If Clinton Beats Trump 60-40%, The DCCC Would Still Fail To Take Back The House-- And Anyone Who Tells You Differently, While Asking You For A Donation...
On fear of being cut off-- from information, from comity, from cocktail parties-- Beltway journalists don't ever mess with the DCCC, DSCC, NRCC or NRSC. When operations like Cook, for example-- the worst of the worst-- sends out their analysis of the election landscape, it is basically a synthesis of whatever the DCCC and NRCC want propagated-- or what the DSCC and NRSC want propagated. That passes for not just electoral reporting but for the standard and the basis for everyone else's reporting on the elections. So last week I was proud of HuffPo congressional reporter Matt Fuller striking out on his own-- not denouncing the DCCC or calling them out on their incompetence per se, let alone their corruption-- but presenting his readers with an independent look at how the congressional elections are shaping up. Matt's not burning any bridges, but at least his head wasn't firmly planted up Steve Israel's or Greg Walden's ass.
Let me start with an example: PA-07, the suburban Philly district-- large swathes of Delaware, Montgomery, and Chester counties and slivers of Berks and Lancaster counties-- that was formerly represented by Joe Sestak and is now held by weak and vulnerable Republican Pat Meehan. Obama won the district in 2008 with 53% and then lost it narrowly in 2012 with 49%. (On the same day Democratic Senator Bob Casey swept the district, running up massive landslides in Delaware and Montgomery counties and respectable wins in Berks and Chester.) Current polling shows Hillary likely to crush Señor Trumpanzee by at least 2-1 in the district. Earlier in the cycle, the DCCC pointed to PA-07 as exactly the kind of district it had to win back to take back the House. They recruited some Wall Street schnook, Bill Golderer, to run against the local grassroots candidate, Mary Ellen Balchunis, put Golderer on their laughable Red-to-Blue list, made sure he was loaded with cash-- he spent $351,551 against Mary Ellen-- and told Democratic donors to not contribute to Mary Ellen, aggressively sabotaging her campaign. Her door-to-door grassroots campaign spent less than a tenth of what Golderer and his DCCC allies spent but on primary day, she kicked their asses from Skippack and Whitmarsh down through Springfield, Upper Providence, Marple and Radnor and all the way up and around the gerrymandered district into the suburbs south and east of Reading. On primary night, Pelosi and Israel and Lujan were left in shock as their silly puppet candidate's massively expensive campaign drew just 18,276 votes (26%) to Mary Ellen's 51,525 votes (74%).
So what does Pelosi, Inc do? Embrace Mary Ellen-- when women win, America wins or something-- and buckle down in a display of party unity to beat Meehan? Don't be silly. Pelosi and her wretched DCCC left the district and wrote it off-- the must win suburban district Hillary is crushing Trump in. Mary Ellen Balchunis is a mainstream progressive political science professor who backed Hillary in the primary but she's too independent-minded, too much like Elizabeth Warren, for a DCCC that's looking for zombie followers instead of dedicated leaders with actual ideas about serving their constituents. And... that was the end of the Beltway press ever mentioning PA-07 again. Right down the Cook Report memory hole-- BOOM!... disappeared off the face of the map.
That thermometer on the right shows some of the other districts where Pelosi pulled the same crap-- abandoning winnable districts as soon as progressives won the nomination. (I'm old enough to remember when Nancy Pelosi was a progressive. I even voted for her when I lived in her district, something I would never make the mistake of doing again.)
Now, back to Matt Fuller at HuffPo. He goes through the pre-manufactured excuses the DCCC has prepared for when they fail to win the House back again in November. "Gerrymandering," they will whine. "Citizens United," they will weep, disingenuously. "Democrats will be outspent by secret outside money from Republicans," whimpered ridiculous Steve Israel sock puppet Ben Ray Lujan. But then he has the temerity to take a step in the direction of telling his readers the real reason why the DCCC is failing again.
But ask aides at the National Republican Campaign Committee, and they’ll give you a simple answer: Democratic candidate recruitment.If Pelosi and Hoyer live forever and neither ever retires, the Republicans will control the House of Representatives for eternity. Pelosi and Hoyer have discovered a losing formula that they're comfortable with and will never let it go-- and the House Democrats are such a stableful of incapable sheep that no one will ever stand up to them-- ever! This is the cycle they could take back the House-- next cycle they will lose seats, not gain seats-- but they have already set the table in such a way that even a Clinton landslide against Trumpanzee will leave Paul Ryan and his henchmen in control on the House.
“The DCCC’s recruitment efforts have been an unmitigated disaster, and that’s being kind,” said Katie Martin, a spokeswoman for the NRCC.
On Thursday, NRCC Chairman Greg Walden (R-Ore.) told reporters at a National Press Club event that Democrats had “multiple recruitment failures” that will help Republicans keep a healthy majority in the House.
Specifically, Republicans point to 10 races [including the disappeared PA-07] where Democrats ended up with someone who isn’t their ideal candidate. There’s Pennsylvania’s 6th District, where Democrats are running a candidate whose house is being foreclosed on. Then there’s New Jersey’s 2nd District, where the Democratic challenger ended the last reporting period with $576 cash on hand. And in Washington’s 8th District, the Democrat dropped out before the primary, but still managed to win the nomination.
...Failures on both sides notwithstanding, Republicans appear confident they will hold onto the House, even with Trump at the top of the ticket. As Walden argued Thursday, the DCCC’s playbook of tying Republicans to Trump isn’t working as well as Democrats had hoped.
“Show me the data,” he said.
Walden conceded that Trump was unfavorable in the 24 closest races that Republicans and Democrats are battling over. But he noted that Clinton’s unfavorability was almost just as high in those districts. And there’s good evidence that many Republicans can outperform Trump-- meaning that even if the majority of those 24 districts go to Clinton, it doesn’t mean House Democrats will win them.
Democrats’ best hope for taking back the House is a late-October collapse from Trump that motivates Republicans to stay at home. But barring a Trump catastrophe, Democrats might not be poised to pick up many more additional seats than they would under more normal conditions. And many vulnerable Republicans are finding themselves in an unexpectedly better position because of weak Democratic opposition, or no opposition at all.