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Fake Omaha GOP "Moderate" Don Bacon

      GOPer Don “Moderate” (NOT) Bacon—Look at His Extremist “Pro-Life” Stance   April 21, 2024

 

            Why do many moderate voters, especially those in swing congressional districts, continue voting for right-wing GOPers?  Well, many of them are unaware of their representatives’ true records. Others are deceived by the latest actions and comments that these lawmakers take or utter on “hot button” matters, especially during election years. Frankly, these congressmembers never had the “moderate” stances they brag about.  

 

          Nebraska Republican Congressmember Don Bacon constitutes one such “moderate” masquerader. Rep. Bacon has long played “press release moderate,” or a fellow who claims to be one bi-partisan legislator when he talks to the media. Even though he repeatedly labels himself a “moderate,” he is covering up a far-right record. Despite his yammering about being a “moderate,” he regularly votes with Demagogue Donald and MTG, Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA). Bacon’s hard-right record is quite evident on the major issue of women’s reproductive rights. In 2021, Rep. Bacon co-sponsored H.R. 1011, a proposed constitutional amendment that would have considered a fetus a “person under the law and would have outlawed abortion in all 50 states, with no specific exceptions (Nebraska Examiner, 9/09/22).”  It’s time to examine Bacon’s background, record, and the political race he is facing in Campaign 2024.

 

           Fourth-term GOP Congressmember Don Bacon (60) currently represents Nebraska’s 2nd Congressional District, CD (Cohen & Cook 2022 Political Almanac). The 2nd Cornhusker  District, includes all of Douglas County but also takes in rural parts of Western Sarpy County and rural Saunders County. The city of Omaha lies in Douglas County. Omaha is the commercial heart of NE and the largest city on the Great Plains north of Kansas City and west of Minneapolis.  It was settled by cattle hands who worked in the stockyards and European immigrants, especially Germans and Czechs. Omaha has lots of shopping malls and is the place where multi-billionaire Warren Buffett lives and works. Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway draws over 40,000 investors to Omaha. Omaha’s economy depends on the overseas sale of food. Omaha also has 30 insurance companies, is the nation’s telecommunications hub, and employs more than 20,000 people at more than two dozen telemarketing centers. Millennials have been 38% of Omaha’s workforce, but the population over age 65 has increased to more than 37%. Ethnically, Omaha has become more diverse. It is 9.8% Black, 12.8% Hispanic, and 4.4% Asian (Cohen & Cook 2022, wiki).

 

           Politically, the Greater Omaha 2nd is the least conservative in solidly “Red” NE. Omaha has long had competitive political contests. Democrats are strong on the southside around the stockyards and the northeastern part of the city. GOPers dominate Omaha’s west side as well as rural Sarpy and Saunders Counties. The NE 2nd has become a swing district. The Cornhusker 2nd was one of two districts with a margin of less than 5% in all the elections held after the 2010 census. The NE 2nd’s most recent Cook PVI (Partisan Voting Index) is dead EVEN. Because of conservative Sarpy County’s strong GOP lean, Donald beat Hillary in the 2nd 47%-45% in 2016. However, like other affluent conservative suburban areas, the NE 2nd turned against Trump. In 2020, Biden carried the 2nd  by 6.5 percentage points, 52.2% -45.7% (Cohen & Cook 2022).

 

           Don Bacon grew up on a farm in his native Illinois and received a 1984 bachelor’s degree from Northern Illinois University. In 1985, Bacon joined the U.S. Air Force where he served for 30 years and retired as a brigadier general. He specialized in electronic warfare, intelligence, reconnaissance, and public affairs. He had four deployments to the Middle East where he commanded an electronic warfare squadron during the invasion of Iraq. In 2009, Bacon was selected as Europe’s top Air Force wing commander. He later commanded Offutt Air Force Base outside Omaha. After he left the Air Force, Bacon worked as military adviser for then NE 1st CD Republican Rep. Jeff Fortenberry where he focused on the Offutt base. Bacon additionally received two master’s degrees, one from the University of Phoenix and the second from D.C.’s National War College. Bacon taught courses on leadership and American values as an assistant professor at Nebraska’s Bellevue University (Cohen & Cook 2022).

