ST. RITA

1. It’s Wednesday, April 19, 2017.

2. It’s the 242nd anniversary of the Patriot victory at Concord, Mass. It’s the 74th anniversary of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising. It’s the 22nd anniversary of the bombing of the federal building in Oklahoma City.

A lot of stuff has happened on this day in history.

3. I haven’t written a lot lately. I’m trying to keep up with my two journalism classes, spending a lot of time grading my students’ work.

It’s not that I’ve gotten any less frustrated at the state of the world, particularly our nation. It’s that one of the ways I’m trying to deal with it is to help a new generation of journalists illuminate the world.

When I see my students, I feel better about stuff. Some of them are going to do great things.

Once I’m through with grading final projects in May, I’ll write a lot more. And I’ll try to develop some ideas I’ve been pondering this winter and spring.

4. Some Democrats are disappointed that Jon Ossoff didn’t grab the House seat for Georgia’s Sixth District.

He got 48% of the vote, well ahead of any of his rivals.

But you need a vote more than 50% to claim the seat outright, and he missed by just 3,653 out of 192,084 votes cast.

So Ossoff faces a June runoff against Republican Karen Handel, who finished second after getting just below 20% of the vote.

That seems like a big gap. But this is a Republican district – the election seeks to replace Tom Price, the drug stock wizard http://www.cnn.com/2017/01/16/politics/tom-price-bill-aiding-company/ who’s now Secretary of Health and Human Services.

Who knows what will happen in the next two months?

5. But here’s the thing: Even if the numbers were reversed, and Ossoff was only the No. 2 vote getter, Democrats should be fighting for this seat.

They should be fighting for every House seat. They should be fighting for every election, state and local.

National Democrats apparently thought it was a waste of money to contest the Kansas Fourth District race last week. But Democrat James Thompson lost by just seven percentage points in a district that went Republican by 31 points in November.

You can’t know if a bigger investment would have put Thompson over the top.

But they should have found out.

Democrats have been conceding races to Republicans for way too long. That’s one reason the country is in the predicament it’s in. We let idiots run uncontested or with little opposition.

Next thing you know, you let a jackass with conflicts of interest up to his ridiculous hair into the Oval Office.

It’s ridiculous to concede the Midwest and South to a party that does nothing for the people who live in those regions except pander to their fears. Democrats should have a vision of a nation that works for everyone, on the coast or inland. And they should present it everywhere.

The argument made against investing in races where Republicans are strong is that it wastes money. Democrats don’t have the same resources, especially given the dark money raised by the likes of the Koch brothers and other wealthy Republicans – who have bought state legislatures and Congress.

6. One solution might be what I call a St. Rita Fund.

Democrats should specifically contribute to a fund that only supports candidates in congressional districts and states that are traditionally Republican. If a Republican has won the district or state by 10 or more points for three or more straight elections, the fund would give money to the Democrat running.

St. Rita is a saint for lost causes. Among her miracles, it is said she was asked to prove her faith by tending to a dead piece of vine. Eventually, the vine yielded grapes, supposedly because she believed. 

This is a lesson for Democrats. Unless you demonstrate your faith in the ideals of the party, there’s no chance you’re going to reap anything but tears and anger.

7. So Democrats should roll up their sleeves and get Ossoff over the 50% hump. 

They should work their tails off for Rob Quist, the Democrat trying to win the at-large Congressional seat in Montana on May 25.

They should support the winner of the May 2 primary in the June 20 election for the vacancy of a Republican seat in South Carolina.

And that’s just one part of what they need to do.

Democrats need to win state legislatures. They need to win county executive races. They need to win town councils. They need to win mayor’s races.

Every election. There should be no uncontested Republicans – especially as long as that party is represented by something as heinous as Trump.

They should pay a price for their cravenness.

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