Saturday, February 17, 2018

Is A Republican-Lite, Pro-NRA Approach Sometimes Needed For A Democrat?


Friday morning's post, How Many Pro-NRA Candidates Is The DCCC Trying To Sneak Into Congress This Cycle? Way Too Many, dealt with the Blue Dogs and New Dems from the Republican wing of the Democratic Party who:
back an NRA line
are DCCC darlings.
We dealt with Conor Lamb, whose PA-18 special election is less than a month away: March 13. It's a pretty red district with a PVI of R+11. Trump beat Hillary there by a massive 58.1-38.5%. She under-performed Obama and Trump over-performed Romney. For Lamb to win, he will really need a massive wave and everything going his way. Last week the House Blue Dog coalition formally endorsed him-- just in case anyone had any doubts about where he stood.

As of the December 31 FEC reporting deadline, Lamb had raised $557,551 and had $412,186 on hand and his Republican opponent, state Rep. Rick Saccone had raised $214,675 and had $199,938 on hand. Those figures were largely obliterated as the NRCC and other GOP outside groups spent $2,160,880 attacking Lamb as a Nancy Pelosi clone and another $825,182 bolstering Saccone. The DCCC spent $236,000 on Lamb's behalf. Since those officially reported expenditures, the RNC reports it will spend $1 million on a GOTV operation and Ryan's SuperPAC has invested $1.7 in anti-Lamb ads and has opened 2 field offices in the district. The DCCC ad, up top, is mediocre, unemotional and ineffective. It ran for 2 weeks and ended Feb. 12. As the Republican support for Saccone goes into overdrove, the DCCC seems to have left the field of battle entirely.

The most recent polling-- Feb 14-- by Monmouth tests 3 models, one for low turnout, one for high turnout and one with a surge model (akin to a big blue wave). Saccone wins in all 3 scenarios, but Lamb comes closest in the surge model-- 49-46%, within the poll's margin of error. In other words, Lamb needs Democratic enthusiasm if he's going to even have a chance. But... unlike Alabama, where unbelievable minority participation won the day for Doug Jones, there are virtually no minorities in PA-18. It's a very white district-- 2.3% black, 1.6% Asian, 1.4% Latino. That's not going drag Lamb over the finish line.

So what's Lamb doing to pull this off? Taking the Jon Ossoff route, AKA, Republican-lite. After the NRA/GOP massacre in Florida this week, Lamb took a standard Republican line.
Democratic congressional candidate Conor Lamb said Friday that new gun laws aren't the answer to preventing more mass shootings like the one at a Florida high school this week.

Lawmakers should instead improve the effectiveness of existing background-check laws, said Lamb, 33, of Mt. Lebanon, who is campaigning for a March 13 special election in Southwestern Pennsylvania.

“I believe we have a pretty good law on the books and it says on paper that there are a lot of people who should never get guns in their hands,” Lamb said at a campaign event in Carnegie. “And we know that the background check system is not achieving that result. What I think it's going to take is people in Congress who are willing to do more than just talk, who are willing to actually work together and stay late, if it requires that, and do some things that would really produce change.”

He didn't provide specifics on what he thinks might produce that change.

When asked whether he would support background checks for people who buy weapons at gun shows and online-- checks are not currently required for all private sales in those situations-- he said, “I'd be willing to look at proposals that would strengthen our background check system, but I want to start where the broad agreement already is, and the broad agreement already is that we're not doing a good enough job keeping guns out of the hands of people with mental health conditions and with criminals.”

Lamb said changing individual laws-- such as a proposed ban on high-capacity ammunition magazines-- isn't the place to start addressing gun violence.

“I think that the emotions that a lot of us are feeling right now are very raw because we know that there's not one thing we can do with the stroke of a pen or one thing you can ban,” he said. “We need a comprehensive answer on mental health.”

...The National Rifle Association, which fights against new gun regulations, endorsed Saccone last month and has given him an A+ rating based on his votes in the state House. He received $1,750 in campaign donations from the NRA Victory Fund from 2010 through 2014, according to state campaign finance records. He received about $5,700 in that time from the group Firearm Owners Against Crime, which has also donated $750 to his congressional campaign, according to the records.
Pennsylvania state Senator Daylin Leach: "The problem is that the pro-gun nuts are already voting for the Republican. All this will do is suppress Democratic and Independent enthusiasm for Lamb. It would have not only been the right thing to do, but smarter politics to boldly say 'It may not be popular, but we need to pass reasonable legislation to stop this slaughter.' He would have been a hero, rather than another panderer."

David Gill is running for the Democratic nomination for Congress in a Republican-held district in central Illinois. I didn't ask him about guns but in preparation for a Blue America letter asking for last minute contributions for his get out the vote operation, I asked him for a closing statement. He's taking a very different approach than Lamb. If you prefer it, please consider tapping on the thermometer below and contributing to Dr. Gill's campaign.
My campaign team and I have worked hard to position myself to succeed in the primary on March 20. Voters here have been very excited about my message of single-payer healthcare, a $15/hour minimum wage, and tuition-free access to public higher education and trade schools.

Goal ThermometerWe view the November general election as a golden opportunity to move toward real change; given my past performance against the Republican incumbent, we have no doubt that I can defeat him this year. And when I get to Washington, I intend to be a game-changer, using my background as an emergency medicine physician to counter the myths advanced by those who oppose single-payer, and to help lead the charge to the type of health care system that FDR envisioned for us 75 years ago.

But first, of course, I have to survive on March 20. And this primary is really a battle for the soul of the Democratic party. I'm taking on establishment-backed candidates who refuse to stand up for single-payer, the Fight for 15, or tuition freedom. I'll be out-spent, but not out-worked: my staff and I, and our passionate volunteers, have knocked on thousands of doors and talked with thousands of voters. And those Democratic voters are done with half-measures, they're done with Republican Lite. They are demanding a shift toward a government focused on ordinary people, and as a lifelong progressive populist, I look forward to being a part of such a seismic shift.

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At 3:02 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

R-lite, pro-nra (anti-woman, racist, fascist, corrupt.... everything the democraps currently are or are leaning), by definition, is ANTI-Democrat.

By definition, that person is a republican, in spite of their lies about their affiliations.

Currently the democrap party has about 12 Democrats still in attendance. The rest are republicans wearing masks.

At 12:26 PM, Blogger Unknown said...

Better a Democrat that is "Republican Lite" than an actual Republican lawmaker. He will vote with Dems most if the time whereas the actual Republican will almost never vote with Dems. In some parts if the country, Republican Lite types are the only ones with a chance of winning. That's definitely the case in my part of Arkansas. We used to be a blue state, but are Dem politicians tended to be more conservative than Republicans in many parts of the country. Being a gun grabber sinks any politician here and being personally pro-life but maybe not wanting to pass anti-abortion laws so as not to go back to the days of dirty illegal abortion clinics is about as far from straight pro-life as politicians can veer here in the Bible Belt and still win. All politics is local and what works in San Fransisco won't necessarily work in small towns in places like Oklahoma and Arkansas. Dems could win again in this part of the country if they play their cards right and try to be the party for the little guy again, even if the little guy is white, male, and heterosexual and likes mudding and hunting and beer drinking and goes to church on Sunday.


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