Honey Pot

I’m having a hard time deciding where money is best spent in this election. Here’s what I’m thinking:

* Re-electing Obama has to be job 1 because he can veto the insanity coming from Congress and a couple more conservative Supreme Court nominations will have us re-litigating Dred Scott.

* But, as has always been the case in this election, Obama will probably win. So the next worst outcome is a Senate that agrees with the House and wraps the next debt ceiling fight into a repeal of the Voting Rights Act.

* Still, money in House races can go a long way if a sane Democrat is going up against a Tea Party Republican. Maybe Democrats could actually get a tiny House majority, if we push it hard.

So where’s the best place for Democrats to spend money?

I’ll confess one of my probably irrational prejudices. I think the Romney campaign is a honey pot for Democrats – it’s bound to fail, but the amount of money spent by the Romney campaign will cause the Obama campaign to suck up all the available cash while Karl Rove’s superPAC buys a reactionary, uncooperative Congress that hobbles Obama’s second term. Part of the reason I think that is because I’ve seen what a couple of million bucks can do in a Congressional race.

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117 replies
  1. 1
    Linda Featheringill says:

    So we should contribute to DCCC?

  2. 2
    shortstop says:

    I’ve given what I will to Obama. He will win. The rest of my $ goes to Senate races. I do not think we will retake the House and I suspect our best ROI now is with the several Senate seats in play.

  3. 3
    chopper says:

    the senate. that is all.

  4. 4
    japa21 says:

    On one level, I agree with your final hypothesis. However, a lot of recent polling is very positive for both the House and Senate. I expect to see Obama doing a lot of joint appearances with a lot of Congressional candidates and cutting a lot of ads supporting those candidates.
    Unlike 2010, you don’t see many Dems who are trying to distance themselves from Obama.

  5. 5
    Punchy says:

    Metapolitical question — If the GOP does take the Senate but Romney loses, do they abolish the filly anyways? It wouldn’t seem to be effective, as O would veto their shit. Or are they thinking that by passing the shit in both houses and forcing an O veto, they’re going to make him the goat for everything? Of course, the risk is that they abort the filly now and Dems take the Senate in the next election….

  6. 6
    Peej says:

    I started to give to the Congressional races last night instead of giving more to Obama. I’m targeting some of the more odious Congresscritters in races where their Democratic opponents have a fighting chance.

  7. 7
    comrade scott's agenda of rage says:

    @japa21:

    This.

    Many people see this as a “turnout election” and the only way we’ll flip the House and preserve the Senate is turnout. Anything we spend should be aimed at massively increasing turnout and fighting voter suppression efforts

  8. 8
    dr. bloor says:

    @Linda Featheringill: Do. Not. Do. Find some good candidates that YOU like in competitive races, and give directly.

    We won’t get the House back this cycle, but if we can pick up enough seats, there may be times when we can split off enough Republicans in purple districts to get some stuff done and contain the Ebola virus that is the teaparty.

  9. 9
    gene108 says:

    (1a) Local House race, if you are trying to unseat an incumbent Republican in a non-crazy-red district or defend a Democratic seat.
    (1b) State/local Democratic Party, legislatures or local officials are up for a vote. State and local governments matter.
    (2) DCCC or Senate equivalent.
    (3) Obama. He gots this.
    (4) Me. Why? I piss excellence :-)

  10. 10
    jayackroyd says:

    Not the DNC. Obama’s team is husbanding all that money for the Presidential. The Princeton Election Consortium has recommendations: https://secure.actblue.com/page/pec2012

  11. 11
    aimai says:

    If the Dems are organized in their GOTV and they drag Obama voters to the polls in every state then they can automatically increase the vote count for their local congressional reps. That’s really the question. Here in MA I’m seeing a huge push for Warren which will have a knock on effect on all races because if you can get a Warren voter to the polls then the local dem rep is safe. The only reason this is notable is that usually Senate races in Ma receive next to no attention. Under Kennedy and Kerry there has barely ever been any campaigning.

    Kos has a breakdown of Republican spending in Congressional races and its clear that a lot of big money guys are trying to simply pick up as many congressmen as they can in rural and upstate districts where the dems think they have a lock on the presidential vote and aren’t spending money downticket. Big mistake.

    aimai

  12. 12
    Cassidy says:

    Time to make it rain!

  13. 13
    Linda Featheringill says:

    @comrade scott’s agenda of rage:

    Turnout election:

    You’re right. And GOTV helps the local candidates, too.

    The folks going door-to-door and on the phone help the locals also.

  14. 14
    LGRooney says:

    I’m given to dreaming and I’ve long thought that Obama is waiting until he has a reasonable lock on this election before coming out swinging hard for control of at least one house. Even better if he and the Big Dog can round their combined firepower to that effort after securing the WH.

    Alas, I haven’t the funds to give.

  15. 15
    comrade scott's agenda of rage says:

    @gene108:

    (1b) State/local Democratic Party, legislatures or local officials are up for a vote. State and local governments matter.

    This is critical and for the most part ignored by Left Blogistania. The Repups have focued on this for 30 years and it shows: they clean our clocks. Here in Misery, the statewide Dem party is a joke and there’s no systematic approach to cultivating and supporting candidates.

    Of course it doesn’t help that the state outside the very immediate environs of St Louis and Kansas City might as well be Alabama…

  16. 16
    Uncular 1 says:

    I’m donating money to Obama and my time to Sherrod Brown. We’ll be out canvassing this weekend. :)

  17. 17
    Carl Nyberg says:

    Unless you think Romney is going to gain ground with his wit and oratory in the debates, Obama has won this thing. The remaining questions are: by how much? to what extent will Obama have coattails?

    If you live in a state with a hotly contested Senate seat (AZ, IN, NV, ND and WI) give and volunteer in your Senate race.

    Otherwise, pick a U.S. House race to adopt. Volunteer to make calls once per week. Give money.

