Wednesday Morning Open Thread: Let’s Take Back the Senate

I’m thinking Kelly has a pretty good shot at helping to turn Arizona blue. Thoughts?

And here’s a far riskier campaign — but wouldn’t it be worth the fight to turf McConnell out of Congress? Politico reports:

Chuck Schumer is actively recruiting a high-profile fighter pilot to take on Mitch McConnell in 2020 — a calculated act of aggression against a leading Republican foe.

Schumer met with Amy McGrath, a Marine veteran-turned 2018 congressional candidate, at Democratic Party headquarters last month to pitch her on running against McConnell. McGrath listened and didn’t rule it out. The Democratic leader first contacted McGrath in December.

McConnell, the longest-serving Senate GOP leader, is gearing up for a reelection fight and leaving little to chance. His political team has begun compiling opposition research on McGrath and delving into tracking footage of her. On Wednesday, senior Republican Party officials involved with a pro-McConnell super PAC will meet in Washington to begin mapping out a potential campaign against McGrath…

Joining Schumer for the meeting with McGrath were Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee Chairwoman Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.), as well as top committee officials Scott Fairchild and Devan Barber. McGrath aides Mark Nickolas and Lori LaFave also attended.

Nickolas confirmed the meeting but said that no decision was imminent.

“The military officer in her always approaches these things pretty methodically and thoughtfully,” he said…

McGrath was one of the highest-profile Democratic House candidates of the 2018 election cycle. Initially rejected by Washington Democrats in favor of the better-known mayor of Lexington, Jim Gray, McGrath catapulted to a primary victory on the strength of a viral biographical ad touting her career as a Marine and groundbreaking fighter pilot.

Ultimately, the 44-year-old first time candidate was unable to parlay a multi-million-dollar war chest and national profile into victory in a heavily Republican district. She was narrowly defeated by B[a]rr…

McGrath ran a damn good race last year, and came close to achieving what the conventional wisdom deemed impossible. Mitch McConnell is a much harder target, but his long career of venality and crooked partisanship has been getting more sunlight with his party’s Dear Leader so much in (all the wrong) news. Even Kentucky has to move on from the 19th century some time.








Wednesday Morning Open Thread: Elections Have Consequences

Excellent, and sometimes unexpected, consequences:

Davids is a member of the Ho-Chunk Nation from Kansas. Haaland is a member of the Pueblo of Laguna from New Mexico. They joined a record number of Native women that ran for public office in 2018, according to Indian Country Today’s Mark Trahant. To say their arrival in Congress is overdue is a harsh understatement…

Congress has desperately needed more Native voices, specifically Native women. Without them, the nation’s most powerful legislative body will continue to misunderstand and mute the litany of issues that Indian Country faces. Some of the more headline-grabbing issues are tragic—scores of missing and murdered Native women, woefully underfunded health services, white parents continuing the long practice of snatching Indian children from the reservation. And some are more abstract, like the issue of climate change in the Southwestern tribes, or the sudden importance of non-voided tribal land agreements.

With such a wide array of issues to tackle, and with little support coming from the White House or the Department of the Interior, it’s fortunate that a pair of Democrats as distinctive as the new Native congresswomen are the first to emerge. Haaland and Davids come from different generations, from different states, from different life experiences, from different tribes, from different views of what a government should look like. The steps they’ll take to represent their people, let alone their own districts, are going to be just as unique as Indian Country itself…
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Wednesday Morning Open Thread: Lone Star of Mind

I owe one of you a hat tip for this NYTimes article, “Beto O’Rourke May Benefit From an Unlikely Support Group: White Evangelical Women”:

In the Senate race, one of the most unexpectedly tight in the nation, any small shift among evangelical voters — long a stable base for Republicans — could be a significant loss for Mr. Cruz, who, like President Trump, has made white evangelicals the bulwark of his support.

To Democrats nationwide, who have largely written off white evangelical voters, it also sends a signal — not just for the midterms but also for the 2020 presidential campaign — that there are female, religious voters who are open to some of their party’s candidates.

The women, who are all in their 30s, described Mr. O’Rourke as providing a stark moral contrast to Mr. Trump, whose policies and behavior they see as fundamentally anti-Christian, especially separating immigrant children from their parents at the border, banning many Muslim refugees and disrespecting women.

“I care as much about babies at the border as I do about babies in the womb,” said Tess Clarke, one of Ms. Mooney’s friends, confessing that she was “mortified” at how she used to vote, because she had only considered abortion policy. “We’ve been asleep. Now, we’ve woke up.”

