Monday, February 05, 2018

The Midterms Are Still Coming In November And Only The Most Willfully Delusional Think There's No Wave Coming To Sweep Away The GOP


"How many sats are the Democrats going to pick up in November," one of the savviest campaign managers I know asked me. I don't know, I told him. Between 60 and 70, something like that. "Why are you losing faith?" he asked. "Last time I asked, you said 75." Oh, it could be 75... or 60 or 70 but you're gonna win for sure. He's worried. They're always worried. Good. They need to be. The Republicans have a ton of money at their disposal, courtesy of the billionaire class and they're not going down without a fight. Soon after Blue America endorsed Lisa Brown in eastern Washington, I saw that Ryan's PAC-- the one that got millions from the Koch's after passing the TaxScam--opened an office in Spokane. Can the big blue wave do it by itself? I don't know. I want to think so... but campaign managers better not. Over the weekend Alexander Burns and Alan Blinder did a piece for the NY Times about the wave: 'They Can’t Wait to Vote': Energized Democrats Target Dominant G.O.P. in Statehouses. Keyword: "energized." Democrats are. Judging by the special elections since Trumpanzee occupied theWhite House, Republicans aren't. All that Koch money is meant to change that. The story was about the state legislative battlefront.... everywhere. The blue wave won't distinguish between congressmen, governors, senators and state legislatures.
For Republicans in the states, the political warning signs keep mounting: In Virginia, it was an electoral shellacking that nearly snapped their 20-year grip on the State House. In Wisconsin, it was a midwinter rout in a special election for the State Senate, fought in a conservative district.

And in Pennsylvania, it has been an exodus of state legislators from the Philadelphia area, where more than half a dozen Republicans have opted for retirement over a strenuous campaign in 2018.

“It looks like it’s going to be a war zone,” said State Representative Gene DiGirolamo, a moderate Republican, of his native Bucks County, a spacious suburb on the New Jersey border.

As national Republicans dig in to defend their majorities in Congress in the midterm elections, party leaders across the country have grown anxious about losses on a different front: state legislatures. Over the last decade, Republicans have dominated most state capitals, enacting deep tax cuts, imposing new regulations on labor unions and abortion providers, and drawing favorable congressional maps to reinforce their power in Washington.

Yet that dominance appears to be fraying, strained by the same forces taxing Republicans in Congress. National strategists in both parties see the landscape of legislative races expanding, especially in areas around major cities where President Trump has stirred an insurrection among liberals, and college-educated voters and white women have recoiled from Republicans.

Over the last year, Democrats have snatched away Republican seats in more than a dozen special legislative elections from Seattle and Tulsa, Okla., to Atlanta and Miami, in many cases electing female and minority candidates with strong turnout on the left.

Republicans will not be easily dislodged: In many states, Republican governors have built powerful machinery to defend their allies, and Mr. Trump remains popular enough across much of the Midwest and South to limit Democratic gains. In 31 out of 50 states, Republicans command the entire legislature; in 25 of those states, the governor is also a Republican.

But with some momentum behind Democrats-- at least for now-- the party appears positioned to make inroads in crucial legislatures, winning a new measure of relevance in state policy and perhaps limiting Republicans’ influence on congressional redistricting after 2020.

Matt Walter, president of the Republican State Leadership Committee, the party’s national hub for legislative campaigns, said Republicans were on the defensive in all but a few states. Citing Democratic turnout in recent special elections, Mr. Walter said Republicans should use the next nine months to sound the “alarm bells” for their voters.

“What we have seen in the special elections is a significant spike in the interest, engagement, spending and energy by the liberal Democrats and progressive movement,” Mr. Walter said, adding: “The spending is real. The organizational prowess is real. And the energy is real.”

That energy was on raucous display last weekend in the Bucks County borough of Newtown, where well over 100 Democrats packed into a red-brick tavern to cheer Steve Santarsiero, a Democrat seeking a State Senate seat left open by a Republican’s unexpected retirement. Before a lively breakfast crowd, Mr. Santarsiero needled Mr. Trump and hailed his fellow Democrats running for the legislature’s multiplying number of open seats.

Applauding from the front was Helen Tai, an official in nearby Solebury who is running in a May special election for the State House prompted by a Republican’s resignation. Democrats nearly swept local elections in four counties outside Philadelphia last November; Ms. Tai said the combination of Republican retirements and liberal enthusiasm had transformed the fight for the legislature.

“I wish it was a presidential year,” she said. “People want to vote. They can’t wait to vote.”

...In many of the biggest purple states, however, Democrats must overcome huge Republican majorities and forbidding legislative maps. In Pennsylvania, Republicans hold 120 seats in the 203-seat State House, and 34 of 50 in the State Senate.