  18. 18
    Herbal Infusion Bagger says:

    Depends how weak Mittens’ numbers are in the next few weeks. If Mittens looks dead, then the GOP will dump money into Senate seats to try and take it over and create (more) gridlock. Then they’d be able to pass the “Rescuing Kittens and Millionaire Tax Cuts Act”, which Obama would veto, and then they’d slag off Obama for vetoing money for rescuing kittens.
    At least with a Senate majority we can kill most of the crazy bills in Congress, even if shit can’t get passed or nominees for Assistant Deputy Associate Secretary of the Interior can’t get a vote on their nomination.

    So I’d put money into the Senate.

    Also, as other posts have noted, Wall Street’s taken a big bet on Mittens, and if Mittens isn’t looking good, they’ll be rushing to give money to Obama to cover their bases. So Obama is probably good funding-wise.

  19. 19
    Belafon (formerly anonevent) says:

    I personally think that taking the House is more important than keeping the Senate. I would like to keep the Senate as well, but if I had to choose, I would consider the House more important because of where spending bills are supposed to originate.

  20. 20
    Carl Nyberg says:

    I would kinda like to see a Balloon Juice challenge.

    How many people can BJ recruit to make calls once per week?

    The people could pick any campaign in the country.

    And each week they would report how many calls they made and how many people they talked to.

    Plus it would be interesting to have people report on the noteworthy conversations.

  21. 21
    Todd says:

    And suddenly, it begins to dawn on people that the 2010 strategy of ratfucking/ignoring/working against the congressional blue dogs may not have been such a brilliant true progressive strategy, and did not lead to a situation where we would have eternal drum circles or an official national goal of militant anti-corporate raw food veganism for all.

  22. 22
    comrade scott's agenda of rage says:

    @Belafon (formerly anonevent):

    Two words: Supreme Court.

    Sure, they’ll hafta drag Fat Tony and Uncle Clarence out of there in a box but our guys ain’t exactly spring chickens either. We need a Dem president and Dem majority in the Senate to forestall, as said above, relitigating Dred Scott.

  23. 23
    jl says:

    @jayackroyd:

    Thanks, I will check out the Princeton site for long distance donations.

    Living in a Left Coast state where the only question seems to be how much over 60 percent Obama’s share of the presidential vote will be, and work schedule too tight to get over to NV, and Senate race probably going Dem here, I guess head to red CA to help with Congressional races.

    One pleasant way for folks near FL to help out is throw the Presidential bear hugger in chief some business if you happen by Fort Pierce.

    below is a presumably unbiased review from pre bear hug days.

    “Nice variety of food for lunch or dinner,” Bob O. from hometown Fort Pierce wrote on Dec. 26, 2009. “Love the Pizza, wings, subs and the best strombolie in town. Great atmosphere in newly renovated dinning area, and flat screen TV’s to enjoy sports. Family setting as Scott VanDuzer (sic), Fish and the rest of the staff make you feel right at home. ‘Special People’ and good food make for a local favorite.”

    Pizza Man Bear Hugs Obama, Starts ‘Yelp’ Troll War
    By Gregory J. Krieg | ABC OTUS News

    http://gma.yahoo.com/pizza-man.....itics.html

  24. 24
    HelloRochester says:

    The financial services tycoons are hedging right now and carpetbombing O with superpac contributions. Hopefully that money will buy them exactly nothing in terms of gratitude. I’m a drop some cash on Elizabeth Warren.

  25. 25
    Ben Franklin says:

    Since Republicans see POTUS as figurehead only, it makes sense turd-monster would focus more on Congress. They have so much money it doesn’t compute they would pull ads from critical states, otherwise. Just sayin.

  26. 26
    Fouten says:

    Two Words: Suburban Chicago.

    We’ve got at least 3 good pickup opportunities including Tammy Duckworth (running against (no longer a) Deadbeat Joe “get a job Sandra Fluke” Walsh, and another smart, non-lawyer guy Bill Foster.

    It’s all about making Pelosi Speaker again, any 3rd way/DLC problems pale in comparison to that. Put your money here.

  27. 27
    Culture of Truth says:

    I’m giving money to Mitt Romney. Every moment he’s on tv the Dems increase in popularity.

  28. 28
    The Moar You Know says:

    And suddenly, it begins to dawn on people that the 2010 strategy of ratfucking/ignoring/working against the congressional blue dogs may not have been such a brilliant true progressive strategy, and did not lead to a situation where we would have eternal drum circles or an official national goal of militant anti-corporate raw food veganism for all.

    @Todd: A quick trip over to FDL will cure this odd delusion of yours.

  29. 29
    artem1s says:

    @Uncular 1:

    I’m donating money to Obama and my time to Sherrod Brown.

    yes, this is an important race where Citizen’s United has had huge impact. Under normal circumstances (no Koch’s trying to buy Senators) this wouldn’t even be a race and the Dems would have to spend very little on it. Unfortunately $ will be spent here that could have been used elsewhere but no way I am putting my efforts somewhere else when there is even a chance that Josh Mandel could end up in the Senate. Also, there is a pretty good chance he will lose his job in the state house if this race can demonstrate to the voters how vacuous he really is.

  30. 30
    El Tiburon says:

    Seems the real battle is on the ground. What we need are more BETTER democrats. Seems part of the Republican game was to start on the ground level with the local party committees,etc and take those over and then work outward and upward.

    Sounds a bit cliche, but I think we need to start with the dogcatchers and local school board elections.

  31. 31
  32. 32
  33. 33
    HRA says:

    We need a daily thread with background on a D opponent running against one of the crazies and a place to contribute. I did contribute to some D candidates in 2010. I maxed out my donation to the president this time around right after Michelle Obama’s speech. I am ready to be informed about where my donations will be important in the Congressional races.

  34. 34
    Carl Nyberg says:

    Re: the DCCC

    I feel like donors large and small should push for the DCCC to implement internal accountability measures that incorporate feedback from activists and is available for inspection by donors.

