Unlikely Things that Could Be True

Reader J sends this Washington Monthly piece detailing how the midterms could go better for the Democrats than expected:

Despite current conventional wisdom, such an election [a Democratic win] is not only possible but probable, but only if three signals occur – if September polls, the polls taken when people are paying attention to the upcoming election, show a substantial improvement in Obama’s approval rating and an equally substantial increase in public support of the Affordable Care Act, and if the economy does not relapse into recession.

In my opinion, and probably that of anyone else who’s tried to do Democratic GOTV, the fourth thing that has to happen is that a unicorn with a rainbow mane needs to shit a glitter path lined with $100 bills from the doorstep of Democrats to their local polling place to get them to go vote when there’s no President on the ballot.

In a similar vein, there’s been a lot of wondering about the Comcast/Netflix deal. Does it affect net neutrality or this story nothing but business as usual? I’m more in the former camp, but it may be true that the Comcast deal is just business as usual (or a refinement on business practices that might not be a big deal, as Kevin Drum seems to be leaning). I think that’s unlikely, given that the Comcast deal comes on the heels of the FCC losing a network neutrality case in court, and that Verizon, which has terrible Netflix service because it has been dragging its feet upgrading its connection to Netflix’ ISP, is now claiming that it will soon have a deal similar to Comcast’s, with Netflix.

144 replies
  1. 1
    aimai says:

    A marijuana initiative on every ballot. A democratically inspired raise the minimum wage on every ballot. A ballot initiative that proposes to strip congressmen of their income every time they refuse to vote to pay congresses bills.

  2. 2
    Belafon says:

    I am normally out of the house before Good Morning America comes on, but this morning I managed to catch some of Jonathon Karl’s OUTRAGE OF THE WEEK. This week it was that, horror of horrors, Obama is appointing people who help him raise campaign money as ambassadors. “Critics say: Enough is enough!”

    What again is different about Obama?

  3. 3
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    In my opinion, and probably that of anyone else who’s tried to do Democratic GOTV, the fourth thing that has to happen is that a unicorn with a rainbow mane needs to shit a glitter path lined with $100 bills from the doorstep of Democrats to their local polling place to get them to go vote when there’s no President on the ballot.

    And yet 2006 happened.

  4. 4
    Linda Featheringill says:

    People will probably come to like the ACA, so we can claim that one now. With appreciation of health care reform, Obama’s approvals will probably increase a bit, at least. Besides, he just may pull off another of his famous miracles about September.

    The economy? Who the hell knows? Wall Street is said to base today’s actions on what the economy will be like six months from now, and Wall Street is currently doing just fine. So maybe the economy will be okay.

    But you’re right about the reluctance of Democrats to be arsed to vote if there is no presidential candidate. Even in the best of times, that is a major problem.

  5. 5
    Linda Featheringill says:

    @aimai:

    Minimum wage. Yes. Do whatever it takes to make a livable wage an important focus of the election.

  6. 6
    cleek says:

    @Omnes Omnibus:
    all we need are a string of GOP sex and corruption scandals and an anti-Katrina for Obama this summer and we’ll be all set.

  7. 7
    negative 1 says:

    @Belafon: That they bother reporting on it like it’s an outrage, rather than the way that those positions have been filled since our grandparents have been alive.

  8. 8
    Fuzzy says:

    @aimai: All winners but the minimum wage item is the real winner to get people to register and on to the polls. We unwashed masses could shut the GOP down.

  9. 9
    negative 1 says:

    @Omnes Omnibus: I would add that a good GOTV message would be that Repubs are threatening to take away everyone’s newly acquired health insurance. That will motivate the portion of the electorate that usually doesn’t vote in interim elections (the working poor, who are, you know, working).

  10. 10
    Belafon says:

    The problem with the minimum wage idea is that the states we would need it on the ballot to drive up participation are states where the Republicans control the legislature, due to Democrats not turning out in 2010. It doesn’t really help if CA puts minimum wage on the ballot.

  11. 11
    aimai says:

    @Fuzzy: There’s no reason not to spread lots of things on the ballot to try to get people out to vote. In areas which are firmly republican it won’t have a good effect,but in areas which are only republican because democrats don’t vote it might be salutary.

    I’d add that I’d like to see Democrats pushing ballot initiatives labled something like:

    Citizen Voter Initiative and Protection: Every Vote Counts.

    State X must guarantee a full month of easily accessible voting, including weekend and afterwork hours, to all registered voters. Every community and congressional district must have a well publicized, easily accessible on major transit lines, continuously open location for early voting. Election Day voting must be carefully monitored: Broken machines and long lines will no longer be tolerated and any instances where machines are non functional or long lines are present must be investigated by an independent commission. Blah blah blah

  12. 12
    aimai says:

    @Belafon: Yes, but there could be places where local communities can get things on the ballot through the initiative process which, in any event, drives up voter interest and awareness.

  13. 13
    Nicole says:

    @Omnes Omnibus:

    And yet 2006 happened.

    Bush was in office then; we got to take advantage of his unfavorable rating. The opposition tends to do better in midterms, I believe.

  14. 14
    maximiliano furtive, formerly known as dr. bloor says:

    Despite current conventional wisdom, such an election [a Democratic win] is not only possible but probable, but only if three signals occur – if September polls, the polls taken when people are paying attention to the upcoming election, show a substantial improvement in Obama’s approval rating and an equally substantial increase in public support of the Affordable Care Act, and if the economy does not relapse into recession.

    And if my aunt grows balls, she’ll be my uncle.

    I fucking hate pieces like that. Totally ahistorical.

  15. 15
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @maximiliano furtive, formerly known as dr. bloor:

    Totally ahistorical.

    So was Obama’s election. So was Kennedy’s election. The point as I see it is that it is possible that the the democrats can better their position in Congress this fall. It is not inevitable that the the GOP will take the Senate. It is not foreordained that the GOP will hold the House. Those fuckers are unpopular; we can and should take advantage of it.

  16. 16
    C.V. Danes says:

    The Dems might want to start with recognizing the importance of the liberal/progressive wing as something other than just a punching bag.

    Just a thought.

  17. 17
    mtiffany says:

    The Comcast/Netflix deal is precisely the thing Net Neutrality is supposed to prevent.

  18. 18
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @Belafon:

    You mean he does what Reagan and both Bushes did? What Eisenhower and Nixon did?

    What every President for the past century and no doubt before has done?

    Well, that’s shocking, I tell you. The blah guy isn’t supposed to do what the white guys did!

    Karl is another guy who needs to accidentally be under a 16 ton weight when it falls.

  19. 19
    Linda Featheringill says:

    @maximiliano furtive, formerly known as dr. bloor:

    Oh, my. What a little ray of sunshine you are.

