The 19th Amendment to the United States Constitution, granting women the right to vote, was ratified on August 18, 1920.
Yesterday, on the Johnson County Courthouse lawn in downtown Warrensburg, area Democrats held a rally to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the amendment.
Approximately twenty-five individuals attended, wearing masks and keeping social distance.
Throughout the rally occasional passersby, clued in by the large banners, would rev their vehicle engine, shout occasionally audible 19th century sentiments, and in one case, peeled out down the street. Welcome to Missouri in the 21st century.
The 4th Congressional District Democratic Committee held its bi-monthly meeting in Sedalia this afternoon. Elad Gross (D), a candidate for Attorney General in 2020, an open records advocate, and a foe of “dark money”, spoke to the group.
…I’m running for Attorney General because we need to enforce those rules, very much. I’m running to prosecute public corruption in our state, bring accountability back to Jefferson City, and end dark money. [applause] I’m assuming from that reaction we know what dark money is. [laughter] Dark money’s the worst. Dark money is anonymous campaign contributions. It’s pretty much it. So, if you’ve donated to a candidate before….if you want to donate, if we want to donate we have to give a whole bunch of information about ourselves, right? So you say how much money I’m donating, we get your first name, your last name, your address, uh, who you work for, what you do. Yeah?
Now, if you have a whole bunch of money you don’t have to do any of that….but if you have a bunch of money, you hire a bunch of attorneys, and you start a charity….So we create this charity…we take millions and millions of dollars from you and all of your friends and you put it into the non-profit….and all the names of the donors it cleanses them off because these…non-profits don’t have to reveal the names of their donors. Yeah, so then, the non-profit takes all that money and gives it away to candidates, to issues, whatever it wants. Right, million of dollars. And we never see the original sources of those donations. None. [….]
Elad Gross spoke for about forty-five minutes and then took questions.
Back to Blue, Cass County, Crystal Quade, Democrats, Hallie Thompson, Jessica Podhola, missouri, Nicole Galloway, organized labor, Proposition A, Renee Hoagenson, right to get paid less, Stephen Webber, working people
Last night the Cass County Democratic Committee held it’s “Red, White and Blue Collar Celebration” Back to Blue dinner in Raymore. Approximately 200 individuals attended – meeting candidates and listening to remarks from featured speakers State Audior Nicole Galloway (D), Representative Crystal Quade (D), and Misouri Democratic Party Chair Stephen Webber.
Working people attended in force – opposition to Proposition A – “Right to get paid less” – was a major theme for the evening.
The republican party led dysfunction in Jefferson City was also a major topic of discussion.
“…Words of wisdom…so, uh, don’t work out with the governor. [laughter] Is that not wise advice? [laughter] Sorry. Um, is it too soon, is it too soon to, to say that…?” – Jessica Podhola
“…[the] dark cloud that currently surrounds Jefferson City is something that none of us could of prepared for. Often people down from where I’m from in Greene County will say to me, you know, it must be really hard to be a Democrat in a super minority. And, um, I like to say back to them, you know, there’s no better time to be a Democrat than right now. [….] Democrats didn’t expect such a mess from the Republicans and from their governor. I can tell you they did not expect us. They didn’t expect a group of legislators who were ready to fight back when they brought terrible bills to the floor…” – Crystal Quade
“…It’s dangerous to believe that progress is the law of life. Gravity is a law. Gravity is a law of life. Gravity is gonna happen. You drop something, it’s gonna fall. That, that’s gonna happen. Progress isn’t. Progress is not inevitable. Progress is not preordained. Progress is not something that just happens with the passage of time. Progress can be reversed. Progress only happens if somebody makes it happen. And in Missouri that somebody is us… ” – Stephen Webber
On Thursday evening approximately fifty Democrats from Johnson County gathered in downtown Warrensburg for their monthly meeting. Missouri Democratic Party Chair Stephen Webber spoke at length about the state and national political scene and the state party’s plans for 2018 and beyond.
No one’s planning on rolling over.
Renee Hoagenson, a recently announced Democratic Party candidate for the 4th Congressional District in 2018, also spoke, introducing herself and speaking at length on public policy issues in the district.
