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Can This Left-Wing Populist Blow Up the 2020 Election?

“But make no mistake about it [Donald Trump]. You’re going to know my name.”

So said State Senator Richard Ojeda in his concession speech [1] after being defeated in his House bid in West Virginia’s 3rd Congressional District. Ojeda lost the open seat to Republican Carol Miller by a 13 percent margin ­in what on its face wasn’t a particularly noteworthy race. But in context, he had reason to feel triumphant in defeat. In 2016, Donald Trump had carried the district by 49 percent. Making up a 36 percent deficit, Ojeda accomplished the largest voter swing in the 2018 midterms.

After he lost, it was expected that he would challenge freshman Republican Senator Shelley Moore Capito in the next cycle. What was unexpected was his declaring for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination. Because Ojeda, a 48-year-old with 36 tattoos and a military-issue buzz cut, does not match a pundit’s sketch of what a national Democratic contender should look like.

Entering the United States Army as a private after high school, Ojeda served for 24 years as a paratrooper, retiring with the rank of major and two Bronze Stars. On one hand, he says he’s been a Democrat since he first registered to vote; on the other, he can’t remember ever voting for a Democrat for president. In 2016, he supported Bernie Sanders in the primaries, and after Hillary won the nomination, he cast his vote for Donald Trump in November.

That same year, he was elected to the West Virginia State Senate, the only election he’s ever won. One could say he earned it the hard way: at a barbecue campaign event just before his primary in May 2016, he was beaten unconscious by another man wearing a steel-toed boot and brass knuckles. Ojeda told reporters at the time [2] that he believed the attack was politically motivated because he was “questioning leaders” and publicly calling out entrenched nepotism in the government system.

During his first three months in office, he shepherded a bill to legalize medical marijuana to the governor’s desk, accomplishing one of his key goals through sheer willpower. And as a freshman senator in a minority party, he gained recognition by becoming one of the primary cheerleaders of a statewide teachers’ strike earlier this year. The strike ended with a 5 percent pay raise for teachers and Ojeda becoming a folk hero to West Virginia’s largest unionized workforce.

Ojeda’s profile went national during his congressional campaign with a series of hard-talking [3] ads in which he directly addressed the camera and accused [4] his opponent of financially benefiting from the opioid crisis.

Ojeda’s voting record isn’t the only thing out of step with the national Democratic establishment. In a party whose face is increasingly non-white and female, a white male military vet from West Virginia doesn’t scream “inclusion.” Ojeda’s paternal grandfather was actually an illegal immigrant from Mexico, back when the family name was pronounced “O-Hayda” (long since Americanized, the current pronunciation is “O-Jeddah,” with the candidate placing a strong emphasis on the “J”). President Trump caused controversy during a campaign rally when he used the traditional Spanish pronunciation and called Ojeda a “stone cold crazy wacko.”

change_me

On policy, Ojeda is thoroughly progressive and has tilted leftward since his presidential announcement. While he previously took a more nuanced view on abortion, he has come out strongly [5] for repealing both the Hyde Amendment and the Helms Amendment, as well as quadrupling Planned Parenthood’s funding.

His energy views have also shifted. Previously campaigning on the message “I do not believe coal is dead” and praising the Trump administration’s overhaul of Obama-era regulations, he’s since attempted to make himself more palatable to liberal environmentalists. Trying to find a middle ground, Ojeda has said he agrees with the need to promote green energy and combat climate change “while also making sure that American families who depend on industries like coal can still feed their families.” He’s continued to say that coal (specifically West Virginian coal) will always play a small part in the discussion due to its use in steel production.

He favors a single-payer, Medicare-for-all health care system with an explicit ban on “Cadillac plans” for the wealthy and well connected.

He supports DACA and a quickened pathway to citizenship for illegal immigrants already in the country. He opposes Trump’s transgender military ban and has defended [6] Colin Kaepernick (while making clear that he always stands for the national anthem). Expanding off of one of his key legislative accomplishments, Ojeda advocates for the full decriminalization of marijuana, which he thinks will not only go a long way towards solving prison overpopulation, but also strike at the heart of Big Pharma.

Ojeda supports firearm background checks and calls the NRA “absolute garbage” but describes himself as a believer in the Second Amendment and specifically defends the AR-15.

His foreign policy, unfortunately, is underwhelming. Though he criticized Saudi Arabia in a recent series of tweets [7], including its connections to the 9/11 terrorist attacks, the war on Yemen, and the murder of Jamal Khashoggi, most of his messaging has been the usual bromides about supporting a “strong military” and “keeping America safe.” He hasn’t emphasized his opinions on either the benefits or negatives of foreign intervention.

