(This is a letter I wrote to Jeff Pearlman, who writes the blog “www.crazydana.com.” He posted it on his site.)
I’ve been reading your comments about the race. I don’t gloat in the predicament the Democrats find themselves in. As I told you when we met a few months ago, I’d rather see one of the Democrats than Dana.
He has no business representing our nation. He enables the worlds most dangerous dictator, Vladimir Putin — a man that imprisons, and tortures and poisons dissenters, a man that banned sick Russian orphan children from being adopted in America.
But I agree with what you and virtually every political pollster and Democrat leader have been saying: A Democrat can’t win unless a bunch of their candidates drop out. And a bunch of Democrats are not going to drop out. There will be NINE of them on the ballot.
Because of that, I believe a vote for one of the Democrats is a vote for Rohrabacher or Baugh.
The 2016 primary, a Presidential primary which is always has a larger turnout than a midterm, had 71,000 Democrats and 93,000 Republicans voting, respectfully. Let’s assume 85,000 Democrats will vote in the June primary. (I’ve run this number by three well respected national consultants/polling experts, and all three, based on history and recent national turnout, think the number is too high.)
But let’s use it anyway. And let’s divide the 85,000 votes by the 7 viable Democrat candidates, perhaps giving one frontrunner 30%, which would be quite a feat. That candidate would receive 25,500 votes. I realize that any of those Democrat candidates or supporters reading this firmly believe they/their candidate will be the exception and get 40% or higher. Of course, this is part of the reason none of them will get out. There are many possible scenarios; let’s give two of the candidates 35%. Here, each would receive 29,750 votes.
The Republicans will have around 100,000 voting in June. You have an incumbent and an OC GOP insider. Both with money. Both with expertise. Both incredibly connected. Then there a few other far right-wing candidates.
I imagine something like this. Baugh gets 35,000 votes, Dana gets 40,000. Or vice versa. I know you’ve done the math.
Then you have the candidate who was encouraged last summer by a former Obama senior staffer to enter this race because, as he said, it’s a moderate Republican district and I’d have a unique voice, versus Rohrabacher or someone who only appeals to the extreme-right fringe of part of the party.
Given the math above, I think the Democrats might consider asking themselves one of those “lesser of evils” questions. Namely, “Who would you rather have as your Congressman, Dana Rohrabacher, Scott Baugh, or Paul Martin?”
Hey, I get how disgusted Democrats are with the GOP. Trust me, I’m lambasted all day long for being “one of them” You should see my Twitter feed, just today.
But I’m not one of them.
So, what am I then?
When asked to share a bit of my background, I remind voters that ending physical, emotional, and spiritual suffering has been my life work:
- I’ve devoted most of my professional/executive life to non-profit organizations ranging from the March of Dimes to homelessness prevention agencies, to working with at-risk teens, to pastoral ministry, well before I dreamed of running for public office.
- Since 2015, I’ve written a blog, paulosophia.com, where I have castigated the racist, misogynist, and xenophobic speech and policies of Trump and the GOP. Just one example is my post Making America White Again which was in response to racist rhetoric coming from Trump, and bigotry I saw in our local community, especially amongst fellow Christians. I also reflect on my father’s struggles being a Mexican growing up with segregated schools here in Orange County, and my mother’s challenges as a poor Italian immigrant.
- In response to Trump’s “Travel Ban” (which I have often referred to as a “Muslim Ban”), I launched a peacebuilding campaign early last year called The Christian Muslim Alliance christianmuslimalliance.com with support from friends including Reza Aslan, Hussam Ayloush, Executive Director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) and other progressive Muslims. During that campaign, I was featured in a number of media channels including this episode on Trump’s bigotry in the progressive media outlet, UpWorthy.
- I host a podcast, whypartisan.com with my friend and Costa Mesa resident Kristen Howerton. It started as a weekly Facebook live event during the presidential primaries in 2016. We talk about social justice, and the intersection of race, religion, and public policy, in a format intended to be accessible to all voters. Kristen is a self-proclaimed socialist, and also a well-known mom blogger who writes on racism (largely because of hate she has experienced firsthand because of her two black adopted sons). We agree, often. I am criticized by Republicans for “agreeing with her too much.”
