Saturday, February 04, 2017

Trump District Dems


Carol Shea-Porter and friend

Yesterday we looked at opportunities Democrats have in congressional districts where Hillary did better than Democrats normally do. But not every district is about opportunities. Some are about defense. There were a dozen districts that Democrats now hold where Trump beat Hillary. Most of them-- 75%-- are held by worthless Blue Dogs and New Dems (the Republican wing of the Democratic Party) who tend vote with the GOP on most key roll calls and even more so in committee. Democrats would be better off without them since the only function they serve is giving Ryan and McCarthy the opportunity to call their toxic, destructive agenda "bipartisan."

Importantly, though, there are 4 genuine and worthy Democrats whose districts went for Trump and who have to worry about what could happen to them in 2018, these 4: Goal Thermometer
NH-01- Carol Shea-Porter was elected by around 5,000 votes (44.2% to 42.9%) against a very well-funded incumbent, while Trump beat Hillary in her district, 48.2% to 46.6%. Carol Shea Porter and her GOP opponent, Frank Guinta, each spent around $1.5 million but while the NRCC spent $1,294,212 helping Guinta, the DCCC spent nothing at all on Shea-Porter. Blue America spent $12,500 helping Shea-Porter and Carol is someone deserving of grassroots help.
PA-17- Matt Cartwright was reelected with a more than 20,000 vote margin (53.8% to 46.2%) against an under-funded, little-known Republican, while Trump over-performed Romney (43.3%), beating Clinton 53.4% to 43.3%. Cartwright spent $859,029 on the race and his GOP opponent only managed to raise $30,578.
MN-08- Rick Nolan was reelected after one of the toughest election battles in the country. Nolan spent $2,874,695 and his wealthy opponent, Stewart Mills, spent $3,577,291, while Democrats spent over $7.4 million assisting Nolan and the Republican spent $6.2 million helping Mills. Nolan won a very close victory, 179,106 (50.3%) to 177,095 (49.7%), while Trump won massively-- 54.2% to 38.6%, a big turn-around from Obama's 2012 victory in the district when he beat Romney 51.7% to 46.2%.
IA-02- Dave Loebsack was reelected by about 25,000 votes (53.7% to 46.3% against Chris Peters. Loebsack raised $1,608,466 and Peters raised $216,593. Neither the DCCC nor the NRCC was involved in the race. Trump did much better than Romney had. Obama won the district, 55.8% to 42.7%, but in November Trump won it 49.1% to Hillary's 45.0%.
And these are the districts with Democrats who think they key to winning is to pretend to be a Republican and vote for the Trump-Ryan agenda. If you clicked on the thermometer above, you probably noticed none of their names are on the fundraising list-- nor are the names of the red state Senate Democrats who have been voting the Trump line, like McCaskill, Heitkamp, Manchin and Donnelly. Instead you found Sherrod Brown of Ohio and Tammy Baldwin of Wisconsin, each of whom knows the way to win is by bolstering the legitimate aspirations of working families in their states, states that voted Trump in November.

AZ-01- Tom O'Halleran is an "ex"-Republican, now a Blue Dog. He probably won the open R+4 red seat because the Republicans ran a gay sheriff with a very shady background, Paul Babeu, and the party didn't give him any support. O'Halleran took 117,048 votes (50.8%) to Babeu's 100,236 votes (43.5%). O'Halleran spent $1,579,377 and Babeu spent almost as much, $1,272,374. But where the DCCC spent $2.6 for O'Halleran, the NRCC wasn't interested and spent just $96,000 on Babeu's behalf. In 2018, they'll probably have a candidate more to their liking and will spend plenty to defeat O'Halleran. And why not? Trump won the district, 47.7% to 46.6%. Romney, who won the district in 2012, and Obama both did better than Trump and Hillary.

IL-17- Cheri Bustos is a Rahm Emanuel protégée and a reactionary Blue Dog. The GOP didn't bother to oppose her in November. She raised $3,504,463, while the poor schnook of a Republican who ran, Patrick Harlan, didn't even raise the $5,000 that would have triggered an FEC report. The NRCC didn't help at all. Obama had won this gerrymandered district-- gerrymandered by Democrats to help Bustos-- 57.6% to 40.6%. But Trump took the district against Clinton-- 47.4% to 46.7%. It's likely that the NRCC will look more closely at IL-17 in 2018. It would be helpful for the Democratic brand to be rid of Bustos who is on the DCCC recruiting committee and keeps blackballing progressives and wasting Democratic efforts on Blue Dog garbage like herself.

