And we have reached the final part of my series about the 2020 Senatorial Elections. It’s taken a while but I have finally completed it. This last part deals with mostly red states. The states covered are South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, West Virginia, and Wyoming. The only blue state is Virginia. Anyway let’s wrap this up.
South Carolina is a fairly red state that has had some Democratic gains in the past few years. Most notably is that 2018 had a Democrat flip a seat in an R+10 district so there is a Democratic presence in South Carolina. The Republican incumbent in question is Lindsey Graham, and he is most known for having been a critic of Trump for three whole seconds until he started kissing his ass and serving his every whim. You can also be certain that if (when) Trump loses re-election that he’s going to pretend that he never liked Trump to begin with. That’s how Republicans work these days; there is zero sense of integrity or morals and they only care about what serves their malicious agenda.
Lindsey Graham has served in the Senate since 2003 and as part of the US congress since 1995, and he has been a consistent opponent to LGBT rights ever since. In chronological order, Lindsey Graham has voted to federally ban same sex marriage, voted to ban gay adoptions in DC, voted to constitutionally define marriage as only involving a man and a woman, voted to prevent individual states from allowing same sex marriage, voted against the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, and voted against employment discrimination protections for LGBT people.
In addition to that, he has also contributed heavily to the Republican war on women by voting in favor of requiring parental notifications of teens attempting to receive contraception, voting against the 2008 Equal Pay Bill, the 2009 Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, and three different incarnations of the Paycheck Fairness Act, voted against the reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act… twice, voted to defund Planned Parenthood, and voted in favor of confirming Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh so they can undermine Roe vs Wade among many other things.
Speaking of Kavanaugh, it should be noted that Lindsey Graham actually gave one of the most well documented testimonies in favor of Kavanaugh and referred to an accused rapist facing consequences for his actions as “the most despicable thing I have seen in my time in politics.” That’s funny because I can list dozens of things more disgusting than Brett Kavanaugh facing consequences for his actions, and most of them are things that Lindsey Graham supports. But I can probably just shorten it and say that Lindsey Graham IS one of the most disgusting things in politics right now.
Among other things, Lindsey Graham also denies that humans have a role in climate change, is against net neutrality, voted in favor of Trump’s national emergency over his racist wall, wants to strip 32 million people of their healthcare, made a joke about how it would be “terrible if he had Iranian ancestry,” and infamously encouraged Donald Trump Jr to ignore a subpoena and break the law.
The short version is that Lindsey Graham is commonly mentioned along with Mitch McConnell among Republican Senators that most need to go the fuck away. This means that there is likely going to be much more funding for whoever his opponent is, so there is a decent chance that we can get rid of Graham if turnout is good enough. Also I have received political emails that tell me that Graham’s approval rating is sinking but I can’t find anything online that verifies this.
The key point is that we may have a decent shot of taking down Lindsey Graham despite the political leaning of South Carolina. Those who have watched the Democratic Debates last week may have noticed that Cory Booker name dropped Jamie Harrison, one of Lindsey Graham’s potential opponents in 2020. While it does look like he will be well funded at the very least, I really can’t find any information in regards to policy on him and that is usually a red flag in a major candidate. Of course, if he beats Graham than it will still inevitably an improvement, but we aren’t exactly in an era where mainstream politicians succeed. Hopefully Harrison decides to actually talk about policy beyond “orange man bad” but in case he doesn’t, he has some potential primary challengers.
One of these candidates is William Stone, who runs on some strong leftist promises. His Facebook page has a header with the slogan of “Some people talk change, other’s cause it.” and his website states he is in favor of Medicare For All, a Green New Deal, protections for whistle blowers, LGBT equality, ending the war on drugs, free tuition colleges and universities, and ending unnecessary wars of aggression. Unfortunately he has not even been active in updating his Facebook page and he has very little web presence, so it doesn’t seem like he will put up a serious fight for the nomination. It is a shame because he has already said more about his campaign than Jamie Harrison has AND makes a more compelling case.
Jamie’s other challenger is Gloria Tinubu, and she has a much more in depth and detailed campaign plan. She definitely has a better shot at winning the nomination than William Stone, although whether she will win over Jamie Harrison is another issue. Hillary Clinton won with 73.4% of the South Carolina vote in the 2016 Presidential primaries, so it’s possible that South Carolina Democrats might be more conservative than elsewhere. In that case, Jamie Harrison might be the most effective candidate for the job, but I’m still rooting for Tinubu.
Update: Activist Justin Wooton has announced that he is running. Thus far he has the best campaign of the bunch.
If things continue the way they did in 2018 than we can expect about 927,494 people to vote Republican and about 758,340 to vote Democrat. This rate is consistent with Lindsey Graham’s win in 2014 and Henry McMaster’s gubernatorial victory in 2018. Hopefully Lindsey Graham’s recent fuckery tilts the scale in our favor.
South Dakota is a red hot state that currently has a +14 partisan index rating and has not received much coverage 2020 wise. Hope isn’t entirely lost for a Democrat winning South Dakota given that Governor Kristi Noem only won with a 3.4% lead over her Democratic opponent (a lead that consisted of slightly more than 10,000 votes), but it also hasn’t seemed to draw much as much national attention as some other races, and that ultimately means less funding.
