Worksheet for the 2018 Midterms (First Ripples of “The Wave”?)

By Lambert Strether of .

Readers, here is the latest iteration of my “Table 1” for the 2018 primaries. The structure is the same as the last iteration on “the Wave” and the DCCC. The enormous Pennsylvania primary is tomorrow — ! — but fortunately this is not a horse-race series, so I don’t have to write up any predictions! I did recheck the candidates backed by the DCCC, and made some other changes in detail (mostly who backs real versions of Medicare for All, and who backs faux versions; thanks to readers for some clarifications). Herewith the table, which gives us one important result.

Table 1: Worksheet on House Races, Election 2018 (05-14).

District Primary Date Party Status Incumbent Horserace Horserace (Previous) Challengers
AZ-01 08-28 D O’Halleran Tilt-D Tilt-D [DP][]
AZ-02 08-28 R Open McSally Tilt-D Tilt-D , [DP; h][], (, ; but .) [EL, DCCC, DP][fM], , () [JD; m][M], (), () [DP][M], [DP][M]
CA-07 06-05 D Bera Likely-D Likely-D [No challenger][]
CA-10 06-05 R Denham Tilt-R Tilt-R [DP; m][M], , [e][M], [fM], [M],
CA-25 06-05 R Knight Tilt-R Tilt-R [M], [fM], Mary Pallant (),
CA-39 06-05 R Open Royce Toss-Up Toss-Up (; ) [DCCC; m][], () [DP][M], [DP][], , Cybil Steed () [e][], () [OR; e][M], (, ) [EL; h][]
CA-45 06-05 R Walters Lean-R Lean-R [DP; s][], John Graham, [M], (CAP.), [M]
CA-48 06-05 R Rohrabacher Tilt-R Tilt-R [h][fM], (Googler; ) [EL; s][], , Deanie Schaarsmith, [in][fM], [m][M]
CA-49 06-05 R Open Issa Toss-Up Toss-Up [JD; m][M], () [EL, DP][M], ( ) [m][M], () [DP][M]
CO-06 06-26 R Coffman Tilt-R Tilt-R [DCCC, DP; m][], [M], [M]
FL-07 08-28 D Murphy Lean-D Lean-D [BN, JD; m][M]
FL-13 08-28 D Crist Likely-D Likely-D [No challenger][]
FL-26 08-28 R Curbelo Tilt-R Tilt-R [m][], (), Steven Machat [M], , [m][]
FL-27 08-28 R Open Ros-Lehtinen Lean-D Lean-D [EL][], () [DP; e][], , () [BN, JD; e][], , (, ) [DP][M], () [DP][], [DP][], (; ) [DP][]
IA-01 06-05 R Blum Tilt-R Tilt-R Abby Finkenauer, , [m, l][], [JD; m][M]
IL-06 03-20 R Roskam Tilt-R Tilt-R Becky Anderson (), () [fM], , [DP; e][], [M], (“A Medicare-for-all public option.”) [fM], Becky Anderson Wilkins (), Becky Anderson Wilkins (),
IL-12 03-20 R Bost Lean-R Lean-R [m][], () [DCCC; m, in, l][]
KS-02 08-07 R Open Jenkins Lean-R Lean-R , Nathan Schmidt ()
KS-03 08-07 R Yoder Lean-R Lean-R Sharice Davids (), , (“Create a single-payer Option”) [s][], Tom Niermann [e][], , [M],
KY-06 05-22 R Barr Lean-R Lean-R Jim Gray (), , , [DP; m][], [DP; e][], ()
MI-08 08-27 R Bishop Lean-R Lean-R (; ; .) [EL, DCCC, DP; m, in][fM],
MI-11 08-27 R Open Trott Toss-Up Tilt-R (Site not responsive.), , [fM], Fayrouz Saad [M],
MN-01 08-14 D Open Walz Toss-Up Toss-Up [M], (, , ) [DCCC, DP; m][], [DP][], () [m][], , () [DP; m, l][M]
MN-02 08-14 R Lewis Toss-Up Toss-Up () [EL, DCCC][], () [e][M]
MN-03 08-14 R Paulsen Lean-R Lean-R [M], Adam Jennings () [m][],
MN-07 08-14 D Peterson Likely-D Likely-D [No challenger][]
MN-08 08-14 D Open Nolan Toss-Up Toss-Up () [DP][], [M], () [DP][], () [in][M], [DP][]
NE-02 05-15 R Bacon Tilt-R Tilt-R , (; .) [JD; e][M]
NH-01 09-11 D Open Shea-Porter Tilt-D Tilt-D (, ) [DP][], () [DP][], () [BN; s][M], [m, l][M], () [DP][], (; ) [M], [l][], () [EL, DP; m][]
NJ-02 06-05 R Open LoBiondo Tilt-D Toss-Up () [DP][], () [e][M], () [DCCC, DP][], () [e][]
NJ-05 06-05 D Gottheimer Tilt-D Tilt-D [No challenger][]
