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U.S. Rep. Joe Donnelly (D-IN) visits a call center on election day in Indianapolis, Indiana, November 6, 2012. REUTERS/Aaron P. Bernstein (UNITED STATES - Tags: POLITICS USA PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION ELECTIONS)
Sen. Joe Donnelly (D-IN), the poster child for competing in every seat possible.

Even though we still have 48 states to go in the 2014 campaign filing season, we have already been treated to our first true "holy shit" moment of the cycle.

Republican Congressman (and legitimately batshit crazy dude) Steve Stockman, one of the more ... ahem ... remarkable figures in the teabagger wing of the Republican Party, made a last-second decision to challenge veteran Republican Sen. John Cornyn of Texas in a primary.

Now, for at least a couple of reasons, Stockman's challenge looks to be a bit of a fool's errand. It is a virtual impossibility for Stockman to mount a campaign, on very short notice, that can be financially competitive with the Cornyn campaign. What's more: Stockman is already getting his ass kicked in the endorsement game, with even fellow paragon of batshittedness Louie Gohmert unwilling to cast his lot with him.

But, having said that, what if ... what if? ... Stockman were able to pull off the upset of the century and win the Republican primary coming up on March 4? Wouldn't that be amazing news for the Democrats, putting a no-hoper of a seat into the realm of competitiveness?

The tragic answer to that question is: nah.

The reason, quite simply, is because the Democrats are left with a raft of "Some Dudes" that filed for the U.S. Senate. Arguably the best bet is David Alameel, a wealthy dentist whose previous political claim to fame is a fourth-place finish in the 2012 Democratic primary for the Metroplex-based 33rd district.

But at least the Democrats have bodies willing to compete in the Senate race. Downballot, the picture is far more brutal. A total of seven GOP House incumbents do not even have to worry about Democratic opposition in 2014, as no Democrats even bothered to file in those seats.

Meanwhile, at the state legislative level, the Republicans are already very close to maintaining their majorities. For example: In the Texas state House, a total of 57 seats held by Republicans will not feature a Democratic challenger.

It is not something likely to end any time soon, but Democratic prospects for building the kind of party that can win majorities at both the state and federal level would be vastly improved if they put bodies on the field, even in districts where it seems, on the surface, to be a low-percentage play. Follow me below the fold as I explain why.

Let me start the discussion by making a key admission: Even if Democrats fielded candidates in all 64 of the federal and state legislative districts where they came up dry in last week's Texas candidate filing, they would almost certainly go 0-64. These are, by and large, districts of such a deep red hue that you could hold a district Democratic caucus in a broom closet. A smallish broom closet.

On the state legislative level, for example, the Democrats failed to fill their ballot line in HD-01 through HD-13. Yup, the first 13 districts in the roster are either GOP versus Libertarian, or GOP versus Nobody. But when you consider that the most Democratic district in that baker's dozen went 63-36 for Mitt Romney last year, that starts to seem logical.

But it isn't just blood red districts being left on the sidelines. A couple of Texas districts that were left uncontested had Mitt Romney staked to much more modest leads. And in the Illinois candidate filings a week prior, several districts where Barack Obama and Mitt Romney were essentially at parity in 2012 were left uncontested by the Democrats.

But whether the district is winnable or not, it makes sense for Democrats to grind hard to fill out the entire card. Here are just a few of the reasons why:

1. Never underestimate the ability of GOP primary voters to mess the bed.

This is a relatively recent phenomenon, but that does not make it any more pivotally important. One of the most critical by-products of the bubbling internecine war in the Republican Party is that GOP primary voters, smaller in number and more pure in their ideology, have managed to elevate some truly unelectable candidates over the years.

One could make a pretty compelling argument that the U.S. Senate would either be in Republican hands, or tantalizingly close to it, were it not for this reflex among the GOP primary electorate. And that is why it is imperative to have candidates, and preferably reasonably viable ones, at the ready.

Consider the case of Joe Donnelly. Donnelly, a third-term member of the U.S. House from northern Indiana, elected to run for the Senate when his district was dramatically altered by the GOP in the post-2010 redistricting. It was seen as a bit of a suicide mission, since an Indiana state institution, Sen. Richard Lugar, was running for yet another term in the Senate. But then Lugar was dispatched (with alarming ease) by uber-conservative state treasurer Richard Mourdock, and the rest, as they say, was history.

A more instructive example might be Chris Coons. Donnelly's Senate campaign was run on a fairly practical proposition: he was getting ejected from his House seat in all probability, anyway, so a long shot Senate bid was not too illogical. Coons, on the other hand, was the only reasonably prominent Delaware Democrat willing to run for the U.S. Senate seat opened up by the elevation of Joe Biden to the vice-presidency. Most Democrats demurred on the universal assumption that the GOP nominee would be the exceptionally popular longtime GOP Rep. Mike Castle. Little did they know that Christine O'Donnell would knock Castle out in the primary, and Coons would go from long shot to favorite in a single night.

Simply put, you never know when the GOP might put someone truly beatable into their ballot slot. The only way to reap the benefit of their own failure to recognize electable candidates is to have one of your own, waiting in the wings and ready to take advantage of the opportunity.

2. Thinning the playing field plays into the hands of the Republicans.

Even if one presumes (almost certainly correctly) that there is little-to-no chance of a Democratic takeover of the Texas state legislature, it is still maddening to think how little effort the Republicans are going to need to expend in order to maintain their majority. Fully three-fifths of the Republican delegation to the state House of Representatives are already insulated from a challenge from the Democratic Party.

This means that not a dime of money, nor a minute of effort, has to be spent on these seats. Even if none of them are appetizing prospects (and they probably aren't), you'd rather see a GOP incumbent have to make a nominal effort at re-election, rather than none at all. In my (admittedly limited) experience, incumbents are infinitely more likely to hoard their resources when they draw a challenger ... any challenger. Freed of that burden, they can bolster their own vulnerable incumbents, and assist in efforts to oust vulnerable Democratic incumbents. They can lend their fundraising prowess to the team, since they no longer are under any individual burden to do so.

Ultimately, that means that the playing field gets much smaller, and that plays into the hands of the majority party. And, in the majority of state legislatures (and, of course, the House of Representatives), that means the Republicans.

3. You simply never know when a wave is going to build.

All the rage in pundit circles in recent weeks has been about the prospect of 2014 being a "wave election." For a brief while in October, when the House GOP had badly misplayed their hands on the government shutdown, some openly wondered if a Democratic wave could result from the crisis. Then in November, when the public conversation turned to health care and websites and the like, many pundits (in my view, prematurely) began to see shades of 2010 in the poll numbers.

The truth is: The track record over the years of being able to see a wave election coming this far out is pretty "meh." Almost nobody saw the 2006 Democratic wave coming until only a handful of months before the election, for example. Anyone who has a high degree of confidence, on the left or the right, about the outcome in eleven months is begging for a cut-and-paste dollop of ridicule come next November.

Which is why you want to fill as many slots as you can during filing time. This is maddening, of course, especially in the early states. In mid-October, one would have to imagine that it would be tough to persuade a GOP rising star to make an effort at toppling a Democratic incumbent. Just 30 days later, the converse was equally true: a fact made painfully apparent this week when Pete Festersen, a top Democratic recruit in Nebraska's 2nd district, elected to drop out of a challenge to perpetually vulnerable Rep. Lee Terry roughly one month after jumping into the race.

Festersen may well have been keeping his powder dry in a battle that had become a great deal more arduous (though area Democrats should never reward him for such a cravenly obvious example of finger-to-the-wind politicking). But he also may have made a colossal blunder, for if the tide turns again within the next 11 months, and the wind reappears at the backs of Democrats, he might've blown a solid shot at earning a seat in Congress.

If a wave does develop, in either direction, a critical side effect of that wave is seats that have been completely stricken from the list of competitive seats for years become races to watch. One must think that the Republicans are quite grateful that they lucked out and had Blake Farenthold running in what was viewed as solid blue territory in heavily Latino South Texas. His defeat of veteran Rep. Solomon Ortiz had to be considered one of the biggest upsets in recent House history. And an election like that can only happen in a wave election. Absent that GOP wave of 2010, Farenthold gets smooshed, like pretty much every Republican that had come before him in the long tenure of the Democratic incumbent.

But, as the cliche goes, you can only win if you play. It's tough to find candidates that may, for all intents and purposes, be sacrificial lambs. But, every now and again, the long shot pays off. And in order to turn minorities into majorities, or bolster majorities that are narrow and tenuous, it is beneficial to a political party to put those long shots into play.

Originally posted to Daily Kos Elections on Sun Dec 15, 2013 at 06:55 PM PST.

Also republished by Knowledge Democrats and Daily Kos.

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Comment Preferences

  •  I agree with this (14+ / 0-)

    and Barbara Buono should be one of the poster childs.

    "In a country well governed, poverty is something to be ashamed of. In a country badly governed, wealth is something to be ashamed of.” -Confucius

    by pierre9045 on Sun Dec 15, 2013 at 07:07:51 PM PST

    •  I wrote two diaries about Buono and electing Dems (20+ / 0-)

      but they didn't go over too well judging from the comments.  I am sick of the blue dogs, DLC, the DCCC, the DSCC and the DNC ever since Dean left.  They only support a handful of Democratic candidates, most which have a decent war chest.  This goes for NARAL and Emily's list too.

      If someone is willing to put her/himself out there, is not crazy, files the petition correctly and gets on the ballot, wins the Democratic primary, it is the job of the county, state and national Democratic party to get the Democrat elected  Christie is a terrible governor. There was plenty to use against him.  Instead they threw a decent Democratic candidate under the bus.  I give directly to candidates until Dean or his clone comes back to the DNC.

    •  I'd like to expand on Steve's argument (20+ / 0-)

      Even though it shouldn't require explaining how important it is to contest every race possible, especially given the two-party system predominant in the US, I think there's some more good reasons why this should be the general strategy.

      4. It gives Democrats an opportunity to discover new talent/be discovered.

      As a Democrat, running in one of these dark-red districts, or whatever, where the incumbent would otherwise go unchallenged, offers that Democrat a chance to gain experience running for a state office, allows them to gain exposure for their platform, and allows them to build name recognition for future campaigns, the importance of which belies many of the polls that we so often rely on.

      And when expectations for their performance are pretty low to begin with, sometimes it gives the candidate more flexibility in the approaches they take, the issues they choose to focus on, and sometimes this can produce surprising outcomes.

      The other thing is that for higher offices, the political parties are always looking for candidates who personify the demographics they are trying to reach. Finding Democrats who identify with these districts can and still stand up for the party's values makes them attractive candidates for future campaigns.