For his campaign launch, Ojeda instead chose a tripartite attack on elitism, corruption, and cronyism. As his website [8] says:

We ask our men and women in uniform to put their lives on the line. Many make the ultimate sacrifice. They do so for modest salaries and no chance at great wealth, out of love of country. But our elected representatives and our president, they get rich feeding at the trough of public service. Year after year congressmen making $175,000 per year suddenly are worth millions of dollars. And when they leave public service, then the cashing in really begins. Most of them have no idea what it’s like to try to put food on the table or tell their kids that they can’t afford college. They don’t use the same healthcare as us, they send their kids to private schools, they have their own security.

Ojeda’s plan would force every member of Congress, the president and vice president, and all appointed Cabinet members to cede all net wealth over a million dollars to charities of their choosing (“a real charity, not some family foundation run by their kids”). Retirees from office would collect a $130,000 pension, with a combined ceiling of $250,000 for privately acquired income (“If you really want to sell your country out to Big Pharma, all you can get in return for your soul is $120,000”). And returning to his ban on “Cadillac plans,” all federal officials would be mandated to have the same health care packages as average Americans.

It wasn’t long after his 2016 vote that Ojeda turned on Trump, laying into him for false promises and a faux regard for the working class. His favorite ongoing nickname is “President Bone Spurs,” mocking Trump’s medical deferment during the Vietnam War.

The irony is that Ojeda wants to bring to the Democratic Party the mirror image of what Trump brought to the Republicans: left-wing populism. What Ojeda represents is not racial identity politics or neoliberal centrism or ivory tower progressivism; it’s a class-based brand of labor politics sprung right out of America’s heartland.

Centered on the working poor, Ojeda’s platform is built on unions, well-funded social services, and anti-elitism. This potent mix is more than just cooked up #Resistance mantra: it contains ideas of real depth that have a long history in the American psyche. This includes a hostility to big business, and while Ojeda isn’t necessarily contemptuous of big government, he is at least against big managers. His “Service Requires Sacrifice Mission” is the Democratic answer to “Drain the Swamp.” His newly rediscovered attitudes on abortion and environmentalism have been stapled onto a revving engine of anti-special interest populism.

Much of this platform is obviously inspired by Bernie Sanders’ insurgent 2016 campaign. But unlike Sanders, Ojeda doesn’t have a multi-million-dollar net worth or multiple homes, and thus cannot be called a hypocrite or inauthentic.

The logic behind Ojeda’s candidacy is that his left-wing populism will swing millions of middle American working-class Trump voters (like himself) back to the Democratic Party, just as he almost did in West Virginia 3rd. His is a message that will find resonance in places like Iowa and New Hampshire, states he’s never set foot in.

What Ojeda doesn’t have is money, name recognition, or political experience in what is set to be one of the most crowded presidential primaries in living memory. Between Kamala Harris’s coalition of the aggrieved, Elizabeth Warren’s alliance of eggheads, and Joe Biden’s amalgam of elder party retirees, is there room for a blunt-talking soldier campaigning against cronyism? Maybe. His odds are higher than those of media darlings Cory Booker and Julian Castro.

If the improbable does happen and Ojeda emerges from this metaphorical fourth tour of combat duty victorious, 2020 would become a bloodsport. We’d see two ideological ends of the populist wave crashing against each other. It would alter the country permanently.

As Ojeda himself would say [9], “It’s time to knuckle up.”

Hunter DeRensis is an editorial assistant at The American Conservative and a student at George Mason University. Follow him on Twitter @HunterDeRensis [10].

48 Comments (Open | Close)

48 Comments To "Can This Left-Wing Populist Blow Up the 2020 Election?"

#1 Comment By Job Done! On December 3, 2018 @ 11:24 pm

“We’d see two ideological ends of the populist wave crashing against each other. “

The Trump people (those that remain) aren’t a “populist wave”. They are fans of a TV show. The “populist wave” part ended after the first five or ten times he openly betrayed the people who voted for him – i.e. running errands for Wall Street and foreign countries instead of “America First”.

Trump’s attitude seems to be that we should shut up, be happy with the two Supreme Court justices, and let him get on with the important business of paying off campaign donors and making his family and friends even richer for the next two years.

#2 Comment By Andy On December 4, 2018 @ 1:41 am

His TriCare health care plan as retired military is Cadillac to the extreme, Let’s see how consistent he will be when all Federal employees will lose their health care plans under his regime.

