Over the past few days there have been several stories about Democrats and money in politics.
One story that’s not getting enough notice as it should concerns districting.
Here’s how the AP put it:
“The state legislative races are a focal point this year because the parties want to better position themselves for 2020, the final election before the next round of redistricting. In many states, lawmakers play a role in drawing new districts for Congress and themselves after each census. Parties that control both legislative chambers and the governor's office can draw maps giving their candidates an advantage for the decade to come. Republicans controlled more legislatures after the 2010 Census and generally have fared better under the current maps.”
There are 6,000 legislative races across the country this November.
36 governorships are also up for grabs.
Another AP report put it like this:
“Of particular importance are more than 800 races spread across about two dozen states where voters will be electing state lawmakers to four-year terms in which the winners could play a role in approving new congressional or state legislative districts.”
So important are these races to the future of the Democratic Party that spending on them has doubled.
The Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee is spending $35 million to “flip between eight and 10 Republican-run chambers.”
At the same time, the Republican State Leadership Committee “plans to spend as much as $50 million on state legislative and down-ballot statewide races,” which is more than the $38 million they spent “each of the past two election cycles.”
Another group is the National Democratic Redistricting Committee, whish is run by Eric Holder. Together with a group called For Our Future, the two have already spent $750,000 in just three states.
It’s important for Dems to get these legislative seats back – they lost over 1,000 of them during the Obama years.
Montana, however, isn’t a state the Democrats are going to spend any money in.
Here, Democrats have resigned themselves to the fact that the legislature is gone to them, and likely won’t be won back for a generation…if then.
No national money will flow to the Montana Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee (MDLCC).
The organization is run by Amanda Frickle, who makes around $5,000 a month.
As it stands now, Democrats in Montana are set to lose the legislature in 2018.
More than likely, Democrats will lose the legislature in 2020 as well. And as it currently stands, the Montana governorship is probably going to go GOP that year too.
District maps will not favor Montana Democrats for the entirety of the 2020s.
Another money-oriented story involves Senator Tester.
We know that “the American Bankers Association banking trade group is running ads for Tester in Montana.”
The main reason for this support is that red state Democrats like Tester “voted for and helped craft a banking deregulation bill earlier this year.”
The political website Vox put it this way:
“This reveals some of the tension Democrats have with red-state Democrats. While tackling corporate greed and corruption has become an increasingly important part of the party platform, these donations show just how hard that sell will be when it comes to real races. Democrats need these moderate Democrats to get to the majority they need in the Senate, but that makes selling bills to hold corporations accountable a tough sell.
The bill exposed sharp divisions within the Democratic Party. Progressives slammed it as a giveaway to the banking industry, arguing that it recreated risks in the financial system that Dodd-Frank, the law passed in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis, was meant to remove. Moderates said it made necessary fixes to the law and was an example of bipartisanship at its best.”
Yes, and we saw right here in Montana how Democrats posture themselves when it comes to this “corporate greed and corruption.”
A couple months ago, Steve Bullock came out strong against dark money in his attempt to gain a foothold as a possible 2020 presidential candidate.
He needs to move more toward the left, and he’s doing so on money in politics and also on the gun issue.
He doesn’t need to win Montana anymore, just big states like Ohio and Florida and Pennsylvania.
Of course, that assumes he can even win any of the early primary states…which will start having their primaries in about 16 months.
But back to Tester.
The Center for Responsive Politics ran the data and concluded that “Tester has been the top recipient of banking industry money in the 2018 election cycle, brining in nearly $250,000.”
In addition to this, Tester is one of the top “fundraising senators among the hedge fund, securities and investment, and private equity industries this election cycle.”
Tester’s spokespeople “declined to comment” about these donations.
I don’t blame them – this is shady stuff.
It reminds me a lot of doping in sports. Those athletes will do anything to win.
But is that really winning?
Our current money-in-politics system is wildly corrupt and rotten, yet it shows no signs of changing.
We should all be saddened by that.
“Dems Boost Spending on State Level Races.” AP. 23 September 2018. http://www.wcbe.org/post/dems-boost-spending-state-level-races
Lieb, David A. “Control of Congress also at state in state legislative races.” The State. 22 September 2018. https://www.thestate.com/news/nation-world/national/article218858015.html
Seitz-Wald, Alex. “Democrats spend big on state legislative races in three states Trump won.” NBC News. 12 September 2018. https://www.nbcnews.com/card/democrats-spend-big-state-legislative-races-three-states-trump-won-n908801
Stewart, Emily. “The banking industry is spending big on red-state Democrats in 2018.” Vox. 19 September 2018. https://www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/2018/9/19/17874240/banks-heitkamp-tester-banking-bill-donations