    

             In 2016, Bacon defeated the Democratic 2nd CD incumbent, Brad Ashford, one of two Democrats in 2014 to oust a GOP incumbent.  Bacon won the 2016 contest by just a 1.2% margin because conservative Sarpy County gave him 60% of his votes, enough to overcome Omaha’s Douglas County’s 9,000 vote margin. Bacon was the only GOPer to defeat an incumbent Democrat in the 2016 House elections (Cohen & Cook, nytimes.com, 11/15/16). In 2018, Bacon won re-election against another Democratic rival, Karen Eastman by just 2%. Running once more against Eastman in 2020, Bacon won by a 4.8% margin while, as previously mentioned, Biden carried the 2nd by 6.5 % (huffpost.com, Marans, 12/15/20, Omaha.com, Morton, 10/07/20). In 2022, Bacon narrowly won re-election against Democratic state senator Tony Vargas by 2.6 percentage points. In November 2024, Vargas will be running in a rematch against Bacon (Bamer, journalstar.com, 7/05/23).

 

         

        Despite the NE 2nd handily going for Biden in 2020, “moderate” (LOL) Cong. Bacon voted with Demagogue Donald 89.4% of the time. This record is like that of hard-right Southern GOPers and ones from the Rocky Mountain West, not voters from swing districts who have soured on Trump. During the first year of Biden’s presidency, Bacon voted with Biden only 29.5% of the time (projects.fivethirtyeight.com, 4/22/21, Bycoffe). Cong. Bacon currently sits on the Agriculture and Armed Services Committees and previously served on the Homeland Security Committee (wiki, CQ, Cong. At Your Fingertips, 118th Congress).

 

               And here is where Bacon stands on the major political issues.  He voted for Trump’s reactionary top 1% tax cut policy in 2017. Bacon has also expressed support for raising the full retirement age for eligibility for Social Security for Americans now under age 40 (Moring & Sanderford, apnews.com, 10/17/18, govtrack.us, “H.R. 1:Tax Cuts and Jobs Act”). Bacon favors repealing Obamacare and voted for a GOP substitute bill that would have repealed large portions of this key legislation (cnn.com, 5/04/17). He has expressed support for construction of a U.S. -Mexico border wall pushed by xenophobe Trump (npr.org, 2/16/19). Bacon stood with the GOP against reasonable gun control (Cohen & Cook 2022).  In 2019-2020, “moderate” Cong. Bacon had a composite 68% Conservative v. 32% Liberal Almanac Voting Record. He has a strong 75% v. 25% Conservative score on the economy. And, of course, as I previously mentioned, Bacon co-sponsored that horrible anti-abortion bill H.R.1011. Besides banning abortion with no exceptions of any kind including rape, incest and protecting the life of the mother, this bill would also impose a national ban on IVF (in-vitro) treatments (Neb. Examiner, 9/09/22, Kos, NebraskaDemocrat, 4/15/24). In addition, Baker falsely denied on X/Twitter that he had supported this anti-women’s reproductive rights legislation. Cong. Bacon deleted his extreme anti-choice record from his website.  He additionally took out his promise that he “will always fight to defend the right to life.”  Cong. Bacon scrubbed the endorsements he had received from the extremist anti-choice groups, The Nebraska Family Alliance, National Right to Life, Susan B. Anthony List, and the Faith and Freedom Coalition (kos, NebraskaDemocrat, 4/15/24). IMHO, he is doing everything he can to deceive voters about his true beliefs concerning abortion.