It appears, unlike Representative Vicky Hartzler (r), that Renee Hoagenson won’t be afraid of holding open public town halls in the district.
The organizing, planning, and work for 2018 and beyond starts now.
The St. Louis Post-Dispatch noted that Claire McCaskill is being cagey about how she’ll vote when The Orange Simpleton’s Supreme Court nominee, Judge Neil Gorsuch, comes up for a vote. The article notes that she’s in a damned if you do, damned if you don’t situation. The state went for Trump in a big way, but she still needs the Democratic base support she’ll likely lose if she breaks ranks with her party, rolls over and gives Gorsuch the thumbs up.
This analysis is probably true. Nevertheless, the decision ought to be a no-brainer for McCaskill. Does she think she’s going to get any of that Trump vote? Ever? Or that moderates are really impressed by wish-washy, to hell with my principles and my party voting?
And speaking of that base and what they might to do if McCaskill stands with the GOP and hands the Supreme Court over to the corporations and Christian fascists, maybe it’s time for a real primary challenge? Somewhere along the line fainthearted Democrats have to learn that there’s a price to pay for playing the odds. I know I’m tired of a congressperson who doles out her votes in a one-for-them, one-for-you kind of way.
I am aware that talk about primary challenges has in the past seemed like crazy talk. Who could we even put up against Claire McCaskill? The Democratic bench in Missouri isn’t exactly rich in strong, charismatic progressives. But right now there is one proven political player in Missouri who’s currently out of a job: Jason Kander.
— Would Kander run against such an established Missouri leader? Who knows. I certainly don’t know enough about the how political incentives work behind the scenes here in Missouri to even hazard a guess, nor do I know anything about Kander’s proclivities. I do recollect, however, that McCaskill herself primaried Bob Holden back in 2004. And won. And then lost.
It’s worth noting in this context that Kander is definitely making sounds that indicate he doesn’t plan to fade into the woodwork. He’s sending out regular emails to Democrats that suggest he’d like to lead the Missouri resistance to the GOP Trumpathalon. He’s hit upon important themes such as voter ID that resonate with progressives in his public appearances subsequent to the election.
—Could Kander win a primary and in the general election? Again – who knows. But I bet he’d put up a notable fight. He’s shown that he’s a smart, very able campaigner and has good ideas about how Democrats can win. Despite the 2016 Missouri Trump juggernaut, he came within three points of unseating a very well-established sitting senator, earning 228,000 more votes in Missouri than Hillary Clinton. He’s recently been lauded as a “celebrity in national Democratic politics.”
As for the general election, there’s also the chance that as Trump’s incompetence becomes more manifest and as folks realize what the real Republican agenda has been all along, there may be a backlash against knee jerk Republicanism that will be potent even against gun love, religious authoritarianism and bigotry. I concede that this may be wishful thinking, but if it pans out, even just a little, add that to Kander’s native appeal and you might have a big winner.
— But, but Kander’s not a progressive. Wouldn’t we be trading one “centrist” Democrat for another? Maybe. But this is Missouri after all. During the campaign, Kander expressed views that are weak in some of the same areas where McCaskill lets us down – he claims to support a balanced budget amendment, for God’s sake – and he showed a tendency to pander when it came to minor memes flogged in the right-wing press. The proof, however, will be in the pudding and we might as well get ourselves a new pudding – especially when the act of getting it sends a message to saggy puddings everywhere.
— Would voting for Gorsuch be enough to totally zero out McCaskill, or should we give her another chance? Maybe. But I know that I’ve been giving her one more chance again and again. Sometimes she comes through, but on the biggest issues she’s often not where we need her to be. The bill has to come due sooner or later.
As for the Gorsuch vote specifically, the thing to remember is that this issue is bigger than just this individual and does not even take into account Gorsuch’s extreme, non-mainstream judicial views, unsavory racist associations, as well as possibly exaggerated resume claims. All this aside, no self-respecting Democrat should even consider rewarding Republicans for defying their constitutional obligations and shutting out President Obama’s nominee, the well-qualified moderate Judge Merrick Garland. Ever.
