Republicans were served another reminder of President Donald Trump's unpopularity Tuesday as Democrat Jon Ossoff nearly captured a House seat in a region that for decades has been a conservative stronghold, with the Democrat ultimately falling just short of the percent needed to avoid a runoff.
Ossoff received 48.1% of the vote, short of the 50% he needed to win outright. He and the other top vote-getter -- Republican candidate Karen Handel, who received 19.8% -- will now face off on their own in June.
The hotly contested race carried major implications as a gauge of the President's popularity -- and Trump himself seemed to grasp the high stakes, playing a direct role in its closing days.
Democrats saw it as an opportunity to drive a wedge between Trump and congressional Republicans fearful that he could drag down the party in the 2018 midterms -- while also delivering a psychic boost to an energized progressive base.
They nearly pulled it off. And two months later, Ossoff will get a second shot in a one-on-one runoff with Handel albeit an uphill climb now that the Republican vote in a reliably GOP district will be consolidated behind one candidate.
A CBS news item noted:
To get a sense of where things stand, we looked at the early vote – more than 50,000 have been cast so far. While the results haven’t been tallied, we can analyze the vote histories of early voters, based on data collected by L2 VoterMapping and matched to their voter file records.
In this special election, the balance between Democrats and Republicans who’ve voted early is closer than it was in the last midterm election, among those who are still on the rolls today. Usually Republicans outnumber Democrats in the early vote, because it is a heavily Republican district.
That item, opening paragraph, described district demographics:
Spanning wealthier and Republican-leaning suburbs north of Atlanta, Georgia’s Sixth District is the kind of place Democrats would love to pull off an upset, not simply for one single district but as a harbinger of larger possibilities. They’d use it to argue there’s greater excitement in their own base – which turnout suggested was lacking last year – and maybe that they can win the sort of upper-income Republicans and college graduates who eluded them in 2016.
While not a Clinton/Podesta low grade Republican-lite corporatist toady, Ossoff is not holding a heart like Bernie either. And the demographics of the district in play suggest the corporatist DNC types wanted this one bad; a howto for districts that are wealthy-Republican vs scrabble-Repubican, as in the past Kansas special election, where a Bernie endorsed (Our Revolution backed) candidate received neither DC based nor statewide Inner Party money, yet almost won.
In contrast, money poured into this hummer. International Business Times yesterday, election day, wrote:
In the wake of a closer-than-expected race in Kansas, donors and political groups from all over the country poured millions of dollars into Georgia's sixth congressional district in anticipation of Tuesday's special election to decide who will occupy the House seat vacated by former congressman and current Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price.
Democratic candidate and political neophyte Jon Ossoff was the beneficiary of much of the country's largesse, raising more than $8 million in just three months. But 60 percent of his support came from small donations of $200 or less: Republican organizations were the big outside spenders.
The GOP seemed to get its money's worth late Tuesday, when it appeared that Ossoff would not cross the 50 percent vote threshold to avoid a June run-off. He would face Karen Handel, the top Republican vote-getter. Local and national Democrats may be inspired by the competitive results and step up the fight, but the demographics tend to favor the GOP to retain the seat, and the losing GOP candidates were already rallying around her Tuesday night.
Coverage in each noted item was extensive, and readers are urged to follow the links and read the entire story.
Pre-election, CNN posted under the headline, "This Georgia special election is all about Donald Trump:"
Washington (CNN)As Georgia voters go to the polls to choose a new member of Congress in the 6th district today, President Trump wants to make sure he's on their minds.
In the past 36 hours, Trump has fired off a series of tweets about the race in which Democrat Jon Ossoff is trying to win the seat outright against a crowded field of 17(!) other candidates.
On Tuesday morning as polls began to open in the suburban Atlanta district, Trump blasted off two tweets.
[tweets omitted, sidebar reference noted/linked to Trump robocalling too ...] The message is unmistakeable: If you like Trump and his policies, you need to vote against Ossoff.
What's interesting about Trump's seeming strategy to make the race a referendum on his first 89 days as president is that this district isn't exactly Trump territory. While the district has a long Republican pedigree -- this is the area that elected Newt Gingrich to Congress and went for Mitt Romney by more than 20 points in 2012 -- Trump barely eked out a victory last November.
Why? Because this is a prototypical establishment Republican district. These are Republican voters but the sort much more comfortable with the brand of genteel conservatism offered by Speaker Paul Ryan than the more in-your-face approach of Trump.
