Democrats – Knox Democrats http://knoxdemocrats.org/ Tue, 28 Jun 2022 03:11:20 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.9.3 https://knoxdemocrats.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/05/knox-democrats-icon-150x150.png Democrats – Knox Democrats http://knoxdemocrats.org/ 32 32 Frustration and growing anger among Democrats over caution on abortion https://knoxdemocrats.org/frustration-and-growing-anger-among-democrats-over-caution-on-abortion/ Tue, 28 Jun 2022 03:11:20 +0000 https://knoxdemocrats.org/frustration-and-growing-anger-among-democrats-over-caution-on-abortion/
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Just hours after the Supreme Court’s ruling ending 50 years of abortion rights, President Biden laid out his ideal answer: elect more Democrats. “This fall, Roe is on the ballot,” Biden said at the White House. “Individual freedoms are on the ballot. The right to privacy, to liberty, to equality, they are all on the ballot.

A short distance away, House Democrats gathered on the steps of the United States Capitol to sing a heartfelt rendition of “God Bless America” ​​to celebrate the passage of a modest oversight bill firearms — a moment that seemed deaf to many Democrats given the judicial bombshell that had just landed.

For an increasingly vocal group of Democrats, activists and even frustrated congressmen, such responses from party leaders have been surprisingly inadequate to deal with a moment of crisis. They criticize the idea that it’s up to voters to show up in November when they say Democrats are unwilling to push boundaries and overthrow the system to defend hard-won civil liberties.

“We have Democrats doing the opposite, you know? They just don’t fight,” Rep. Cori Bush (D-Mo.) said. “When people see this, what will make them show up to vote? We can’t just tell people, “Well, vote, vote to eliminate your problems.” Because they look at us and say, “Well, we already voted for you.”

Progressive lawmakers, including Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (DN.Y.), have outlined several actions they want Democrats to take: Build abortion clinics on federal lands. Fund people to get abortions out of state. Limit the jurisdiction of the Supreme Court or expand its composition. End of obstruction.

“We can do it!” Ocasio-Cortez tweeted recently after listing some of these measures. “We can at least TRY.”

Biden faces a bombshell that could define his presidency

Warren called on Biden to declare a national medical emergency, and she said the administration could establish Planned Parenthood outposts bordering national parks. “The point is recognition of the emergency and the urgency to get help,” she said in an interview. “People need help immediately.”

Biden and his team have signaled discomfort with many of these ideas, especially any sweeping overhaul of the Supreme Court. Asked by reporters recently if he thinks the Supreme Court is “broken,” Biden said only, “I think the Supreme Court has made some terrible decisions.

A senior White House official said Biden was just being honest with the public about what he could do unilaterally, adding that the president is ‘taking major steps under executive authority as he fights this extreme decision very hard. — but being clear and honest that only Congress can fix the situation. »

White House officials note that the administration has taken steps to protect access to the so-called abortion pill even in states trying to ban it, and that the president has pledged to protect women. who are looking to cross state lines to get an abortion.

The official said that while the proposal to establish abortion clinics on federal lands was “well-intentioned,” it could endanger pregnant women and providers, and that in states where abortion is illegal, women and claimants who are not federal employees could be prosecuted. Some legal experts have also raised questions about whether such a proposal would hold up in court, and White House officials fear it could violate the Hyde Amendment, which bans the use of federal funds for abortion. , unless the life of a pregnant person is in danger or if the pregnancy results from rape or incest.

Some activists acknowledge that Biden’s ability to act is limited. Only Congress can codify abortion rights nationwide, and the Senate, where the filibuster requires 60 votes to pass almost any law, is split 50-50 between the parties.

But many abortion-rights supporters say Republicans have routinely broken the rules in recent years and profited enormously — for example, by blocking President Barack Obama’s Supreme Court pick — and that for Democrats, continuing to observe the intricacies is tantamount to unilateral disarmament.

A Supreme Court eager for change

“We are dealing with a party that undermines the very essence of what it means to be a country that is rooted in this philosophy of equal protection under the law. You can’t fight this if the people on the other side are constantly moderating and modulating and compromising. That’s not the age we’re in,” said Reverend William Barber, a North Carolina preacher who is co-chair of the Poor People’s Campaign.

“You fight a crisis until the crisis is over,” Barber added. “You can’t go too far when you’re at the bottom, and these people took us to the bottom.”

If Biden pursues aggressive executive actions to expand abortion access, even if those measures are ultimately overturned by a court, it would energize supporters and signal to voters that Democrats are fighting, the lawyers said.

Kurt Bardella, a former Republican who now consults for Democrats, said party leaders can’t be afraid of bold moves because of potential legal challenges.

“Democrats start with the question, ‘Do we have the right to do this or not?’ And I think Democratic voters will forgive you if you try and later a court turns out to overturn it,” Bardella said. “But at least you’ve tried in the meantime to hold things together. and lead you into the next election. What they won’t forgive is if you keep asking them to keep you in power but you don’t do anything about it, or at least try to do something about it .

The divisions over how to respond to the Supreme Court’s ruling have exposed fractures within the Democratic Party that often run along familiar generational, ideological and strategic fault lines.

At one end is Biden, who has long been committed to the traditions and institutions of the federal government. He has shown a reluctance to dismantle the Senate filibuster, even when it comes to issues as fundamental to his party as the right to vote. Biden said he believes increasing the total number of Supreme Court justices, while vying for a ruling party, is ultimately perilous and could lead to the erosion of other standards when Republicans regain control. from Washington.

But a growing number of liberals say that unless Democratic leaders show a willingness to embrace more creative ways to advance their agenda, their most loyal voters will have little reason to run in the midterm elections. in Congress.

“It’s really important right now that they show they are fighting for the people, so that people have a reason to go and vote for them in November. The good will of the voters is not going to last that long – it’s been going on for years,” said Nelini Stamp, director of strategy and partnerships for the Working Families Party, a prominent left-leaning group. “People don’t want to hear, ‘Vote Democrat.’ They want to hear what people are going to do. We want Biden to use the full power of his administration, even if he could be pushed back in court. We want to see people fight for us.

