Wednesday, March 20, 2013

The Democrats CAN Win Back The House-- IF Steve Israel Flows With DCCC Staffers' Vision!


By the end, the Dems had won 201 House seats, a net gain of 8

You can always count on Stuart Rothenberg for a tidy summary of conventional wisdom and he didn't disappoint in yesterday's Roll Call story about how the Democrats can't win back the House. "Democrats," he insists, "need to net 17 seats next year to reach a 218-seat majority in the House." That's correct and... hardly news. The next two words, though, are the warning signal that he's going off track. "Democratic operatives identify 30 House Republicans who won by less than 10 points last year and assert that the margin makes them vulnerable in 2014. But the GOP incumbents who won by less than 10 points didn’t start, or end, at the same place last cycle."

"Democratic operatives?" Someone working at the DCCC with some wooden mathematical formulas unrelated to Outside-the-Beltway reality? To his credit, Rothenburg goes on to whittle them doing by pointing out how illogical some of them are. But he still premises his whole story on the list from the operatives (which he keeps to himself). Does he include, for example, CA-25, Buck McKeon's Santa Clarita, Simi Valley, Antelope Valley where Lee Rogers came closer to beating Buck McKeon last year than anyone (in DC) ever imagined. The NRCC just rated it a swing district and has McKeon on life-support. There are even rumors he may-- under pressure-- retire to become a lobbyist and turn the nomination over to Tony Strickland, who Julia Brownley beat (52-48%) in the next door district (CA-26) last year.

Lee Rogers won the Antelope Valley portion of the district last year and, much better known now, he's likely to run again in 2014. Romney edged Obama in the district 49.7- 47.8% but the district's fast-growing Hispanic population is not on the GOP's side. McKeon, a notorious bigot, has been a hard-liner on anti-immigration policies. If the DCCC gets behind Rogers in 2014, McKeon would probably in short order-- and easily by 2015-- be working for one of the arms merchants whose agenda he champions in Congress. Going for seats of senior Republican policy-makers who Israel let off the hook in 2012, is one way to reach that magic 17 that no one in DC wants to talk about. Aside from McKeon, other Republicans who got free passes in 2012 but could be vulnerable in 2014 include the hated top two leaders, Boehner and Cantor plus committee chairs, Fred Upton (50.2%), Ed Royce (50.8%), Darrell Issa (52.4%), Mike Rogers (51.1%) and Dave Camp (53.5%). The number in brackets is Romney's total in the district.

Yesterday, another media observer of congressional elections, Greg Giroux, went back to how Republicans can win far more House seats than Democrats, even with far more people voting for Democrats than for Republicans-- yes, the still not outlawed gerrymander
A majority of Americans disapprove of the Republicans in Congress, yet the odds remain in the party’s favor that it will retain control of the House. One big reason the Republicans have this edge: their district boundaries are drawn so carefully that the only votes that often matter come from fellow Republicans.

The 2010 elections, in which Republicans won the House majority and gained more than 700 state legislative seats across the nation, gave the party the upper-hand in the process of redistricting, the once-a-decade redrawing of congressional seats. The advantage helped them design safer partisan districts and maintain their House majority in 2012-- even as they lost the presidential race by about 5 million votes. Also nationwide, Democratic House candidates combined to win about 1.4 million more votes than Republicans, according to data compiled by Bloomberg News.

...The 2012 results show how Republicans gerrymandered congressional lines to produce favorable outcomes even in states that lean Democratic.

In Michigan, Ohio and Pennsylvania, the clustering of Democrats in metropolitan areas made it easy for Republican line-drawers to pack them into a few districts while giving their own party more modest-- yet consistent-- advantages in the remaining ones.

In Pennsylvania, where Democratic votes are concentrated in Philadelphia and Pittsburgh, Republicans won 13 of 18 House seats while losing the statewide congressional vote, 2.8 million to 2.7 million. In North Carolina, Republicans drew three districts to be overwhelmingly Democratic and won nine of the other ten, even as House Democratic candidates won the statewide vote, 2.2 million to 2.1 million.
Easy? Nope. But can it be done? Yes... but not if Obama sells out Social Security and Medicare and only if Israel gives up on this crazy notion that he should spend all the DCCC's resources trying to reinvigorate the dead Blue Dog movement or replace it with Wall Street allied New Dems. And only if he lets go his misplaced Broderistic Center Aisle civility and targets GOP leaders the same way the GOP always targets Democratic leaders. 2014 could actually see that-- since one of the leaders the GOP has decided to target next year is... Steve Israel.

Two Florida Republican clowns defeated in 2012

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