NJ-07 06-05 R Lance Lean-R Lean-R (; ) [M], ,
NJ-11 06-05 R Open Frelinghuysen Tilt-D Toss-Up [l][], () [m][], (), Alison Heslin, () [EL, DCCC; m, l][M], [e][M]
NV-03 06-12 D Open Rosen Tilt-D Tilt-D , (; )) [EL, DCCC; e][], [M], () [s][], , Eric Stoltz, () [M]
NV-04 06-12 D Open Kihuen Likely-D Likely-D () [e][], () [DCCC, DP][], () [DP; m][M], () [DP; e][], () [BN, JD][M], [m, in][]
NY-19 06-26 R Faso Tilt-R Tilt-R [JD; in, e][M], [M], Erin Collier (), [fM], Brian Flynn [M], , [m, in][]
NY-22 06-26 R Tenney Tilt-R Tilt-R
PA-01 05-15 R Fitzpatrick Tilt-R Tilt-R [DP; e][M], [EL; m][], Scott Wallace ()
PA-05 05-15 R Open Meehan Likely-D Likely-D [e][], () [DP][], () [in][fM], [DP][], [DP][], () [DP][M], (), () [l][], (; ) [DP][], , () [s][M], () [DP][], ,
PA-06 05-15 R Costello Likely-D Likely-D (; ) [EL, DCCC; m][]
PA-07 05-15 R Open Dent Tilt-D Tilt-D , [DP][], [JD][M], [DP; l][], () [e][], (; ) [EL; l][]
PA-08 05-15 R Fitzpatrick Likely-D Likely-D [No challenger][]
PA-17 05-15 R Rothfus Tilt-R Tilt-R [m, l][], Ray Linsenmayer (Dropped out (oddly). ; ; .)
TX-07 03-06 R Culberson Tilt-R Tilt-R [h, e][], [DP][], , (), Ivan Sanchez [fM], , (; ) [h][]
TX-23 03-06 R Hurd Toss-Up Toss-Up [EL, DCCC, DP; m, l][M], [JD, OR, DP][M]
UT-04 06-26 R Love Lean-R Lean-R (), , [JD; s][M], Morgan Shepherd, [s][M]
VA-10 06-12 R Comstock Toss-Up Toss-Up [DP; h][], () [s][], () [DP; in][], () [m][fM], , () [l][], (), () [DP][], () [DP; l][]
WA-08 08-07 R Open Reichert Toss-Up Toss-Up , [M], () [h][], () [M], [M], (; .) [IN; l][M], () [EL, IN; h][]
WI-01 08-14 R Open Ryan Lean-R Lean-R () [fM], () [e][M]
  • Bio keys are m, i, l, and o) for Military, Intelligence, Law Enforcement, and Other (except I didn’t find any Others this time[5]). A candidate who worked for the CIA is keyed i. A candidate who worked in Law enforcement and the military is keyed “lm.” “Law Enforcement” is conceived broadly, including not only police but district attorneys.
  • Backer keys are BN, EL, IN, JD, OR, and DCCC, Brand New Congress, Emily’s List, Indivisible, Justice Democrats, Our Revolution, and (of course) the DCCC. In addition, there is a DP key, for members of the Democrat Party network, elected and otherwise, and S, for challengers inspired by Sanders.
  • Policy keys are M, fM, for Medicare for All, and any of the various bait-and-switch alternatives proposed by think tanks like CAP, or centrists like Merkeley. Some judgement is involved, based on the verbiage. “Single payer” always merits an “M,” for example.
  • Bio keys are m, i, l, and o) for Military, Intelligence, Law Enforcement, and Other (except I didn’t find any Others this time[5]). A candidate who worked for the CIA is keyed i. A candidate who worked in Law enforcement and the military is keyed “lm.” “Law Enforcement” is conceived broadly, including not only police but district attorneys.
  • Backer keys are BN, EL, IN, JD, OR, and DCCC, Brand New Congress, Emily’s List, Indivisible, Justice Democrats, Our Revolution, and (of course) the DCCC. In addition, there is a DP key, for members of the Democrat Party network, elected and otherwise, and S, for challengers inspired by Sanders.
  • Policy keys are M, fM, for Medicare for All, and any of the various bait-and-switch alternatives proposed by think tanks like CAP, or centrists like Merkeley. Some judgement is involved, based on the verbiage. “Single payer” always merits an “M,” for example.