Bush said she remembered the “boost” she felt when she heard about the Supreme Court’s decision. An activist before being elected to Congress during protests over the 2020 killing of George Floyd at the hands of police, Bush said she immediately began thinking about what action to take.

She had already sent a letter to Biden last week ahead of the ruling, along with 19 other black congresswomen, urging the president to “use all executive authorities to address the public health crisis our nation will face if Roe vs. Wade is dismantled. She said she and her fellow progressives would continue to push House leaders to vote on a myriad of bills protecting abortion rights, to support their campaign message that Democrats are the party that delivers. .

Some Democrats note that such bills would immediately die in the Senate. But others say it is essential to show voters what the party would do if it had even slightly larger majorities.

In a letter to her colleagues on Monday, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-California) outlined specific legislation leaders are considering in the coming months. They include protecting women from criminal prosecution if they travel out of state to have an abortion and protecting women’s personal data stored in reproductive health apps, in case state lawmakers attempt to access this information to determine if a woman has had an abortion.

Pelosi left the door open for more provisions when lawmakers returned to Washington in July, but instructed the Senate to weed out the filibuster and pass legislation codifying Roe v. Wade, that the House passed last year. The senses. Joe Manchin III of West Virginia and Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona have been the Democrats most resistant to eliminating the filibuster, and some Democrats say electing additional senators from states like Pennsylvania and Wisconsin could establish a majority that would adopt such a decision.

More than 30 Senate Democrats signed a letter led by Warren and Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.) to Biden that called for “bold action,” adding “You have the power to fight back and lead a national response to this devastating decision. .”

Some activists said Democratic leaders’ urge to vote for them to save abortion rights echoes the refrain activists have heard about police reform in the wake of Floyd’s killing and protecting suffrage — two major initiatives that failed despite narrow Democratic majorities in Washington.

“It’s very similar to what happened in 2020: ‘Go back to the voting booths.’ … It always comes down to ‘Now you, the individual, do something,'” said Paris Hatcher, executive director of Black Feminist Future. “But we elected these people who are in office right now to act on things like this It becomes a very passive way of passing the buck when we elected them to get things done that are focused on the welfare of people.

Caroline Kitchener contributed to this report.

]]> Texas Democrats hope reaction to abortion ruling will help November election https://knoxdemocrats.org/texas-democrats-hope-reaction-to-abortion-ruling-will-help-november-election/ Sun, 26 Jun 2022 10:31:01 +0000 https://knoxdemocrats.org/texas-democrats-hope-reaction-to-abortion-ruling-will-help-november-election/

The U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade rang the bell for a new round in the fight for abortion rights that will take place at the ballot box rather than in courtrooms.

November’s midterm elections are the first test of how the nation will react to Friday’s decision, and activists on both sides are rallying their supporters.

In Texas and across the country, voters will either elect candidates to pass laws restoring the right to abortion or choose conservative lawmakers to enforce anti-abortion legislation.

Searching for a spark in what could be a tough midterm election year, Democrats are hoping for a backlash against the decision that will lead to political victories.

But even with the anger sparking new energy among Democrats, Republicans hold a structural advantage in November. Not only does the GOP have its own enthusiasm, but the gerrymandering of districts makes a power shift in the Texas Legislature nearly impossible.

Add to that President Joe Biden‘s plummeting popularity and inflation worries, and the passion of fighting for abortion rights might not be enough to propel Democrats, especially in critical legislative races. that will determine which party writes the laws.

“Unless we’re all thrown into darkness by a network outage, there’s nothing in Texas that’s really competitive,” said Plano political consultant Vinny Minchillo. “There are other states where the issue of abortion could make a difference, but here most races are fait accompli.”

Texas Republicans hail demise of Roe vs. Wade as Democrats call for reinstating protections

With many district races out of reach, veteran Democrats are targeting statewide matchups. That includes the gubernatorial race between former U.S. Representative Beto O’Rourke and Republican incumbent Governor Greg Abbott.

On Sunday, O’Rourke is planning a rally in Austin for abortion rights. An event in Houston in May after a leaked opinion announcing the court’s decision attracted thousands of people.

“People in Texas were trained to think their vote doesn’t matter,” former senator Wendy Davis said of the state election. “These gerrymandered lines cannot affect us and our power in a statewide election.”

In 2013, Davis donned pink Mizuno Wave Riders for a 1 p.m. filibuster who scuttled an anti-abortion bill. It made her a national figure and set up an unsuccessful gubernatorial run against Abbott.

“The fight is going to be long term,” she said. “We have to be resolute as to what it’s going to take.”

People on both sides are ready.

Flashback: Wendy Davis’ famed Texas Senate filibuster to stop anti-abortion bill

“Politicians around the world, in Texas in particular, should be very scared because this rage is not going to be short term,” said Julie Ross, a health care advocate from North Texas, who said the decision to the Supreme Court had made her sick.

Kimberlyn Schwartz, spokesperson for Texas Right to Life, said: “It just means we’re on equal footing…that we can go state to state and pass pro-life legislation without being snuffed out in federal court.. That doesn’t mean it’s the end of the pro-life fight.

Dallas County Democratic Chairwoman Kristy Noble speaks at an abortion rights rally at Main Street Garden Park in downtown Dallas on June 25, 2022. The Supreme Court overturned Roe versus Wade on Friday, ending the constitutional protection of the right to abortion.(Elias Valverde II / Personal photographer)

Texas is the epicenter of the fight for abortion rights.

Since taking control of the Texas House in 2002, Republicans have passed a series of anti-abortion laws, including last year’s trigger law in anticipation of Roe’s fall against Wade. The law makes it a crime to perform an abortion and outsources enforcement to legal vigilantes. In response, clinics closed and the number of abortions in Texas dropped sharply.

Democrats have been powerless to stop the conservative GOP agenda because they do not control the levers of state government. They haven’t won a statewide race since 1994, though the Republican winning margin has shrunk since Abbott’s 20-point victory over Davis in 2014.

