What's More Valuable For Democratic Candidates, Solid Ideas And Values Or Perceived Coattails?
Tuesday night Elizabeth Warren was at the Re/code convention in DC. The guy above asked her the right question. I'm as happy with Bernie Sanders running for president as I would have been with Warren running. Either would make an infinitely more useful president than anything Establishment politics is about to puke up at us. Will the Republican clown car/horror show frighten enough people to force them to overlook Hillary Clinton's shortcomings and pick her as the lesser evil?
That said, Blue America is very eager to help elect a slate of solid, dedicated progressives running for the House and another slate of solid, dedicated progressives running for the Senate and we're wondering how strong the Democratic Establishment's arguments are that Hillary is likely to have powerful coattails. Shouldn't those coattails be strong enough to help P.G. Sittenfeld defeat Rob Portman in Ohio, and help Lou Vince beat Steve Knight in CA-25, and help Jason Ritchie depose Dave Reichert in WA-08? These are swing races, and some strong coattails are going to make all the difference in the world. Does Hillary have them? The Democratic Establishment asserts she does and promises she will help elect scores of down-ballot candidates across the country.
This morning Politico ran a feature on what the Beltway Dems optimistically call "the Hillary effect." "Party officials are using Hillary Clinton’s candidacy to recruit candidates at every level of office and employing a simple pitch: Democratic voter turnout tends to be higher in presidential election years-- and next year, the former secretary of state’s historic candidacy and formidable organizing efforts will have an especially catalytic effect."
Conservative Democrats-- essentially Blue Dogs and New Dems-- who have voting records that align with the Republicans and have only the shallowest support from Democratic base voters are desperate for Hillary. The Senate run of Florida reactionary Patrick Murphy, for example, is based on encouragement from Beltway bosses like Schumer and Reid with the premise of Clinton's presence at the top of the ticket. Similarly, the entire New Dem coalition is counting on her to save their worthless asses. One of the worst, most right-wing Democrats in the House, Sean Patrick Maloney in upstate New York, is a major GOP target, but feels confident that Clinton will save him. "Hillary Clinton is a force multiplier," he's quoted as saying, arguing that her " 'old-school' organizing efforts around the country could be a windfall for down-ballot candidates."
Brad Schneider, a Democrat who squeaked into Congress in 2012 after winning a suburban Chicago seat on the strength of President Barack Obama’s dominance in Illinois but then lost in 2014, believes his odds of recapturing the seat increase considerably with Clinton at the top of the ballot.Brownley has it all going for herself-- a woman and a miserable conservative of basically no real value to anyone other than her own career aspirations. Go, Hill!
“It makes it worth going through the gantlet of another election,” said Schneider, who will be running against GOP Rep. Bob Dold for the third time. “I am really excited that she’s running. The anticipation of her candidacy was a major factor in my decision to run.”
Top party operatives say the promise of Clinton’s coattails is fueling a recruitment bonanza in down-ballot contests, with prospective candidates frequently citing Clinton’s presidential bid as an inducement to run.
Democrats don’t expect to retake the House in 2016, but they understand the need to field competitive candidates to chip away at the Republicans’ historic majority. In part, that’s why the Clinton campaign and its allies have begun talking up her efforts to build an infrastructure in all 50 states, an organizational show of strength that could encourage wary prospects to run for Republican-held House seats-- even in states that aren’t competitive in the Electoral College.
Dave Calone, a Democratic businessman challenging freshman Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-N.Y.) in an eastern Long Island swing district, said Clinton’s likely place at the top of the ticket was “definitely an important part of deciding to run.”
“I kind of grew up as a Clinton Democrat,” said Calone, who worked as an intern in President Bill Clinton’s White House in 1994. “Those were my formative years, politically.”
Last month, the Clinton camp launched its “Ramp Up Grassroots Organizing Program,” sending paid staff to every state to coordinate volunteer trainings and other party-building efforts. Though it’s not specifically aimed at recruiting House candidates, allies hope the mere presence of a Clinton infrastructure could motivate top prospects to run. That’s particularly true in bright red bastions of the Midwest, like Kansas, where organizing events are more about generating down-ballot buzz than they are about winning the state’s electoral votes.
In presidential swing states where the Clinton campaign will commit massive resources, the recruitment pitch is even more straightforward. “Any Democrat that runs in those states is going to benefit from her infrastructure,” a DCCC aide said.
...“In a presidential year for Democrats, more people come to the polls, so couple that with Hillary Clinton, a woman running for president, I think intensifies it and brings it to another level, where 2016 will hopefully be the year of women,” said California Rep. Julia Brownley, a second-term Democrat who narrowly won reelection last fall.
Emerge America, a group promoting female candidates, recently launched a “Follow Hillary’s Lead” effort aimed at using Clinton’s candidacy to get reluctant women off the sidelines, and EMILY’s List has also built Clinton into its pitch to prospective recruits.
“For candidates and for voters, the idea of electing the first woman president is inspiring and energizing,” EMILY’s List President Stephanie Schriock said in a statement.
|Many voters want Bill Clinton back in the White House|