Now the important result:

Using the horserace predictions from the handicappers at Inside Elections (), we come up with the following changes from our post of two weeks ago:

Two weeks ago, only one district (MN-07), had changed from Lean-D to Likely-D. Now an additional six have shifted in the same direction (although, oddly, none from Pennsylvania, and none from California). Although only two have shifted from Toss-Up to Tilt-D, all are moving in the same direction. For a Democrat loyalist, as well as anybody who wants to see divided government return to Washington, that’s good news.

* * *

As readers know, I simplify the political world by dividing it into conservatives, liberals, and the left, where liberals and conservatives put markets first, and the left does not (pause for outraged cries from various left groupuscles who deplore being grouped). The liberals who currently dominate the Democrat Party would prefer to “convert” or peel off conservatives (Exhibit A: The rehabilitation of George W. Bush, and other Republican worthies) rather than appeal to the left, let alone expand their base by moving the entire party left and offering universal concrete material benefits to voters. Unfortunately, from the standpoint of the left, liberal Democrats reacted to the results of election 2016 by purging the left from the DNC and from the important rules and bylaws committee, and the DCCC has decided on a straight replay of the squandered 2006 “wave” election by betting on Blue Dogs, identity politics, and big bucks. describes the issues well for California Assembly District 15:

Buffy Wicks is the only candidate in the AD15 race who opposed Bernie Sanders in the 2016 Presidential primary. While largely tailoring her platform to the district, she remains visibly the furthest ‘Right’ on charter schools (whose promoters are among her donors) and tenants’ rights. Buffy, who describes herself as a “community organizer,” headed Hillary’s California 2016 primary campaign, after heading a pro-Hillary Super PAC, after playing significant roles in Obama’s 2008 and 2012 campaigns’ fundraising, and heading the Obama Administration’s Office of Public Engagement– during the notorious post-election demobilization of grassroots participation in Obama For America.

Buffy’s many prominent endorsers include California Secretary of State Alex Padilla, who (in between campaigning alongside Hillary) presided over the 2016 Presidential primary, including incorrect instructions to voters and poll workers, and alleged ballot-tampering, which suppressed votes for Bernie

How Buffy raises and spends big bucks:

Massive fundraising by Buffy includes donations from mega-donor and Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker (whose brother spent $70 million to secure this year’s Democratic nomination for Governor of Illinois), and from senior personnel in the offices of Rahm Emanuel and Cory Booker. It was leaked, and then acknowledged, that Buffy poll-tested the resonance not only of her own potential positions, but also attack lines against four other candidates. Buffy has access to virtually unlimited funds in order to carpet-bomb the district with expensively tailored positive and negative messaging.

This race is testing a new local election model: retooling a fundraising operative into a fake Progressive candidate (aided by a track record free of previous positions on policy), to carpet bomb a Progressive and highly educated district with a carpetbag full of money and celebrity endorsements. If this succeeds, it will be repeated everywhere because, if they can fake it here, they can fake it anywhere.

Holy moly, a “community organizer” with “virtually unlimited funds” [puts head in hands]. As readers know, I’ve been casting about in my mind for ways make the Democrat Party, as presently constituted, go the way of the Whigs (who split on slavery, as did the earlier incarnation of the Democrats). Through the various iterations of Table I, I’ve sought fracture points, especially along occupational lines (MILO in Table I) and policy lines (especially Medicare for All), but without what I consider real analytical success. However, reading about the horrid Buffy, it occurs to me that the real power of the Sanders campaign was not policy — important as #MedicareForAll is, and no matter how much we all love to talk about policy — but the Sanders $27-dollar donor model, which oddly, or not, seems to have completely disappeared from political discourse. (I’d go so far along the purity scale as to suggest that even donations from unions be rejected; they need the money for organizing the workplace in any case, which is what they ought to be doing). :

A truly clear-eyed assessment of the Democratic Party’s recent record would show that, under its current leaders, the party lost both houses of Congress and roughly 1,000 seats in state legislatures during the Obama years. The fact that the electoral tide seems to have shifted this year says little about their leadership. The shift is largely due to the party base’s understandable horror at Trump’s leadership.

In a 2013 , the DCCC famously told freshmen Democrats in Congress that they should plan on spending four hours a day raising money [my emphasis] for their re-election campaigns.

The party is using its candidates to an infrastructure of consultants that reinforce the need to raise copious amounts of cash. In a leaked (MOU) between the DCCC and its candidates, the party organization insists on overseeing budgets and campaign finance plans. The also requires candidates to reserve “at least 75 percent of funds raised for paid communications.”