("Genteel conservatism," by that butthead Ryan? Get real. Mack the Knife was genteel compared to Ryan. Ditto, compared to the amphibian, Gingrich. Trust mainstream media to sugar coat abuses and excesses of the right.)
Back to the story line from that digression - Clearly it was not entirely a mere "for/against the Trump administration and persona," in office for the first early and unpopular days; and Ossoff was/is not a stiff.
Nor is Ossoff a political neophyte, indeed, he appears a well traveled propagandist (not unlike Bannon in "documentary" film production actions while clearly differing in outlook and personality and output tilt); per Wikipedia:
Born in Atlanta, Ossoff was raised by his parents in Northlake, an unincorporated community in Georgia's 6th congressional district. Ossoff's mother Heather Fenton, an Australian immigrant, co-founded NewPower PAC, an organization that works to elect women to local office across Georgia. His father, who is of Russian Jewish and Lithuanian Jewish descent, owns a specialist publishing company. Ossoff was raised Jewish.
Ossoff attended the Paideia School, a small private school in Atlanta. While in high school, he interned for Georgia congressman and civil rights leader John Lewis.
Ossoff attended Georgetown University from 2005 to 2009, earning a bachelor's degree in the School of Foreign Service. He attended classes taught by former secretary of state Madeleine Albright and former Israeli ambassador to the United States Michael Oren.
Ossoff went on to earn his Master of Science degree from London School of Economics in 2013, where he wrote his thesis on trade relations between the United States and China.
Ossoff worked as a national security staffer and aide to Rep. Hank Johnson for five years where he drafted and managed legislative initiatives that passed the House and Senate. He had top-secret clearance for five months.
Since 2013, he has been managing partner and CEO of Insight TWI, a small business which produces investigations targeting corrupt officials and organized crime for international news organizations. In 2016, Ossoff was an executive producer for a documentary film by Insight TWI for BBC Three; the film exposed atrocities committed by ISIL in Iraq.
Can you say Dem establishment darling? Seems that way, with Haim Saban likely liking him quite more than he likes Keith Ellison. haaretz.com in an item behind a paywall wrongly characterized Ossoff early, via pre-paywall headlining, "Jon Ossoff 'came out of nowhere' and poses a serious threat to Republican's long-time hold on Georgia's Sixth Congressional District." With Ossoff having his feet firmly planted in establishment corporatist Dem Inner Party circles, folks in that circle might feel a bit of a burn, being called "nowhere" by a prominent foreign press outlet. Or not. They might prefer an "out of nowhere" image over an "out of the bottle" one of us impression on Gorgia voters in a characteristically Republican suburban district. As in, belie the pedigree when that ploy is seemingly advantageous.
In any event, ploy or not, "out of somewhere" IS the truth, and given a failure to get a majority to close the question, the last cited CNN item does cast gloom on runoff possibilities, from the Dem establishment perspective.
Crabgrass feelings: Our Revolution, Georgia, on Facebook. Phone banking, national level. Hewed the party line? Phone banked like good soldiers, for Ossoff? The appearance is, not exactly hot for it but at least one east coast local OurRev group was working at getting a Georgia ticket punched: I.e., compare this Arlington, MA "Event Central" page, with the national main phone bank page:
|click image to read|
[NOTE: As an update, two other OurRev phone bank items have been found online here and here.]
Rob Quist appears to be their [OurRev's] dog in the hunt, and that hunt is in Montana. Either encouraged to stay out, to keep a low profile in Georgia but do some out-of-state money raising, or disinclined to favor Ossoff's well-funded establishment cred is unclear.
But Ossoff seems little a part of anybody's revolution. Instead, as mainstream vanilla as Biden's butler.
Reflect back a week or so, OurRev national on its touting a Pyrrhic victory that actually was a clear but narrow loss, among the scrabble-Republicans. Something still in the balance with Ossoff, awaiting a June runoff.
It will be informative to see OurRev's activity between now and that June runoff. More immediate is the Montana special election to be held May 25, with Quist endorsed by AFL-CIO, Our Revolution, NARAL, and others:
Quist on his issues page-
- has an intriguing footer, above the email subscription box, "Putting Montanans First." Similar to something I recall seeing, somewhere, re the national stage.
At any rate, the email subscription box is there; so readers, please sign up. This is Our Revolution's hunt. As was Kansas.
