Can The Democrats Win Back The House? Not With Pelosi's DCCC
When the DNC and DCCC ask you for a contribution with a promise that they're going to take back the House, they're being as dishonest as... well, as dishonest as Trump is with his myriad manipulative statements. The corrupt and incompetent DCCC hasn't put the work in that would be needed to take back the House and they don't have the candidates to do it. It's a good theory-- and if the DCCC was even vaguely competent it could be done with alacrity this cycle-- but Pelosi has put together a dysfunctional losing-machine that will never win until she and Hoyer and gone and their DCCC is gone with them.
Unfortunately, the media has generally either been too lazy or too stupid to do anything but give credence to their silly claims about "taking back the House." Nate Cohn, though, writing for yesterday's NY Times reported that even with an anti-Trump tsunami "a House takeover by Democrats is no small task. They would need to pick up 30 seats, and, as of today, it’s hard to identify 30 seats where Republicans are in serious danger." Even a wave election, he wrote, "might not be enough for Democrats to retake the House." He's being generous.
He speculates that a Hillary landslide might result in a big shift in the House than in the past. "That’s because the relationship between presidential and down-ballot vote choice has tightened."
On the other hand, the tight relationship between the presidential and House ballots might be ready to break this year. After all, this isn’t an ordinary election about Democrats versus Republicans: This is about Mr. Trump, a very unusual candidate and one of the best-known people in the world.Worse yet, he writes, that even with a big Hillary win and then a midterm and reelection campaign, "given the tendency for the president’s party to struggle down-ballot [i]f Democrats are going to retake the House anytime soon, November would probably be their best shot, and as of now it’s not happening." So how could it happen? Now we're in fantasy world because, like I said, it can't happen as long as Pelosi and Hoyer are running the show. Incompetence and a losing mentality is baked into the DCCC cake and the cake has to be rebuilt from scratch for it to start winning again. But let's imagine an alternative universe where the DCCC is vaguely competent. How do they win? Their willful recruiting of corrupt conservative candidates has ruined even that picture. But let's even overlook that. What could they do now? Start by gently getting rid of this delusion and dishonest person:
So far, it doesn’t seem as if he has done enough damage to the rest of the party to put the House into question. The Cook Political Report estimates that just 36 Republican-held seats are either “tossups” or “leaning” Republican. Many of the well-educated white G.O.P. voters with reservations about Mr. Trump appear to be sticking by Republicans, at least for now.
The last live-interview survey to ask about the national House race was by McClatchy/Marist, which showed Democrats ahead by eight points, but that was far less than Mrs. Clinton’s 15-point lead in the same poll. Tellingly, House Republicans still had the edge among well-educated white voters, a group that supported Mrs. Clinton by 12 points in the poll.
Another indication that Mrs. Clinton’s lead hasn’t yet translated to a Democratic wave comes from the Washington State “top-two” primary. In that race, all of the candidates, regardless of party, appear on the same ballot-- and the top two candidates advance to the general. The result ends up looking a lot like the general election, although it generally tilts a bit to the Republicans. The primary results of 2006, 2008, 2010 and 2014 all gave clear indications of the playing field in November.
In the primary this month, Democrats did not appear especially competitive in the two Republican-held districts in Washington that were close in the 2012 presidential election (one that Mitt Romney won by two points, the other that Barack Obama won by two points). The Republican candidates led the sum of the Democrats by 18 and 14 points, respectively. Over all, Democrats did run well ahead of where they were in 2014 primaries. But these are the kinds of seats where the Democrats would hope to be a bit closer.
Right now, it’s hard to go seat by seat and identify the contests through which Democrats would pick up a majority. But that could change. The number of House seats that were deemed “tossups” or “leaning” by the Cook Political Report basically doubled over the final three months of the 2006, 2008 and 2010 elections.
The problem for Democrats, though, is that they might not retake the House even if they managed to perform as well as the Democrats of 2006 or 2008, or the Republicans of 2010.
Then they should stop supporting corrupt conservatives who-- even if they win in November-- will never be able to hold a seat in a midterm and redirecting their resources to strong and inspiring grassroots progressive Democrats like Mary Ellen Balchunis, Paul Clements, Dena Grayson, DuWayne Gregory, Mary Hoeft, Pramila Jayapal, Alina Valdes, Thomas Wakely, who, along with Jamie Raskin and Zephyr Teachout, who the DCCC is already supporting on some level, are the kinds of men and women the Democratic Party desperately needs moving into the future. Another thing the DCCC could do right now to show they are not the corrupt and venal institution so many Demiocrats see them (correctly) as, would be to endorse Tim Canova against their own foul and odious colleague, Debbie Wasserman Schultz, breaking with tradition and causing a political earthquake in Washington that would inspire Democrats from Maine to San Diego, Honolulu and Alaska. But they won't... and they'll lose again in November and lose worse in 2018. What can progressives do? Tap the thermometer and ask yourself that.