Ms. Clarke, who sells candles poured by refugee women in Dallas, began to weep as she recalled visiting a migrant woman detained and separated from her daughter at the border. When an older white evangelical man recently told her that she couldn’t be a Christian and vote for Mr. O’Rourke, Ms. Clarke was outraged.

“I keep going back to who Jesus was when he walked on earth,” she said. “This is about proximity to people in pain.”…

Trump has been a true catalyst for America’s Evangelicals, and not just in Texas. The chemical reaction to his terrible, un-Christian sins and the general GOP piety-mouthing about ‘forgiveness’ has precipitated notice of the disconnect between those who actually believe in the tenets of Jesus, and those who just use His words as tribal markers for their own insular, mean-spirited band of bigots. Don’t know how much it can help Beto O’Rourke… but if I were a professional Christian, I’d be very worried about the next decade and beyond.

From a columnist at the Houston Chronicle:


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Local Voting Open Thread: Good for Taylor Swift

I was told Swift’s real profit base is pre-teen and young-teen girls (and their parents), and it’s my impression that those girls are a lot more LGBGTQ-friendly than their Tennessee elders… Per the Tennessean:

The 28-year-old superstar took to Instagram on Sunday night to weigh in on Tennessee’s closely contested U.S. Senate race, endorsing Democratic former Gov. Phil Bredesen as she offered a harsh rebuke of U.S. Rep. Marsha Blackburn, the Republican nominee.

Her endorsement of Bredesen marks the first time Swift has spoken publicly about politics.

“As much as I have in the past and would like to continue voting for women in office, I cannot support Marsha Blackburn,” Swift wrote, elaborating that “her voting record in Congress appalls and terrifies me.”

Swift specifically noted Blackburn’s vote against reauthorizing the Violence Against Women Act, versions of which Blackburn has opposed in recent years. She also condemned Blackburn’s stance against marriage equality

“These are not MY Tennessee values,” Swift wrote…

In her Instagram post, Swift said she has been “reluctant to publicly voice my political opinions, but due to several events in my life and in the world in the past two years, I feel very differently about that now.”

“I always have and always will cast my vote based on which candidate will protect and fight for the human rights I believe we all deserve in this country,” she wrote. “I believe in the fight for LGBTQ rights, and that any form of discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender is WRONG. I believe that the systemic racism we still see in this country towards people of color is terrifying, sickening and prevalent.”…

And if she’s just broken a few Nazi hearts, well…








Open Thread: Andrew Gillum, Looking Better and Better

From the Washington Post, “‘The Obama excitement’”:

ORLANDO — Salandra Benton used to campaign so hard for Barack Obama that her feet would swell as she walked through nightclubs, hair salons, apartment buildings and church parking lots telling people they had to vote.

After Obama won Florida in 2008 and 2012, Benton hoped to step back from door-to-door campaigning. But then Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum shocked Florida last month by winning the Democratic nomination for governor, with the potential of becoming the state’s first African American chief executive.

Now, Benton has been drawn back into Florida’s political street fight on behalf of Gillum, who faces former congressman Ron DeSantis, the Republican nominee, in the Nov. 6 election.

“I think this is even bigger than Obama, because this is even closer to home,” said Benton, 54, a union organizer who is African American. “The Obama excitement was, ‘We are finally going to get a black president.’ But now this is Florida’s son, in a state we feel black men have been attacked and not protected, so we are waking back up.”…

Gillum also is hoping he can do better among white voters than Obama did in 2012, when he carried 37 percent of the white vote, according to exit polls. The school shooting last year in Parkland, Fla., and concern about the ongoing “red tide” fish kill on the state’s western beaches may be loosening Florida Republicans’ hold on white voters, Democrats say.

“There is a swing-vote population, largely suburban white women in Tampa and Orlando, and I absolutely believe Gillum can do well with those voters,” said Steve Schale, a Florida political strategist who ran Obama’s state effort here in 2012…

Even before Gillum’s primary win, Florida activists said the state’s black community was more energized than in previous midterm elections, because of a host of local and national issues, including Trump’s battle with National Football League players as well as the state’s controversial “stand your ground” gun law.

“I think people are more aware of how much these races have consequences, and they are not going to deal with those consequences,” said Lydia Hudson, a Tampa resident and head of the Democratic Black Caucus of Florida, which claims it helped to double black turnout for Gillum during the primary compared with past off-year primary elections.

In the general election, activists say, African American turnout could be further boosted by a measure on the Florida ballot that would restore voting rights for some felons, something activists and church leaders have been aggressively campaigning for since the start of the year…

I think we can be sure the GOP will give these voters every possible reminder of how much is at stake.

Don’t think we have a dedicated ActBlue widget for Gillum yet, but here’s his campaign website.