    One thing I have learned from Obama: Difficult or even improbable does not necessarily mean impossible.

  20. 20
    karen says:

    How about taking the Virginia State Senator Steve Martin’s Facebook post that mentioned about how women are “hosts” and reading it out loud in an ad. Over and over and over….

  21. 21
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    Noisemax headline of the day:

    Jimmy Carter Causing Trouble Again: Venezuela

    History’s greatest monster strikes again!

  22. 22
    piratedan says:

    it seems to me that if there was a mechanism out there that would allow voters to actually understand what the GOP stands for and what those stands mean to joe citizen, that getting people to vote and make change happen at the local and national level would be a snap. The very difficult part is when the deck is stacked against you considering what politics have done to search engines and the national media that disseminates and frames said information.

  23. 23
    Poopyman says:

    I was always of the opinion that screwing net neutrality was business as usual.

    It might be easier to get a younger, more ethnically diverse population out to vote now that the Republican War on Women/Hispanics/Gays/Generic Others is so out in the open. At least that’s my takeaway from what I hear from my young female cousins. A microsample, I know.

  24. 24
    dubo says:

    @Belafon: Remember when it was discovered that HITLERY had a LIST of which prominent national politicians did or did not back her campaign and even even the people rending their garments over it admitted that every political campaign in history did this but with clinton it was DIFFERENT because of the CLINTON CULTURE

    I hate the DC Press Corpse so much

  25. 25
    Poopyman says:

    @Villago Delenda Est: Yeah, I saw that. Those guys must be cranky today.

  26. 26
    dubo says:

    @piratedan: Either that or a mechanism to stop Democrats from constantly punching at the left

  27. 27
    cleek says:

    @dubo:
    “constantly” ?

    wtf?

  28. 28
    gogol's wife says:

    @Villago Delenda Est:

    You beat me to it. I also liked the one about “Jane Fonda in tears over mortality.”

  29. 29
    Amir Khalid says:

    @gogol’s wife:
    I wondered about that headline. It suggests a woman in her late seventies, Fonda, suddenly going, “Oh my God, I’m going to DIE!! Sob.”

  30. 30
    dmsilev says:

    @gogol’s wife: Yeah, that one was my favorite as well.

  31. 31
    Cervantes says:

    @Omnes Omnibus: Exactly.

    Curtis isn’t predicting victory, obviously, but it’s worth keeping in mind that he has forgotten more about voter turnout than most people ever know.

  32. 32
    jheartney says:

    Despite current conventional wisdom, such an election [a Democratic win] is not only possible but probable, but only if three signals occur – if September polls, the polls taken when people are paying attention to the upcoming election, show a substantial improvement in Obama’s approval rating and an equally substantial increase in public support of the Affordable Care Act, and if the economy does not relapse into recession.

    It doesn’t have to be these things. Nor does it have to be a string of sex scandals. The GOP has been letting its freak flag fly (government shutdown, voting to repeal the ACA 40 times, stopping the minimum wage, constant anti-ghey freakout, screaming to let your employer determine your contraceptive options, going all-in on anti-immigration xenophobia, opposing even the most mundane gun regulation, calling pregnant women “hosts,” etc.) ever since the 2012 election. People notice.

    Don’t like the 2006 analogy? Fine, try 1998 instead. Sixth year of the Clinton presidency, where the presidency had been rocked by an actual scandal, and was heading for impeachment. Republicans feeling their oats, and sure they’d pick up seats in the House and Senate; after all, they had both scandal and the traditional out-of-the-presidency-in-a-midterm advantages going for them. Instead, they lost four House seats and stayed pat in the Senate.

    I don’t think we’re heading for another 2010. That was all about the dashing of the high hopes for the new administration, combined with fresh Tea Party nonsense. This time it’s about “Do we reward those right wing maniacs?”

  33. 33
    scav says:

    @gogol’s wife: On the up-side, dare we but hope that many, seeing Jane Fonda react against mortality, will in sheer automatic spite rush to actively embrace mortality to demonstrate their principled whateveritis?

  34. 34

    @jheartney:
    The election patterners told us that 2010 would be a whipping because it fit all the conditions of a backlash election – one side had just taken control of both chambers and the presidency, and had achieved major legislative success (the ACA). We got exactly the election they said we would. Actually, slightly better for our side because the Tea Party made the Republicans look like idiots. I don’t think there’s a clear pattern for this type of election, is there? So I guess I’ll wait and see what the data-driven experts like Silver tell us. Last I heard from him, ‘It’s all useless guesswork until after the primaries.’

  35. 35
    elmo says:

    @scav:

    Oh, very good.

  36. 36
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    The thing about the midterms is that the Village has a narrative which is NOT “the midterms could go better for the Democrats than expected:” The narrative is that the midterms will not go well for the Democrats, and the vermin of the Village are sticking to it, no matter what other indicators are out there, because it’s the narrative, and they are paid handsomely to push it incessantly.

    Anyone who dares to veer off the official narrative is to be mocked. Until their story is validated by reality, in which case, the obsolete narrative is shoved down the memory hole.

    Just like the talk of a Rmoney landslide has been totally forgotten by the Village. The “unskewing”.

    On election night, the Villagers will observe that “no one saw this coming” (by “no one” they mean Kkkarl Rove, one of their paragons) and they’ll engage in a bit of idiotic instant analysis to explain it, and then, over the next week, the pre-election narrative will be quietly sent down to those furnaces in Minitru and a new narrative will be crafted, something about nearly certain GOP victory across the board in 2016.

  37. 37
    raven says:

    @Frankensteinbeck: The Republican’s don’t LOOK like idiots, they ARE idiots.

  38. 38
    Belafon says:

    @C.V. Danes: Do liberals/progressives really get so worked up over this that it affects their turnout? If calling me names got enough people in office that they could pass the legislation I want, I’d be there in front of the TV cameras so they could point at me.

    I’ve seen more progressive legislation passed by Democrats who punched hippies than I saw by Republicans who kept appealing to their base (“Just one more election”). That’s part of the reason the Tea Party has been willing to kick incumbent Republicans out of office.

  39. 39
    Cervantes says:

    @maximiliano furtive, formerly known as dr. bloor:

    I fucking hate pieces like that. Totally ahistorical.

    What’s “ahistorical” about the article?

  40. 40
    Jay C says:

    @Belafon:

    IMO, a lot (if not most/all) the squawking about President Obama’s ambassadorial-appointment policy is just standard Obama-bashing from the usual suspects, but in fact, PBO had made some comment a few years ago (?? 2008 campaign ??) about only appointing “qualified diplomats” to major posts, or something: that he has appointed well-heeled donors instead – a Presidential tradition probably started by George Washington – shouldn’t be really “news”, but it does provide the O-bashers another flimsy reason for OMG OBAMA HYPOCRISY!!11! hysteria.
    So what else is new?