This enriches a certain type of Democratic consultant. It also precludes candidates from embracing the ground-based, movement-aligned strategies that could help increase voter turnout and win races previously thought unwinnable. It prevents the development of lower-cost alternatives to the kinds of campaigns that force politicians to spend hours every day raising money.

My thought, then, is that every insurgent — especially those who have adopted the Sanders $27-dollar model; surely there are some? — who faces a DCCC-backed candidate should be asking that candidate some very pointed questions about how they use their time, time being money. Here’s a handy list from the DCCC’s Red-to-Blue program:

Pointed questions like:

1) “Do you plan to spend four hours a day, every day, on the phone raising money? And a follow-up: Do you think that’s the best use of your time?”

2) “What do you think your contributors are buying with their contributions?”

3) “Wouldn’t it be better if all political campaigns were funded by people, and only by people, who can only afford to pay $27? Sanders proved it can be done, so why aren’t you doing it?”

And other questions like that. Over and over and over. Not one of many things; the thing. It seems that policy-based approaches have, at best, left the Democrat Establishment with flesh wounds. (“Look! Over there! Medicare Extra!”) Maybe following the money will fracture some bone. As Admiral Horatio Nelson (apocryphally) : “Never mind the maneuvers. just go straight at ’em.”

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About Lambert Strether

Readers, I have had a correspondent characterize my views as realistic cynical. Let me briefly explain them. I believe in universal programs that provide concrete material benefits, especially to the working class. Medicare for All is the prime example, but tuition-free college and a Post Office Bank also fall under this heading. So do a Jobs Guarantee and a Debt Jubilee. Clearly, neither liberal Democrats nor conservative Republicans can deliver on such programs, because the two are different flavors of neoliberalism (“Because markets”). I don’t much care about the “ism” that delivers the benefits, although whichever one does have to put common humanity first, as opposed to markets. Could be a second FDR saving capitalism, democratic socialism leashing and collaring it, or communism razing it. I don’t much care, as long as the benefits are delivered. To me, the key issue — and this is why Medicare for All is always first with me — is the tens of thousands of excess “deaths from despair,” as described by the Case-Deaton study, and other recent studies. That enormous body count makes Medicare for All, at the very least, a moral and strategic imperative. And that level of suffering and organic damage makes the concerns of identity politics — even the worthy fight to help the refugees Bush, Obama, and Clinton’s wars created — bright shiny objects by comparison. Hence my frustration with the news flow — currently in my view the swirling intersection of two, separate Shock Doctrine campaigns, one by the Administration, and the other by out-of-power liberals and their allies in the State and in the press — a news flow that constantly forces me to focus on matters that I regard as of secondary importance to the excess deaths. What kind of political economy is it that halts or even reverses the increases in life expectancy that civilized societies have achieved? I am also very hopeful that the continuing destruction of both party establishments will open the space for voices supporting programs similar to those I have listed; let’s call such voices “the left.” Volatility creates opportunity, especially if the Democrat establishment, which puts markets first and opposes all such programs, isn’t allowed to get back into the saddle. Eyes on the prize! I love the tactical level, and secretly love even the horse race, since I’ve been blogging about it daily for fourteen years, but everything I write has this perspective at the back of it.

38 comments

  1. Scott

    I’ve come to the conclusion that liberals, as Lambert describes them, don’t want the Democrats to win, they want to advance the liberal economic agenda, while being paid as lobbyist, consultants or talking heads. They don’t care if this advanced through the Democratic or Republican party, so long as no one deviates too much from their ideology.Thus the threat that Sanders poses is far greater than Trump as Sanders is a direct affront to the neoliberal, neoconservative orthodoxy. Trump’s few heterodox positions have been effectively neutered, so they must stop the left from getting any influence in the primaries in 2018 or 2020

    Reply
    1. gearandgrit

      Agree. Sanders is a real threat. He’s smart, well read, understands policy and how to get things done and has an energized base ready to go. Trump is comparatively an idiot who gets his talking points from a TV show scripted for people with a 4th grade reading level. He has an energized base but he doesn’t understand policy or how to get stuff done and he doesn’t have the inclination to learn. Sanders and the progressive liberal left are far more of a real threat.

      Reply
        1. drumlin woodchuckles

          Perhaps people ought to treat Sanders as a developer-of-methods. Perhaps people should be bothering themselves to learn some of Sanders’s methods and adapt them to their own circumstances. Like the $27-per-donation method and the assembly of a big bunch of supporters who are ready to donate $27 again and again and again . . . to keep a campaign supplied and in the field.

          Reply
          1. Lambert Strether Post author

            > Like the $27-per-donation method and the assembly of a big bunch of supporters who are ready to donate $27 again and again and again . . . to keep a campaign supplied and in the field.

