Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Let's Talk Money-- Campaign Cash In Wave Elections


In 2010 Democrats had been in control of Congress for two terms and they were loaded with campaign cash. Democratic incumbents outspent Republican challengers-- sometimes by immense margins, double, triple, three times, four times... Let me show what I mean. In 2010 Jim Oberstar-- first elected in 1974-- was the longest-serving member ever of House from Minnesota. He was chairman of the Transportation Committee, a ready source of fat campaign contributions and He thought Republicans would like him because he was anti-Choice and pro-gun. He had won every reelection with more than 60% of the vote, some with over 70%. In 2010 he spent a massive $2,223,357 to Republican challenger Chip Cravaack's $630,728. Cravaack beat him 48.2% to 46.6%.

The Democrats lost 63 seats in that GOP wave. Melissa Bean was a crooked New Dem-- corrupt through and through. She spent $2,451,348 against the crackpot wing nut who was challenging her, Joe Walsh, who spent $602,803. He beat her. Ike Skelton was a power in the House and chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, a perfect place to suck in tons of cash. He was first elected in 1977 and, like Oberstar, he was anti-choice and pro-gun, not very inspiring for Democratic voters. But he had the cash. He spent $3,107,552 to Vicky Hartzler's $1,351,176, but his Missouri district gave Hartzler 50.4% of the vote and Skelton just 45.1%. John Adler was a Blue Dog and a big Wall Street suck-up in New Jersey. He spent $3,285,638 to Republican challenger Jon Runyan's $1,518,073. Runyan won 50-47%. And so it went around the country-- Rick Boucher defended his seat $3,325,898 against GOP challenger Morgan Griffith, who spent barely over a million and Griffith won. Longtime Blue Dog incumbent Allen Boyd lost his Florida district-- in a 54-41% rout-- even though he spent $3,814,064 to his opponent's $1,290,929. Mark Schauer spent $3,261,651 to keep his Michigan seat but Tim Walberg beat him with $1,647,379. Another crap Democrat, Chris Carney, desperately tried to cling to his northeast Pennsylvania seat bye spending $1,657,586 to Republican Tom Marino's $704,457 but Marino wiped him out 55.2% to 44.8%. And on and on. That was the red wave of 2010.

In 2006, the exact opposite had happened. It was a blue wave and Republicans outspent Democrats-- and lost their seats to challengers without much money. The GOP lost 30 seats, including those of power houses like Natural Resources Committee Chairman Richard Pombo in California. Pombo spent $4,629,983 to Democrat Jerry McNerney's $2,422,962 and McNerney beat him 53-47%. Nancy Johnson had been first elected to Congress from Connecticut in 1982. She was the top Republican on the honey pot Ways and Means Committee and she spent $5,095,844 to hold her seat. Chris Murphy beat her with $2,486,251. Same happened in New Hampshire where grassroots activist Carol Shea-Porter raised only $360,380 compared to GOP incumbent Jeb Bradley's $1,111,590. Charlie Taylor (R-NC) was a rich banking criminal connected to the Russian Mafia-- all the way back in 2006-- and his spent $2,530,580 of his own for a total of $4,171,482 against a Democrat who spent $1.8 million. The Democrat beat him 54-46%.

I'm sure you get the point. In wave elections the biggest money spender won't necessarily be reelected. But the political establishment doesn't understand that-- not the DCCC, the NRCC nor the stenographers masquerading as political pundits who vomit out their brilliant insights. The conservative Texas Observer did a story yesterday about the 2018 midterms. It focussed on one thing-- how well the Democrats were doing in the money chase. I'm glad they are, but that isn't why they're going to win. Democrats need enough money to get their messages out but they also need to connect with voters and if they do what old-fashioned, ignorant organizations like DCCC and EMILY's List insist they do-- sit on the phone and beg for money from strangers all day, everyday-- they'll miss and opportunity to do what Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez just did. As of the June 6 FEC reporting deadline, she had spent $206,936 and Crowley spent $3,426,424. All that money... all that power... all those endorsements (AFL-CIO, SEIU, Planned Parenthood, NARAL, Kirsten Gillibrand, Chuck Schumer, Andrew Cuomo, Hakeem Jeffries, Eliot Engel, Mark Pocan, Maxine Waters...) couldn't save him. While he was schmoozing with powerful people, she was talking to ordinary voters. She was a waitress one year earlier and she beat him 15,897 (57.5%) to 11,761 (45.5%). He was already in elective office when her mother was giving birth to her. She didn't spend her time begging for money; she spent her time talking with voters. It's not what the DCCC or the DC establishment likes to see in candidates.