Last year, the Republican-controlled legislature approved a redistricting plan intended to bolster its majority. The state has only a few competitive legislative or congressional districts, according to experts who studied the newly approved boundaries.

“According to the new map, they would need to get nearly 56% of the vote statewide to be favored to win a majority in the state House,” said Michael Li, senior counsel for the Brennan Center for Justice’s Democracy Program, about the Democrats. “That seems out of reach for Democrats.”

Li said the political reality in Texas and other GOP-controlled states makes it more frustrating for abortion rights activists who want a fair chance at political change.

“There is no doubt that the cards are made much less competitive, both at the congressional level and at the legislative level because of gerrymandering,” Li said. “In his view, the judge [Samuel] Alito says women are not politically powerless. Well, in Texas, some of that power has been taken away because the cards are deliberately designed to silence the voices of people who oppose those who are currently in charge.

Ross, the health care advocate and progressive Democrat, said winning in legislative ridings is possible, even with the downsides.

“You’ve heard that you can’t hurry, you can’t organize a system that’s rigged,” she said. “They underestimate our numbers. Texas will be one of many states where we’ll see increased efforts in terms of organization, messaging, and a real plan of attack on how we’re going to respond and push more people to the polls.

As Democrats rally, so do Texas Republicans.

They are targeting several traditionally Democratic congressional and legislative districts in South Texas, which has many Catholic and conservative Hispanic voters, significant factors in abortion. If the Republicans are successful, it would be disastrous for a Democratic party hoping to turn the political tide.

“Republicans will continue to stand up for life, uphold the law and oppose the pro-abortion agenda of an extreme Democratic party,” said Republican National Committee Chair Ronna McDaniel, who is leading an effort to make of southern Texas a battleground in Congress.

While it’s impossible to reverse most red districts, Democrats say they can win statewide races for governor, lieutenant governor, attorney general and other candidates.

Dallas County Democratic Party Chairwoman Kristy Noble said O’Rourke could be elected governor based on county voters. And some parts of Texas House held by Republicans could turn blue, she said, such as those represented by Morgan Meyer of University Park and Angie Chen Button of Garland.

Noble said about 475,000 eligible voters in Dallas County did not vote in 2020, adding that she believed about 300,000 were Democrats.

“This could be one of those steps that involves a lot of people,” she said at an abortion rights rally in downtown Dallas. “We have the numbers to turn Texas around and we have the numbers to change the course of the nation, and more than ever, so Dallas County can play a pivotal role.”

State Senator Royce West speaks at an abortion rights rally at Main Street Garden Park in...
State Senator Royce West speaks at an abortion rights rally at Main Street Garden Park in downtown Dallas on June 25, 2022. (Elias Valverde II / Personal photographer)

The potential for massive turnout in Dallas County excites candidates like O’Rourke, who said North Texas was key to beating Abbott. But getting non-voters to the polls is a difficult task, and it’s unclear whether abortion rights is their motivational issue.

Dallas County Republican Party Chair Jennifer Stoddard-Hajdu said local Republicans were also under stress and the issue of abortion rights would not be a winner for Democrats.

“Score the win for life,” she said of the Tory sentiment. “The fact that the Supreme Court is saying it’s not a constitutional right, that it’s up to the states to decide for themselves, gives a lot of reason for conservatives to be excited.”

Sen. Royce West, D-Dallas, agreed that a Democrats’ victory in Texas would be difficult, but said at some point they had to deliver: “If the Democrats are not able to put together a coalition of moderates and independents, we will never be able to do it. »

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Nancy Pelosi blasted Supreme Court ruling on Roe, Mitch McConnell called it ‘correct’ https://knoxdemocrats.org/nancy-pelosi-blasted-supreme-court-ruling-on-roe-mitch-mcconnell-called-it-correct/ Fri, 24 Jun 2022 18:51:00 +0000 https://knoxdemocrats.org/nancy-pelosi-blasted-supreme-court-ruling-on-roe-mitch-mcconnell-called-it-correct/
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On Friday, Democratic lawmakers and candidates issued a torrent of statements of anger and defiance, vowing to make abortion rights a decisive issue for voters in November, as Republicans celebrated their victory in a multi-pronged struggle. decades for the Supreme Court to end the constitutional right to abortion. .

Since a draft notice leaked in early May saying the court was ready to overturn the 1973 ruling Roe vs. Wade decision, reproductive rights advocates saw the midterm elections as their only chance to see those rights restored. Democrats believe that by reversing the landmark decision, the Supreme Court has just given them a question to mobilize voters, especially suburban women, in an otherwise difficult political climate. And some Republicans are worried about a midterm backlash, especially from suburban women voters.

President Biden, speaking Friday at the White House, called on Congress to codify abortion into law. If there aren’t enough lawmakers willing to do this, he said, then Americans must elect more senators and representatives to codify women’s right to choose into federal law [and] elect more heads of state to protect this right at the local level.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-California), speaking to reporters shortly after the decision was announced, offered insight into the Democrats’ campaign message for the coming months. “Republicans are plotting a national abortion ban. They can’t be allowed to have a majority in Congress to do that. That’s their goal,” she said.

Interpretations of the 14th Amendment have played a key role in extending a host of legal protections, including civil rights, same-sex marriage, and the right to abortion. (Video: Adriana Usero/The Washington Post)

On Capitol Hill, two House Democrats kissed as they saw each other, just minutes after the Supreme Court issued its ruling. Visibly shocked Rep. Chrissy Houlahan (D-Pa.) didn’t have the words to react when reporters asked, saying simply that she was “devastated.” Rep. Madeleine Dean (D-Pa.), in a trembling voice, said she was “horrified.”

“We are going to fight him. This will not apply. We will restore the rights of my granddaughters,” Dean said.

Across the Capitol, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), who has played the biggest role in crafting the current conservative makeup of the Supreme Court, called the decision of “courageous and correct”.

“This is a historic victory for the Constitution and for the most vulnerable in our society,” he said in a statement.