South Dakota’s incumbent Republican scumbag is Mike Rounds. Prior to becoming a Senator, Mike Rounds was Governor of South Dakota. His Governorship was most known for having him sign a bill that bans abortion in cases of rape and incest and fora shady AF immigration scandal that resulted in one of his cabinet members committing suicide, so clearly he was a perfect fit for the US Senate.
Mike Rounds has also been sucking up to Trump ever since he started his 2016 Presidential campaign, including a time where he defended Trump for refusing to disavow the grand wizard of the KKK. He has also voted in favor of every member of Trump’s cabinet of horrors, has voted to confirm Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court, voted in favor of his national emergency over his monument to white supremacy, and has voted with President Pussygrabber 91.7% of the time.
It is worth noting that Mike Rounds also claimed that criticism of Scott Pruitt’s illegal use of federal funds is “nitpicking,” supported Trump withdrawing from the Paris Climate Agreement (while also receiving over $200,000 from oil and gas companies), voted to defund Planned Parenthood, to strip 32 million people of their healthcare, and is opposed to LGBT people having marriage equality or hate crime protections.
It has been quite tiring needing to research Republican scumbag after Republican scumbag, knowing full well that a lot of these fuckheads are going to face no consequences for their actions. Mike Rounds does have a primary challenger declared, but I’m not going to bother looking them up because he’s not going to get the nomination, and even if he does he’s not going to be any better. Why yes, I AM getting fucking jaded!
Thus far there isn’t a declared Democratic candidate, but there has been some speculation on who it is. The most likely prospect is former South Dakota Senate Minority Leader and 2018 Gubernatorial nominee Billie Sutton. As previously mentioned, he came pretty close to winning the gubernatorial race. Unfortunately there is a catch, and that catch is that he’s a “pro-life and pro-Second Amendment moderate Democrat.” After seeing a number of Southern States decide they really needed more coat hanger abortions, forgive me if I’m less than thrilled that it’s even acceptable for Democrats to be anti choice. On the other hand, that’s probably why he did so well to begin with.
When it comes down to it, anti choice Democrats are a useful tool in the grand scheme of things even for those of us who despise them. Namely in that they occupy a seat that could otherwise be held by an anti choice Republican. While they may not stand up for a women’s right to chose, you can expect them to vote in favor of basic progressive values that Republicans never will. It’s all about harm reduction.
That being said, there are potential primary options that aren’t Billie Sutton though. Most likely we could see State Senator Susan Wismer or State Representative Erin Healy run as a more progressive option, but the most high profile primary competitor for Sutton would likely be former South Dakota District Attorney Brendan Johnson, who is also the son of former US Senator Tim Johnson.
Unlike most red states in this country who didn’t have a Democrat win a Senatorial election since Democrats were still racist regressive scumbags… err when they were still the greater of two evils… South Dakota actually had two Democratic Senators within the last two decades. Tim Johnson was one of those Democratic Senators, but he chose to retire in 2014. His son Brendan Johnson was widely speculated to run against John Thune in 2016, but he choose to forgo that race while leaving the door open for a future run.
I’m hoping he does decide to run tin 2020 because he seems to be my favorite contender of the ones available. Brendan Johnson has spent his career as South Dakota District Attorney combating issues that affect Native Americans and prosecuting human traffickers. He also submitted an initiated amendment to legalize medical marijuana in South Dakota, so he seems like a fairly reliable candidate.
If things go the same way as in 2018 then we can expect about 202,695 to vote Republican and 121,033 to vote Democrat. This rate is consistent with John Thune’s 2016 win but not with Kirsti Noem’s 2018 win. Considering this was from a statewide house race in 2018, we can probably consider it a fair gauge. Be sure to get out and vote against Mike Rounds if you live in South Dakota!
Tennessee is… say it with me… a very fucking red state. While there was an increase in Democratic turnout in 2018, you’d need to look to the state legislature to find any results. Said result had Democrats with a net gain of one seat for the Tennessee Senate AND the House, which means that Democrats have 5 out of 33 Senate seats and 26 out of 99 House seats. Of course, this can likely be chalked up to gerrymandering, but a state can only get gerrymandered to hell if a political party has enough power to do so.
That being said, the 2018 Senatorial race did shorten the gap compared to previous statewide elections, but Republicans still won by over 200,000 votes. There could be a fairly decent chance seeing as how the current incumbent Lamar Alexander is retiring, which means there’s an open seat. So hey, maybe they could nominate someone whose is really incompetent and the Democrat could win if they spend a fuckton of money.
They could nominate a country music artist for instance, like Stokes Nielson. No really, a fucking country musician is running for Senate! I don’t know what any of his policies are but is anyone sane expecting him to be any good? The other declared candidate is orthopedic surgeon Manny Sethi.
