A right-wing, undeserving-of-the-label, Democrat-In-Name-Only is in a crowded Democratic primary. To prevent the DINO from being elected, progressives attempt to unify behind one of the several other candidates in the race. Political Science 101 suggests that they unify behind the most progressive alternative who represents the best chance of election.
In Hawaii's deep blue and progressive First Congressional District, they're about to do the opposite: unify behind a DINO-Lite instead of a viable progressive choice.
Donna Kim would be a Republican in many other states; in Hawaii she's a DINO. She opposes marriage equality and minimum wage increases, is way too cozy with Monsanto and its GMO testing, and believes that Hawaii should be granted an exemption from Obamacare. All you need to know can be found at Not Donna Kim. She began the race to replace Colleen Hanabusa as the frontrunner, probably owing to her 30 years in the state legislature.
Hawaii newspapers have anointed Mark Takai as the other, more progressive front-runner in the August 9 primary. Mainstream groups such as the Sierra Club and Human Rights Campaign have endorsed him. But is he actually progressive or just a Kim-Lite?
The Hawaii Sierra Club endorsed Takai, but he accepted an oil industry-funded junket to Azerbaijan. Takai wants to cut Hawaii's dependence on foreign fossil fuels by exploring nuclear power as a viable option.
Takai is way too cozy with Koch-affiliated groups. Hawaii has a Koch-affiliated think tank, the Grassroot Institute of Hawaii, with a mission to "promote individual liberty, the free market and limited accountable government." Takai calls its new president a dear friend and mentor.
Equality Hawaii endorsed Takai, but he voted no on civil unions twice, only reversing his position after deciding to run for Congress a few months ago. As recently as 2010 and again in 2012, he stated that he would sign into law a constitutional amendment defining marriage as between one man and one woman.
And in 2010, he answered yes to this question: "Would you sign into law a bill that would give religious-affiliated healthcare institutions in Hawaii a conscience exemption in laws requiring hospitals to offer emergency contraceptives to sex assault victims?" Can he be trusted to uphold a woman's right to choose in a post-Hobby Lobby era?
"This is not the time to reduce our military strength and presence in Hawaii," he posts on facebook.
Takai's signature domestic policy bill: imposing random drug testing on recipients of public assistance.
The Hawaii Rifle Association notes Takai's supportive record; he's to the right of Donna Kim and Stanley Chang on gun sense.
Really? A Koch-friendly, pro-nuclear power, oil-funded, anti-choice candidate is the progressive alternative to Donna Kim?
Fortunately, Honolulu residents have a genuinely progressive choice. Stanley Chang has been endorsed by People for the American Way and Blue America PAC. He's pledged to join the House Progressive Caucus if elected, so he earned an early endorsement. The GLBT Caucus of the Hawaii Democratic Party, which knows a flip-flop when they see one, has endorsed Chang. And my SuperPAC focused on climate, Climate Hawks Vote, has endorsed Brian Schatz and Stanley Chang. His fundraising is within reach of Takai's and Kim's - in the June 30 quarter, Kim raised $201K, Takai $199K, and Chang $145K. Chang's latest ad:
The brutal Schatz-Hanabusa race for the Senate is taking up most of Hawaii's political attention, while voters ignore the sleepy Congressional race. Hawaii has a history of sending politicians to Washington for decades. On August 9, progressive Honolulu voters can do better than either a DINO or a DINO-Lite.
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