This article will be a bit different from normal. There have been several tings over the last few days that caught my attention, but none of them long enough to deserve their own article, but worth thinking about nonetheless. Let’s chat.
The Democrats secret weapon for 2018 – We have met the enemy, and he is him. Donald Trump is the secret to the Democrats success in the House in 2018. Look at his track record. Following the GOP’s loss in PA-18, a cocky GOP SOB said, “Look, we’ve had 6 special elections since Trump got elected, and we’ve lost 1. I like those odds.” Actually numbnuts, you’ve lost two, but I guess the AL Senate disgrace don’t count, huh? But what he’s ignoring is that the dynamics of campaigning have changed.
The GOP won 5 straight special elections for the House for one simple reason. Because Trump didn’t campaign. That has changed, and shaky House incumbents are terrified. And with good reason, look at Trump’s record. His performance in Alabama was so pathetic that he fucked it up twice! First, he went all in for Luther Strange, who was Mitch McConnell’s man, making Strange the second most hated man in Alabama, behind McConnell himself. Then he went to the mattresses for a credibly accused pedophile, calling the women who were teens at the time liars, and sealing Moore’s fate not only with African American women, but suburban GOP women voters as well. Then he shows up in PA-18 to rally for Saccone, makes the rally completely about himself while Saccone stands around behind him with his thumb up his ass, and lets leak how weak he thinks Saccone is.
Trump has already made it clear that he plans to be very active on the campaign trail this summer for at risk GOP incumbents. All Democrats want at this point is to stay close enough in the polls to bring His Lowness running. Trump is every GOP candidates death wish. He makes the rally about him, which doesn’t help with GOP voters who may generally support the candidate, but haven’t drunk the Kool-aid, and he motivates every Democrat and independent in the district just by stinking up their district. I hope he’s on the trail 5 days a week in the last month of the campaign or so.
Watch the Kids – The teen vote is very highly motivated to pay attention to politics right now, on one specific subject, and it doesn’t look like their attention is going to wane anytime soon. This should be great news for the Democrats, if they handle it right.
The response of Democrats like John Lewis and Bernie Sanders, who went out to speak with the protesters who went to the Capitol on Wednesday was pitch perfect. They supported the aims of the protesters, praised them for their civic activism and spirit, promised to work for them, but didn’t try to hand them party affiliation cards. That was the correct tack to take, since these young people are not ideologically driven, they are results driven, on one specific subject that the majority of Democrats also tend to support.
Right now, their natural targets are obstructive GOP incumbents. Congress is going to grind to a halt shortly, as everybody turns to first primary, and then general election mode. These young activists are not going to be happy with the inactivity. Democrats should keep bringing up gun control every time they get the floor in congress for the rest of the cycle. Propose bills and hearings, and let the GOP continue to paddle foot. Those kids are motivated, they are going to show up to vote in November, and if they’re pissed at GOP incumbents , there’s only going to be one other candidate to vote for, and that candidate should be talking about sensible gun controls too. But, if they get elected, they had damn well better be ready to follow through.
The Democrats may have learned their lesson. At least I hope so – After their debacle in PA-18, the GOP is in full out cop out mode, and they’re all over the map with it. On the one hand, they spent millions of dollars painting Conor Lamb as a free spending, liberal, Pelosi stooge. Then they turn around and claim he ran as a Republican. And on the other hand, they claim that Lamb was a wonder candidate and Saccone sucked. But they’re either missing the point, or they’re desperately trying to cover it up.
But while the GOP is in denial, the little light seems to have gone on in the Democratic refrigerator. Wednesday evening, after the PA-18 “miracle,” there was a Democratic strategist on the panel of one of the MSNBC shows, and she related a story. She had bee traveling the country, talking to fledgling Democratic citizen/politicians. She asked the candidates what issues they were running on, and once they answered, she asked them what the Democratic party thought of their platforms. Almost all of them told her that the party had been supportive of their platforms, had told them to specifically run on issues that would resonate positively in their districts, and assured them that there were no ideological “purity tests.”
If this is true, it is a breath of fresh air, and the most positive thing I’ve heard come out of the party in a long time. Conor Lamb won in a district where the GOP should have been able to run the dead parrot from the Monty Python sketch, nailed to the perch, and walk away whistling “We are the champions.” Lamb ran as pro 2nd amendment, while still supporting universal background checks, something even most gun owners approve of. He ran as strongly pro union in a district with both steel and coal workers in it, against a “right to work state” opponent. In other words, he ran a constituent based campaign. Doug Jones in Alabama did the same thing, he avoided even speaking about Trump, and even shunned raising the juicy topic of Moore’s accusations. He stayed with issues that resonated, and it paid off.
I sincerely hope that the experience of that Democratic strategist was not an outlier. The GOP is in the hurt locker, they are losing incumbents faster than a 6 y.o. loses teeth, and they’re having hard times finding candidates that are both ideologically pure enough for Trump, but still electable. The Democrats have candidates coming out of their ears, but those candidates want to run on issues they can win on, and not positions rammed down their throats by the state or national party. What’s my favorite new tag line? “Hey! Hey! Hey! Leave them kids alone!”