10 reasons the Democratic Party faces a tough election cycle this fall

It must be getting close to election time. With emotions boiling to the surface for those who care about the outcome on November 4th, I have been subject of late to more criticism than usual.

These allegations include charges of, “lacking of knowledge of local Democratic Party politics,” character flaws for being shallow and simplistic, plus suffering from a bad case of Adult Attention Deficit Disorder.

Despite this, I remain sound of mind these days. It’s just that in the weeks preceding Election Day, things tend to get a little more personal than normal.

Most of this venom is coming from the left side of the political ledger where “progressives” have become hypersensitive of those who question the domestic and international policies of the Democratic Party. With all that has occurred in the first term and a half of the Obama administration, it is getting more difficult for the Left to entice their faithful and others to vote for their usual wedge issues that include:

  • A women’s right to choose, gay marriage, and females being mistreated by sexist bosses in the workplace.
  • Claiming inequality for minorities by playing the race card with voter registration, police misconduct, and discrimination against minorities
  • Placing responsibility on Republicans and Fox News for their failed policies around the globe.
  • Using the prosperity of Wall Street to explain the poor performance of the U.S. economy

As opinion polls indicate, the electorate is angry. It is no longer believable to blame George Bush, the Koch Brothers, or the Republican majority in the House of Representatives for the woes of the country.   People want answers from both Parties (especially in the U.S. Senate) to earn their votes.

For Democratic Party members who have triumphed in last 2 presidential elections, victory this election cycle may be a daunting task. In order to avoid a total collapse, they must defend 10 vulnerable areas listed below in order for Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid from having to move his office location next January to accommodate triumphant GOP leadership in the Senate:

10 reasons members of the Democratic Party face a difficult election cycle

1. Explain the reason for failure to approve the Keystone Pipeline.

With its passage, thousands of jobs would be created including coveted high paying union positions. It is understood that safety concerns are a non-sequator in this equation. Pipelines are much less prone to accidents than moving product by rail where derailments and human error come into play. This dispute is really about the objections of Progressives to fracking and how it affects their Green Energy policies. The natives are beyond getting restless with the delays that have ensued during the approval process.

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2. Trying to impress voters that job creation exemplified by a lower unemployment rate (5.9%) is indicative of an economic recovery from when Obama was first elected in 2008.

This is total B.S. and everyone knows it. These glossy figures don’t reflect those who have given up looking for work or the quality of the jobs being produced. Traditional manufacturing plants are moving overseas and environmental gridlock has held back economic development. Job creation has been reduced to producing low paying often part time work in service industries such as fast food and retail. This has largely contributed to the gross income of American families declining about $4,000.00 per year.  Increased government entitlements to make up for this shortfall has not convinced most folks that things are “AOK at the KOA”.

3. The Affordable Care Act is not a major success story.

Aside from Progressive zealots and Democratic Party operatives, a majority of Americans are apprehensive about this program. With the Veterans Administration (VA) and Internal Revenue Service (IRS) scandals, along with problems with the roll-out of Obama Care, over half the population are concerned with the ability of the Federal government to make good decisions in an area that comprises over 10% of the GNP. Problems with those currently covered having to re-enroll prior to 2015 and less than anticipated participation in the program by private industry is not going to make matters easier.

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 4. Frustration with the news media for not being forthcoming with important issues.

Americans are becoming fatigued with news coverage by left leaning news organizations among the major networks, cable and newspapers.In a time when foreign policy failures in the Middle East, Ukraine, Libya, and Africa along with mounting domestic scandals, there is a growing perception that the fifth estate is not properly doing its job. Rachel Maddow spending 3 months coverage of a 4 hour traffic jam on a bridge no one outside of New York cares about is not a subject that arouses much interest nationally.  Her dismal ratings on MSNBC and those of other leftist news outlets reflects how much people care about this type of non-issue.

5. Concern with ethics and performance of the Justice department.

Aside from some Progressive ideologues, the recent resignation of Eric Holder as Attorney General has not brought a lot of tears from Middle America. As the chief law enforcement officer in the Country, Holder’s politically motivated, hands off approach with the IRS and NSA/CIA scandals, along with The Justice Departments intervention in the Ferguson incident, make many people uneasy. Sending a perceived bigot like Rev. Al Sharptin as your ears on the ground does not help either. The comparison of Holder’s reign in the Justice Department to Richard Nixon’s Attorney General John Mitchell is nothing to be proud of.

 6. The Obama Administration’s lack of transparency in telling the truth to its constituents.

The pledge of being honest to the American people, which helped propel the Democratic Party to victory in 2008 and 2012, has fallen short of expectations. From “Drawing a line in the sand” in Syria, to “If you like your doctor you can keep your doctor,” Obama’s credibility and by association, the Democratic Party, has been damaged. Obama’s failure to own up to foreign policy failures including the Benghazi incident and ignoring the threat of ISIS, has only made matters worse. As leader of the Democratic Party, Obama’s current low approval rating, which is comparable to that of George Bush’s second term, reflects a growing disconnect between his administration and those he governs.