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) echoed that sentiment, tweeting, “Every unborn child is precious, extraordinary and worthy of protection. I salute this historic decision, which will save countless innocent lives. The Court is correct to return the power to protect the unborn child to the elected representatives of the people in Congress and in the states.

Outside the upstairs of the house, enthusiastic rep Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) said, “That’s awesome! It’s a blessing,” when asked for his reaction to the decision. “I’ve been praying for this all my life,” she added.

The massive Republican victory came in the Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization case that asked whether a 15-week abortion ban in Mississippi was constitutional.

Senate Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer (DN.Y.) called the court’s decision “one of the darkest days our country has ever known.”

“Millions upon millions of American women are being stripped of their rights by five unelected judges of the extremist MAGA court,” he said.

In the opinion written by Judge Samuel A. Alito Jr., he wrote that if women don’t like the decision to give states the power to decide whether or not to allow abortion, they should vote.

“Our decision refers the issue of abortion to those legislative bodies, and it allows women on both sides of the abortion issue to seek to influence the legislative process by influencing public opinion, lobbying legislators, voting and running for office,” he wrote. “Women are not without electoral or political power.

Some Democratic Senate candidates are urging women to wield that power in the fall election.

“If there were any doubts about what is at stake in this race, it became clear today. Abortion rights will be on the ballot in November in Pennsylvania,” said John Fetterman, Democratic candidate for the Pennsylvania Senate.

“The decision to cancel Roe vs. Wade is downright dangerous and tragic. I’m sick of our basic right to privacy being politicized,” said Rep. Val Demings, a Florida Democrat running for the Senate.

National Democrats expected the court to overrule Roe, and they quickly announced a recruitment drive focused on electing and re-electing candidates who support abortion rights.

“Majority voters agree: MAGA’s Republican agenda to criminalize abortion – including in cases of rape and incest – is totally out of step with the American people,” said Sam Cornale, executive director of the Democratic National Committee. He added that the campaign “will give people across the country a means to effect change by electing pro-choice Democrats at the top and bottom of the ballot in November.”

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee held a briefing for House Democrats on Wednesday to discuss messaging around abortion and polls. Emily’s List, NARAL and Planned Parenthood participated, according to a source familiar with the discussion.

“House Democrats will impress on voters that we are fighting to protect women’s longstanding right to make decisions about their own bodies. Republicans are determined to wrest power from women and their doctors. This contrast will be clearly communicated wherever we can before November,” a Democratic strategist who granted anonymity to discuss internal strategy told The Washington Post.

A Washington Post poll in May found that a 57% majority of women say the court should uphold the constitutional right to abortion, while a slightly lower share of men, 50%, say the same. thing.

Some Republicans are wary of the decision’s political implications in an election year when they would rather campaign on issues of inflation and high gas prices.

“Republican campaigns would rather be talking about literally anything else,” said Dan Eberhart, a Republican donor who follows the midterm elections closely. “It puts most GOP campaigns on their back foot … and motivates a wide range of women to vote against Republicans in general. While this is a political win for most conservatives, it’s certainly a headwind for Republican campaigns.

Former President Donald Trump has complained that the overturning of Roe v. Wade could hurt Republicans in tough districts politically, two advisers said, and told his allies they should stress that states can set their own laws.

“He is convinced that it will not help him in the future,” said an adviser, referring to abortion, and would prefer that the midterm elections and 2024 were mainly about other subjects, said counselors.

Trump himself has largely stayed away from commenting on the decision in recent weeks, joining other Republicans in denouncing only the leaked draft document.

He suggested to several advisers that he would support limits on abortion but would not want them banned altogether, two people familiar with his comments said.

In an interview last month, McConnell said he was unsure of the political ramifications of a Roe decision, while emphasizing that he was pro-life. He said abortion politics is “regional” and that some Senate Republicans “are very committed to this issue.”

“None of us know how much of an impact this has on an election,” McConnell said. “I don’t think it’s going to trump inflation, crime and open borders.”

]]> Congressional Democrats ‘optimize’ chip deal that could come soon https://knoxdemocrats.org/congressional-democrats-optimize-chip-deal-that-could-come-soon/ Tue, 21 Jun 2022 22:59:00 +0000 https://knoxdemocrats.org/congressional-democrats-optimize-chip-deal-that-could-come-soon/

The United States Capitol building is pictured in Washington, U.S., January 26, 2022. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts

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WASHINGTON, June 21 (Reuters) – U.S. Democrats said on Tuesday they hoped to strike a $52 billion bipartisan deal to subsidize U.S. semiconductor manufacturing and boost U.S. competitiveness with Chinese technology.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, both Democrats, met with House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy and Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell to try to find a compromise but did not not announced agree.

Pelosi and Schumer issued a statement calling for swift action and said they believed there was no reason the bill could not pass Congress in July.

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“Democrats have already made accommodations in the name of reaching a deal, which we are optimistic can happen soon,” they said.

McCarthy and McConnell did not immediately comment.

A continuing shortage of chips has disrupted the automotive and electronics industries, forcing some companies to cut production.

Both houses have passed similar bills, but key differences need to be resolved.

Senate legislation, passed in June 2021, provided $52 billion for chip subsidies and authorized an additional $200 billion to spur U.S. science and technology innovation to compete with China.

The House version, passed in February, is nearly 3,000 pages long and includes a number of trade proposals not included in the Senate bill. Some House provisions will likely be deleted due to lack of Senate approval, officials say.

Democrats have warned that major investments in new US chip production could be jeopardized without congressional action. Democratic Senator Mark Warner told Reuters last week that “time is running out”.

Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer and Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb said in a joint opinion piece for the Indianapolis Business Journal that governors from both parties “overwhelmingly agree that the action federal government is essential not only to address the shortage of semiconductors that we all face, but also to realign national research and economic development priorities and outpace our adversaries. »

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Reporting by David Shepardson; Editing by Howard Goller and Richard Pullin

Our standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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Unlikely duo: Pennsylvania Democrats aim for a united front https://knoxdemocrats.org/unlikely-duo-pennsylvania-democrats-aim-for-a-united-front/ Mon, 20 Jun 2022 07:07:19 +0000 https://knoxdemocrats.org/unlikely-duo-pennsylvania-democrats-aim-for-a-united-front/

FILE - Pennsylvania Lt. Gov. John Fetterman visits with people attending a Democratic Party event for candidates to meet and collect signatures for ballot petitions for Pennsylvania's upcoming primary election, at the Steamfitters Technology Center in Harmony, Pennsylvania, March 4, 2022. The fate of the Democratic Party is intertwined with two elections in Pennsylvania that will be closely watched this year.  John Fetterman could help the party keep control of the Senate.  (AP Photo/Keith Srakocic, File)

FILE – Pennsylvania Lt. Gov. John Fetterman visits with people attending a Democratic Party event for candidates to meet and collect signatures for ballot petitions for Pennsylvania’s upcoming primary election, at the Steamfitters Technology Center in Harmony, Pennsylvania, March 4, 2022. The fate of the Democratic Party is intertwined with two elections in Pennsylvania that will be closely watched this year. John Fetterman could help the party keep control of the Senate. (AP Photo/Keith Srakocic, File)

PA

A candidate is unabashedly direct, willing to adopt progressive positions, doing little to build relationships with party leaders and dominating the halls with a 6ft 8in frame. The other fashions a more moderate image, a deliberate public speaker who became a congressional aide out of college and has carefully cultivated relationships within the party ever since.

Both in style and substance, John Fetterman and Josh Shapiro present radically different profiles.

Yet their fate — and that of the Democratic Party — is tied to a pair of elections in Pennsylvania that will be among the most watched in the United States.

Fetterman offers Democrats the clearest path to a U.S. Senate seat, which could go a long way to helping the party retain control of the chamber.

Shapiro, meanwhile, is asking even bigger existential questions as he faces a Republican rival for governor who embraced conspiracies about the last presidential election and is said to have significant influence over the handling of the next in the first state of the battlefield.

“The stakes have never been higher, the contrast has never been clearer,” Shapiro told members of the state Democratic Party committee at their Saturday meeting in Gettysburg. “This Commonwealth has the power to decide if we have the 51st senator. This Commonwealth has the power to decide whether the great experiment that began in the city of Philadelphia 245 years ago continues.

With the stakes so high, Fetterman and Shapiro are working toward a united front ahead of the fall election.

They are participating in a coordinated campaign funded and led by national and state organizations, including the Democratic National Committee, the Democratic Governors Association and the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee.

Together, these groups could send more money to Pennsylvania than anywhere else to register and persuade voters in what the state party calls “the largest and longest running coordinated midterm campaign in the US.” ‘History of Pennsylvania’.

Such help from national organizations can be indispensable in a large swing state.

After backing Donald Trump in the 2016 presidential campaign, Pennsylvania moved up to Joe Biden in 2020 — but only by about 1 percentage point. And Democrats preparing for the 2022 campaign already face enormous challenges.

Fetterman suffered a stroke just days before winning his party’s nomination for the Senate race last month and has yet to resume campaigning, or give much indication of when he will. And both candidates will run in a difficult environment for Democrats, weighed down by Biden’s unpopularity and rising prices for daily consumer goods, food and gasoline.

Aides to both campaigns say coordination has already begun.

Fetterman and Shapiro’s campaigns say they’ve been in touch often, and Shapiro said he’s been texting Fetterman since Fetterman’s stroke.

Campaign aides say they expect the men to show up together at larger events, such as rallies, regional campaign office openings or party events to raise money, help increase participation or highlight low cost candidates.

Earlier this month, Fetterman’s wife, Giselle, stood in for him at an event with Shapiro where they spoke at the opening of a coordinated campaign office in Pittsburgh.

“I can’t wait to get John here, and I know he can’t wait to get out too,” Shapiro said Friday. Fetterman’s campaign said in a statement that “we look forward” to campaigning with Shapiro and helping other Democrats in the fall ballot.

For now, Fetterman’s health is hanging over the campaign amid questions about whether he’s been honest about the severity of his condition.

Fetterman’s neurologists and cardiologist did not respond to reporters’ questions, and the campaign took three weeks after the stroke to reveal that he also had a serious heart condition.

Republican campaign coordination is handled by the Republican National Committee, but the party’s top contenders – famed heart surgeon-turned-Senate candidate Mehmet Oz and gubernatorial candidate Doug Mastriano – so far make no firm commitments. to campaign together.

In a statement, Oz’s campaign said he “supports the Republican ticket in Pennsylvania because he thinks we need to send a message to Joe Biden about inflation, gas prices and the problem of crime out of control” and “looking forward to seeing (Mastriano) on the track this summer.

The campaigns didn’t say if Oz and Mastriano even met, other than exchanging text messages after their respective primary wins. Mastriano’s campaign did not respond to questions.

Mastriano is viewed with suspicion by party leaders and campaign strategists. He spread Trump’s lies about widespread voter fraud in the 2020 presidential election and was a leading supporter in Pennsylvania of Trump’s drive to overturn the result. He was also in the crowd outside the US Capitol during the January 6, 2021 attack by Trump supporters after attending the nearby ‘Stop the Steal’ rally.

If they campaign together, it can be uncomfortable: Mastriano, a state senator, supported an Oz rival in the primary and criticized Oz during the campaign trail, at one point suggesting that Oz is truly a liberal and a porter – a nod to Oz leaves his longtime home in New Jersey to race in Pennsylvania.

Additionally, before Mastriano was elected to the state senate in 2019, he repeatedly posted Islamophobic material on Facebook. Oz is Muslim.

In a statement, the RNC said it had been “on the ground” in Pennsylvania since 2016, training and mobilizing activists, registering voters, opening offices and working with the state party and its candidates.

For now, Republicans are trying to portray Fetterman and Shapiro as extreme, but are also focusing on Fetterman’s hit in a digital ad, suggesting he wasn’t honest about the effects of it.

“Did John Fetterman tell the truth about his health? says a narrator in the Republican National Senate Committee’s digital announcement.