- For years, I have written and spoken about the need for gun control, about wage disparity, immigrants and about other issues that groupthink Republicans don’t like to talk about.
I also ask voters to take a closer look at my positions, during the campaign:
- I inform them that I speak frequently and strongly about Rohrabacher’s betrayal of country and human rights abuses at campaign events, on social media, and most recently in The Observer, NPR, Forbes Magazine, and The Beat with Ari Melber on MSNBC (forthcoming).
- I share with them that I am working closely with influencers who are “in the trenches” regarding Russia. For example, this week, I will be in New York City meeting with other activists, media, academics, and other leaders who are intricately involved in working to end the human rights abuses of Putin, via sanctions and other methods.
- I remind them that though I’m a Republican and lifelong gun owner who will protect the Second Amendment, people like Shannon Watts, founder of Moms Demand Action, see my activism and enthusiastically support my voice. (Shannon has helped me in my work and has retweeted me for standing up to the NRA.)
- I ask them to visit the “Conviction” page of my campaign website. These videos are a way for me to share my unfiltered views on guns, DACA, homelessness, etc., oftentimes to the chagrin of people in my own party.
- I tell them that the values I espouse are far bigger than any political party and that I’ve lost friends and family by speaking up for them.
- I try to convince them I have a far louder and effective voice from within the Republican Party. The proof is that Republicans are listening to my message, locally, and nationally.
A few last thoughts.
I’ve told some Democrats recently that while Scott Baugh is clearly not an acceptable choice for them, should he slay the giant, at least they will have someone loyal to the interests of our great nation, as opposed to our greatest foreign adversary.
I can’t count how many lifelong progressives are donating to my campaign, volunteering, etc. It’s humbling. For every one of them, there are countless Independents and moderate Republicans that, like the Obama staffer had said, are thrilled to finally have a centrist alternative.
Like you, like the countless local and national pundits who write about how the Democrats are splitting the vote, like local Democrat leaders including Fran Sdao, my Democrat supporters believe the vote will be split, and fear that two Republicans far-right Republicans will advance.
So instead of rolling the dice on Baugh or Rohrabacher, they are endorsing my campaign.
Here’s a comment I received from a very progressive millennial recently on Facebook:
Like I said when we first met, I’d rather have one of the Democrats than Dana. He is utterly unacceptable.
But, like many believe, including yourself, the numbers don’t add up.
I include my official Candidate Statement below. Yes, I want to reform the Republican Party. And I’m working to bring that about, even at the risk of crazies on the extreme right deeming me a “liberal.”
P.S. I think you’ve visited my website, but if not you can at www.paulmartinforcongress.com.
Paul Martin, Republican
I want to reform the Republican Party. Because for decades, GOP bureaucrats have failed us. They have politicized serious issues that affect all Americans. Today, the GOP has an identity problem. In order to stay relevant, the party must change.
I am a pro-growth strong fiscal conservative who will work for lower taxes and a smaller federal government. President Reagan’s axiom “peace through strength” is my guideline for national security. I will stand-up to Russian president Vladimir Putin and any other enemies of America who attempt to undermine our democracy and freedoms.
But protecting children through common sense gun safety, advocating for a cleaner planet so we can all breathe clean air and enjoy clean water and coastlines, and working to help prevent rising homelessness — these are not “liberal” issues. And though I am a lifelong gun owner, I am willing to confront the NRA — our moral duty is to protect our children. I will also defend the rights of seniors, the underemployed, minorities, the poor, and younger voters.
I have worked as a businessman, philanthropist, Christian pastor, and writer. I have always championed values of personal responsibility, compassion for those in need, and a belief that all share a calling to make our world a better place.
I am an Orange County native and lifelong Republican. I hold a B.A. from UCLA and an M.A. from Biola University. I am happily married to Gina. We live in Costa Mesa with our 5 amazing children, ages 22, 19, 18, 17 and 16.