Tuesday, April 03, 2018

In The Real World Any Organization That Lost As Badly And As Predictably As The DCCC Would Be Replaced... And With A New Staff


WI-01, Paul Ryan’s district was never a solid red district. Obama even won it the first time he ran. It was always a swing district that Pelosi and the DCCC allowed-- aggressively allowed-- Ryan to retain… and retain unchallenged. It’s been driving me nut for a decade and Blue America had been looking for candidates to runnfor many years. About a year ago, the candidate who came closest-- despite the regular DCCC sabotage-- to beating Ryan, Rob Zerban, called me and told me to get in touch with an iron worker and union activist, Randy Bryce. Zerban told me if I could talk him into running, he could beat Ryan. Later the same day I got a similar call from state Senator Chris Larson. Chris told me the Wisconsin Working Families Party was already on the case but that they could use some help in persuading Randy to run. OK, I trust Zerban and Larson; I called. The first couple of times I spoke with Bryce he wasn’t certain he wanted to run for Congress. But he was open to being persuaded.

We talked about running to win, not running to make a statement, not running to turn out voters to help Tammy Baldwin’s reelection to to beat Scott Walker-- running to replace Paul Ryan in Congress, running to do something that is next to impossible: defeat a sitting House Speaker… and defeat someone with millions of dollars in campaign funds and with access to as many millions as he would ever need. And Randy doesn’t know any rich people. Randy is a union and veterans activist, struggling to make sure he and his son had the money to pay for health insurance. I promised to introduce him to the best political managers in America, not the second best, not the third best, not the kind of DCCC clones who steal money from candidates and lose and lose and lose and lose. Forget that type, I cautioned him; let’s go with people who know how to win. Bill Hyers helped Randy make that first video that launched the campaign. And David Keith helped Bryce make the @IronStache he had been cultivating for years into the most valuable political brand since Bernie’s, Elizabeth Warren’s and Trump’s. And they helped him raise the millions of small donor campaign dollars that could compete with Ryan without having to turn to the DCCC, the New Dems, corporate PACs or lobbyists.

On Monday, Roll Call reported that Bryce’s team had raised $2.1 million dollars in the first quarter of 2018. Unlike Ryan himself, who is likely to retire rather than face near-certain defeat at Bryce’s hands, the conventional wisdom machine that is Roll Call still call Bryce, “a long shot.” Ryan knows better, even if completely silly Beltway “pros” rate the district “solid Republican.”

So far, Bryce has raised $4.75 million-- and the $2.1 million raised in the most recent quarter is nearly double the $1.2 million raised the previous quarter. He’s been on TV already but he still has $2.3 million in cash on hand. There are no DCCC candidates anywhere, not even all their ridiculous self-funders, who are in as strong a position as Bryce. And he’s doing it by sticking strongly with his progressive, working family-oriented positions, not be turning into some GOP-lite mesh-mash, like the DCCC advises all candidates to turn into.

Nathaniel Rakich, writing for FiveThirtyEight, suggested Monday morning to be skeptical of anyone who tells you they know how Democrats can win in November. Ready for nerd-time?
It’s old news by now that Democratic candidates have done unusually well in Trump-era elections so far, suggesting that the 2018 midterms will be a good cycle for the party. So why keep writing about them? Well, for one thing, we’re inveterate psephology addicts-- but also, the more special elections that occur, the more data we have to identify patterns not only across special elections, but within them.

Today, let’s use special-election results to try to answer a question that will be pivotal in the midterms: Which is a better representation of the true base partisanship of the United States, 2012 or 2016? By winning white, working-class areas (especially in the Midwest) but losing traditional GOP strongholds in suburbia and the Sun Belt, President Trump charted an electoral map that looked slightly but notably different from Mitt Romney’s four years earlier. Was that mini-realignment a Trump-only phenomenon, or will the new voting patterns stick around for this year’s congressional elections?

The answer will have big implications for Democrats between now and Election Day. If 2016 represents a new normal, then the party would do well to prioritize suburban districts that moved from Romney to Hillary Clinton, such as the California 45th, Illinois 6th or Texas 7th. But if the 2012 map still applies, then Democrats might be better off targeting districts that voted for Obama before they defected to Trump, like the Iowa 1st, Maine 2nd and New York 19th. Guess wrong, and the party will end up spending valuable time and money in districts that are redder than they appear while lower-hanging fruit goes untouched.

It hasn’t quite reached the level of accepted conventional wisdom, but a narrative is starting to take hold that Democrats’ best path to a majority in the U.S. House is through the suburbs. We think the jury is still out, and you should be skeptical of these claims. Yes, Democrats have overperformed in the suburbs, but that’s because they’ve overperformed everywhere. If they’ve outperformed expectations among certain demographics more than others-- and the picture is far too fuzzy to say for sure if they have-- it’s probably been among working-class voters without college degrees.

To test this, we looked at every election pitting at least one Democrat against at least one Republican since Jan. 20, 2017 (Inauguration Day). This includes 99 special elections, both state and federal, plus the regularly scheduled 2017 elections for statewide constitutional office and state legislature in New Jersey and Virginia. For each district or state where those elections took place, we collected three pieces of data that indirectly communicate its place on the spectrum from “working class” to “affluent suburbia”: its median household income; the percentage of its residents over age 25 who possess a bachelor’s degree or higher; and the difference between Clinton’s margin and Obama’s margin there. The higher each of these values is for a given district, the more suburban it tends to be.