      5. It allows us to better understand how close these districts are.

      This type of information is vital for determining which candidates, assuming we have them in the field, in which districts likely need extra help and how much. After all, we use the Presidential-year data for this all the time, but four-year trends don't mean much when voter opinions can change in a matter of months. Just because a district went for Romney over Obama by 20 points, doesn't mean it wasn't more about the presidential candidates themselves, doesn't say anything about the incumbent's popularity, doesn't say anything about some recent incident that changed voters' minds, etc. But we can't get this information if nobody's running.

      6. It forces the Republican to run a more active campaign.

      Sometimes, the incumbent is suddenly challenged on issues that could end up making them unpopular.

      This is why incumbents always avoid debates whenever possible.

      And with the Republican Party of today, as we all have seen, the more we get them out into the public as often as possible, the better off our chances become. The more chances there are to force one of those "mess the bed" moments Steve mentions in point #1.

      7. At the very least, Democrats in those districts deserve a candidate.

      When a Republican incumbent goes unchallenged, the Democratic Party is basically abandoning its constituents in those districts. They should not be penalized for living in a red area; if anything, we need to make sure they have someone representing them more than any place else. Even if the Dem candidate has very little hope for winning, it keeps the Democratic grassroots in those areas strong. Building networks and connections to local media and fundraisers and organizations, for example.

      8. It challenges the perception of the Democratic Party being pushovers.

      Deservedly or not, the Democratic Party has a reputation for not putting up strong fights, at any level. Always having a candidate for every race, with a solid network of supporters for every election, close or not, should be the basic example we have for overcoming this perception.

      And to those of you who are unaware, Dailykos (pipsorcle deserves a lot of credit) has been doing its best to support the case for a Democrat in every race since way before today.

      "In a country well governed, poverty is something to be ashamed of. In a country badly governed, wealth is something to be ashamed of.” -Confucius

      by pierre9045 on Sun Dec 15, 2013 at 09:09:03 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Let me modify what I mean by "mess the bed" (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        MichaelNY, Donkey Hotey

        Not the way Steve used it, but moments where the GOP candidate says things that make them less popular (for example, Todd Akin, E.W. Jackson, to name a small small few).

        "In a country well governed, poverty is something to be ashamed of. In a country badly governed, wealth is something to be ashamed of.” -Confucius

        by pierre9045 on Sun Dec 15, 2013 at 09:21:51 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  It also presents liberal argument which go unheard (12+ / 0-)

        If we consistently have candidates in those races it gives them, and people who would support them, to challenge the conservative common "wisdom" cycle after cycle, building their case. Sooner or later those ideas, at the right time, will resonate with independents and some right of center Republicans. Enough to swing seats.

        •  Unlikely, and that's not the trend (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Berkeley Fred, jncca

          Instead, what's happened is twofold:

          (1) Demographic change has meant that there are so many non-whites that whites can vote for the Democratic presidential candidate at the same percentage they voted for Dukakis, and s/he can still win nationally.

          (2) Some of the white people (like northern suburbanites who are not very happy about taxation but are socially liberal) who used to be Republicans have left the party because it became extreme. It's not that they were convinced to become more liberal but that the Republican Party became way too far right and irresponsible for them to stomach.

          Having said all that, I certainly do second Steve's very eloquent argument for running someone in every district. It's easier to support this idea as a proposition than to actually get someone to run in every district, but that doesn't make the idea any less sound.

          Formerly Pan on Swing State Project

          by MichaelNY on Mon Dec 16, 2013 at 05:09:27 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  9. Spending dollars on Democratic messages matters (7+ / 0-)

        Even if a state legislative candidate raises and spends only $5 or $10k, s/he spends it on SOMETHING. A mailer, a newspaper ad, some paid canvassers going door-to-door.  That money can be spent to reinforce a key message -- sane immigration policy, for example. Plus, the local media's coverage of the campaign -- and things like Op-Eds -- add up. Even token opposition is important to simply make an argument.

        10. You activate volunteers in local communities.
        Sooner or later Texas will go for the Democrat in a Presidential election. When it happens, it will take a massive volunteer effort. The more volunteers you have to make calls and knock on doors in every state race in the off-years, the better your chances of getting them to start contacting voters in March or April of the Presidential year.

  •  This is a recycled Howard Dean idea (21+ / 0-)

    We all know Howard Dean is unbalanced and an idiot. Rahm Emmanuel, that great exemplar of Democratic policies, says so. (this is sarcasm for those who don't get it)

  •  Please, Sir, May I have some more gruel...err (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Nulwee, VTelder

    I mean, Mary Landrieu, please?  Oh...and can you top it with some Jim Matheson and Mike McIntyre sprinkles, too?

    From shitty electorates, you get shit.  No matter what party they pretend to belong to.

    Through early morning fog I see visions of the things to be the pains that are withheld for me I realize and I can see...

    by Keith930 on Sun Dec 15, 2013 at 07:13:18 PM PST

  •  Let's get it! Nt (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Nulwee

    While you dream of Utopia, we're here on Earth, getting things done.

    by GoGoGoEverton on Sun Dec 15, 2013 at 07:16:21 PM PST

  •  Getting tired of the DNC always having.... (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Nulwee, leonard145b, rbird, MetroGnome

    part-time chairs.

    Is that ever going to stop?

  •  Isn't this an expansion (20+ / 0-)

    of Howard Dean's 50-State Strategy? His primary argument, if I recall correctly, was even in those solid red states and districts, fielding a serious opponent causes the Republicans to mount a campaign and commit resources that might better be used in other, closer races, thus increasing the chances in those races.

    Water is the oil of the 21st Century. -Jerry McNerney (D-CA09)

    by JohnMac on Sun Dec 15, 2013 at 07:18:59 PM PST

  •  One important point. (26+ / 0-)

    You do not have to live in a congressional district to run for that seat.  You just have to live in the state.  So if you're a volvo driving latte sipping Austin hipster with a political itch, feel free to run for a hopelessly deep red seat in West Texas.  If nothing else, you can put "Congressional nominee" on you Linked In page, forever.

    "Unrestricted immigration is a dangerous thing -- look at what happened to the Iroquois." Garrison Keillor

    by Spider Stumbled on Sun Dec 15, 2013 at 07:19:05 PM PST

  •  NC needs to get rid of this guy... (7+ / 0-)

    NC Sen.: Obamacare Like Hitler

    The twitter is beating him to a pulp. And I find it interesting - that not many TP types are trying to defend him. If you are on twitter - @SenatorBobRucho

    if a habitat is flooded, the improvement for target fishes increases by an infinite percentage...because a habitat suitability index that is even a tiny fraction of 1 is still infinitely higher than zero, which is the suitability of dry land to fishes.

    by mrsgoo on Sun Dec 15, 2013 at 07:26:17 PM PST

  •  Yes! NO unconstested seats! ANYWHERE (16+ / 0-)

    Politics is like driving. To go backward put it in R. To go forward put it in D.
    Drop by The Grieving Room on Monday nights for support in dealing with grief.

    by TrueBlueMajority on Sun Dec 15, 2013 at 07:26:21 PM PST

  •  Note on Illinois (10+ / 0-)

    I believe that if nobody files for the primary, the county party chairs can select a candidate.

    While it's a legacy of machine politics, I sort of wish this system existed elsewhere (since, lets be honest, it's hard to convince people to bother with collecting signatures and what not for a probable suicide run).

  •  You know, if the DailyKos.com "community" (19+ / 0-)

    really cared about "more and better Democrats," they'd have started work on this stuff a long time ago.

    Jus' sayin'...

    "I wish I could change the ways of the world/ Make it a nice place/ Until that day/ I guess we stay/ Doing what we do, screwing who we screw" -- Lily Allen

    by Cassiodorus on Sun Dec 15, 2013 at 07:29:59 PM PST

    •  They have been (5+ / 0-)

      "In a country well governed, poverty is something to be ashamed of. In a country badly governed, wealth is something to be ashamed of.” -Confucius

      by pierre9045 on Sun Dec 15, 2013 at 09:10:41 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  It's a drop in the bucket. (7+ / 0-)

        And this diary doesn't really look at the backgrounds of these people -- are they liberals? Blue Dogs?  What are their money connections?  If they suck, who's primarying them?  If the people here spent one-tenth of the energy on this that they spend on making excuses for Obama, something might get done.

        "I wish I could change the ways of the world/ Make it a nice place/ Until that day/ I guess we stay/ Doing what we do, screwing who we screw" -- Lily Allen

        by Cassiodorus on Sun Dec 15, 2013 at 09:42:54 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  The voting difference between any two (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          R30A, Donkey Hotey, nimh

          Democrats in either House of Congress is vastly smaller than the difference between any Democrat and any Republican, so while there are a few (though only a few) Democrats who should be primaried, to concentrate on that versus recruitment of strong candidates to defeat Republicans is counterproductive at best.

          Formerly Pan on Swing State Project

          by MichaelNY on Mon Dec 16, 2013 at 05:20:47 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  See, you talk as if you have limited resources -- (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            poligirl, codairem

            when in fact you support a Democratic Party that doesn't really want the resources you would bring to it if that meant they had to respect your opinion in the process.  The universal #1 priority of the political misleadership class:

            Ralph Nader:

            http://www.huffingtonpost.com/...

            Democrats like Rep. Marcy Kaptur (Dem. Ohio) tell me that when the House Democrats get together in an election year, they go into the meetings talking about money and walk out talking about money, burdened with the quotas assigned by their so-called leadership.

            "I wish I could change the ways of the world/ Make it a nice place/ Until that day/ I guess we stay/ Doing what we do, screwing who we screw" -- Lily Allen

            by Cassiodorus on Mon Dec 16, 2013 at 08:30:07 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  I do have limited resources (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              nimh

              I don't know what you're talking about. There are ways to push the Democratic Party, but if it doesn't control the House, that doesn't do all that much good.

              Formerly Pan on Swing State Project

              by MichaelNY on Mon Dec 16, 2013 at 08:39:29 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  Is this only about you? (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                poligirl
                I do have limited resources
                And am I asking you to save the Democratic Party all by your lonesome, without any help from the rest of the rank-and-file?  Jesus Christ on a popsicle stick.  

                If you want the Democrats to control the House, you're going to have to toss aside the passivity by which they have you making excuses for their bad decisionmaking.  First off, "controlling the House" again is out of the question if the Democratic Party isn't going to contest the Republicans in a lot of seats.  Do you even look at your own links?

                "I wish I could change the ways of the world/ Make it a nice place/ Until that day/ I guess we stay/ Doing what we do, screwing who we screw" -- Lily Allen

                by Cassiodorus on Mon Dec 16, 2013 at 09:07:54 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  Right. That was his/her point. (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  MichaelNY
                  First off, "controlling the House" again is out of the question if the Democratic Party isn't going to contest the Republicans in a lot of seats.
                  I believe that was exactly what Michael was saying. That the first priority is getting Democrats on the ballot, and enough of them elected to get the House back -- and that intra-party primary fights about defeating conservative Democrats, in comparison, should not be the first priority. Because yes, the amount of time and donation money Kos activists have is a limited resource.