    The DCCC has a couple significant problems.

    The better known problem is that the DCCC effectively pulls candidates to the Right. Candidates who are perceived as being to the Left of their district don’t get money.

    The problem that has finely dawned on me is that the staff dispatched by DCCC, Hill staffers on leaves of absence, are frequently pretty awful.

    I get that the DCCC wants to have people with experience and training used in DCCC supported campaigns. But with the advent of Democracy For American, Camp Wellstone and the Internet, the knowledge about how to competently campaign is much more widely disseminated.

    A bunch of these staffers deployed to DCCC favored campaigns are arrogant, obnoxious, they don’t gel with their candidate and some of them are just plain lazy.

    If a campaign loses, the staffer just goes back to his Hill job and blames the candidate.

  35. 35
    Zifnab says:

    @Linda Featheringill: I’d say give to individual candidates first. The DCCC is in charge of picking their own candidates based on whatever political favors whatever Congressmen is running the place is lining up.

    At the very least, I’m sure there’s some kind of Progressive Caucus fund that will distribute the money to non-DLC style Democrats. But I’d say the DCCC is too expensive, administrative top-heavy, and insider-baseball to be worth a buck. At least with an individual candidate you know what you are buying.

    Beyond that, I’d say Obama’s operation isn’t a bad place to spend money, because he’s got such a tight ship running. The Obama operation always comes across as polished and presentable. And I suspect Obama coat-tails will have a big effect on the race, so even if you are just running the board in a blue state, that can still get lots of lower level reps elected by virtue of straight ticket voting.

  36. 36
    gene108 says:

    @comrade scott’s agenda of rage:

    This is critical and for the most part ignored by Left Blogistania. The Repups have focued on this for 30 years and it shows: they clean our clocks. Here in Misery, the statewide Dem party is a joke and there’s no systematic approach to cultivating and supporting candidates. Of course it doesn’t help that the state outside the very immediate environs of St Louis and Kansas City might as well be Alabama…

    I don’t know, if it’s been 30 years, but sometime in the 1990’s, the right-wing wurlitzer made national Democratic figures – President Clinton, Ted Kennedy, etc. – toxic in many parts of the South/Midwest and West and made it hard for local Democratic parties to carve out an identity that needed to (a) not be Republican-lite and (b) seemed independent from the national platform.

    State Democratic parties held on until the Bush, Jr. administration, but then they really started to come undone.

    I don’t know, if there’s some sort of Roveian conspiracy to it or not, but just out shear inertia Democrats had held onto some level of statewide power throughout the South (my frame of reference) throughout the 1990’s.

    The real, long lasting effects of the Star-witch-hunts into the Clinton Administration was costing the Democratic Party its standing in the South, which had the effect of eroding the credibility of down ticket candidates.

  37. 37
    shortstop says:

    @Carl Nyberg: You don’t have to live in a state with a contested Senate race to support one. The Senate affects all of us deeply — I care who gets elected in Virginia, Missouri, Massachusetts…

  38. 38
    David in NY says:

    I’ve seen what a couple of million bucks can do in a Congressional race.

    Not to mention a state legislative race or governorship.

    I think that there is a growing complacency about Citizens Union (“There, there, Obama is winning — all that money doesn’t really make much difference.”) But the sudden money drops in legislative or congressional races, where just raising a candidate’s familiarity raises his chances and bashing his opponent really works, actually do make a difference. In 2010, the Democrats got killed as the Republicans bought state legislatures and governorships by the wholesale lot. Let’s hope that we don’t get killed by dark money in the dark races again.

  39. 39
    James Hulsey says:

    I live in MO in safe Dem US House, MO Sen., and MO House districts (the proverbial Democratic vote sink). MO-Gov is not close, and if Obama wins MO, he’s won the election.

    So these are mine:

    1) MO-Sen: Claire McKaskill – yes she can be frustrating, but Todd Akin is far worse
    2) MO-SecState: Jason Kander – Runs the elections. Writes the ballot language for propositions. Luckily we have a Dem right now (Robin Carnahan), due to the near sweep in 2008 (Dems only lost one state office – Lt. Gov. – in 2008)
    3) Elizabeth Warren – the voice we desperately need in DC.

  40. 40
    jl says:

    OT, but debatmania!

    Wed, 10/3, only 22 days domestic
    Thurs 10/11, 30 days, veep
    Tues 10/16, 35 days, town hall, foreign and domestic
    Mon 10/22, 41 days, foreign

    2012 Presidential Debate Schedule
    http://www.2012presidentialele.....-schedule/

    Edit: and thanks to commenters above for reminder about state leg elections. They are important. in CA red districts so far away from me, all I can give is money, but that is important.

  41. 41
    TK421 says:

    Obama can veto the insanity coming from Congress

    You mean like if Congress passed a law allowing the government to detain people indefinitely without charging or trying them? I’ve got some bad news for you…

  42. 42
    Chyron HR says:

    @TK421:

    It pains you grievously to see your great white hope so far behind Obummer in the polls, doesn’t it?

  43. 43
    Randy P says:

    I have been giving the bulk to the Obama campaign. But regaining the House is a huge priority for me, so I’ve responded to email calls from George Badey (running for Pat Meehan’s seat) and various local races.

    Haven’t so far given to DCCC. Not sure if that’s an efficient use of resources.

  44. 44
    Palli says:

    The wild cards are state voter suppression and counting the ballots on the state level. We won’t see this undemocratic insanity of vulnerable electronic voting machines and partisan schemes for poll taxes, intimidation and ballot tabulation fraud ended. The number of voters who favor Democracy and more economic equality for all citizens must be overwhelming in order to keep a check on fraud. Fraud can only be so large: too many bags of “overlooked ballots” or transmissions of e-ballots to republican computer businesses for “proper counting”, or “broken” voting machines, etc. will confirm suspicions of republican fraud. )

    The down ticket races will be easier to rig. With the recognition that Rove is concentrating on the Senate, this will be where the fraud will flower. The vast amounts of campaign funding is the camouflage meant to make results of Rovian fraud plausible.

