Tag: democrats
Kyrsten Sinema

Sinema's Campaign Funds 'Drying Up' As Democratic Donors Drop Her

Donors who gave to Senator Kyrsten Sinema's (I-AZ) 2018 US Senate campaign have largely left her for her Democratic opponent, according to federal campaign finance records.

As of the latest available Federal Election Commission data, Politicoreports that Sinema is finding little financial support in what's shaping up to be a close three-way race next November. Following her exit from the Democratic Party last December and Rep. Ruben Gallego's (D-AZ) campaign launch the following month, Sinema has had very little success maintaining enthusiasm among the financial backers who propelled her last campaign five years ago.

Sinema still has nearly $11 million in the bank from all of her combined fundraising, which is more than Gallego's total haul. However, according to Politico's breakdown of donor totals, Gallego has raised nearly three times as much as Sinema from the same group of 2018 Democratic donors the incumbent senator depended on when she first won the seat.

"Her fundraising is somewhat dried up," Arizona Republican operative Barrett Marson told Politico. "There isn’t an independent donor base as there is a Republican donor base and a Democratic donor base."

Rep. Gallego is also raking in donors who gave to Senator Mark Kelly's (D-AZ) 2022 campaign. When analyzing money from donors who gave at least $200 in the previous campaign cycle, Gallego has raised approximately $1.7 million from Kelly's backers. Sinema, by comparison, has only brought in roughly $205,000. Politico also found that Sinema's "burn rate" — the amount of money spent on a campaign versus the amount raised — is significant for an off year, with the embattled Arizona senator spending nearly half of her 2023 haul despite her not yet officially declaring for reelection.

Should Sinema declare her intent to run for another term in 2024, she would likely be pitted against both Gallego and Republican former TV news anchor Kari Lake — who ran a failed campaign for governor in 2022 on a far-right platform and who has still not conceded her loss. An internal Republican poll released last week found Gallego with a narrow lead of less than two percentage points in a three-way race, but slightly behind Lake in a two-way race without Sinema running a campaign of her own.

Reprinted with permission from Alternet.

Pete Aguilar

'Political Malpractice': Democrats Giddy Over House Republicans' Massive Cuts

House majorities are famous for taking what's known as "messaging votes" on bills that stand no chance of becoming law because they either can't clear the Senate or will ultimately get vetoed—or both.

The idea for the majority party is to use the votes as a way of signaling to voters all the important and popular policies they would prioritize if they had greater control of the government. Importantly, those votes are also designed to work to the advantage of the most vulnerable members of their caucus. In other words, the majority’s messaging bills boost its members’ reelection chances and, therefore, the prospect of maintaining the majority.

Unless, of course, the majority is held by an anti-democratic party living in a fantasy bubble where its members believe their deeply unpopular beliefs should rule the masses regardless of what the masses want. In other words, those messaging bills help the majority’s incumbents unless you're in the Republican Party—then your leaders schedule a bunch of messaging votes that Democrats can weaponize against you.

That's exactly the bind that more than a dozen vulnerable Republicans in Democratic-leaning swing districts find themselves in as whiz-bang Speaker Mike Johnson pushes through a series of spending measures that include everything from slashing critical programs to banning mail-order abortion pills.

The political malpractice is so glaring that Democrats can hardly believe their good fortune.

“It’s just very puzzling to us that they continue to put their members in positions to support these terrible cuts that are not going to become law,” House Democratic Caucus Chair Pete Aguilar of California told Politico.

House Majority Forward, the nonprofit arm of House Democrats' super PAC, is already packaging up the GOP presents and deploying them in the home districts of Republicans they hope to unseat.

One of those GOP members, Rep. Mike Garcia of California, who sits in a district that favored Joe Biden by 12.4 percentage points in 2020, may come to regret voting in favor of Johnson's funding cuts. Democrats have already sent mailers out claiming that “no family is safe from" the cuts Garcia approved.

“These mailers are going out — and these hit ads are going out — based on a first negotiation position,” Garcia told Politico, “which is probably more conservative than what we’re going to end up with.”

