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Swing State Project

Daily Kos Elections weekly open thread: What races are you interested in? (May 29, 2016, 02:22 PM)

John Fogerty ? ?Almost Saturday Night?

Please note: This is a Democratic presidential primary-free zone.


A Sanders superdelegate coup doesn't need to be motivated by racism to be white privilege (May 27, 2016, 12:58 PM)

Hillary Clinton has won the nomination (and yes, she has) on the strength of strong support among Democrats, Latinos, older women and African Americans.  Bernie Sanders? base is independents, young voters (including significant numbers of young people of color) and white men. Those are the facts and they are incontrovertible. 

Bernie Sanders, knowing he has no chance to win on the strength of democracy and votes, is now arguing that superdelegates should reward his loss by undemocratically handing him the nomination. He didn?t earn the victory at the polls, thus he should be coronated by fiat. He wants the establishment he attacks to grant him victory anyway. 

If this were to happen, our party?s voters of color and the woman they back would be nullified in favor of the white male candidate predominantly supported by white men. This doesn?t mean that those pushing for this outcome, or Bernie Sanders himself, are racist. But it does betray a breathtaking amount of white privilege?a willful refusal to see that the policies they are advocating, for the benefit of themselves, would once again disenfranchise communities of color. They?d get the outcome they wanted, so what?s wrong with that?

To be clear, if you are advocating for Bernie?s superdelegate coup, you are not racist. You certainly have an autocratic lack of respect for the will of the voters, but that doesn?t make you racist. But the outcome of that superdelegate coup would absolutely be racist, And sexist. 

If you disagree, your challenge isn?t to stomp your feet and whine about how horrible it is to be accused of being racist or sexist, when that is explicitly not the case. Your challenge is to show how undemocratically tossing aside the preferences of our party?s communities of color and women in favor of the white male preferred by the party?s white males isn?t  racist. 


Republicans break promises to their own state parties, falling behind in the field (May 27, 2016, 11:45 AM)

[Sounds of delighted laughter.] The Republican Party has a presumptive presidential nominee who isn?t running a ?traditional? campaign, which is to say Donald Trump is not dabbling with nonsense like a field organization and the party will have to do a lot of filling in if they?re going to get out the vote and not totally screw down-ballot candidates. About that: Politico reports that the Republican National Committee is not on track to fulfill its promises of field staff in key battleground states. 

? In Ohio, where Trump is banking on a win and GOP Sen. Rob Portman finds himself in a treacherous reelection contest, the RNC had promised to fund more than 170 field staffers to arrive by July 1, according to multiple party operatives. At this point, there?s only around 25. ?If you?re on the ballot in Ohio this year, it?s a real concern,? said Kevin DeWine, a former Ohio Republican Party chairman. ?It needs to get fixed fast, and hurry to give voters and donors a sign that Trump plans to compete and contest in Ohio.? [...]

? In Florida, the state party had been operating on the understanding that at least 100 RNC-paid staffers would be in place by July. Now, they count only around 30, according to a former state party official involved in reviewing the budget and a current national party official.

By contrast:

In Florida, the Democratic National Committee has more than 80 field staff on the ground, and state party executive director Scott Arceneaux projected a team of close to 200 by the middle of June. In Ohio, there are more than 70 full-time field staffers working the state. In New Hampshire, there are 25, with at least 60 expected to be crisscrossing the state by July.

Of course, Republican Senate candidates at least will be supported by more than 1,200 staffers for the Koch brothers political network, so Democrats can?t count on the kind of field advantage you?d see by comparing just the party organizations. But it is not going to help Republicans any to have their presidential candidate and their party both failing at field organization.


Koch brothers Super PAC aims $3 million at Pennsylvania Democrat Katie McGinty (May 27, 2016, 10:59 AM)

Goal Thermometer

Pennsylvania Democrat Katie McGinty is about to face $3 million of Koch money as she tries to unseat Republican Sen. Pat Toomey. That?s how much the Koch-backed Super PAC Freedom Partners Action Fund is spending on an ad now:

The ad, titled "Whose Job," charges that McGinty, as head of the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection sought subsidies for companies that later paid her after her role in the government ended.

McGinty's Communications Director Sarbina Singh responded to the ad, calling it "desperate."

"Toomey - the best Senator Wall Street and the Koch Brothers ever had - is going to need all the help he can get to hide his abysmal record of putting his special interest allies ahead of Pennsylvania's middle class families," Singh said in a statement.

The Koch network has also recently reserved $30 million in ad time in Senate races for August and September.

The good news for McGinty, besides that she?s doing well enough for the Koch brothers? people to be targeting her, is that their ads in other races haven?t done so well.