The Left’s hypocracy is amazing to watch.

#3 Comment By cka2nd On December 4, 2018 @ 1:50 am

“This potent mix is more than just cooked up #Resistance mantra: it contains ideas of real depth that have a long history in the American psyche.”

This is an important point, but I would also note that some of the policy proposals coming out of left populism have a long history in American life, from unions to free or low-cost public higher education.

“This includes a hostility to big business, and while Ojeda isn’t necessarily contemptuous of big government, he is at least against big managers.”

Your mention of “big managers” reminds me of the point that has been made by some pollsters that working class folk seem to have more hostility towards the managerial class – liberal, public-minded though they may be – than they have towards the ruling class because they actually have regular contact with the managerial class, and don’t appreciate the arrogance and dismissal and self-dealing they get from these college-educated paladins.

At least some of the YouTubers HATE this guy, the ones who think Kamala Harris is OF COURSE a full-blown progressive, corporate-friendly and prosecutorial record be damned.

#4 Comment By Douglas K. On December 4, 2018 @ 1:53 am

“Can This Left-Wing Populist Blow Up the 2020 Election?”

No.

“after Hillary won the nomination, he cast his vote for Donald Trump in November.”

He’s DOA in the Democratic primary based on that fact alone.

#5 Comment By Jonathan Lester On December 4, 2018 @ 2:32 am

I’d usually advise against a presidential run by someone unlikely to carry their own state, but maybe you’re right about the “mirror image” thing, in that this guy is mostly functional but kind of a nut. “Sauce for the goose,” as Spock said to Saavic upon entering the Mutara nebula; “the odds will be even.”

#6 Comment By Jeremy Buxton On December 4, 2018 @ 4:43 am

Anyone who wants to confiscate private wealth is no better than a thief.

#7 Comment By EliteCommInc. On December 4, 2018 @ 7:58 am

” Ojeda’s paternal grandfather was actually an illegal immigrant from Mexico, back when the family name was pronounced “O-Hayda” (long since Americanized, the current pronunciation is “O-Jeddah,” with the candidate placing a strong emphasis on the “J”).”

End of discussion and should be the end of consideration. He is not a citizen of the US. And I care not how many combat medals he has earned or how successful his military career.

And while my position is neither popular or at first appearance naive and mean spirited, the rules as I have been informed matter. Unless his parents became naturalized citizens he is not eligible to be in the country, muchless someone running for any official office held as a US citizen.

The notion of confiscating private enterprises is exactly what frustrated most presidents during the 1950’s — forward. That tactic used largely against colonial occupations in Latin America and Africa had a forward thrust that threatened US owned entities, primarily in South America. In many cases if not most the impact of those seizures (appropriations) were failures for the businesses and the country itself. It did nothing to change the class structure, but in my view merely shifted who moved up. While the US more than likely over reacted to the threats, the threats of government appropriation were real. Needless to say many foreign born or children of legal and illegal immigrants tend support large government action, such as the seizure of private property.

Immigration laxity has a negative impact on US identity and those mechanisms that best promote the society we have had.

My comments in no manner ignore the ills that plague the country.

#8 Comment By EliteCommInc. On December 4, 2018 @ 7:59 am

In west Virginia of all places.

US in process of being turned upside down.

#9 Comment By Chris in Appalachia On December 4, 2018 @ 8:37 am

I was going to vote for this guy in 2018, but the Democrat party has become so opposed to white, heterosexual Christian families like mine that I couldn’t do it. Didn’t vote against him, just stayed home. Maybe he hasn’t got the memo that W.Va. is a deep red state now. If he runs an an independent it might help his chances. But I can see that the national Democrat party is already trying to corrupt him and tame his outsider instincts, just like the the Repubs did to Trump. Discouraging.

#10 Comment By James On December 4, 2018 @ 8:56 am

Are you kidding me? If you take confused millennials that aren’t old enough to even know what they believe yet out of the equation, on mainly ALL you have left are white women on the more privileged side promoting the DNC with their imagined slights they’vd never been within a thousand miles of, personally.

I’m starting to think that journalists, of any stripe, simply do not leave their homes or offices anymore.

#11 Comment By bkh On December 4, 2018 @ 9:12 am

2020 will continue to be the Reprobate party versus the Demoncrat party run for the Presidency show. Unless you drink the media’s Kook-aid, be prepared to be underwhelmed. The time is up for America as a nation. The garden of sin which has been sown by both sides over the years is now reaping the death wages as promised. Nine mini-dictators can’t rule the coming judgement unconstitutional.

