Tuesday, November 07, 2017

Preposterous Possibility

Today's question: what is the link between Donna Brazile and Ed Gillespie, the GOP demagogue locked in a tight race for governor of Virginia?

The hint: a link among Brazile, Gillespie, and New Jersey Lieutenant Governor Kim Guadagno, locked in a less tight race (thank you, Governor Christie!) for governor against Democrat  Phil Murphy.

It's a very cryptic question to which the answer is Cory Booker, currently United States Senator and formerly the mayor of Newark, NJ.  Criticizing the response from Booker to a question asked him by CNN's Erin Burnett on January 27, 2007 about sanctuary cities, one conservative remarked

this broad, generalized view of sanctuary cities overlooks a very real case from Booker’s past involving an illegal immigrant from Peru, Jose Lachira Carranza, who was accused of violent and reprehensible acts.

Carranza was arrested once in 2006 on aggravated assault charges and twice that same year for allegations he raped a child in his care. In 2007, while Booker was mayor of Newark, he was out on bail when he took part in the execution-style killing of three college students. Carranza also sexually assaulted a fourth victim, who survived the attacks.

Newark authorities had not notified immigration officials that Carranza was in the country illegally following his arrests because of the cities sanctuary city status.

Booker had given Burnett (transcript here) a thoughtful, even somewhat informative answer in defending the sanctuary his city offered illegal immigrants.  But neither as mayor nor as senator has he wavered in his views about immigrants, legal or illegal, even though, as we learned three months ago from NJ.com, the online portion of the mainstream Star-Ledger of Essex County, NJ:

In August 2007, three friends — Terrance Aeriel, 18, and Dashon Harvey and Iofemi Hightower, both 20— were gunned down on the playground of the Mt. Vernon School in Newark. Another 19-year-old victim was sexually assaulted, stabbed and shot, but survived. Prosecutors said five of the six men charged with the crime were members of the gang. One of the men told investigators he helped start the gang's Newark clique, and said the killings were ordered by gang members in New York a test for a new member. Five of the six received sentences of more than 155 years in prison each for their roles in the murders.

That gang is MS-13, about which Kim Guadagno has had something, and Ed Gillespie quite a bit, to say in their races.  A commentary in New Jersey noted

Kim Guadagno just released a TV ad that accuses Phil Murphy of sympathizing with the gang of notorious murderers who shot down four college students in a Newark schoolyard a decade ago, clipping a video in which Murphy says, "My bias is going to be having their back."

One problem: Murphy was not talking about the murderers.

Facts don't matter any more to Guadagno (considered a "reasonable" Republican) than they do to Gillespie, who in Virginia since late August

has run television ads accusing Northam of casting a tie-breaking vote in the state legislature to defend sanctuary cities. The spots have been widely criticized as misleading because, among other issues, no jurisdiction in Virginia actually qualifies as a sanctuary city. But over images of heavily tattooed Latino men, the ads charge that Northam’s vote “let dangerous illegal immigrants back on the street, increasing the threat of MS-13.” One briefly shows Gillespie talking with an African American police officer, but it ends with him walking with three white policemen—a thin blue line of defense—down what looks like a street in the outer Washington, D.C., suburbs that often decide Virginia elections.

Below is an anti-Gillespie ad, from the Latino Victory Project, which appears to have backfired. (You decide why.)

Unlike with Guadagno-who has relied upon the classic GOP fear-mongering about taxes- fear of The Other has been the focus of Gillespie's campaign, which has seen its chances of success soar in the past few months.

Nevertheless- and with then-mayor Cory Booker and now-Senator Cory Booker defending santuary cities

Brazile writes that she considered a dozen combinations to replace the nominees and settled on Biden and Sen. Cory Booker (N.J.), the duo she felt most certain would win over enough working-class voters to defeat Republican Donald Trump. But then, she writes, “I thought of Hillary, and all the women in the country who were so proud of and excited about her. I could not do this to them.”

The interim DNC chairperson would have recognized at least two other factors had she been living on planet Earth. Donald Trump's hope of a political career was animated by an attack upon the first black President (Booker would have been the first black vice-president) as possibly not born in the USA, who never went to college and is "not capable of doing the job" of president. 

Then as a candidate, Trump arguably became best known for his remark, whose sentiments he echoed many times, "They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists. And some, I assume, are good people.”  With all that, Donna Brazile believed Cory Booker would have been the perfect running mate for Joe Biden. The ads virtually would have written themselves and been devastating.

Brazile couldn't have created that ticket all by herself because she merely would have jump-started a process which she would have coordinated. Nonetheless, the gubernatorial races in Virginia and New Jersey as well as the election of Donald J. Trump as president should inspire in Democrats a sigh of relief that she is no longer, at least as of now, a party official.

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