Delaware Dem's Latest Posts
In this week’s address, the President discussed his plan to give all students across the country the chance to learn computer science (CS) in school.
In his weekly message, Governor Markell unveiled a Fiscal Year 2017 state budget that invests in stronger schools and workforce training, innovation and infrastructure to spur economic growth, better health and a high quality of life.
This week, the House Administration Committee released House Bill 165, sponsored by Rep. Debra Heffernan, which would make full-time State of Delaware employees who have at least one year of employment eligible for 12 weeks of paid maternity and paternity leave.
Aaron Blake uses data from the latest WaPo/ABC poll to say that the electorate really isn’t all that angry.
Donald Trump is angry. Bernie Sanders is angry. And Americans think their neighbors are very angry, too.
Except that they’re simply not — or at least, not abnormally angry. Despite the rise of two candidates who have embraced the idea of anger, our country simply isn’t unusually angry about how things are going in Washington
I think this race is going to be very boring. It is going to be a status quo election. Hillary and Trump will quickly win their nominations, and we will be “entertained” by Trump all year long, and then Hillary will win in a devastating landslide that will destroy the Republican Party for a few generations.
It is in these moments that people who are novices or who are inexperienced in the way of politics, and the long arc of history get frustrated and often walk away. For example, I saw one commenter on Facebook blame the Democrats in the General Assembly for the vote. That person is probably the same type of person who blames President Obama for Republican obstruction. And he, and those like him, need some education on how long and involved a process politics and change is. If you are getting into politics for instant gratification and neverending victories, you will be bitterly disappointed.
Yesterday, the defeat of the Senate Bill 40, which would have repealed the death penalty, by an official vote of 16-23-2, was not a defeat. It was a victory when you look at change and politics from a longer view, or a higher altitude. Over the course of three years, we went from no bill for repeal even being considered, to having it be introduced, pass through the Senate, and die in the House Judiciary Committee, to having it pass the Senate again, and get debated and voted on on the House floor.
Yesterday was a step forward. To be sure, the vast majority of the Democratic caucus voted for the repeal of the death penalty. Step back and think about that for a second, while looking at this vote roster (I have excluded the Republicans voting no, because they are irrelevant to this conversation, well, are irrelevant to most things really).
Senate Bill 40, which eliminates the Death Penalty in Delaware going forward (those already convicted of first degree murder and sentenced to death will not have their sentences reduced), finds itself on the House floor today for debate and perhaps a vote. The Bill has had a long and winding road to get today. This is the second session of the General Assembly in which a death penalty bill has been considered. This time, like the last time, the Senate passed the bill by the slimmest of margins, 11-9. Last time, the bill was buried in Rebecca Walker’s House Judiciary Committee. This time, the bill was actually debated in Larry Mitchell’s House Judiciary Committee. But last spring, the bill failed to clear the committee.
But all hope was not lost. Rep. Sean Lynn openly stated on multiple occasions that he would petition the bill out of committee so that it could be considered on the floor of the House. To do that he would need the votes of a majority of the House. But it turned out was not necessary, as House Speaker Schwartzkopf and Rep. Mitchell agreed to release the bill and place it on the agenda for debate.
Bernie Sanders met in the Oval Office with President Obama yesterday. I felt it was a little odd since I did not hear that it was scheduled. It was not announced by the Sanders campaign or the White House, at least not that I am aware of and I read all the things everywhere everyday in order to put together this Open Thread. So it felt like it was hastily scheduled, and maybe it took place due to a Sanders’ complaint that he was tipping the scales for Hillary in that Glenn Thrush interview (even though Sanders said otherwise). Here is Ed Kilgore on what he thinks the Sanders-Obama meeting meant:
Sanders had to do something to counter the impression that Hillary Clinton has been avidly promoting — most overtly in the NBC News debate in South Carolina on January 17 — that she was the best-equipped candidate to protect and build on Barack Obama’s legacy. This impression was undoubtedly buttressed by media interpretations of the interview Obama gave to Politico’s Glenn Thrush in which the 44th president praised his secretary of State while indirectly pouring cold water on the “political revolution” Sanders is purporting to lead. So today’s White House meeting, even if Sanders cannot say much about it, was intended to reestablish presidential neutrality. That’s a big deal in Iowa, where (according to the last Des Moines Register/Bloomberg Iowa poll) Hillary Clinton has been running even with Sanders among people who caucused for Obama in 2008. And it’s a bigger deal down the road where African-Americans begin to play a far more dominant role in Democratic primary electorates.
