Sunday, August 07, 2016

Don't Get Excited About The Democrats Taking Back The House-- Pelosi's DCCC Has Made That Impossible


There are 10 American cities with a population of a million or more. Each one is a Democratic Party bastion. But the battle for the control of Congress this year is likely to be decided in the suburbs of these cities. And with the Trumpanzee cratering among suburban voters, in theory the Democrats should find suburban swing congressional districts very rich ground. So these are the 10 biggest U.S. cities with the suburbs filled with Trumpophobic voters:
New York City
Los Angeles
San Antonio
San Diego
San Jose
Let's start with New York City. If you count Staten Island as a suburb, which it kind of is, there are 5 suburban districts held by Republicans: NY-01 (eastern Suffolk County- Lee Zeldin), NY-02 (Nassau-Suffolk, South Shore- Peter King), NY-11 (Staten Island plus the Bayridge and Bensonhurst sections of Brooklyn- Dan Donovan), NY-19 (Central Hudson Valley, Catskills- open) and NJ-05 (Bergen County- Scott Garrett). 5 seats, all historically attainable with the possible exception of NJ-05, which would need an anti-Trump tsunami for a Democratic win. Obama lost narrowly there both times and the heinous Garrett is pretty firmly entrenched, beating all his Democratic opponents by double digits. This cycle the DCCC recruited a Wall Street-friendly insider, Josh Gottheimer, who has outraised Garrett $2,899,643 to $1,357,412. Pelosi's House Majority PAC has already thrown $773,303 into the district attacking Garrett, by far the most her PAC has spent in any race this year. In fact, it's more than all the money the House Majority PAC has spent on all candidates combined so far this year. The DCCC prefers conservative insiders and spends on them while starving progressives, populists and outsiders of campaign funds.

The only other NYC area district Pelosi's PAC has spent in so far is NY-01, where they spent $163,716 against incumbent Lee Zeldin. After a bitter primary between two extremely mediocre and meaningless candidates, Anna Throne-Holst, who switched her party registration weeks before the deadline, emerged as the winner over Dave Calone, 5,446 to 5,417. EMILY's List poured $728,467 into the race to beat Calone. Throne-Holst is a weak candidate who, if she wins, will be a horrible member of Congress who would find it expensive and nearly impossible to hold the seat. The DCCC is likely to spend over $2 million on her behalf. Obama won the district both times, narrowly, but Zeldin beat centrist Democratic incumbent Tim Bishop 54-46% in 2014.

NY-02 is a better bet for a Democrat. Obama won the district 51-48% against McCain and 52-47% against Romney. The district has been re-drawn to include more of blue-leaning Suffolk and less red areas of Nassau. The incumbent, Peter King, isn't well known in Suffolk and the progressive Democrat running, DuWayne Gregory, is the presiding officer of the Suffolk County legislature. He's the Democrats' best bet on Long Island except for one little problem: Steve Israel. Israel is pals with Peter King and protects him and has blackballed and undercut Gregory. Israel is a virulent racist who opposes African-Americans running in "white" districts and has told institutional Democratic donors to not waste their money on Gregory, who has only raised $263,058 to go up against King's $3,088,146 war chest. Israel persuaded the DCCC to blackball Gregory. So... the Democrats' best chance to take back a Republican-held seat on Long Island is being tossed away without a fight because of Steve Israel's peculiar nature, a nature-- he's a Blue Dog-- that has devastated the Democrats in the House for years. (Please contribute to DuWayne Gregory's campaign here.)

I'll come back to NY-11 in a moment. Let me first skip to the bright spot on the electoral horizon: NY-19, the open seat that is more exurban than suburban and includes 7 full counties and part of 4 others upstate. Obama beat McCain 53-45% and then beat Romney 52-46%. Chris Gibson, who beat the weakest Democrat the DCCC dug up in 2014, Sean Eldridge, 64-36%, is retiring and the GOP has fielded an unattractive rightist, John Faso, who is a bad fit for the district. The Democrats nominated one of their best candidates anywhere in the country, Zephyr Teachout. The DCCC was reluctantly added her to their Red to Blue list after irresistible pressure from donors. But they haven't spent a dime on the race, while odious hedge fund billionaires Robert Mercer and Paul Singer have already spent $915,269 bolstering Faso. Teachout has raised $1,631,121 with zero DCCC help while the NRCC has been very active in helping Faso raise $1,400,550. This is another race progressives should invest in-- same page as DuWayne Gregory. The DCCC and Pelosi's Majority PAC are spouting poor excuses for not jumping into the Teachout race the way they have into Gottheimer's much, much, much longer-shot-- and a longer shot for what? A born backbencher and careerist with a short political lifespan based on corruption and cowardly voting with the GOP? Sickening.

And that brings us to Staten Island, the bulk of NY-11, where the Democrats haven't even bothered to recruit a candidate against freshman Dan Donovan. A local progressive named Richard Reichard is running and he's raised $14,115 against Donovan's $1,570,735. the NRCC and Chamber of Commerce have already spent over $200,000 on Donovan while the DCCC has completely written off NY-11 as though it didn't exist, which is odd since Obama beat Romney 52-47% districtwide and even beat him in the Staten Island part of the district. In the 2012 U.S. Senate race, Kirsten Gillibrand (D) beat Wendy Long (R) 83,341 to 46,277. "But," the DCCC might counter, "Staten Island was Trump's strongest county in the New York primary." That's true-- but meaningless. In the last presidential election 133,944 people voted on Staten Island. Only 55,155 Staten Islanders participated in the primary and while Trump slaughtered Kasich and Cruz (20,263 for Trump, 2,502 for Kasich and 1,923 for Cruz), Hillary and Bernie beat all three Republicans that day. That's right, the DCCC is writing off Staten Island but 30,467 Democrats turned out for Hillary and Bernie while only 24,688 turned out for Trump, Kasich and Cruz. There is no reason to think Trump will be anything but a drag on Donovan in November. So another one the DCCC is giving away... for no reason.