THE NITTY-GRITTY: Overseas reporting, Guardian, here, stating:
Since losing the presidency to a Cheeto-hued reality TV host, the Democratic party’s leadership has made it clear that it would rather keep losing than entertain even the slightest whiff of New Deal style social democracy.
The Bernie Sanders wing might bring grassroots energy and – if the polls are to be believed – popular ideas, but their redistributive policies pose too much of a threat to the party’s big donors to ever be allowed on the agenda.
Even a symbolic victory cedes too much to those youthful, unwashed hordes who believe healthcare and education are human rights and not extravagant luxuries, as we saw when the Democratic establishment recruited Tom Perez to defeat the electorate-backed progressive Keith Ellison for DNC chair.
The Democrats demonstrated this once more this week when, in a special election triggered by Trump’s tapping of Mike Pompeo for CIA director, a Berniecrat named James Thompson came painfully close to winning a Kansas Congressional seat that had been red for over two decades, and his party didn’t even try to help him.
If Thompson’s picture is not on the Wikipedia page for “left-wing populism,” it really should be. Following a difficult upbringing during which he was homeless for a time, he joined the Army and attended college on the GI bill. [...]
Estes spent much of his money on TV attack ads, like the one that claimed Thompson supports using tax dollars to fund late term abortions, as well as abortions performed because parents don’t like the gender of their baby.
Given our current political climate, you’d think the Democrats would have jumped at the chance to take back a Congressional seat and demonstrate opposition to Trump, but you’d be wrong. While Thompson managed to raise $292,000 without his party’s help, 95% of which came from individuals, neither the DNC, DCCC, nor even the Kansas Democratic Party would help him grow that total in any substantial way. His campaign requested $20,000 from the state Democratic Party and was denied.
They later relented and gave him $3,000. (According to the FEC, the Party had about $145,000 on hand.) The national Democratic Party gave him nothing until the day before the election, when it graced him with some live calls and robo-calls. He lost by seven percentage points.
In an interview with The Washington Post, Perez confirmed the DNC would not be giving Thompson a dime. “We can make progress in Kansas,” he said. “There are thousands of elections every year, though. Can we invest in all of them? That would require a major increase in funds.” Fact check: the DNC has a fund just for Congressional elections, of which there are just ten this year.
Contrast this with what Perez said just a few months earlier when he promised “a 50-state strategy” complete with “rural outreach and organizers in every zip code.”
Expect Quist to be subjected to the same negative GOP mud slinging; and fear that Biden's Butler will have the same penurious attitude to Montana progressiveism as he insultingly displayed for Kansans wanting what's best for themselves. The man had the chance, and declined to walk the talk. Who is he then, besides a hypocrite?
At any rate, hope the DNC acts more responsibly in Montana, Quist being hard at work and hoping. Thompson's hurt should not be projected westward; so hope for the best but expect grassroots contributions will be essential in carrying the day in Montana.
LAST: The Quist/Montana page has its subscription box on the homepage too:
The Quist/Montana contributions page, with ActBlue enabled:
That page also gives the address for snail mail contribution by check:
ROB QUIST CAMPAIGN
PO Box 1917, Kalispell MT, 59903
Readers, please sign up, and give. It is a chance to show Our Revolution support can make a difference. If you send in a check, be sure contribution rules are followed, by stating necessary affiliation - employment on the memo line, to keep the election monitoring people happy.
My memo line shall read: "retired donor - Bernie rocks"
Back to the Jon Ossoff situation, he is the runoff candidate opposing a Republican in Newt Gingrich land. The feeling here is he should be helped in the runoff, not hung out to dry the way the corporatist Dem establishment treated Thompson in Kansas, and bearing a grudge over that inexcusable behavior should be put aside. Not everyone may agree, since this was posted before yesterday's voting:
The Bright Lines Who Will Fight For Medicare For All, Who Will Stand Against Militarism and Austerity? Not John Ossoff or Our Revolution. - by BAR managing editor Bruce A. Dixon
Last week Physicians for a National Health Care Plan released a press statement declaring the Republican plan to replace Obamacare “a re-branded and far meaner version” of the 2010 Affordable Health Care Act. This ought to raise a pertinent question: If all Republicans have to do is “re-brand” and tweak Obamacare, was it really much good to start with? The fact is that Obamacare was written by and for insurance companies in the first place, and from the beginning it left out roughly half the black uninsured, who lived in states where Republican legislatures and governors were able to block Medicaid expansion. For many of those who did receive coverage, high deductibles, co-insurance and co-pays made using your new Obamacare policy unaffordable.