[...] Aside from the White House meeting, he’s beginning to manage expectations for Iowa, which were beginning to become so robust that a narrow defeat there might be perceived as devastating. First he expressed doubt that turnout would be anything like 2008’s or that he could match Obama’s margin. But, more important, he’s making it clear that he does not regard an actual win in the state as necessary for his nomination.
From the polls, and the polling average, and the feel of the race right now from the actions of both campaigns, it seems clear that Hillary is going to win Iowa. The question is by how much. Sanders is trying to manage the expectations game, which is smart.
So recently, the 14th Representative District endorsed their incumbent State Representative, House Speaker Pete Schwartzkopf, for reelection. There is nothing really unusual about that, one would expect one’s own RD to endorse you for reelection, except that the endorsement is quite early in the election year, and that the 14th RD abandoned their long standing policy of not endorsing before the primary election in order to make this endorsement.
And now we get word that the neighboring RD, the 20th, has taken the unusual step of endorsing Pete for reelection. I don’t think I’ve seen that happen before, where an RD endorses a candidate for election in another RD, a candidate none of the residents or members of the RD can vote for.
Senate Bill 39, as amended, increases the minimum wage by 50 cents a year effective June 1, for the years 2017 through 2020, when it will be $10.25. The original bill would have then tied the minimum wage increases to the Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA). But, by amendment, that provision was stricken, I suppose to get the final 11th vote. That would make sense, since the amendment was passed late in the afternoon yesterday, after votes on the bill had been delayed one day to figure out how to get that 11th and final vote for the majority. I would love to know which so called Democrat demanded that provision be stricken. I would like him or her to explain their thinking.
In the State Senate at approximately 1:30 p.m., DelDOT employees will be recognized for their tireless work and long hours during the recent blizzard in clearing our roads as soon as was possible and in keeping the public informed. Perhaps the Governor and the Legislature can do a little more than that, and finally give DelDOT and all state employees a raise.
The pathetic coward who is the frontrunner for the GOP nomination said yesterday that he would not attend tomorrow’s day because one of the moderators, Fox News’ Megyn Kelly, asked him a fair and legitimate question in last summer’s debate that revealed him to be sexist pig. Well, the Donald could not have that, so he proceeded to act out after the August debate by being a sexist pig. I hope Fox News stands their ground and refuses to budge. Let his podium stand empty.
Meanwhile, Bernie Sanders, for some inexplicable reason, does not want to attend a new debate that is being scheduled by MSNBC and the New Hampshire Union Leader. The debate is not sanctioned by the DNC, but Martin O’Malley and Hillary Clinton have agreed to attend the debate, which will take place in the week before the New Hampshire primary. Everyone all campaign long have complained about the minimal number of debates the Democrats have scheduled, including Bernie Sanders. And now Bernie doesn’t want to show up. Bernie, stop acting like Donald Trump.
Jeet Heer has says Hillary and Bernie showed different sides of themselves at the Democratic Town Hall Forum last night:
When Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders shared a stage—separately—at Monday night’s Iowa Democratic Forum on CNN, the most noticeable thing was the difference in volume. By reputation, Sanders is a shouter, but on this occasion he came across as much quieter than Clinton, who gave forceful, directed, and impassioned answers to some difficult questions from Iowa Democrats. Both candidates were fighting against stereotypes that voters have formed of them, using a new tone to win over those still wavering before the Iowa caucuses next Monday. And both of them gave, in their different ways, remarkably convincing performances. [...]
[O]n the whole, the kinder, gentler Sanders showed that he has a much wider tonal range as a politician than the Larry David stereotype—or some of his rallies—would suggest. It’s likely that this softer Sanders was crafted in no small part to appeal to the rural populations of Iowa and New Hampshire. Rural voters are especially important in Iowa, because of the weight their votes have in the caucus system. Sanders has already won over a considerable number of college students and urbanites, who form his core fan base, so he needs those rural voters to diversify his support.