                  Whereas you, as far as I could follow you, were arguing that ... well, to be honest, in between the Lennon song, Nader quote, abrasive tone and broad rhetorical arguments I'm not entirely sure what your point is anymore. But it appeared to be, at least, that it wasn't much use having Dems on the ballot if they're Blue Dogs, have the wrong money connections, etc. That's where Michael was disagreeing, I believe. I'd second his objection.

                  •  You are correct (0+ / 0-)

                    To the extent I understand her/his point at all.

                    Formerly Pan on Swing State Project

                    by MichaelNY on Mon Dec 16, 2013 at 02:56:10 PM PST

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  If you both had been reading carefully -- (0+ / 0-)

                      you might have noticed my points about the

                      Democratic Party that doesn't really want the resources you would bring to it if that meant they had to respect your opinion in the process.
                      If you want to find evidence that they don't respect your opinion, you two might interrupt your own arguments about
                      That the first priority is getting Democrats on the ballot
                      to notice that, no, it's NOT about getting Democrats on the ballot -- because they're leaving all kinds of ballot lines uncontested -- and that
                      in between the Lennon song, Nader quote
                      you might have found an argument (of mine) about a singular Democratic Party elite emphasis upon MONEY, had you listened to the lyrics and read my argument and Nader's and put it all together.  They don't care about taking back the House, or about pleasing you or even about listening to you.  They care about money.  And a party that cares primarily about money does not care to be all that much better than the Republicans.

                      "I wish I could change the ways of the world/ Make it a nice place/ Until that day/ I guess we stay/ Doing what we do, screwing who we screw" -- Lily Allen

                      by Cassiodorus on Mon Dec 16, 2013 at 03:29:40 PM PST

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  the quote was about how they (1+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:
                        MichaelNY

                        cared about raising money for campaigns. Because they want to take more seats in the house. They do care about taking back the house. That's their goal.

                        ...better the occasional faults of a government that lives in a spirit of charity, than the consistent omissions of a government frozen in the ice of its own indifference. -FDR, 1936

                        by James Allen on Mon Dec 16, 2013 at 03:32:40 PM PST

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  Let me suggest an alternative strategy -- (0+ / 0-)

                          1) Actually stand for something.

                          2) Recruit candidates for the empty seats who also stand for something.

                          3) Have the candidates raise funds in their districts so that they can stand for something.

                          That wasn't so hard, was it?

                          "I wish I could change the ways of the world/ Make it a nice place/ Until that day/ I guess we stay/ Doing what we do, screwing who we screw" -- Lily Allen

                          by Cassiodorus on Mon Dec 16, 2013 at 03:38:50 PM PST

                          [ Parent ]

                          •  No, it's very easy for you to type that (0+ / 0-)

                            And it wins no elections. There are several actual - and effective - campaign professionals who hang out on the Daily Kos Elections boards, and some actual former candidates for office who've posted in this very thread. If you want to understand how it's possible to actually accomplish anything in campaigns for elective office, you might want to pay attention to them instead of making rather meaningless remarks about "stand[ing] for something."

                            Formerly Pan on Swing State Project

                            by MichaelNY on Mon Dec 16, 2013 at 03:47:53 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Your concern here -- (0+ / 0-)

                            about "wins no elections" is touching.

                            The fact of the matter is that the Democrats' commitment to winning elections is put into question by their failure to contest a good number of Republican seats.

                            And is it only Democrats who think that the next election is as far as the event horizon goes?  Everyone else recognizes that if you want to win, you keep running for office until you stop losing.

                            Oh, and yeah, trust the experts.

                            "I wish I could change the ways of the world/ Make it a nice place/ Until that day/ I guess we stay/ Doing what we do, screwing who we screw" -- Lily Allen

                            by Cassiodorus on Mon Dec 16, 2013 at 03:51:21 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  We agree on this! (0+ / 0-)
                            the Democrats' commitment to winning elections is put into question by their failure to contest a good number of Republican seats.
                            And considering none have run for those seats, why are you arguing about which brand of Democrat should have run? Whether liberals or Blue Dogs no-one ran! And you started this subthread saying what? Have a nice day; I don't see that you are even following your own conversation.

                            Formerly Pan on Swing State Project

                            by MichaelNY on Mon Dec 16, 2013 at 03:58:43 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  You do realize experts are what won 06/08 right? (2+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            MichaelNY, David Jarman

                            The biggest change that resulted in wins in 2006 and 2008 was the emphasis on field and professionalization of campaigns, which became data-oriented and goals-driven. It's those "experts" you disdain so much that got us to the majority, and while no professional is perfect, it's a huge upgrade over what we had before.

                            In fact, I personally take huge offense to your comments on "standing for something." I was a field organizer in 2012, and put in 70 hour workweeks to elect a candidate in an R+ seat. He wasn't terribly progressive, certainly not to the degree I am, but that doesn't matter. I and the entire team I worked with fought the good fight, and we were rewarded with a narrow win, and it's districts like those R-leaning ones I worked in where we'll get the majority back, not the crimson red regions.

                            Look, I'd love to contest every seat too- hell, I'm from Steve Stockman's district originally, and it kills me to see a place I love be represented by him. But if people don't want to run for it, that's their prerogative, and it's not the job of the national organizations to do that. The way they help people in those seats is by winning majorities. I was served infinitely better by a Democratic majority crafted from competitive seats than the DCCC or DNC dumping cash into a lost cause.

                          •  An attitude that people who are mere ideologues (0+ / 0-)

                            know better than experts like you who actually helped win elections are engaging in anti-intellectual posturing unworthy of a progressive thinker. We should leave that kind of "I know better than those who actually achieve something" attitude to the know-nothings on the right, who are the main reason the Democrats control the Senate today.

                            Thanks for posting and kudos for your service!

                            Formerly Pan on Swing State Project

                            by MichaelNY on Mon Dec 16, 2013 at 04:11:46 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  There's a difference between ... (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            Cassiodorus

                            ... having an engineer design a more energy efficient car and letting the engineer decide where the car should go.

                            If the only way to get a Democratic majority is to have a sufficient number of candidates running with D labels and commitment to corporatist policy, it ends up looking like a racket to ensure a corporatist majority no matter who wields the gavel.

                            Support Lesbian Creative Works with Yuri anime and manga from ALC Publishing

                            by BruceMcF on Mon Dec 16, 2013 at 04:12:04 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  If you still can't distinguish between today's (0+ / 0-)

                            Congressional Republicans and Democrats, I wouldn't trust anything else you say about politics.

                            Formerly Pan on Swing State Project

                            by MichaelNY on Mon Dec 16, 2013 at 07:13:00 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  If you can't distinguish between the ... (0+ / 0-)

                            ... lock stock and barrel Corporate Democrats and Democrats like Warren and Sherrod Brown, you'll never have a clear view of what a high hill we have to climb. The non-Corporate Democrats were in a minority in the House and Senate even in 2007-2010. If they had been a majority, the public option would never have gotten stripped out of the health care reform in the way that it was.

                            The ability to distinguish between the corporate Democrats and the corporate Republicans doesn't mean we should be satisfied with D's who are simply intent on driving the country into climate suicide at a moderately slower rate than the R's are intent on doing.

                            Support Lesbian Creative Works with Yuri anime and manga from ALC Publishing

                            by BruceMcF on Mon Dec 16, 2013 at 10:59:20 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  I'm not "satisfied." (0+ / 0-)

                            I'm a socialist! However, I'm also a realist. I referred to Dr. King before. He always kept his eyes on the prize, but he was also always happy to accept any progress on the way, and keep on marching. Instead of being daunted by the height of the hill, we need to remember the goal but concentrate on the steps.

                            And you bring up climate change. You know very well that President Obama has done quite a lot that a Republican would not have done. Will it be enough? That I can't say, and I'm leaning toward "No, more needs to be done." But it's a lot for him to have done by Executive order, with little help from Congress.

                            Formerly Pan on Swing State Project

                            by MichaelNY on Mon Dec 16, 2013 at 11:42:10 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Too bad winning isn't everything (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            Cassiodorus

                            I remember how little anything changed when a disgusted public handed over the keys to the Dems.  It wasn't that long ago.

                            Anyway, incredible that the only real response to someone suggesting that politicians stand for something is wholesale dismissal of the notion as amateurish and worthy of scorn.  From a certain point of view, that could be seen as an acknowledgement of defeat in terms of anything real.

                            Or as Andrew Bacevich says,

                            The purpose of Congress is to re-elect members of Congress.

                            Secrecy is a hot bed of vanity. - Joseph Brodsky They who have put out the people’s eyes reproach them for their blindness. – John Milton 1642

                            by geomoo on Mon Dec 16, 2013 at 06:57:04 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Really, how little changed? (0+ / 0-)

                            Lilly Ledbetter law, stimulus, Affordable Care Act, no trouble passing budgets or debt ceiling increases, confirmation of a whole bunch of people, etc., etc. Is your problem that you're looking so hard at what isn't happening that you can't see what is?

                            Formerly Pan on Swing State Project

                            by MichaelNY on Mon Dec 16, 2013 at 07:14:35 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Perhaps. Life and death issues concern me. (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            Cassiodorus

                            Torture concerns me.  Killing abroad concerns me.  Wealth inequality exacerbated by bank bail-outs concerns me.  Flouting of the rule of law concerns me.  Promises of a candidate vs. what is delivered concern me.  You may want to dismiss me, but I worked hard, and I sent money all around the country so that the Dems could have control, and they did not deliver on any of the things that I worked so hard for them to be able to do.  I still remember the day that, teary-eyed, the House pretended they had ended the occupation of Iraq.  I was touched.  I believed Murtha and Pelosi.  I was a sucker and a fool.  I no longer accept calls from the Dem Party, because when they had the chance, they did not even come close to delivering what the country needed.

                            Secrecy is a hot bed of vanity. - Joseph Brodsky They who have put out the people’s eyes reproach them for their blindness. – John Milton 1642

                            by geomoo on Mon Dec 16, 2013 at 08:03:52 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  I don't dismiss any of that (0+ / 0-)

                            But your well-founded anger about these things shouldn't be sufficient to make you act like Democrats and Republicans are the same today. Also, we should remember that the past was equally bad. President Johnson, who did more for civil rights than anyone else other than Lincoln, destroyed his presidency over Vietnam; FDR barred the door to refugees from Nazism, in one famous case resulting in them being actually returned to their deaths, had loads of Japanese-Americans interned in concentration camps, and collaborated with segregationists to get compromised programs through; Theodore Roosevelt (a Republican, but a Progressive) was horribly racist toward Native Americans; etc., etc. There have always been painful aspects of US government actions and policies.

