Sunday, November 11, 2012

Ready For The 2014 Primaries?


2014 primaries might be dangerous for corrupt corporate shills

Blue America worked with a lot of different organizations over the last year to help elect progressive candidates. We gave up on the Democratic Party, and especially the DCCC, long ago, realizing their only interests revolve around crass careerism and self-promotion. They're more likely to support a corrupt conservative corporate whore than an actual grassroots progressive eager to fight for working families. But of all the groups we did work with in the last cycle, I have to say-- and speaking just for myself-- the one I enjoyed collaborating with the most were the folks at the Campaign for Primary Accountability, ostensibly a bunch of Texas Republicans but in reality a group of smart, savvy anti-corruption reformers with a great work ethic and an enviable record of accomplishment when it comes to their one and only goal: defeating corrupt incumbents who have overstayed their welcome in Congress. They certainly has a better success rate than Karl Rove... although... other than Steve Israel, who didn't? (Actually, even Israel, who grotesquely underperformed every Democratic organization in the country, and is responsible for another two years of Boehner as Speaker, did better than Rove.)

Yesterday Curtis Ellis, who runs the day-to-day at the Campaign for Primary Accountability (CPA), told us that what they had accomplished was to "demonstrate how Super-PACs can have a positive influence empowering voters and changing Congress in a cost-effective manner. We achieved success by using the voter identification and mobilization techniques used successfully by the Obama campaign to identify low-propensity voters and motivate them to turn out on election day... California Congressmen Joe Baca and Pete Stark were on the Campaign for Primary Accountability's target list and they were defeated on November 6th when a number of outside groups including Mayor Michael Bloomberg helped fund challengers Gloria McLeod and Eric Swalwell."

Blue America found ourselves on the same side of the battle with CPA to oust corrupt Democratic incumbents Tim Holden in Pennsylvania and Silvestre Reyes in Texas, which led to replacing them both with reformers Matt Cartwright and Beto O'Rourke.

"Incumbents are more vulnerable than ever," Curtis told us. "The number of successful primary challenges in 2012-- in Congress and in state legislatures-- was higher than previous cycles. The 2014 midterms are the time for the progressive wing of the Democratic party to groom serious candidates to mount primary challenges in those safe districts currently held by corporatist Democrats.

"Wherever there are serious primary challengers, the Campaign for Primary Accountability will be there. We were proud to help level the playing field so Beto O'Rourke and Matt Cartwright and all the other challengers in 2012 could overcome the structural advantages incumbents enjoy, and we are ready to do it again in 2014."

They also deserve the credit for defeating corrupt Republicans Mean Jean Schmidt (R-OH) and Don Manzullo (R-IL) and for scaring the bejesus out of Jo Bonner (R-AL), Spencer Bachus (R-AL), Tim Murphy (R-PA) and Ralph Hall (R-TX). We don't always agree with their targeting and certainly didn't backing their efforts against Jesse Jackson, Jr. but they usually get it right-- and strategically, they always get it right. Unlike the lunkheads at the DCCC and the NRCC, they're awake to the world beyond the Beltway. Curtis:
If you talked to political professionals, they'd tell you if you want to win an election, "talk to the people who vote in that kind of an election. If you want to win a primary, talk to the people who vote in primaries. Don't waste your time talking to people who don't vote in primaries." CPA said we'd do something different-- we'll increase the number of people who vote in primaries. We talked to the people who should be voting in primaries but aren't, explained why they should, and motivated them to turn out and cast a ballot on primary day, something they hadn't done before.  And we succeeded in increasing turnout, even giving challengers their margin of victory.

This, by the way, is what President Obama's campaign did-- they motivated people who hadn't voted before to vote. Up to now, the political pros would have said don't waste your time talking to non-voters.

It's a new day and we have the key to the House in 2014.
Friday Cameron Joseph covered their efforts going forward for The Hill. "The group," he writes, "was created and mostly bankrolled by conservative Houston businessman Leo Linbeck, but it ran out of money in June, before the primary process was finished. But Ellis said the group would return with more ads and direct-mail pieces, as well as a renewed emphasis on turning out more primary voters with advanced ground game efforts, including 'peer pressure' letters similar to those used by President Obama's campaign that publicly called out registered voters who had yet to cast their ballots. 'This time we're not going to have a big noisy presidential race to suck money out of the room,' he said. 'I say to all the people who gave to Karl Rove this cycle, call me. We get better results than Karl, our Texans are smarter'."



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