  41. 41
  42. 42
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    Another screamer from Noisemax:

    Rick Scott: Obama Raiding Medicare

    Oh, you’re just shittin’ me now.

  43. 43
    Kay says:

    A governor is a proxy for a president for Democrats in midterm elections. If national Democrats would focus on state races in states where there is a governor up, they would bring Congress along.

    Sporadic voters who are Democrats don’t care about Congress. They don’t even know who their senator is, let alone their house member. We can cry about that all we want, or you can focus all the money and energy on governor’s races in those states that have them, bring out Democratic voters, and Congressional Democrats will then benefit.

    We know how to do this. It’s how presidential elections are won, state by state. Make the top of the ticket the governor, and commit to that “win the state” approach just as one would if the top of the ticket was a president.

  44. 44
    Linda Featheringill says:

    @scav:

    I had to laugh. :-)

  45. 45
    El Caganer says:

    If the economy is OK and the ACA has become accepted fact and the President retains his personal popularity and we don’t get into some screwball foreign adventure (like it sounds like we’ve been doing in Ukraine) and the Dems dump a gazillion dollars into every race they can find, I suppose anything is possible.

  46. 46
    Mike in NC says:

    @Villago Delenda Est: I hear Jimmy Carter is heading to Yalta at this very moment! He’s like some kind of Bond villain.

  47. 47
    dmsilev says:

    @Mike in NC: He needs a secret lair. Maybe that explains all of those Habitat for Humanity houses he’s built; it was all just a ploy covering up his secret lair!

  48. 48
    smith says:

    Re the criteria that Obama and ACA approvals improve before November, there already seems to be a bounce now that people are actually getting insurance. Obama’s approval is creeping above 50%, and with months to go, and time for the impact of ACA to be more fully felt, there’s probably a lot of room to grow.

  49. 49
    Randy Khan says:

    Verizon is saying it wants a similar deal with Netflix because it’s worried that its customers will have a worse experience with Netflix than Comcast customers, not because it thinks it can strong-arm Netflix.

    Whatever you think about the impact of the January decision on network neutrality (and I actually think the FCC won more than it lost), it’s dangerous to think of any deal that Netflix cuts as telling you much. Netflix uses so much more bandwidth than anybody else (30% of total bits in the U.S. during peak periods, apparently) that it more or less makes its own weather. Netflix also is one of the few companies out there that has good reason to want its own network (instead of relying on Cogent and other backbone providers) and that, therefore, would want direct connection deals like the one it just made with Comcast. The reports are that, on net, Netflix is paying less for its Comcast arrangement than it was paying to backbone providers and, to boot, is getting service quality guarantees it didn’t get with standard transport. That doesn’t sound bad to me at all.

  50. 50
    Cervantes says:

    @Jay C:

    IMO, a lot (if not most/all) the squawking about President Obama’s ambassadorial-appointment policy is just standard Obama-bashing from the usual suspects, but in fact, PBO had made some comment a few years ago (?? 2008 campaign ??) about only appointing “qualified diplomats” to major posts […]

    Here’s Michele Keleman (KQED) two weeks ago:

    President Obama used to say that he wanted to rely more on career diplomats to serve as U.S. ambassadors. But the State Department’s professional association, the American Foreign Service Association or AFSA, says that he has named a higher percentage of political appointees than his predecessors. He’s given plum assignments to political donors such as [Colleen Bell, a producer of soap operas], who have made headlines recently with embarrassing gaffes at their confirmation hearings.

    And here’s Al Kamen in yesterday’s WP:

    In an unusual move, the American Foreign Service Association, which represents more than 16,000 career diplomats, is expected to weigh next week whether to publicly oppose some of President Obama’s controversial recent ambassadorial nominations.

    AFSA President Bob Silverman, at a news conference Tuesday to discuss the association’s new guidelines for selecting ambassadors, said he would ask the 28-member board whether it wanted to take a formal position on three Obama mega-bundler nominees: Colleen Bell (for Hungary), George Tsunis (Norway) and Noah Mamet (Argentina.) Bell and Tsunis were approved by the committee this month, though Tsunis got through on a party-line, 12 to 6 vote.

    All three nominees came under fire at their Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearings in recent weeks after displaying a lack of knowledge about the countries to which they had been nominated or U.S. interests in those countries.

    And yes, by all means, readers should probably investigate that accusation — “lack of knowledge” — before acting on it.

  51. 51
    japa21 says:

    To understand why the GOP does better in midterms than the Dems, we need to look at 1) who there voters are and 2) how they motivate them. They have a higher percentage of elderly voters, many of whom are retired so they don’t need to take time off work to vote (a major reason GOP is trying to limit early and weekend voting).
    But just as important is that, instead of an aggressive GOTV, feet on the ground program, they scare their voters into voting. Whether it be the Dems are coming for your guns or the Dems are trying to prevent you from being true to your religion, or whatever it is, they create anger and fear in their voters, and it works. Fear, from which anger springs, is the greatest motivator in the world.
    Dems have usually been reluctant to use fear as a motivator. They talk more about what the reasons are to vote for them than why you should vote agauinst the other guy. This year, they should go for the jugular and create anger and fear of the GOP as a motivator. The fact is the GOP does want to toss millions off their insurance, the GOP does want to create an army of wage slave laborers, the GOP does want to ruin education.
    Unlike the GOP claims, which are patently false, the Dems would have an argument that can be easily documented.
    The interesting thing is that Dems can run a positive camapign on the ACA while still going after the GOP for trying to tear it apart.
    The question is whether they have the balls to campaign in a way they normally don’t.

  52. 52
    Cassidy says:

    The midterm is easily winnable. We just need more leader leaderin’ and bully pulpitin’ from that presidentin’ fella. Maybe a little ass kissin’ for the liberaltarian suburbanites, just enough for them to feel all white and wisdom like.

  53. 53
    gogol's wife says:

    @Cervantes:

    It’s all gone downhill since Shirley Temple Black.

  54. 54
    Yatsuno says:

    @Omnes Omnibus: You know how they say opinions are like assholes…

  55. 55
    Kay says:

    @japa21:

    This year, they should go for the jugular and create anger and fear of the GOP as a motivator.

    Or, they could finally recognize they have a different electorate than Republicans do, and stop running midterm elections like Republicans do. Why are we following Republicans? Our “sporadic” voters are different than their base.

  56. 56
    CaseyL says:

    The people who habitually don’t vote in mid-terms are unlikely to be extra motivated by dramatic events.

    If I understand the analyses correctly, non-voters tend to be either too busy and harassed working poverty-level jobs (and therefore lack the time and/or energy to vote), or apathetics who call themselves “Independents,” but really just don’t care. How you GOTV these folks is a puzzle, though I’d put more resources into the first group than the second.