            I am coming to the conclusion that this is the key point. “Follow the money.” But this needs to be not just the Sanders campaign but a permanent campaign. I’m not sure the left is ready, or able, to go there.

            Reply
            1. Norb

              The left has no “social club” infrastructure in place that would allow this to happen. Conservatives have successfully captured the Religious infrastructure in the US to support their social goals and have marginalized any radical Christian movements that would lean to a more left perspective and ideology.

              The permanent campaign is only possible when social clubs are formed, and when robustly secure in their existence, their collective power can be directed in the political sphere- leaders democratically elected by the members. The weakness of this approach is avoiding the authoritarian drift that can occur in organizations and that success depends on the longevity that can be acquired.

              I think the only hope is somehow using the workplace as the catalyst for this transformation. Old school thinking is forming labor unions and strikes to control outcomes, but this model has been defeated. They are still important and powerful, but are not transformative.

              Worker owned enterprises joining to become a strong political force is the only hope, and a very long term project. Everything else seems short lived, transitory, and easily taken away after human emotions die down.

              What needs to be broken is the idea of paying and contributing to our own subjugation.

              Reply
  2. Sid Finster

    Honestly, I suspect that part of Trump’s problem is that he did not expect to win and made few concrete plans as to what he’d do, how he would do it, and whom he’d appoint once he won.

    Once he won, Trump was left ripe for the picking, as former enemies swooped in to “offer advice and guidance”.

    By contrast, HRC and her cronies apparently spent early November raising cash and dividing up the spoils of office that would surely follow her inevitable victory, rather than sending their Anointed Queen Apparent out to hobnob with icky flyover people.

    Reply
  3. Mike Furlan

    It is too soon to think about the elections. I’d put it 50% odds that either the Republicans or Democrats pick up seats.

    Long version:

    Reply
    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      > It is too soon to think about the elections.

      I am thinking of the institutional structure of the Democrat Party, not handicapping (fun though handicapping is).

      Reply
      1. Mike Furlan

        Yes, you are mainly discussing the structure of the Democratic Party. But.

        “The fact that the electoral tide seems to have shifted this year says little about their leadership. The shift is largely due to the party base’s understandable horror at Trump’s leadership.”

        The tide could ebb. SNL has decided that Trump jokes are now boring. Michelle Wolf’s tame monologue has been repudiated. Trump could well be normalized by fall. Or not.

        Reply
        1. Lambert Strether Post author

          And “party base’s understandable horror.”

          Sure, but how do we define “the base”? It’s entirely possible to imagine a split or even fractured, base, each segment appalled by Trump, but for different reasons and with different strategies (or even different views on how to take advantage of the situation…

          Reply
  4. allan

    Reading the issues pages of the DCCC’s chosen few is not for the weak of heart.
    From the “Growing the Economy for Businesses and Workers” page of one who will remain nameless
    (emphasis added):

    In order for our region to thrive we must build a diverse economy that strengthens the middle class by focusing on manufacturing and technology, small business creation, agriculture, education and career training. Government should and can reduce regulatory burden and create an environment that encourages investment and job creation by bringing together small businesses, local colleges and technical schools, and community leaders to start conversations that lead to the development of solutions; however, actual solutions depend on those in the private sector. I believe that government should be a partner to entrepreneurs, not an obstacle.

    … We should start by lowering prescription drug costs and preventing mega corporate mergers that create monopolies and drive up costs. Next, we need to keep taxes low and support an economy that rewards the American worker. This means cracking down on countries that cheat and eliminating tax breaks for big businesses that ship jobs overseas, instead pushing for smart tax policies that help businesses grow and hire. Finally, we need a real infrastructure plan to fix our aging roads, bridges and water systems. …

    Perhaps most important, the District needs a representative who has proven their ability to work across party lines and with elected officials at all levels of government. Our district needs an independent voice with a track record of standing up to their own party and reaching across the aisle to get results.

    I would recycle the old Zel Miller line by saying that I didn’t leave my party, my party left me, except that this
    Red to Blue special sounds like a moderate Republican, circa 1976, and I was never a moderate Republican.

    Reply
    1. Big River Bandido

      I do wish you wish you *would* name the empty suit who put that on his/her “issues page”. Such drivel reminds me of one of Thomas Dewey’s campaign speeches in 1948:

      We believe in honesty, loyalty, fair play, concern for our neighbors, the innate ability of men to achieve. These convictions, arched over by our faith in god, are the inner meaning of the American way of life.

      Reply
      1. Massinissa

        Theres a reason the only thing people remembered about Dewey was his funny mustache. Such a boring candidate.

