Saturday, July 07, 2018

The End Of The Road For Dave Brat?


The Democratic establishment was happy, happy in far right extremist Dave Brat's 7th congressional district in Virginia. There was a fairly evenly matched race between two moderates-- at DWT, when we use the word "moderate," we mean moderate, not conservative the way the Beltway media uses it. Both Democrats, ex-CIA agent Abigail Spanberger and marine Daniel Ward, raised around $900,000, just as Brat had. Not counting very small policy nuances most voters would never pick up on, the main difference between Spanberger and Ward was gender. Both had worked in the Obama administration. And the woman CIA officer beat the male marine. Neither looked like a Randy Bryce or Alexandria Ocasio to me. On the other hand, neither is a Jeff Van Drew or Kyrsten Sinema either. Like I said, both are moderates. Spanberger knocked Ward out solidly-- 33,198 (72.65%) to 12,495 (27.35%).

The district, which has an R+6 PVI, stretches from the Culpeper area through Orange County and most of Spotsylvania County down to Nottoway County, with big populations of voters in Chesterfield and Henrico counties in the Richmond suburbs. Trump beat Hillary there 50.5% to 44.0%. McCain and Romney both did better than Trump and Obama did about the same as Hillary.

In the 2014 Republican primary, Brat came out of nowhere-- actually came out of a cohesive, well-organized grassroots effort that shocked the establishment-- to beat Eric Cantor 36,110 (55.5%) to 28,898 (44.5%). Democrat Jack Trammell took Brat on in the general-- and was destroyed-- 60.8% to 36.9%. Democrat Eileen Bedell did better in 2016-- taking 42.2% to Brat's 57.5%. November, though, may be the time for the Democrats to flip the seat. Though Brat, reported the Chesterfield Observer 2 weeks ago, "still stands a good chance of winning the Republican leaning 7th, political analysts say the district is in play like never before. And as national politics continue to dominate the headlines, Democrats hope to pin some of President Donald Trump’s more unpopular policies to the congressman’s back."
Democrats aren’t alone in their belief that Brat can be toppled in November. Geoffrey Skelley, a political analyst with the University of Virginia, says that while the 7th still leans Republican, it’s lost its deep red tint over the years. The GOP’s shrinking margin of victory in recent elections seems to reflect this.

In 2012, Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney won the district by a comfortable 16 points; in 2016, Brat defeated Democratic challenger Eileen Bedell by 15 points, and Trump won by 8 points. In last year’s gubernatorial race, Republican Ed Gillespie beat Democrat Ralph Northam by 4 points in the 7th District.

With so many of the Trump administration’s actions dominating the headlines – such as the recent revelation that the Department of Homeland Security is separating immigrant children from their parents at the U.S.-Mexico border and holding them in mass detention centers-- Skelley says the race may be a referendum on the president and his party.

“The 7th District could be a very competitive district in the fall,” he says.

...Skelley says Brat may no longer be a good fit for the district. While portions of the 7th remain rural and heavily red, the voter-rich suburbs of Chesterfield and Henrico are more moderate, and Brat simply may be too conservative for them. On the issues, Skelley says the economy ranks No. 1 with most voters. The economy is currently strong, but Skelley says there’s mixed information about how much a good economy helps an incumbent candidate like Brat. The next biggest issue is health care, on which Brat and Spanberger are starkly opposed: Spanberger wants to strengthen the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare; Brat wants it repealed. Immigration-- another issue Brat has been vocal about-- could also play into the election.

Corey Stewart’s nomination as the Republican candidate for U.S. Senate could also have a big impact on the 7th. Stewart, chair of Prince William County’s Board of Supervisors, has already come out swinging, saying he wants to “kick Tim Kaine’s teeth in.” Kaine has criticized Stewart for having both praised and been endorsed by individuals who espouse white nationalism. Skelley says the Republican leadership isn’t happy about the choice of Stewart, and that he may pull voters away from other GOP candidates.

“If Tim Kaine wins handily, that will influence turnout to some degree,” Skelley says. “If it’s looking really bad for Stewart, that could have ramifications for Brat as well.”

Recently, the 7th didn’t seem too keen on Stewart. His primary opponent, Del. Nick Freitas, beat Stewart by 27 points in the district.

...Spanberger, she believes that Stewart’s campaign for Senate will help her at the polls.

“I think that the voters of the 7th will overwhelmingly … reject a lot of his really divisive, angry rhetoric,” Spanberger says.
Brat has nothing to say except that Spanberger "is a radical progressive." She isn't, although Barry Goldwater and Ronald Reagan could be called radical progressives compared to Brat, part of the neo-fascist wing of the GOP. He's trying to claim she's Nancy Pelosi. She isn't that either... and not nearly as much as Brat is indistinguishable from Trump and his toxic agenda. Yesterday, Cook Report's David Wasserman moved Brat's district from lean Republican to toss up. Wasserman is so overly cautious that "toss up" practically means Spanberger has it in the bag and can go on vacation if she wants. She doesn't want; what she wants is to win with as big a margin as possible, wave or no wave. Wasserman noted that KKK and neo-Nazi-sympathizer Corey Stewart on the top of the ticket will hurt down-ticket Republicans like Brat. Between Stewart-- who not even the RNSC will back-- and Trump (who is strongly backing Stewart), the toxicity is tangible. "Brat," he wrote, "who has shied away from questions about Stewart, has never had to run in a competitive general election before. He's mended fences with GOP leadership and is running with the NRCC's active help... Ironically, the white collar Republicans in the West End Richmond suburbs who long supported Cantor could be the swing voters in this race."

Meanwhile, if you're looking for an Alexandria Ocasio, look elsewhere. Spanberger would rather talk about civility in Congress than what she's going to do for people in VA-07. Watch how skillfully she creates a big fat nothing burger when she has a chance to say something substantive. Presumably her consultants tell her that's how she can get those "white collar Republicans in the West End Richmond suburbs" to swing her way-- while Trump's toxicity keeps the Democratic base voters interested in getting out and voting for anyone who's not a Trump enabler.

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At 2:03 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Having read this, it looks to me like VA-7 isn't going to be dampened by a blue wave. There are too many status quo candidates.

At 2:39 PM, Blogger edmondo said...

Why would anyone come out and vote for this cypher?

At 3:09 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Gee, I dunno. Maybe because Dave Brat is a fascist piece of shit, and either you want to rid the House -- and the nation -- of a fascist piece of shit, or you don't.

At 6:34 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

by electing a different fascist pos?? lesser evilism in a nutshell.

At 9:05 AM, Blogger Alice said...

this the 7th CD, they like boring politicians, she has a good chance.

At 9:38 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

@ 6:34:

Fuck you. If you're not against Brat, by any means necessary, you're for him. Fuck you.

At 10:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

9:38 is, once again, proof that America isn't dying. It's already dead. Just hasn't fallen all the way to the ground yet.

Not a good nor honorable death. Just a death well earned.


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