Should Kansas liberals vote for Brent Welder or Sharice Davids? | The Tylt
The Democratic primary in Kansas's 3rd Congressional District drew national attention after Sen. Bernie Sanders and his protégé Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez dropped in to campaign for Brent Welder, a labor lawyer who worked on Sanders’ presidential campaign. Welder argues he's the true progressive in the race, but critics say liberals need to support Sharice Davids, who would be the first Native American woman and LGBT woman of color ever elected to Congress. What do you think? 🗳️
Should Kansas liberals vote for Brent Welder or Sharice Davids?
The Welder-Davids contest encapsulates a larger argument on the left about just who is “progressive” and who is “establishment." Welders supporters say he campaigned strongly for Sen. Bernie Sanders; supports Medicare For All and a $15 minimum wage; and has received the endorsement of Justice Democrats, Our Revolution, and of course, Sanders himself.
He promised to forgo money from corporate political action committees and repeatedly railed against the country’s “rigged economy” like Sanders did on the presidential campaign trail.“I think only a populist candidate can win this district for the Democratic Party,” Welder said in a phone call.
But Davids' supporters point out that she is a native Kansan, whereas Welder moved to Kansas from St. Louis just last year, prompting some carpetbagger accusations. Supporters argue Davids' credentials are as strong as Welder's, and the truly progressive choice would be to elect more women of color and LGBT people to Congress.
Many liberals were unhappy that Sanders and Ocasio-Cortez were seemingly working to block the first indigenous woman who would ever be elected to Congress. Does representation really matter to progressives?
As a gay woman in Kansas whose issues Bernie has dismissed as “identity politics,” I see this as a double-down for straight white men in a state which needs, and is ready for, more diverse representation. Kansas desperately needs the new perspectives and energy.
But Welders say this race isn't about quotas or identity politics: it's about the issues, and about offering real economic justice to working people. That's why he's proposing a $15 minimum wage, free college, and refusing all corporate donations. Davids' status as an indigenous LGBT woman shouldn't matter.
Tone deaf and still not getting it donuts? It's about ISSUES! Issues and ONLY issues!— Bumble 4 Bernie🌹🌻 (@LeftwardSwing) July 15, 2018
The website of Sharice Davis https://t.co/DXrK58u9Nt does NOT mention Medicare For All, a living wage or free college.
The website of Brent Welder https://t.co/6UAwDFZS0Z DOES! 🌹🌹🌹🌹 pic.twitter.com/FLQJGfaJYE
What a ridiculous proposition. @BrentWelder has been in race longer, raised more small dollar donations (& more money overall), has more volunteers & leads GOP incumbent by 7 points. So why isn’t she trying to “take out” a Democrat? Establishment does not equal more Democratic. https://t.co/58FjrzgXhp— Cenk Uygur (@cenkuygur) July 21, 2018
But others argue that electing a member of both the indigenous and LGBT community actually matters a lot. It's about representation.
Nothing against Brent, but part of being progressive is knowing when to make space & elevate marginalised voices, undo structural sexism+racism.— Dr Jehan Kanga 🌈 (@jehankanga) July 21, 2018
If I were running, and a fierce First Nations WOC candidate joined the field, I'd drop out+campaign for her. Power to @ShariceDavids.
Sanders and Ocasio-Cortez had the option of letting Kansas Democrats select their own candidate for the primary and supporting that person. To travel to Kansas and hold rallies for a white male, who was a Sanders' political organizer, and potentially block the election of a native Kansan does not sit well with many.
Really? So you're going to a state to interfere in a primary to elevate a typical white guy and a carpetbagger against a progressive, native american women who represents the future of the Dem party.— Mieke S. Vote Blue! (@SchMieke) July 18, 2018
Seriously: stay home and mind your own goddamn business.
Is their choice really about progressivism—or payback?
Serious question for @Ocasio2018 and @BernieSanders: what makes @BrentWelder more progressive than @sharicedavids? Other than the fact that Welder was a delegate for Bernie, name one thing that makes him a better choice than Davids.— Trevor is a Proud Establishment Democrat (@TPVTrevor) July 21, 2018
I'll wait. pic.twitter.com/Gn3qhaXNwL
Many on the far left say Davids is a centrist corporate Democrat, whereas Welder is about shifting the paradigm away from corporate money in politics. We can't have true reform unless we achieve that goal.
Sharice Davids takes corporate money.— 🌹Stephen Gies C-137 (@gies_stephen) July 21, 2018
Davids supporters say accusing her of being a corporate lackey is both laughable and disgraceful. What her opponents described as a corporate PAC donation is funding she's received from Emily's List, an organization that helps elect pro-choice women Democrats.
I keep seeing about Sharice Davids that she "took PAC money"...when you dig a little deeper, they are talking about fucking Emily's List! These idiots are literally using Emily's List candidates against them as being some corporate owned shill.— Treason Season (@joshlyman16) July 22, 2018
Justice Dems is a PAC, for God's sake. Didn't 2016 prove that purity politics will get us nowhere?
Justice Dems is a PAC that had only two board members for several months. One of those two was Ocasio-Cortez. 👇🏼 The other, Saikat Chakrabarti, was also JD's ExecDir AND the sole owner of the "consulting" Brand New Campaign LLC that received $605K from Justice Dems in 2017. pic.twitter.com/QnBeNlLgJo— Old Lady Dem (@oldladydem) July 22, 2018
Davids worked as a lawyer on South Dakota's Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, the poorest county in America. Her supporters resent that work being characterized as "corporate" by her political opponents.
When you’re creating policy that affects everyone, it’s necessary that everyone has a say in that discussion. Living and working on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota, I saw first-hand the disconnect that exists when people legislating regulations have no concept of how those regulations affect people on the ground. Working in the highest levels of our federal government as a White House Fellow under President Barack Obama, I quickly saw that my voice was needed at the table.