It can be hard to sift through the idiocy; it all feels so unprecedented and yet entirely routine a year into this tragic era. Because we are now addicted to Twitter, waiting for the latest insane pronouncement, it’s only appropriate to relate our current situation to a meme: we are all that cartoon dog in the burning room, muttering “this is fine” as the flames flicker around us.
With every day comes a new story about the Trump administration that would have been a defining scandal in any other presidency. But absolutely nothing will happen about the huge amounts of dirty money being fed to Trump’s businesses, or all the porn stars coming forward to reveal they were paid off to not talk about their affairs with Trump, each of which occurred after he got married to Melania.
And yet, there’s one story this week that we cannot brush off or forget: the infamous “shithole” slur. To recap: during a meeting about immigration, Trump lamented the immigrants and refugees coming from Haiti, El Salvador, and African nations, which he considered “shithole countries.” Instead, Trump said he much preferred immigrants from places like Norway. It’s not hard to read between the lines there — the racism is blinding. And we only know this happened because Dick Durbin, the Democratic Senate minority whip, was in the room, so who knows what other hateful things Trump has said around his GOP toadies.
Not that we had any doubt that Trump was a racist — it has been the basis of his businesses and political career — but the clear confirmation is helpful. As we continue the fight for Dreamers, as well as the 200,000 El Salvadorians Trump wants to deport against all moral and economic logic, we must keep in mind that we are dealing with a president and party that are bad faith negotiators (not to mention assholes), and so ultimately, we must kick them out of office and replace them with smarter, more honest and compassionate leaders.
Senate Candidate: Beto O’Rourke for Texas Senator
There are two reasons to support Beto O’Rourke: He’s a great leader… and he’s not Ted Cruz.
If it weren’t for Donald Trump, Ted Cruz would be a shoo-in for most noxious person in DC. He is the worst kind of faux-populist; a sneering, cynical liar who barks about populism and freedom while working to line the pockets of big business and Wall Street. He’s also pre-historic on a woman’s right to choose, immigration (ironic, since his dad’s from Cuba and he’s from Calgary), foreign relations, and just about everything else. Even fellow Republicans hate him.
For the last two decades, being a Republican has made it pretty easy to get elected in Texas. But Trump underperformed there in 2016, winning it by just nine points. Sure, he was a bad candidate, but Texans don’t like Cruz, and his opponent is far more likely to connect with the locals. O’Rourke is everything Cruz is not: affable, gregarious, generous, and Texan.
A native of El Paso, O’Rourke is a three-time Congressman from his home city. He’s made a name for himself by really putting himself out there. In 2016, he live-streamed a House sit-in on gun control, which C-Span used when Republicans shut down the cameras; last year, he broadcast a 29-hour drive across the country with GOP Rep. Will Hurd after a storm shut down airports. More importantly, he’s barnstorming across Texas, working to visit all *254* counties before the election.
As this story in Texas Monthly shows, O’Rourke is a tireless road warrior, driven to help people. After Hurricane Harvey, he drove all over the affected area, handing out supplies and checking in on people without ever mentioning the fact that he was running for Senate, or even a politicians.
O’Rourke is a bold progressive in a state where that is still considered a bit of a risk. He’s for universal healthcare and pro-choice; he has campaigned against the War on Drugs for years and doesn’t take money from PACs (while Cruz eats at the special interest buffet all day, every day). And even more bold for Texas, O’Rourke is a loud voice in favor of Dreamers and comprehensive immigration reform — and he wiped the floor with Tucker Carlson on Fox News last week by standing up for what he believes.
Special Election: Patty Schachtner for Wisconsin State Senate
Update: This election is on Tuesday. Send whatever last minute help you can!
Let’s send a message to Paul Ryan, who was put on this earth to cut taxes for the wealthy, gel his hair, and little else. He’s non-committal about running for re-election this fall, and it’d be great to show him that Wisconsin, a bastion of progressivism ravaged by Ryan and GOP sociopath/governor Scott Walker, is returning to its Democratic roots.
There will be a special election for a valuable seat in the Wisconsin State Senate on January 16th. After the GOP took power, it gerrymandered the state into an unrecognizable jigsaw of districts, with racism and partisanship the only factors in their shaping.
That’s under Supreme Court review, but we can’t rely on that gerrymandered court to save us. A GOP-held seat in the State Senate, representing District 10, is up for grabs, and Democrats have a great candidate in Patty Schachtner, a civil servant and lifelong resident of the region. Her issues page is chockful of smart, local-focused ideas and promises, including an emphasis on infrastructure, the environment (she grew up on a farm), better public education, healthcare (including expanding the state’s Medicaid program) and fighting the opioid crisis.
If Dems can win this seat, it’ll put them in a better position to win the State Senate back in November, when Gov. Scott Walker, perhaps the most draconian state exec in the country, is also up for re-election. That’s huge: It’d end gerrymandering, expand healthcare in the state, and help re-enfranchize tens of thousands of people who were stopped from voting during the election by Walker’s awful voter ID laws.
Had it not been for those laws, Hillary Clinton would have likely won Wisconsin. So yeah, this race matters.