Garcia is correct. Republicans' extreme funding cuts, which are dead on arrival in the Democrat-led Senate, will surely be rolled back over the course of negotiations. But House Republicans wanted to send out a message highlighting their wildly unpopular agenda and Democrats are simply helping them do it.

Here are the issues where Democrats are looking to gain an advantage:

  • Schools: House Majority Forward suggests GOP spending reductions at the Department of Education could cut loose some 108,000 teachers and aides across the country.
  • Abortion: A Republican spending bill for the FDA and Department of Agriculture includes a rider banning mail-order abortion pills nationwide. The rider, which is still a work in progress, is highly contentious within the Republican caucus, so just imagine how much damage it could do with everyday voters.
  • Defunding the police, Republican style: Current GOP spending levels would slash the FBI budget by more than 9% (roughly $1 billion) and the Justice Department budget by more than 6%. President Joe Biden claims the cuts, left unchecked, would result in a net loss of some 30,000 law enforcement officers at the FBI, DEA, and elsewhere.
  • Amtrak cuts: Even House Republicans who hail from the Northeast are freaked out over their party proposing to cut upward of $1 billion in federal subsidies to Amtrak—a staple mode of transportation in the region.

"Without question" is what Democratic Rep. Rose DeLauro of Connecticut, ranking member of the House Appropriations Committee, answered when asked whether her party planned to use the massive railroad cuts against Republicans.

“Because how do you deal with a 67 percent cut to Amtrak?” said DeLauro. “Our votes are public, as they should be. And the public needs to know what harm these bills are doing to them.”

Republicans are sending a message all right—one that Democrats are happy to spread.

Reprinted with permission from Daily Kos.

Mike Johnson

Why Democrats Will Love Mike Johnson In 2024

Rep. Mike Johnson of Louisiana, the newly minted Republican speaker of the House, is quite simply a dreamboat GOP leader for House Democrats to run against next year.

He's a bonafide MAGA election denier who voted against certifying the 2020 election and labored to block the peaceful transfer of power.

He's an anti-abortion extremist who has voted for a national abortion ban and celebrated the fall of Roe v. Wade as "a historic and joyful day."

He's a former anti-LGBTQ+ legal advocate who vehemently supported the criminalization of gay sex, even in the privacy of one's own home.

Just before Johnson secured the requisite votes Wednesday, Politico columnist Jonathan Martin paraphrased the musings of an unnamed Democrat.

"A sage Dem texts, basically: Repubs are gonna elevate a speaker who tried to overthrow the election and backs an abortion ban - the two issues we won on in 2022," Martin tweeted.

“What are they thinking?” the Democrat posited to Martin.

In his Message Box Substack, Dan Pfeiffer, Pod Save America podcaster and former Obama White House communications director, offered this amusing amalgam of Johnson's political profile: "Paul Ryan’s economic policies + Mike Pence’s views on abortion + Donald Trump’s dangerously wacky views on the 2020 election = Mike Johnson."

Perfect! One big trash heap of dumpy GOP politicians pushing dim anti-democratic, anti-freedom policies.

There's truly so much for Democrats to like about Johnson, it's almost hard to choose. Still, after the vote, House Democrats quickly established their attack lanes.

"Instead of choosing bipartisanship, House Republicans have elevated MAGA extremist Mike Johnson to the Speaker’s chair," they tweeted. "Their agenda is clear: Attack our democracy, ban abortion, and slash Social Security and Medicare."

To top it all off, Johnson has zero fundraising experience and even less familiarity with insulating Republicans in swingy districts from his own extremist impulses, along with those of the Republican caucus. One of congressional Republicans' biggest failures leading up the 2022 red-wave-that-wasn't was their candidates' inability to keep pace with their Democratic counterparts. Without the fundraising expertise of Kevin McCarthy, the campaign committees and super PACs now under Johnson's domain will almost surely be hobbled in their ability to make up the difference.

If House Democrats didn't already have a reasonably good path to reclaiming the majority in 2024, House Republicans just handed them a golden opportunity—the cherry on top of three solid weeks of highly visible GOP incompetence and infighting.