                            If Dr. King were alive now, do you have any doubt what he'd be doing and saying? He would be supporting all moves toward greater fairness and equality while condemning war, oppression, and predatory behavior by the banks, corporations, and super-rich. But I doubt that he'd be giving up to despair or considering himself a sucker for supporting President Obama against John McCain and Mitch Romney. Those were the alternatives, and in terms of Congress, when you compare any Democrat to the Republicans who've run the House into the ground and until recently were preventing the most routine confirmations from even coming to a vote in the Senate, it should be obvious what choice a practical leftist would make.

                            Formerly Pan on Swing State Project

                            by MichaelNY on Mon Dec 16, 2013 at 08:24:24 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  I am only interested in a choice with a chance (0+ / 0-)

                            I'm sorry, but doing a little better is not good enough today, under these circumstances.  When the planet melts down, my grandkids won't be able to take solace in the fact that I voted for the party more likely to give lip service to tackling climate change in a meaningful way.  Obama talked about corporate influence over government, so he understood he issue--it was all lip service.  Once in office, the Dems tried to hide their meetings with lobbyists by doing it on the sly away from the WH, but it didn't change.  On important issue after important issue, Obama meets with corporate leaders to draft policy while shutting out the left.  Time and time again.  For the important posts, he appoints people any Rep president would be comfortable with.  Where is the difference in foreign policy?  There is none.  Just because there is a corporate astroturf group advocating insane policies, that does not mean right wing policies which exacerbate our problems are good enough.  The system is broke, it is inadequate, it is not up to the task of delivering what is needed to keep our democracy functional, our environment liveable, and our moral behavior palatable.  That is the fact, and a lot of us are saying it.  Mostly, we are dismissed as racists, or unrealistic, or whiners, or people who have to get our way, or as "fucking retards".  Our ideas are dismissed, much as Cassiodorus' excellent suggestion that we run people who stand for something was dismissed out of hand.  We are not at the table, and we should be, because we are talking about necessary changes to a thoroughly corrupt system in a time of drastic challenges on many fronts.  If the elected officials seemed to be trying instead of lying, I would still be doing what I could to support them.  Based on what I've seen, they are not trying in good faith to tackle any of our pressing issues.

                            "Practical" means doing things that actually work.  Neither the Obama administration nor Congress is doing things that actually work.  This is so even if the insanity would have a different flavor under the Reps.  Democracy will not survive if power continues to be concentrated in a secretive executive branch that ignores the law with impunity, if concentration of wealth and income continues to increase, and if the nation continues to pour its blood and treasure into war instead of improving social conditions at home.  If democracy perishes, it is nearly certain that climate change will not be addressed.  All of the issues I have mentioned have gotten worse during the Obama administration, including worsening during the years when Dems had more control.  In fact, the problems are getting worse with the enthusiastic support of Dems.

                            It is not practical to support a hopelessly corrupt system in order to have minimal influence on how much damage it does.  If I were in prison, and had to choose between joining two brutal gangs, I suppose I would sign up for one in order to survive, even though I held both in contempt.  But this is not prison, and I don't have to support one corrupt, lying party because they are the only game in town.

                            Secrecy is a hot bed of vanity. - Joseph Brodsky They who have put out the people’s eyes reproach them for their blindness. – John Milton 1642

                            by geomoo on Mon Dec 16, 2013 at 10:45:04 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Do you have a practical suggestion (0+ / 0-)

                            for a way to get the US government (not to mention governments in countries like China and India) to do the things you believe are necessary, or would you rather everyone just despair and give up trying to vote for the much-less-bad party because we're all doomed?

                            As for the difference in foreign policy, though: If you really see no difference in foreign policy between George W. Bush and Barack Obama, I really don't know what you're looking at.

                            Formerly Pan on Swing State Project

                            by MichaelNY on Mon Dec 16, 2013 at 11:45:59 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  No, I don't have a practical suggestion (0+ / 0-)

                            How to magically counter the obscene concentration of wealth and power protected by a largely secretive entrenched intelligence and military apparatus with a proven record of anti-democratic behavior.  Gee, I wish I did.  But contrary to popular belief, having all the answers is not a prerequisite to pointing out that the strategy being engaged is a hopeless one.  "Nothing else works so I'm doing this" is hardly an argument.

                            That doesn't mean I am despairing.  If I were despairing, I wouldn't be spending time in conversation with you in a thread no one else will ever read.  My belief is that the only hope left against such concentrated power is solidarity; so I start with conversations like this one, hoping against hope to open someone's eyes.

                            What I am seeing in foreign policy is continuation of troops in Iraq and Afghanistan, stepped up drone strikes, hypocritical condemnation of human rights abuses in other countries, spying on allies. the coming TPP, operations of JSOC continuing unabated, continued renditions, continued Guantanamo (complete with continued torture there), bombing in Syria, talking Yemen into keeping a journalist jailed, and general self-righteous poking around in the affairs of sovereign nations on behalf of commercial interests.  That's what I see, and it is not different than what a Republican would be doing, even though the lying rhetoric is a different flavor.  

                            Secrecy is a hot bed of vanity. - Joseph Brodsky They who have put out the people’s eyes reproach them for their blindness. – John Milton 1642

                            by geomoo on Tue Dec 17, 2013 at 07:11:04 AM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  I already suggested a practical alternative. (0+ / 0-)

                            You rejected it.

                            "I wish I could change the ways of the world/ Make it a nice place/ Until that day/ I guess we stay/ Doing what we do, screwing who we screw" -- Lily Allen

                            by Cassiodorus on Tue Dec 17, 2013 at 07:52:21 AM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Try again (0+ / 0-)

                            I don't remember seeing anything I could understand that made sense to me.

                            Formerly Pan on Swing State Project

                            by MichaelNY on Tue Dec 17, 2013 at 08:46:45 AM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  #1 (0+ / 0-)

                            Run in every race.

                            #2 Primary the Blue Dogs.

                            #3 Force the Democratic Party to stand for something by out-organizing the moneybags, especially in the races they have forsaken.

                            "I wish I could change the ways of the world/ Make it a nice place/ Until that day/ I guess we stay/ Doing what we do, screwing who we screw" -- Lily Allen

                            by Cassiodorus on Tue Dec 17, 2013 at 08:53:01 AM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  That's certainly understandable (0+ / 0-)

                            I am not seeing how it addresses the pessimism expressed by geomoo, though.

                            And no, I don't agree with primarying the very small number of Blue Dogs in R+ districts who are still in Congress. That's a way to get more Republicans into Congress.

                            Your #1 and #3 are great, in my opinion.

                            Formerly Pan on Swing State Project

                            by MichaelNY on Tue Dec 17, 2013 at 05:12:16 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  If your event horizon does not extend (0+ / 0-)

                            past the next election, you will not adopt the strategy of running the right candidates until they stop losing, and the end result will be that you will get the wrong politicians, from here to eternity.

                            "I wish I could change the ways of the world/ Make it a nice place/ Until that day/ I guess we stay/ Doing what we do, screwing who we screw" -- Lily Allen

                            by Cassiodorus on Tue Dec 17, 2013 at 05:18:08 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  That's not the way it works (0+ / 0-)

                            I thought McGovern was great. Did it help the Democratic Party to nominate him in 1972? Show how that helped.

                            Formerly Pan on Swing State Project

                            by MichaelNY on Tue Dec 17, 2013 at 06:33:52 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Enjoy the wrong politicians, then. (0+ / 0-)

                            You seem to think that single elections mean something all by themselves.  People with principles, on the other hand, are in it for the long haul.

                            "I wish I could change the ways of the world/ Make it a nice place/ Until that day/ I guess we stay/ Doing what we do, screwing who we screw" -- Lily Allen

                            by Cassiodorus on Tue Dec 17, 2013 at 06:41:18 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  I've got principles (0+ / 0-)

                            You prefer to ignore that. But one of them is to avoid being a mirror image of Jim DeMint. If you'd prefer 30 really liberal Democrats in the Senate with veto-proof Republican control for an extended period, I beg to differ. I don't believe in making my ideal of Swedish-style socialism the enemy of whatever half-measures we might be able to get with more Blue Dogs in Congress in place of Republicans.

                            Formerly Pan on Swing State Project

                            by MichaelNY on Tue Dec 17, 2013 at 06:53:00 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Forty years of neoliberal policy (0+ / 0-)

                            is what the Democratic Party has earned itself with its focus-only-on-the-next-election myopia.  The Democrats can all be corralled to vote for someone like John Kerry, whose actual voting record of 2004 is synopsized in the link.  But hey, if you prefer to view one-and-a-half degrees to the left of George W. Bush as a half-measure to Swedish-style socialism, be my guest.  Over half of America supports single-payer, but if you prefer to elect politicians who declare that it's "off the table," and fully in keeping with your philosophy of electoral realism, then I guess you can pretend that's a half-measure to Swedish-style socialism too.

                            The Democrats don't get to stand for anything if they aren't willing to risk individual elections for the sake of standing for anything.

                            NB: Sweden doesn't have anything close to real socialism.

                            "I wish I could change the ways of the world/ Make it a nice place/ Until that day/ I guess we stay/ Doing what we do, screwing who we screw" -- Lily Allen

                            by Cassiodorus on Tue Dec 17, 2013 at 07:25:45 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  I live in Manhattan (0+ / 0-)

                            I have no difficulty in being able to help elect candidates who support single-payer. Try doing that in districts that routinely elect Republicans. I'm very frustrated by your inability to understand the way things are, or perhaps your unwillingness to allow yourself to acknowledge that truth.

                            As for your remark on socialism, I'm a social democrat. Countries like Sweden have heavily taxed and regulated capitalism whose productivity is harnessed for the benefit of the people to a large extent. And if even that isn't satisfactory to you, seeing how far the US is from that now, well...

                            Have a nice night. I think we long ago really exhausted any usefulness in a dialogue.

                            Formerly Pan on Swing State Project

                            by MichaelNY on Tue Dec 17, 2013 at 07:40:23 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Sure. (0+ / 0-)
                            I'm a social democrat.
                            Whatever makes you feel good.  We're all neoliberals until we can actually organize for something better, instead of making excuses.

                            "I wish I could change the ways of the world/ Make it a nice place/ Until that day/ I guess we stay/ Doing what we do, screwing who we screw" -- Lily Allen

                            by Cassiodorus on Tue Dec 17, 2013 at 08:29:58 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  When you are able to elect a majority of the House (0+ / 0-)

                            by yourself or even have one vote in a majority of the districts, get back to me. Have a good night.

