwest have fallen into the single digits since the Affordable Care Act’s main provisions kicked in. But in many parts of the country, obtaining health insurance is still a problem for many Americans.

These trends emerged in an analysis we undertook with the help of two organizations that are closely monitoring the progress of the health law. Last year, we used similar data to show the the substantial effects Obamacare had on reducing the number of Americans without health insurance. This year, the same groups updated their estimates of where America’s uninsured live, and the change is a lot less drastic. States that were late to expand Medicaid, including Pennsylvania and Indiana, showed substantial reductions in their uninsured residents compared with last year. In other places, the changes have been more modest. In a few — like Mississippi — things appear to have gotten worse, with fewer people having health insurance this year than last.

A county-by-county map makes this even more clear:

Now that Indiana and Pennsylvania are on board with Medicaid expansion, it’s very clear that the red states in the South  (and Missouri) that are under GOP rule are in real trouble. Arkansas is the lone holdout as GOP Gov. Asa Hutchinson hasn’t been able to kill it yet after inheriting it from his Democratic predecessor.

But you’d better believe that Matt Bevin will put Kentucky back into the nearly solid purple of the South if he wins in a few days.  He’s gone from wanting to scrap it totally to considering the same block grant expansion/private insurance hybrid mess that Hutchinson wants in Arkansas, but that would still kick hundreds of thousands of people off Medicaid onto private plans, and he still wants to scrap Kynect completely and force Kentucky to go to a federal exchange (again wasting millions of taxpayer dollars in the process) in order to get those plans, and at a far more expensive monthly premium level.

It’s a pretty clear choice on Tuesday, folks.