2018 was shaping up to be a blue wave-- and it did turn out that way, the Dems flipping 42 Republican House seats. 60,572,245 voters (53.4%) cast their ballots for Democratic House candidates and about 10 million fewer (44.8%) voted for Republicans. In Senate elections 52,224,867 voters (58.2%) opted for Democratic candidates and just 34,687,875 (38.7%) voted for Republicans. Nonetheless, Republicans flipped 4 states with especially shitty conservative Democrats from blue to red: Missouri (Claire McCaskill), Indiana (Joe Donnelly), Florida (Bill Nelson), and North Dakota (Heidi Heitkamp). Only 2 red seats flipped blue, both with crap conservative lesser-of-two-evils canddiates handpicked by Schumer: Nevada replaced Dean Heller with Jacky Rosen and the open Arizona seat (Jeff Fake retired) went to Kyrsten Sinema.
Schumer made it known early on that Sinema was the Democratic candidate and he cleared the field for her. He also organized a mass endorsement of Senate Democratic incumbents for her, including Kirsten Gillibrand (NY), Kamala Harris (CA), Cory Booker (NJ), Dick Durbin (IL), Patty Murray (WA), Tammy Duckworth (IL), Amy Klobuchar (MN), Gary Peters (MI), Chris Murphy (CT), Catherine Masto (NV), Patrick Leahy (VT), Ron Wyden (OR) and even progressives Mazie Hirono (HI) and Jeff Merkley (OR). Remember, these were endorsements in the primary, not the general. Unions stepping up for her included the state AFL-CIO, the Communcation Workers of America, the state Building andConstruction Trades Council, NEA... And among the big institutional supporters were the DSCC and their front group End Citizens United, plus all 4 big national LGBTQ organizations, Planned Parenthood, NOW, the League of Conservation Voters and, more than (literally) anyone else... EMILY's List.
EMILY's List was Sinema's biggest campaign contributor:
On top of that, the EMILY's List Super PAC, Women Vote! spent another $1,378,630 independently on Sinema's campaign. This week, EMILY's List is earning plaudits for (ineffectually) threatening to end its longtime support for Sinema because of her recent behavior in the Senate. A couple days ago Jonathan Weisman wrote that "One of the largest contributors to Senator Kyrsten Sinema’s political rise announced on Tuesday that it would cut off its financial support if the senator continues to refuse to change the Senate’s filibuster rules to allow for passage of far-reaching voting rights legislation. Emily’s List, the largest funder of female Democratic candidates who support abortion rights, made the extraordinary announcement as the Senate barreled toward votes this week on a bill to reverse restrictions on voting passed by a number of Republican-led state legislatures... Emily’s List faced growing pressure from liberal activists and its own donors to take a stand ahead of this week’s showdown. The group was by far Ms. Sinema’s biggest donor in her run for the Senate in 2018, and potential primary challengers for her next run in 2024, such as Representative Ruben Gallego of Arizona, have begun making some noise."
EMILY's List-- like Schumer-- knew exactly what they were buying when they originally started writing checks for Sinema. Sinema, indisputably, had the single worst voting record of any Democrat in the House and she was the chair of the Blue Dogs. Schumer was looking for the worst-- and he got it. And Sinema is just the kind of piece of shit neoliberal EMILY's List always prefers. Although they throw around the word "progressive," EMILY's List hates progressives and only grudgingly ever supports any, and only to benefit itself, never the progressive movement or even a progressive candidate. This week's featured candidates are 3 mediocre establishment hacks without a progressive thought between them:
Is there another Sinema among this year's crop of EMILY's List candidates? Val Demings has been an utterly worthless member of the House but if Marco Rubio is hit by a truck and dies the day before the election and Demings manages to be elected, she's probably not going to turn into a Sinema; she'd just continue to be utterly worthless, a complete waste of a Senate seat. Same with Cheri Beasley (D-NC) and Sarah Godlewski (D-WI), although if I had to guess, I'd bet both would turn out to be even worse than Demings. Neither has any chance of winning though. Neither does this cycle's worst Senate candidate of all, Iowa conservative, Abby Finkenauer, who would likely be the closest anyone could come to Kyrsten Sinema without a full-blown case of schizophrenia or psychosis.
Finkenauer was a lazy and ineffective wishy-washy state legislator who managed to identity politics herself into the Democratic nomination in Iowa's bluest district. She road the 2018 blue wave into Congress, where she was one of the worst conservative freshmen and was immediately repudiated by Iowa voters when she ran for reelection, losing the blue seat to Ashley Hinson 212,088 (51.2%) to 201,347 (48.7%), after spending close to a million dollars more than Hinson-- not counting the $170,746 the EMILY's List SuperPAC spent on her. And, yes, EMILY's List was also her # 1 top campaign contributor for 2020-- $77,489. Abby Finkenauer defines-- as Kyrsten Sinema does-- what EMILY's List, once a great organization, has turned itself into.
Finkenauer, of course, has no policy positions on her campaign site, just lots of identity politics platitudes that mean nothing at all, the same kind of bullshit Sinema ran on. This is exactly what EMILY's List and Schumer love to see on campaign websites instead of policy:
Abby ran for Congress, becoming the youngest woman to flip a congressional seat from red to blue and became one of the first women to represent Iowa in the House of Representatives. On her first day on the job, Abby walked into her congressional office with her dad’s old sweatshirt under her arm-- a sweatshirt peppered with burn holes from his days as a union pipefitter-welder. She brought it with her to always remind her why she was there: to fight for the people of Iowa.
Abby is the youngest woman ever to pass a bill in the House of Representatives-- a bipartisan bill focused on supporting small businesses. In Congress she built a reputation as someone who would work with anyone in either party to get things done, including funding the Children’s Health Insurance Program, strengthening Iowa’s flood prevention infrastructure and securing needed resources for our rural communities.
A lifelong Iowan who chose to stay in Iowa even while watching so many of the friends she grew up with move out of state, Abby and her husband Daniel were married in August 2020 in their backyard in Cedar Rapids, where they continue to reside.
Chuck Grassley would have to drop dead during the last week of the campaign for Finkenauer to be elected to the Senate. If his time has come, let's pray it isn't until after the election. No one-- other than EMILY's List and Chuck Schumer-- wants to see another Kyrsten Sinema in the Senate. If you're looking for an alternative to conservatives like Grassley and Finkenauer, check out Glenn Hurst, chairman of the Iowa Democratic Party rural caucus. You can contribute to Hurst's campaign here.