#12 Comment By TomG On December 4, 2018 @ 9:35 am

Well, he accomplished more in his brief time in the statehouse than Beto did in 6 years in congress. Bernie-crats may well look past his Trump vote having gagged themselves at the notion of voting for HRC. I’m glad to see he’s willing to mix it up with the pool of pathetic Dem candidates. He might even make it interesting!

#13 Comment By JeffK On December 4, 2018 @ 9:40 am

@Jeremy Buxton says:
December 4, 2018 at 4:43 am

“Anyone who wants to confiscate private wealth is no better than a thief.”

An economic system that consistently funnels most economic rewards to wealthy individuals will eventually fail.

Many that voted for Obama didn’t get what they wanted. They tried Trump next. He is failing to deliver, specifically on healthcare. What comes next is to be determined, but the 2018 blue wave may be an indicator.

#14 Comment By mrscracker On December 4, 2018 @ 9:40 am

“His is a message that will find resonance in places like Iowa and New Hampshire, states he’s never set foot in. ”

******************

Praise God his message didn’t resonate in West VA. That says something for WV voters & restores my faith in the Mt. State.

#15 Comment By C. L. H. Daniels On December 4, 2018 @ 9:58 am

He’s DOA in the Democratic primary based on that fact alone.

You’re certainly right with respect to big city, educated liberals and progressive activists, who are extremely important Democratic constituencies, however I think he has a shot.

1) The 2020 field promises to be large, which will fragment the vote. The aforementioned constituencies are highly likely to split their votes between candidates such as Kamala Harris, Elizabeth Warren, Joe Biden and Cory Booker. There are shades of the 2016 Republican primary here. No one thought Trump could possibly win either, and if he’d been one on one with almost any of the other candidates the whole time I’m not sure he would have.

2) This guy will be (is?) a rock star with the most forgotten segment of the Democratic coalition – the white working class. I can see him easily consolidating this constituency behind him when his competition consists mainly of erudite, wealthy Senators hailing from the privileged classes. These are people who in many cases also voted from Trump in 2016 (meaning they’re hardly going to hold that vote against him), they give him the inside track on winning Iowa, and they will also significantly benefit him in New Hampshire. Biden is an X-factor with this constituency, but I think Ojeda is a more natural fit for them if he can get his name out there.

3) Working class minority voters will be the determining factor. If they consolidate behind someone like Biden or Harris, that candidate will likely win the nomination. If they split their votes the way I expect activists and limousine liberals to (or for that matter decide to swing for Ojeda – unlikely but not impossible), then all bets are off.

4) I’m a Democrat. I voted for Sanders, then Trump. If Sanders isn’t in it, this guy will almost certainly get my vote. That’s one vote in a state he doesn’t have a chance in hell at winning, granted, but there’s definitely other Democrats out there who are like me.

#16 Comment By Chris Mallory On December 4, 2018 @ 11:05 am

“Anyone who wants to confiscate private wealth is no better than a thief.”

This guy is going at it the wrong way.

Better to limit all elected and appointed government employees to a yearly salary of 52 40 hour weeks at minimum wage. Let them go back home during recesses and sell used cars.

No reason why any elected or appointed government employee should draw a pension. Has there been a recent president who didn’t leave office to a multi million dollar book deal?

Any former government employee who goes into lobbying should pay a 150% surcharge on any income from said lobbying, the same would apply to members of the military who go to work for defense contractors.

#17 Comment By Mark Thomason On December 4, 2018 @ 11:17 am

Someone like this is likely to seize the imagination of voters in the next election, or the next after it. It’s coming.

#18 Comment By Kent On December 4, 2018 @ 12:04 pm

He can’t beat Bernie, but he can steal votes from him. It will be a big pile of folks running on the Dem ticket. That will split the votes up in a big way, and certainly give Bernie the opportunity to pull a Trump. Ojeda can certainly hurt Bernie and hand the nomination over to one of the many Hillary-lites.

Ojeda’s place is as a big public supporter of Bernie in exchange for a VP slot.

There really aren’t any differences between right and left populism. They both want the same things: decent paying jobs, a chance for their children, fixing social security and the medical system.

Their might be some arguments about the right way to solve these problems, but I think that would be a refreshing discussion.

#19 Comment By Fred Bowman On December 4, 2018 @ 12:10 pm

Personally I think Ojeda is a “wack job” politican running a “cult of personality” ala Donald Trump. But then again that’s what passes for politics in today’s #MeToo world.

