ActBlue is reporting that liberals and Democrats have raised at least $100 million dollars in hard money, coordination eligible funds since Friday night.
Small-dollar donors have now given $100 million on ActBlue since 8 p.m. ET Friday, investing in candidates up and down the ballot and orgs on the front lines of the impending judicial confirmation fight. The grassroots is ready to fight to honor Justice Ginsburg’s legacy.
— ActBlue (@actblue) September 20, 2020
The play for Democrats is to bring an extraordinarily rationale fear of massive electoral retribution on Republican Senators who are in tight races if they vote to confirm a Supreme Court nominee before election day and then incredible political and structural retribution if there is a nominee confirmed before Inauguration Day. The money being raised right now makes both the electoral and structural threats more credible. Democrats in order to admit states and expand the Supreme Court need to start the session with at least 51 Senators to accommodate the probability that Sen. Manchin (D-WV) votes against the rules that drop the filibuster. Larger majorities makes rule and structural changes easier to implement.
Senator Murkowski (R-AK) who is not up for re-election until 2022 has come out with a statement that she will not vote to confirm a nominee before the election. This removes one golden ticket for Republican incumbents who are in tough races and would like to be able to vote no and hope yes in an attempt to save their seat. Other Republican senators have been mealy mouthed.
It is critical for Democrats to come out of the election with a Senate majority able to credibly threaten to retaliate with significant structural changes for any lame duck confirmation.
So we need to be strategic. Democrats need to win a net of three seats. Senator Jones (D-AL) is likely to lose re-election as he is running against a Republican who is not banned from a mall in one of the deepest red states in the country. So that means Democrats need to win at least 4 seats. Looking at recent polls (mainly NY Times/Sienna, Seltzer and a few others with high ratings) and glancing at a few of the projection systems, I would guess that the lay of the land looks like the following:
|State||Republican Seat Defender||Democratic Challenger||Current Status|
|AZ||Martha McSally||Mark Kelly||Dem Big Lead|
|ME||Susan Collins||Sarah Gideon||Dem Medium Lead|
|CO||Cory Gardner||John Hickenlooper||Dem Medium Lead|
|NC||Thom Tillis||Cal Cunningham||Dem Small Lead|
|MT||Steve Daines||Steve Bullock||Toss-up|
|IA||Jodi Ernst||Theresa Greenfield||Toss-up|
|SC||Lindsay Graham||Jaime Harrison||Toss-up|
|KS||Roger Marshall||Barbara Bollier||GOP Medium Lead|
|TX||John Coryn||MJ Hegar||GOP BIG LEAd|
|KY||Mitch McConnell||Amy McGrath||GOP Big Lead|
I may be off by a little bit with a few of the seats, but Texas and Kentucky are marginal probabilities of flipping and strategically low to very low value on investment at this time. Mississippi has a higher probability at 538 of flipping Blue than Kentucky.
I’m circling back to the ACA repeal fight and a post I had right after the House got the AHCA out with a bare majority:
In a previous thread, a troll was FIRST!! with the advice to “Just quit, we lost this fight in November”
I reject that.
We aren’t going to win often but we get to choose how to lose. We can roll over without trying to defend our values and our morals or we can fight as hard as we can to either get a policy win or inflict significant political costs on Republicans to increase the probability of future policy wins by either putting the fear of losing their seats into them which constrains future opportunity space or flipping those seats in 2018.
And then hours after the Skinny Repeal billed failed:
We won last night…
You did it. We did it…
We told our stories, we made our phone calls even though we were told that they would not matter, we consoled each other and picked each other. We kept on banging knowing that the odds were not great in our favor, but our values, our morals, our sense of self would not allow ourselves to rest without trying as hard as possible. Some days I could not do much more, but I knew that you and millions of other decent people who worried about their lives, families, friends and communities would bang the drum for me and I would bang the drum for someone who need a respite day later on.
We kept on going. We did not know if we would win, just that we could either win a policy and political victory that protected ourselves and our vision of an America where we are in this together or at least inflict massive political costs against a vision of America that is cruel, cold and atomistic
The ACA repeal bills needed three Republicans to do not-Republican things. The SCOTUS fight needs four Republicans to go against their caucus. This is a big challenge. The most likely outcome is the infliction of massive political costs to flip the Senate and gain an in-party consensus that systemic structural reform is needed and needed fast. And for that outcome to occur, we need to be smart about how we use our resources. Focus on the winnable instead of the enjoyable fantasies.