Why do so many Democrats dislike Biden so much... even as Trump and outright fascism stalk the country? Polling shows that even among self-identified Democrats, 15% say they don't like him and only 36% of Democrats perceive him as liberal. There are plenty of reasons, mostly to do with a combination of inability and unwillingness to do anything important for the Democratic base-- no lower drug prices, no higher minimum wages, nothing on the Climate Crisis, no student loan forgiveness, etc. But here's a small example that is indicative of just who Joe Biden is and why he was losing the primary so badly until Obama and Clyburn came to his rescue in South Carolina. CNN reported this morning that Biden endorsed Blue Dog reactionary Kurt Schrader in an Oregon Democratic primary Schrader has been losing to Jamie McLeod-Skinner.
Kate Sullivan explained this this is Biden's first endorsement of the 2022 campaign cycle. Perfect that it would be an endorsement of a conservative who worked to undermine Build Back Better, especially lower drug prices, and the only Democrat left in the House who voted against raising the minimum wage, the kinds of programs that then Senator Joe Biden always opposed!
Schrader's team wrote this for Biden to put out under his own name: "We don’t always agree, but when it has mattered most, Kurt has been there for me. And in doing so, he has helped to pass much of my agenda into law-- making a huge difference in the lives of the Oregonians he represents and all of America." A joke on many levels, since Biden's agenda hasn't passed, in great part due to conservatives from the Republican wing of the Democratic Party, like Schrader. People wonder when Biden will endorse Manchin and Sinema, since they are exactly like Schrader-- opposing the Democratic agenda in return for immense payoffs from corporate America.
The choice is notable given it’s unusual for a president to weigh in on a congressional primary race, though it is widely expected that presidents back incumbents in their races. It’s also notable because of Schrader’s opposition to several key Biden priorities and the support Schrader’s progressive primary challenger is receiving. Democratic Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts and other liberal groups, including the Working Families Party and Indivisible, have thrown their support behind attorney Jamie McLeod-Skinner. Four local county Democratic parties have also endorsed McLeod-Skinner ahead of the May 17 primary.
Schrader has voted against raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour, voted against a proposal to allow Medicare to negotiate lower drug prices during a committee markup as Democrats were struggling to stay united on Build Back Better and initially opposed the American Rescue Plan. He ultimately voted for the American Rescue Plan, which was signed into law, and Build Back Better, which never made it to the President’s desk.
Days after the January 6 attack on the US Capitol, Schrader apologized after reports surfaced that he had likened the second impeachment of President Donald Trump to a “lynching” during a caucus conference call.
As you may know, electing Schrader's progressive opponent, Jamie McLeod-Skinner, on May 17 is a top priority for Blue America. You can contribute to her campaign here or by clicking on the Bluer Oregon thermometer on the left. When I asked Jamie about the endorsement, she said she respects Biden and emphasized that "Oregon Democrats deserve to choose our own Congressperson, not have DC decide our elections for us." Her press statement:
The facts are simple: Kurt Schrader has taken over a million dollars from pharmaceutical companies and big oil and gas, and then voted in the interest of his corporate donors-- not Oregonians.
That’s why Jamie is backed by the local Democratic parties of Linn, Deschutes, Marion, and Clackamas, who represent 90 percent of the district’s voters, and labor across the state.
The fact that Schrader is calling in political favors from national Democrats shows he knows our campaign of working people in Oregon is stronger than ever.
The people of Oregon are not buying Schrader’s glossy mailers and shiny ads financed by the pharmaceutical industry-- we know Schrader blocked lower prescription drug prices in Washington for his corporate donors.
Oregonians don’t want a 25-year politician and multi-millionaire in office-- we want a leader in Congress who will finally fight for us.
Oregon voters know what's best for Oregon.
Rick Klein reported for ABC News today that "White House officials had previously said the president would most likely not endorse in Democratic primaries. Oregon’s May 17 primary hasn’t been top of mind for most strategists, and Schrader is a little-known figure in national politics. To the extent that Democratic activists know Schrader’s name, it’s mainly been for his opposition to progressive priorities that Biden actually supports. He opposed a $15 minimum wage and a proposal to contain prescription drug prices, and he initially voted against last year’s $1.9 trillion COVID relief bill. He also enraged colleagues shortly after the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol when he likened the swift impeachment push to an attempted 'lynching' of then-President Donald Trump, as ABC News’ Ben Siegel reported at the time. All of that earned Schrader a primary challenger in Jamie McLeod-Skinner, who has been endorsed by four county Democratic parties, a range of progressive groups and Sen. Elizabeth Warren(D-MA). In an interview last week with the Washington Post’s David Weigel, McLeod-Skinner called Schrader 'the Joe Manchin of Oregon' and warned that he would lose the general election because the Democratic base has soured on him."