#20 Comment By KD On December 4, 2018 @ 12:17 pm

He’d be great if you could win the Democratic primary without the Black or the Latino or the Metrosexual vote. (Just look at Bernie).

But where does he stand on trans bathrooms or diversity or any of those other issues of social justice we have to resolve before we can start helping working people again?

He needs to either run as a Republican or an Independent to stand a chance.

#21 Comment By MM On December 4, 2018 @ 12:30 pm

JK: “What comes next is to be determined, but the 2018 blue wave may be an indicator.”

Winning back the House of Representatives by less than 100,000 votes out of 110 million cast is no wave.

#22 Comment By Good Reason On December 4, 2018 @ 1:05 pm

“This guy will be (is?) a rock star with the most forgotten segment of the Democratic coalition – the white working class.”

Not with wanting to repeal the Hyde Amendment and quadruple PP’s funding. And the article doesn’t even mention his stance on transgender students accessing restroom and locker rooms in schools. (What IS his stance?)

#23 Comment By Frank D On December 4, 2018 @ 1:56 pm

The complete and total ignorance of some folks with regards to the Federal Employee Health Benefits program is astonishing. And if you want one of those cushy Tri-care “Cadillac” policies then sign over your life for nine years of service to your country and hope you don’t get killed or maimed while doing it. If you are not willing to do that then quit complaining about those that have.

#24 Comment By Mark O On December 4, 2018 @ 2:52 pm

This is all well and good, but he needs to adopt Cesar Chavez/Barbara Jordan/early Bernie Sanders rhetoric on immigration, not the Koch Brothers/Wall Street Journal rhetoric embraced by the rest of the Democratic Party.

#25 Comment By Nathan Redshield On December 4, 2018 @ 3:15 pm

Trump might take this guy on as his Veep conceivably. Of course we must look at his positions, etc.–the Devil is in the details, etc.

#26 Comment By EliteCommInc. On December 4, 2018 @ 4:45 pm

“An economic system that consistently funnels most economic rewards to wealthy individuals will eventually fail.”

That is an issue. And the resolution in part is dealing with the very real insider and conflict of interest game going between financiers, the and other business class entities.

Start by advancing the case that no one., no one in elected or politically appointed office should be permitted to own, trade, sell, buy stocks and bonds while in office and for five years after office. They are barred from companies linked directly or indirectly to the MIC or other private entities doing business with the government.

No contributions beyond 100 dollars from any one for campaign finance. If money of free speech — then free speech needs to be on q fair footing among all voters, not merely the richest.

As for publicity, elected office in public service, non-profit and public service announcements should be the fair of the day.

That does not require appropriating private property, but merely enforcing “conflict of interest” rules/expectations.

This is an old and valid complaint and the solution is very clear. We bestow honor on public servants because they serve as a service, which has traditionally they have forgone financial gain for the benefit of the people they represent — as

a

public service.

#27 Comment By sally On December 4, 2018 @ 5:26 pm

This guy will easily beat Trump if he gets the nomination, but getting the nomination will be the more difficult task ahead. The idea that he’s dead in the water for Dems is incorrect, Sanders would have won the 2016 nomination so he’s in the mix for 2020.

‘voting for trump in 2016’ wont be too much of an issue, balancing his stance on energy/climate right is more of an issue though, thats what he needs to get right

Good feature, lets have one on Andrew Yang, another interesting candidate!

#28 Comment By Thrice A Viking On December 4, 2018 @ 6:42 pm

I think C.L.H. Daniels about the likely crowded field making it easier for someone to get the nomination without a majority of the vote. (Hope I’m not misinterpreting you, C.L.H.) That’s why I think it’s high time for both major parties to adopt multiple voting. That is, you could give your #1 pick, your #2 choice, etc., until, say, just over half the candidates were included on your ballot. I’d also like the votes of independents and even those of the other big party to count, albeit at a reduced value to those registered with the party holding the primary. I think that would go some way to reduce the chasm between the parties.

MM, are you sure that the Democrats’ margin was that small? I’d heard differently.

#29 Comment By Archon On December 4, 2018 @ 7:03 pm

If Elizabeth Warren runs shes going to get hammered by other primary opponents for her support of Ronald Reagan, and that was over 30 years ago. So forget winning the primary this guy would literally get booed off the Democratic primary stage admitting he voted for Trump.

#30 Comment By Thrice A Viking On December 4, 2018 @ 7:45 pm

Frank D, are you sure that military service is what Ojeda is referring to in his Cadillac comment?