...Most telling may be Wisconsin, a traditional swing state where Republicans have governed largely with a free hand since 2010. Mr. Trump won the state in 2016 and, with the help of gerrymandered districts, Republicans began last year with 20 of 33 State Senate seats.

But that number recently shrank to 18 after the Democrats’ special election upset and with another vacancy. Gov. Scott Walker, who is seeking a third term, called Republicans’ defeat in a red district on the Minnesota border a “wake-up call,” and party strategists are monitoring the Milwaukee suburbs, a cornerstone of Mr. Walker’s political coalition, for signs of unrest.

. State Senator Chris Larson, a Democrat, said a special election fought in below-freezing temperatures had buoyed Democrats who had grown accustomed to disappointment. “A lot of skepticism by Democrats is starting to melt away,” he said.

It is not Mr. Trump alone mobilizing Democrats down ballot. In some states, Republicans have been in charge long enough to generate their own cloud of fatigue. In moderate areas where Mr. Trump is toxic, some voters have also tired of Republican policies-- on abortion, guns and environmental regulation-- championed by rural legislators.

At a meeting of the liberal group Indivisible in Eagleville, Pa., last month, Democratic activists railed not just against Mr. Trump, but also against Republicans in Harrisburg, the state capital, accusing them of wringing money from suburban voters while neglecting local schools and infrastructure. Katie Muth, a leader of the group who is running for State Senate, declared from the front of a Unitarian church that 2018 was the moment to “save Pennsylvania.”

But Mr. Trump’s unpopularity is likely to help. Pam Hacker, an electrician running for the State House, said she rarely brings up the president, but sees him alienating communities that once voted Republican.

“It is a new Republican Party,” she said, “and I just don’t think it’s a friendly face.”
Like that? Don't get complacent. A report from the Washington Post and ABC News yesterday, flies right in the face of it-- claiming that most of that Democratic enthusiasm is restricted to places the Democrats already control-- like Manhattan and Philly and L.A.-- and that Republicans are holding on in their districts. I think they're wrong because they're underestimating the anti-Republican/anti-Trump feelings among independents. Sure, in deep red districts where Republicans don't need independents to need, mostly in the former slave-holding states, the GOP is mostly untouchable. But what happens in districts like WA-05 ... And WI-01? Saclise will be just fine... but Cathy McMorris Rodgers and Paul Ryan won't be. Ryan's leadership team will be completely shredded. Committee chairs have been running for the exits. No problems for backward red districts that will never give up on Mo Brooks in an Alabama district with a PVI of R+17, Mac Thornberry in a Texas district with a PVI of R+32, Steve Womack in Arkansas district with a PVI of R+17 or Doug Collins in a Georgia district with a PVI of R+31 but Republicans like John Culberson (Houston), Bruce Poliquin (Maine), Mimi Walters (Orange County), Carlos Curbelo (Miami-Dady) and Pete Sessions (Dallas)... unless the DCCC completely fucks it up with shitty recruits from the Republican wing of the Democratic Party-- and don't discount that-- there's going to be a Democratic sweep.

I don't think ABC is right when they claim that "the wide Democratic advantage in congressional vote preference comes entirely in districts the party already holds, raising questions about the extent of its possible gains in November."

Sure, Democrats are going to vote for Democrats and Republicans are going to vote for Republicans but independents are at an all-time high, around 40% of the electorate. 2018 is going to be all about that 40%.
The most frequently cited factor [by independents] for leaning toward a party is the harm caused by the opposing party’s policies. A majority of Republican leaners (55%) and roughly half of Democratic leaners (51%) cite the other party’s policies being bad for the country as a major reason why they lean toward their own party. By contrast, just 30% of Republican leaners and 34% of Democratic leaners say that their own party’s policies being good for the country is a major reason why they lean toward their party.
The ABC/Post report points out that "the Democrats' lead in their districts, 64-26 percent, marks the extent of potential Democratic overvoting in areas where they’re already in control-- which partly reflects a Democratic concentration in urban areas, and possibly also gerrymandering of district lines. At the same time, the closeness of the races in Republican districts indicates Democratic pickup opportunities. And another result points to an enthusiasm gap in the Democrats’ favor: They lead very widely among those who say it’s especially important to vote this year."
Political independents-- often swing voters, given their weaker party loyalty-- drive the results of this poll, produced for ABC by Langer Research Associates. In Democratic districts independents favor the Democrat; in Republican districts independents split evenly, 45-46 percent. Partisans on both sides, by contrast, stick nearly unanimously with their party... Independents are split 50-50 between Democratic and Republican districts. Half the people in Democratic-held districts live in urban areas, vs. a third of those in GOP districts.

Democrats, as noted, have urgency on their side. Half of likely voters say voting this year is more important to them than in previous midterm elections – and they split by a wide 65-29 percent for the Democrat over the Republican in their districts.