    I’ve heard often enough that the purity-progressives just aren’t a factor; there are too few of them. Maybe that’s true.

  57. 57
    cleek says:

    @Belafon:
    it’s important to pre-excuse oneself from voting. “they’re so mean to me that i couldn’t possibly manage to go out and do the very least: vote against the people who will give me exactly what i don’t want. mean ol Dems have just ruined everything.”

    good is the enemy of the pure.

  58. 58
    C.V. Danes says:

    @Belafon:

    Do liberals/progressives really get so worked up over this that it affects their turnout?

    I think they generally feel that the Dems only come to them at election time, and dismiss them the rest of the time, which is demoralizing. Going to what you said about Tea Partiers, something the progressives can learn from them is some of the tactics they used to focus the attention of the Republican Party, although a big part of that is the Tea Party as a front for the Koch brothers and their ilk, for which no parallel exists on the liberal/progressive side.

  59. 59
    C.V. Danes says:

    @Kay:

    We know how to do this. It’s how presidential elections are won, state by state. Make the top of the ticket the governor, and commit to that “win the state” approach just as one would if the top of the ticket was a president.

    The closest strategy I have seen for that was Dean’s “Fifty State” strategy, which has been roundly dismissed by the DLC.

  60. 60
    Kay says:

    @CaseyL:

    If I understand the analyses correctly, non-voters tend to be either too busy and harassed working poverty-level jobs (and therefore lack the time and/or energy to vote), or apathetics who call themselves “Independents,” but really just don’t care.

    Right, and we already know that. I don’t know why we keep having these big fights about whether our “base” comes out. That isn’t what we rely on to win states in presidential elections. That’s a Republican plan for a midterm election, the base appeal. It actually works for them, so I understand why they keep doing it, but why do we? If we just yell at our base enough they will vote harder!

  61. 61
    Joel says:

    @Frankensteinbeck: Yep, Sam Wang hasn’t even fired up his site yet.

  62. 62
    C.V. Danes says:

    @Randy Khan:

    Netflix uses so much more bandwidth than anybody else (30% of total bits in the U.S. during peak periods, apparently) that it more or less makes its own weather.

    Netflix is also one of the few reasons to justify the expense of a top-tier Internet connection. Without Netflix, most people could get by with a much cheaper broadband plan.

  63. 63
    Mnemosyne says:

    @C.V. Danes:

    Going to what you said about Tea Partiers, something the progressives can learn from them is some of the tactics they used to focus the attention of the Republican Party …

    You know what tactics the Tea Party used to focus the attention of the other Republicans? They successfully ran candidates against the other Republicans and won primaries.

    Who is the progressive Democratic candidate running for the House in your district? For Senate? For Governor? What are their chances of winning over Democratic primary voters? If you can’t win the primary, you don’t have as many voters on your side as you think.

  64. 64
    Kay says:

    @C.V. Danes:

    The closest strategy I have seen for that was Dean’s “Fifty State” strategy, which has been roundly dismissed by the DLC.

    The closest, well, “not closest”, the exact strategy for that is what we did in Obama’s presidential elections. They run state campaigns. They win states. Then they add those states up.

  65. 65
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @C.V. Danes: The DLC that dissolved in 2011, that one?

    The signature accomplishments of the current administration are almost all from the wish list of the progressive side of the party. I am not sure how that constitutes being ignored.

  66. 66
    aimai says:

    @Kay: Exactly. Some states are hopeful pickups, others aren’t. The entire talk about “typical midterms” is just that, talk…a story. People have to get out and work the elections and let the historical theories take a hike. We have to win whatever we can win, any way we can, regardless of the total win/lose ratio. We’ve got no other option anyway.

  67. 67
    dubo says:

    @Omnes Omnibus:

    The signature accomplishments of the current administration are almost all from the wish list of the progressive side of the party.

    As far as I can tell the signature accomplishments of Obama are the Heritage-derived Obamacare, the expansion of the security and defense state, and the advance of LGBT rights at the federal level.

    Progressive? Well, one out of three ain’t bad.

  68. 68
    piratedan says:

    @aimai: it’s why no state should be written off though, you have to grow candidates, work locally, school boards, alderman, state representatives etc… that’s where the work needs to be done. Once we actually start to give a shit about local politics we can put an end to the bullshit that is the Texas Textbook Massacre and crapola like ALEC permeating their dreck throughout statehouses. While I understand what a big deal the stakes are national, working the small game matters too, in a LOT more ways than people think.

  69. 69
    dubo says:

    @dubo: Quote tags, you’ve ruined meeeeee

  70. 70
    C.V. Danes says:

    The big difference between the Tea Party and the “progressive movement” (ideology aside, of course) is that the Koch brothers were able to focus the Tea Party into a potent weapon. There is no parallel on the progressive side. Hence, the Tea Partiers have been motivated (by lots of dark money) to overcome their differences and work together, while we can’t even speak with a unified voice on the Keystone XL pipeline because the unions are fighting the greenpeace crowd over whether jobs are more important than doing something to limit global warming.

    Until the various wings of the progressive movement can find common ground and stand somewhat united, them they will continue to get the crap kicked out of them.

  71. 71
    Kay says:

    @aimai:

    This is the exact conversation we have in presidential years. Republicans say “the mood of the country is a little..off” or “I am seeing a heck of a lot of Romney yard signs!” and Democrats scoffed at that in ’08 and ’12, because there was a national theme, but there was this whole thing going on beneath that “on the ground”.

    Yet. in midterm elections, we forget what just happened and adopt the GOP approach. I don’t get it. What if we don’t have base elections and they do? That seems to be the case, looking at Presidential years. I would argue they have nothing BUT base elections, which is why they win in off years.

    The two electorates are different. Everyone recognizes that, we talk about it endlessly, but we can’t apply it in off years for some reason.

    Do we have a big enough base of reliable voters to beat the GOP base, and if not, don’t we have to take a different approach than the GOP to midterm elections? Are our voters more sporadic than their voters? Fair to say? Okay then! Maybe we shouldn’t be relying on their midterm strategy.

  72. 72
    Cervantes says:

    @gogol’s wife:

    It’s all gone downhill since Shirley Temple Black.

    OK, after Shirley Temple Black ran for, and failed to win, a seat in Congress as a conservative Republican, here are four assignments she was given (by three presidents): US Representative to the UN General Assembly (Nixon); United States Ambassador to Ghana, then US Chief of Protocol in the State Department (Ford); and US Ambassador to Czechoslovakia (Bush I).

    I don’t know if you had a question — but if you did, have I addressed it?