MN-01- Tim Walz was barely reelected, 169,076 (50.4%) to 166,527 (49.6%), spending $1,585,118 to Republican Jim Hagedorn's $356,277, with no spending by outside groups at all. Obama had won the district, narrowly, in 2012-- 49.6% to 48.2%. Hillary didn't. She lost badly, 53.3% to 38.4%. Walz is an NRA hack with a pretty bad voting record, not on a level of horribleness like Bustos, but not good enough to contribute to his campaign either.

MN-07- Collin Peterson didn't have a credible opponent this last cycle. Peterson raised $1,201,913 to Dave Hughes' $19,511 and won 173,571 (52.5%) to 156,950 (47.5%). The district is lost to Democrats. Romney won 53.9-44.1%. Trump did way better, beating Hillary 61.8% to 31.0%. Peterson deserves to be defeated. His record is a nightmare and on core issues he votes far more frequently with the Republicans than with the Democrats.

NJ-05- Josh Gottheimer is the worst of the Democratic freshmen, a completely worthless Wall Street whore who couldn't wait to join the Blue Dogs and New Dems. He's already got a worse lifetime ProgressivePunch crucial vote score than several Republicans. Gottheimer managed to beat detested Republican incumbent Scott Garrett, a bizarre extremist who the GOP was glad say good-bye to. Gottheimer spent $4,703,377 and Garrett spent $4,303,125 but where the difference really came into play was when the DCCC and Pelosi's PAC spent $3.7 million on behalf of Gottheimer while the NRCC and Ryan's PAC spent... ZERO on Garrett. Trump beat Clinton in the district 48.8% to 47.7%. So far, it doesn't look like Gottheimer deserves a second term. He does deserve a primary though.

NV-03- Jacky Rosen is a pretty worthless waste of a seat. She's already amassed a revolting, cowardly voting record that indicates she's someone who will likely not have a long or distinguished congressional career. She managed to win an open seat in southern Clark County against a much-disliked Republican politician and insider, Danny Tarkanian. She beat him by around 4,000 votes, 47.2% to 46.0%, while Trump won the district 47.5% to 46.5%. Here's another one who's earning a primary challenge.

NY-18- Sean Patrick Maloney is New York's worst congressional Democrat, a corporate New Dem who does his slimy call time from a hedge fund office. Obama won his upstate district 51.4- 47.1% in 2012 but in November, Trump edged out Hillary 49.0 to 47.1%. Maloney beat Republican Phil Oliva by almost 30,000 votes, 55.2-44.8%, after outraisng him $3,568,008 to $224,658. There was no party money spent on the race on either side. Maloney generally has one of the half dozen worst voting records of any Democrat; he deserves a primary.

WI-03- Ron Kind was the head of the New Dems until this year when Jim Himes took over. He's an affable enough guy but he votes with the GOP against the working families of western Wisconsin. They deserve better. The Republicans figure they're not going to find anyone more supportive of their agenda than Kind so they didn't bother to even find an opponent for him. He raised $2,105,216 from his sleazy campaign contributors, most of which he's stockpiling for 2018. Obama beat Romney in the district, 54.8 to 43.8% but voters felt Trump was more appealing than Clinton and gave him a 49.3% to 44.8% win.

Let me go back to Ron Brownstein's Atlantic piece on the new contours of the partisan divide. He started off writing about dedicated progressive Matt Cartwright and pointed out that the Republican-controlled Pennsylvania legislature drew Matt a safe blue district in order to get rid of Democrats in the surrounding districts to elect extra Republicans to Congress. "Obama easily carried the district twice," he wrote, "winning about 56 percent of the vote each time. But last November, Cartwright’s district lurched sharply toward Donald Trump, who beat Hillary Clinton there by about 10 percentage points. The shift in Cartwright’s district from Mitt Romney’s deficit against Obama to Trump’s advantage over Clinton was larger than the change in all but one other seat in the entire country. Cartwright still won comfortably against a lightly funded opponent, but his vote dipped from 57 percent in 2014 to slightly below 54 percent. Now, Republicans are eyeing Cartwright as a potential target in the 2018 midterm election more seriously than ever before."
Bracing for potentially tougher challenges in 2018 and beyond, many of the House Democrats in Trump districts are adopting a common playbook. The two pillars are emphasizing constituent services and focusing as much as possible on bread-and-butter economic issues. “The main point is that the economy outweighs everything else, so these registered Democrats came out and voted for Donald Trump because they’re hurting,” Cartwright said in a recent interview. “Here’s the lesson I take from that: These are my people. They’re hurting. Forget about Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton. My people are hurting. That means I have to redouble my efforts to take care of them. To make sure we do everything we can think of to promote manufacturing jobs in this area, to protect and preserve Social Security and Medicare, and to stimulate the economy so that it works for people around here.”