    But what will Americans do when election fraud is confirmed? Many forms of election frauded have been successfully tested in recent elections. Some have been discovered, few have been litigated. (Remember planes fall from the sky.)

  45. 45
    jwb says:

    The Obama campaign is investing a lot of their money in the ground game, so a good portion of that will help Dems down ticket. Most of their resources will, however, be going to battleground states and those with Senate contests. It’s finding the competitive House seats in otherwise non-competitive states where the money help will do the most good.

  46. 46
    Linda Featheringill says:

    @Carl Nyberg: #20

    BJ phone challenge: Great idea!

  47. 47
    MattF says:

    Personally, I will probably shoot some bucks to races that have high leverage, through Sam Wang’s website. Having done that, I will also reset my junk email filter, since once you are on an email list as someone who actually sent real dollars, you are on the list forever.

  48. 48
    gene108 says:

    @David in NY:

    $2 mil is a good sized money bomb. My issue is what can my $25/month do? That’s about what I can afford to give right now.

    I’ll throw some more in, I guess…every bit helps…but all our little donations – I fear – won’t have the impact of the money bombs from wealthy Republicans, especially post-CU.

  49. 49
    Downpuppy says:

    I just have to object to the use of the term “Hunny Pot” for a war of attrition.

  50. 50
    Carl Nyberg says:

    @jwb:

    The Obama campaign is investing a lot of their money in the ground game…

    I’m curious which states are getting “ground game” investment by the Obama campaign and how much.

  51. 51
    MattF says:

    @MattF: And this is the high-leverage contribution website:

    https://secure.actblue.com/page/pec2012

  52. 52
    David in NY says:

    Gave to five of the Princeton Consortium picks: Heitkamp (ND), Donnelly (IN), Murphy (CT), Warren (MA), Kaine (VA), and DCCC. Should give a little to those running against Nan Hayworth and Chris Gibson in nearby NY Congressional races (no idea if there’s been any polling there). Gave a lot to Obama earlier, may dribble a little more.

    And is there any evidence for the point made above that Wall Street may suddenly decide (or is already deciding that) it needs to be on a President’s good side and cough up some bucks to Obama?

    ED: Used the link MattF gives just above to donate, I think.

  53. 53
    BroD says:

    By way of keeping it simple I told my Dad to give $1,000 to Obama and $500 each to the DSCC & DCCC. I’ve given $500 to Obama and $2,000 to Senate (every Dem in races other than D or R “Safe” and House (every Dem in races other than D or R Safe in battleground states as well as every “Toss-up”) contests.

  54. 54
    shortstop says:

    @David in NY: Yes, absolutely right about CU having a huge effect on state races, and the only reason the $ isn’t succeeding in the presidential race is that Mitt is the worst candidate in living memory. The next one won’t be.

  55. 55
    Peter says:

    @TK421: I’ll detain you if you don’t get back to your post.

  56. 56
    General Stuck says:

    So where’s the best place for Democrats to spend money?

    It’s always hard to beat hookers and blow, thereby guaranteeing the election will be an elevated experience, regardless of the outcome.

  57. 57
    shortstop says:

    @James Hulsey: Obama is absolutely not going to win MO. He doesn’t need it. He will win the election.

  58. 58
    Matt McIrvin says:

    I’ve given more to Elizabeth Warren’s campaign than to Obama’s. But there may be less generously funded competitive Senate races that need it more.

  59. 59
    rlrr says:

    As much as I am not huge fan of Claire McCaskill, she is infinitely preferable to Todd Akin. He’s been my congressman, and believe me, you do not want him in the Senate….

  60. 60
    shortstop says:

    @MattF: And good luck getting them not to send you snail mail. Despite repeated requests to knock it off, I still get it from the $10 each I gave Kay Hagen and Mark Begich. Grrrrr.

  61. 61
    piratedan says:

    I think this election has t6he potential to truly be a Dem landslide….

    1) Obama has the Big Dog with him, who has a strange appeal to those “reasonable silent majority” Republicans and our own Blue Dogs….

    2) the GOP voter suppression tactics are going to backfire and spur Dems to show up and vote for their party

    3) Romney is a truly horrendous candidate who says something odious or outright stupid or blatantly lies on a rate of at least twice a week. If not him, then his running mate and we haven’t even got to the debates yet.

    I think those three items could make for a ignificant Dem tide and usher in another two years of productivity in our country until R’s attempt to buy themselves back into power with the midterms in 2014.

  62. 62
    pseudonymous in nc says:

    Best bang-for-buck, election-wise, is competitive state legislature races. That’s where ALEC and AUL and the other wingnut welfare shops are sending their draft legislation to be rubber-stamped. Flip a few of those back from the teabaggers, and there’s less whack-a-mole on shit like voter ID and abortion rights and all the other stuff that gets done at the state level. A lot of the damage has already been done with redistricting, in an attempt to cement 2010 majorities, but high turnout can change that.

    So before even that, I’d put money towards voter registration and GOTV, whoever’s doing it.

  63. 63
    gene108 says:

    @HRA:

    I am ready to be informed about where my donations will be important in the Congressional races.

    We “Daddy Warbucks” how about my Congressional district. NJ-3, where ex-football player John Runyan won his seat over incumbent John Adler 50% to 47% in 2010. Adler took the district for the Democrats in 2008. Usually a slightly leans R+ district, I think (hope?) there’s shot to retake it.

    From what I heard from people I know, who had flooding problems after hurricane Irene, Runyan’s office was very unhelpful. I don’t think he’s done much and just plans on grifting his way through whatever tenure in Congress he has.

    He’s voted pretty consistently with the House leadership, but doesn’t say anything crazy, so middle of the road voters probably figure he’s not nuts, though he votes with the nuts about 100% of the time.

