Wednesday, September 26, 2018

How many Congressional candidates get help from Ben & Jerry, Sha Na Na?

I’m sure Lauren Underwood wants us to think she’s merely a health care professional whose interest in electoral politics is because she wants the federal government to do more to improve the quality of health care available to the general public.
UNDERWOOD: An Obama-era appointee

Which sounds nice. It sounds noble. Yet Underwood wouldn’t be getting prominent attention if she were just a nurse.

IN THIS YEAR of ’18 in the Age of Trump, a key strategy for Democratic political operatives is to try to boost the chances of every single Democrat running for office by reminding us just how abhorrent a majority of us find President Donald J. Trump to be.

The idea is to make us think that every single person of the GOP persuasion is nothing more than a Trump lackey, and that we need to dump every single one of ‘em from office.

Which means that even Republicans running in parts of the country that usually are fairly safe for GOPers are going to face some serious competition.

That includes Rep. Randy Hultgren, R-Ill., who typically would be considered safe in his northwestern suburban district. It’s not an area inclined to think of Democrats as being a legitimate choice. Heck, in the past 145 years, the area has only had five people of the Dem persuasion represent it.

YET IN THIS year, political operatives are putting their worth in Underwood, who if she wins would be the first woman ever to win that district – and also the youngest black woman (she’s 31) to win a Congressional seat anywhere in the United States this election cycle.

How seriously are people taking her candidacy?

She’s actually gaining some celebrity stunt-type attention that typically wouldn’t waste itself on a candidate who (in typical election years) would be regarded as longshots.
Come Wednesday, Jon Bauman (a.k.a., Bowzer from Sha Na Na of old) will do a formal endorsement of Underwood at an event in suburban Huntley. Bauman, who is now head of an organization called Social Security Works PAC, admits he’ll sing a few old tunes before talking with Underwood about healthcare issues related to senior citizens.

THIS ALSO COMES as the guys who created Ben & Jerry’s ice cream (a disclosure, I thoroughly adore both “Chunky Monkey” and “Cherry Garcia” flavors) say they’re creating specialty flavors to promote the political campaigns of seven would-be members of Congress who they think will be supportive of improved health care.

Underwood is amongst the seven.

Now I know many people will dismiss Bowser and Ben & Jerry as a batch of third-rate celebrity-type stunts. Nothing that should tell us that Underwood is a legitimate candidate.

Yet we have to admit, particularly when it comes to some of these lower-perception political races, such stunts can help draw attention. I wouldn’t be shocked to learn that Underwood gets a few votes from people who like ice cream or have memories of Sha Na Na.

AND IF YOU want to dismiss those things as being merely of interest to “old” people, consider that it could out to be the old people who take this election cycle most seriously.

So Hultgren vs. Underwood could turn out to be an election campaign of the 2018 cycle that gets a little bit of undue attention. Whether that will be sufficient to sway the vote away from this being a routine Republican political victory has yet to be determined.
Of course, I suspect Ben & Jerry’s will influence the outcome in one significant way. There’s no word on just what Lauren Underwood-type ice cream will taste like.

I suppose they could doom her campaign to political defeat if they wind up creating an unappealing concoction for her that makes voters think they’re better off with “two more years” of Hultgren.


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