During a week when EPA Administrator Pruitt’s condo rental deal in DC is raising eyebrows, the swamp in Washington appears live and well. David Cay Johnston provides an interesting timeline of activities in his article in New York Magazine entitled “501 Days in Swampland.” Johnston says it is clear that "... Trump isn’t draining the swamp – he’s monetizing it.”
As the Meuller investigation continues, the first sentence was handed down this week to Dutch lawyer Alex Van der Zwaag ... for lying to investigators. Meanwhile legal wrangling over the Stormy Daniels matter has appeared regularly in the news. Is it too much for Americans to expect that the decorum of the Presidency and the President’s Administration is a necessary quality of the office and that conduct of our leader should set a high example for our citizenry including our children?
Two members of large and important cabinet agencies exited the scene over the last month with the Secretary of State and the Secretary of Veterans Affairs getting the sack, apparently not even receiving the courtesy of being told by the President. We also saw the departure of Communications Director Hope Hicks, top Economic Advisor Gary Cohn, and National Security Advisor (the second) H.R.MacMaster. This kind of turnover can’t help but create uncertainty and disruption to the cabinet agencies and offices that are experiencing the leadership change.
Improving Prospects for Democrats
All of this appears to be having an effect on the electorate. With eight months to go before the November elections, Democrat Conor Lamb overcame a 2016 twenty-point Trump advantage in his Pennsylvania electoral district to be elected to Congress over his Republican rival, despite active Trump Administration campaigning and steel tariff policy decisions. Pennsylvania Republican Congressman Ryan Costello announced that he would join more than 40 other Congressional Republicans in not seeking re-election in November. (It might be added that 16 Democrats have also chosen not to run.)
Since World War II, the party controlling the White House has on average lost 26 House seats in midterm elections. The average has been 33 seats when the President’s job approval rating has been below 50%. This bodes well for the Democrat’s chances of winning the 24 seats in November needed to take back control of the House. Trump’s support among women voters has been eroding, with a recent Harvard CAPS/Harris Poll showing support among women fell this month to 35 percent (being dubbed the “Stormy effect”). it is also worth noting that there are twice as many women running for Congress this year as in 2016.
Congressional Races in California
Part of the road for control of the House obviously runs through California. At the California Democratic Convention in San Diego, delegates voted to endorse eight Democratic candidates in key Congressional races in our state: Jessica Morse (CA-24, running against Republican Tom McCintock), Marge Doyle (CA-8, running against Republican Paul Cook), Andrew Janz (CA-22, running against Republican Devin Nunes), Tatiana Matta (CA-23, running against Kevin McCarthy), Julia Peacock (CA-42, running against Republican Ken Calvert), Dave Min (CA-45, running against Republican Mimi Walters), Hans Keirstead (CA-48, running against Republican Dana Rohrabacher), and Ammar Campa-Najjar (CA-50, running against Republican Duncan Hunter Jr.). And locally, we will be following efforts to turn neighboring CA-25 (currently held by Republican Steve Knight), where there are still several Democratic contenders competing to move forward in the June 5 primary.
Here at home, the Ventura County Democratic Central Committee (VCDCC) voted at our last meeting to endorse Bernardo Perez for District 4 Supervisor, Caleb Donner for Ventura County Superior Court Judge (Office 4), and Michael Magasinn for Ventura County Superior Court Judge (Office 6). Hopefully, many of you are thinking about purchasing tickets for the Ventura County Democratic Party’s Spring Fling, with Betty Yee as the featured speaker on April 14 at Los Robles Greens in Thousand Oaks. I imagine there will be an opportunity to meet a number of other state and local candidates at the event. Proceeds support our Party’s mission of turning Ventura County Blue. Also, please remember to mark your calendar for our May 3 Scholarship Pizza Fundraiser and purchase tickets early so we know how much pizza to order! Sen Hannah-Beth Jackson has agreed to speak to our Club that evening.
Our featured speaker for our April Club meeting will be Oxnard Councilwoman Carmen Ramirez, speaking about the new disticts for city council elections in Oxnard, the recall, and other local issues. In passing, I should mention that the VCDCC did endorse voting “No” on the Oxnard recall. Judicial candidate Caleb Donner will also introduce himself as a candidate. I look forward to seeing you all on Thursday.