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GOP Congressman Warren Davidson's Wall "Stunt"

GOP Congressman Warren Davidson’s Latest Stunt—“Buy a Brick, Build a Wall” January 20, 2019

January 20, 2019, this blogpost’s date, is no ordinary occasion. January 20, 2019, marks the two-year anniversary (feels like the 100th) when our “worst and longest national nightmare” officially began. January 20, 2017, is the date that “Toddler-in-Chief”/Demagogue Donald formally took charge. Since then, because of Donald, our nation has lurched from one crisis to another and from one scandal to another. Donald is currently under investigation for his campaign and post-campaign ties to Vladimir Putin’s Russia. From 1/20/1017, “leader” Trump has uttered or tweeted more than 7,600 false and misleading statements with no end in sight (see nypost.com, 1/07/19). Demagogue Donald, labeled the worst President ever by historians, has transformed Warren Harding, Franklin Pierce, and James Buchanan into political heavyweights (see nytimes.com, 2/19/18). “Narcissist-in-Chief” Trump can now claim credit for another dismal first—the longest federal government shutdown in U.S. History, now going on for 30 days, one-month, with no end in sight. Why? Congress, even under total GOP leadership, and now, with the House under Democratic control, has refused to give Donald $5.2 billion to build a wall to keep imaginary “hordes” of illegal immigrants from “storming” the U.S.-Mexico border. Spoiled 72-year old toddler Donald, has, therefore, thrown a temper tantrum and shut down the federal government. He has furloughed 800,000 employees and severely hurt their families. He has shut down national parks and kept key federal agencies from doing their jobs protecting the food and drugs we use and guarding our airports. His 1/19/2019 gambit to end the shutdown by offering deportation protection for some undocumented immigrants for three years in exchange for an additional $5.7 billion to fund his absurd wall was correctly labeled a “non-starter” by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and “more hostage taking” by Sen. Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) (CNN, Collinson & Vazquez, 1/19/19).

Building this wall has been Donald’s Number #1 obsession from the start of his campaign. According to the latest Quinnipiac (Q) University Poll released on 1/14/2019, 63% v. 30% of voters agree with the Democratic proposal to reopen parts of the government not involving border security. In that same poll, 63% opposed the shutdown to force wall funding with just 32% in favor. This Q Poll found that 56% of the voters blame Trump and congressional GOPers for the shutdown, compared to 36% who blame the Democrats. An earlier Wash. Post ABC News Poll found more Americans blame Trump and his GOP than the Democrats over the shutdown stalemate. According to Bloomberg News, at least six polls show that Americans blame Trump for the shutdown and oppose his exploitation of it for his wall. Trump and many of his GOP enablers could care less. It’s all about catering to the GOP “deplorable” base. Even though House GOPers were clobbered in the 11/2018 midterms and lost control of that chamber with a 40 seat “Red” to “Blue” flip, Trump still has many loyal infantrymen in the decimated House GOP caucus. One of them is GOP Congressman Warren Davidson. In 11/2018 and again in 1/2019, he introduced a bill that he called, “Buy a Brick, Build a Wall Act.” In it, Davidson directs the Treasury Department to set up a fund that would allow Trump’s most zealous supporters to pay for the wall directly. The bill directs Treasury to set up a fund and says there needs to be a website where people can donate. There’s no information about how the money would be spent, and what would happen to funds donated if the wall is not built. Davidson’s bill didn’t go anywhere in the GOP House, and is DOA with Democratic Speaker Nancy Pelosi now holding the gavel (shareblue.com, Needham, L. 1/04/19). These failures and his bill’s lack of specifics do not bother Davidson. It’s all about standing up for this ideological cause dear to both him and Demagogue Donald. Who is this Cong. Davidson?

Three-term Congressman Warren Davidson (48) currently represents Ohio’s 8th Congressional District (CD). The present Ohio 8th CD is located on the Buckeye State’s west side, bordering Indiana. The 8th includes Darke, Miami, Clark, Preble, and Butler Counties, as well as a part of Mercer County. After the 2010 redistricting, Clark County with the city of Springfield in it was added to the 8th . In addition to Springfield, the 8th includes the cities of Hamilton, Middletown, Fairfield, and Troy. Economically declining and drug-ravaged Middletown, with its heavy population of Appalachian immigrants and descendants, was vividly described in J.D. Vance’s best-selling “Hillbilly Elegy.” Manufacturing, although hit by shutdowns of many firms, remains an economic mainstay as does agriculture and higher education. Oxford’s Miami University is one of the region’s largest employers. Butler Tech is now Ohio’s largest career technical school and has courses in network technology. AK Steel is still a top employer. The 8th’s growth center, one of Ohio’s fastest increasing residential areas, is West Chester Township. It has attracted a new GE Aviation facility and a new Amylin Pharmaceuticals plant. Springfield, historically a farm equipment manufacturing hub, has been transitioning to a technology and service-based economy. Still, Springfield’s population is at a 90-year low (CQ & Barone 14 Political Almanacs 14, Vance, “Hillbilly Elegy”).

