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MS-01: Childers the Populist

by: DavidNYC

Tue Apr 29, 2008 at 6:00 AM EDT

The netroots have been pleading with national Democrats for years: If we want to revive the Democratic brand in areas that haven't been receptive to us for some time, then we need to harken back to our roots and tap into the deep vein of economic populism that runs through this country's proud history. Yet over the years, too many Dems - fearful of accusations of "class warfare" - have instead sought solace in DLC "third way" politics, alienating both their base and potential converts with a naked embrace of "free" trade, bankruptcy "reform," and tax cuts for the very wealthiest.

A handful of standout elections in 2006, however, lend a lot of credence to the blogosphere's view of things. In particular, Jon Tester and Jim Webb won impressive victories in red territory, in large part on the strength of their populist appeals. In a must-read op-ed that appeared in the WSJ shortly after election day, Webb offered a scathing assessment of the growing economic schism in this country, and declared that Congress's first priority had to be working "to bring true fairness back to economic life."

Travis Childers also understands that this is job number one. His platform is an unflinching defense of the needs of ordinary Americans. On the economy:

Our leaders should have been thinking of the economic problems we face today when they passed unfair trade deals that sent our jobs overseas, gave billions in subsidies to big oil companies, ignored the home mortgage crisis, and kept spending as the deficit and national debt hit all time highs.

The social safety net:

Travis will fight to protect Social Security , oppose privatization, and expand in-home care programs for seniors.


Travis Childers will fight to improve the quality of healthcare, while lowering costs for working families.  He supports expanding the State Children's Health Insurance Program (S-CHIP), which will provide affordable healthcare to tens of thousands of middle-income children in Mississippi.

And these aren't just statements plastered up on an out-of-the-way website. Childers takes this kind of talk with him on the campaign trail:

"We need to quit depending on foreign oil," said Childers, who is also Prentiss County's chancery clerk. "We need to start depending on ourselves and explore alternative energy sources."


"It seems like everyone in Washington is concerned about everything but working-class families," he said. "I'm concerned about working-class families. I'm concerned about north Mississippians."

Everywhere he goes:

"We need to strip away the subsidies from ExxonMobil and Big Oil," Childers said to a question about high gasoline prices. "They're not going to get a lot of sympathy from me."

It's regular folks who have his sympathy - and that's why Travis Childers needs our help. But as with Iraq, a Childers victory can send a clear message: that running on a populist message works. At the same time, it will help drive a stake through the heart of stale, pernicious DLC-style politics. Childers can continue the line of victories that began with Tester and Webb and show Democrats that the way to bigger majorities this fall requires that we meaningfully address the concerns of average Americans.

As you saw up above at the beginning of this post, ActBlue has deployed a new fundraising thermometer to help us keep track of our goals. (The old-schoolers among us will remember the grand old days of the Dean bats.) And it shows a welcome sign: Because SSP readers dug deep, we hit our goal of $200 today. So let's try for two more goals today: Let's get to (at least) 40 total contributors, and let's add on another $200.

This is money Travis Childers can really use - no strings attached, no costs in raising it, and no time wasted on the phone dialing for dollars. So let's get him some of this good green!

DavidNYC :: MS-01: Childers the Populist
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Thank y'all
I can't tell you how much it warms my heart and gives me hope to see y'all focusing on the Childers race like you have been. Usually, ginning up interest in a Mississippi race is like pulling tiger teeth.

This is a seat we can most definitely take. The GOP is slinging hard and heavy, and the electorate is a little exhausted (both from all the negative ads and the fact that May 13th will be the fourth election for this same seat), and so we can use all the help we can get.

Every bit helps: Giving to Childers, making calls on behalf of the campaign, spreading the word that there's a real fighting chance for Dems to take this seat in a couple of weeks and then again in November.

Thanks. We appreciate ya.

The Thorn Papers
Y'all come by now.

Attack Ad
I'm not sure if y'all have seen this ad or not, but it was recently released by the Greg Davis campaign.  It's pitiful that they have no policy platform so they have to resort to personal attacks.

Thanks for bringing this race to thte forefront.  I have been trying rather unsuccessfully to get the word out on the big blogs, to try and raise some cash.  I think you saw my too late in the night attempt at raising a few bucks for Childers on Kos last night.

We are pumped up down here and ready to fight.  I just hope this ad does not have its intended effect.

Thank you again and keep it up.

Cotton Mouth

Jim Webb did NOT win because of his populism...grr i get angry when Democrats say just copy Jim Webb...that means we just wait for a Republican to eff up on the trail.  

