Schatz: White People are Taking over Hawaii
SA: But the most delicate issue raised by the memo is the Schatz campaign's assessment of the Hawaii electorate. Schatz, who is 40 and white, and Hanabusa, who is 62 and Japanese-American, both have to navigate the state's history of identity politics. Race, ethnicity and localism have a role in island campaigns, but that role is often subtle, and candidates who have tried to exploit such differences have seen the strategy backfire.
The memo portrays the Hawaii electorate as more progressive and more Democratic-leaning since 2002, mostly because of the influx of progressives who migrated to Hawaii in the 1990s and the impact of Hawaii-born President Barack Obama. The Schatz campaign points out that progressive Democrats, regardless of ethnicity, have won the major contested primaries over the past decade.
Boylan said he does not think most Hawaii voters define themselves with a "progressive politics" label. "They know what concerns them, they know what's important to them, and they vote accordingly," he said. "They're not going to vote for you just because you say, ‘I'm a progressive.' They'll vote for you if you really listen to them… and demonstrate real leadership in providing what they need to make their lives better."
NOTE: The so-called “influx of progressives in the 1990s” is actually the same Californication experienced by all western states as millions of (white) people from California abandoned the Golden State. The defining characteristic of these people is anti-development sentiment, not ‘progressivism’. Their final political act in California was to vote for anti-immigrant Prop 187 in 1994—the peak year of the first wave of the exodus. Everywhere they have gone, they have imposed themselves on the locals. Now they are doing it in Hawaii and Schatz has anointed himself their leader.
read ... White Minority Regime
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Schatz campaign touts his position in memo
From The Hill October 16, 2013 (excerpts)
... "With decisive advantages in money, endorsements, organization, and manpower as well as an ideology more in tune with primary voters, Schatz is well-positioned to win the Democratic nomination for U.S. Senate," says the memo.
The memo argues that Hanabusa "has failed to meet nearly every expectation and benchmark it initially set," including predictions that organized labor would back her in the race, and claims that 28 of the 33 unions who have endorsed in the campaign are backing him.
It also paints Schatz as the more liberal candidate, arguing that ideology will trump Hawaii's racial politics in determining who will win the race. Hawaii Democratic politics have long been influenced by divisions between white, Japanese and Native Hawaiian voters.
"As Hawaii's electorate has moved to the left, progressive candidates, regardless of ethnicity, have won every major contested Democratic primary race since 2002," argues the memo. "Although some pundits have theorized that ethnicity determines Democratic primaries, recent history clearly demonstrates that progressive ideology is the more dominant factor."
Hanabusa's campaign fired back.
"There's a lot more to winning over voters in Hawaii than this sort of cynical and mechanical political calculation. The Schatz campaign seems to have forgotten that Brian was appointed to his seat by Governor Abercrombie, and the people of Hawaii have yet to express their opinion about who can best serve them in the United States Senate," said Hanabusa spokesman Peter Boylan.
"In Hawaii, raising the most money or getting the most endorsements doesn't always win the race. The voters are smarter than that. Nor do Hawaii voters cast their ballots based on identification with a particular ideology. It's more accurate to say that they have preferred highly-qualified candidates who reflect their core values." ...
"It's clear that Sen. Schatz has put together a superior campaign organization. His impressive fundraising and endorsements are indicators of that," said DSCC spokesman Matt Canter....
read ... Schatz campaign touts his position in memo
Full Text: Schatz Campaign Memo
Full Text: Hanabusa Campaign Response
Meet the Master Race: Hawaii senator Brian Schatz involved in simulated sheep rape rituals