Springfield votes Democratic. However, the 8th CD remains the “Reddest” district in Ohio. Its most recent Cook Partisan Voting Index, PVI, was a “lobster-Red” R+17(Cook Political Report, 4/07/17). From 1/03/1991-10/31/2015, GOPer John Boehner (BAY-ner) represented this CD. Boehner was GOP House Speaker from 1/2011-10/31/2015 when he resigned his seat and left Congress (nytimes.com, 9/26/15). In 2016, Trump won the OH 8th by a crushing 34.3 points (washingtonpost.com, AP, 1/09/19).

After his 1988 high school graduation, Sidney, Ohio native Warren Davidson enlisted in the U.S. Army. While stationed in Germany, Davidson witnessed the fall of the Berlin Wall. He received an opportunity to attend West Point. In 1995, he graduated in the top 10% of his class. He also graduated from the U.S. Army Ranger School. Davidson received an MBA in 2005 from Notre Dame University (dailyadvocate.com, 2/01/16, Krause, B., disabledveterans.org, 9/27/16, Davidson congressional website, CQ 116th Cong., Early Guide). Davidson helped his father improve his family business, expanding it from 20 employees to over 200 (Davidson, congressional website, Krause, 9/27/16). When Speaker Boehner resigned from the House, Davidson ran and handily won the special election in 6/2016 to fill out Boehner’s term. Davidson easily won a second full term for himself in 11/2016. He coasted to a third term victory in 11/2018, winning with a 33.2% margin, 66.6%-33.4% (OH’s 8th Cong. District Special Election, OH’s 8th Cong. District Election, 2016, washingtonpost.com, AP, 1/09/19).

After his 6/2016 special election, Davidson made strong conservative Boehner look freakingly “moderate.” Davidson quickly joined the House Freedom (“Freedumb”) Caucus, the group that was a key factor pushing Boehner to resign (politico.com, 6/09/16). Boehner was not radical-right enough for this gang. It is a small outfit sympathetic to Tea Party goals. Some of its members include extremist Jim Jordan (R-OH), a fellow who received a few votes for GOP Minority Leader in 1/2019 over Trump loyalist Kevin McCarthy (R-CA). Wacko Mark Meadows (R-NC) chairs this group and TN’s anti-vaccination GOP freshman Congressman Mark Green has joined them. The “Freedumb Caucus” is considered the furthest right grouping within the House GOP Conference (cnn.com, Fox, L., 3/24/17). The “Freedumb Caucus” supports House candidates through its PAC (Political Action Committee), the House Freedom Fund (Wong, S., thehill.com). In his 6/2016 special election to replace Boehner, the House Freedom fund gave Davidson $69,328 (opensecrets.org). This PAC has continued to give Cong. Davidson strong financial backing (housefreedomfund.com).

Since Demagogue Donald took office, Davidson has voted with him an average 86.7% of the time. In the previous 115th Congress, Davidson voted with Donald 86.3% of the time. In the current 116th Congress, he has sided with Trump 100.% of the time. On 6/27/2018, Cong. Davidson didn’t even support a GOP “compromise” on an immigration bill. On 5/18/2018, he voted against a major farm bill. On 10/12/2017, he voted against disaster aid to Puerto Rico. Donald supported all these bills (projects.fivethirtyeight.com).

In 2017, Cong. Davidson proposed an amendment to the House version of the National Defense Authorization Act that would repeal former Pres. Obama’s 2015 executive order requiring the military to meet green energy and greenhouse gas emission targets. Included in the groups that were drumming up support for Davidson’s anti-environmental amendment were the libertarian Competitive Enterprise Institute and Americans for Prosperity, an outfit funded by the right-wing Koch Brothers (reuters.com, Gardner, T., 7/12/17). When Cong. Davidson ran for re-election in 11/2018, the Koch PAC gave him $5,000 (projects.propublica.org, Koch PAC, 10/19/18, sourcewatch.org).

Besides his ridiculous “Buy a Brick, Build a Wall Act” stunt, Cong. Davidson is not afraid of making controversial, reckless statements. At a 2016 town hall meeting, West Point grad Davidson attacked his fellow veterans. Davidson stated, “Just like workers comp out here’s got moochers, I wish that there were no vets that were the same sort of problem on our society. But part of the problem is there are some vets that are ‘moochers’ and they’re clogging up the system, and we do as taxpayers want to make sure the VA filters out these folks that are pretenders (disabledveterans.org, 9/27/16, Krause, B.).” Wow! Attack your fellow members of the armed services with whom you trained and served.

Cong. Davidson can probably keep getting re-elected in his “blood-Red” Buckeye Congressional District. The key, however, is to keep him part of an irrelevant House GOP minority. The only way to do that is for Democrats to come out in droves in every federal election, including every two years when all House members run for their seats. Twice in recent times, 1994 and 2010, “Team Blue” lost control of the House and it took us 12 and 8 years respectively to take back that key chamber. We must not return to minority status. Cong. Davidson and his right-wing GOP buddies must not again retake control of the “People’s House.”

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