Midnight special

I wasn’t quite sure what to make of the special election in PA-18. It’s a very red district, R +11 Cook PVI. If there’s a huge Democratic wave in 2018 and the Dems in 40 seats, how many R +11 seats would I expect the Dems to win? Maybe one or two (Dems currently hold one R +12 seat and nothing else beyond a R +5). But this race is a little more interesting than I thought. Here’s a couple things:

(1) Conor Lamb, the Democratic candidate, has deep roots in the area and seems to be a very good candidate.
(2) There are actually more Democrats in the district than Republicans.
(3) The previous Republican representative, whose resignation set up this election, resigned because he offered to pay for his mistress to have an abortion, despite being very “pro-life”, and this could cause a bit of a backlash.

In House and Senate specials so far, Dems are running about 8 points above the Cook PVI, and about the same number ahead in the average of all 70 special elections (including state legislature elections). This is an absurdly high number. It would translate into a 16 point win in November, which is completely without precedent in modern political history, and a pick-up of something like 80 seats. (I don’t think this will happen.)

So PA-18 may be winnable. Also, Republicans are pouring lots of money into the district and Lamb is not asking for outside groups to help him because he wants to emphasize the local nature of his campaign. I think money here is well spent. I raised our goal here to 5K.

Goal Thermometer

Make Sure to Save the Date!

Oy vey…


The value of a ground game

4Chan, Reddit and large rallies are good at building group solidarity and raising money as well as a mob.  So far they are not a substitute for a boring, grind it out ground game.

North Carolina has some interesting data on early voting:


Registered Democrats continue to lead in the accepted ballots numbers, and are over-performing their 2012 same-day comparison numbers, at 129 percent of where they were in accepted ballots on the same day from four years ago. Registered unaffiliated voters are 128 percent of their same-day accepted ballots, and registered Republicans are 66 percent of where they were four years ago on the same day. Overall, the total returned and accepted mail-in ballots are at 96 percent of where they were on the same day in 2012.

Registered Democrats are running about 30% higher than they did in 2012.  Registered Republicans are running about 30% lower.  If we were seeing equivalent ground games, the Republicans are missing one vote for every vote that has been returned.

Time to keep on grinding away as a superior GOTV organization is worth a point or two in.  And if you are in a non-swingable state, work down ballot as this data suggests that the downballot Republicans in North Carolina are not hitting their early voting marks either.

Update 1: A very good friend of the blog argued via e-mail that the independent/non-affiliated surge is very likely to be embarrassed Republicans and thus there is not a Democratic advantage.  I can see that to some degree.  However if we assume that every vote above last cycle’s non-affiliated vote is effectively an embarrassed Republican vote the combined Republican vote would be about 3% more than the current Democratic registered vote or in horse race turns the Republican adjust lead is 51% to 48% for the adjusted two party vote.  In 2012 backing out the incremental embarrassed Republican vote, the Republicans had 58% to 42% two party vote edge.


Obamacare is a job killer

Finally, the evidence is in.  Obamacare is significantly hurting a segment of the US economy.

From Bloomberg:

Early evidence suggests that the Affordable Care Act is working — at least in one important respect, according to researchers at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.

Analysts Nicole Dussault, Maxim Pinkovskiy, and Basit Zafar state that the primary purpose of this law “is not to protect our health per se, but to protect our finances.” And they’ve found a big difference between indebtedness trends in states that embraced the Medicaid expansion versus the ones that did not…

U.S. counties that had a particularly high uninsured rate prior to the implementation of the Affordable Care Act have seen the per capita collection balance fall if their state embraced the Medicaid expansion. If not, the collection balance continued to climb:

Will someone think of the debt collectors… Ohh the humanity.


Good news everybody: ACA cost edition

So under budget and on projection for the target uninsured rate even with Chief Justice Roberts enabling sociopaths and assholes to stop Medicaid Expansion in 20 states.

Not bad at all….

UPDATE 1: The next time there is a massive social program passing Congress with uncertain costs, we need to put in mechanisms to take advantage of success instead of safeguards against massive cost overruns. The ACA has triggers where if the total federal cost of the advanced premium tax credit and the cost sharing reduction subsidies were more than .504% of GDP, future year individual shares would increase and the thresholds for federal subsidies would decline.
There were no mechanisms in place to say if subsidies were significant below budget that either subsidies for currently qualified individuals would get richer so their out of pocket premium expense would decline OR more people would become eligible for subsidies.

This is just a note to self to find again in 20 years.