I've been wavering on the contribution,
because I know Childers will be a Blue Dog and a SoCon, and my heart is with Kissell and Fallon, to whom I'd like to be giving much more than what little I have given.  So money to Childers is money that ain't to Fallon, and while I can see the huge strategic return that comes from beating the GOP in a seat this red and southern, I still was a little on the edge.

But, I didn't know that in addition to the Iraq=economy campaigning, he was coming on as this strong of an economic populist.  I'm sold.  We need a lot more of that in Congress, and it's the Democratic ticket in the South.  That deserves, earns, and gets my support, and it deserves, earns, and hopefully gets the election victory too.  That's the kind of rhetoric that Mississippi should be sending to Washington, so I'm all on board now.  If that can win, and (now I'm really dreaming!) win by several points too, it'll be an earthquake in DC politics.

Too bad it's too late in the cycle to recruit some more of them!

28, gay guy, Democrat, CA-08

Anyway, good post David.
This one closed the deal.

28, gay guy, Democrat, CA-08

[ Parent ]
And oh yeah, the fact that the D-trip was playing was part of why I wasn't.
I try not to play in the same places they do; there are so many important places where DC money doesn't go, that it seems silly to give to places that are already swimming in big bucks.  My proudest donations ever (in retrospect) are to Tester and Webb early in that cycle, before the primaries; to McNerney and Kissell early in that cycle; to Wulsin and Kissell late in the cycle; and to Donna Edwards and Mark Pera and Ed Fallon this cycle (and Donna Edwards last cycle too).

Wulsin and Kissell each closed to within a point, without much help from the DCCC, which is the very definition of "candidate that needs more support from the grassroots/netroots."  I wish I could have given 'em more, but at least I know my aim was right!  (Well, in those cases anyway... we'll skip over Dean for now... hell, we'll skip the whole 04 cycle, thanks.)  

28, gay guy, Democrat, CA-08

[ Parent ]
Sad News
This is really sad, if its really true that Childers is abandoning the probably Democratic nominee.

I don't like him distancing himself from Obama either, but I live in Mississippi and I understand the reality of the political landscape.  I just emailed my campaing contact and voiced my displeasure, but told them that I sort of understood.

As far as him being a social conservative, well duh.  We are way behind in the progressive movement down here so the battleground is different.  Do you want a congressman you 90% agree with or one you 1% agree with, that is your choice.  

Cotton Mouth

Yes, I know he has to be a SoCon and I don't hold it against him.  Hell, he may actually be one out of conviction too, and I wouldn't particularly hold that against him either.  I wasn't born yesterday, I was raised in the south, and I know how these things work.

But I've got a limited amount of money to give, and given that I actually am a gay person so it's my legal status that is getting voted on, I do generally try to give what I have to candidates who are somewhat less socially conservative than the Gene Taylors of the world.  I support such candidates and congressmen, I hope dearly that they win, I cheered for Childers all night that night, I'm glad the D-Trip is dropping money in, and I hope he goes to Congress, but when it comes to donations, I only make about 3 or 4 per quarter and it's not that much fun making them to someone who I know will be voting against me for his whole congressional career.  I get it, I don't hold it against him at all and I get the difference between one vote from a Dem and a leadership vote from a Republican.  I'm not dumb.  But when you're talking about your own damn money, then sure, I try to send it to people who are a little more socially liberal, all else being equal.

And in the end, I did give to Childers anyway, because of the strategic value of this special election and because of his (from what little I've seen) excellent economic populism.

But hey, thanks for explaining what my choices are, I enjoy the implication that I'm too dumb to figure it out.

28, gay guy, Democrat, CA-08

[ Parent ]
Hey bro
I meant no harm.  I am sorry if I came off in an offensive manner.  It's just there is always a blowback for progressives in blue states who don't like the social conservatism.  But this is a winnable race that will help move Mississippi down the line of progressivism.  Our battle lines are drawn at much different places than where yours are.  Hell I don't like social conservatism, either.  It is also a fact that to get elected down here right now you HAVE to be socially conservative.  Hell, I don't know, but Childers might not be as socially conservative as he says.  As dems we know the reality down here.  It is a shame, but reality.  Now how we change this is through progressive means of education and lifting people out of poverty.  We are so poor and ignorant down here, that is why the battle line are where they are.  The more educated and better off people are the more likely they are to have an open mind.  At least that is my hope for Mississippi.  I meant no harm ealier, peace.

Cotton Mouth

[ Parent ]

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