Republicans broke the process, and we can’t pretend like it’s old times again. Now is the time to say no, say it loud and proud, and if McCaskill isn’t up to saying a forceful no, then maybe that’s what we have to say to her come 2018. Maybe Jason Kander could be the way we say it. Maybe not.
Steve Israel, former head of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC), is reported to have remarked that “Republicans have always been better than Democrats at playing the long game.” It’s likely that Democrats are experiencing the consequences of that shortsightedness today. But never despair. Democrats have a chance to show that they can formulate long-term strategy and carry it out just like the mean kids did during the past eight years. And maybe a chance to even reap the rewards that accrue to astute and hardheaded political execution.
Of course, Democrats so far have, as usual, dithered. They promised a united front against Orange Dumbo’s cabinet nominees from hell and then they broke ranks and scattered to the wind. But never mind. The most important test was set last night when President Circus Barker announced the winner of his Most Extreme Supreme Court Nominee contest, Judge Neil Gorsuch, on national television (winner and loser summoned to Washington to heighten the suspense). Now we get to see if our Democrats are not only capable of developing a viable strategy, but have sufficient discipline to carry it out.
Elections have consequences, we hear, but Republicans taught us through eight years of obstruction, that those consequences need not always be what they’re supposed to be. The GOP rammed this fact home even more brutally when they sat out the clock on President Obama’s SCOTUS nomiee, Merrick Garland. It took them a whole year, but they hung on. It’s time for Democrats to give them a dose of their own medicine.
But, but, you sputter, we are people of principle. We condemned the naughty Republicans (or at least some of us chided them gently) for doing what you suggest. We stand for civility and good government. To which my response is that that model of government has been well and truly broken, the mean kids broke it, they’re proud of doing it, and will continue to grind the pieces to dust if Democrats don’t begin to get just as down and dirty.
And that means doing whatever is necessary to keep Judge Gorsuch off the Supreme Court. Or at least make it clear that no Democrat in good conscience can countenance his presence there – Republicans will have to own this extremist. And this has to be the message that Missouri progressives and Democrats send to our desperate to be bipartisan Senator Claire McCaskill.
Nor are we being obstructive for the pure hell of it. There’s lots of reasons to stand against Gorsuch apart from the fact that he is being given the seat that should have gone to Merrick Garland – and would have gone to him had Democrats had any sense of urgency about the outcome of the election. Far from a neutral, non-ideological approach to the constitution, Gorsuch’s brand of originalism shows him to be in opposition to most of the jurisprudence of this and the later part of the last century – even the more conservative rulings. The adjective that is consistently used to describe his judicial exercise is “hostile”:
- He is hostile to the power of the Federal government to protect the well-being of its citizens against powerful economic interests. He has expressed opposition to commonly accepted Chevron doctrine that allows agencies to enforce regulations. Even Justice Scalia refused to go where Gorsuch goes in this context.
- He is hostile to the interests of consumers and workers and has ruled consistently and aggressively in favor of corporations and business.
- He is overtly hostile to women’s reproductive rights.
- He is hostile to challenges against the use of excessive force by police.
- He is hostile to environmental regulation.
- He is hostile to the demands of the disabled.
Gorsuch is an ideologically extreme candidate nominated by a president who failed to achieve an electoral majority and whose election was further tainted by almost certain foreign meddling. This is not a president who has a mandate to appoint a destructive ideologue to the people’s court – especially when he is taking the rightful place of the equally well-qualified centrist whose nomination was not even allowed to come to a vote.
If Democrats – and, since I am in Missouri, by Democrats I mean Senator Claire McCaskill – don’t fight this nomination to the bitter end, they will have forfeited any claim on our support. They’ll lose, you say. Who cares? The GOP will kill the filibuster rule, you say. So what? Who needs a a filibuster you can’t use because they’ll take it away from you? And anyway, if they were to do that, employ the nuclear option, it’ll come back to bite them in the behind – and lots of them know that just as well as we do. That’s the way political karma works and it’s time for Democrats to get a little Karma going.
What do we do? Missourians need to keep calling and writing Claire McCaskill. Don’t let up. Let her know that we’ll support her if she supports us. This is not the time for self-interested politicians. And we’ll remember, whatever happens, for good or ill, we’ll remember what all the players did.