Manny Sethi’s campaign promises include stripping people of their healthcare because he doesn’t like that Obama gave it to them, building the wall to keep the brown people out, and supporting the draconian heart beat bills to kill teenage girls through messy coat hanger abortions. He also is against gay marriage but trivializes it because the Supreme Court already decided it. So yeah, he’s an asshole.
The most high profile contender for the Republican nomination is former governor Bill Haslam. Haslam has a number of stupid decisions under his belt with him having signed bills that allowed science teachers to challenge theories of evolution and climate change, required voters to have photo identification before voting, undermined the Same sex marriage supreme court ruling, allowed the prosecution of women who take narcotics during pregnancy with criminal assault, barring sex ed teachers from discussing “gateway sexual activities” like touching someone’s butt or thighs, and to instate a curfew so that occupy wall street protestors couldn’t protest. Also worth noting that his family trucking company was caught up in a federal fraud scandal. Oh wait, it looks like Bill Haslam has declined to run in 2020. Thank Goddess for that!
The other major contender is US Representative and nominee for United States Secretary of the Army Mark Green. Mark Green is most recently known for supporting bills to allow doctors to deny LGBT patients, to prevent trans people from using the restroom, and referring to transgendity as “a disease” and transgender people as “evil.” In addition to being a raging anti LGBT bigot, he also said that he would “not tolerate” students learning about Muslim beliefs because HOW DARE there be people of other faiths in a country founded on freedom of religion! He also denies that evolution is real and believes vaccines cause autism. Nope wait, he’s not running either.
The nomination could go to former US Representative Stephen Fincher who… no joke… quoted The Bible to justify denying children food stamps… and also voted in favor of allowing federal funds for discrimination against LGBT people, defunding Planned Parenthood, stripping 32 million people of their healthcare, and voted against reauthorizing the Violence Against Women Act.
Or it could go to US Representative Chuck Fleischmann who has voted in favor of banning trans people from the military, Trump’s national emergency over his racist wall, defunding Planned Parenthood, stripping 32 million people of their healthcare, and voted against protections from discrimination against women and LGBT people, equal pay for women, reauthorizing the Violence Against Women Act, and reinstating net neutrality.
Or it could be former Tennessee House Speaker Beth Harwell who pretends to be more moderate but voted in favor of all those horrific bills that Bill Haslam signed. Or it could be US Representative David Kustoff who voted in favor of banning trans people from the military,against equal pay for women, against discrimination protections for LGBT people and women, and against net neutrality. Or it could be ANOTHER FUCKING BUSINESSMAN Jeff Webb. Or it could be Peyton Manning… yes, the football player.
While there is no shortage of crazy idiots who will be vying for the Republican nomination, there are a fair few Democratic contenders as well. Thus far the only declared candidate is 2018 Senate candidate James Mackler. While I personally don’t mind his campaign, he seems way too centrist to really manage a victory. Democrats ran a centrist candidate in 2018 and Marsha Blackburn beat him with more than 10% of the vote. They need someone who will energize younger voters and the Democratic base.
While State Senate Minority Leader Jeff Yarbro and State Representative John Ray Clemmons can fit the bill(assuming the latter’s bid for Mayor of Nashville doesn’t work out), my personal choice would be Conexión Américas Executive Director Renata Soto. I’ve always been in support of the most unconventional candidates (within reason) in these elections, and the reason for this is that conventional establishment candidates ARE LOSING!!!
All four of the Democratic Senators who lost re-election were among the most centrist and conservative Democrats in congress, while those campaigns that aggressively criticized their opponents tended to do better than those that called for bipartisanship and alienated the leftist voterbase. 2018’s Senatorial nominee Phil Bredesen may be a former Governor with a high profile, but is it any wonder why younger voters didn’t show up to vote for him when you have him doing shit like supporting an accused rapist for the Supreme Court?
Hence why I believe that the head of an advocacy group for one of the most marginalized communities in this country is a better choice for energizing younger leftist voters than yet another centrist douchebag. Does this guarantee that Renata Soto will win? Probably not. But even if she loses she will do a hell of a lot better than Phil Bredensen or Karl Dean. Leftists will not take back these red states if the Democratic party admits defeat in every election by picking their most conservative nominee possible.
If things go the way they did in 2018 then we can expect about 1,279,655 people to vote Republican and about 846,450 to vote Democrat. This margin is consistent with the 2018 Gubernatorial race while there were slightly more Democratic votes in the Senatorial race. Hopefully Tennessee Democrats nominate someone who can manage more support in 2020.
Texas is a strange case in recent times. Despite the fact that it is the state most commonly associated with rednecks and regressive right wing bigotry, we have been seeing a recent surge in left wing support from this state. Beto O’Rourke’s 2018 campaign famously ran without professional pollsters or consultants and he broke every rule of Texas politics. Despite the fact that he didn’t win, he garnered the most votes out of any Democrat in Texas History and helped flip 12 State House seats, 2 State Senate seats, and 2 US House seats in 2018… then he had to fuck it all up by running for President.