7. Hilary Clinton, Leon Panetta and numerous Military leaders jumping ship from the White House.

These political stalwarts among others have separated themselves from policies of the Obama Administration, especially in the area of foreign policy. These are all well respected figures who have crossed party lines to express their displeasure with a President who they feel is a leftist ideologue who has consistently ignored advisors to the detriment of his country.

8. Increasing entitlements for the poor hasn’t worked in lifting them from Poverty.

This is a difficult pill for the Obama Administration and their predecessors to swallow.The strategy of pushing welfare, food stamps, and subsidized housing has not done a very good job of assisting low income people reach their aspirations in life. It seems apparent that residents of ghetto environments personified by the frustrations in Ferguson Missouri would prefer job creation to government hand-outs.

9. A perception that the President is not working very hard and taking his duties as Chief Executive seriously enough.

obama-golfFrequent golf games, unrelenting fund raising and low attendance to National Security briefings has lead many Americans to believe their leader is “mailing it in” during his second term. Whether these allegations are valid makes little difference to a growing number of Americans who view Obama as being more interested in creating photo opportunities than being a real leader.

 10. Problems at the border:

The American people are fed up with a President and a Democratic Party that has not protected the Southern boundary with Mexico. They want this problem fixed. Few see providing those who cross our borders without permission free government paid attorney services to avoid or stall deportation. With this said, however you dress up the pig, undocumented immigrants are still illegal aliens who do not belong in the USA under existing laws. Most Americans of all political parties prefer Congress settles this complex problem rather than threatened Executive Action by the President.

Bonus Vulnerability Problem:

Please tell the leaders of our country that Islam extremists are not a few bad apples or God fairing Moslems who are trying to get extra credit in Koran Bible Study Class by beheading innocent civilians. At the same time those people who wish to destroy Western civilization are not rebels or insurgents but rather scum bags who need to be terminated.

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Democratic Party endorsements for Concord City Council far from unanimous

Dr. Harmesh Kumar, is not especially happy with the Democratic Party these days.  Following interviews with all candidates for the three open slots for Concord City Council, he was not endorsed by their Central Committee.

Kumar felt such recognition was owed him given his record of public service as sponsor of the Diversity Festival, being a member of Concord’s Measure Q Oversight Committee, his work as an advocate for Mental Health issues, and for being a strong supporter of the Democratic Party in the past.

Instead local Democratic Party kingpins selected Laura Hoffmeister and political newcomer Brent Trublood. Hoffmeister is a long time incumbent. Trublood is an Middle School teacher who has been actively involved the teachers’ union activities in the Mt Diablo Unified School District

The third position open seat for Concord City Council was not given an endorsement as 60% of the voting delegates could not agree on any of the other candidates.

Dr. Kumar, a psychologist who operates care facilities around the State for the severely mentally ill feels that the ideologically oriented Central Committee, “Are serving their own vested interests first and have lost touch with the families they are supposed to serve. They are not looking at the changing needs of our community.” Kumar went on to say, “My masters are the people not a bunch of pretentious individuals who feel they are above the rest of us.”

tim-grayson-concord-mayor-2014The other major snub from the Democratic Central Committee was Concord Mayor and Councilmember Tim Grayson. Although he has been endorsed by the Concord Disposal/Police Officers Association (POA) axis, organized labor, Susan Bonilla, Mark DeSaulnier, plus a host of other elected officials, Grayson ended up receiving less than half the votes needed to receive an endorsement from the Central Committee.

This is notable because Grayson is the Mayor of the largest city in Contra Costa County and has expressed social views of being pro choice and gay marriage yet was rejected for receiving an endorsement from the Central Committee. The reality is that the 22 elected members of this group representing districts throughout the County did not trust Grayson enough to support him.

Reasons for suspicion of Grayson included his recent switch from Republican to the Democratic Party only two years ago, and he is a Pentacostal Minister in his day job. This might account why, in a non-partisan position such as being a City Council member, the endorsement committee was more interested in Grayson’s stand on social issues such as abortion and gay marriage, rather than his approach to running city government.

They were also worried that Grayson is a “Born again Democrat”, who they fear changed parties out of political expediency rather than for sound philosophical reasons. Whether the Central Committee’s reluctance to endorse Grayson is pure prejudice or based upon well founded factual information is open to conjecture. There is no doubt that the Democratic Party will have to deal with him next year or in 2016 should Grayson decide to run for Susan Bonilla’s termed out Assembly seat.

