- - Wednesday, August 8, 2018

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

The mid-term elections are now less than 13 weeks away and the stakes are high. If Democrats retake Congress, they will launch unending investigations with subpoena power, consider articles of impeachment in the first 90 days and shut down President Trump’s legislative agenda for the next two years.

Democrats want this mid-term election to be about the president’s personality and temperament. They desperately want to avoid scrutiny of their own congressional candidates.

But shouldn’t the public understand who these Democratic candidates are, what vision and experience they are offering and whether they are even qualified to serve in Congress?

The season of vetting the Democratic congressional challengers is now upon us.

Let me offer three examples, all from my home state of Texas, where Democrats are aiming to knock off Republican incumbents.

One of the prized Democratic recruits of the 2018 cycle is former NFL player and Obama administration official Colin Allred, who was just endorsed by former President Obama. He is running against House Rules Committee Chairman Pete Sessions in a Dallas district.

This past April, Mr. Allred was interviewed on the “Law for the People” podcast with Eric Cedillo, a Dallas immigration attorney. In that conversation, he bragged about serving as a research assistant for the “really well-known” and “really well-respected” author Ian Haney Lopez, who wrote the 2014 book “Dog Whistle Politics.”

I will save you the time of reading the book, which includes chapters entitled, “The GOP’s Rise as the White Man’s Party;” “What’s the Matter with White Voters? Common-sense Racism;” and “The Wrecking Begins: Reagan.”

Among the more vicious and divisive passages in the book, Mr. Haney Lopez and Mr. Allred argue that whites are racist for living in suburbs: “[W]hite professionals have mainly avoided integration by retreating to private academies, gated suburbs and protected professional worlds. Their ability to flee integration reflects both the resources available to better-off whites as well as the greater sway they exercise over government. As a result, well-off whites have experienced integration only on their own terms-in controlled settings, such as elite colleges and universities, and with only token numbers of non-whites. Beyond these managed interactions with integration, well-off whites remain the most racially isolated group in the United States.”

In another passage, the book argues that, “for many whites, the measure of whether they’ve made it increasingly turns on being able to set the terms with which they associate with minorities.”

Mr. Haney Lopez and Mr. Allred apparently believe it’s racist to live in the suburbs and that whites feel successful only if they can avoid interacting with minorities. Pretty extreme.

As a candidate, Mr. Allred wants citizenship for up to 12 million illegal immigrants and supports the full government takeover of health care known as Medicare for All, which the Mercatus Center just said would cost $32 trillion over 10 years.

In Houston’s 7th congressional district, highly touted Democratic recruit Lizzie Pannill Fletcher hopes to unseat GOP Rep. John Culberson, a senior member of the House Appropriations Committee.

Despite her claims to have spent her career fighting for working people, the AFL-CIO sent a letter to Houston Democrats specifically opposing her due to her past clients. As a trial lawyer, Ms. Fletcher represented the Mistras Group, a company with a long history of violating labor and employment law.

During the time Ms. Fletcher defended the Mistras Group from 2010 to 2015, the company was involved in two legal settlements for allegedly failing to pay timely wages and for having defective wage settlements. The company agreed to settle a class-action suit for $6 million for missed breaks, inaccurate wage statements and failure to pay wages. How many hardworking people were suing? Nearly 5,000.

And in Texas’ 22nd district in suburban Houston, Republican Rep. Pete Olson is being challenged by a Bernie Sanders supporter named Sri Kulkarni. The Democratic candidate appears to be unemployed, unmarried, does not own a home, and appears to be living with his female cousin in a one-bedroom dwelling.

In addition, Mr. Kulkarni has first-hand experience with the criminal justice system, having been arrested for the felony charge of cocaine possession when he was 18 years old, which was dismissed after two years of probation. He argues the nation’s drug wars are racist and is reportedly a member of the D.C. Burners Club, which celebrates Burning Man, the anything-goes, anarchic annual festival held in Nevada where free love and drug use are widespread. Truly, this is an unusual choice as a candidate for a major party who wants voters to trust him as their voice in Congress.

It is past time that every Democratic challenger receive similar scrutiny on their past, their views and their experience. Voters are entitled to have everything they need to make an informed choice in the midterm election.

• Matt Mackowiak is president of Austin, Texas, and Washington, D.C.-based Potomac Strategy Group. He’s a Republican consultant, a Bush administration and Bush-Cheney re-election campaign veteran and former press secretary to two U.S. senators. His “Mack on Politics” podcast is available on iTunes, Google Play, Stitcher and on WashingtonTimes.com.

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