We could go down the whole list of cities, one by one, and show how the DCCC is blowing it, district after district. Against the will of local Democrats they forced a weak centrist, Bryan Caforio, into the CA-25 race against Steve Knight, recruited no candidate to run against potentially vulnerable Republican Ed Royce (CA-39) in blue-trending northern Orange County and are basically ignoring Darrell Issa's opponent in the blue-trending San Diego suburbs, all districts where Trump is likely it tank badly.

In the Chicago 'burbs, they recruited a weak conservative, Brad Schneider (IL-10), who has already lost the seat and won't be able to hold it in 2018 if he wins in November and refused to get involved against Peter Roskam in IL-06, where Amanda Howland raised $41,787 against Roskam's $2,195,345.

The latest polling from the Philly suburbs, where there are 3 vulnerable Republicans, shows Hillary beating Trump by 40 points. But Joe Sestak's old seat (PA-07-- Delaware County plus parts of Chester, Berks and Montgomery counties), which Obama won against McCain 53-46% and then narrowly lost to Romney 50-49%, has been abandoned by the DCCC because their Wall Street shill of a candidate got wiped out by a progressive, Mary Ellen Balchunis, in the primary, 74-26%. The DCCC had spent money in PA-07 trying to beat Balchunis but when she slaughtered their ridiculous candidate, they just pulled up stakes and told the GOP the district belongs to them. (Want to shit on the horrible DCCC? Contribute to Mary Ellen's campaign here.) The Democrats have weak candidates in PA-06 ("ex"-Republican Mike Parrish) and PA-08 (Steve Santasiero). So here's 3 districts where Trump will drag down the whole GOP ticket and DCCC incompetence and petulance are once again leading the Democrats into the wilderness.

Everyone of these cities' suburbs have a similar story. San Antonio shares a district with Austin (the 11th largest city in the U.S. now, so not on our list of top 10 cities). But TX-21 goes from the Texas Hill Country up into downtown Austin and down into Bexar County and the 'burbs north of San Antonio, not a good area for Trump. If ever the Democrats were going to start taking back Texas for real-- instead of in fantasy-- this would be the year and TX-21 would be the district. Lamar Smith, chairman of the House Science Committee is being blamed, along with Paul Ryan, for the Zika outbreak and he is increasingly unpopular in the district. But after progressive Berniecrat Tom Wakely beat a conservative Democrat in the primary, the DCCC has steadfastly refused to even take his phone calls! He's only raised $37,063 against Smith's $1,244,698 and this is another district where progressives should invest in a big way.

The point is that when you hear the DCCC or the moron TV talking heads like Steve Kornacki, the MSNBC "expert," who knows nothing at all beyond a 5 mile radius of where he lived in New Jersey, remember they're talking about theory, not about reality. You can't beat someone with no one. If Hillary beats Trump by 10 points, the DCCC can still manage to prevent the Democrats from winning the House. It's what they do; it's what they've become expert in. And then they'll celebrate electing a few Blue Dogs and New Dems from the Republican wing of the Democratic Party-- who will proceed to vote with the GOP for two years and then be defeated in 2018-- while blaming their inability to win back the House on gerrymandering or whatever canned excuses are handy. Forget them and their bogus money-raising claims about winning back the House. The realistic and attainable goal is to elect more progressive leaders in winnable seats while building a bluer national infrastructure-- these:
Goal Thermometer

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At 7:52 AM, Anonymous ap215 said...

Agreed too bad the corporate media doesn't get when they keep posting these Electoral stories saying Polls say Democrats expect to take over congress & such. I would like to believe them & i think we'll win some seats but as long as Nancy Pelosi & The Establishment are in charge no dice.

At 9:36 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Please give to Richard Reichard.

At 11:40 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Do you ever get the idea that a tacit "agreement" was worked out that cedes the House to the Republicans as part of Obamas "post partisan" doctrine of governing?

At 1:25 PM, Blogger cybermome said...

YeP I'm in Montgomery County PA 13th Congressional District 'They" tried foisting Majorie Mezvinsky on us. The WORST candidate I have ever heard AND the mother in law of Chelsea Chinton

At 7:15 PM, Blogger All Knowing One said...

Which is why I don't donate to, either, the DCCC or the DSCC, anymore-I donate to candidates.

At 7:25 PM, Blogger Palli said...

Away from big cities, the DCCC does the same thing. A challenger to Freedom Caucus Chair Rep. Jim Jordan (OH Dist 4) named Janet Garrett gets no help from the Dems. She is a protege of Rep. Marcy Kaptur who represent for a decade some portions of the now weirdly gerrymandered district. (District 4 is now shaped like a long necked duck-every bit as bad as any district in the US.) janet Garrett is a retired teacher and with solid progressive credentials. She felt she had to jump into the race because the Dem party was reluctant to oppose Jordan. Garrett endorsed Bernie and has seen no virtually no support from the DNC. She is running a hard-working campaign to represent the varied constituencies. On the other hand, Jim Jordan appears to on vacation, content thinking he is protected. If anyone has extra energy or money, consider this Ohio progressive.

I have no doubt that there is an agreement between the parties to protect leadership roles. This is no way to run a Congress.


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