Clinton’s new, fightin’ tone is also aimed at skeptical voters. She’s been accused of being a complacent front-runner and pillar of the establishment. Whether this image is fair or not, Clinton needed to counter it. And so she’s re-cast herself as Hillary Clinton the fighter, the counter-puncher who has had to fight the Republicans her whole life. The theme of a combative Hillary is quite visible in her recent campaign ads, and her performance in the Democratic Forum was designed to reenforce this idea.
Jacob Lederman at In These Times writes—Flint’s Water Crisis Is No Accident. It’s the Result of Years of Devastating Free-Market Reforms:
By most accounts, cities like Flint are victims of structural forces. The common-sense canard that globalization and technological change have made rust-belt cities unviable has been a convenient narrative for restructuring industrial cities through fiscal austerity programs. But while deindustrialization is an important part of Flint’s story, it obscures broader political forces that have decimated budgets and battered working class populations across the Midwest.
According to the Michigan Municipal League, between 2003-2013, Flint lost close to 60 million dollars in revenue sharing from the state, tied to the sales tax, which increased over the same decade. During this period, the city cut its police force in half while violent crime doubled, from 12.2 per 1000 people in 2003, to 23.4 in 2011. Such a loss of revenue is larger than the entire 2015 Flint general fund budget.
In fact, cuts to Michigan cities like Flint and Detroit have occurred as state authorities raided so-called statutory revenue sharing funds to balance their own budgets and pay for cuts in business taxes. Unlike “constitutional” revenue sharing in Michigan, state authorities could divert these resources at their discretion. It is estimated that between 2003-2013 the state withheld over $6 billion dollars from Michigan cities.
Xpostfactoid, after considering the approach from Bernie and Hillary:
As Democrats mull how change works, consider Obama.
Bernie Sanders’ light sketch of single-payer healthcare Utopia has got Democrats debating their theory of change. Generate mass support for fundamental restructurings — of healthcare, banking, wage law –or take any step you can, by legislative compromise or executive order, to make current institutions more progressive?
Obama is often held up these days as a proto-Bernie who stoked the thirst for swift transformation in 2007-8 and then disappointed. But if Hope and Change was the Obama trumpet call, his bass note was always slow, hard, pragmatic step-by-step progress.
Even at his most apparently messianic, Obama has always stressed the incremental nature of change for the better…
The biggest flaw in Obama’s theory of change was born of arrogance rooted in past personal success. He plainly thought he could win Republicans over by moving toward them. I don’t think he fully corrected on that until the sequester took its first bite and he realized that Republicans wouldn’t compromise to shut it off. That quirk aside, though, I don’t think that Democrats ruminating over how change works can find a more nuanced or effective perspective than Obama’s.
Progressives really need to get over this Green Latern Theory of Change. That if we just elect one person the revolution will come and all will be well, simply because President Sanders has the bully pulpit. Did you all learn nothing from Obama? You need to elect more than one person. In 2006, and 2008, we elected a shit ton of Progressive Democrats, and that still was not enough to get all that we wanted. Politics and policy enactment is a long never ending struggle that takes decades. And you have to do two things at once: defend the progress you have made while at the same time trying to take the next step. It’s like walking in a Blizzard.
In this week’s address, the President discussed the progress we’ve made because of the Affordable Care Act.
In his weekly message, Governor Markell celebrated the progress made over the past eight years and highlighted the vision for a bright future for the state.
Here is your clearinghouse for all Delaware Blizzard information. We are officially under a Blizzard Warning and it will be in effect until Sunday morning. We can expect 16 to 25 inches of snow in New Castle County, 8-16 inches in Kent County and parts of Sussex County, and under 8 at the coast. And those are low end numbers. If this storms bombs out or stalls over us, as some models suggest, well then, see you in April. The main problem with this blizzard is the wind and the heavy snow. There will be power outages, in places that are not used to power outages. So be prepared.
Due to the blizzard, El Somnambulo will post his Political Weekly and Post Game/Pre Game columns tomorrow rather than yesterday and today. I will have our normal political open thread later today as well as a post on some fundraising this morning as well.