In Texas, a reality check for all of us
And more attacks on the people who need our help
|Jordan Zakarin||Jan 30|
I’ll address it in this weekend’s edition of the newsletter, but briefly: Despite all the enthusiasm, attention from Democratic presidential candidates, and grassroots donations that poured into the race, Eliz Markowitz got her clock cleaned in the special election down in Texas on Tuesday night. It wasn’t even close — she lost by 16 freakin’ points — and should serve as both a reality check and motivator for progressives.
It was always going to be an uphill battle, as no Democrat had won HD-28 in years, but a loss this bad makes it clear how much work we still have cut out for us if we want to flip states like Texas anytime soon. Republicans are just as motivated right now and they have both an endless flow of cash (newly elected Rep. Gary Gates poured in over $1 million to his own campaign!) and the power of incumbency at their disposal. Markowitz was a great candidate who gave it her all, but it just wasn’t enough.
On the bright side, there are 15 Texas House districts that are more statistically flippable on the ballot in November and we only need to flip 9 of them. This weekend, I’ll have an interview with Akilah Bacy, the leading Democrat in the most flippable district. Her enthusiasm is infectious.
Speaking of Texas, this is fun, numerically speaking:
Check this out: Last night I went to a screening of the movie American Factory, a documentary about a shuttered Chrysler factory in Ohio that was bought by a Chinese glass manufacturer in 2015 and turned into a grand experiment in cross-culture capitalism. What begins as a typically gut-wrenching Rust Belt story about union workers tossed under a bus they probably helped manufacture morphs into an illuminating portrait of clashing cultures and then an exhaustingly familiar example of corporate greed that transcends national borders.
Anyone worried that Democrats might nominate a candidate that is too populist to woo back Trump voters should put down the op-ed pages and watch this movie. There’s no world (outside DC, perhaps) in which a candidate who rages against corporate greed on behalf of working people is less electable than a milquetoast moderate who accepts gobs of cash from corporate interests. The film is on Netflix now, so please go check it out and then tell me what you think.
In case you need a reminder what’s at stake, just look at what the Trump administration is doing to working people this week alone:
The Trump administration is ramping up its diabolically cruel war on the poor, sick, and disabled. This week, the ghouls gave states the green light to turn their Medicaid programs into “block grants,” which is a dressed-up term for fucking people over: Restricting access, introducing premiums, implementing more work requirements, and just plain kicking them out of the healthcare program meant for people who cannot otherwise pay for medical care.
And not content to just hurt able-bodied poor people, Trump’s mutants are also zeroing in on people who receive Social Security Disability Insurance. The plan is to test them for disabilities more often, with the goal of booting people who may become physically able to work.
Democrats and disability advocates said the proposed new regulation would only hurt disabled people, that it hasn’t been vetted and that the rule-making process should be delayed. More than 8 million Americans receive disability benefits based on past employment and a loss of wage income due to the onset of a severe disability.
The regulation could affect hundreds of thousands of SSDI and Supplemental Security Income recipients… potentially ending benefits for tens of thousands. The administration didn’t estimate how many would lose benefits, but said the proposal would save $2.6 billion over a decade.
Overall, according to the administration, there would be 2.6 million more reviews, an 18% increase, at an anticipated cost of $1.8 billion ― almost wiping out the $2.6 billion worth of savings on benefits.
At this point, their pitch-black nihilism is so all-consuming, like the center of a dying star, that I didn’t even blink when I saw the news that the White House plans on loosening restrictions on land mines. Frankly, it’d be more shocking if Trump’s vicious ghouls took even the smallest step toward a policy that didn’t increase the likelihood that people would be unjustly killed.
Let’s talk! What are you reading this week? What are you worried about? Excited about? Let’s talk about it!