While Beto has humiliated himself with his abysmal debate showing, there is still some hope for Texas Democrats as a whole considering recent polls showed Biden having a lead over Trump. While we unfortunately need to wait another 5 years until Democrats have another shot at the Zodiac Killer, Texas’s senior Senator John Cornyn is up for re-election in 2020 and he’s just as bad as Ted Cruz.
We can start out with the fact that he once compared homosexuality to bestiality so he has predictably voted in favor of every anti gay bill he could. John Cornyn has voted to constitutionally define marriage as “one man one woman,” to ban individual states from recognizing same sex marriage, and has voted against the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” and against employment protections for LGBT people.
Cornyn is no better when it comes to women’s rights. He has voted against the re-authorization of the Violence Against Women Act more than once, voted against the 2008 equal pay act, the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act of 2009, against the Paycheck Fairness Act, andin favor of defunding Planned Parenthood.
He also voted to confirm Neil Gorsuch while also supporting the GOP obstructionist campaign against Merrick Garland, and voted in favor of Brett Kavanaugh while accusing Democrats of dissolving into mob rule because they wanted to hold a rapist accountable for his actions and not appoint him to the fucking supreme court.
Back when he was still the Attorney General of Texas, John Cornyn also was known for his failure to investigate the false convictions of 43 black people until he received a ton of external pressure, so clearly he doesn’t have the interests of black Americans at heart. He also voted in favor of Trump’s national emergency over his racist wall so I guess he doesn’t care about Latinos, or the law for that matter.
Among other things, Cornyn has also voted to strip 32 million people of their healthcare, against rights for labor unions,against relief for Hurricane Katrina victims, against health care for veterans,is opposed to net neutrality, and has consistently voted like a climate change denier.
Most recently, Cornyn posted a quote from World War II era Italian fascist dictator Benito Mussolini in what was clearly an attempt to pander to white nationalists, and then pulled the “Schrodinger’s douchebag” defense when he was called out on it by Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. No seriously, his literal defense was “I overestimated the intelligence of the Twitter sphere.”
Considering that Cornyn is insistent on arguing like an internet troll, I will explain why his claim that quoting Mussolini to own the libs doesn’t work. First, fascism is a right wing ideology that is inherently incompatible with left wing ideology. But more importantly, people rightfully assumed it was quoted in earnest because it isn’t out of character for today’s Republicans! We already had Donald Trump retweet a quote from Mussolini back in 2016, we recently had a sitting Republican congressman read Mein Khampf on the House floor, and we currently have undocumented immigrants kept in concentration camp, oh, I’m sorry, “detention centers” where they are told to drink out of toilets, kept from washing their hands and showering, and where children are kept in cages separated from their mothers and forced to sleep on cement floors.
It is imperative that John Cornyn loses 2020. It is uncertain how much of a chance Democrats have at unseating him in 2020 considering Cornyn has never lost an election, but 2020 is bound to have different circumstances than previous years. On one hand, Cornyn is significantly less popular than Ted Cruz was and there will be more time for Dems to prepare for the 2020 campaign. On the other hand, Republicans have more time as well and they now know they can’t half ass it so they will be giving everything they have.
We already have five declared candidates for the Democratic nomination, and that’s generally a good sign. The current front runner for the nomination is MJ Hegar, an air force veteran who lobbied for the right for women to access ground combat jobs in the military and lead a close but unsuccessful campaign at unseating incumbent congressman John Carter. MJ Hegar first came into the public consciousness with a political ad for her race against Carter titled “Doors.” This ad currently has over 3 million views on Youtube. In late April of this year, she put out a similar ad for her Senate campaign.
What is most effective about these ads is how effective they are at humanizing MJ, which is a very important part of a political campaign. I also like how this is shot more like a movie trailer than a campaign ad, and it is quite effective at rallying support. Also of note is that it was a good strategy to target Mitch McConnell instead of Trump considering that moderate Republicans and centrists hate McConnell more than Trump.
While it does show some smarter planning as opposed to Beto who focused solely on the Democratic base, I am hopeful that MJ Hegar doesn’t run a more centrist campaign. It is not impossible to energize your base while also winning over moderates. Bernie Sanders is very good at this with his understanding of how Trump appealed to middle class voters with his promise to disrupt the status quo. MJ Hegar’s background as a veteran might give her an edge that Beto didn’t have but we still haven’t seen much policy related from MJ.
If MJ decides to go the centrist route though, then I’d instead direct attention to Sema Hernandez. Sema Hernandez is an activist and was a Senatorial candidate in 2018 who runs on strong progressive promises such as medicare for all and tuition free college. I have a feeling MJ Hegar is going to go the more progressive route and will draw inspiration from Beto’s 2018 campaign though so I’m not too worried about things. But there is one other elephant in the room however, or two for that matter.
Update: MJ Hegar did not go the progressive route. Sema Hernandez all the way!
I am, of course, referring to Beto himself when his Presidential campaign inevitably flops and he decides to run for Senate again. Let’s be honest, he’s not going to get the nomination. I was initially hoping that he’d keep campaigning so that he could get more support for his Senate race, but he’s just been a complete ass clown ever since he started running for President. He completely humiliated himself in the last debate and if things continue the way they have been then he’s likely going to have less support by the time he’s done than when he started.