                            Formerly Pan on Swing State Project

                            by MichaelNY on Tue Dec 17, 2013 at 08:55:49 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Yes, it's me and only me (0+ / 0-)

                            who is advocating this.

                            "I wish I could change the ways of the world/ Make it a nice place/ Until that day/ I guess we stay/ Doing what we do, screwing who we screw" -- Lily Allen

                            by Cassiodorus on Tue Dec 17, 2013 at 09:04:39 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  I might add-- (0+ / 0-)

                            that the ONLY time in the neoliberal era when the Democratic Party has been able to get anything out of Congress with the FAINTEST WHIFF of progressive policymaking has been when the Republicans have failed so thoroughly (see 1992, 2008) that the Democrats have actually had to promise something other than more Republicanism.

                            "I wish I could change the ways of the world/ Make it a nice place/ Until that day/ I guess we stay/ Doing what we do, screwing who we screw" -- Lily Allen

                            by Cassiodorus on Tue Dec 17, 2013 at 07:37:14 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Those were times (0+ / 0-)

                            when Democrats had control of both Houses of Congress plus the White House. That's what's needed.

                            Formerly Pan on Swing State Project

                            by MichaelNY on Tue Dec 17, 2013 at 07:41:30 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  And you only get that because of Republican (0+ / 0-)

                            failure -- that should have been your first sign that the "expert" strategy wasn't working.

                            "I wish I could change the ways of the world/ Make it a nice place/ Until that day/ I guess we stay/ Doing what we do, screwing who we screw" -- Lily Allen

                            by Cassiodorus on Tue Dec 17, 2013 at 08:04:03 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  In a binary opposition (0+ / 0-)

                            A Democratic electoral success is a Republican electoral failure, and vice versa.

                            Formerly Pan on Swing State Project

                            by MichaelNY on Tue Dec 17, 2013 at 08:54:41 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

          •  To what extent is that difference in voting ... (0+ / 0-)

            ... because of the neutering of more progressive positions that prevent issues that would divide the neoliberal scumbags from more progressive Democrats?

            There are, in any event, some votes that quite clearly point to Democrats that should be primaried There are, for instance, those who voted in support of the phony "free trade agreements" that are in reality CIRAs ~ Corporate Income Rights Agreements.

            For instance, the South Korea Free Trade act passed in 2011 with 219 Republican Yea, 59 Democratic Yea, 130 Democratic Nay, 21 Republican Nay. 59 Democratic Yea votes provide substantial political cover.

            And its not just Steny Hoyer and Debbie Wasserman Shultz in that list. There's a number of Congresscritters from the NY & CA delegations, and they can't all be from vulnerable districts.

            What the Netroots were supposed to do was to allow us to pool our individual limited resources to enable use to work in collaboration to exert real influence. It seems all too often what dkos has become is to allow us to get herded into a corral where we can be provoked into squabbling with each other, while the cowboys outside prepare the bit and saddle to see which one to cut out and try to break for riding.

            Support Lesbian Creative Works with Yuri anime and manga from ALC Publishing

            by BruceMcF on Mon Dec 16, 2013 at 10:53:53 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  I do support primarying Democrats (0+ / 0-)

              under very specific circumstances. Someone like Lynch in Boston or Lipinski in Chicago is way less liberal on a range of issues than their districts could support. The problem is, those guys are popular in their districts and easily fend off challenges. But those two guys plus that asshole, Jim Cooper from Nashville, who voted against Sandy relief for New York and New Jersey, are excellent candidates for primaries. But as the example of the Republicans shows, you have to be careful. Whoever is run against a Democratic incumbent has to be someone who's not likely to then turn around and lose to a Republican. So we should never seriously primary someone like Congressman Rahall of West Virginia or Jim Matheson of Utah from the left.

              My watchword is, we should do anything possible to move Congress and any other body to the left. Sometimes, that means Democratic primaries - and sometimes, actually Republican primaries - but usually, it means defeating Republicans and fending off challenges to threatened Democratic seats.

              Formerly Pan on Swing State Project

              by MichaelNY on Mon Dec 16, 2013 at 11:51:40 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

    •  Its almost as if interest in discussing ... (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Cassiodorus, TheMomCat

      ... that at dkos is driven by interest in discussing it in the mainstream mess media, who ignore it during primary time when there is a danger of getting actually Democratic Democrats nominated, and then all of a sudden get interested in it when the general election between a Corporate Democrat and either a Reaction Corporate or Radical Reactionary Corporate-funded Republican candidate has been set in place.

      I was trying to make this point in 2011, but, sure enough it wasn't until the general election match-ups were already set in 2012 that Congressional and Senate races started to get real traction at this site.

      Support Lesbian Creative Works with Yuri anime and manga from ALC Publishing

      by BruceMcF on Sun Dec 15, 2013 at 10:17:40 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Just depressing (6+ / 0-)

    It looks like the Democratic Party has a lot of work to do at the grass roots.

  •  build over time (6+ / 0-)

    I would think that there would be a benefit of democratic candidates building appeal over time in a district for future elections.  Kind of like waves of elections on Normandy Beach.  Campaigns over time would inform some people on democratic issues and build support.

  •  It's what some at DKos want (16+ / 0-)

    I'm from Alabama and have argued may time that Democrats should compete in places like Alabama, that even people in deep red districts deserve to have a choice, that you can't win if you never even try, that you have to start some time if you ever hope to turn things around.

    And the response I usually get is that the party shouldn't waste any time or money on folks like me or my neighbors.

  •  50 state strategy. (11+ / 0-)

    The DNC could drop 25% of their media budget into hiring
    a permanent field office to just be the face of the party
    in every district,  Sure.

    Lots of these seats would be "Impossible", but,
    as you say, it's a funny thing.

    Howard Dean did that in 06, and again in 08.

    Earned the permanent enmity of Rahm Emmannuel,
    but, then Rahm managed to lose it all in 2010,
    and couldn't gain it back in 2012.

    So I'm not real impressed with Rahm.

    if you have a dem, running in every seat, it forces
    the incumbent to show up at local events (Rotary,
    4-H, AARP, etc...) Sure, it's hard but, heck, i've done field sales, cold calls, it's a tough job, but get some Closers.

    •  I don't get why people trash Rahm (0+ / 0-)

      Dean took a 50-state approach, Rahm took the sensible approach and focused on the districts we can win, including finding more conservative candidates who could win in their respective districts.  Makes way more sense to have a targeted approach vs a blanketed one.  I'd also argue that winning in districts like AL-2 with Bobby Bright, where we have very little business winning in considering how Republican they are, created situations where the representative had to trash their own party to stay in office.  All that did was make our party look worse rather than better when it came to party building.  We shouldn't have situations where a chunk of our party vows to not vote for their party leader as Speaker.

      And this says nothing about having a candidate run each district.  That should happen.  But should the DCCC spend money on them?  Hell no.

    •  Rahm didn't run the DCCC in 2010 and 2012 (3+ / 0-)

      I have no idea why you would hold him responsible for those years.

      ...better the occasional faults of a government that lives in a spirit of charity, than the consistent omissions of a government frozen in the ice of its own indifference. -FDR, 1936

      by James Allen on Mon Dec 16, 2013 at 03:33:53 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •   David Alameel (0+ / 0-)

    Why is this guy reduced to a sacrificial lamb? His money and background could be put to much better use  in other races in TX. This guy sounds interesting and should run for Congress or another statewide office I would like to hear more about him.

  •  Not a fan of DWS. (3+ / 0-)

    What has she done exactly as chairwomen at the DNC, I can't think of any kind of strategy or organization that she's developed that will help the party win. We need someone who's competent with a vision like Dean who's committed to laying down some groundwork in every state. There are a lot of state parties that are in bad state FL, OH, GA, AL are just a few examples. We need to start investing and rebuilding these state parties and work on building our bench in every state.  

  •  Agreed. (6+ / 0-)

    Dems should contest everywhere. As someone originally from Texas I can say that it would be damn near impossible for a Dem to win certain districts simply because they are a Democrat (seriously, it almost seems like some conservatives equate voting for a Dem as voting for the Devil himself).

    But sometimes you can get lucky. A Congressman could suddenly find himself embroiled in some scandal and suddenly you have a race on your hands.

    Even if the Democratic Party doesn't spend a cent on that candidate, they still NEED to have a candidate on the ballot. After all, you can't win if you don't try.

    Wendy Davis for TX Governor, 2014!

    by GleninCA on Sun Dec 15, 2013 at 08:49:51 PM PST

  •  This is where Progressives 1% real Ds get in and (3+ / 0-)

    win spots. '14 is wide open! Forget the national party.
     Progressives can and should mount an 'independent' or 'reform'  fifty state strategy! Chasing funding from the 'Hollywood Left' music and fashion industry deep pocket progressive types.  
    To? Recruit candidates and move bodies into contested districts. "We are frustrated by the DNC too."  said the bored rock star.
       This is where 'bones' are made. And, its a perfect job for the Dkos family and similar progressive groups.

        Run!  Political nature arbors a vacuum. Why not set focused minds and committed bodies to fill it.
      Also lets recall the Dean thing was a hostile take over of the Democratic Party.   This is what party politics is all about. The very best way for progressive politics, views and values to be done is to snatch real seats at the table.  

    Particularly younger more energetic and creative people; Go for it, have some fun and get some work done.
      A 36% D floor in a deep red district is not all that bad, really, anything can happen in a campaign in some remote and forgotten congress let alone state district.
    A 'popular' candidate, an artist a housewife a businessman, a smart activist can and many will win. More so, with some national help from outside the beltway, progressive fundraising, analytics...
        This is the real challenge of the moment. Not the national pundint chatter spin and spin about President Obama's ups and downs. He will meet us in the air.  
    Let them catch up.  

    •  The GOP civil war means they'll waste lots of $$ (5+ / 0-)

      They will already be stretched thin by popular Tea Party candidates up against more heavily funded but less loved Neocons. And some of those Tea Parties will win primaries. They may well find themselves up against a moderate, common sense Democrat making it a tough race for the Republican.

      I'd rather have a progressive run but even a blue dog will at least vote with us a good part of the time. We're still better off in the end with a blue dog than a Republican who will obstruct 99% of the time. The job then is to primary a winning moderate or blue dog with a progressive come 2016 and 2018. Keep making ever more progressive arguments in red states.

  •  Case for Progressive Dem in every race is stronger (4+ / 0-)

    than for a Blue Dog in every red district.

    The centrist Democratic establishment has actually done Progressives a favor by leaving open this space that Progressives can fill.

    Reasons:

    1. Even if the district is never flipped, statewide elections can be flipped by a red district's increase in Democratic (and Progressive, especially in Democratic primaries) registered and turned out voters.

