Wednesday, January 30, 2019

Can The Democrats Win More House Seats In 2020 Than They Did In 2018? I Say Yes; The DCCC Says No


Early in December we looked at 50 vulnerable Republican-held House seats that could be targeted in 2020. The 50 seats were picked by only one criteria-- the GOP had held on by less than 55% of the vote. That's a sloppy criteria, but somewhere to start. Monday morning the new DCCC chair, Cheri Bustos, sent out a strategy memo to the press, claiming the committee "is gearing up for an aggressive effort to fortify and expand" their House majority. Internally, I'm hearing that they're talking much more about protecting their own vulnerable freshmen in purple and red districts than they are about spending on a big national offensive. Bustops and her executive director, Allison Jaslow, tell the media that "As the saying goes, the best defense is a good offense, and we couldn't agree more," but is that mostly bluster?

Bustos is correct when she says "2018 was just the tip of the iceberg for Democrats" and that the Democrats "have a clear path to expanding our Democratic Majority, and by putting our plans in motion earlier in the cycle than ever before, we are demonstrating to Democrats across the country that the political arm of House Democrats is operating in high gear from the start." OK, I hope she means what she's saying-- and is willing to put her money where her mouth is.

The anti-red wave is very strong. If Bernie (or Elizabeth Warren) is at the top of the ticket, there will also be a very strong blue wave, since the Democrats will then be running for something, not just against Trump. These are the districts Bustos pointed out:
AZ-06- Dave Schweikert
CA-22- Devin Nunes
CA-50- Duncan Hunter
CO-03- Scott Tipton
FL-15- Ross Spano
FL-18- Brian Mast
GA-07- Rob Woodall
IA-04- Steve King
IL-13- Rodney Davis
IN-05- Susan Brooks
KY-06- Andy Barr
MI-06- Fred Upton
MN-01- Jim Hagedorn
MO-02- Ann Wagner
NC-02- George Holding
NC-09- (special election)
NC-13- Ted Budd
NE-02- Don Bacon
NY-01- Lee Zeldin
NY-02- Peter King
NY-24- John Katko
NY-27- Chris Collins
OH-01- Steve Chabot
PA-01- Brian Fitzpatrick
PA-10- Scott Perry
PA-16- Mike Kelly
TX-10- Mike McCaul
TX-21- Chip Roy
TX-22- Pete Olson
TX-23- Will Hurd
TX-24- Kenny Marchant
TX-31- John Carter
WA-03- Jaime Herrera Beutler
I like Bustos' list, even though it leaves out several reasonable targets (and includes a few districts that they're unlikely to win even in a double (anti-red/pro-blue) wave. I don't see the DCCC beating Dave Schweikert (AZ) or Susan Brooks (IN) but it's great that they're thinking aggressively enough to target them, even though Schweikert beat Democrat Anita Malik 173,140 (55.2%) to 140,559 (44.8%) and Brooks beat Dee Thornton 180,035 (56.8%) to 137,142 (43.2%). Brooks looks especially safe, having trounced Thornton in Hamilton County, where a plurality of IN-05 votes live and swept all 6 of the smaller counties, losing to Thornton only in the northern reaches of Indianapolis (Marion County).