        To quote the Louisville Courier Journal:

        “No presidential candidate in the future will be so inept that four of his major speeches can be boiled down to these historic four sentences: Agriculture is important. Our rivers are full of fish. You cannot have freedom without liberty. Our future lies ahead.”

        Reply
      2. Jerry

        My search engine easily matched a phrase from above with the same text at

        That’s upstate NY, the Utica-Binghamton area.

        Reply
    2. Lambert Strether Post author

      I think the key passage, which I didn’t emphasize nearly enough — I seem to have suffered a sort of brainlock when I got close to the heart of the matter — is this:

      In a 2013 PowerPoint slide, the DCCC famously told freshmen Democrats in Congress that they should plan on spending four hours a day raising money [my emphasis*] for their re-election campaigns.

      This reminds me powerfully of the Hollywood casting couch. And although I deprecate comparisons of politics to prostitution (it’s insulting to prostitutes), I am reminded of the process whereby the pimp (the party) introduces a new member of his stable (the candidate) to clients (the donor class), after, naturally, first having tested the new member themselves personally (what they were willing to do in the primary).

      * NOTE Sadly, I couldn’t figure out how to make BLINK work…

      Reply
        1. Lambert Strether Post author

          No, I don’t think that’s right (and I prefer Terrry Pratchett’s “lady of negotiable affection” to “prozzie,” if we must have a term).

          1) The client is the donor class, because they purchase the service

          2) The candidate/stable member is the LNA, because they provide the service

          3) The party (aided by the consultants) is the pimp, because they enable/broker the service.

          As the Bearded One did not quite say: “Follow the money!”

          Reply
      1. Arizona Slim

        A Tucson friend ran for the House of Representatives.

        Her political consultant was one of those “dialing for dollars” types. Well, guess what, she didn’t raise much money that way, and her campaign was going nowhere. So, she fired the consultant.

        After she did that, she put the phone down and went out to talk to people. And, lo and behold, it was working. Unfortunately, it didn’t work well enough to save her campaign. She dropped out of the race.

        This year, she’s running for a seat in the Arizona Senate. And Mr. Dialing for Dollars is NOT part of her organization.

        Reply
      2. allan

        From Lambert’s keyboard to a candidate’s lips:

        [AuburnPub]

        Up until a month ago, it appeared Dana Balter was a lock to secure the Democratic nomination to face U.S. Rep. John Katko, a Republican, in the 24th Congressional District race.

        But former Syracuse mayoral candidate Juanita Perez Williams entered the congressional race and is seeking the Democratic nod. While local Democratic leaders have rallied around Balter, D-Syracuse, Perez Williams has the support of national Democrats, most notably the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. …

        During an appearance at the Auburn Rotary Club’s luncheon Tuesday, Balter was asked by an attendee why she thinks the national Democrats have “such a disdain” for her candidacy that they would support Perez Williams.

        Balter didn’t seem to agree with the characterization of how she is viewed by the DCCC and national Democrats, but she offered her view of why the national party is backing Perez Williams in the 24th district race.

        She said the national Democrats have placed a heavy emphasis on fundraising. …

        She believes the national Democrats should’ve talked to supporters of the campaign and local Democratic leaders before deciding to back someone else to run against Katko.

        “They don’t pay attention to those things, which I was hoping was going to be one of the lessons out of the 2016 election cycle that national parties learned. And they seemed to not learn those lessons,” she said. “So we’re going to show them the right way to do politics and that you can be successful when you do it the right way and maybe they will learn the lesson.”

        Balter also thinks her willingness to break with the party when it’s best for her district clashes with what the national Democrats want in a candidate. …

        Reply
        1. Lambert Strether Post author

          Thanks for keeping after this horrid story in Syracuse

          On “the right way to do politics,” I’ve been meaning to say this for awhile:

          I think the key event post-2016 for Democrats was the DNC meeting, where the liberal Democrats punched the left right in the mouth. That was the very first thing they did, as soon as they had the chance. Obama stood up Perez, and the DNC defenestrated Ellison. Then the DNC threw all the Sanders supporters off the Rules and Bylaws Committee, and now they’re thinking of backtracking on superdelegates.

          The liberal Democrats punched the left right in the mouth, and the left didn’t respond. The closest thing to response was Nina Turner trying to present a petition to the DNC and being rejected, and that resulted on “donut Twitter” but not much else. At the time, I thought, well, Sanders has the list, and Sanders has a forum, so OK. And maybe primary results will validate that approach.

