On today's BradCast: A ton of breaking (and largely distressing) news, before largely encouraging review of four upcoming U.S. House special elections that may offer a bit of an antidote to some of that distressing news, at least for Democrats and progressives. [Audio link to show follows below.]
Today's show both opens and closes with a ton of breaking news, including, for a start: Another school shooting, which appears to be a murder-suicide, in San Bernardino, CA (the same town where 14 were killed in a mass shooting in late 2015); The white supremacist Charleston church shooter is sentenced to 9 consecutive life sentences in state court after being sentenced earlier this year to execution in federal court; Stolen U.S. Supreme Court "Justice" Neil Gorsuch is sworn in, as President Trump thanks Senate Majority leader Mitch McConnell for the theft; War planes take off from the very same air base said to have been bombed by Trump last Friday, and U.S. war ships head toward the Korean Peninsula for a possible confrontation with nuclear-armed North Korea; and Trump huddles with the Koch Brothers at Mar-a-lago as special elections to fill Republican U.S. House vacancies left by Administration appointees get underway in Kansas, Georgia and Montana (and in Los Angeles, where there is a Democratic vacancy).
We're joined today by the great Howie Klein, progressive champion and founder of DownWithTyranny.com for an overview of all four upcoming U.S. House races and the surprising (if still long-shot) possibilities of Democratic pickups in the three otherwise very Republican districts. Klein breaks down the likelihood for Dem victories in each district, describes the candidates who are running, and why it is that both the Republican and Democratic parties seem to have been underestimating the possibility of several of those seats "going blue" in the first federal elections of the Trump Era.
Among the upcoming U.S. House races, Klein notes that in CA-34, leading candidate Jimmy Gomez is a very progressive Dem running against another Dem who, he charges, is actually a Republican who changed his party affiliation for this race; in KS-4 (which votes on Tuesday, 4/11), Klein tells me that a week ago he'd have said the Dem candidate, James Thompson, had no chance in the deeply "red" district. But now that national GOPers are suddenly pouring panic money and other resources into the race, he thinks it's still long odds, but possible that Republican Ron Estes could face an upset in the home district of Koch Industries. In GA-6, he details, progressives have very high hopes for 30-year old Jon Ossoff who is running way ahead of a split GOP field in a "Jungle Primary" compromised of some 18 candidates in the first round of voting set for 4/18, where any candidate who gets 50%+1 could win the whole thing outright; And, finally, we review Montana's at-large U.S. Congressional race which, he says, could also be vulnerable to the populist Democratic candidate now running in a Republican state that has shown itself able elect Democrats to statewide seats in the very recent past.
Klein spares no criticism, however, for a number of Democratic organizations, like the Kansas Democratic Party which, he says, "should be ashamed of themselves" for failing to spend money on the House race. "They haven't had a candidate this strong running for that seat ever, and they haven't had an opportunity like this as long I can remember. They should be all over this, and they're not."
"These are dark, deep 'red' districts, and normally there would be no Democrats having any chance. But because of Trump's policies, because of that crackpot healthcare bill --- TrumpCare or whatever it was --- because of that, Republicans are discouraged and thinking, 'I'm not even going to go vote'. Or other Republicans are thinking, 'You know what? I'll vote for the Democrat!,'" Klein tells me. We'll soon see if he's right. But, of course, we'll also have to presume that Georgia's 15-year old, 100% unverifiable touch-screen voting systems weren't manipulated by (or since) a recent "massive" hack of its voter database.
And finally, as we head off air today, breaking news about the resignation and criminal booking of Alabama's Republican Governor Robert Bentley in the face of impeachment charges and...as if that's all not enough...a U.S. District Judge in Texas once again finds that state Republicans deliberately discriminated against racial minorities with their controversial Photo ID voting law...
(Snail mail support to "Brad Friedman, 7095 Hollywood Blvd., #594 Los Angeles, CA 90028" always welcome too!)