Battle royale within the Democratic party?

Repost from ArcaMax – Politics from the Left

Reports of a Democratic party rift are greatly exaggerated

By Dana Milbank on May 27, 2018

WASHINGTON — To peruse the coverage of the Democratic primaries of 2018, you’d think there was a battle royale within the Democratic Party: insurgent vs. establishment, Bernie vs. Hillary, progressive vs. moderate, grass roots vs. party bosses.

There’s been mention of a “battle between progressives and moderates” (the Guardian), a Democratic “identity crisis” (The Washington Post), a “full-blown Democratic war” (CNN), a “civil war” (Fox News) and a “fight for the future of the Democratic Party” (BuzzFeed).

But if a civil war has been declared, somebody forgot to tell Democratic voters. They are stubbornly refusing to view 2018 through the progressive/moderate, insurgent/establishment lens.

In the Georgia Democratic gubernatorial primary Tuesday night, the winning candidate was a progressive darling who also had a lot of establishment support. In Kentucky on Tuesday night, a former Marine fighter pilot defeated an establishment favorite in a congressional primary.

But in Texas, a House candidate backed by the Sanders-inspired “Our Revolution” and trashed by the establishment Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) went down by a lopsided two-to-one margin.

In Nebraska a week earlier, a progressive congressional candidate upset a centrist in a House primary. But in Pennsylvania that same night, two congressional candidates backed by Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., lost to candidates with establishment ties.

Those trying to plot these races on the progressive/centrist axis or the insurgent/establishment axis will have trouble discerning a pattern. That’s because those are false choices this year. Those distinctions are not driving voters in 2018.

Overriding all other considerations this year in Democratic voters’ minds (and candidates’ messages) is stopping President Trump and his congressional enablers. Related to that is the other major influence of this primary season: a huge rise in support for female candidates among men and women alike, likely driven by Trump’s misogyny, the #MeToo movement and Hillary Clinton’s loss in 2016.

In Texas on Tuesday, the Democratic primary runoff in the 7th Congressional District, in suburban Houston, was supposed to be a Democratic donnybrook, according to the media narrative. The DCCC — aka the establishment — took the unusual step of criticizing candidate Laura Moser because party leaders thought she couldn’t win in November. In response, Our Revolution – aka the insurgents — jumped into the race and attempted to portray her opponent, Lizzie Pannill Fletcher, as a tool of the establishment.

But when all the ballots were counted, it was no contest. Fletcher got 67 percent to Moser’s 33 percent. Those who followed the media narrative of the campaign will conclude that this was a major victory for the establishment, and for moderates.

They would be dead wrong.

I didn’t write about the race, because my wife is Fletcher’s pollster. But one piece of Fletcher’s polling, printed here with the campaign’s permission, shows how phony the establishment vs. insurgent narrative was: Likely Democratic voters in the district had a highly positive view of the insurgent Sanders: 74 percent favorable, 15 percent unfavorable. But guess what?

Their view of the establishment doyenne Hillary Clinton was virtually identical: 72 percent favorable, 17 percent unfavorable.

If this was supposed to be a Democratic civil war, Democratic voters were non-combatants.

Certainly, there are policy differences among Democrats, and those will come out whenever they are again in a position to govern rather than resist. But Democrats are more ideologically homogenous than they have been historically. The southern conservatives are long gone, and there is no equivalent to the “New Democrats” of the Bill Clinton era. The party has been pulled to a populist consensus by Sanders and Elizabeth Warren, and pushed there by the Trump plutocracy, which has showered riches on the wealthy and the corporate.

Some within the party are fomenting division with litmus tests, such as Tom Steyer’s effort to get Democrats to commit to impeaching Trump. But while 71 percent of Democrats want impeachment, according to last month’s Quinnipiac Poll, there’s little evidence that voters are punishing candidates who don’t commit to what would be a futile gesture without a Democratic supermajority in the Senate.

The left-vs.-center and insurgency-vs.-establishment constructs don’t fit this year. Politico reported this last week that Our Revolution is in “disarray,” with “no ability to tip a major Democratic election.” Yet two months ago, after only two primaries, Politico reported that “the Bernie wing” had already won “the battle for supremacy” in the party.

Contradictory? Not really. Populists and progressives are the Democratic establishment now. No insurgency needed. The Democratic donnybrook is a phony war.