 

            In addition to his right-wing views, his awful anti-choice record, and his attempts to fool the voters, Cong. Bacon agrees with Demagogue Donald on another major matter. Trump has pressured the unicameral or one chamber NE legislature to repeal its presidential electoral law. This law splits electoral votes among the three congressional districts. The NE law allowed Obama and Biden to carry the 2nd CD in previous presidential elections. Bacon is all in agreement with Trump on changing NE’s electoral law to back a “winner take all” format. Frankly, Bacon does not want Biden’s campaign to contest the NE 2nd CD. He wants a “safe” district so that Democrats can’t make any attempt to capture Omaha’s vote to help them in national elections (See NebraskaDemocrat).

               As previously noted, Democrat Tony Vargas will be running in November, 2024 in a rematch against Cong. Bacon. Queens, NY native Tony Vargas (39) is the son of Peruvian immigrants. His father died in 4/2020 from COVID-19  (Burbach, C., journalstar.com,9/05/22). Tony Vargas received his undergraduate degree from the University of Rochester and a master’s degree from Pace University. Vargas is a former public- school teacher. He served as an AmeriCorps fellow through Teach for America. In 2013, Vargas was appointed to the Omaha Public Schools Board (omaha.com/news, 8/26/22). In 2016, he ran for the NE state senate to represent District 7 in east Omaha and won with 62% of the vote. Vargas is the first outright elected Hispanic legislator in NE (Bernal, thehill.com, 9/30/21, Bamer, journalstar.com, 7/05/23).

                      During his time in the state legislature, Vargas has been a key player in drafting state budgets. He recently contributed to the passage of the multi-million-dollar effort to revitalize underserved areas of Omaha. Since 2017, Vargas served on the NE State Senate Appropriations Committee. In 2019, Vargas was elected by his fellow legislators in a contested race to the post of Vice Chair of the executive board, the Legislature’s nine-member executive arm (news.legislature.ne.gov, 9/05/22). In 2021, Vargas was re-elected to the position of executive board Vice Chair. He presently serves as the chair of the Legislature’s Planning Committee, the long-term strategic planning committee for the NE Legislature (news.legislature.ne.gov, 9/05/22, platteinstitute.org, 1/06/21). On July 29, 2020, Vargas unsuccessfully attempted to suspend the NE legislature’s regular rules of order to introduce a bill that would enforce the CDC’s (Center for Disease Control and Prevention) guidelines in meatpacking plants to counter the COVID-19 pandemic (bbc.com/news/world, 10/02/20).

                  Vargas’ campaign announcement in July, 2023 focused on abortion. Vargas pointed out that while he voted against increased abortion restrictions that passed in the NE legislature, Bacon supported similar anti-abortion measures in Congress. In a statement, Vargas declared, “With Republicans in Nebraska passing an extreme ban on abortion, it’s more important than ever that we elect representatives that will fight for the people of Nebraska’s Second (congressional district) in Washington (Bamer, journalstar.com, 7/05/23).”

                  Again, the “magic number” that Democrats need in November, 2024 to retake the House stands at 4. Since the Supreme Court overruled “Roe v. Wade,” abortion rights have been a major and winning issue for Democrats in the many post-“Roe” special elections they have faced. However, Vargas is going up against an incumbent Congressmember with an “R” after his name who emphasizes national security issues, especially Air Force matters. Still, the NE 2nd CD is attractive to national Democrats because money spent here can go a long way in helping Biden pick up both an electoral vote as he did here in 2020 and another “Team Blue” House member (NebraskaDemocrat, 4/15/24). Vargas has rightfully rebuked Bacon for “doing anything for Trump.” In addition to Bacon’s attacks on abortion rights, Vargas is going after Trump and Bacon for attacking NE’s bipartisan way of allocating electoral votes among congressional districts, which is truly better representation and more direct democracy than the “winner take all” that most states still use. Bacon is currently losing to Vargas in a recent internal poll that the Vargas campaign commissioned by three points, 46%-43%, but that is too close for comfort. In the first quarter of 2024, Vargas has raised an impressive $770,000 and has a “y uu ge” $1.6 million in cash on hand, double what he had at this point in his 2022 campaign against Bacon (NebraskaDemocrat, 4/15/24). Vargas must be supported by Nebraska Democrats and moderates as well as the national party.            

 

                        

                        

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