February 24, 2017

Fearful Senate Democrats Refuse To Even Face Their Voters

Vulnerable Senate Democrats had a week-long recess. Yet instead of taking the time to hold town hall meetings with voters, the ten Senators from Trump states instead avoid their voters at all costs. This morning, the Associated Press produced a major new report that goes into great detail about the lengths Senate Democrats like Claire McCaskill, Joe Manchin, Heidi Heitkamp, and Jon Tester are going to avoid voters:

“Some Democrats prefer to connect with constituents over the telephone or social media. Others are meeting voters in controlled environments with limited opportunities to ask questions. But few of the 10 Democratic senators facing re-election next year in states carried by Trump have scheduled in-person town hall meetings during this week’s congressional recess.”

Senator Claire McCaskill (D-MO) had the opportunity to meet with Kansas City Indivisible, but sent her staff instead. McCaskill’s avoidance tactics led the leader of the group to blast the endangered Senator for being “afraid” of her own state’s voters:

“‘Seems to me that all these members of Congress are afraid to face their constituents,’ said Hillary Shields, a volunteer organizer with the Kansas City group.”

Senator Joe Manchin’s disappearing act also engendered angered from his constituents, with many saying that he’s been hard to find during this recess week. Manchin’s lack of a town hall led West Virginia voters to protest outside one of his state offices:

“Manchin’s office reported an equally busy schedule, but his constituents said he’s been hard to find this week. They’ve scheduled a protest outside the Democratic senator’s Charleston office on Friday to demand more access, according to Cathy Kunkel, an energy consultant who helped plan the protest. ‘Here we are, and we’d like a town hall meeting,’ Kunkel said. ‘His constituents have a lot of questions. This is the first recess of the new Congress in the Trump administration.'”

The list of excuses Senate Democrats gave for not having a town hall were as long as they were absurd. Senator Bob Casey (D-PA) promised one at a later date, while Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH) seemed to think emailing “’surveys out to constituents’ to gauge their priorities” was analogous to meeting voters face to face.

Eventually these Senate Democrats will have to face the voters. Yet in avoiding their constituents now, they’ve clearly telegraphed how nervous the group is about defending their record of obstruction and liberalism.