Goal ThermometerSo what did the DCCC leave out? These are districts at least worth considering-- along with the win number from last November. I would agree that some of these are very heavily lifts, particularly Justin Amash, who is very popular in the district and is especially able to resist the kind of right-of-center Democrat the DCCC would envision-- stupidly-- for that district. Blue America is already backing a strong progressive in CA-01, Audrey Denney. We have also endorsed progressive Democrats in 2 districts the DCCC has identified as top targets: Mike Siegel in TX-10 and Kara Eastman in NE-02. You can see all of our endorsed House candidates by clicking on the Blue America 2020 thermometer on the right.
Alaska- Don Young- 53.3%
AR-02- French Hill- 52.1%
CA-01- Doug LaMalfa- 54.9%
CA-04- Tom McClintock-54.1%
FL-16- Vern Buchanan- 54.6%
IL-12- Mike Bost- 51.8%
IN-02- Jackie Walorski- 54.8%
KS-02- Steve Watkins- 48.1%
MI-03- Justin Amash- 54.4%
MI-07- Tim Walberg- 53.8%
MN-08- Peter Stauber- 50.8%
Montana- Greg Gianforte- 50.9%
OH-12- Troy Balderson- 51.6%
TX-02- Dan Crenshaw- 52.9%
TX-03- Van Taylor- 54.3%
TX-06- Ron Wright- 53.1%
TX-25- Roger Williams- 53.6%
VA-05- Denver Riggleman- 53.3%
WI-01- Bryan Steil- 54.6%
I want to say one more thing about Indiana. As I mentioned, the DCCC claims they're going to target Susan Brooks (IN-05). I think Jackie Walorski (IN-02) is a better bet. The DCCC is probably demoralized over IN-02 because they ran a wretched Blue Dog-- Mel Hall-- last cycle who, predictably, lost. But even Hall was able to win the biggest county in the district, St. Joseph (South Bend). He got killed in Elkhart, the second biggest county, but Bernie had beaten Hillary there pretty handily, almost 60-40% in 2016. Bernie also beat her in LaPorte, Marshall, Wabash, Miami, Kosciusko, Starke, Fulton and Pulaski counties. Fact is, Bernie beat Hillary in every single county in IN-02. So why recruit a Blue Dog. After all, Hillary lost the district miserably in the general (59-36%) and her only victory was a skin of her teeth 52,247 (47.7%) to 52,019 (47.5%) win in St. Joe. One lesson the DCCC has never learned is to put their own ideological predilections aside-- the committee is completely dominated by right-of-center New Dems (like Bustos)-- and just find the best candidates. The DCCC is notorious for its hatred of progressives, even when a progressive can win where their usual fare of neo-liberal corporatists cannot.

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At 5:29 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm a bit puzzled, Howie. You have expressed your distaste for Cheri Bustos, yet you advocate her list of replaceable Republicans. Just how many of those seats do you expect the DCCC to actually fill with progressives? Without progressives in those seats, Neo-Dogs will only vote for Republican policies and issues.

At 5:52 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"If Bernie (or Elizabeth Warren) is at the top of the ticket, there will also be a very strong blue wave, since the Democrats will then be running for something, not just against Trump."

horse shit. the democraps have not run FOR something since LBJ ran on continuing JFKs vision in '64. Ever since then, the democraps have run against whichever horrid republican was relevant. In some elections, they ran as collaborators to the republican agenda (Reagan) or the BETTER Nazi shitstain (Kerry).

Yes, you'll see the outliers, like AOC, talking about progressive policies that really need to happen. But the PARTY has no intent of ever passing any of it. If 2009 did not drive that fact home... well you are truly the dumbest people in the history of the planet. If only to reinforce this hypothesis, Pelosi reproved it by passing paygo and also refusing to impeach trump or kkkavanaugh.

Was Ron White correct... "you can't fix stupid"??? Democrap voters certainly prove that you cannot TEACH stupid.

At 1:54 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

5:29, this piece and the one at the top (3 new blue dogs) expose the latent hypocrisy of DWT.

On the one hand, the blue dogs are shit... as bad as the Nazis... and are preventing a decent bill from getting more than 203.

On the other hand, we need to elect more and more of them. Any flip from red to blue will do.

or maybe it's schizophrenia. Hard to know.

At 3:21 PM, Anonymous Eric Reyes said...

The GOP will gain seats in the house and hold about where they are in the senate. ����‍♂️

At 6:15 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yeah Eric. As I foretold, if 2010 is any predictor, the democraps will do nothing and their voters will be so thrilled that 15 million will stay home in 2020.

trump is bad enough to scare about half of that 15 million into re-entering the booth.

but the house could easily flip back.

The senate electoral map does favor the democraps this time, but not enough for a net gain in seats.

trump will win another term, winning by about the same elector margin while losing the overall vote by 5 - 8 million this time. This presumes that the democraps again prevent Bernie from being their nominee.


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