Democrats insist they are not worried about Fetterman recovering from the stroke, and Colleen Guiney, the party chairwoman in Delaware County, said it would only be a matter of distracting attention from important issues, such as Republican attempts to destroy county democracy and render the Senate dysfunctional through filibuster.

Fetterman has avoided media interviews as party leaders — including Biden — try to assure grassroots Democrats that Fetterman is fine and can resume campaigning soon.

“I know he can’t wait to get back on the track,” Biden said during his remarks at last week’s AFL-CIO convention in Philadelphia. “He looks good.”

Fetterman and his wife gave a 90-second video speech broadcast Saturday at the State Party Committee meeting in Gettysburg. In it, Fetterman pointed to the Shapiro-Fetterman ticket to confront “the extreme, bizarre and dangerous Oz-Mastriano ticket”.

“I’m so proud to be part of the ticket here,” Fetterman said. “And this year we have Josh Shapiro to be our next governor. And let me let you know that we’ll be back very soon, to be back 100% to be back in each of our 67 counties, because Josh and I have always committed to a full campaign of all 67 counties.”

Shapiro and Fetterman have a political relationship dating back to at least 2016, when Fetterman hosted a fundraiser for Shapiro at his home in Braddock.

Still, Shapiro and Fetterman have at times had a strained relationship over conflicting positions on the state pardons board — and a report days before the primary election by The Philadelphia Inquirer underscored that.

Citing unnamed people as a source, the Inquirer reported that Fetterman had threatened a few years ago to run for governor against Shapiro — unless Shapiro voted for certain candidates before the pardons board.

Shapiro did so, but denied that politics drove his votes or that such a conversation with Fetterman ever took place, and a spokesperson for the attorney general’s office called the claim “nothing less than outrageous”. Fetterman remained silent about it.

Democrats say it’s not a talking point among activists and are instead focusing on what’s at stake in the Nov. 8 election.

This election is about choosing between candidates “who work for an effective government that will serve all of our communities,” Guiney said, and candidates aligned with “people who are willing to sacrifice the fundamental fabric of our democracy for personal gain.” .

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Follow Marc Levy on Twitter at twitter.com/timelywriter

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Follow AP for full midterm election coverage at https://apnews.com/hub/2022-midterm-elections and on Twitter at https://twitter.com/ap_politics

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Democrats urge supporters to act at McIntyre-Shaheen dinner https://knoxdemocrats.org/democrats-urge-supporters-to-act-at-mcintyre-shaheen-dinner/ Sat, 18 Jun 2022 03:51:51 +0000 https://knoxdemocrats.org/democrats-urge-supporters-to-act-at-mcintyre-shaheen-dinner/
Cecile Richards. Photo/Ali Beaton

MANCHESTER, NH – Conventional national political wisdom sees Democrats facing a tough election season this fall, but the assembled New Hampshire Democrats seemed excited Friday night as they gathered at the DoubleTree by Hilton Manchester Downtown for the annual McIntyre-Shaheen club dinner 100 from the New Hampshire Democratic Party.

Throughout the evening, speakers tried to galvanize Democratic activists and elected officials in attendance over fears of what the Republicans might do to New Hampshire and the country as a whole if they beat the Democrats on Election Day.


Jeanne Shaheen on June 17, 2022. Photo/Ali Beaton

Reproductive rights were a recurring theme, as former Planned Parenthood president Cecile Richards said the “police state” that has been created in Texas over abortion could become a national reality if Roe v. Wade is overturned by the United States Supreme Court and the Republicans win a majority. in the US Senate.

Richards also attacked New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu on reproductive rights, calling him ‘multi-choice’ when it came to instances where he said he was a pro-choice governor while embracing what she said. called it anti-abortion legislation.


Cinde Warmington and New Hampshire Democratic Party Chairman Ray Buckley. Photo/Ali Beaton

Executive adviser Cinde Warmington and presumptive Democratic gubernatorial nominee Tom Sherman also criticized Sununu over abortion rights and his lack of pressure on Republican executive advisers to accept federal funding for health initiatives. of women because of their potential links with access to abortion.

U.S. Senator Maggie Hassan, who faces re-election this fall, has also focused on the issue of reproductive rights, instead redirecting that attention to Republican candidates seeking nomination to face her in the general election.

Hassan claimed all candidates would be a rubber stamp for Republican US Senate Leader Mitch McConnell in his opposition to abortion rights, with NH Senate President and US Senate candidate Chuck Morse paving the way for opposing efforts abortion rights at Concord.

“Let me be very clear, you cannot claim to represent New Hampshire while you are trying to deprive half of our people of liberty,” Hassan said.


Maggie Hassan. Photo/Ali Beaton

Throughout the evening, other speakers repeated that Republicans worked for special interests or ideologically extreme factions while Democrats worked for working families and values ​​supported by the majority of Americans.

Representative for New Hampshire’s First Congressional District, Chris Pappas, in particular embraced this view, touting efforts over infrastructure, veterans services and attempts to sue oil companies over alleged price gouging while stating that his potential Republican opponents have no solution to energy prices or medical care and instead focused on currying favor with former US President Donald Trump.

While much of the evening focused on the Democratic-Republican dichotomy on the issues, Pappas also urged those in attendance to ignore the predictions and reach out to potential voters.

Pappas told the public that Republicans nationally had already paid $10 million in attack ads against him this fall.


Chris Papas. Photo/Ali Beaton

This point was also repeated throughout the evening.

“You will hear many pundits telling you that the Democrats will do poorly in November. Don’t believe it, said Wormington. “Now is not the time to despair, no time to cringe, no time for angst. Bill Shaheen once summed it up perfectly: ‘Don’t worry, work.’

Donna Soucy, Democratic leader in the New Hampshire Senate. Photo/Ali Beaton

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The Democrats face a landslide defeat this year. They must change course now | Bernie Sanders https://knoxdemocrats.org/the-democrats-face-a-landslide-defeat-this-year-they-must-change-course-now-bernie-sanders/ Thu, 16 Jun 2022 06:00:00 +0000 https://knoxdemocrats.org/the-democrats-face-a-landslide-defeat-this-year-they-must-change-course-now-bernie-sanders/

Aa moment in history where the Republican Party leadership is undermining democracy, ignoring the climate crisis, trying to overthrow Roe v Wade, opposing a minimum wage hike, passing more tax breaks for the rich and growth of the oligarchy, and prevents us from passing serious gun safety legislation, it would be a disaster for this far-right party to take control of the US House and Senate. Unfortunately, it seems that the current strategy of the Democratic Party allows this to happen.