    Oh, and if anyone doubts that this sort of criticism (unqualified ambassadors) comes and goes with events, and is often justified, here’s an old (thirty-year-old) article about some of Ronald Reagan’s appointments (note how Shirley Temple Black is mentioned):

    The road to cushy U.S. ambassadorship for presidential favourites and high-rolling political fund-raisers looks like getting a little harder — much to the delight of the State Department’s long-suffering career diplomats.

    Senator Charles Mathias, a moderate Maryland Republican, has persuaded some of his colleagues on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee that, in future, ambassadorial nominees should submit to a new screening procedure to check whether they are actually qualified for the job. The Committee plays a key role in processing the nominations for Senate confirmation.

    The idea, says Mathias, is to send candidates to the newly-formed American Academy of Diplomacy for interviews and “valuation.” The 68-member Academy was set up in the autumn by a group of veteran diplomatic luminaries “to encourage high standards of performance by American diplomats.”

    Founding members include child film star turned ambassador, Shirley Temple Black, former Saigon envoy Ellsworth Bunker, President Carter’s Middle East negotiator, Sol Linowitz, and General Andrew Goodpaster, former supreme allied commander in Europe and confidant of President Eisenhower.

    Mathias hopes that the screening will lead to the appointment of more career diplomats to the top jobs, and fewer political nominees, thus improving State Department morale and recruitment. Ambassadors, he believes, should speak for the whole country and refrain from personal politicking, like the 30 or so Reaganite ambassadors who publicly pledged their support to right-wing Republican Senator Jesse Helms in his bitter re-election battle in North Carolina last November.

    Also in Mathias’s sights are controversial figures like the current U.S. ambassador to Paris, Evan Galbraith, a former investment banker, who last month outraged the State Department by accusing career diplomats of gutless liberalism.

    With 45 of the 130 ambassadorial posts now occupied by “non-career” appointees, the career diplomats are axious to start getting their own back.

    That was reported in “Diplomatic Channels,” Financial Times, March 28, 1985.

  73. 73
    Goblue72 says:

    @Kay: Too. Much. Sense.

  74. 74
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @dubo: Lily Ledbetter, winding down the Bush Wars, expanded healthcare, increased LBGT rights, a DoJ that supports voting rights? Progressive to me. Has the administration achieved perfect marks on any of these? No, of course not. If perfection is your standard, you are bound to find every politician (every person) a massive disappointment.

    If the goal is to get people to vote, I tend to think that pointing out progress that has been achieved and then asking people to join in to help achieve even more. YMMV.

  75. 75
    Chyron HR says:

    @dubo:

    There, there. You can just blame Obummer for demoralizing you with his hippie-punching.

  76. 76
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Omnes Omnibus:

    Don’t forget, these are the same people who think that the way you win elections is to lose every fight but “stand for your principles” because then people will recognize your moral superiority.

  77. 77
    Cassidy says:

    @Chyron HR:If he would just lead and bully pulpit more, then he could do what his progressive betters tell him is best. If only their fee fees weren’t so hurt, they’d vote more.

  78. 78
    Cervantes says:

    @Kay:

    Or, they could finally recognize they have a different electorate than Republicans do, and stop running midterm elections like Republicans do. Why are we following Republicans? Our “sporadic” voters are different than their base.

    OK, so I take it you mean that in mid-term years, to increase turn-out, Democrats should focus on governors whenever possible, rather than the House or Senate directly.

    Do you know of any formal analysis that predicts the result of this strategy for 2014?

    (Thanks.)

  79. 79
    C.V. Danes says:

    @Kay:

    The two electorates are different. Everyone recognizes that, we talk about it endlessly, but we can’t apply it in off years for some reason

    I don’t think the two electorates are as different as is commonly accepted. Yes, the conservatives have their 27% or whatever that will never, ever cross the line, as do the progressives. But there is a much larger contingent of voters whose differences are artificially maintained by those who are adept at keeping us fighting each other over irrelevant bullshit.

    Most of us who go to work every day manage to find common ground with those we work with to get the job done, regardless of our respective ideologies, and we don’t have riots in the cube farms. When it comes to job security and economic inequality and worrying about the future of our children and a host of other issues, we have much more in common than the arbitrary boundaries set up by our two political parties.

    If we want our political leaders to stop being so polarized, then it has to start with us. So what if the person sitting in the cube next to you is a “constitutional voter.” I’ll bet he’s just as worried about his job as you are. Start with that, and see where that takes you on changing things for the better.

    I think I might have went off on a rant there, but there’s a point in there somewhere :-)

  80. 80
    Bex says:

    @gogol’s wife: And remember, Nancy Brinker (of Race for the Cure Fame), was appointed ambassador to Hungary (I think) by George Bush.

  81. 81
    Origuy says:

    I’m sure the US isn’t the only country that uses ambassador positions as a political plum. Probably most of the people sent to Washington are career diplomats, because it’s such an important post, but I’ll bet the Italian ambassador to Latvia didn’t major in Baltic Studies in college.

  82. 82
    muricafukyea says:

    Mr. “Palin is running for Pres” muckymux is making political predictions again. Please continue. All of us here at the NSA ministry of disinformation (as pointed out by a very observant ball juice genius) just want to say thanks for the help muckymux.

  83. 83

    Since I can’t see the future, I don’t know whether the Democrats will retake Congress. However, the constant drumbeat of sarcastic negativity is very tiring and counterproductive and is certainly not going to win any elections.

  84. 84
    Gex says:

    @Omnes Omnibus: And frankly, as a gay person and a woman, I’m willing to take less than perfect, but moving the right direction, over heading the exact opposite direction.

    This whole “quit punching us, we’re demoralized” schtick sounds like people threatening to withhold their vote. That there was a call out for us to “come together” the way the right does by someone who made those other two statements just makes me laugh. Yes. Let’s all compromise and do exactly what you want. That’s reasonable.

    ETA: None of us gets 100% of what we want. But somehow these guys are the only victims of that reality.

  85. 85
    Cervantes says:

    @Omnes Omnibus:

    If the goal is to get people to vote, I tend to think that pointing out progress that has been achieved and then asking people to join in to help achieve even more.

    (1) Progress that has been achieved; (2) things that can yet be done; and (3) what not voting is likely to bring.

  86. 86
    Cassidy says:

    @C.V. Danes: Your “rant” sounds like more “both sides do it” claptrap.

    Here’s the reality, when I worry about the future of my children, I worry that they’re getting a substandard, underfunded education. I worry that my 3 girls will have agency of their bodies legally stripped from them. I worry that they’ll be underpaid their whole life and treated like second class citizens. I worry that my son could be gay and murdered for it. They worry that people could be living happy and healthy enjoying the same rights they have and drinking water that’s free of fracking chemicals. These are not the same things and no amount of mental gymnastics will make them equal.

  87. 87
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @schrodinger’s cat: Thank you. Very well put.