Grayson appears to be taking this snub in stride. Grayson said, “Of course I am extremely disappointed at not being selected by the Central Committee. I am not sure what their strategy might be but will continue to do my best working for the City of Concord and hope to earn the Democratic Party’s trust in the future.”

The endorsement committee was very much divided in what they were looking for as to qualifications for rendering their support to individual candidates. In addition to the 22 elected delegates from throughout Contra Costa Country there were 13 additional ex-officio members who are office holders in Congress and in the legislature.

These two voting blocks, for which 27 representatives participated in the endorsement process, were at odds in choosing whom to support. This could be further refined as a battle between the power of organized labor versus the ideologically progressive wing.

Concord resident Brent Trublood, was embraced by almost all the delegates. He has worked with the party including walking precincts for other candidates such as Tim Sbranti in the primary last June. The only surprising thing about this is his lack of exposure in public life in comparison to candidates who were passed over.

tim-grayson-mayorLaura Hoffmeister was also an obvious choice despite not being an active party member along with having the reputation for being a fiscal conservative. Although she did not receive the Central Labor Council endorsement, largely because of her firm stand on keeping down costs in negotiating new labor contracts with city workers, Hoffmeister was given support. Holding office for 16 years an being the only women currently holding elective office on Concord City Council counted for something with the endorsement voters.

Two lesser known candidates who were turned down by the Central Committee took their rejections well. Adam Foster who has received Central Labor Council’s endorsement said, “I understand their logic as I am new to the political process. I will use this experience in my future endeavors.”  Terry Kremin expressed similar sentiments in saying, “Like many endorsement processes this was more about safety and money so what the Central Committee did can be accepted by me.”

Dr. Kumar does not agree and is not following what amounts to the Party Line. He complained that “Nepotism is an important part of promoting their inner circle as they keep supporting the same type of people.” Being an immigrant from India, Kumar feels that he does not fit into the mold that the Democratic Party hierarchy can get behind.

Regardless of reasons, the split in the Democratic Central Committee is obvious as they only could get behind two people while leaving one slot open. This means, according to Democratic Chairman Chuck Carpenter, “we selected two candidates and will leave it up to the voters to choose the third one.”

Regarding the whole process, Carpenter said he was sorry that not every candidate could be endorsed. He went on to say, “The true measure of a person is their adherence to their values and that they continue to work within the Party. This is all I can ask.”

It will be interesting to see what happens in the Concord City Council race which will culminate with the election on November 4th. As occurs in politics and real life; time seems to heal most wounds.

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Green candidate Clower chides Garamendi’s Afghanistan war vote

Garamendi’s No Vote is further proof that the Democratic Party is unwilling to move the country forward consistent with the people’s wishes

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Jeremy Cloward, Green candidate for California’s 10th Congressional District, issued the following statement on the recent Congressional vote to immediately withdraw U.S. troops from Afghanistan.

“John Garamendi says that it is time to ‘draw down’ our military involvement in Afghanistan. But when recently given an opportunity to do so through approving a bill proposed by Representative Kucinich of Ohio, Garamendi chose to vote no. This is further proof that the Democratic Party is not only unwilling to move the country forward consistent with the majority of the people’s wishes but is actually voting inconsistent with their own publicly stated positions.”

Democrat John Garamendi (D- Elk Grove, California) currently represents CA-10 after winning a special election to fill the absence caused by Ellen Tauscher’s appointment to the State Department.

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DeSaulnier crab feed rallies party faithful

Democrats put on largest crab fest fundraiser in Contra Costa County in support of Mark DeSaulnier State Senator.

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The largest crab fest political gathering in Contra Costa in memory was held in support of Democrat California State Senator Mark DeSaulnier, Friday, January 29. The guest list grew so big got it required shifting the venue from the Concord Centre to the Hoffman Hanger at Buchanan Airport. The 650+ attendees got to hear the State Senator say, “what happened in Massachusetts will not happen here…” and then go on to declare to a standing ovation that “We will never, never, never quit or give up on America.”

The crowd included the political roster of the Democratic Party including both of Concord’s Congressmen George Miller and John Garamendi, State Assemblymen Tom Torlakson who just two days previous had a heart stint procedure; as well as district and regional Democratic State Party officials.

The County’s Board of Supervisors were attending in force: Glover, Gioia and Bonilla, while election Clerk Grand Guru Steve Weir, rounded out the Contra Costa County officials contingent. They were all joined by a collection of City Council folks from all over the county including four of the Concord City Council (one of which is a Republican) as well as Council folks from Antioch, Oakley, Pleasant Hill, Walnut Creek, and elsewhere. Jim Frazier of Oakley pulled double duty acting as chef to the masses.

