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2018: A Historic Opportunity to Drain the Swamp

Next year’s midterm elections provide a terrific and historic opportunity to drain the swamp. Both of the two major political parties have historically low approval ratings and Congress as a whole boasts a whopping 13 percent approval rating, according to the Real Clear Politics average. Thirty-four members of the House of Representatives, twenty-three Republicans and eleven Democrats, have already announced their retirements and that number will probably grow should the names of the members of Congress who used taxpayer money to pay off people who accused them of sexual misconduct ever become public.

Over in the Senate, Jeff Flake and Bob Corker, two of the most Anti-Trump Republican Senators, have already announced their retirements. Unfortunately, many of the other Senate Republicans who have stood in the way of repealing and replacing Obamacare do not stand for re-election until 2020 or 2022. 83-year-old Orrin Hatch, the third oldest Senator and the longest-serving Republican Senator, has indicated that he may also choose to retire. So far, none of the 25 Senate Democrats up for re-election next year have indicated that they plan to retire despite the fact that many of them face uphill battles running for re-election in states won by President Trump.

Even if a member decides to run for re-election, that does not automatically guarantee their renomination. As shown by appointed Alabama Senator Luther Strange’s defeat in the Republican primary runoff by Washington outsider Roy Moore, linking incumbents to the unpopular establishment can serve as an effective campaign strategy. While Strange has only served in the Senate for less than a year, unpopular Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s investment on behalf of Strange definitely hurt him. Former White House Chief Strategist Steve Bannon, who supported Moore following the initial August 15 primary, has indicated that he will support primary challengers against five of the six Republican Senators running for re-election next year. Ousting incumbents always presents an uphill battle as only five members of the House of Representatives and no Senators lost to primary challengers last year. One of them currently sits in jail on racketeering charges while another awaits sentencing for creating a fake charity.

While the mainstream media loves to play up the idea of a Republican Civil War, the left has an anti-establishment fervor of its own. “Brand New Congress” seeks to elect hundreds of new members of Congress in line with its platform, which closely mirrors that of the Bernie Sanders Presidential Campaign. While I happen to disagree with the platform of “Brand New Congress”, a majority of the American public could probably find themselves agreeing with the three statements made on its homepage.

First, “Brand New Congress” correctly identifies the problem with the status quo, saying “Both major parties have chosen big donors and special interests over the needs of the American people.” I could not agree more. Republicans sold their souls to the folks at the Chamber of Commerce while Democrats abandoned their role as the party of the working people to curry favor with demanding immigrants’ rights groups. The Democrats also see illegal immigrants as a group of brand new voters who will buoy them to electoral victories for the foreseeable future. Sadly, the folks at “Brand New Congress” will probably follow the PC playbook and not do much to control illegal immigration. Let’s not forget about Planned Parenthood, one of the Democrats’ other big donors and special interest groups. The Democrats’ dependence on Planned Parenthood and other pro-choice groups led them to look the other way when the Center for Medical Progress released undercover videos showing Planned Parenthood officials discuss the sale of aborted babies’ body parts.

Second, “Brand New Congress” has a noble goal, which is to “Elect a Brand New Congress that represents all Americans rather than corporate interests and party establishments.” Republicans certainly elected somebody with these characteristics in 2014; when GOP primary voters in Virginia’s 7th Congressional District chose economics professor Dave Brat over sitting House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, who had become unpopular with the Republican base for his support of amnesty.

Finally, “Brand New Congress” plans to accomplish its goal by recruiting “extraordinary, ordinary Americans to challenge the establishments of both parties in primary races across the country.” Both parties will likely have different ideas about what constitutes an extraordinary, ordinary American.

So far, “Brand New Congress” has recruited more than 20 candidates; with about two-thirds running in seats currently held by Republicans and the remainder running in seats currently held by Democrats. All but two of the candidates endorsed by “Brand New Congress” belong to the Democratic Party.

Former Congressional Candidate and MSNBC host Krystal Ball has started a similar grassroots campaign on the left called the “People’s House Project.” While I agree with the general idea behind the People’s House Project, which aims to elect more working class people to Congress, I disagree with its platform. So far, the People’s House Project has only endorsed four candidates, all of whom will run in districts currently held by Republicans. The “People’s House Project” has found an ally in Rep. Tim Ryan (D-OH), who attempted to replace Nancy Pelosi as House Minority Leader. For those who didn’t already know, Nancy Pelosi definitely does not represent the working class.

Speaking of Nancy Pelosi, replacing Congressional leaders seems like a logical conclusion for those hoping to drain the swamp. Should groups like “Brand New Congress” and the “People’s House Project” succeed in electing a large number of progressive Democrats to Congress, that would present a headache for not just Republicans but Pelosi as well. Many Democratic Congressional Candidates have already indicated that they will not vote for Pelosi as the top House Democrat. Republicans could probably benefit from new leadership as well. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has become a ripe target after the Senate failed to repeal and replace Obamacare after repeatedly promising the voters that they would do so should they win complete control of the Federal government. Sean Hannity has already called on McConnell to step aside as Senate Majority Leader; arguing he does not share President Trump’s passion and drive to Make America Great Again. Earlier this year, McConnell claimed that the President had “excessive expectations about how quickly things happen in the democratic process.”

At first glance, Rep. Bob Brady (D-PA) and Debbie Wasserman-Schultz (D-FL) seem like the most likely of the 435-member House of Representatives to lose in a primary next year should they decide to run for re-election. The FBI has begun investigating Brady on the suspicion that he may have paid his primary opponent to quit the race. As for Wasserman-Schultz, a multitude of factors make her vulnerable for defeat in a primary next year. Wasserman-Schultz already had a rocky relationship with Bernie Sanders voters after Wiki-Leaks documents showed that the DNC, led by Wasserman-Schultz, did everything in their power to help Hillary win the nomination and derail Bernie’s campaign. The former DNC chair has also found herself tied up in the Imran Awan scandal. Last year, Wasserman-Schultz beat her primary opponent Tim Canova by a margin of about 13 percentage points. Canova plans on challenging Wasserman-Schultz for her South Florida seat again next year. The anti-establishment wave, in addition to his opponent’s scandals, may allow Canova to pull off an upset in a rematch with Wasserman-Schultz.

The American people have had it with Congress playing by its own set of rules and working on behalf of their own personal interests of themselves and their donors on K Street and Wall Street rather than the interests of their constituents. 2018 presents a historic opportunity for the American people to change the status quo in Washington, DC. I sure hope they take advantage of this opportunity; allowing 2018 to go down in history as the year the swamp got drained.

Reposted from the author’s personal blog

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About Ryan Foley (5 Articles)
Ryan Foley has written for the school newspaper in both high school and college. Since graduating from Rhode Island College earlier this year, he has written for Red Alert Politics and maintained a personal blog. He currently resides in Westerly, Rhode Island and is originally from Elmira, New York.

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