An abortion rights defender well-suited to a rural working class district
Well, if anyone knows how the voters of Marie Gluesenkamp Perez' district feel, it is the Brooklyn-based, Ivy League-educated writer for Slate.
Man. I would vote for her. Not 💯 in agreement, but never going to be.
Also as a former maintenance person in the military… she got me there.
Thank you, Matt.
Volunteered for her last cycle. Drove from my very blue district to work weekends. Donated $$$.
Was so frustrated to see the Slate story headers and takes.
Perez is much less swaggery lib than her House caucus and that's the freaking point. I don't want to agree with her votes and policy initiatives if she's thinking about her constituency and her seat. My money and time are doing what I intended via Perez -- even if my politics might be more like the average House D.
When Perez betrays her constituency and overtly breaks promises there can always be a reckoning later.
Meanwhile, Joe Kent is not in Congress, which is probably great for everyone except his children.
Sammon's pitch for his article on Twitter calls MGP a mini-Sinema. Sinema was the pivotal vote in blocking a number of Dem priorities, despite representing a (very marginally) blue constituency, namely Arizona. His article contains zero examples of MGP doing this, despite being from a red constituency.
It's pretty extraordinary behaviour. Naturally his Twitter feeds also contains criticism of people who disagree with him, Rep and Dem, for spreading misinformation...
The Sherrod Brown example is well taken. Right before the 2006 midterms, Republicans put the Military Commissions Act on the floor. Brown, then leading in the polls against Mike DeWine, was one of fairly few Dems who voted for it. There was outrage at Daily Kos and other vintage lefty blogosphere places; Brown had been played, if he couldn't be trusted on this what could he be trusted on, etc. But it neutralized (at that moment) the "who's soft on terrorism" issue, the bill was going to pass anyway, and Brown won by 12 points.
Point being, when Republicans run the House, they're going to jam Democrats on some bills that are popular and destined to pass but they (Dems) would never bring to floor. That's the idea - the Dem can either cast an unpopular vote that Republicans will roll up and beat them over the head with, or they can make their base angry that their local rep cast the politically opportune vote instead of the ideologically brave one.
The strangest omission in the Sammon piece is how MGP ended up facing Joe Kent - in the all-party primary, he got more votes than Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler, who voted to impeach Trump over Jan. 6. But the strangest inclusion is the story of Kurt Schrader, an Oregon Blue Dog who pissed off local progressives so much that he lost his primary, then watched with some schadenfreude as the primary winner lost the seat. Her main weakness was that she was a recent arrival to Oregon, not that she was a progressive, but that situation wasn't good for the "just nominate bold progressives" thesis.
I am not terribly in-tune with the views of exurban right-leaning voters, and only somewhat in tune with their rural counterparts. But I am aware enough, have enough working class and rural ties, to understand that the disproportionately young and, forgive me, rich (directly or by upbringing) folks doing the majority of writing, door-knocking, and campaign staffing for the Democratic Party have sold themselves a bill of goods on what they believe and why.
And that bill of goods is shared by the Democratic Party’s most reliable voting block, educated urban PMC folks.
I simply do not know how to bridge the gap there, when the shit that purports to understand rural voter motivations that folks I know nod sagely along with makes me, with my at best limited read on that situation, want to tear my hair out.
I didn't know anything about MGP, so I was reading her Wikipedia page and found this:
"She and her husband own an automobile repair shop in Portland, Oregon.... The repair shop was review bombed by individuals unhappy with her decision to vote with Republicans on a bill repealing President Biden's student loan relief plan."
It's harder and harder to find any sympathy with the loan forgiveness crowd.
On the other hand, “with a Democrat like me, you don’t need the Republican” is essentially her district campaign messaging—she’s a Democrat you can get behind even if you’d been considering voting for Joe Kent, and even if you were considering not voting for the other Joe.
I agree that the hit piece is BS but I struggle to envision it doing any real damage within her district; I sincerely doubt she’d be weak in a primary challenge by a candidate substantially to her left.
Anyway, I’m a big fan of hers even where we don’t align. I absolutely believe she’s a model for the type of candidate Dems need to be willing to run if we ever want a moment like 2008 again.
Bring back the 50-state strategy! ::DEAN SCREAM::
1) heterodox Dems who vote right sometimes are better than orthodox Reps who vote right never.
2) Misrepresentations that are acceptable from politicians are not acceptable from journalists.
Anything else I missed?
Woo! My congresswoman! Some background on the district and last November's election:
WA-3 kind of contains both types of Republicans. Vancouver, the city where I live in the most suburban suburb that ever suburbed. It's currently like a 60/40 D town. Outside of Vancouver lie the exurbs, which are mostly upper income and pretty red-leaning. Everything else is pretty much the sticks. Rural Western WA was reliably blue as recent as the 80s due to union logging, but that industry has since collapsed and the region has drifted rightward.
So basically you've got the suburban Republicans drifting leftward and the rural Democrats drifting rightward, just like everywhere else. The only reliably blue area is downtown Vancouver, unless there's an Indian Reservation I'm forgetting about.
