Native Delawarean turned political reporter for the Washington Post, Dave Weigel, returned home to glance something not seen in decades: a potentially competitive Delaware Democratic Primary for the U.S. Senate. I encourage you to read it all, but here are some important excerpts from the candidates and some color from Weigel:
Senator Carper: “The senator, who says that a fourth term would probably be his last, argues that none of his opponents understand what Delaware wants — and none can seriously accuse a former governor, congressman and state treasurer of failing to deliver for his state. “The core of the Democratic Party in Delaware could be defined by Matthew 25: ‘I was naked and you clothed me, I was a stranger and you welcomed me,’” Carper said in an interview. “We have a moral imperative to help the least in our society. But because we don’t have unlimited resources, unlimited money, we have a fiscal imperative to do that in a responsible way.”
I suppose the difference between progressives and moderate Democrats is that we view are resources differently. First, we have not yet tapped all of our resources. Revenue from the wealthy. This country did very well during the 50’s and 60’s when the wealthy were taxed at rates that no one is even thinking about proposing, upwards of 70 to 90%. But if we dare tax them at over 40%, Carper needs a fainting couch. Second, some of our resources are being used for things we do not need. Corporate welfare, massive, wasteful and unnecessary military boondoggles left and right. Carper cries poor, but that cries as hollow as Monty Burns panhandling.
Chris Coons: “I think the success of Joe Biden led many people to think that this is a safe blue state[.] Democrats barely control the state legislature. Sussex County is deeply red. Kent County is purple. New Castle County is blue. You’ve got to show up to win, and Tom Carper shows up.”
We show up for people who will fight for Delawareans, and not Wall Street and the Big Banks. Carper this past year, and you too Chris, showed up to fight for the banks. Unacceptable.
“The victory of Ocasio-Cortez, who also was outgunned financially, changed that thinking. Harris and her campaign staff drove three hours to New Yorkto help the challenger’s final push; a photo of the two women together now hangs in Harris’s downtown Wilmington campaign office.
“He’s hiring a field team, which he hasn’t had to do in years,” Harris said. “His policies are starting to align more with what we’ve been needing from the beginning. Universal health care, raising the minimum wage — his responses to that are different than they were before he had a primary opponent. I think it’s time for someone to notice the need before it becomes popular.”
This is why primaries are always good. It forces the candidate/incumbent to get back in touch with where their party’s base actually is in this state. Chris Coons sounds like he will need to learn that lesson in 2020. We are not all credit card workers wanting what is best for our bosses and the banks. We are workers that want what is best for our families.
“A lot of the same techniques we used in New York, we’re using here,” said Alexandra Rojas, who ran the New Yorker’s get-out-the-vote operation. “People of color make up around 30 to 40 percent of Delaware, but they haven’t been activated. There are places that have been totally left behind.” The general election would fall in place: “There literally aren’t enough Republicans here to surge against the Democrat.”
At the moment, national Democrats are deeply skeptical that Harris could beat Carper. Carper has neutralized one of Ocasio-Cortez’s best issues — the idea that Rep. Joseph Crowley (D-N.Y.) had become physically out of touch with the people he represented. Carper, by contrast, is so often home that even Harris has seen him out on jogs.”
That is true. Carper is always home, always everywhere on the weekends, at every event He is a very good retail politician. And that is why he is still the prohibitive favorite.
In the end, what gave Harris’ primary challenge life and momentum is probably the same thing that will help Carper to win: Ocasio-Cortez’s victory. It was such a surprise to the establishment that it woke up Carper, who immediately beefed up his campaign.
“The people who failed to show up and vote for Mike Castle were the longtime, politically aware, politically engaged Republicans who did not believe for a second that someone like Christine O’Donnell could beat him,” Coons said. “The people in my party who might think, ‘Hey, Tom Carper can’t lose’ — they remember what happened to Mike Castle.”
In an interview, as he walked around a natural preserve for which he’d secured funding as governor, Carper said that he had talked to Castle about the defeat, and that his Republican friend advised him to take the primary seriously, riding the Amtrak back from D.C. every night he could and hitting the trail.
“God bless him, but I’m not Bill Roth,” Carper said. “When I was in the Navy, before they put us in airplanes, they put us through rigorous physical conditioning. I said, ‘I’m going to stay on this edge for as long as I can.’ I work out six days a week. Two days, I lift weights. Two days, I ride a bike. Two days I run — four miles on Thursdays, six to eight on Sundays. When I get up in the morning, I do 300 push-ups. I work 14-hour days. I haven’t taken a sick day in 35 years.”
Ok, Tom Carper is in way better shape than me, and it looks like he won’t be caught flat footed like Mike Castle and Joe Crowley were.
“There’ll be some day he has to retire,” said David Smith, 63, after shaking Carper’s hand. “But right now I want him to stay on and on and give it to Trump.”
I am personally voting for Kerri Evelyn Harris, and have donated to her campaign. And I consider her campaign to be a success already, if it moves Carper ever so slightly back to where his Democratic Party base is.