#31 Comment By EarlyBird On December 4, 2018 @ 7:49 pm

I like this guy. I don’t like most of the policies described here, but I like this guy.

I like that he’s not a typical squishy neo-liberal DNC bot, a bi-coastal, let-them-eat-cake but gin up the identity politics lefty oligarch pretending to be for the Little Guy.

He’s a breath of fresh air on the left. He might have some wrong ideas, but he seems to be coming from the right place. We need more of that.

#32 Comment By A. Farmer On December 4, 2018 @ 10:31 pm

Why is this worthy of a post? You might as well run an article on that guy from Vermont a few years ago, Vermin Supreme, who wears the rubber boot on his head.

First, he’s a state senator. Most state senators got their position through the political genius of being the beloved local high school football coach or because they were the state rep beforehand. So, let’s not put him in some Machiavellian league here. And, not only is he a state senator, but a state senator from a state that I’m not sure most Americans even know exists.

Second, interpreting his 13-point loss like it’s some major accomplishment lacks any insight into electoral politics. Trump won by that margin because Hillary Clinton was the antithesis of most West Virginians (in both parties) and presidential votes don’t necessarily translate to local politics. So, a populist military vet who puts a “D” after his name on the ballot in a traditionally (locally) Democrat state losing by 13-points to a nearly 70-year old woman who moved there from Ohio and is a career politician whose father was congressman, in a completely down year for Republicans, is a Roman Triumph for Carol Miller, or a throughly embarrassing showing for Ojeda.

Ojeda is a Kardashian. A YouTube video of the week. A guy who gets his local CBS affiliate’s investigative team to do a story on him when his roofing contractor overcharges him.

Please stop covering people who don’t deserve our time.

#33 Comment By EliteComminc. On December 5, 2018 @ 6:25 am

“Please stop covering people who don’t deserve our time.”

I don’t think the article is about him. It’s about a shift in polity. Ten years ago, five years ago, this election, Texas was considered a red state. That’s right, congressional elections are local, one has to have a local ground game. And that ground in many parts of the country is shifting.

#34 Comment By EliteComminc. On December 5, 2018 @ 6:29 am

the GOP and conservatives have relinquished the field of education to the very people that this foreigner would appeal to, if not him then someone akin to his point of view.

Millions of future voters being told that very views the gentleman espouses.

#35 Comment By Ken T On December 5, 2018 @ 9:02 am

EliteComminc:
Start by advancing the case that no one., no one in elected or politically appointed office should be permitted to own, trade, sell, buy stocks and bonds while in office and for five years after office. They are barred from companies linked directly or indirectly to the MIC or other private entities doing business with the government.

No contributions beyond 100 dollars from any one for campaign finance. If money of free speech — then free speech needs to be on q fair footing among all voters, not merely the richest.

May I say you’re sounding downright liberal here. Congratulations. You will find millions of us over here on the Left who feel the same way. And you might take notice to how many Democratic candidates around the country refused to take any corporate or superPAC money, relying solely on individual donations. Quite a few of whom won.

#36 Comment By Ken T On December 5, 2018 @ 9:12 am

the current pronunciation is “O-Jeddah,” with the candidate placing a strong emphasis on the “J”

Anyone else here familiar with the British comedy “Keeping Up Appearances”? When Mrs. Bucket insists that her name should be pronounced “Bouquet” it is very funny. For a supposedly serious politician to do the same thing is just pathetic. Suppose someone with a name like, say, “Jesus Martinez” came around insisting that his name should be pronounced like the guy in the Bible, how many of you would fall for it?

#37 Comment By Collin On December 5, 2018 @ 9:34 am

EliteCommInc,

Ojeda’s paternal grandfather was actually an illegal immigrant from Mexico, back when the family name was pronounced “O-Hayda” (long since Americanized, the current pronunciation is “O-Jeddah,” with the candidate placing a strong emphasis on the “J”).”

Actually this makes his story better for most Democrats that his grandfather was Immigrant and he appears to be some minority background! Maybe not in the Rust Belt but here in the SW border that is big! Remember Obama father was legal but born in Africa. Also with a different background he could state his background is unique.

1) Like Beto, losing the last election creates some barriers to nomination of President. It is not like they don’t have future but President nomination seems a couple steps too high.

2) Ds is extremely wide open with Ds thinking of needing new blood but no obvious candidate. The biggest names are over 70 and most polls are not that strong (Biden, Warren & Sanders) and the other end (Harris, Ojeda, O’Rourke) are too inexperienced. There is growing Klobuchar support but she is not strongest campaigner.