Thankfully there is another candidate from Texas who received a huge boost in the polls as a result of his excellent debate performance. Julian Castro is currently my 4th favorite Democratic candidate behind Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, and Mike Gravel, and I think that he can definitely pull off a strong campaign against Cornyn with the support he has now.
I’m also pretty sure that this is why his brother Joaquin Castro decided not to run for Senate, because his brother is likely planning to. But of course this means that there will likely be a pretty big primary in Texas between the people I’ve talked about thus far and the ones I haven’t mentioned. We already have former Congressman and 2006 Gubernatorial nominee Chris Bell, 2018 Lieutenant Gubernatorial nominee Micheal Cooper, and other 2018 Gubernatorial candidate Adrian Ocegueda who are running alongside MJ Hegar and Sema Hernandez.
There has also been speculation that US Representatives Collin Allred, Veronica Escobar, Sylvia Garcia, and Lizzie Pannil Fletcher, State Senator Royce West, State Representative Rafael Anchia, former State Representative Mark Strama, Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins, and Houston City Council member Amanda Edwards are each considering a run. Primaries only get this crowded when they smell blood in the water folks.
Update: Royce West and Amanda Edwards are both running.
Assuming things go the same way as 2018, we can expect about 4,242,892 to vote Republican and about 3,852,122 to vote Democrat. This rating seems to be the mid point between Beto O’Rourke and Lupe Valdez’s respective 2018 results. It is widely presumed that Beto carried most of Valdez’s campaign due to the latter’s small budget. That being said, even Valdez’s results were better than Ted Cruz, John Cornyn, and Greg Abott’s previous Democratic opponents so that is a sign that the lone star state may be turning blue.
Virginia is the last blue state that we are covering in this series, and it will also serve as a breather before we cover two of the reddest states in this country. 2018 saw Tim Kaine win re-election with 57% of the vote and had three red House districts flipped. So basically, things are looking pretty good for Mark Warner.
Mark Warner seems to be your typical liberal who was often focused on compromise with Republicans. I don’t ultimately care for his policies but he is still much better than a Republican, and he doesn’t seem to have any primary challengers. If someone further to the left of Warner DOES attempt to primary him then I would support them, but no one of the sort seems willing to as of yet.
Thus far Warner only has one declared opponent, and that opponent is former US Representative Scott Taylor. Considering that Scott Taylor lost re-election last year in his own district, I don’t think there is much cause for concern. Considering Scott Taylor’s record, that is a good thing.
Scott Taylor is one of those politicians whose entire shtick is to say one thing and do another. Taylor claims to be pro LGBT for instance, but he has defended “religious freedom” as an excuse for discrimination against gay people and voted in favor of legislation that protects homophobes and transphobes from being held accountable. Taylor claims to support a woman’s right to chose but voted in favor of banning abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy and wants to defund Planned Parenthood.
Scott Taylor has also voted in favor of preventing cities from increasing the minimum wage or benefits, denies that humans cause climate change, and just came off of a ballot fraud scandal in 2018. And this is the best that Republicans have to offer?
Assuming that things go the same way as in 2018, we can expect about 1,876,763 to vote Democrat and about 1,511,990 to vote Republican. This rate is consistent with Tim Kaine’s 2018 win and Ralph Northam’s 2017 win. Let’s hope things continue to proceed well for Virginia in 2020.
And here we have Virginia’s far more conservative counterpart, West Virginia. West Virginia is a bit of an oddity when it comes to partisanship. In the past four years, West Virginia has elected a Democratic Governor and re-elected a Democratic Senator. Normally I would consider this good news for the prospects of a Democratic challenger to the Senate, but things become more questionable when you look at their records.
That Democratic Governor, Jim Justice, was Republican before his campaign and he switched back to the GOP less than seven months after he took office. Jim Justice is basically about as centrist as you can get to the point where he supports Donald Trump, signed two anti abortion bills into law, and claims that he’s “not a believer in global warming” but that he’s still “concerned. On the other hand, Jim Justice did veto an anti LGBT “religious freedom” bill and is against repealing Obamacare’s medicaid expansion.
Joe Manchin is still registered as a Democrat but he has a reputation as the most conservative Democrat in congress, to the point that even some Republicans are less conservative than him. Being a moderate Republican these days basically just means being pro choice and pro LGBT rights, but Joe Manchin has voted to defund Planned Parenthood, basically zig zags between LGBT stances to the point where you don’t know what he believes, and was the only Democrat who voted to confirm Brett Kavanaugh.
Ultimately what to make of things is that Manchin and Justice are as conservative as they are because West Virginia is an R+19 district. The weird thing about this all is that Jim Justice’s approval rating was higher in the first six months of his term when he was still a Democrat, and Joe Manchin won re-election despite his approval rating being in the toilet throughout 2018.
What is even weirder is the Shelley Moore Capito isn’t some ultra right wing fascist like most of the Republican Senators covered in this piece. Instead I’d say that Shelley is basically the same case as Manchin and Justice in that she is illogically centrist. It’s not that Shelley Moore Capito isn’t a regressive corporate shill or anything, just that she is a lot less of one than she could get away with.