    His opponent is John Adler’s widow, Shelley Adler. Runyan has a significant cash advantage, and this is without the outside groups that bombed the airwaves, when he ran against John Adler.

  64. 64
    David in NY says:

    BTW. I’ve participated in the “ground game,” and I’m skeptical about its efficacy. Works for the R’s, when the pastor of the church tells them that God wants them to vote Republican, but the ordinary doorbell ringing, telephone calling etc. just seems to me to reach people who are already committed enough to vote (or have voted) and a few who aren’t going to vote for your guy anyway.

    Just curious what others’ experiences are, or whether there are actually studies on what difference it makes. Don’t mean to be a wet blanket, I’ll probably do some this time in a Congressional race, but I’m dubious.

  65. 65
    khead says:

    Is it wrong to simply hope that Ohio stays reliably blue enough in the future so that I won’t have to give a shit what happens in “the South” during the next presidential election?

  66. 66
    Chris says:

    @Palli:

    The wild cards are state voter suppression and counting the ballots on the state level.

    And Bibi possibly starting a war with Iran.

  67. 67
    gene108 says:

    @shortstop:

    The next one won’t be.

    Debatable.

    The Republican base makes it hard to find a good candidate, because of how extreme they are in terms of viewing compromise as a bad thing, rather than a necessity to govern in a democracy.

    The real disadvantage the Democrats will have in 2016 is they won’t have the luxury of an incumbent President, who is well respected and well known.

    Look for CU money to find ways to demonize our nominee right out of the gates.

  68. 68
    HRA says:

    Keep the names coming here.
    1. Elizabeth Warren
    2. Sherrod Brown
    3. Tim Kaine

    I know who they are and what they stand for. Though I have to admit I did not think of Scott Brown as one of the crazies. George Allen is border crazy or trying to hide the full crazy. I have no idea who is running against Sherrod Brown though it doesn’t matter for I have always given to a D in an Ohio congressional race since almost every major or minor city is home to relatives of mine and they need good representation.

  69. 69
    shortstop says:

    @David in NY: Depends. We do a lot of GOTV work and I can say anecdotally that it does noodge committed Dem voters to the polls in certain circumstances. Four years ago in Indy, we told a lot of surprised people that they needed IDs this time around. I can’t quantify how many votes that saved when frustrated people would have gone home and not come back. Another time, we set up a lot of rides for elderly and disabled people on what was promising to be a cold and rainy election day. And even when circumstances aren’t special, people respond very positively to being asked again for their vote.

    Hoping someone else, like Miss Kay, can provide something more quantifiable.

  70. 70
    shortstop says:

    @gene108: I’m not suggesting the next one will be good. I’m noting that it will be hard to find one as universally disliked as Mitt.

  71. 71
    DougJ says:

    My link for competitive races yesterday was for people who were maxed out to Obama. I’m not taking sides in terms of who we should give to.

  72. 72
    shortstop says:

    @HRA: Josh Mandel, teabagging favorite.

  73. 73
    Surreal American says:

    …while Karl Rove’s superPAC buys a reactionary, uncooperative Congress that hobbles Obama’s second term.

    Hobbling is small potatoes. Impeachment proceedings are the more likely outcomes of a re-elected GOP House.

  74. 74
    Matt McIrvin says:

    @HRA: Scott Brown may not be a crazy, but by being a Republican and sometimes voting party-line he enables crazies. That’s what’s so maddening about Massachusetts voters deciding he’s not that bad.

  75. 75
    Alex S. says:

    Give money to Heidi Heidkamp, ND-Senate candidate against the horrible Rick Berg. Also, the Indiana Senate Race where the Republicans recruited another teabagger.

  76. 76
    Linda Featheringill says:

    @gene108:

    The widow’s mite and your 25.00:

    Be of good cheer. OFA is largely supported by small donations. We can do it together. The majority of Obama’s campaign costs in 2008 was financed by donations of less than 50.00/mo.

    And, some places give you more bang for your buck, which is what this thread is about.

    If you can, give time and energy. This will make your money go further.

    Remember, there are more of us. We are the 99%. We can knock on more doors than they can.

  77. 77
    patrick II says:

    In addition to the small amount of money I volunteered to do phones and registration for both Obama and our local candidate. I leveraged my help by investing in a separate phone line in my house. It was cheap, $9.99/mo for three months (from my cable provider). Internet campaign software from both Obama and the local candidate lets me make and track phone calls from home. Most people don’t like to use their own phones, but this number is used only for the campaign and is going away after November. I can put in more calls than I could if I have to go the the campaign office every time I want to make calls.

  78. 78
    jl says:

    @David in NY:

    How often have you participated and in what capacity? GOTV includes voter registration drives, getting info out on polling places and getting paper work done in areas with voter suppression efforts, getting good info out to local population, as well as phone banking and door knocking.

    And in many states, it now includes getting in vote by mail and early voting, which helps targeting on election day.

    I got no links right now, but you have to consider the whole picture, not just one little piece.

  79. 79
    Napoleon says:

    Funny, I have just been thinking about this question the last couple of days and I have just about concluded to skip giving to Obama and give to some Senate candidates (Brown and Warren at the top of the list) and maybe some house candidates. Here in Ohio Betty Sutton is in a very competative race with a freshman Republican in a district that leans slightly Republican.

  80. 80
    Matt McIrvin says:

    @Chris: I was just talking about the Israel/Iran war possibility over on the PEC comment boards.

    My impression is that (a) the likelihood of this happening before the election is waning, but (b) if it does happen, it may be more likely to help Obama than hurt him, even if he doesn’t go to war. I don’t believe that the tendency of scary international crises to rally voters around the President only works for Republicans. And a pivot back to foreign policy as the big issue of the day would only make it clearer that, as much as his decisions frustrate progressives, Obama has it all over Romney on foreign policy, something voters already believe.