Vallejo Times-Herald: Benicia Progressive Democrats pick endorsements

Repost from the Vallejo Times-Herald
[PDB editor:  A similar article ran in the print edition of the Benicia Herald on May 17, 2018, but has not appeared online.  For more details and background information, see our Endorsements page.]

Candidates, measures for June 5 election

Times-Herald staff report, online 05/15/18, print 05/26/18

BENICIA >> The Progressive Democrats of Benicia have announced their endorsements for the June 5 primary. The organization presented its research on each issue and candidate to the steering committee and then the committee took a final vote on who or what to endorse.

P.D.B. supports the following candidates: U.S. Senate, Kevin de Leon; U.S. Congress District 5, Mike Thompson; Governor, Delaine Eastin; Lieutenant Governor, Eleni Kounalakis; State Assembly District 14, Tim Grayson; Attorney General, Dave Jones; Superintendent of Public Instruction, Tony Thurmond; State Controller, Betty Yee; Insurance Commissioner, Ricardo Lara; Secretary of State, Alex Padilla; State Treasurer, Fiona Ma; and Solano County Superior Court Judge, Steve Gizzi.

As for measures and propositions, here is where they stand:

Proposition 68 — Support

Parks, Environment, and Water Bond: Authorizes bonds for funding parks, natural resource protection, climate adaptation, water quality and supply, and flood protection.

“The committee finds this to be in alignment with the organization’s policies regarding the environment.”

Proposition 69 — Support

Transportation Taxes and Fees Lockbox and Appropriations Limit Exemption Amendment: Requires that certain revenues generated by a 2017 transportation funding law be used only for transportation purposes and generally prohibits legislature from diverting funds to other purposes.

“This measure protects any diversion of transportation revenues for other purposes. There’s an estimated $16.1 million per year for local street and road maintenance, and $6 million per year for the state.”

Proposition 70 — Oppose

Vote Requirement to Use Cap-And-Trade Revenue Amendment: Requires a legislative supermajority vote to approve the use of the cap-and-trade reserve fund. It is a legislative constitutional amendment.

“This proposition … would seriously jeopardize future progress on pollution reduction and climate change mitigation.”

Proposition 71 — Support

Effective Date of Ballot Measures Amendment: Sets up an effective date for ballot measures. Legislative constitutional amendment. Provides that a ballot measure approved by a majority of voters shall take effect five days after the Secretary of State certifies the results of the election.

Proposition 72 — Support

Rainwater Capture Systems Excluded from Property Tax Assessments Amendment: Rainwater capture systems would not be counted as new construction after Jan. 1, 2019.

“The potential for this proposition to encourage rainwater capture systems to reduce potable water consumption can ease some of the severe water consumption issues cities face.”

Regional Measure 3 — Oppose

Bay Area Traffic Relief Plan: Building major roadway and public transit improvements via an increase in bridge tolls on all Bay Area toll bridges except the Golden Gate. “Residents of Solano County would shoulder the burden of paying this toll without any future relief of a public transit solution. More benefits will go to larger urban areas, and not equal benefits to Solano County.”

Learn more about the Progressive Democrats of Benicia and their stands at

Vote by mail now – ok to drop ballot at City Hall

Repost of a Benicia Communications announcement, Teri Davena
[For Progressive Democrats of Benicia recommendations, see our Endorsement page.]

Vote-by-Mail at City Hall

Solano County – Registrar Of Voters  SOLANOCOUNTY.COM

California’s Primary Election is Tuesday, June 5.  If you’re voting by mail, you may have already received your absentee ballot.

Did you know that you can drop it off in the City Manager/City Clerk’s office at City Hall? Just place it in the secure official Vote-by-Mail ballot box.

Ballots will be picked up on a regular basis by the Solano County Registrar of Voters office until 5 p.m. on Election Day.

One new exciting change this year is that anyone from any other city or county in California may drop their ballot in this box. The Solano County Registrar of Voters will make sure it gets to the appropriate location in a timely manner. The hope is to make voting more convenient for people who work in Benicia, but do not live here.

Not voting absentee? Find info about voter registration, polling places and more on the Registrar’s website at  The last day to register to vote in the Primary Election is Monday, May 21.

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