    2. When there is a sudden wave, it is better for a Progressive to catch it than a Blue Dog, who often will undermine the Democratic brand inside and especially outside the district.

    3. When there is gradual progress in the win-ability of a district, it is better for a Progressive to be educating the electorate on policy alternatives, building name recognition, and fending off a late-parachuting Blue Dog.

    4. Often an establishment centrist is less-equipped to flip a district than a Progressive outsider, now more than in the past, because of the prevalence of
    -anti-establishment sentiment of actual voters,
    -non-voting of registered voters, and
    -non-registration of eligible voters.

    In blue districts, there is also a case for having a Progressive individual in place:
    1. (where the incumbent is Blue Dog or centrist) to provide an alternative on the Democratic primary ballot.

    2. (where the incumbent is Progressive) to step in quickly if the incumbent dies, steps down or gets bought off.

    3. (in all districts) ensure that the incumbent's positioning is always pressured from the Left by the possibility of primary competition.

    •  Blue dogs... (9+ / 0-)

      While many may dislike blue dogs they are absolutely essential for the Fifty-state strategy to work and for us to win back the House and keep the Senate. You just can't have a progressive candidate in every race who can win you need someone who's a right fit for that district and can connect with voters. While people like Landreiu, Begich, and Tester may seem blue-dogs to the Dems living in that state their probably the most progressive person elected statewide.

      •  Catering to voters is different from catering to $ (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Donkey Hotey

        of out-of-district contributors, which is the Blue Dog (and broader establishment) sin that I feel the most strongly about.

        •  You don't understand politics, then (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Donkey Hotey, davybaby

          Liberal Democrats can't win in R+ districts. And if you can think of one exception, there are 100 examples of the rule. It's extremely hard, in any case, for Democrats to win districts that are more than R+6 at most.

          Formerly Pan on Swing State Project

          by MichaelNY on Mon Dec 16, 2013 at 06:00:02 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Actual & potential voters justify candidate lean (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            MichaelNY

            to the Right on those issues where they need to,

            but many candidates and officeholders lean farther than the voters force them to, and make no effort to register more voters, partly because they think their voters are more Right than they really are (which has been statistically documented), and also because they need money, which flows easily from wealthy contributors to Right-leaners, and is harder for Left-leaners to raise.

            Various strategies are worth pursuing to push back against these syndrome, in districts of every color.

            •  This is true (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Donkey Hotey, nimh

              and data show that members of Congress from both parties think their voters lean further to the right than they actually do.

              However, that's a far cry from saying that in R+ districts, it's more politically viable to run liberal Democrats than Blue Dogs. It's clearly more viable to run Blue Dogs, and even they have a low chance of winning such districts.

              Formerly Pan on Swing State Project

              by MichaelNY on Mon Dec 16, 2013 at 06:35:15 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  Much depends on prioritized time-frame and (0+ / 0-)

                goals, for the reasons mentioned in my other comments.

                •  I'll have to read those (0+ / 0-)

                  because these comments don't compute to me. "Prioritized time-frame"?

                  Formerly Pan on Swing State Project

                  by MichaelNY on Mon Dec 16, 2013 at 02:57:34 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  MNY, by "prioritized time-frame", I mean: (0+ / 0-)

                    in addition to the short-term priority of winning the current campaign in the district, one can put equal and or higher priority on longer-term goals, such as:

                    1. laying groundwork for later wins (perhaps by a less Doggy Dem) in the district,

                    2. gradually improving the district's influence on potential wins on statewide candidates and issues, and moving the statewide conversation and Overton Window to the Left,

                    3. avoiding election of the type of Blue Dog who will vote, for example, in support of "slashing" social security, or enabling big banks' abuse of little guys with impunity. These types of votes can do long-term harm to Democratic prospects by confirming the suspicions, held by actual and potential voters in and out of the district, that Democrats are no better or even worse than Republicans in standing up for them.

                    •  Doesn't really make sense to me (0+ / 0-)

                      You take what you can get. In Mississippi, I'd  vote for Thad Cochran against the rabid neo-Confederate primarying him, knowing that though I'd vote for the Democratic candidate in the general election, s/he wouldn't win, but also knowing that a guy like Cochran, who believes in government spending, is to the left of a neo-Confederate maniac. The other part of my calculus is that by no means am I close to certain that even the strongest possible Democratic candidates (who probably won't run) would beat a rabid neo-Confederate in a general election in Mississippi today, especially a midterm election without presidential turnout from black voters.

                      A practical leftist supports any politician who's more left or less right than the alternative. In Mississippi, that means Cochran, and in South Carolina, that means Graham, at least in the Republican primary, and I believe those are open (don't require Republican registration) in both states. I hope some credible Democrat runs in case either of those incumbents are toppled in the primaries, but you take what you can get.

                      Formerly Pan on Swing State Project

                      by MichaelNY on Mon Dec 16, 2013 at 07:21:05 PM PST

                      [ Parent ]

          •  Technically, liberal Dems can't win R+... (0+ / 0-)

            ...until opinions and perceptions change.

      •  It's simple... (7+ / 0-)

        Real life examples:
        Joe Donnelly is a way better senator that Richard Mourdock would have been.

        Nobody thought Donnelly could win. He's pro-labor, pro-ACA in a red-red-purple state and has to hedge to win elections.

        I live in Bloomington, a "liberal oasis" and now have a TPer congressman Todd Young. Blue dog Baron Hill was waaay better.

        What is so hard about this?

        •  The corollary: no Blue Dogs in Baby Blue states (0+ / 0-)

          Exhibit A: Dianne Feinstein X(

          •  Feinstein is far from my favorite (0+ / 0-)

            but though a bit conservative for a California Democrat, she really is not a Blue Dog. The main area in which she is less than progressive is her support for pervasive spying and government secrecy.

            Formerly Pan on Swing State Project

            by MichaelNY on Mon Dec 16, 2013 at 02:59:02 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

          •  I played at a Feinstein campaign event..... (0+ / 0-)

            Must have been 1993 when she ran against Huffington (yes that one) which was fairly tight race. I was playing bass with the band. She was pro-death penalty and I distinctly remember her explaining (paraphrase):
            "I won't get votes from conservative leaning folks in the Central Valley etc. if i'm come out against capital punishment." Her explanation felt and sounded like an apology.... i.e.; "sorry guys, i have to do this".  

            I would have (especially at that time) preferred principled, moral LEADERSHIP.

    •  I have huge doubts (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      kickbass, MichaelNY, Donkey Hotey

      that you have ever run. For office. This is, like, absurd.

      •  I hv not run; I respect the sacrifice & courage of (0+ / 0-)

        those who do run (including you, per your other comment), and

        I recommend prioritizing encouragement and assistance to such candidates to coordinate their runs with efforts to educate, register and turn-out voters.  

        A "run-everywhere" strategy would entail creating a permanent (at least virtual if not actual office space) presence (which could be supported strongly by a single national office/website) that:

        1. precedes individual candidates' decision to run,

        2. helps them coordinate that decision with other potential candidates,

        3. helps them find a balanced approach to position selection, framing and emphasis (which, as your other comments point out, must be different in many Red districts than many Blue districts). (Per my other comments: Catering to local voters is reasonable, often necessary and rarely merits criticism, but not catering mainly to contributors, which too many elected officials are pressured to do).

        4. reduces the likelihood/amount of (per your other comment) cash out-of-pocket being borne by candidates who are already committing massive time and accepting the discomfort of public scrutiny.

    •  OH YEAH TOTALLY. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      MichaelNY, Newsie8200

      Because the reddest seats held by Democrats are represented by notoriously progressive Represenatives Jim Matheson, John Barrow, and Mike McIntyre.

      Seriously, look at all the R+ seats currently held by Dems. None of them are particularly progressive, and there's a reason for that, and it's because they're representative of their district, which is, you know, their job.

    •  Considering what this post was actually about.. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      MichaelNY

      ... namely, the many Texas districts which have been left without any Democratic candidate at all now that the deadline has already passed, no, I would say that "the centrist Democratic establishment" did not "actually do Progressives a favor by leaving open this space that Progressives can fill". Because no progressives apparently stepped up for any of these seats either. And now it's too late.

      There should be candidates in every district -- sure, progressives if possible, but those maligned centrists too. Just as long as there are any. To say that somehow, all these empty seats represent "a favor" to progressives, considering no progressives apparently stepped up either and now it's too late, seems to miss the point a bit. After all, having had a centrist run now would not have somehow been worse for a potential progressive candidate in '16 than what it'll be like now, with nobody running at all.

      I find the comments in this thread frustrating, to be honest. (I guess this is a front page post rather than a DKE one, which probably helps explain it.) The whole point of the post is that there are myriad districts where no Dem is running at all -- that there are so many empty places, there are surely enough for anyone, and that therefore anyone willing to make the run should be encouraged. And yet the majority of the comments seems more concerned with making sure that any potential Blue Dogs who might possibly want to run will be prevented from doing so by more progressive candidates. People: in places like Texas, there are not enough of either. Just for a moment, take your eye off fighting the fight against intra-party enemies, and spend a thought on welcoming candidates from all over the Democratic Party spectrum, to at least prevent far-right Republicans from winning instead.

      •  My comments are directed at the "everywhere" meme (0+ / 0-)

        more than at deep Red Texas districts

        ...(although even deep Red districts can incrementally improve their impact on statewide results, in the same manner as Republicans could win Presidential elections by raising their percentage of Black votes to 20% and/or their percentage of Latino votes to 40%).

        But even in those deep Red districts, Progressives should prefer Dems whose Rightward catering is limited to the real deeply held views of their actual and potential voters, rather than to the views of big contributors.  Of course in practice it can be complex and difficult to distinguish the two in the deep weeds of astroturf. But politics is rarely simple.

        None of this is intended by me to promote purity-trolling (my word -- not trying to put words in your mouth), but rather to promote avoiding reflexive overly pessimistic anti-purity, especially in the context of a general Progressive strategy for "everywhere".

        The DCCC has plenty of money and will spend it the way they want to, which will often be against the interests of Progressives. It doesn't need or want Progressives' help in strategizing.  This is the environment in which Progressives must develop and deploy their more-limited resources through their own strategies, which can often be complementary with the DCCC (although we should not shy away from competition in suitable districts).

        As examples of some of my points above:

        I resent the DCCC's reluctance to support Lee Rogers and Rob Zerban,

        but

        I see the DCCC's failure to fill the anti-incumbent space in those districts with Blue Dogs as potentially a "favor to Progressives".

        •  Why should the DCCC waste money (0+ / 0-)

          on people who can't win? Zerban did pretty well but lost by plenty. Organizations like the DCCC have to concentrate on the races in which they can make the most difference between a win and a loss. Decreasing the margin of a loss is not a success for them.