Back to that Observer article: "For the first time in 25 years," they noted, "Texas Democrats are running in every one of the state’s 36 congressional districts. And the latest federal campaign finance reports, released Sunday, show these candidates are bringing in money at unprecedented paces and in unexpected places. Many Republican incumbents who’ve seen their elections in comfortably red districts as preordained are now faced with the prospect of actually campaigning. That’s good news for the national Democratic Party’s takeover strategy for the U.S. House, which hinges in part on upsets in Texas’ moderating suburbs. For starters, Democratic candidates are doing well where they need to be doing well. In the three GOP-held congressional districts that Hillary Clinton won in 2016 and that the national Democratic Party has targeted as part of its strategy to win back the House-- Pete Sessions’ Dallas-area district, Will Hurd’s Southwest Texas district and John Culberson’s West Houston district-- the Democratic candidates each raised more than $1 million in the latest quarter, all outraising their GOP incumbent opponents."

Playing the money game is mostly a loser's game for Democrats anyway. After the Citizens United decision, all the Republicans need is a nice bribe from a monster like Adelman and any advantage for the Democratic candidates fundraising efforts is nullified. That's why grassroots campaigning is so crucial. Adelson just contributed $30 million to Ryan's SuperPAC, the Congressional Leadership Fund. Then there are the Kochs and that neo-Nazi family on Long Island (the Mercers) and lots of other-- from Elon Musk (don't buy another Tesla), Hushang Ansary, Doug Deason, Steve Cohen, Jim Simons, Paul Singer, Joseph Craft and Art Pope, to the Ricketts, Obendorfs, and Uihleins-- and happy as pigs in shit for the mega-million dollar tax cuts they got.

Goal ThermometerDemocrats on the right and Democrats on the left are all doing pretty well raising money for their campaigns this cycle. But the smart ones, unburdened by insistence from the DCCC and the Beltway's tired consultant class that candidates spend all their time on the phone, have a wave election advantage. I asked some of the progressives who won their primaries and haven't been embraced by the DCCC, about how this dynamic is playing out in their own races.

Dayna Steele has an advantage that few other candidates do. Because she was the most popular rock dj in Houston for so many years, people who might not otherwise even want to hear out a Democrat, are eager to meet her and listen to what she has to say. She's raised money money than any Democrat has in this district in decades, but never at the expense of meeting with the people who live in the 36th district. This morning she told me that "Team Dayna is running a professional campaign like no other Democrat has since this district was created. We assembled a strong team with prior experience, identified more than the anticipated win number of voters, and are using every avenue possible to contact these voters and talk to them, including a large and growing number of committed volunteers. I have said since the very beginning that if I was going to do this right, it had to be boots on the ground every single day, touching voters, and discussing the issues that are important in the district - health care, Internet access, and Harvey recovery. No Democrat ran in 2016 and the Green Party candidate got 11% of the vote that year without campaigning or resources. That right there strongly implies people are looking for a change. The voters are here. We simply need to reach them and we are."

Jesse King is running in a tough red district but she's fighting as hard as Alexandria Ocasio did. Her campaign just announced that in the last quarter it had raised over $300,000 breaking the fundraising record for any Democrat to ever run there. All in all, she's raised over $780,000 and has $54,000 more in cash-on-hand than Lloyd Smucker, her Trump enabling opponent. Refusing all corporate PAC money, her average contribution is $35.83. Her campaign has over 23 volunteer-led regional teams across Lancaster and York counties, all of which run door-knocking and phone banking efforts and just went over 100,000 calls and door knocks! Since launching in July 2017, she's held or attended over 100 public events like rallies and town halls. Smucker hasn't held a public, in-person town hall since he was elected. "Working people in South Central PA aren’t interested in another career politician who doesn’t show up for constituents but collects big checks from corporate PACs," she said. "We’re refusing all corporate PAC money and spending our time talking to folks in every corner of the district about how to build an America for all of us. And that’s why we’re seeing this groundswell of support from small-dollar donors. Some Washington insiders assume this district isn’t competitive because voters historically vote Republican. But we’re having thousands of honest conversations with voters about our hopes for our country and our families. And that’s inspiring people to vote with their values, instead of just on party lines."

