Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Today There's A Referendum On Trump In The Atlanta Suburbs


Trump stumbles into making the GA-06 special today all about him

According to Alan Grayson today is "a great day for a Trump train wreck... the first really winnable election for the Democrats during the Trump Error Era. Democrat Jon Ossoff is running against a boil of Georgia Republicans (group of spiraling hawks = “a boil”) in the special election for Tom Price’s Congressional seat. If he makes it to 50%, he wins; otherwise, there’s a runoff... Taking that seat from red to blue would strike real fear into the GOP. Nationwide polls show the GOP losing the 2018 election for the House by between six and nine points. The magic number is seven points-- that would be enough to overcome the vicious gerrymandering that the GOP has inflicted on voters around the country [and mean] bye-bye to the Trump agenda of cheap labor and debt slavery for Middle America."

Ryan's PAC and several other Republican SuperPACs have spent between 4 and 7 million dollars on today's GA-06 race. They understand the race isn't about one seat, but about the viability of Trump's legislative agenda. If Ossoff wins outright tonight to whatever extent Trump's agenda can be seen by anyone as "viable," that will cease tomorrow morning. Large numbers of congressional Republican who are already worrying that Trump is leading them off a cliff with begin publicly abandoning him and his positions, some subtly and some as ostentatiously as Mark Sanford and Justin Amash have.

Meanwhile, these 4 polls showed the state of the race in GA-06 as of Friday. All have Ossoff ahead of even the top 3 Republicans combined and all show him with momentum. We'll see tonight if the momentum grew enough to take him from 45% to 50% since Friday.

GA-06 is very red but it is also very not Trump country. Rubio won the district during the GOP primary. In fact, Trump won every county in Georgia except Fulton, DeKalb, Cobb and Clarke, which were won by Rubio. The first 3 are the counties that make up GA-06. Hillary beat Trump in the 3 GA-06 counties:
Cobb- 48.8% to 46.7%
DeKalb- 80.8% to 16.1%
Fulton- 62.9% to 27.1%
The GA-06 parts of those counties weren't as progressive and Trump managed to win-- but only by the narrowest of margins-- 48.3% to 46.8%. Even so, the new Fox poll shows that if Ossoff is forced into a run-off today, his likeliest Republican opponent, Karen Handel, is unable to beat him in June. Fox's survey shows Ossoff beating Handel is a head-to-head match-up 44.1% to 42.1%.

Someone must have told Trump how important the race is because yesterday he was tweeting incoherently about it. It gave Ossoff an opportunity to respond and show Georgia voters the contrast: "While I'm glad the President is interested in the race, he is misinformed. I'm focused on bringing fresh leadership, accountability, and bipartisan problem solving to Washington to cut wasteful spending and grow metro Atlanta's economy into the Silicon Valley of the South."

A NY Times OpEd by Steve Phillips yesterday, he acknowledges that "The outpouring of outrage across the country in response to Donald Trump’s election has created a significant opening for flipping Republican-held House seats" but warned against the corrupt and incompetent DCCC/consultant model that has proven disastrous for Democratic candidates for a decade.
A combination of Democratic enthusiasm and Republican complacency has created the conditions for change in Georgia and other forthcoming congressional races. In the Kansas special election last week, Republican turnout was down 62 percent from November, while Democratic turnout dipped only 32 percent-- conditions that nearly brought an upset for James Thompson, the Democratic candidate.

To seize this opportunity, however, Democrats must fight their addiction to consultant-driven paid ads that seek to persuade supposed swing voters and instead invest significant resources in getting core Democratic supporters to the polls.

Mr. Ossoff has raised an astounding $8.3 million since announcing his candidacy in January. If he doesn’t emerge with 50 percent of the vote in the crowded primary tomorrow, he will require smarter and more data-driven spending to win the runoff election in June.

The conventional wisdom is that the Sixth Congressional District in Georgia, in the suburbs north of Atlanta, is a conservative district and that the only way to win is by running on a relatively conservative platform.

That analysis may hold water in high-turnout presidential elections, but in a special election, it fails to appreciate just how many liberal voters there are and how decisive their numbers could be.