          As for your point about the views of voters, rather than big contributors, I wish that were true of all politicians, but the reality is that money has corrupted the entire system, and you'll find that's true of very liberal politicians, too. Look at my congressman, Jerry Nadler. He has been a down-the-line liberal for decades, but Wall St. is in his district, so he votes pretty much as if he represents a Wall St. company town. You can find similar situations in regard to insurance in Connecticut, banks in Delaware, oil in Louisiana, coal in West Virginia, ethanol from corn in Iowa, etc., etc., etc.

          Formerly Pan on Swing State Project

          by MichaelNY on Mon Dec 16, 2013 at 07:28:55 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Why? 2 reasons: (0+ / 0-)

            1. "can't win" easily becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.

            2. the broader and longer-term priorities mentioned in my other comments.

            For example:

            1. how many Rob Zerban-registered and turned-out voters would it take to make a difference in beating incumbent WI Gov. Walker and/or Sen. Johnson?

            2. Lee Rogers is apparently now receiving DCCC support which would have gone to a Blue Dog in his district (or maybe would have left his district in Republican hands) if Lee had not seen and filled the Dem void in the prior election cycle.

            By the way, do you really believe DCCC's allocations are devoid of ideology or self-interest? They do sometimes support Blue Dogs who have little chance to win, but appear to never do the same for Progressives.

            •  Yeah (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Gygaxian
              do you really believe DCCC's allocations are devoid of ideology
              Yes, I think they're pretty devoid of ideology, in the sense that they support whomever they think has the best chance to win each district, except:
              or self-interest?
              No. The DCCC and DSCC exist in large part specifically to protect all threatened incumbent Democrats.

              Getting back to Zerban, what I saw was that he was a huge sponge for low-information activist contributions, based on hatred of his opponent. If a half a million of those dollars had gone to Nate Shinagawa (I hope you've heard of him!), instead, he might have won, but additional funding for Zerban by the DCCC would have been pissing in the wind, and he still would have lost.

              Senator Johnson, by the way, was elected in 2010 and not up for election in 2012, nor was Walker's recall election in November, so first of all, what are you talking about? And secondly, where did you get the idea that the DCCC is or should be funding gubernatorial recall elections or US Senate elections? Do you think there's no reason why there are separate organizations called the DSCC and the DGA?

              There's a reason why armchair activists with diffuse thinking aren't running any of those organizations. Running to the shiny object instead of focusing methodically on the most effective targets that most need additional funding (can't self-fund, don't get loads of funding from individual or/and corporate contributions) would not produce the results you want and certainly would not help move this country to the left.

              Formerly Pan on Swing State Project

              by MichaelNY on Mon Dec 16, 2013 at 08:13:07 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  MNY, let’s try to avoid last-wordism & insults (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                MichaelNY

                (I trust that the following responses are avoiding these temptations.)

                I agree with you on this:

                "DCCC and DSCC exist in large part specifically to protect all threatened incumbent Democrats."
                But I believe that you err in failing to connect this goal with a preference to exclude Progressive alternatives whose campaigns would invite unflattering comparisons with (and primary challenges to) establishment incumbents, especially those who tend more towards protecting big contributors than their district’s actual and potential voters.

                Both your correct and incorrect points are consistent with my point, which is that:

                1. a general candidate recruitment and support strategy by Progressives should not be identical to that of the DCCC, and

                2. the limited contribution capability and other resources of Progressives can often be better directed at compensating for anti-Progressive elements of the DCCC’s strategy.

                Zerban 2012-registered voters will continue to affect statewide elections in 2014 and 2016, along with local, state and national narratives during the interim. Thus, “I did not get this idea” is part of the answer to your question...
                "where did you get the idea that the DCCC is or should be funding gubernatorial recall elections or US Senate elections?"
                The other part of my answer is that this idea is only in your mis-reading of the target of my points. I am addressing Progressive strategizing, in a context where the DCCC has a combination of blind spots and prejudices that undermine Progressive goals, which include spillovers between different districts and time-frames. Progressive policies will depend on broader change than electing a few Progressive officeholders, and especially electing a few more Blue Dogs (although a few Blue Dog votes to elect Speaker of the House, if we get to an evenly split Congress, would of course be very welcome).

                Indeed I do believe that “hatred” of Paul Ryan, and more importantly the insufficiency of media (and in-district) attention to the (lack of) substance and implications of his policy proposals, is indeed a worthwhile reason to recruit and support challenges to him, as part of campaigns’ educational function, which should not be completely ignored even while balancing it and other Progressive goals against the goal of getting the maximum number of Democrats into office in each election.

                In an alternative universe in which:

                “a half a million of [the DCCC’s] dollars”
                ...had gone to Lee Rogers in 2011-2012, he would today either be the incumbent or in an even stronger position to win his upcoming repeat run. Progressives not directing resources to your preferred candidate Nate Shinagawa is excused largely by the fact that these resources are very limited; in contrast the DCCC has fewer excuses for not giving Shinagawa that additional half million.

                There are many reasons why nationally experienced (which I do not claim to be) Progressives are not running any of those organizations, despite not matching your description as:

                “armchair activists with diffuse thinking”.

                Are Progressives wrong to regard Howard Dean’s DNC tenure as successful, and his removal from it as reflecting establishment goals that conflict with Progressive goals?

                But I do agree with you that DCCC’s role should be (although I don't share your confidence that it always is):

                “focusing methodically on the most effective targets that most need additional funding (can't self-fund, don't get loads of funding from individual or/and corporate contributions)”
                •  Thanks for a substantive and well thought-out (0+ / 0-)

                  reply.

                  I'm too tired to want to give a point-by-point response, but a few thoughts:

                  (1) The fact that one of the primary missions of the DCCC and DSCC is to protect incumbent Democrats does necessarily have the effect of protecting them against primary challenges by anyone, but that makes those organizations not anti-progressive but specifically establishment organizations.

                  (2) Progressives should not be "excused" for spending unwisely. Zerban was a relatively good candidate partly because he was very wealthy and could self-fund his campaign, thereby not wasting the money of the DCCC in an unlikely upset attempt. Shinagawa was not and could have greatly benefited from grass-roots contributions. And as you said, he wasn't the only one. If progressive folks want to make a difference, raising their consciousnesses to pick candidates strategically is important.

                  (3) Yes, obviously the DCCC blew it on Shinagawa. I more or less called that in real time on DKE, because I just had a sneaking suspicion that he was a very possible "surprise" winner for the Democrats. The DCCC is not perfect and often misses an opportunity somewhere, while spending on other races that end up in lopsided Republican victories. I think their track record is better than that of netroots progressives, but it sure isn't perfect.

                  (4) It's fine for progressives to use their money for purposes other than contributing to establishment organizations like the DCCC, but I think criticizing the DCCC for being what it is is beside the point. If you don't like what an organization is and does, don't contribute to it, while fully understanding that it will not change its character because it serves a useful function pretty well. There are various issues organizations that need more funds, and there are also progressive organizations that I constantly get emails from (you probably do, too), but what I think is actually most effective is to learn about the candidates and directly support the campaigns of those whose election prospects are realistic and whose election (or reelection) would do the most to move Congress to the left.

                  (5) I like Dean and don't like how he was forced out, but I'm not sure what else I would want to say about that. I'm more interested in knowing more about what Steve Israel is doing right now.

                  Formerly Pan on Swing State Project

                  by MichaelNY on Tue Dec 17, 2013 at 05:14:32 AM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                •  Also, let's go back to the original topic (0+ / 0-)

                  which is that no Democrat came forward to run for a bunch of Congressional districts in Texas. Why does that turn into a bunch of complaints about Democratic candidates not being progressive enough? That's taking your eye off the ball. Any Democrat is hugely more progressive than any Republican, nowadays. Diverting a topic like this to another argument about how Democrats aren't leftist enough demonstrates very clearly what's wrong with a large body of opinion on the main part of this site, by contrast with the practical discussions on the Daily Kos Elections sub-site. And that's what really annoyed me about the discussion thread on this topic. When the criticisms were ignorant or irrelevant, that annoyed me even more.

                  Formerly Pan on Swing State Project

                  by MichaelNY on Tue Dec 17, 2013 at 05:20:27 AM PST

                  [ Parent ]

  •  Could not agree more (4+ / 0-)

    One additional benefit is that there is often a dearth of progressive messaging, or even the red district equivalent, in these districts.  An active campaign, even where success is unlikely, has benefits simply in terms of raising the issues.  Local party building, registration, and GOTV has upballot benefits even if the local seat NEVER goes blue.

    Iron sharpens Iron. Normal is a dryer setting. STOP illegal immigration NOW! -- Make it LEGAL. If Corporations are People--Let's draft them.

    by benamery21 on Sun Dec 15, 2013 at 09:21:12 PM PST

  •  Red state voters are not open to Dem issues (5+ / 0-)

    I ran in 2012 for a moderately favorable seat R+5 seat (and in my state, that is moderately favorable) for State Senate. Cost: $4500 out of pocket, about 350 hours between Aug and Nov.

    Rationale for run: Issues were good for Dems (2 initiatives I used in my run were successful in the election, while I did not win). My opponent was an IINO (Incumbent in name only), as 18% of district had voted for opponent due to redistricting.

    Detriments to run: I am not a long-term resident. I didn't know that many.

    I am not a blue dog, but I disagree with other dems on some issues

    Pushback: Obamacare, some on schools and teachers.

    Main problem: Voter registration cuts against Dems. In my state, home owners vote R, transients vote D. Transient records are terrible.

    The general populace is not overly open to Democratic ideas in red states.

  •  For every 30-40 persons here who call (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    am, MichaelNY

    for Democrats to run, I would bet that no more than 1 of them have run.

    So, if you want dems to run, so run already.

    And, no, extra exclamation points do not create a progressive or even conservative Democratic operative majority. We also need issues that Red state voters will buy, and we are not supplying those.

  •  I do think we should contest more races (9+ / 0-)

    But here's the deal. Running for office is REALLY hard. It's hard in a safe Democratic seat, it's hard in a competitive election, and it's hard in a Republican district. As a result, it's hard to convince people to run. You potentially open your private life up to strict scrutiny from the general public and media, especially if your race ends up getting close. To credibly run for office, you need to treat it like a full time job, making fundraising calls and knocking on doors for months and months. It gets pricey, since you're giving up a lot of work time to run the race, and if you're not a good fundraiser, the paid professional staff you need comes out of your pocket.

    Even if you're filing to just fill a slot on the ballot, there's still some time commitment, since you have to make the rounds to various Democratic events, talk to the press on occasion, etc., since your job is still to engage and build up the base. Plus, if you're in a red seat, losing sucks. Nobody likes doing it, and running in a district with a nearly-microscopic hope for victory is a tough sell. Can you blame somebody for not wanting to put themselves through the hell of running in an R+15 district?