Likewise, Loebsack, the Iowa Democrat, said in an interview that he considers his accessibility a key to his survival. “For me it’s always been engaging people where they live, work, and play,” he said. “I get around to my counties, every one of my counties, on a very regular basis.”

The other key, Loebsack said, was to stay focused on core economic issues, including local concerns like rural access to broadband or protecting the renewable fuel standard that promotes biofuels. “When people want to talk to me about LGBT issues I talk about them, and I’m for equality,” he said. “When they want to talk about voting rights, I’m for that. But at the same time I think we need to have first and foremost the focus on the economy and jobs.”

...Tom Davis... is dubious Republicans will ultimately benefit from this rolling class realignment: “It didn’t surprise me that Trump saw this [resorting] and put an exclamation point on it,” Davis said, “but it’s still a loser for Republicans long-term.” ... What’s clear is that, in the near term, congressional Republicans are more bound than many might prefer to Trump’s path. If Trump’s popularity sinks by 2018, he would endanger House Republicans in all kinds of districts. But if Trump maintains a base of support similar to his profile today, he could solidify or even extend the commanding Republican advantage in predominantly blue-collar seats. If that happens, the Democrats’ hopes of regaining a House majority anytime soon will depend on them convincing ordinarily Republican-leaning white-collar suburbanites to express their continuing unease about Trump—by electing more Democratic representatives to resist him.
Thursday, Mike DeBonis, writing for the Washington Post, reported that the DCCC is already hiring organizers to work in traditionally Republican districts where Hillary excelled. They are seeking to "harness the wave of grass-roots protests that have greeted President Trump in his first weeks in office to reclaim the House majority in next year’s midterm elections." They targeted 20 districts so far. Being the DCCC-- one of the least competent organization on the planet-- it's unlikely to help much. In fact, the clueless Luján bragged that the new field operatives will be hired in most cases from within the targeted districts and who have previously worked on House campaigns there. That means they already have losing pounded into their consciousnesses and probably don't know how to do anything but lose. Having worked for the DCCC should disqualify people, not recommend them. This is frightening:
“We were able to quickly reach out to people we have trained as organizers, that have already been on campaigns, that know the communities and leaders, that know many of these districts,” he said. “We’re bringing them right back into the fold.”

A person familiar with the committee’s plans said the operatives will develop relationships and coordinate with local grass-roots leaders who are already taking part in protests and work with them to build capacity-- teaching them, for instance, how to set up phone banks, write letters to newspapers, organize rallies and meetups, and use social media to promote events and share photos and video.
The DCCC has a history of hiring the worst of the worst. Districts included in this program include the suburban belt Philly districts that the DCCC has proven year after year after year to be 100% incompetent to work in, as well as suburban districts in California, Minnesota and Colorado that they keep losing by doing the same stupid things over and over. New districts include Culberson's in Houston, Roskam's in Chicagoland, Royce's in Orange County and Sessions' in the Dallas suburbs, all obvious districts where Clinton won but where the DCCC has never fought.
Looking toward 2018, Democrats are hoping to avoid the dip in voter engagement they saw in the past two midterms under President Barack Obama, through which Republicans were able to build their strongest House majority since 1930. Major elements of the traditional Democratic coalition-- younger, poorer and minority voters-- simply did not turn out as strongly as they did in presidential election years.

Luján acknowledged that will have to change if Democrats can expect to retake the majority in two years: “A big part of this initiative is to help educate voters and create more awareness of the importance of midterm elections, and to stay just as active in a midterm election as you would in a presidential election.”
Luján should tackle the enthusiasm problem by recruiting candidates Democratic voters can actually be enthusiastic about,not the garbage Blue Dogs and New Dems Cheri Bustos keeps bringing to the table. If Luján keeps running crap candidates in the Rahm Emanuel-Steve Israel mold, the DCCC will just keep losing into eternity... unless Trump starts a nuclear war or sparks a Depression.

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At 2:33 PM, Anonymous Sue said...

Pa-7 here.AMEN


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