          One alternative would have been a sitdown. Another would be to occupy the DNC headquarters and publish everything there, including whatever was on the servers. If it was possible for Republicans to stage a bourgeois riot in Florida 2000, and it’s possible for anyone. The results of taking the one punch is more punches: Another Democrat tentacle or entity, the DCCC, doing the election-rigging thing all over again, Pelosi planning 2006 all over again — House control + Blue Dogs = no governamce — and squandering another wave. The left needs to get really clear that the Democrat Party is a terrain to be won, and nothing more.

          Reply
  5. flora

    Don’t forget about the KS-04 Congressional race. 2017 had a special KS-04 election to fill Rep. Mike Pompeo’s seat when he was moved to the CIA by Trump. This year there’s another KS-04 election for a full term.

    Reply
  6. Big River Bandido

    Lambert: I thoroughly agree that a candidate’s willingness to reject corporate, PAC and union contributions is the key to the entire puzzle, because in the end, those are what the monster. (Union contributions should also be rejected on principle. The strike-breaking efforts of Randi Weingarten and the national AFT are the clearest possible indication that union leaders are just part of the problem.)

    I do hope for divided government, but that doesn’t mean divided between Republicans and Democrats, but divided rather between those two nearly-identical groups and the left.

    I am not at all convinced that there will be a wave this fall. If the DCCC successfully shuts out Sanders-inspired candidates, they won’t have jack to run on in November. It’s not 2006, and that strategy simply will not bring out enough of the base to win this time. It’s not 2016, either, yet Democrats are yet again expecting demographics to win for them what they can’t win by actually inspiring and turning out voters.

    From what I’ve been able to tell, it appears the DCCC has been successful in shutting down challenges from the left. But there’s been a dearth of substantive reporting (lack of coverage, conflation of “Democrats”, “liberals”, “progressives” and “the left”) and I’ve not been able to follow through with how the candidates you’ve reported on have actually done. Do you suppose after the primaries are done you could do a rundown? It would certainly give us a better sense of whether the left has actually been able to make inroads, and it would also help us target our efforts toward a few authentic candidates, rather than waste time, effort and resources on fake progressives who will simply squander any gains the Democrats might make.

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    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      > I am not at all convinced that there will be a wave this fall.

      I’m not convinced either. I think we’ll know by the end of June at the latest, but if in two weeks (the next time I do on of these things) we don’t see significant movement toward the Democrats, they will have blown their opportunity. Remember the Pelosi quote I found the other day:

      “Pelosi Says Democrats Have Cash and Environment to Win House” []. ” House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi said Sunday that House Democrats have the fundraising, the issues and the political atmosphere on their side to win back the majority in November. These factors, and an activated party base that’s helped Democrats win in special elections across the country this year are the ‘small droplets of water’ that create a wave, Pelosi said headlining a county Democratic Party banquet in Des Moines. ‘This is not going to be big margins,’ she said. ‘It is going to be small margins in many places.’” Yes. If the Democrats got big margins, they’d have to govern. Can’t have that.

      A small enough margin to avoid governing, but a big enough margin to keep the grift going while holding off the left. A delicate dance!

      > it appears the DCCC has been successful in shutting down challenges from the left.

      So far, I agree. I think the PA results (much later today) will give the first real indication. However, I also think the real challenges are happening way farther down the ticket, at the state and local level. The left has to walk before it can run! I picture the left in terms of political power as a sort of hour-glass, with Sanders (wide) at the top and a base (also wide) but an extremely narrow “waist” of people skilled in the arts of politics, especially retail politics, skilled in the art of doing more than protesting, but getting elected, doing policy, etc., etc., etc. The waist is only going to fill out with time and experience, and will also be under constant assault by liberals (which — back to the original point of the post — is why the Sandes funding model needs to be national, and not particular to the Sanders campaign).

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      1. Big River Bandido

        Thanks! I’ve been on the road more than at home the last 2-3 weeks, and even reading NC (much less commenting) on my phone is a drag…somehow I missed the RealClearPolitics link the first time. You’re right about the down-ticket races and the effects that will have on the future. Guess I’m just impatient.

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      2. sharonsj

        I’m in northeast PA. There has been little or no coverage for many local races. Local media is pretty terrible when it comes to information; I had to search the internet just to find out the candidates (only one of whom seems able to afford some TV ads) and their positions. My old district (was #10 now #12) was re-gerrymandered so it is bigger than ever (something like 15 counties lumped together). The incumbent hardly held any physical town halls previously and I expect the new size will make them impossible.

        I have seen no TV ads from the Democratic contenders. Nor have I heard them on radio (local radio is 100% conservative). Focus seems to be on senatorial and gubernatorial races. And the conservatives are trying to out-conservative each other. It’s all very depressing.