3) Military background and union background are helpful here. Don’t forget a big portion of D Midterm 2018 was through the PTA members and teacher union.

4) Actually the biggest problem is the support of fossil fuel energy. I am not as much an environmentalist but that could be a problem.

#38 Comment By mrscracker On December 5, 2018 @ 10:10 am

Ken T says:

“For a supposedly serious politician to do the same thing is just pathetic. Suppose someone with a name like, say, “Jesus Martinez” came around insisting that his name should be pronounced like the guy in the Bible, how many of you would fall for it?”

***************

Like Mrs. Bucket in “Keeping Up Appearances”, my grandma was also named Hyacinth. I think it’s a lovely name & should be kept in the family but I believe that tv show is the reason that not one of my 7 granddaughters has inherited that name.
🙂

In the South, Martinez is often pronounced “Mar-ton-ez” rather than “Marteen-ez”. Any number of Spanish surnames here have been Americanized. Garrido became Gary. Viatorro became Viator. Manuel is pronounced: “Man-you-el” instead of “Mon-whell” Etc, etc.
I don’t think it’s pathetic, it just illustrates how cultures meld over time. And it’s something not unique to America or even West VA.

#39 Comment By MM On December 5, 2018 @ 12:43 pm

Thrice: “Are you sure that the Democrats’ margin was that small? I’d heard differently.”

You shouldn’t listen to what others say, do the math yourself. The Democrats have a majority in the House of between 16 and 18 seats, a couple of races are still too close to call. I checked every district that flipped, and found 18 seats with combined Democratic margin of about 99,000 votes.

And that’s it. Not a very big win considering the 2018 midterms had record turnout, a 50-year high.

I’m not disparaging the results, a win is still a win. But others around here at TAC have disparaged Trump’s electoral win, which they boil down to 77,000 votes in 3 blue states. The shoe’s now on the other foot, and I felt obligated to point that out…

#40 Comment By John Gruskos On December 5, 2018 @ 1:31 pm

Transgenderism and amnesty for illegal immigrants isn’t “class-based brand of labor politics sprung right out of America’s heartland”.

Cultural degeneracy and cheap labor are the elite’s most cherished objectives.

#41 Comment By Pragmatic On December 6, 2018 @ 12:23 am

Guy’s a socialist. And – like Bernie – should not be allowed to speak in public – much less hold public office. Yes – I contradict the open leftism espoused here on The American “Conservative.” You people should really take a cue from the Weekly Standard BEFORE it’s too late.

#42 Comment By mrscracker On December 6, 2018 @ 10:18 am

I just remembered, we also knew someone named Jimenez, but here pronounced “Gym-un-ez.” Not “Hee-men-ez.”
So I guess that may be common for Spanish names in the South that begin with a “J”.
I’d never support Mr. Ojeda because of his views, but I think he should get a break regarding the pronunciation of his last name.

#43 Comment By mrscracker On December 6, 2018 @ 11:44 am

Pragmatic says:

“Yes – I contradict the open leftism espoused here on The American “Conservative.” You people should really take a cue from the Weekly Standard BEFORE it’s too late.”
****************

I enjoy some of the articles in TAC & appreciate that the comment box conversations are generally civil, but I hear you.

I’m fine reading articles that aren’t actually conservative. I like to know about different viewpoints, but I kind of scratch my head when I see frequent references on TAC to NPR, PBS, Vanity Fair, NYT, WashPost, The Atlantic, etc, etc…
I get a populist/libertarian vibe from TAC but less often a traditionally conservative one.

#44 Comment By EliteCommInc. On December 6, 2018 @ 3:04 pm

“Actually this makes his story better for most Democrats that his grandfather was Immigrant and he appears to be some minority background! Maybe not in the Rust Belt but here in the SW border that is big! Remember Obama father was legal but born in Africa. Also with a different background he could state his background is unique.”

I have absolutely no doubt that democrats gobble up such a history. I further have no doubts that many mant so called republicans and conservatives swoon over any hispanic with such a background. There are plenty such in the country. And for everyone of them my position remains the same.

An illegal immigrant simply cannot and should be permitted to run for an office only reserved for citizens as is everything about the US — bought, bled and died for US citizens. When I said I was unmoved about his success, I meant —

I am unmoved. In my view every penny spent on him was better spent on the worst citizen we have. And his starting gate advances make my point – he is a threat to the very identity of the US, including any genuine respect for citizenship or he would have sought citizenship via naturalization.