Rubio caves: 'I want to be helpful' to Donald Trump (May 27, 2016, 10:39 AM)

Remember when Marco Rubio was out on the campaign trail taunting Donald Trump about his penis size and saying he couldn?t be trusted with the nuclear codes? Well. At this point, Paul Ryan should take lessons from Rubio in how to handle the inevitable capitulation to pressure to back Trump. Rubio will be attending the Republican National Convention this summer, and if it would be helpful for him to speak in support of Trump, well:

"I want to be helpful. I don't want to be harmful, because I don't want Hillary Clinton to be president," Rubio told CNN's Jake Tapper in an interview.
"Look, my policy differences with Donald Trump -- I spent 11 months talking about them. So I think they're well understood," Rubio said. "That said ... I don't want Hillary Clinton to be president. If there's something I can do to help that from happening, and it's helpful to the cause, I'd most certainly be honored to be considered for that."

In exchange for throwing away what had seemed to be his principles, Rubio got a nice little pat on the head from Donald Trump himself.


Daily Kos Elections Memorial Day weekend open thread (May 27, 2016, 09:00 AM)

 Lyle Lanley?Monorail

We?re taking a long Memorial Day weekend; the Daily Kos Elections Live Digest will be back Tuesday.

Please note: This is a Democratic presidential primary-free zone.


Morning Digest: Tom Reed tries to use Democrat's time at the Pentagon to paint him as a carpetbagger (May 27, 2016, 08:00 AM)

Leading Off:

? NY-23: Boy, this is sad. Republican Rep. Tom Reed may have thought he hit pay dirt last week when his campaign uncovered documents that just seemed to prove that Democrat John Plumb was little more than a carpetbagger from DC. To that end, Reed released a mortgage document where Plumb identified the Washington area as his primary residence and upstate New York as his secondary home. 

There was just one problem: Plumb, a Navy reservist and submarine officer, says he rented a Washington-area apartment while he was working at the Pentagon and that he sold it once he bought a home back in New York's 23rd District, where he's originally from. Plumb put out a statement smacking his opponent, saying, "It's disappointing to see Congressman Reed disparage my service for his own political gain?but I guess his behavior is par for the course for a dishonest Washington politician who is desperate to get reelected but has no record worth defending." 

But Reed still thinks he can make this a question about Plumb's loyalty to his would-be constituents. Reed says that, while he totally respects Plumb's service in the Navy, he does not respect Plumb's work as a legislative assistant on military matters to Ken Salazar (who at the time was a Democratic senator from Colorado), nor does he respect Plumb's time at the Defense Department. Reed insisted, "When you're working on a political office for Sen. Ken Salazar or for the chief foreign policy advisor for President Obama, those are more political in nature so we're just trying to make a distinction between the two."

Yeah, keep on trying to make that "distinction." The idea that serving in Obama's Defense Department makes Plumb a political hack might resonate in some parts of the country, but this district is far from safe Republican territory. Romney only carried this Southern Tier seat, which includes the liberal college town of Ithaca, by a 50-48 margin. While Reed easily won here during the 2014 GOP wave, he pulled off an unexpectedly weak 52-48 victory in 2012 against an underfunded Democratic foe.

So far, this race hasn't emerged as a major priority for Democrats, but it's on the radar. The DCCC recently added Plumb to their "Red to Blue" list for top candidates, though no one has made any major ad reservations for the fall. Plumb also had a large $1.03 million to $367,000 cash-on-hand deficit at the end of March. But Reed's clueless comments give Plumb the chance not only to remind voters about his military background but to also attract new donors, since blunders like this are usually good fundraising fodder. If Plumb can take advantage of the opportunity Reed is giving him, he could turn this into a serious contest.


Whoops! Republican bashes Democratic opponent as carpetbagger ... because he worked at the Pentagon (May 26, 2016, 06:31 PM)

Boy, this is sad. Republican Rep. Tom Reed may have thought he hit pay dirt last week when his campaign uncovered documents that just seemed to prove that Democrat John Plumb was little more than a carpetbagger from DC. To that end, Reed released a mortgage document where Plumb identified the Washington area as his primary residence and upstate New York as his secondary home. 

There was just one problem: Plumb, a Navy reservist and submarine officer, says he rented a Washington-area apartment while he was working at the Pentagon and that he sold it once he bought a home back in New York?s 23rd District, where he?s originally from. Plumb put out a statement smacking his opponent, saying, ?It?s disappointing to see Congressman Reed disparage my service for his own political gain?but I guess his behavior is par for the course for a dishonest Washington politician who is desperate to get reelected but has no record worth defending.? 