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        1. crittermom

          Here in New Mexico, the TV has been flooded with ads for candidates, with all but one I’ve seen for Dems. Most are mimicking Bernie in wanting $15 min wage, denying any corporate money, Medicare for all, & other policies.
          There’s one Native American woman running for Congress I currently like (more research to be done), as well as someone running for another position that’s even backed by Our Revolution.
          I have much research to do yet before voting.

          Too bad NM doesn’t exist politically, but it’s encouraging to hear these candidates.

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  7. Webstir

    The only dangerous minority is the rich.

    These days, a democrat is just a republican in sheep’s clothing. They both prostrate themselves before the spiders in Italian clothing.
    (Wilco shout-out):

    Tell everyone you know …

    The only dangerous minority is the rich.

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  8. Odysseus

    3) “Wouldn’t it be better if all political campaigns were funded by people, and only by people, who can only afford to pay $27? Sanders proved it can be done, so why aren’t you doing it?”

    It’s not clear that this can be done at the Congressional level. President is a special race in a number of ways. Downballot races see a significant drop-off in voting.

    It seems sane that that also translates into a funding enthusiasm gap. If the star power isn’t there, the funding will not follow.

    For one example, New Jersey Presidential and Senate elections in 2012.
    3.6M total votes for President

    3.3M total votes for Senator

    Damned near 10% of the people who walked into the voting booth couldn’t be bothered to make a second check mark. And notice that the drop-off isn’t partisan.

    You see the same issue in midterms. Roughly 30% of voters don’t vote unless the President is on the ballot. Governor and Senator elections simply do not draw the same number of voters.

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    1. Auntienene

      NJ-11 here. It wasn’t that I couldn’t be bothered to vote for senator, it was that I had no good choices (voted third party for president). Since then I changed my registration to Unaffiliated.

      Looking at the district candidates today, I still don’t have any good choices. Medicare for all, social liberal, fiscal centrist, hopes to appeal to conservatives, blah, blah, blah. Or healthcare is a right so strengthen Obamacare, affordable, blah, blah, blah. I don’t feel any desire to re-register as a democrat to vote for any of these people in the primary.

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    2. Big River Bandido

      There’s too much emphasis on money in political races to begin with.

      Plus, the more “downticket” you go, the less important money becomes. What good are consultants in a school board race? (And what high-powered consultant would even bother?) And when your “district” covers only a few square miles, you don’t need expensive advertising or a travel budget. At that point, it really does become all about issues, reaching out to neighbors, and getting them to vote. Such a small percentage of eligible voters even come out for local elections, making the threshold for election quite small.

      A candidate in a local race needs very little money to do all the hard work of organization — and in fact, not even a toilet full of money is much help in those circumstances because “infrastructure” that is *purchased* to run a local campaign cannot replicate the genuine enthusiasm of *inspired* volunteers. The latter counts much more in local races.

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      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        Thinking more about this, there are two sides:

        1) Need to raise on small donations. This needs to be nationalized and separated from liberals

        2) Rhetorically, start calling out the big money for what it is: The donor class purchasing a service from the electeds. In debates (or in YouTubes of debates with empty chairs)

        Left: “[Ms./Mr] Liberal candidate, you have taken money from the DCCC’s Red-to-Blue program. That means you’ve committed to spending four hours a day on the phone servicing high-dollar donors as a candidate and if elected. Do you intend to honor that commitment?” (And a follow-up….)

        Liberal: “Ah, um…”

        I don’t think policy alone makes it, very sadly.

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  9. skippy

    I’m always reminded of Bush Jr first tour of duty after stealing Gores climate and environmental platform, seemed even somewhat ready to follow through – initially. At least until the wise men gave him the Presidential level briefing and we know what followed – no kid left behind, clean [tm] air and water act and a plethora of other goodies like forgoing the FBI warning on mortgage fraud – priorities’ precluded action.

    I hope all can forgive me, but until the wise men are sorted be it the apparition of others desires or some other similar construct the political avenue will have spastic results [Lambert is going to kill me].

    BTW I love your formatting Lambert, Kudos.

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  10. ObjectiveFunction

    To quote our reverend Archdruid from some time ago:

    “Democracy is one of the few systems of government in which the rich aren’t automatically the ones who make collective decisions. In a hereditary aristocracy, say, the people who have the political authority also have most of the national wealth, and thus can afford the disdain for the merely rich that aristocrats so often affect.

    “In a democracy, by contrast, there are always people who have wealth but want influence, and people who have power but want money, and the law of supply and demand takes it from there.

    “Those who claim that the existence of political corruption in America shows that it’s no longer a democracy thus have the matter exactly backwards; it’s precisely because American national, state and local governments are more or less democratic that corruption flourishes here, as it has in nearly every other democracy on record.”

    Reply

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