True, in November 2016, the Democrat received only 38 percent of the vote in that district, but that 38 percent equals about 125,000 people. In a district that has consistently elected Republicans for decades, the fact that 125,000 people still cast their ballots for the Democrat in 2016 is a powerful statement by people who are proud to be Democrats and not pining to be Republican-lite.

With turnout expected to be relatively low, Mr. Ossoff is likely to need only 75,000 votes to win. The challenge for Democrats in Georgia and beyond is to inspire their core voters by running on a strong, unapologetic progressive platform and, especially important, to make major investments in the proven practice of deploying paid canvassers to knock on Democratic doors, get commitments to vote and then make sure those supporters get to the polls.

Fortunately, there are some signs that Mr. Ossoff is trying to mobilize Democratic voters with reports saying his campaign has dozens of paid field staff members working with volunteers and captains in every precinct.

The threshold question facing all Democratic candidates is what is the rationale for how they spend their money? The overwhelming allocation of the $6 million Mr. Ossoff’s campaign has spent has gone to paid ads-- nearly $3 million on media buys and $2 million on online ads [all commissionable by the consultants who insist on this massive waste of money].

Who is the intended target of these ads? Are those expenditures targeting the 125,000 Democrats to inspire them to turn out again, or are they designed to convince Republican frequent voters that Mr. Ossoff isn’t such a bad guy?

In addition to the Democrats who voted in November, there are tens of thousands of African-American, Latino and Asian-American eligible voters in the district, but their participation is usually lower for many reasons. That is a solvable problem for a candidate with many millions of dollars and a résumé that includes an internship with John Lewis, the civil rights legend who represents a nearby district.

The cost of turning out an infrequent voter is roughly $30 to $50 per voter. Devoting just $1 million of Mr. Ossoff’s enormous financial haul to such a program would increase minority voter participation by about 25,000 voters, bringing him much closer to the 75,000 vote number he needs.

There are also some signs that the Democratic Party is “getting it.” The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee has signaled a shift from previous practice by assigning nine staff members to the Georgia special election to help with turnout instead of simply running television commercials, as it has frequently done in past elections.

If Democrats want to do well in 2018, they need to start spending money now on programs to increase voter turnout then. Over the past decade, the party whose voters have been least inspired to participate in the midterms has lost control of the House of Representatives.

In 2006, Republicans held the majority in the House, but their voter turnout plummeted, with nearly twice as many Republicans staying home as Democrats, allowing enough seats to change parties to make Nancy Pelosi the speaker.

In 2010, the tables were turned: Democratic turnout fell sharply by 26 million people, Republican turnout dipped by just 7 million, and Ms. Pelosi had to surrender the gavel.

By spending their money more wisely, Democrats can win the Georgia special election and, in 2018, prevail in enough races to recapture control of the House of Representatives.
One of the take-aways from the CA-34 special election was that the consultant-driven campaigns-- especially the Sara Hernandez mess-- were doomed because the candidates spent all their time raising money so that their "empolyees" could buy lots of pointless TV spots and make himself and his consultant buddies richer. Hernandez had the most TV spots-- and she came in 4th, with a sad 5.8% of the vote. Alejandra Campoverdi was in an identical situation-- crooked establishment consultants calling all the shots-- and huge money wasted on TV ads resulting in the #10 slot and just 2.5% of the vote. Prohibitive front-runner Jimmy Gomez didn't spend money on TV and their biggest expenditure was for get out the vote efforts and a massive paid field program. That's why he had 3 times more votes than the 2 TV-running campaigns combined.

Goal Thermometer Important to remember, whether Ossoff wins outright or is driven into a run-off, the at-large Montana special election is May 25. The Democratic candidate, Rob Quist is a solid populist non-politician running against a sleazy multimillionaire Montana voters just pointedly rejected in November. You can contribute to Quist's campaign (and Ossoff's runoff) at the Blue America Flip Congress thermometer on the right. And let's go back to Alan Grayson for a moment to bring this full circle. He read Phillip's piece in The Times and said "The only two things that matter in elections are what the voters see and what the voters hear." Grayson has long been a GOTV advocate and field operations have always been key in his own campaigns.

Labels: , , , , , ,


At 2:08 PM, Anonymous Hone said...

Figners crossed for Ossoff.


Post a Comment

<< Home