Anyways, 2022 was a perfect storm. Jamie Herrera Buetler, who I'd voted for the whole time she was in congress, voted for Donald Trump's impeachment. Oh no, you can't do that. Can't betray Daddy Trump. Anyways, Republicans unleash a torrent of misfits to try to primary Jamie. Funny enough they almost split the anti-Jamie field. WA has a top 2 primary. In August you can vote for ANYBODY, including your dog. In November, the top 2 vote getters from August run against each other with no third candidates, even if they're two Rs or two Ds. Anyways, Jamie was narrowly edged out by this doofus named Joe Kent. This Joe Kent guy was purely a brainchild of Peter Theil. He ran as this "new sort of Republican" who ran on stuff like freeing the "January 6th political prisoners" and took to Twitter during the Super Bowl to lambast Americans for caring about sports while "the woke elites blah blah blah..." Totally normal and not off-putting stuff.
Anyways where I was going with all that is that I think Matt missed half the equation. MGP's margin in 2022 was an across the board improvement in all counties in the district. She won by doing better with rural AND suburban voters. She ran as pro-choice and pro-gun which is pretty spot-on for rural WA. We're not very religious but gun control a non-starter. She didn't ramble endlessly about Trump impeachment stuff, but she did hit Joe Kent on it in the Vancouver area. The ad that was microtargeted to me had a bunch of people standing in Downtown Vancouver listing all the weird shit he's said from calling the 1/6 people "political prisoners, to a million different anti-vax statements, to calling Zelensky a thug (lot of Ukrainian immigrants in this district btw). I know a LOT of college-educated suburbanites who flipped from JHB to MGP. Myself, my wife, two of my buddies, my parents would never vote for a Dem but they wrote in Jamie rather than vote for Kent.
TLDR; it was a perfect storm due to a weird candidate, but she actively appeal to both rural folk AND suburban anti-Trump Republicans and it worked. And now she's got incumbency so I wouldn't be shocked if she sticks around for a few cycles.
> The median student loan burden in the United States is $0.
Ah, but the median student loan burden for someone who subscribes to Alex Sammon's shitty Slatepitches...
With Slate no longer being contrarian, what exactly is its point? Does it generate traffic and make money?
Sammon seems wrapped around the *symbolism* of each vote and doesn’t appear to grasp the idea of voting strategically - eg going with the other side in a vote that is clearly destined to fail or pass; she has no material impact on the outcome of the vote, but she gets a chit to play during the campaign. It’s like he’s assuming that you can look at the sum of a Congressperson’s votes and treat it as a direct translation of her deeply-held beliefs
And maybe I’m just not seeing it, but I looked through the sponsors’ summary and skimmed the legislative text itself and I don’t know where Sammon is getting that ‘College for All’ includes money for trade schools...the overwhelming emphasis seems to be toward moving people toward a college degree.
I get that Community Colleges might offer some trade certifications, but if my stated goal was to prioritize training people in trades, or to at least put subsidizing trades on an equal footing with bachelors degrees, I wouldn’t support that bill either...
Dems absolutely need MGP. I think she has said that she would only consider supporting partial student loan forgiveness (which is what Biden did: capped at 20K) if it were paired with something aimed at supporting the trades and technical education. Whether she meant it or not, that sounds like good policy and good politics to me. The other issue that really pisses off today's progressives is her stance on crime, which has been a consistent and correct theme of hers. So this isn't just about the student debt issue.
Matt lays out this case very well and I almost entirely agree on the merits, but I think it’s worth pushing back on one point — that only about a quarter of people in MGP’s have college degrees and therefore she’s right to oppose student loan forgiveness.
This ignores that people who graduate from college generally aren’t the ones who have problems paying off student loans! They tend to have stable jobs and higher incomes. The people most impacted by student loan debt are those who attended “some college” or have an associates’ degree, who have paid for school but don’t have the credentials to show for it.
Matt has acknowledged this in the past (quoting from his piece “Wealth isn’t what matters” in 2021): “What’s missing from the balance sheet is the value of the degree. And that messes things up even within the internal analysis of student debt. A person who graduates from the University of Wisconsin is going to have more debt than someone who did two years at an online college and then dropped out. But the Wisconsin grad is much better off, because a bachelor’s degree from a flagship state university campus is valuable, and an incomplete from an online college is worthless.”
And while people with “some college” or an associates degree make up about a quarter of the US population 25+, they are ~37% of MGP’s constituents.
So if anything - she has more reason to vote for student loan relief than a congressperson who represents a rich, high education district.
IMO it’s totally fine to say loan forgiveness is a bad policy that Dems shouldn’t pursue - and I agree it would be hugely stimulative at a time when the economy doesn’t need stimulus. But suggesting that MGP is right to break with one of her party’s key promises just because relatively few people in her district have degrees doesn’t hold water.
The MGP hate can be simply explained: loud lefty Democrats are *especially* nonplussed when other Democrats succeed without being loud and lefty. It's a huge ego blow when someone can get elected without believing precisely what you believe and being shouty about it.