  88. 88
    C.V. Danes says:

    @Cervantes:

    (1) Progress that has been achieved; (2) things that can yet be done; and (3) what not voting is likely to bring.

    Also, except that you’re not going to get everything you want, but still be relentless in pursuing it. You’ll at least hopefully keep things evolving in the right direction.

  89. 89
    Cervantes says:

    @Origuy:

    I’ll bet the Italian ambassador to Latvia didn’t major in Baltic Studies in college.

    No, but he’s been in the (Italian) Foreign Service for 40 years.

  90. 90
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Cervantes: Yes, exactly.

    It may just be my personality, but I find that I respond better to encouragement than abuse, to taking a moment to look at progress made and then using it as motivation to go further than to cries of look how far we still have to go.

  91. 91
    Kay says:

    @C.V. Danes:

    I don’t think the two electorates are as different as is commonly accepted. Yes, the conservatives have their 27% or whatever that will never, ever cross the line, as do the progressives. But there is a much larger contingent of voters whose differences are artificially maintained by those who are adept at keeping us fighting each other over irrelevant bullshit.

    That isn’t what I’m talking about, though, partisan fervor or “centrist”. I’m saying we have a different electorate than they do in presidential elections. Different people. More single, young women, for example. More young people in general. More poor people. These are sporadic voters.

    If that is our electorate in presidential elections, then why wouldn’t it be our electorate in midterm elections? I’m saying that it is, that they’re the same people, but we don’t approach it that way in midterm elections. There’s no rule that says we have to approach midterm elections in the same way as Republicans do, but louder (or whatever). We don’t approach presidential elections like they do (not anymore, anyway).

  92. 92
    C.V. Danes says:

    @Cassidy:

    Your “rant” sounds like more “both sides do it” claptrap.

    I’m not saying that “both sides do it,” because the fact that there is even such a things as “both sides” is an artificial construct designed to keep us fighting one another while our oligarchs make off with the loot.

    I worry that my 3 girls will have agency of their bodies legally stripped from them. I worry that they’ll be underpaid…

    I think you’ll be surprised to find how much you have in common with the people around you, no matter whether they profess to be “conservative” or “liberal”

  93. 93
    Gin & Tonic says:

    @Origuy: but I’ll bet the Italian ambassador to Latvia didn’t major in Baltic Studies in college.

    The funny and sometimes frightening thing about the Internet is that it’s so easy to verify almost anything at all. And while Ambassador Giovanni Polizzi indeed studied law and not Baltic Studies when he went to the University of Rome, he has been a career member of the Italian diplomatic service for just about 40 years. Here’s his CV http://www.ambriga.esteri.it/A.....asciatore/

  94. 94
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @muricafukyea:

    derp! derp! derp!

  95. 95
    Origuy says:

    @Cervantes: Ok, bad example.

  96. 96
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @C.V. Danes:

    Until the various wings of the progressive movement can find common ground and stand somewhat united, them they will continue to get the crap kicked out of them.

    And constantly whining about how the president is a backstabbing fraud and tool of sinister forces helps achieve that how, exactly? Common ground and unity are two-way streets. Or, well, many-way piazzas, or something.

  97. 97
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @C.V. Danes:

    Also, except that you’re not going to get everything you want, but still be relentless in pursuing it. You’ll at least hopefully keep things evolving in the right direction.

    Alternatively, complain that you got nothing and were disrespected, also relentlessly, because one day you’ll show them all.

  98. 98
    Cervantes says:

    @Kay:

    I’m saying we have a different electorate than they do in presidential elections. Different people. More single, young women, for example. More young people in general. More poor people. These are sporadic voters.

    OK, but what is it about these sporadic voters that makes them more likely to vote in mid-terms if only Democrats would focus on gubernatorial elections (rather than on the Congress directly)?

    And what if there is no governor’s race in a given state?

  99. 99
    SatanicPanic says:

    @C.V. Danes:

    I think you’ll be surprised to find how much you have in common with the people around you, no matter whether they profess to be “conservative” or “liberal”

    Sure, just not on what we plan on voting on.

  100. 100
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    Noisemax hints that they want the Outlaw Joisey Whale’s career deader than a doornail:

    NJ Poll: Christie’s Job Approval Plummets

    They never relent in their glee that this Obama-hugging RINO is going down.

  101. 101
    C.V. Danes says:

    @Kay: There is something to be said for that, for sure. Just look at the makeup of the crowds that attend Republican vs. Democrat conventions. But I also think that the divisions that have resulted in that are largely artificial, although I also believe that the Republicans have been much more complicit in setting the dividing lines, because they benefit when we are distracted by fighting one another.

    There’s a reason the people like Warren have huge populist appeal. If the Dems want to win more midterm elections, then they need to understand that populism is on their side, and embrace it.

  102. 102
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    OK, Noisemax is setting itself up for a fall:

    ‘Son of God’ Set to Blow Away Box Office

    Supposedly a lot of pastors are steering their flocks to this film (shades of $cientology packing opening weekend of “Battlefield Earth”!) for the first weekend of release, but I’ll be that you’ll hear nothing at all about a dramatic box-office letdown in the second week, unlike the trumpeting of same for the hated The Butler.

  103. 103
    Cassidy says:

    @C.V. Danes: Yeah. When they vote in ways that support that notion, maybe I’ll start to believe you.

  104. 104
    srv says:

    I think y’all are grasping for straws. We need impeachment hearings to GOTV.

  105. 105
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @C.V. Danes:

    Of course one of the results of the “Fifty State” strategy was the election of moderate-to-conservative Democrats: Gabby Giffords, Joe Donnelly, Jason Altmire, Heath Shuler, and so forth. Contesting 50 states’ worth of elections doesn’t mean electing 50 states’ worth of liberals.

  106. 106
    cleek says:

    @C.V. Danes:

    There’s a reason the people like Warren have huge populist appeal.

    to a first approximation, nobody in the US knows who Warren is.

    she might be a star among lefty political junkies, and a hated enemy to the right-leaning political junkies, but those are pretty small groups.

  107. 107
    Kay says:

    @Cervantes:

    OK, but what is it about these sporadic voters that makes them more likely to vote in mid-terms if only Democrats would focus on gubernatorial elections (rather than on the Congress directly)?

    Because a governor is an executive and it’s close to home and easy to make the argument. I can say “John Kasich cut 1.4 million from our public schools” and I’m talking about the school down the street. That’s our actual, local number.

    I’m just not sure that sporadic voters share this laser-like focus on Congress that pundits and political junkies do.

  108. 108
    C.V. Danes says:

    @FlipYrWhig:

    Alternatively, complain that you got nothing and were disrespected, also relentlessly, because one day you’ll show them all.

