Progressive Breakfast for March 16

Morning Message

Opening a New Way for Democrats to Run and Win

Conor Lamb’s remarkable win a Pennsylvania district that favored Trump by 20 points proves the “Resistance” is real. Republicans outspent Lamb and his allies by a five-to-one margin, and threw their entire playbook at him: tax cuts, tariffs, attack ads, and more. None of it worked. Lamb put voters’ kitchen-table concerns at the center of his campaign, and made himself the champion of working people in his district. That worked, and will work in November.

Health Care Tips PA Voters To Dems

PA voters say the GOP’s health care antics cost Saccone their vote. ThinkProgress: “While many Republican strategists and conservative pundits struggled to make sense of how a Democrat could have been so successful in Pennsylvania’s 18th district on Tuesday, voters sent a clear message: Health care is a priority. Election night exit polling by Public Policy Polling found that among PA-18 voters who said health care was the most important issue, Democrat Conor Lamb beat Republican Rick Saccone by a margin of 64 to 36. Saccone’s support of the Republican health care agenda — namely, efforts to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA) — made 41 percent of voters less likely to vote for him. Fifty-three percent of voters disapproved of GOP efforts to repeal the health care law and 48 percent believed Republicans are trying to sabotage the law since they failed to repeal it.”

VA Sneaks Towards Medicaid Expansion

VA Republicans divided on Medicaid expansion. NPR: “Virginia is among 18 states that have not expanded Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act. But this year, the state legislature is going into a special session to continue discussions about whether or not to include it in its budget. By the time the regular session adjourned Saturday, members of Virginia’s GOP-controlled House of Delegates and Senate could not reach agreement on whether or not to expand Medicaid. Republican Delegate Barry Knight from the Virginia Beach area calls it ‘the 800-pound gorilla in the room.’ He’s one of more than a dozen Republicans who voted to include Medicaid expansion in the House budget — along with a work requirement — this year. It’s a big shift in the House position on the issue and comes after 15 seats flipped in the so-called ‘blue wave’ of last November’s election, which also saw the election of Democratic Gov. Ralph Northam. ‘On the big-picture issues, I think it was a re-awakening and a call to look at things from a different perspective,’ says Republican Delegate Chris Peace, from the Richmond area.”

Congress Unlikely To Stabilize Obamacare

Hopes fade that Congress will stabilize Obamacare. NYM: “in December, Senator Susan Collins got assurances from both Mitch McConnell and the president that both the Alexander-Murray legislation and a bill she co-sponsored with Florida Democrat Bill Nelson giving states money to set up reinsurance pools for high-cost Obamacare patients would be included in an omnibus spending bill that was being negotiated. Collins gave Republicans a critical vote for their tax bill in no small part due to these assurances. Well, nearly three months later, the promises to Collins have yet to be kept; the only real excuse is that Congress has passed a series of short-term spending measures, with the real omnibus appropriations bill still being negotiated in advance of a pretty serious March 23 deadline. But the odds of Obamacare stabilization legislation making it into this package are definitely fading.

Students Call For Community Transformation

Some students won’t settle for gun control. They want community transformation. Truthout: “While gun control was a major focus of Chicago’s walkouts, some of the city’s most spirited walkout organizing came from youth who were more concerned with the conditions that incubate intra-community violence, and how those conditions are maintained and enforced by the state. After participating in their respective walkouts, students from half a dozen Chicago high schools organized a small rally downtown to confront city officials and uplift their demands. In a statement, the group said that Chicago Public School students ‘are constantly faced with threats of budget cuts and school closings, while gun violence continues to threaten our communities.'”

Kochs Want Lifetime Appointments For Conservative Judges

Conservatives Mobilize Grass-Roots Activists To Promote Trump Judges. NPR:A conservative group funded by billionaire brothers Charles and David Koch is turning its attention to a new front: promoting federal judges at the grass-roots level. Americans for Prosperity is willing to spend nearly $1 million to confirm judges this year. Those lifetime appointments could reshape the courts for a generation. ‘The fact of the matter is that so much of what affects us in our daily lives plays out in the courtroom,’ said Sarah Field, the group’s new vice president for judicial strategy. But even more important than the money could be the firepower AFP wants to engage. The idea is to mobilize conservative activists across 36 states for key confirmation fights this year. That includes people who call their home-state senators, write letters and knock on doors.”