Her record on LGBT rights has basically the typical Republican centrist garbage of voting against LGBT rights until the past few years where they vote in favor of basic protections like giving LGBT runaway youth protections and offering the same benefits to same sex couples as straight couples. She does this as if she expects her constituents to forget that she was using the “they should leave it to the states” dog whistle as recently as 2015 and has voted against the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, against the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, and yes, Mrs. “leave it to the states” did in fact vote to federally ban same sex marriage.
Shelley Moore Capito also claimed that she would not vote for a judicial nominee who would vote to overturn Roe vs Wade but still joined in the obstructionist campaign against Merrick Garland and voted in favor of confirming Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh.
Among other things, Shelley Moore Capito is a consistent climate change denier and a staunch defender of the coal industry, voted against reinstating net neutrality, voted in favor of Trump’s national emergency over his racist wall, voted to defund Planned Parenthood ,voted against a bill to make it easier to organize a union, voted against the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act of 2009, and voted in favor of people getting arrested for medical marijuana.
Shelley Moore Capito may be slightly more tame than other Republican Senators, but she still has to go. Some may not consider it much of an improvement to have a centrist in the same vein as Manchin or Justice in place of Capito, but I’d just like to point to one thing that makes my point clear. Throughout this piece I have posted how much various Senators or Representatives have voted with Trump on an issue. The purpose of this isn’t merely to say “orange man bad and therefore people most like orange man bad,” but rather to use it to gauge their independence from Trump. Joe Manchin has voted with Trump 56.5% of the time, while Shelley Moore Capito has voted with him 96% of the time.
Of the 53 Republican Republicans Senators we currently have, 37 have voted with Trump over 90% of the time, 12 have voted between 80% and 89.9%, and 4 with less than 80%. You want to know why Republicans have been getting away with more and more deplorable shit? It’s because they all share the exact same values and have the same malicious goals as him. If you look at each of the Democrats, you will see variance in how often they vote with Trump. Republican politicians on the other hand are a fucking hive mind! And it is shit like this why even the worst Democrats tend to be a fuck ton better than even some of the best Republicans; because the overton window in the US is pushed so far to the right that borderline fascism (and actual fascism in some cases) is seen as “the right” while moderate conservatism and centrism is seen as “the left.”
I am well aware how trite “vote blue no matter who” is as a catch phrase, but when “blue” represents 90% of the political spectrum, it makes a lot of fucking sense! Granted about 50% of the political spectrum is untapped territory that will end politician’s career faster than you can say “what about Venezuela?” but most of the US likely views that as uncharted territory despite the fact that we actually just lost the chart. This of course means that the United States has a lot more in common with Kif Kroker than simply being lead by a delusional blonde idiot with bad hair.
That being said, it does not HAVE to be another centrist Democrat who faces off against Moore Capito. We have only one declared opponent for Capito thus far, and that is Paula Jean Swearengin. Swearengin previously ran in the primaries against Manchin in 2018 but lost due to most likely being out funded. Considering she was endorsed by the Justice Democrats PAC (no relation to Jim Justice), it is safe to assume she didn’t run using corporate PAC money and thus was underfunded.
Some may have heard about Paula Jean Swearengin from the recent Netflix documentary Knock Down the House. For those that haven’t seen it, Knock Down the House documented the attempts of four political newcomers attempting to run against well funded corporate Democrats. Only one of the four actually won their election, but considering the one that DID win was Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, I think it is quite telling that the other three might have a shot.
This naturally means that Swearengin has consistently progressive policies given that she supports medicare for all, free college tuition, legalizing cannabis, and raising the minimum wage. Hopefully she can manage a bigger campaign this time, but even if she doesn’t there are still some other options.
There is Richard Ojeda for instance, a former State Senator, 2018 Congressional nominee, and a brief Presidential candidate. Ojeda is a bit of a strange case in that he is a former Trump supporter who has since taken a hard left politically. I’m not even talking about the type of insincere flip flopping that only occurs when it benefits his campaign, but out of genuine reflection. Speaking as another shitlord turned progressive, it’s easy to tell that Ojeda is not only genuine, but that he seriously cares about what he believes in. Ojeda has had strong populist principals and is in favor of medicare for all, legalizing marijuana, and is a staunch anti lobbyist so he definitely seems like a good choice policy wise.
He’s almost the antithesis to the typical boring centrist Democrat. While corporate Democrats are boring and over coached, Ojeda is passionate, aggressive, and boisterous. Unfortunately it also means that he hasn’t thought ahead too much. His decision to run for President clearly came from a desire to change things and to fight back against Trump, but he soon realized he had nowhere near the funds to keep going and felt bad about taking the money of donors when he knew he couldn’t win. Things got even worse when he resigned from the State Senate for his campaign but couldn’t get his seat back because the Senate President was a Republican. The rub salt in the wound even further, Jim Justice appointed a lobbyist to take his place in State Senate.