    That would be the “Manichean Left,” as Michael Berube aptly labeled them.

  109. 109
    Chris says:

    @C.V. Danes:

    Yeah… It’s dangerous to assume that you can draw conclusions about how the far left (for lack of a better word) acts in politics by seeing the far right as a model. I don’t even mean that in a “he who fights monsters” kind of way. The people are different, their place on the political spectrum is different, the allies they can count on are different.

  110. 110
    Bobby Thomson says:

    @Omnes Omnibus: I don’t think there’s going to be another scandal this year involving a Republican representative diddling little kids and the House leadership covering it up.

  111. 111
    C.V. Danes says:

    @FlipYrWhig:

    Of course one of the results of the “Fifty State” strategy was the election of moderate-to-conservative Democrats:

    True, but even moderate-to-conservative Democrats are better than the rabid Tea Party clowns we have now. The idea is to be able to start shifting the definition of “moderate-to-conservative” back to the left.

  112. 112
    Kay says:

    @Cervantes:

    Democrats already know this. They use state referendums and ballot issues for this express purpose.

  113. 113
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    BTW, this Noisemax headline is a direct link to the official film site.

    Most Anticipated Film in 2014, See the Son of God

    Typical. “Most Anticipated” because we’ve been paid to say that.

  114. 114
    Cervantes says:

    @Kay:

    Democrats already know this. They use state referendums and ballot issues for this express purpose.

    Sorry, I don’t know what this “this” is. I thought you were talking about governors.

    I’m guessing you mean here that not only governor’s races but also referenda, etc., work better than Congressional races as a means of getting out the “sporadic Democratic voter” vote.

    Yes, this is not implausible — but then I’m back at the question I asked above: As an activist who wants this strategy put in place for 2014, do you know of any formal analysis that predicts a result?

    (Thanks.)

  115. 115
    Cervantes says:

    @Bobby Thomson: Maybe not, and maybe that’s relevant, but then how do you explain the 1998 result?

  116. 116
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Villago Delenda Est:

    Frozen will probably top $1 billion worldwide this week.

    That’s right, Disney Animation is bigger than Jesus! ;-)

  117. 117
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @C.V. Danes: Agreed, but that also means that almost all imaginable Democratic majorities would still have large numbers of squishy “centrists” in them, and that dynamic has been the source of a lot of angst and vituperation in the blogosphere. It’s very hard to pull the median Democratic elected official to the left, IMHO, because when the numbers of Democrats rise, so does the right-hand side of the Democratic spectrum. IOW, electing more Democrats pulls the median Congressperson or Senator to the left, but I’m not sure it pulls the median elected Democrat to the left. It may even pull the median elected Democrat to the right.

  118. 118
    Bex says:

    @Villago Delenda Est: Rick Warren and other noxious evangelicals bought up movie megaplexes and tickets for the film’s opening weekend.

  119. 119
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Bobby Thomson: It wouldn’t surprise me at all.

  120. 120
    C.V. Danes says:

    @FlipYrWhig: I guess the question in my mind is: wouldn’t the same be true of the Republicans? Yet they have successfully moved the country so far to the right that even Nixon would be considered a long-haired hippie by today’s standards :-)

  121. 121
    Cervantes says:

    @C.V. Danes: Old joke:

    Q: Why is Richard Nixon’s hair wavy?
    A: It isn’t. His hair is straight. It’s his head that’s wavy.

  122. 122
  123. 123
    Gene108 says:

    @C.V. Danes:

    The “Taxed Enough Already” TEA Party was /is effective because a bunch of billionaires are more scared of the triumvirate of Obama-Pelosi-Reid raising their taxes than the already paranoid base, so right-wing nut jobs have deeper pockets than anything a far left liberal will have access to.

    The difference between the Left and Right in this country is money. The Right is awash in it from cranky billionaires. The Left has purity issues in courting moneyed interests.

    As far as 2010 is concerned some very bright people still exist on the Right. The launched Project Red State to take advantage of the CU ruling to flood state and local races with unlimited corporate cash and combined with a dejected electorate they had a wave election that has been rolled back a bit in 2012.

  124. 124
    pacem appellant says:

    @Randy Khan: This. Netflix will benefit once the FCC stops dragging its heels and does something about NN (mostly through its OpenConnect CDNs), but the Comcast deal would have gone through regardless as Netflix tries to improve its bit presence on the Internet.

  125. 125
    john b says:

    @Villago Delenda Est:

    I don’t know. passion of the christ did incredibly well and it was a god-awful gore fest that people brought their kids to. Again and again (at the time I worked at a theater that had it).

  126. 126
    Just Some Fuckhead says:

    a unicorn with a rainbow mane needs to shit a glitter path lined with $100 bills from the doorstep of Democrats to their local polling place to get them to go vote when there’s no President on the ballot.

    Yes, it almost seems like a self-fulfilling strategy. Fiercely defend the president’s center right record while ensuring he has no other choice legislatively.

  127. 127
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @C.V. Danes: It’s a good question that I don’t know how to crack, but my guess is that they came to realize that the bloc of (1) ignorant racists is huge, and playing to them is always going to have a higher ceiling in terms of return-on-investment than playing to (2) squishy and sometimes apolitical good-government centrists, which is in turn much bigger than the bloc of (3) working-class populists. Thus Republicans dump money and energy into (1), sacrificing (2); Democrats dump money and energy into (2), sacrificing (3). There’s a theory that (3) could be really big, but I don’t think we’ve seen it, not since the Democrats passed the Civil Rights Act and began to split the racist-populist coalition that drove the New Deal.

  128. 128
    gogol's wife says:

    @Cervantes:

    I’m a huge Shirley fan, and she apparently did a great job in her public service, but she was also a fierce Republican fundraiser, and that’s why she got the gigs.

  129. 129
    Bobby Thomson says:

    @Cervantes: 1998 is at least the better example, because that’s another 6-years-in election. But that also happened after the second presidential impeachment in history. People like Fritz Hollings won because of overwhelming African American turnout in key states. This is anecdotal, but at the time, it certainly seemed that Clinton had done a better job of motivating the base over the last year – because he desperately needed their support. One could also explain it as having something to do with Clinton’s relative lack of coattails in both elections. There weren’t a lot of Democratic Senators who won marginal elections in 1992. (Feinstein and Feingold were the only new Democratic faces in the Senate, and Democrats actually lost House seats in 1992 due to their serial incompetence at winning key state legislatures in redistricting years. The House composition was virtually unchanged by the 1996 election – a fact for which Bob Dole got some credit, probably undeserved, for making the decision to campaign for local candidates in states that were not in play in the electoral college.)

  130. 130
    Bobby Thomson says:

    @Just Some Fuckhead:

    Yes, it almost seems like a self-fulfilling strategy. Fiercely defend the president’s center right record Attack the president for failing to deliver ponies while ensuring he has no other choice legislatively.