"I come from a grassroots organizing tradition, and I'm running my campaign with a similar approach," said Mike Siegel, Democratic nominee in TX-10. "I've raised about $190,000 to date, and we've spent almost all of that on field organizers and canvassers and literature delivered directly to voters. Folks in the rural areas tell us they haven't seen a Democratic nominee in 40 years. And they have specific needs that I can fight for: access to rural hospitals; access to internet broadband; support for public schools. Meanwhile, they know that the incumbent, Rep. McCaul, doesn't care about regular folks and the issues they are facing. I can win this race without raising a million dollars-- I just need organizers. My next two hires will be a Spanish-speaking labor organizer and an African-American graduate student from an historically-black college in the District. We are going to reach out to every community that has been left behind by McCaul and the corporate power structure. I don't need TV ads or expensive consultants to do this work. I just need boots on the ground, so me and my team can meet with each small-town mayor, each pastor, each local advocate on the issues that matter. This is a "small d" democratic campaign, and we can win. You may not know it from reading the national news, but my opponent is only considered a nine point favorite. And he's done plenty-- giving himself $40 million in tax cut benefits, seeking cuts to Social Security, backing family separation-- that will convince voters it's time for a change."

Kendra Fershee is the progressive Democrat running in the northern third of West Virginia (WV-01), where Bernie beat Hillary in the primary and then Trump beat her in the general. Kendra has raised barely over $100,000, but if it keeps coming in at that pace it will be enough to get her message out and power her volunteer-based operation. "I'm running a classic grassroots campaign," she told us. "It's more personal, less expensive, and far more effective at reaching voters than a paid media driven campaign. I also rely on social media to communicate with people who may not have been engaged in politics in the past. In order to win this race, I'm going to need to engage people who have lost faith or interest in politics, find new voters, and get activists fired up to help. That's what we did during the primary, which I won even though my opponent out raised me ten to one, outspent me six to one, and was expected to win by every pundit and news source in West Virginia. We put ten thousand miles on my car, knocked on three thousand doors, and hand wrote six thousand postcards. We were proud of those numbers, but the best number-- despite the huge money deficit-- was that I won by more than nine points. That's a clear indication that what is happening right now is big. We shocked a lot of people in West Virginia in May, and we're going to shock the entire country in November. My incumbent opponent is not connected with voters the way we are-- he's far too entrenched in DC to do that-- and he's fumbled several attempts to use social media to fire up his voters. Whatever grassroots efforts he will have will be bought and impersonal. People are done with wealthy, out-of-touch representatives. They want real people-- parents of kids in public schools, people who work for a living, people who are relatable and genuine-- representing them. Grassroots worked for us in May, it is going to win in November."

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At 10:08 AM, Anonymous ap215 said...

Speaking of the DCCC

At 4:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

You're still wrong.

2006 was anti-red. Cheney's wars, tax cuts caused big deficits, bush was a pinheaded buffoon. The only anti-red choice was democraps and rahm Emmanuel gave us a shitload of shit.
2008 would have been the recoil except for the perfectly timed implosion of Lehman and the crash of the housing market. Before Lehman, McPalin had a 6 point lead over obamanation. Afterwards, and notably after McPalin's astonishingly pathetic response to Lehman (not to mention cheney's threat of martial law if congress didn't pass omnibus powers for the exec), obamanation capitalized on an 11 point anti-red reflex.

But then there was 2009 and the 'craps had 60 in the senate, the presidency and 260+ in the house. But they refused to do anything with it. No wars were stopped. No torture was prosecuted... or even stopped. No bankers went to prison. Nothing was done about ongoing foreclosure fraud. Voting wasn't fixed. Corporations became human beings for the sake of bribery. Banks weren't broken up. No xxFTAs were fixed and more were passed. Money in politics got worse. Drone murders went up by 3 orders of magnitude. The debt exceeded GDP. Taxes were not raised... they were cut for corporations and the rich as part of the pathetic STIM that didn't fix the smoldering hole in the economies of most of the world...

So 2006 and 2008 were anti-red elections. The 'craps didn't do shit to make them blue. And once they had all the numbers... they purposely didn't do shit to address any of the mandate.

So 2010 was the biggest anti-blue election in my lifetime (far bigger than 1992).

If the democraps wanted permanent, FDR-like majorities, all they had to do was FUCKING PERFORM like all those democratic congresses between '32 and '80.

15 million of their "grant park" voters stayed home, so pleased were they. That's anti-blue.

Certainly the Nazis hadn't done shit to earn that one.


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