  81. 81
    hep kitty says:

    If I had to choose, I’d go with the DCCC

  82. 82
    General Stuck says:

    Laura Ingraham: “If you can’t beat Barack Obama with this record, then shut down the party. Shut it down. Start new, with new people.”

    More sad in republican Mudville. The tears, so many of them – we collect them falling from vulture wings.

  83. 83
    jl says:

    @Surreal American:

    ” Impeachment proceedings are the more likely outcomes of a re-elected GOP House. ”

    Best to retake the House. Next best to reduce GOP majority so such stunts are less likely. But if they want to waste their time that way and improve Dem chances in 2016, let them go ahead.

    Adit: And I agree that a war too close to election may very well help Obama, First response of people to a foreign crisis is to rally around President. And GOP ticket very weak on foreign policy. Biden has foreign policy cred and he would run up and down country sagely advising people of Obama’s spine of steel and total competence, and Obama is cool in crisis. Both of those things will help too.

  84. 84
    David in NY says:

    @shortstop: Oh, right — the ID issue really may mean it’s more important in states where that’s an issue.

    Makes me think, I’ve seen something about helping out in PA with vote suppression (I mean, we’re against it), so may look into that.

  85. 85
    Felinious Wench says:

    @David in NY:

    Works for the R’s, when the pastor of the church tells them that God wants them to vote Republican, but the ordinary doorbell ringing, telephone calling etc. just seems to me to reach people who are already committed enough to vote (or have voted) and a few who aren’t going to vote for your guy anyway.

    My husband does the ordinary outreach. He does door to door and makes sure people will come out to vote. I work the day of the election as a polling place observer.

    Republicans in church…I consider it my God-given talent to argue theology with conservative right-wing Christians, and yes, I have changed some people’s votes as a result. Each of us has contributions to make. :)

  86. 86
    David in NY says:

    @jl: I’ve done phone banking and door knocking pretty regularly and also been a poll watcher at times. The former activities have usually been in other states (NY is pretty quiet during a Presidential year). But have never gotten involved in voter registration which I agree is important. And as shortstop mentioned (and I agree) doing stuff that counteracts vote-supression legislation is probably very useful.

  87. 87
    ding dong says:

    Rick Santelli is Lindsay Graham’s boyfriend. Should that not be disclosed when Santelli reports so that we can decide.

  88. 88
    shortstop says:

    @David in NY: Voter suppression is an important enough issue right now that we’re going to Ohio to work there for a couple of weekends before the election. They don’t need us to GOTV here in Chicago, so we always go to nearby states to see what we can do. This time Indiana will just be a place to drive across. :(

  89. 89
    David in NY says:

    @Felinious Wench: God, that’s a talent (theological-political debate) I don’t have, and don’t have much need for in Brooklyn. More power to you.

    I’ve always done the door-to-door and phone-banking, and a little poll watching but feel like I do mostly preaching to the choir, and even the more committed choir members. Some of the other aspects (registration, countering vote suppression) I might find more fruitful.

  90. 90
    David in NY says:

    @shortstop: I’ve been to Pennsylvania more than once, but didn’t think it was so necessary this time. But I’ll look into the vote suppression problem — I know a colleague sent an e-mail to me, and I just didn’t have time to figure out what was involved.

    Being in Chicago is probably like being in Brooklyn, you might not know there was a national election if you weren’t paying attention.

  91. 91
    shortstop says:

    @David in NY: The thing about preaching to the choir, though, is that even though we’re hitting registered Dems or voters with histories of taking Dem ballots, lots of people still don’t get to the polls on election day. It’s not as big a problem in big cities like ours, where polling places are right next door and people tend to be more politically engaged. And I daresay your friend circle is a lot like ours, full of people who would crawl over broken glass to vote. But when you get into suburban and rural areas, among people who are nominally Dems but not hugely political, people really respond to that extra push. We heard over and over in Indy, for example, “Thanks for coming by. John McCain’s people haven’t been by here at all.” People also appreciate anything you can do to make voting easier and less time-consuming: that’s why we urge them to vote early where it’s allowed.

    All those little things make a difference in turnout. And when you’re working against voter suppression, you’re saving votes one by one and can really feel the difference.

    Re living in big blue cities: we notice the presidential election this time only because both Obama and Romney are doing national ad buys! And yesterday I saw a man in a Romney t-shirt; people literally turned around on the street to stare at him.

  92. 92
    FormerSwingVoter says:

    @HRA: Just to clarify:

    Scott Brown isn’t crazy at all. He will explain to you at length how not-crazy he is, in a completely genuine manner. He truly doesn’t believe any of the usual right-wing bullshit, and is an actual honest-to-god moderate Republican.

    Except that he votes with the crazies 100% of the time on every single thing while banking as many CrazyBucks as he possibly can. He’s known as “Wall Street’s Favorite Senator” for a reason.

    It’s so cynical that it almost bothers me more than the actual crazies. Almost.

    TL;DR: Elizabeth Warren could use some cash. Scott Brown’s an asshat.

  93. 93
    hep kitty says:

    @FormerSwingVoter:

    It’s so cynical that it almost bothers me more than the actual crazies

    Problem is, he’s not alone, not by a longshot. Soul-selling, that’s what it’s all about.

  94. 94
    joes527 says:

    @chopper: This.

    Obama has his race under control.*

    The House is a lost cause.

    The Senate, if it can be held ** would make a huge difference.

    Basic triage.

    * YMMV. yadda yadda yadda… The thing is, energising the electorate around senate races will help upticket, so it is all good.

    ** I’m not imagining a supermajority. But the D’s must hold the gavel for the next 4 years or Obama won’t be able to do shit.

  95. 95
    Felinious Wench says:

    @David in NY:

    Some of the other aspects (registration, countering vote suppression) I might find more fruitful.