Reprinted with permission from Daily Kos.

Jim Jordan

Turnabout Is Ugly: The Unraveling Of Trump Proxy Jim Jordan

As the House heads into another day without a speaker, multiple GOP sources are indicating that Rep. Jim Jordan’s failures on Tuesday and Wednesday may be as close as he comes to the chair. As the endorsed candidate of Donald Trump, Jordan would be by far the most MAGA speaker to date, and he’s running the most MAGA campaign imaginable. That’s both his biggest asset and the biggest reason he’s losing.

Jordan is about nothing except showing how Trump’s faction controls Republicans in the House. On the face of it, that shouldn’t be a complete roadblock. After all, Trump still dominates the Republican Party, and even representatives in districts won by President Joe Biden might be expected to simply hand over their vote and stay quiet. But Jordan is Jordan. He was actively involved in Trump’s post-election schemes right up through January 6, has a 16-year law-free record of using his seat in the House to spread conspiracy theories, and has not a single shred of evidence that he is in any way capable of being speaker.

But what might be weighing down Jordan’s bid most, beyond his own execrable nature, are the tactics he has utilized in an effort to gain votes. Republicans are finding that, nice as it may be to have Trump’s attack machine savaging Democrats, it’s a lot less fun when the weapon is pointed at their own faces.

According to CNN correspondent Manu Raju, Jordan is “bleeding” votes. If he makes another run at the office on Thursday, he may find the number of Republicans voting against him has grown to 30 or more. That widening dissatisfaction has raised doubts about whether Jordan will actually make another attempt at this time.

Much of the Trump apparatus of right-wing television, talk radio, and social media has been pushing hard for Jordan, and the resulting flood of screaming, cussing, and threatening phone calls and emails has sometimes had the desired effect. For example, Missouri Rep. Ann Wagner, who two days earlier declared she would “absolutely not” vote for Jordan, folded like a cheap suit.

However, as NBC News reports, Jordan’s “aggressive campaign” is also generating a backlash, which is stiffening the spines of some of those under attack. That includes Nebraska holdout Rep. Don Bacon, whose wife has reportedly been subjected to a flood of personal threats. It also includes Iowa Rep. Mariannette Miller-Meeks, who released a statement saying she had been subjected to “credible death threats” after voting against Jordan on Wednesday.

"One thing I cannot stomach, or support is a bully," Miller-Meeks wrote, "Someone who threatens another with bodily harm or tries to suppress differing opinions undermines opportunity for unity and regard for freedom of speech."

As with other Republicans, there doesn’t seem to be any statements from Miller-Meeks expressing her concern for Trump’s many instances of exactly this kind of bullying, which makes it seem like Republicans don’t really mind a bully. They just don’t enjoy being bullied. Statements like that from Trump adviser Stephen Miller trying to pass off the flood of threats as “organic” calls from constituents have only increased the distaste for the whole scheme.

Jordan’s bid may not be completely dead. CBS correspondent Robert Costa reports that “key” Republicans were seeking assurances from Jordan that he would walk back some of his past positions, including blocking funding for Ukraine. If Jordan were willing to accept a “weaker speakership,” he might be able to gain a few votes.

But if Jordan’s bid is not completely dead, it’s certainly moribund. Reviving it will take something more than a few vague assurances that he will not block a specific bill.

Since Republicans gained a narrow edge in the House, Jordan has devoted 100% of his time to repeating long-debunked conspiracy theories about Biden. That’s all Trump wants from him. Jordan’s 16-year record of authoring not a single law isn’t an accident, that’s his whole platform. He’s just there for the destruction.

There remain a small number of Republicans who have an agenda slightly bigger than repeating lies for Trump. An even larger number don’t appreciate being threatened into supporting a guy who comes with zero accomplishments and a still-looming scandal with a lot of unanswered questions.

Jordan’s run at the speakership has always been a test of whether Republicans in the House are more concerned about pleasing Trump than they are about having an effective speaker. Someone who is less of a blunt object might have carried that across the line easily enough. But that someone wouldn’t be Jim Jordan.

Reprinted with permission from Daily Kos.