Then we looked for patterns: Did any of those suburbany variables predict the improvement in Democrats’ margins in 2017-2018 elections compared to each district’s normal partisan lean?

The answer is... not really.

OK, that’s not entirely accurate, but we want to make sure no one reads too much into this. Household income, college educations and swings toward Clinton all had slight-- very slight!-- negative relationships with Democratic overperformance in Trump-era elections; as the former went up, the latter went down. In other words, on average (and relative to partisan lean), Democrats are doing better in working-class areas than in suburban ones. [Suggestion: take a look at the post we did on Sunday about Thomas Piketty’s new white paper on the topic.]

But there’s a massive caveat: The relationship in each case is quite weak. You can see that in how wide the variation is in Democratic overperformance. In areas that shifted toward Clinton, Democratic margins have been up to 36 percentage points better than the partisan leans of their districts would lead us to expect-- and they’ve been as much as 37 points worse. In places where the median household income is less than $50,000, Democrats have run ahead of their presidential candidates by as much as 61 points and run behind by as much as 37. On average, Democrats are doing better in working-class areas than in suburban ones-- but the dozens of examples to the contrary make a blanket statement like that almost worthless (and certainly not something you should base a midterm prediction on).

In short, special elections aren’t really telling us whether the 2012 or 2016 map is a better picture of current American partisanship. Our best guess is that the 2018-and-beyond map will be a hybrid of the two. Some of the voting patterns we saw emerge in 2016 may stick around, but the 2012 map still holds plenty of sway. We’ve already seen some reversion to the mean in “Trump country.”

A null finding like this can be frustrating, but it’s still valuable information, not least because it helps dispel narratives like the “suburban surge” that have little grounding in reality. One thing the data does show is that Democrats are capable of winning districts of all kinds, even if it doesn’t always work out that way. That should reassure the party that there may not be a wrong answer when choosing which types of districts to target-- at least when it comes to demographics. (Some other factor, such as candidate quality, may better explain when Democrats overperform and when they don’t.) For those of you thirsty for a grand conclusion to draw from this exercise, here it is: Be skeptical of any argument that claims to know one correct path forward for Democrats.
Meanwhile, the DCCC is handing out new polling from Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research that they claim suggests that Democratic candidates running in swing districts must express a willingness to work with Señor Trumpanzee when his agenda might help the district. The DCCC tells their candidates to go along with conventional wisdom about the economy even if the candidate knows its wrong and would prefer to lead rather than follow. The DCCC, which hates and fears progressives more than Republicans, is afraid the progressive energy that is spreading enthusiasm among voters will be contagious for the kind of pointless shell-candidates the DCCC has recruited. They want their crappy candidates to stay away from campaigning against Trump and they insist that their candidates embrace the improving economy and, as always, to be as Republican-lite as they can without causing Democratic voters to stay home on Election Day. That’s Pelosi’s DCCC, which has been singing the same old message for a decade, while losing dozens and dozens of House seats. They can’t win elections without a wave because they’re self-referencing morons. That’s why Randy Bryce ignores their advise and does so well, while their own recruits are withering on the vine from coast to coast.

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At 5:57 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

In the real world...

Really? What about Goldman, BofA, Wells-Fargo, Citigroup, D-bank in 2008? Was that not real world? Name anyone that was replaced. I'll wait.

There was Lehman, of course, the ONLY one that was allowed to suffer the fate it truly earned. But of course the DCCC won't ever suffer the fate it has been earning for decades. Voters have never punished democrap failure nor betrayal.

"We talked about running to win, not running to make a statement, not running to turn out voters to help Tammy Baldwin’s reelection to to beat Scott Walker-- running to replace Paul Ryan in Congress, running to do something that is next to impossible: defeat a sitting House Speaker… and defeat someone with millions of dollars in campaign funds and with access to as many millions as he would ever need."

You know what I didn't see in this sentence? Running to CHANGE shit. I see lots of "winning" shit (channeling Charlie sheen of all people?!) but nothing about DOING anything worthwhile.

And this is the problem with the democraps, isn't it? They talk about and look for ways to 'win'. But when they do win, nothing changes except maybe the tone of governance a bit. Certainly no prior mistakes; no ongoing ratfucking; nothing of substance ever gets changed for the better for the 130 million voters who still bother to show up.

At 3:57 PM, Anonymous ap215 said...

Get em Kyle.


At 6:43 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"…running to do something that is next to impossible: defeat a sitting House Speaker…"

George Nethercutt managed to beat Tom Foley while Foley was Speaker. Source.

My point is that while a Speaker is a powerful position, it isn't a defense against electoral loss. Neither is cheating candidates in elections nor strong-arm extortion forcing "consultants" into your campaign to spend your money for you. As rigged as the "democratic" Party is to defend the insiders, why would anyone expect that any change for the better would ever come about? The "democratic" Party will never alter its basic behavior. Any change would would still require someone's hand held out with lots of cash.


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