According to numerous polls, the Republicans have an excellent chance of winning next November. The main reason: while the Democratic Party has, over the years, lost support from the white working class, it is now also losing support from Latino, Black and Asian workers.

Additionally, when it comes to the 2022 election, the level of enthusiasm among the Democratic base is extremely low. It’s not just working class support that’s fading, but it’s also that young people, who helped elect Biden and other Democrats in 2020, are increasingly demoralized and unlikely to vote. not in large numbers in this next election.

Why does this happen? Can this trajectory be changed?

During his campaign, Biden promised to be the most progressive president since Franklin Delano Roosevelt. And in his first months in office, with strong support from Democrats in Congress, he delivered on that promise. At a time when Covid was wreaking havoc on the health and financial well-being of the American people, under the leadership of President Biden, we passed the American Bailout, the most important piece of legislation in modern history. This $1.9 billion bill has provided financial support to tens of millions of American families and businesses, stabilized the economy, and improved our response to Covid.

After this grassroots legislation passed in March 2021, President Biden had a 59% favor rating, the highest of his presidency, and there was broad support for what the Democrats were doing. There was also a strong understanding that we had to go even further. The US bailout was an emergency bill that addressed the Covid-related issues facing the country. Now, with a new administration in place, the American people wanted us to address the long-neglected structural crises facing working families in our country.

Amid grotesque and growing inequalities in income and wealth and decades of wage stagnation, the existential threat of the climate crisis, a rigged tax system and crises in health care, childcare and housing, the American people wanted Congress to finally stand up and represent their interests, not just the greed of wealthy campaign contributors. And that’s what the Build Back Better Act was all about. Poll after poll has shown overwhelming support for virtually every provision of this act.

Yes. The American people want the rich to pay their fair share of taxes. They want to reduce the exorbitant cost of prescription drugs, expand Medicare to cover dental, hearing aids and vision, solve the home and health care crisis, make child care affordable, preschool and higher education, establish a paid family and medical leave program, and build the millions of affordable homes we need. Yes. The American people want us to invest heavily in fighting the climate crisis by transforming our energy system away from fossil fuels.

Unfortunately, despite the strong support of the American people, despite the support of the President, despite the passage through the House of Representatives, despite the support of 48 members of the Senate, two Democratic companies – Senators Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema – who have both received millions of dollars in campaign contributions from billionaires and corporate interests – decided to sabotage this legislation. We needed 50 votes to adopt Build Back Better. We had 48.

And it’s only gotten worse for Democrats ever since. After nine months of fruitless “negotiations” with Manchin and Sinema, it is high time to realize that this is a path that leads to nothing but defeat at the polls and the perception growing that the Democrats have turned their backs on working families. We need a new strategy. We have to face the Republicans. We must fight back.

In extremely difficult and troubling times – inflation, the pandemic, global warming, gun violence, abortion rights abuses, the war in Ukraine – the American people want their elected officials to stand up to the powerful special interests and fight for them. Good. Democrats control the White House, Senate, and House — and it’s not happening. They are held accountable for their inaction and they lose.

Is the situation hopeless? I do not think so. But to turn the tide, Democrats need a major change of course. And in doing so, they can learn a lesson from Harry Truman’s 1948 campaign. In 1948, no one believed that Truman had a chance of winning this election. Strom Thurmond and the segregationists had blocked the party and Henry Wallace, a third party candidate, was taking away progressive votes from Truman. Truman responded with a simple and straightforward strategy. Unlike today’s Democrats, he led the fight against the Republicans. He didn’t let them hide behind their moaning and “doing nothing”. He exposed them for what they were – special interest tools. He gets them to vote on important issues. And, time and time again, they voted against the interests of working families. Truman showed the difference between the parties very clearly – and he won.

What Democrats need to do, right now, is make it clear: They can have 50 votes in the Senate, but they don’t have 50 votes to pass the legislation the American people want and need. They have Nope Republican support and there are two Democrats who will vote with Republicans on important issues.

Now is the time to make democracy work. Let us bring the major issues affecting working families to the Senate and let us vote, vote and vote again. Even if we lose those votes, which is likely, the American people have a right to see where their elected officials stand. Get them to vote!

In any given year, there are billionaires and big, profitable corporations that don’t pay a dime in federal tax. Let’s see how many Republicans will vote for real tax reform to close these loopholes.

Millions of workers continue to earn poverty wages. Let’s see how many Republicans will vote to raise the minimum wage to at least $15 an hour.

We pay, by far, the highest prices in the world for prescription drugs. Let’s see how many Republicans will vote for Medicare to negotiate prescription drug prices and cut drug prices in half.

Many seniors are unable to afford the exorbitant cost of dental care, hearing aids or vision care. Let’s see how many Republicans will vote to expand Medicare to cover these basic health care needs.

On average, the cost of childcare in this country is an unaffordable $15,000 a year, if parents can find an available spot. Let’s see how Republicans will vote to lower the cost of child care and make pre-K free.

We are the only major country that does not guarantee paid family and medical leave. Let’s see how many Republicans will vote to grant at least 12 weeks of paid family and medical leave to working families across our country.

We have the highest child poverty rate of almost any major country. Let’s see how many Republicans will vote to keep the $300-a-month Child Tax Credit, which has reduced child poverty by more than 40%.

Millions of older people struggle to survive on their inadequate social security benefits. Still, the Social Security tax limit is $147,000. Let’s see how many Republicans will vote to lift the income cap and increase Social Security benefits.

Scientists tell us that time is running out to tackle the climate crisis. Let’s see how many Republicans will vote to create millions of well-paying jobs by transforming our energy system away from fossil fuels.