I’m kinda hoping that Ojeda decided to run against Jim Justice, who is also up for re-election in 2020 by the way, and that we have Swearengin run against Moore Capito. It basically means that if Bernie gets the nomination then there will be a leftist dream team on the ballot in West Virginia, and that will inevitably inspire a lot of turnout. So here’s to hoping that’s what happens.
Update: Richard Ojeda has declined to run and is likely done with politics. But progressive community organizer Stephen Smith is running a progressive gubernatorial campaign, and is arguable a better choice that Ojeda.
If things go the way they did in the 2018 West Virginia House Elections then we can expect there to be about 337,146 voting Republican and about 234,568 to vote Democrat. This is not consistent with Joe Manchin’s 2018 win or Jim Justice’s 2016 win (as a Democrat), but it is consistent with Shelley Moore Capito’s 2014 win. Let’s all hope 2020 is closer to the former two than the latter.
And finally, we have arrived at the most conservative state in the country that is also last in alphabetical order. Isn’t that a coincidence? This piece has frequently been an exercise in optimistic speculation. A lot of it is relying on hope that 2020 will be the start of a revolution. A revolution not just against the GOP, but also against mainstream liberal politics. That it will be the year where we all finally decide to say “enough is enough.”
Either Bernie Sanders or Elizabeth Warren will get the nomination, that I can almost guarantee. This will then inspire a ton of people to get out and vote that normally see no point in voting. I’m calling it now; Democrats will win a Senate seat in at least one deep red state that everyone said they had no chance in. It might be in Arkansas, it might be in Idaho, it might be in Louisiana, or in Nebraska, or in Oklahoma, or South Dakota, or Tennessee. But it won’t be in Wyoming.
Wyoming has an R 25+ index rating, making it easily the reddest state in the country. There has not been a Democrat elected to the Senate in Wyoming since Gerald Ford was still in office. It’s just not going to happen in 2020. That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try though. Speaking as optimistically as possible, it could be possible to create a leftist presence if we continue to keep at it, it would just be one of the last places to turn blue even if there was a constant concentrated effort to do so.
Wyoming’s incumbent Senator is Mike Enzi. He is a bigoted old white guy with white hair and the first name Mike, so he’s about as stereotypical of a Republican as you can get. He is also retiring in 2020 because he old like every other Republican politician. I can go into everything he did, but I’m here to talk about the people who are actually relevant to this election.
There are two declared Republican candidates thus far. The first is National Guard Veteran Joshua Wheeler who basically has no strong proposals and leaves everything as vague as possible, so it’s unlikely he’s going to be a major player. The second of these is former US Representative and Wyoming Treasurer Cynthia Lummis, who has twice voted to defund Planned Parenthood, has voted twice to strip millions of people of their healthcare, voted against the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, voted against adding protections for LGBT people under hate crime laws, voted against banning government funds from being used to discriminate against LGBT people, voted against the re-authorization of the Violence Against Women Act, voted against the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act of 2009, voted against the DREAM Act, voted against providing healthcare for 9/11 first responders, and against relief for victims of Hurricane Sandy.
There are plenty of other potential contenders though, so the Republican primary will likely be fairly crowded. The first potential contender is US Representative Liz Cheney, the homophobic, authoritarian, carpetbagger who for some reason is well liked in Wyoming despite the fact that she didn’t even grow up there. I feel like it would be redundant to talk about how much of an idiot Liz Cheney is. We all know she’s a piece of shit, and I’d really like to skip over this section and talk about the ones you might not have heard of. But it just wouldn’t be right for me to do that, so let’s recap.
Liz Cheney is so homophobic that she got called out by her own sister for her homophobia, got caught falsifying her residency for a fishing license, promoted the Obama birther conspiracy theory, refused to condemn anti-Semitic and anti Islamic hatred, voted against reauthorizing the Violence Against Women Act, voted in favor of Trump’s National Emergency to fund his monument to white supremacy, voted against protecting endangered wolves, wants to defund Planned Parenthood, voted against re-instating net neutrality, voted in favor of banning trans people from the military, and voted against the Paycheck Fairness Act.
The other major contender is former Wyoming Governor Matt Mead, who is much more preferable to the other two given that I can’t find much that really sticks out about him. That’s not to say that I like him given that he’s still anti gay, still anti choice, and basically all the other Republican nonsense, but compared to Liz Cheney he seems almost remotely reasonable. Knowing the GOP though, this either means he’s going to get a lot worse or he’s going to come in dead last in the primary.
But who knows? The Republican nomination could go to one of the long shot candidates. it could go to State Senator Affie Ellis who voted against protecting LGBT people from discriminatory payment and employment practices and to require doctors to keep records of people who get abortions. Or it could go to State Senator Tara Nethercott who also voted for both those things and to cut the education budget (probably because smarter people wouldn’t vote for her. Also Matt Mead signed this bill if you somehow thought he was okay.