So why are Democratic special election candidates like Georgia’s Jon Ossoff whining that they want to work with Republicans to “fix what’s broken” in Obamacare, when the entire premise of trusting for-profit insurance companies to deliver health care is bankrupt and useless? The answer is that this is what Democrats do.
Jon Ossoff is running for the seat vacated by Tom Price, the nutcase anti-abortion doctor who is now Secretary of Health and Human Services. Osoff is endorsed by Our Revolution, the reincarnation of the Bernie Sanders campaign, and Congressman John Lewis, who has been coasting on his lifetime civil rights hero pass for two generations now. He is also embraced by a host of pro-privatization Democrats like Atlanta’s Stacey Abrams.
This is one of those political moments where there are bright lines which distinguish friends from foes. The American people have always wanted real healthcare for everyone and the only practical way to get that is to simply lower the Medicare age down to zero. Those who say it cannot be done or should not be tried are on one side and the rest of us are on the other. That is a bright line and Our Revolution has placed itself on the wrong side.
The question of war and global empire is another bright line. Ossoff touts his top secret security clearance obtained by working on Capitol Hill as a national security staffer. But so far, in the tradition of warmongering corporate Democrats he has little or nothing to say about Trump’s one-upping the warlike Democrats with his ten percent hike in the military budget, and when he does have something to say it will be about Russia. This is the kind of Democrat that gets a DNC endorsement and a million dollars from the likes of Tom Perez, and the endorsement of John Lewis and Our Revolution, again on the wrong side of another bright line.
We haven’t heard from Ossoff on school privatization, raising the minimum wage or championing the right to organize unions and strike, but apparently those too are outside and beyond the pale of respectable Democrats, and Berniecrats too. These constitute still another bright line.
Revolutions are not made by people with their eye on this week's polling or next week selection. Revolutionaries set lofty goals that some deem unachievable, and that their foes declare illegitimate.
Feelings that way are understandable. And easy to follow. However, one more seat in Congress not voting within Paul Ryan's majority has much to recommend it, and Ossoff is not responsible for acts of Biden's Butler and cohorts. Even if akin to that faction, be bigger in heart and spirit than the bastards are; it's a better way.
There is much truth in that last quote; and if the bastards remain intransigent, then it may be showing the path. For now, Ossoff is an issue apart from having to rip apart the cozy country club two party arrangements, should that prove the only actual answer. For now, place hope with Ossoff - even with that being lesser evil thinking to many of us who support Bernie's democratic socialism, Our Revolution, and Justice Democrats. Be patient. But observant. And ready to see when/if a battle line needs to be drawn.
Wait out and see Montana events; see the Georgia runoff result; but never forget Thompson's abandonment in Kansas. It should always remain a rallying point. Under the Biden-Perez bus is no place for a fine and decent Democrat. Never forget. For now, turn the other cheek. Show restraint and good manners. For now, and the immediate future.
And despite anything else, help Rob Quist.
Check is in the mail. Besides the memo line noted above; the amount was chosen as 5 x $27, with twenty-seven bucks being something of a rallying point.
It's started. Be the judge. Who's got a message of cheer, and who's got a message full of slung mud. Here and here. You have to wonder, what person, where, and at what price does those creepy cookie-cutter slung-mud voiceovers. I have good recollections about the brief times I have been in Missoula. A pleasant college town, and more. I hope Quist wins. He seems a good man.
Okay, this will be final. While on YouTube video tells us . . .
Ossoff's problem, well articulated. By one of the skeptical young. He's not one of us. His appeal, he will vote with us if we get a majority, on organizing. A Joe Lieberman standard. However - One of those JL's was enough. One too many, perhaps, an albatross around Al Gore's neck.
With a runoff election, Ossoff will face one Republican alone on that side this time. The Republicans will vote for the real one instead of the Republican-lite Ossoff one. Others might see that differently.
But Ossoff is the one the Perez/Biden DNC dearly wants to sell; not Thompson in Kansas; perhaps not Quist in Montana.
On that Montana one we have to wait and see. Will DNC pull the same too-late token money bit they pulled with Thompson; or will they put real cash up to help? NOW? A big question needing an answer. Will it be Ossoff's runoff gets party bucks, Quist's contest gets ignored? If so, there's a big time problem: Eight and not merely four years of Trump, via entrenched obstinacy on the part of a corporatist bellwether intent infecting both parties and their paired two-Tweedle, no actual difference syndrome.