    IFTFY.

  131. 131
    slippytoad says:

    @Villago Delenda Est:

    That’s rich. Rick Scott, the biggest medicare fraud-artist of all time, having the balls to say anything about it.

  132. 132
    JoyfulA says:

    @Kay: That’s a good idea for us in Pennsylvania. Corbett is so unpopular that dyed-in-the-wool Republicans are picking out which Democrats they could see voting for or vowing to stay home.

    The current frontrunner, Wolf, has a lot of salable leftie policies, yet Republicans like him because he’s been a successful businessman (who distributes 30% of profits to employees).

    So if we can scream often and loud enough “Vote for Governor!!!” maybe we could swing all the purple districts and some reds.

  133. 133
    Chris says:

    @FlipYrWhig:

    Didn’t (2) and (3) go along with (1) for a lot of the time?

    The thing about the Southern Strategy is that it was at a time when the white vote was still such an overwhelming majority that there was very little cost in appealing to white tribalism, as long as you were smart enough not to be a balls-to-the-wall “Segregation Now, Segregation Forever” nut (George Wallace and his AIP probably did the Republicans a huge favor by allowing the Nixons and Reagans of the world to look like reasonable adults by comparison).

    Since even groups (2) and (3) were dominated by white people (Nixon, if not Reagan, mostly continued the “squishy centrist” post-New Deal consensus… and, wasn’t a lot of the Nixon/Reagan Democrat vote drawn from white union voters, Southerners and other people who used to be pillars of the New Deal working class coalition?)… that means it wasn’t so hard to get traction in those demographics at the same time as (1). Hence, the huge margins of victory they got in the seventies and eighties.

    The problem is that nowadays, the country is a lot less white, so their appeal to (1) is more of a double edged sword, and on the other hand their economic royalist message doesn’t look new and different anymore now that it’s had thirty years to become implanted and go off the rails, so (2) and (3) groups who advocate good government and economic rights are more suspicious than they were in the old days.

  134. 134
    Neutron Flux says:

    @Kay: Thanks for that analysis. I like it and it gives me hope for Kansas.

  135. 135
    Cervantes says:

    @Bobby Thomson:

    1998 is at least the better example, because that’s another 6-years-in election. But that also happened after the second presidential impeachment in history.

    Actually, the impeachment came after the election. There were no major impeachment hearings in the House before the mid-terms.

    You may want to revisit and revise your comments.

  136. 136
    Gene108 says:

    @C.V. Danes:

    Define “to the Right”?

    I argue that so many issues that were controversial / liberal in 1968 or 1972 have been won by liberals so decisively that we forget they were ever issues to begin with, like women competing in the Boston marathon.

    What has shifted is what should be the role of government, where the logical end-point of the Right is to return to a pre-New Deal economic order, though they do not explicitly state this giving them plausible deniability. At some point rolling back environmental regulations, killing the social safety net, employee protections, etc can only lead to there.

  137. 137
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @Cervantes:

    Losing five seats when “the math” told Gingrich he’d pick up 30 didn’t seem to deter the assholes. They did indeed proceed with kangaroo hearings during the lame duck session.

  138. 138
    mclaren says:

    Count me as someone who believes this midterm election will go much better for Democrats than the pundits expect.

    Of course I’ve been publicly wrong before (my vehement prediction that Mitt Romney would never become the Republican presidential nominee because the Republican evangelical base wouldn’t stand for a Mormon — and I was totally completely 100% flagrantly massively wrong), so who knows? Maybe I’m wrong again. But the buildup of arrogance and infamies perpetrated by the 1% over the last two years seems so extreme that my sense is that the American people are getting fed up.

    Time will tell.

  139. 139
    WereBear says:

    @Chris: George Wallace and his AIP probably did the Republicans a huge favor by allowing the Nixons and Reagans of the world to look like reasonable adults by comparison.

    Which brings us to their issues now… there are no “reasonable adults” left in the Republican party now.

  140. 140
    C.V. Danes says:

    @Gene108:

    What has shifted is what should be the role of government, where the logical end-point of the Right is to return to a pre-New Deal economic order, though they do not explicitly state this giving them plausible deniability. At some point rolling back environmental regulations, killing the social safety net, employee protections, etc can only lead to there.

    I agree with that assessment :-)

  141. 141
    C.V. Danes says:

    @Gene108:

    The difference between the Left and Right in this country is money. The Right is awash in it from cranky billionaires. The Left has purity issues in courting moneyed interests.

    Also, the right is much more ideologically aligned with the money-soaked status quo. The rich who are willing to support initiatives which are against their financial interests are much fewer and far between.

  142. 142
  143. 143
    Kay says:

    @Cervantes:

    Yes, this is not implausible — but then I’m back at the question I asked above: As an activist who wants this strategy put in place for 2014, do you know of any formal analysis that predicts a result?
    (Thanks.)

    No. I just think that we go thru this every midterm, where we say “HOW to get our BASE to the polls?!” and I think “our base” of reliable voters already vote and we know how to get sporadic voters to the polls, because we just did it in 2012.

    The next step after the midterms is we say “our base didn’t go the polls!”, again :)

    I don’t know why we have this elaborate “sporadic voter” analysis but that only applies in presidential years. I was thinking if we could literally pretend The Governor was The President, we could think about it differently.

    The whole “sporadic voter” problem was thousands of words in 2012! We had to laboriously identify them and turn them out. They aren’t the base, because they’re unreliable as VOTERS, not as Democratic voters.

    Where did that go? Why doesn’t it apply now?

  144. 144
    Cervantes says:

    @Kay: Thanks.

    You wrote:

    More single, young women, for example. More young people in general. More poor people. These are sporadic voters.

    And:

    The whole “sporadic voter” problem was thousands of words in 2012! We had to laboriously identify them and turn them out. They aren’t the base, because they’re unreliable as VOTERS, not as Democratic voters. Where did that go? Why doesn’t it apply now?

    Here’s an analysis (by Celinda Lake) that you may find interesting. Excerpts:

    The Rising American Electorate (RAE) – Unmarried Women, Youths (ages 18-29), African Americans, Latinos, and all other non-white races – now accounts for more than half of the voting eligible population in this country (53.5%).

    And:

    The key to both parties’ 2014 hopes in holding the Senate or the House will be whether traditional drop-off voters stay home or come out to vote.

    If past trends hold true, it is predicted that more than one-in-three RAE voters who turned out in 2012, will NOT turn out in 2014 (34.5% of those who voted in 2012, or 21.8 million RAE voters, will stay home).

    If progressives can lower this number by just 2%, it would mean an additional 1.3 million RAE voters and the margin of victory in many close races.

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