    Also, I think it should be pointed out that despite the criticisms many have, it's not the national organizations job to fill the whole ballot. The DCCC's job is to win a majority. They spend in close seats. There is no interest in going from 40% to 42% when they can go from 49% to 50%+1, and it would be a waste of resources and hurt the progressive community to do that. The job of recruiting candidates in really red seats is for the grassroots. State and local committees can find and recruit those candidates, but I don't want to lose a winnable race to do it. Plus, running a local race with no hope could potentially remove a volunteer base from a district where we do- if two districts are next to each other, and one's an even seat and one is a horribly red one, I sure as hell don't want to have volunteers who otherwise would work for the competitive race spending time on the lost cause.

    Oh, and let's be honest, it wasn't really ever a 50 state strategy. In 2006 the national party didn't do a thing in the vast majority of really red seats. I doubt a dime ever went to the Texas Panhandle. Plus, in 2010 it would've been ill-advised anyway. The majority was essentially maxed out, and we needed to try and hold what we did have.

    •  Thanks for talking some sense (0+ / 0-)

      from real experience.

      Formerly Pan on Swing State Project

      by MichaelNY on Mon Dec 16, 2013 at 06:04:47 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Good post. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      MichaelNY

      I hope it's read by more people.

      Great description of how tough it is to run for office. And even if you get someone to do a smaller race, it's often hard to get them to move up to higher-profile races. (Spouse: "You want to go through that again on a bigger stage? Are you f-ing kidding me?")

      "50 state strategy" was an actual thing but not anywhere near what people think it was.

      Nancy Pelosi: "We have a Democratic president -- Thank God!"

      by Newsie8200 on Mon Dec 16, 2013 at 08:01:56 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Running is REALLY hard: so true; merits own diary (0+ / 0-)

      Also very true that "losing sucks", although I wonder if a Progressive who already feels marginalized in a Red district can sometimes be less-deterred by the reputational pain of losing by a big margin, in comparison with a more centrist Democrat who has "more to lose" in existing stature in the community.

      Time commitment and uncomfortable public scrutiny of private life are unavoidable by any candidate who does not go into hiding after filing the candidacy (there was a recent Dkos diary on a candidate who apparently did exactly that after filing shortly before the deadline).

      These unavoidable burdens and deterrents make it all the more important to encourage and support such candidates through resource availability, and protecting them from out-of-pocket expenses.

      A national Progressive organization focused on providing this encouragement, support, resources and expense-avoidance would be very useful.

  •  How about running to fix funding? (0+ / 0-)

    As I myself live in one of the most Republican House districts in the US (safest in Indiana), I've recently been toying w/ the idea of running but solely w/ the idea of just running to try and raise awareness of campaign finance vs. necessarily winning.

    I know the end-game is putting democratic candidates in office, but why throw away these "throw away" races vs. using them specifically to bring campaign finance to the foreground.

    I'd considered doing a $50 maximum and only from individuals self-imposed guideline.

    I am honestly not in any hurry to run myself but the more I see this as the core issue the more I think we need some folks willing to pursue this as the end-game vs. election itself.

  •  Absolutely for 50 states strategy (4+ / 0-)

    with one caveat - the candidate must be as close to prevailing district feelings as possible. May be - very slightly to the left of it, but only slightly. By my "rough" metrics - everything from D+5 and higher "belongs" to progressives, between D+5 and R+5 - to moderates (and i don't care about DLC or even Blue Dogs in such districts). In R+5 (or lower) districts i will accept anyone to the left of Larry McDonald or John Rarick. BLUE DOG??? Easily, even gladly - it's Blue Dogs, who have best chances in suchdistricts. Why? 2 reasons:

    1. Even such candidates will be to the left of their Republican opponents

    2. They have 1-2% chance of winning in their districts, Boxer- and Pelosi-style - zero. (in fact - they will not even win Democratic primary there). And for me (as a mathematician) there is a great difference between small positive probability and EXACT zero. And the only criterion i use for races (just as for "horse races") - chances of winning.

    P.S. I would give the same advice to Republicans if they would care to listen))))

  •  Best argument for 'Run Everywhere' (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    MichaelNY

    Mark Foley

    A hell of a lot of impossible races became winnable after it came out in 2006 that he was messing with the pages. Sometimes it doesn't even take the Republican you are running against messing up, another Republican having a big enough scandal can make a place winnable.

    "If you defeat a thousand opponents, you still have a thousand opponents. If you change a thousand minds, you have a thousand allies"

    by Donkey Hotey on Mon Dec 16, 2013 at 07:24:42 AM PST

  •  and so? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    MichaelNY

    Everybody wants to have solid candidates in as many places as possible, and Dems always want to expand the map in a way favorable to us. I don't think a case needs to be made to get Democrats to run everywhere. In states like Texas, it was crucial to get Wendy Davis into the govs race because we need someone like that who can bring money into the state and to organize around to help Texas Dems up and down the ballot for years to come if we are to turn that into a presidential battleground sooner rather than later.

    Reality is that there are fewer competitive seats up and down the ballot (gerrymandering) and it's tough to lure people into running. There's only so much money to go around and the people looking at running know it and the campaign committees know it, etc.

    And the comments in this are just typical of people who have no idea what the 50 state strategy was in practice and what is going on at the party committees.

    Nancy Pelosi: "We have a Democratic president -- Thank God!"

    by Newsie8200 on Mon Dec 16, 2013 at 07:56:14 AM PST

  •  I thought a little bit about running one year (3+ / 0-)

    My Congressman is Lamar Smith (R-TX 21).  One year when it looked like there would be no Democrat running against him I got as far as talking to someone from the state Democratic party.  I figured a Democrat's only chance would be if Smith got caught in bed with the proverbial live boy or dead girl, or if he won the Republican primary but then died too close to the election to replace his name on the ballot.  The "caught in bed" part seemed very unlikely, and the "died right before the election" window was only a few weeks, so I quit fantasizing.  Anyway, if by some weird twist of fate I'd gotten elected, it would disrupt my life tremendously for what would have almost surely been one two year term.  

    Perhaps each district needs someone who won't mind being the perennial stand-in candidate.  It's a little embarrassing to lose several elections in a row but keep putting your hat in the ring.

    We're all pretty strange one way or another; some of us just hide it better. "Normal" is a dryer setting.

    by david78209 on Mon Dec 16, 2013 at 08:34:07 AM PST

  •  Contesting can change outcomes (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Glenn Magus Harvey

    As I look at historical US Congressional election results, you sometimes have a state or district which appears safe for one party which changes its normal partisan allegiance. Clearly if one party does not compete at all, there is no chance of changing outcomes.

    For what it may be worth, once upon a time in Great Britain, a significant number of Parliamentary seats were left uncontested with candidates being returned unopposed. This became less common after the first world war and very rare after the second world war.

    Almost every seat, in recent elections, has had a Conservative, Labour and Liberal Democrat candidate and usually others as well. This was irrespective of how much chance the party had of winning the seat.

    For example historically a Conservative candidate in a coal mining area, had almost no chance of election. The party still made sure someone got on the ballot paper. I only say almost because one such seat, at Ashfield in the English Midlands, did go Conservative in a by-election in 1977 - never before or since (although it has become more marginal in the post coal mining era).

    The other observation I can make, is that it became cheaper to contest elections over time. The end of traditional election corruption in the 1880s, strict election expenses limits and the removal of the need for candidates to pay part of the returning officer's expenses, made election contests increasingly affordable.

    The real cost of UK elections seems to be increasing, in recent cycles, but the barriers are nowhere near as high as in American elections. However the number of candidates per seat still seems to be increasing with each general election.

    I think the general lesson is that if you reduce the cost of elections, then it becomes easier for a party to have a candidate for every position that becomes vacant.

    There is no man alive who is sufficiently good to rule the life of the man next door to him. Sir Rhys Hopkin Morris, M.P.

    by Gary J on Mon Dec 16, 2013 at 08:42:59 AM PST

  •  Sometimes lightning strikes (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    MichaelNY

    The most powerful man in the House of Representatives (18 term Congressman and Chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee Dan Rostenkowski) got involved in a postage scandal and LOST to a Republican in a district that takes in a large part of Chicago, and that since has returned Rod Blagojevich, Rahm Emanuel and Mike Quigley to the House.

    "Don't be defeatist, dear. It's very middle class." - Violet Crawley

    by nightsweat on Mon Dec 16, 2013 at 12:12:34 PM PST

  •  What is the obstacle? (0+ / 0-)

    We need to figure out the obstacles to finding candidates. Are state or local parties actually discouraging long-shot candidates? Do they just ignore them, even though first-time candidates presumably need the most help? Or is it just hard to get someone to run in some places? That's worrisome if a struggling state party thinks it can just run for the top offices without building a bench. Even a minority that's just bigger offers a deeper bench for higher office. If potential candidates just don't want to do it, then we have a problem of how to get people to run without much hope of winning.

    •  Have you read the comments of people (0+ / 0-)

      who actually ran in hopeless districts? Read them upthread and understand the obstacles. Steve is right: There should be a Democratic candidate in every district. But it is understandably hard to recruit people who are willing to do such a thankless task.

      Formerly Pan on Swing State Project

      by MichaelNY on Mon Dec 16, 2013 at 03:30:03 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  This Is Far More Wide Spread Than Just Texas (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    MichaelNY

    And that makes a really sad state of affairs for liberal/progressive/Democrats in states where they are overwhelmed by conservative/Republican/Tea Party they've all but given up. And I do know the feeling well and I do mean precisely.

    Collect Different Days

    by Homers24 on Mon Dec 16, 2013 at 03:55:06 PM PST

  •  Double or Nothing (0+ / 0-)

    Joe Donnelly's campaign in 2012 was just a case of going for "Double or Nothing."

    •    His House district was made unwinnable in redistricting.
    •    There was a good chance that the GOP would dump Lugar in its Senate primary.
    •    He had a decent shot of beating Mourdock if he were the nominee.
    •    If he lost, he could easily make big bucks as a lobbyist.
    He had nothing to lose.
    •  Most people thought there was little chance (0+ / 0-)

      Lugar would lose - at least that was what they thought when Donnelly announced. Things changed, but it took a while for it to become clear that Lugar was really going to lose and lose big, and the margin surprised even many people who already had realized some time beforehand that he was going to be defeated.

      Also, if there's nothing to being a candidate, why are so many people reluctant to run? It's a big effort, that's why. Etc. You've read what former candidates have had to say in this thread, yes? If not, do. It's quite instructive.

      Formerly Pan on Swing State Project

      by MichaelNY on Mon Dec 16, 2013 at 08:49:55 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

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