Workers who wish to join unions are often unable to do so due to the illegal actions of their employers. Let’s see how many Republicans will vote to give workers a fair chance to unionize.

And that’s not all we have to do.

We cannot allow murderers armed with AR-15s to continue slaughtering children in schools or grocery stores. Let’s see how many Republicans will vote to pass strong and meaningful gun safety legislation.

The Democratic Party cannot continue to ignore the needs of our country’s working class and hope to retain majority control of the US House and Senate. It’s time to show which side we are on. It’s time to start voting.

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‘Absolutely not worthless’: Democrats are learning to love a small-scale gun deal https://knoxdemocrats.org/absolutely-not-worthless-democrats-are-learning-to-love-a-small-scale-gun-deal/ Mon, 13 Jun 2022 23:08:56 +0000 https://knoxdemocrats.org/absolutely-not-worthless-democrats-are-learning-to-love-a-small-scale-gun-deal/

Tens of thousands showed up Saturday for more than 450 March for Our Lives rallies across the country, where speakers called for universal background checks and a ban on the sale of assault weapons – or, at the very least, the requirement for Americans to be at least 21 before they can buy an assault rifle.

On Sunday, the student-led group behind the rallies reluctantly endorsed an emerging gun violence deal in the Senate that would accomplish neither of those things.

In a less broken society, we would be able to require background checks every time someone wants to buy a gun, and we would ban assault rifles outright,” said David Hogg, co-founder of the group and survivor of the 17-person massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida in 2018. “But if even a life is saved or a mass shooting attempt is prevented thanks to these regulations, we think it’s worth getting to beat.”

As a bipartisan group of 20 senators scramble to finalize what will likely be the first major gun control bill in three decades, Democrats are settling for a small victory, hoping it might downplay the GOP’s fear of a political backlash and leading the way. pathway for future action toward gun control. Democratic support for the legislation in Congress will be nearly unanimous.

“We might be able to score more political points against Republicans, but we wouldn’t save lives, and that’s my priority,” said Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), who helped negotiate the pack. “If Republicans learn that history and good politics err on the side of saving lives and they want to do more because it will get them both, okay.”

Still, a small group of Democratic operatives and strategists worry about the downsides of such an incremental deal, fearing it will allow Republicans to pretend they’ve taken action on a key issue while doing little to reduce 45,000 per year. the toll of victims of armed violence.

“It’s absolutely not without value. It’s a solid package. It’s going to save lives,” Robin Lloyd, chief executive of gun control group Giffords, told reporters on a conference call on Sunday. afternoon as details of the deal emerged “Even though it doesn’t have everything a lot of people would like to see, it’s still very important to do.”

The emerging deal on gun violence in the Senate will do far less than activists like March for Our Lives co-founder David Hogg hope, but they support it anyway.

Tasos Katopodis via Getty Images

Senators are still ironing out the final details of the deal and drafting the legislation, but an announcement on Sunday said the proposal would prompt states to pass so-called “red flag” laws to keep guns from falling between hands of people who are a danger to themselves or others, improving background checks on buyers under 21, removing the “boyfriend loophole” that had allowed some domestic abusers to buy guns , invest in mental health and school safety programs, and increase penalties for straw buyers who buy guns for others.

President Joe Biden, who has backed expanding background checks, banning assault weapons and eliminating a liability shield for gun manufacturers, backs the deal despite play a small role in its development.

“Does this framework have everything the president wants or everything the president has asked for? It’s not,” White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said at Monday’s press conference, noting that families of victims of gun violence in Texas and New York had begged the president to “do something” when he met with them.

The momentum created for this legislation following the May 24 massacre of 19 children and two teachers at an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas, and the racist killing of 10 people at a grocery store in Buffalo, New York, on May 14.

But a previous wave of mass shootings in 2020, amid the Democratic presidential primaries, brought much more ambitious proposals: Former U.S. Representative Beto O’Rourke of Texas endorsed mandatory gun buybacks to reduce the number of guns in the United States (there are now about 121 guns for every 100 Americans) and Meaning. Cory Booker of New Jersey and Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts proposed gun licensing programs. Warren has backed big increases in gun and ammunition taxes.

In an interview on Monday, Warren backed the current deal and said the party must continue to exert political pressure on congressional Republicans, most of whom are not even expected to support the bipartisan deal.

“These are people who haven’t moved in decades with guns,” she told HuffPost. “It’s a sign of the heat they feel that they even move an inch. Our job is to push these Republicans as hard as we can. Nobody gives up. Once this bill is passed, we will come back to it by asking for a ban on assault weapons, by asking to raise the age of possession of firearms.

Years of stalemate have also taken their toll on progressives, who are eager to embrace any progress.

“Even moving the ball forward a few yards is worth it,” Rep. Ro Khanna (D-California) said. “I have been in Congress for six years. We haven’t done anything for six years of any substance.

Gun control remains politically popular: a NPR/PBS/Marist Poll survey earlier this month found that 59% of Americans say preventing gun violence is more important than protecting gun rights, the highest number in a decade, while 35% say the protection of gun rights is more important.

The same survey found that many provisions of the proposal were popular with the public: 86% of voters said they would definitely support a candidate who wants to increase funding for mental health, while 82% said the same. of a candidate who supports background checks and 78% would support a candidate who supported red flag laws.

Various gun violence proposals not included in the package were less popular. The public was divided on the assault weapons ban: While 56% of all voters said they would vote for a candidate who supported one, the proposal was underwater among independent voters. Allowing teachers to arm themselves was downright unpopular, with just 38% of voters saying they would support a candidate who supported the idea.

The popularity of gun control measures is part of the reason some Democrats fear a deal is a risk, potentially leaving the GOP, which has delayed serious action on gun violence for decades, politically off the hook. while doing little to solve the problem.

“The real question is whether this deal advances the cause of passing something that really matters or sets it back,” said Adam Jentleson, a top aide to the late Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid. from Nevada, wrote on Twitter. “The illusion of progress can be a net negative.”

Igor Bobic and Arthur Delaney contributed reporting.