It could potentially go to State Representative Tyler Lindholm who also voted for doctors to keep records of people who get abortions and to establish a 48 hour waiting period for people to get abortions. Or it could go to Foster Friess, who is yet another bigoted old rich white guy who contributed $250,000 to the re-election campaign of infamous anti gay and rape apologist Senator Rick Santorum. Or it could be ANOTHER FUCKING BUSINESSMAN David Dodson.
So yes, Wyoming is basically the final boss of conservative dipshittery. The question is whether a Democratic victory is even possible. It probably isn’t, but it wouldn’t be an interesting piece if I didn’t give at least one possible lead. The good news is that there have been a few people who have come close within the past few decades. Granted these were in the 2000s.
The only person who has managed such a feat in a state wide election was former Wyoming Governor Dave Freudenthal. In fact, he won with close to 70% of the vote in his 2006 re-election. The catch is that he’s a a total DINO and that he held many of the same positions as Matt Mead. This means two things. The first is that he’s unlikely to win given that we’ve already saw what happens when we have centrists running to pander to Republicans. That shit may have worked in 2002, but it won’t in 2020.
The other potential prospect is Gary Trauner, who came within 1% of his opponent in a state wide House election in 2006, and managed 43% in 2008. Unfortunately they already tried him in 2018, and he only managed 30.1% of the vote. Unlike Freudenthal, Gary Trauner ran on progressive themes like ending Citizens United, protecting dreamers, and removing corporate money from politics.
Before anyone assumes that Trauner’s loss means that one needs to go centrist to stand a chance, keep in mind that Trauner managed the best Senatorial performance for a Wyoming Democrat in decades. John Barrasso’s 2012 opponent only managed 21.6% of the vote and Mike Enzi’s 2014 opponent came out with a meager 17.45%. A Democratic nominee in Wyoming has not gained more than 30% of the vote since the 90s. Also keep in mind that Trauner performed better than 2018’s Gubernatorial nominee Mary Throne, who was much more centrist than Trauner.
This is what I’ve been telling you all along; genuine progressives perform better in elections than centrists! Centrists and corporate Democrats have a fuck ton more money yet you still see leftists either put up a good fight or even win in some cases. We only saw a few progressives actually manage a victory in 2018 but they’ve still had an incredible impact on our political climate. They perform better because they actually give a damn about the people they are representing.
Gary Trauner was fairly progressive by Wyoming’s standards, but he could have gone further. He still played by a lot of the conventional rules of politics. There was no mention of LGBT rights, no mention of abortion, no mention of Medicare for All or a Green New Deal. Trauner played it safe, and that may have worked in the past. But we now live in a time period where people who break the rules win. When we combine what we have seen with the fact that Bernie Sanders won Wyoming in the 2016 primary, we start to see that the best way for Democrats to win in red states is to throw all the old rules out the window. And lucky us, we just found someone who is willing to break those rules.
This is where Yana Ludwig comes in. Yana Ludwig is an activist, a community organizer, and she plans to run on those scary topics like LGBT equality, abortion rights, Medicare for All, and a Green New Deal. And yes, she even self identifies as a socialist, how scary!
I’m calling it now folks; expect Yana Ludwig to get the nomination and to outperform Gary Trauner in 2020. Someone like Yana is naturally going to get much more out of state support from leftists given that a bisexual socialist woman is going to appeal to younger progressive voters than an old white guy like Trauner. Does this mean that she’ll win against Cynthia Lummis or Liz Cheney? Probably not, but it will open the door for more progressives to run in the future.
If things proceed as they did in 2018, then we can expect somewhere from 127,000 to 136,000 to vote Republican, and somewhere from 55,000 to 61,000 to vote Democrat. I think things will proceed a bit differently though.
There has been a recurring theme present with this series. The theme in question is that we are seeing an increase of candidates who refuse to play by the rules. In a way, Yana Ludwig’s campaign is symbolic of today’s political climate as a whole. 2020 will likely be the culmination of decades worth of build up, where civility and unity goes to day. 2020 will be the year where we finally say no to this.
We’ve all been conditioned to think this blatant corruption and malice on the part of the Republican party is normal. That we just need to accept that half of this country are bigoted scumbags and that we need to compromise with them or be miserable. We are starting to see more and more people who refuse to compromise.
We are at a boiling point, and we can expect things to burst in 2020. If Trump wins, if nothing changes in 2020, then expect there to be riots! Expect there to be civil war, expect there to be bloodshed, and expect me to be rioting with them! The bigoted conservative branch has never given any minority groups without threat of violence or actual violence, so it is clear that in this case; it will be the answer.
Every able bodied person better get out there and vote Donald Trump, Mike Pence, Mitch McConnell, Lindsey Graham, John Cornyn, Jim Inhofe, Tom Cotton, David Perdue, Martha McSally, Jim Risch, Joni Ernst, Mike Rounds, Dan Sullivan, Susan Collins, Cindy Hyde-Smith, Steve Daines, Cory Gardner, Thom Tillis, Ben Sasse, Bill Cassidy, Shelley Moore Capito, and every other corrupt bigoted Republican slime ball out into the streets where they belong, and remind them that they are NOTHING without us!!
Other wise, we’d best prepare for war.
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