    I think you would. Everyone has different talents. My husband is a very social creature and likes getting out and talking to other people in our community. I’m more interested in watching for assholes at the polls. I’m in Texas, it’s always something to watch for.

  96. 96
    General Stuck says:

    Mitt Romney would lead eight in unskewed data from newest CNN/ORC poll

    The latest CNN/ORC poll released today shows a wider lead for President Obama than the previous CNN/ORC poll but it is doubly skewed. It massively under-samples independents while it also over-samples Democratic voters. The CNN/Opinion Research Corp. poll official reports Obama at 52 to percent and Mitt Romney at 46 percent. Unskewed, the data reveals a 53 percent to 45 percent lead for Romney.

    We are hear a lot of this these days coming from republicans unhappy with polling results. It is typical for nutters to extract from a situation, only the parts that are most superficial, and therefor often false under deeper scrutiny.

    What they leave out, by either willful negligence or large holes in their heads, who knows? But the weighting of these polls by party is not an effort to “help” Obama. The party ID assignment for a final poll result, comes from the poll itself and what relative percentages voters are telling pollsters the party they ID with.

    And right now, a much under reported phenomenon is occurring in real time with the electorate, that is most ominous for the GOP/ A, increasing number of those polled are calling themselves democrats, or associating themselves with the dem party as a current state of mind. That is why there are more self described dems as a final poll result, which is a valid statistical point. And it is happening with about every pollster and poll that is put out.

  97. 97
    Matt McIrvin says:

    Democrats did some of this sort of desperate special pleading late in the 2004 campaign, which was when online poll sniffing really started to go big. But this business of looking at polls where Obama is leading and claiming they should say Romney by 8 is pretty extreme.

  98. 98
    General Stuck says:

    Democrats did some of this sort of desperate special pleading late in the 2004 campaign,

    True

  99. 99
    Matt McIrvin says:

    @shortstop: Heck, the guy I voted for in the state senate primary got my vote partly by personally calling me up and asking for it. He didn’t win, but that’s how you do it.

  100. 100
    Felinious Wench says:

    @General Stuck:

    We are hear a lot of this these days coming from republicans unhappy with polling results.

    They’re trying to stave off their voters becoming demoralized and staying away on election day. All of us who live in the reality-based community can see that polls are trending for an Obama victory.

  101. 101
    Another Halocene Human says:

    @Todd: That wasn’t ratfucking, that was taking out the trash.

  102. 102
    Another Halocene Human says:

    Everyone, if you don’t know who to vote for, check with your state AFL-CIO or local Central Labor Council (CLC). Labor is very, VERY interested in these local races. It’s the difference between prosperity for all and austerity/strikes/Rahmbo.

    Check with NOW/NARAL if you have a local chapter, too. If not, ask someone at PP.

  103. 103
    Another Halocene Human says:

    Also, if anybody wants to take a working vacation, come to central Florida, hook up with OfA, and register Democrats to vote. Voter registration is about 100,000 people down compared to 2004, 2008, thanks to Rick Scott. The good guys (ACLU) finally won an injunction and voter registration is cranking up. We only have ONE MONTH. Please come to Tampa for a weekend or Orlando and spend a couple of hours on Saturday registering Floridians.

    I would say come to Gainesville but I’d have to admit that there’s nothing to do here so bump that.

  104. 104
    Lyrebird says:

    @gene108: One way I think that Kossacks and others have helped change the discussions around campaigns is that now you see Warren, OFA, ActBlue and all bragging about the NUMBER of donors, so even if you are putting in a fiver, you’re definitely helping. (or at least, so I tell myself)

    My latest fiver went to these folks:
    https://pol.moveon.org/donate/gotv4.html?rc=homepage

    ..I hate cold-calling and I’m not a local. But they’re getting together w/some AFL-CIO canvassers to do doorknocking in what seems like a good way. Gilliard was a big believer in GOTV, iirc, and so am i.

    I also give to Warren’s campaign, and I’m tempted (though it may not have any effect) to contribute to Rob Zerban, Ryan’s challenger for his congressional race. Let’s get the granny-starver on unemployment! (well he’ll shoot on over to Wingnut Welfare for sure, but hey.)

  105. 105
    HW3 says:

    Sigh…
    Here in Washington State’s brand new 1st district, the chances are that this once safe Dem seat will swing way to the nuttiest wingnut heights is looking pretty high.
    John Koster handily secured his place in the race with a sizable war chest and a list of far right endorsements.
    Suzan DelBene spent her way to win a hotly contested race against a field of Dem contenders in the primary. Unfortunately, she probably broke federal elections-ethics laws.

  106. 106
    What Have The Romans Ever Done for Us? (formerly MarkJ) says:

    Part of the reason I think that is because I’ve seen what a couple of million bucks can do in a Congressional race.

    This is the real cost of Citizens United. The press has a hard enough time (and generally fails miserably) fact checking the presidential race. They have no time at all for the majority of Senate races, much less all the house races. So all the distortions and outright lies run via that unlimited money firehose go uncorrected.

  107. 107
    gene108 says:

    @shortstop:

    I’m noting that it will be hard to find one as universally disliked as Mitt.

    I disagree. Mitt wasn’t universally disliked.

    He even worked out a pretty good strategy to run for President around 2006. Pass the first in the nation statewide universal healthcare law that shows he can solve a pressing problem and can be a conservative, who will help the “little guy” and combined with his business background, he’d have a good story to sell.

    At least a story that’s better than what he’s forced to do now, which is disown his prior political experience and hope his business experience alone can win people over.

    I don’t know how any other candidate can both appease the base and the general electorate. Any politician that attempts to govern, will have compromises in his closest that’ll hurt him in the primaries.

    Any politician, who hasn’t compromised will be so far right, he’ll be unelectable in 2016.

    Also, too if Obamacare is perceived as a good deal for most people, look for it to be an electoral game changer by 2016; i.e. Democrats can beat Republicans over the head with their 30+ votes to repeal it and lock-step vote to not enact it.