Among those who say voting this year is no more important than in the past, it’s a closer 42-51 percent contest. And within the parties, Democrats are much more likely than Republicans to say voting is more important this year, 64 vs. 40 percent.

That said, enthusiasm won’t necessarily flip seats-- there’s little difference in “more important” ratings between those who live in Democratic districts vs. Republican ones, 53 vs. 49 percent, suggesting some amount of this energy will end up boosting incumbents rather than forcing turnover. And there’s no guarantee that current fervor won’t flag in the nine months ahead; Democrats, in particular, often lag in midterm turnout.

Democrats stand out in another measure as well, on whether one would prefer to elect a representative who is new to politics or has political experience. Democratic likely voters heavily favor experience, 72-20 percent, while the question divides Republicans and independents, 39-41 percent and 45-41 percent, respectively. (Twenty percent of GOP partisans and 14 percent of independents have no opinion, compared with 8 percent of Democrats.)
Goal ThermometerAnd reality on the ground seems to confirm my instinct that the ABC/Post story is just silly. I asked DuWayne Gregory, the long-time presiding office of the Suffolk County legislature who's running for the Long Island south shore seat Peter King has grown stale in. "NY-02," he told me, "is ripe for a Democratic flip, as evidenced by the election of progressive Democrat, Assemblywoman Christine Pelligrino, in the reddest part of the congressional district which went for Trump with 60% of the vote. Pelligrino pulled off a victory with 58% of the vote. Also, according to Business Insider, Long Island is the most negatively impacted region in the country from the crippling GOP tax bill and voters are looking for retribution. Peter King was ineffective in protecting his constituents. This year an Army veteran, progressive Democrat with a solid record is just what the voters are looking for." We agree and you can contribute to DuWayne's campaign by clicking on the 2018 congressional Blue America thermometer on the right.

Dan Canon is running in a much redder district than Duwayne-- and in Indiana. "We can't take anything for granted," he acknowledged. "My GOP opponent's vision for America doesn't involve much of anything other than making sure rich guys get even richer. We know we can do better than that, but we have to grab people by the collar and tell them so. We have to communicate loud and clear to the center mass that we're different candidates, this is a different message, and this is a different party. And we have to really be ready, willing, and able to prove to people that we are really here to help."

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At 5:40 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Only The Most Willfully Delusional Think There's No Wave Coming To Sweep Away The GOP"

Call me delusional, but.... The ham-handedness of the Democratic Party, their willingness to accept money from the enemies of their constituents, their willingness - no, make that eagerness - to field inferior candidates who too often distinguish themselves from Republicans primarily by not calling themselves Republicans. Sorry, but I think it adds up to more disappointment for the party that should be the good guys, more election night "What a surprise" postmortems, and more anguished hand-wringing accompanied by total mystification as to why they failed - again. See you on November 7.

At 6:33 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Actually, it would be far more instructive to see you on 11-7-2020 or 2022.
Even if trump's stink makes more of the 73% who are not Nazis vote D, the democraps' collective and relentless refusal to DO anything in their mandate will make most of those 73% go back into hibernation since they'll realize, as they did in 2010, that absolutely nobody in the money's party will represent their interests no way, no how, never ever.

In '16, trump got the Nazi 25% plus another 9; The fascist skirt got her 31% plus another 4 or 5. 28% voted "other" or stayed home. understandable. neither candidate for the money was better than a lake of pig shit.
all "others" got only 4ish%, but that is still better than the 1ish% they all got in '12.

If Bernie had been the nom, I'm sure he would have found another .5% in key states to beat the Nazi fat fuck. But the money could not abide Bernie nor all the voters he could have attracted. The money knows that when turnout is below 70% they'll always keep control of everything.

At 4:27 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

IF Republicans are losing voter support,


IF the DxCC only puts up Republican-lite candidates to run (A favorite DWT meme!),


What is sweeping Republicans out of office? Win, lose, or draw, the voters still end up with Republican representation.

At 6:25 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

4:27 has discerned the money's strategy to keep power forever in this shithole of dumbass voters.

At 7:49 AM, Blogger Chris Roberts said...

gop is indeed fuck.remember now stock market is in beging of likely 2018 crash.

here is another thing independnets are so high due to some dems after the 2016 fraud leaving party and becoming indys.

i will be frank.inless more and more progressives won dem primarys we will go from extreme far right corporate congress to center right neoliberal congress.Pelosi and Schumer are both the problems.and yes i hate gop as much as anyone on left but i have awoken to see problems with dems.

At 12:32 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

One might look at the graph and wonder why the independents at 42% don't ever have anyone to vote for. 42 beats 25 and 31 every time... right? I mean, it's mathematical.

Because the money bought the illusion of choice which splits only the 58% between Nazis and fascists, largely delimited by geographical hate borders.

And because nobody at all has figured out that they're being had. Every. Single. Time.


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