Thursday, January 11, 2018

Maxine's Troubled Waters

By Douglas V. Gibbs
Author, Speaker, Instructor, Radio Host
Maxine Waters has represented, in the U.S. House of Representatives, a region of communities on the southside of Los Angeles since 1991.  She is criticized for not even living in her district, one of four members of Congress in California to make the claim.  However, truth be told, her lavish mansion in South Los Angeles used to be in her district, but redistricting shifted Waters and a few of her neighbors, into the 37th District now represented by Democratic Rep. Karen Bass.  Waters now resides .1 mile outside the boundary of the district she represents.

Waters has spent many of those 37 years in Congress as head of the Black Congressional Caucus.  Now, she's also seen as a rockstar in the #resist movement.  But, like the boundaries of her district, times have changed.

She's always been somewhere out in left field.  In 1992, she said of the L.A. Riots, “If you call it a riot, it sounds like it was just a bunch of crazy people who went out and did bad things for no reason. I maintain it was somewhat understandable, if not acceptable. So I call it a rebellion.”  In 1996, she falsely accused the CIA of bringing drugs into Los Angeles. In 2008 she talked about "socializing" oil companies (putting them under government control like they did in Venezuela).  She has told the Tea Party to go "straight to hell.” Maxine Waters has called the Trump administration “a bunch of scumbags.”  And, when Congressman John Conyers came under fire for his sexual improprieties, Maxine Waters rushed to his aid, calling him a man with "impeccable integrity."

In 2010, the Maxine Waters' ethics trial case revealed a story of the government bailing out a corrupt Boston bank that Waters' husband owned stock in and sat on the board of.  Is that how she became one of the richest members of Congress?  By using her political power to protect her husband's investments (and her own)?

It has also come to light that Maxine Waters paid her daughter, Karen Waters, $750,000 out of taxpayer funds to mail campaign flyers.  While she falsely accuses Republicans of trying to become rich on the backs of poverty-stricken blacks, it turns out that it is Maxine, and her family members, who are actually becoming rich on the backs of American taxpayers.
During a confrontation last May with one of her constituents, who, on video, began by telling Waters that she’s been calling her office and sending her emails for “five minutes of your time.” 
“You’re one of 700,000,” Waters replied, referring to the number of constituents she has.
The constituent wanted to complain to Waters about her treatment of President Trump.
“I can’t stand him,” Waters said, cutting her off. “He’s the most horrible man I’ve ever seen in my life.” 
“I love my president,” the woman replied. 
“I’m glad you do,” Waters said. 
When the woman wanted to know why Waters wouldn’t also represent her views in Washington, Waters said, “Your president is a dishonorable, lying man,” adding that he “lies every day.” 
Waters said Trump is “in bed” with Putin and the Kremlin and “the oligarchs.” 
“They’re going to take us down!” she declared. 
When the constituent compared Trump’s words to Bill Clinton’s actions, Waters snapped, “I don’t care about Clinton! Listen, I’m going to work every day until I get him impeached.” 
“I’m going to work every day to make sure that he isn’t impeached and that you’re impeached,” the constituent said. 
“You can’t impeach a member of Congress!” Waters shot back. “No, you cannot impeach a woman of Congress,” she said again before her staff escorted her away from the woman.
Over time the demographics of her district has changed from largely black to largely Hispanic.  Her legacy, while on the surface she is championed as some kind of pioneer, is really going to be about how her district has been suffering from staggering levels of persistent unemployment, poverty, and gang violence.  At what point do the voters realize that Maxine Waters is not good for them, and no longer represents them as much as she represents her own leftist crusade?

Last year Maxine Waters defeated Omar Navarro with more than 75% of the vote.  Omar is in the race again, this year, just as confident as ever, so why would anyone believe that Waters can be dislodged if she wins by such a great margin, and she's considered a rockstar among the younger Democrats who have embraced her "resistance" battle cry, and her demand to "impeach 45"?