The crowd was enthusiastic and reflected a wide range of political views within the Democratic Party as well as numerous major supporters. Having gone through a divisive congressional primary last year and then coming together to elect John Garamendi to Congress, the Democrats heard the echos of a common theme to protect the common man and pull through the tough times united for the benefit of the country. The gathering was just another sign that Democrats are willing and able to answer the call for support and to do so in large numbers.

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Concord Chamber hears Garamendi

In an extended conversation with the Concord Chamber of Commerce on John Garamendi, the Democratic Congressional Candidate for the 10th District spoke to the Concord Chamber

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In an extended conversation with the Concord Chamber of Commerce on September 25, John Garamendi, the Democratic Congressional Candidate for the 10th District spoke to the concerns of the Chamber with an emphasis on the importance of effective and efficient government to respond in a practical manner to the current situation after eight years of the Republican administration under George W. Bush.

Garamendi’s long career in service to the Country and California started with the Peace Corps and continued with terms in the State Legislature, number 2 in the Interior Department in the Clinton years, two terms as Insurance Commissioner as well as the Lt. Governor presently. His experience in all levels of government and his proven ability to get things done when he had the opportunities were strong points. To emphasize his commitment to effective government he highlighted his stint in the Interior Department where he cut the staff by 15%.

In the specific questions from the Chamber’s interview list he covered the following points:

1. He supports the Davis-Bacon Act (this was introduced by Republicans in 1931 to protect local government contractors from outside predatory practices, the real issue is not the concept now but the acceptable rate schedules that are determined for what defines local rates)

2. Project Labor Agreements for local cities he supports in general but noted that they do not apply in many cases and are often not needed.

3. Global Warming is real and needs to be addressed.

4. Education needs to be further supported and that the current policy we see in California of raising the fees of students is equivalent to the placement of a tax on students who are the one of the key components of the future economic engine for California.

5. Rather than Free Trade, supports Fair Trade as a concept noting that China does not play by the same rules we do and blocks American firms with Solar and Wind products from selling them in the Chinese market.

6. Supports a fine for illegal immigrants as part of a comprehensive program to get them into either a path to citizenship or a temporary worker program to enter and leave as needed and out of the shadow economy. Does not support a change in citizenship for children born in America.

7. He is very familiar with the Water Wars in California as a rancher as well as his experiences. He opposes any Peripheral Canal.

8. He was opposed to the Iraq war and is supporting the current plan to bring the troops there back home though he wishes it were faster. In Afghanistan he recognizes the critical nature of the situation now and feels that a military solution is not practical in the long run and that it is unwinable as a result of the poor management by the Bush Administration.

9. He stressed keys to the Californian economy being Education, Research, Manufacturing, Global reach, and extensive infrastructure.

10. He fully supports earmarks for the District and wants to bring more of our tax dollars back here.

11. He is totally opposed to the current status quo on Health Care. He made strong points that the reality is that the current government plans of Medicare is more efficient than the private sector with the public sector spending more than double the amount on administration than the government. Also, our lack of an effective universal government health plan reduces our competitiveness abroad since so much of our economy is being sucked into the health care corporations (18% vs. 10% or less overseas). He did not support the mandate to employers to provide health care and feels that a Medicare for all approach is a better program.

He emphasized his extensive contacts in government at all levels and his experience, as being part of a practical approach to getting things done that is valuable to the district.

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Grandmas with guns save GOP

The propaganda that President Obama and the Democrats are going to steal Seniors’ government-run health care (Medicare) has awakened Grandmas across the nation, driving them back in droves to the GOP (Grandma/pa’s Old Party).

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All you Republican candidates put your Greacian formula away and head down to the hairdresser and add some silver to your hair or buy another bad wig with some gray.

Cause the old folks are coming. Scared out of their minds by the GOP who effectively framed the health care issue and the Obama presidency with cries of “death panels.” The propaganda that President Obama and the Democrats are going to steal Seniors’ government-run health care (Medicare) has awakened Grandmas across the nation, driving them back in droves to the GOP (Grandma/pa’s Old Party). As we have seen over and over again this type of short term demagoguery has short term benefits for the party out of power.

It will be interesting to see if, coming back from the Labor Day break, President Obama can reform the health care debate and turn the Senior Stampede back to the Democratic corral. The stakes are huge.

It is a known fact that in the off-congressional year elections seniors vote in a higher propensity than younger voters. And as Democrats are not precieved as governing from the center it could cause them to lose some of their majority in Congress. As Republicans learned during their era of one-party rule during the Bush administration, the American people like divided government, as it checks the extremist impulses of both parties.

Still, I don’t believe that David Harmer has a snowball’s chance in hell in the CD-10 special election . But! And a BIG but; Democrat Rep. Jerry McNerney in CD-11 better get ready for a credible challenger. A Republican with gravitas and dollars can easily mount a credible campaign to make the 2010 CD-11 race a barn burner.

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