Tuesday, November 06, 2018

Speaker Richmond?

CNN Exit poll says maybe let's not give the gavel back to Nancy.
The Democratic Party has slightly higher favorability than the Republican Party in preliminary data from CNN's national exit poll. About half of voters said they had a positive view of the Democratic Party, while the Republican Party is upside down, with slightly more than 40% saying they had a positive view of the Republicans.
The downside for Democrats is an extremely low favorable rating for Nancy Pelosi, the woman who would like to again be Speaker of the House if Democrats win control of the House of Representatives. Only about three-in-10 voters had a positive view of Pelosi and more than half had an unfavorable view. In fact, more voters had an unfavorable view of Pelosi than had an unfavorable view of President Trump, according to preliminary results.
He's downplaying it this week, but you can see the possibilities here for Cedric Richmond
Richmond said he would consider running for a leadership post should the House flip to Democratic control. But any position he might seek will depend on the moves of his colleagues, particularly his longtime friend Assistant Democratic Leader James Clyburn, of South Carolina.

Clyburn has said he would likely run for speaker of the House if former Speaker U.S. Rep Nancy Pelosi declines to do so. For his part, Richmond said he would support Clyburn if he were to make a bid for the gavel.

Richmond said he would defer to Clyburn before running for several available spots. Any position in the Democratic leadership, however, would help Louisiana's relatively junior delegation punch above their weight. Richmond would also be in line to lead a subgroup of the House Judiciary or House Homeland Security committees on which he now serves, he said.
Okay so probably Cedric isn't going to be Speaker. But he's clearly going to be in a top leadership position. Theoretically this is "good" for us down here in his district.  At least it would be if there were more money on the table for local government in Washington right now.  But the current mood there is still predisposed toward austerity and privatization.  And that isn't likely to change just because the Democrats hold a slim majority in the House.  It's better for us than the current situation. But not great.

Also there are other issues with Cedric.  I'd love to expound on this but I'm going to be geeking out on election returns for the next few hours. So, instead, let's see what the DSA election guide had to say about our guy.
Cedric Richmond is concerned that the Democratic Party might be moving too far to the left. Shortly after Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s primary victory over establishment Democrat Joe Crowley in New York this spring, Richmond told the New York Times he worries that while figures like Cortez and Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders are “fighting for [their] principles on what direction the party should go, we don’t really have anybody doing it on behalf of moderates and other Democrats. It has become a one-sided conversation.”  We here in the midst of the leftist insurrection think Cedric is exaggerating our influence just a tiny bit. But we are pleased to see him take notice. What we’ve noticed is Richmond has put in more than his share of “doing it on behalf of moderates.”

Richmond has resisted calls to abolish ICE telling us, “The men and women of ICE are federal employees who do their jobs admirably.”  He also said the Baton Rouge police crackdown on Black Lives Matter protesters after the 2016 murder of Alton Sterling was “very reasonable.” Richmond’s own response to that incident, in fact, was a “bi-partisan solution” to help police buy more surplus military equipment. He has not signed on as a sponsor to John Conyers’ Medicare For All bill and has instead chosen to support a hybrid “consumer” driven buy-in scheme that preserves the private for-profit health care system.  Richmond has also gone out of his way to defend Scalise from criticism, which suggests to us his commitment is to solidarity with the political elite classes he circulates in rather than with the poor and working class people of the district he represents.

Interestingly, in the wake of Ocasio-Cortez’s win, Richmond also garnered comparisons to Crowley as the sort of conservative Democratic machine politician who might one day be vulnerable to grass-roots leftist opposition. Such an opposition campaign doesn’t exist this year. In the meantime, the best we can hope for is for Richmond to continue to be aware of the possibility and lend a more attentive ear to leftist concerns as he moves up the seniority ladder in the House.
So.. not great. But certainly more.. um.. persuadable than a Speaker Scalise would have been.  That's the hope, anyway. 

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