That millions in West Virginia don’t care, don’t know or are willing to sacrifice citizenship on the alter of who know what is tragic and painful. But it says a good deal about the supposed “law and order” motif stuttered by the same.

I am supremely confident that any US citizen given the same opportunities would just as successful and more —

#45 Comment By EliteCommInc. On December 6, 2018 @ 3:13 pm

“May I say you’re sounding downright liberal here. Congratulations. You will find millions of us over here on the Left who feel the same way.”

There’s nothing liberal about fair play and honest dealings. That is traditional and classical conservative foundational polity. Mistaking an advance for honest dealings is not reflected in your example. Unless every donor is registered and the affiliation known — can be tracked — I am unmoved by the online donation ploy. we can discuss honesty and integrity when the world of academia stops playing fast and loose with biological realities. Stops pretending that the history of women, especially that of white women, in the US no less is the same as that of blacks, when liberals stop redefining human existence as skin tissue or property in order to conveniently kill their fellow human beings in development
(we’ve been there and done that).

We can discuss honesty and integrity when the democratic party starts abiding what constitutes a US citizen.

#46 Comment By EliteCommInc. On December 6, 2018 @ 3:24 pm

“Obama father was legal but born in Africa. Also with a different background he could state his background is unique.”

Because the previous executives mother was a US citizen, he could legally claim citizenship. Good grief, there are millions of US citizens whose parents arrived legally, adhered to the laws of the land —

“americanized” : mexico, belize, ecudaor, venezuala, brazil, panama, argentine, costa rica, bolivia, chile, peru, suriname, uruguay —- canada

american all what they are not
the US

and what the gentleman is not is
a US citizen

#47 Comment By JeffK On December 7, 2018 @ 4:27 pm

@MM says:
December 5, 2018 at 12:43 pm

“Thrice: “Are you sure that the Democrats’ margin was that small? I’d heard differently.””

“You shouldn’t listen to what others say, do the math yourself. The Democrats have a majority in the House of between 16 and 18 seats, a couple of races are still too close to call. I checked every district that flipped, and found 18 seats with combined Democratic margin of about 99,000 votes.”

Be VERY CAREFUL when you read MM’s posts. He selectively picks bits of data to spin up a tale that typically goes against the overall facts.

For example: “The Democrats have a majority in the House of between 16 and 18 seats, a couple of races are still too close to call.”

Reality: The majority is 35 SEATS. The Democrats old 235 seats. The Republicans hold 200 seats. 235 – 200 =s 35. Simple math.

But look at what he does: I checked every district ***that flipped***, and found 18 seats with combined Democratic margin of about 99,000 votes. Go back to his original post: “Winning back the House of Representatives by less than 100,000 votes out of 110 million cast is no wave.”

By leaving out the phrase “every district ***that flipped***” in his original post makes it appear as if, for all votes cast in all house districts, the total for all Democrats is only 100K more that the total for all Republicans. NO MENTION OF FLIPPED SEATS. Convenient.

Why does he not count ALL VOTES for ALL SEATS when he calculates the voting margin? BECAUSE IT DOES NOT FIT HIS NARRATIVE. I was looking for vote totals, but I could not find them. But I remember an article that said MILLIONS more voted Democratic than Republican in 2016. Outright deception, hiding in plain sight.

My advice when reviewing any type of analysis he proposes. READ EVERY WORD VERY CAREFULLY.

Finally, I bet he will tell you that his analysis is similar to what I posted (along with others, and has been noted by many others over the last 24 months) that 77,000 votes in 3 states turned the electoral college to Trump). But I clearly stated this is based upon the electoral college. Straight up. Nothing about flipped states (although those states did in fact flip).

Now I don’t know if he INTENDED to deceive, because I’m not a gypsy fortune teller. But it appears as if he did.

Borrowing from Elmer Fudd, be vewy vewy careful when hunting with MM.

#48 Comment By JeffK On December 10, 2018 @ 8:43 am

I just came across this from The Cook Political Report while I was drinking my coffee. It made me laugh.

“Maybe Trump can squeeze out another Electoral College majority while losing the national popular vote, but the popular-vote advantage of 9.4 million that Democrats had in House races this year dwarfs the 2.9-million edge that Clinton had in 2016. Democrats may find a way to blow this upcoming election, but it would take considerable effort to do so.”

9.4 Million is a heck of a lot more than 100,000. For an economist who specializes in analysis a miss by 98.93% is a pretty big miss. Calculation: (9,400,000-100,000)/9,400,000.

But then I’m wrong because I’m old, biased, and hate America.

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