Five Republicans, and not a single Democrat, is on the list of challengers for the 2018 election.  The list of GOP candidates is quite an eclectic group.  They span all points of the ethnic map, and range from ages that cover the whole spectrum.

The Democrats claim the Republican Party is the party of old white guys, so running old white guys in a Democrat-majority district is probably not a good idea.  Yet, in the race against Maxine Waters are exactly that.  Forest Baker and Frank DeMartini represent the old white guys of the Republican Party.  Race may not matter to most of us, but in the heart of L.A.'s neighborhoods, it does.  The reality is, considering the demographics of the 43rd District, with the population of the area being nearly half Hispanic, and nearly a quarter black, the two old white guys likely don't stand a chance.

That said, Baker has simply recently moved his failed campaigns in Northern California to Southern California and is a Screen Actors Guild member (Hollywood conservative?), and DeMartini is a conservative film producer who has relatively no experience in the political arena, to speak of.  Usually, when it comes to politics, I am not one who is fond of Hollywood intrusions - exceptions like Ronald Reagan is noted, but generally, not in favor.

Candance Camper (her campaign website has been taken down), who I have met numerous times, is a lovely young black woman with a lot of spunk, desire, and constitutional knowledge.  However, her funding is low, and her name recognition is virtually zero.  When it comes to a congressional race, especially against someone like Maxine Waters, a bare minimum of $500,000 is needed (and really, more than a million dollars) if you want to stand a chance.

Which leaves us with the two front-runners: Omar Navarro and Edwin Duterte - both of whom I have met a couple of times, and have drilled extensively regarding their positions.

On the surface, Omar Navarro comes across as a great candidate.  Alex Jones has shouted from the treetops for him.  Navarro is the electoral veteran, so to speak, since he went head to head with Waters during the last election in 2016.  He learned a lot, and in many ways he learned what not to do.  He has raised more money than last time, but also, unfortunately for Navarro, he has managed to come up with a whole new list of what not to do.  For example, he called one potential constituent a "wetback" in a heated series of Facebook messages.  

It also turns out that Omar Navarro is on probation until March for a criminal conviction stemming from his use of an electronic tracking device he attached to his wife’s car.  He pleaded guilty to the misdemeanor charge in Orange County and was sentenced in September 2016 to a day in jail and 18 months probation, and ordered to take an anger management course.

When confronted by the Daily Breeze about his criminal conviction:
He initially said there are “a lot of Omar Navarros,” implying that perhaps someone with the same name was convicted of the charge. Then he said the incident that led to the criminal charge occurred “years ago,” rather than last year. Finally, he acknowledged the misdemeanor conviction, but at first blamed the Orange County District Attorney’s Office and the media for “fake news” before finally admitted it was his own doing.
The trustworthy meter has bottomed out on Navarro, in my opinion.  His unfortunate language and inability to be forthcoming has been getting picked up by the press, and the voters.  While he is raising more money than two years ago, and he has had some great media coverage and support, his campaign is looking like it is about as effective as it was last time - and last time he garnered only 23.9% of the vote.

Edwin Duterte is the candidate who got the Los Angeles County Republican Party endorsement, and it turns out he is also the more savvy politician than his GOP colleagues. While very conservative, he strategically molds his message to appeal to voters who may not normally be willing to hear what a Republican may have to say.  The Democrats outnumber the Republicans with a 59% advantage.  While conservative messaging works when crafted properly, the way to reach the voters is to appeal first to the issues they are most interested in - and that is something Duterte has found a way to do.  In fact, Duterte is closing the gap on Waters, gathering 44% support in a recent poll to 50% for Waters (remember, she normally wins with greater than 70% of the vote).

The question is, is Edwin Duterte's campaign able to close the gap more?  Has his name become more recognizable?  How strong is the ground game?  As we well know, in the end the only poll that truly matters is the one on election day.

-- Political Pistachio Conservative News and Commentary

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