  108. 108
    shortstop says:

    @gene108:

    I disagree. Mitt wasn’t universally disliked.

    Um, yeah, he is. You may have noticed that right-wing pundits have been reduced to saying, “I don’t like him either, but vote against Obama.” He gets low likeability scores across every demographic. Every single one, including reliably Republican groups.

    You’re not wrong about the dilemma faced by all Republicans in trying to thread the needle between the base and the general pop. They’re going to have a tough time of it going forward. But I think you underestimate, in contradiction of established history, the power of giant gobs of money to convince less well-informed voters that what Republicans say is the same as what they want to do. They’ve made decent headway doing it in this election. The main thing stopping them is Mitt’s extreme personal unlikeability.

    We minimize the possible effect of CU at our peril.

  109. 109
    gene108 says:

    @shortstop:

    I don’t think he was loathed like he is now back, when he first started running for President in 2007.

    I think he’d be more likeable, if he could deflect claims of not caring and being greedy, by bringing up “Romneycare” in Mass.

    He can’t acknowledge his most “likeable” accomplishment and he doesn’t have the natural 10,000 watts of charisma that guys like Clinton and Obama can flip on.

    He’s like a stupid version of Al Gore, without the redeeming benefit of giving a damn about something other than himself.

    We minimize the possible effect of CU at our peril.

    I’m not minimizing it. I think the biggest risk in 2016 is CU money and the right-wing wurlitzer defines the Democratic nominee, before he gets to define him/her-self.

    I’m just not convinced the Republicans can field a likeable candidate, given the way their base votes in the primaries and given the sort of tax breaks (favors) the CU money boys are demanding.

  110. 110
    David in NY says:

    @joes527: The House is a lost cause.

    I think that’s not what the recent polling is suggesting, much to my surprise. It’s getting close.

  111. 111
    David in NY says:

    @shortstop:

    And yesterday I saw a man in a Romney t-shirt; people literally turned around on the street to stare at him.

    Heh. Yeah, guy at the gym like that — couldn’t stop staring at it, it seemed so out-of-place.

  112. 112
    PeakVT says:

    @joes527: Holding the Senate means Obama will be able to nominate Democrats to important positions, including the SCOTUS, and won’t have to repeatedly veto ridiculous legislation. To get anything done would require taking the House. The Repukes will double down on obstructionism if they hold the House but lose the Senate.

  113. 113
    PaulW says:

    I would support the campaigns for Democratic House and Senate seats. The problem we have right now is Congress, not the White House. Still, keep up the voter interest in Obama, but really get the vote out for Democrats in key seats… especially the seats where we can throw out bums like Boehner, Ryan, Castor, and pretty much any Republican from Texas, Arizona, Florida, and other crazy wingnut places as best we can.

    I still think Howard Dean’s 50 State effort was a great idea and needs more love from the current DNC leadership.

  114. 114
    Tuesday Night Success says:

    Please consider Heidi Heitkamp’s bid for junior Senator from ND when making your donations. Princeton Voting Consortium lists her campaign currently as one of two where your gift will have the most leverage. Small population/tight race/comparatively cheap media prices. The RNC recently redirected its aid out of NM to Rick Berg, the GOP contender. Please help ND hold on to a seat that has been held by a Democrat since 1960.

  115. 115
    mclaren says:

    The place where money is best spent in this election is to buy 5 gallons of gasoline, a pack of matches, douse yourself with the gas and then set yourself on fire. Because Democrats are Republicans with a phase shift of 12 years. Every Republican policy gets at first ferociously fought by Democrats, then, after 12 years of haggling, the Democrats enact it.

    In the mid-1980s Ronald Reagan proposed gutting welfare. The Democrats fought him like wild animals, and then, 12 years later, in 1996 Bill Clinton ended “welfare as we know it” ensuring that little kids live with their parents in cars.

    In the late 1980s Ronald Reagan proposed drastically slashing regulations on the stock market. The Democratic congress fought him tooth and nail. 12 year later, Bill Clinton eagerly signed the repeal of the Glass-Steagall Act, setting the stage for America’s financial collapse in 2008.

    In the early 2000s the drunk driving C student from Texas proposed a police state of breathtaking proportions with every American being surveilled, all based on endless unwinnable foreign wars. By 2012 the Democratic president Barack Obama had signed off on universal warrantless surveillance of all Americans’ email and phone calls and Facebook messages and text messages, and America was deep in a quagmire of endless unwinnable foreign wars.

    Set yourself on fire now, because it’ll only get worse. Whatever insane policies the Republicans are proposing today (ending welfare, privatizing the police, privatizing medicare, throwing sick people out on the streets to die if they can’t pay up front for their medical care with cash, ending unemployment benefits, privatizing fire departments, massively increasing America’s military funding, invading even more middle eastern countries and getting embroiled in even more endless unwinnable wars) is what Democrats will enact within 12 years.

  116. 116
    alicia-logic says:

    My congressional rep is Michele Bachmann. I suppose you can guess where my money is going.

  117. 117
    chris9059 says:

    “…Obama will probably win. So the next worst outcome is a Senate that agrees with the House and wraps the next debt ceiling fight into a repeal of the Voting Rights Act.”

    The worst outcome would certainly be a Romney victory combined w a Republican takeover of both houses of Congress. But as a lifelong Democrat I regret to have to say that the next worst outcome might be an Obama victory combined w a Democratic takeover of both houses. Thus enabling Obama and the DLC types in Congress to pass some “Grand Compromise” embodying Obama’s brilliant ideas of raising the age of eligibility for medicare to 67 or raising the retirement age to 70. Obama has unfortunately bought into the deficit hysteria and the nonsense about “everyone having to share the pain”, billionaires and 80 year old widows living on 800 dollars of social security a month alike.I have always thought the idea of voting for “gridlock” was always a bit childish. However, this year it might be the best we can hope for.

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