But Reed still thinks he can make this a question about Plumb?s loyalty to his would-be constituents. Reed says that, while he totally respects Plumb?s service in the Navy, he does not respect Plumb?s work as a legislative assistant on military matters to Ken Salazar (who at the time was a Democratic senator from Colorado), nor does he respect Plumb?s time at the Defense Department. Reed insisted, ?When you?re working on a political office for Sen. Ken Salazar or for the chief foreign policy advisor for President Obama, those are more political in nature so we?re just trying to make a distinction between the two.?

Yeah, keep on trying to make that ?distinction.? The idea that serving in Obama?s Defense Department makes Plumb a political hack might resonate in some parts of the country, but this district is far from safe Republican territory. Romney only carried this Southern Tier seat, which includes the liberal college town of Ithaca, by just a 50-48 margin. While Reed easily won here during the 2014 GOP wave, he pulled off an unexpectedly weak 52-48 win in 2012 against an underfunded Democratic foe.

So far, this race hasn?t emerged as a major priority for Democrats, but it?s on the radar. The DCCC recently added Plumb to their ?Red to Blue? list for top candidates, though no one has made any major ad reservations for the fall. Plumb also had a large $1.03 million to $367,000 cash-on-hand deficit at the end of March. But Reed?s clueless comments give Plumb the chance not only to remind voters about his military background but to also attract new donors, since blunders like this are usually good fundraising fodder. If Plumb can take advantage of the opportunity Reed is giving him, he could turn this into a serious contest.


DC Republicans plead for Rubio to come back and save his Senate seat from a horde of weak candidates (May 26, 2016, 04:13 PM)

It seems that even Marco Rubio?s humiliating presidential campaign, which culminated in his 46-27 loss to Donald Trump in the Florida GOP primary, couldn?t destroy the myth of Marco Rubio. On Thursday, Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn publicly called on Rubio to seek re-election to the Senate this year, and NRSC chair Roger Wicker told CNN it was ?a very real development.? Rubio himself still doesn?t sound incredibly interested, and he touted the campaign of his friend, Lt. Gov. Carlos Lopez-Cantera. However, Rubio didn?t quite close the door on another 2016 campaign, only calling the idea ?unlikely.? Florida?s filing deadline is June 24.

Several candidates are seeking the GOP nod in the late August primary, and the leadership?s continued obsession with Rubio really doesn?t speak well of any of them. Indeed, CNN reports that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell told a closed-door lunch full of Republican senators that he didn?t feel good with how the race was progressing, and he implored his colleagues to encourage Rubio to seek another term. 

It?s not hard to see why the GOP leadership would prefer to have Rubio, warts and all, as their standard bearer instead of one of the blokes who are actually running. Lopez-Cantera may look ok on paper, but he hasn?t raised much money; at the end of March, Lopez-Cantera had just $389,000 in the bank, a horrible sum for a campaign in a state as expensive as Florida. Rep. David Jolly has actually sworn off personally asking for money, and he has a horrible relationship with his party. Rep. Ron DeSantis is a favorite of far-right types like the Club for Growth, but the GOP establishment is reportedly skeptical he can win in November.

But DeSantis looks like a bona fide moderate compared to rich guy Carlos Beruff, who called President Obama ?this animal we call president,? then sloppily tried to lie his way out of his statement. Finally, there?s businessman Todd Wilcox, who just called Social Security a ?Ponzi scheme,? which is one of the absolute worst things to say in Florida. So yeah, while the Senate GOP?s call for Rubio to come back and save them may be embarrassing for all involved, he may be their only hope in November.

Of course, as Rubio proved over the last few months, the idea of a Marco Rubio candidacy is better than the actual thing. And with Rubio?s standing in Florida GOP politics so bad (again, he lost to Trump 46-27), it?s unlikely many of the current field of candidates, save Lopez-Cantera, would get out of the way for him. Rubio has also burned bridges across the state with influential Republicans and party activists, both by running against his one-time mentor Jeb Bush, and his general habit of discarding people after he no longer thinks that he needs them. Maybe Rubio could survive a crowded primary, but it wouldn?t be pretty.

In any case, it looks unlikely that Rubio actually is interested in trying his luck. Unless another Republican savior parachutes in before June 24, Republicans are going to have to accept that they?re going to have to live with the field they have. And that suits national Democrats, who have consolidated behind Rep. Patrick Murphy, just fine.


It's not only Latinos: Donald Trump is also driving Asian Americans toward the Democratic Party (May 26, 2016, 01:22 PM)

In 2014, exit polls showed a dramatic reversal of fortune for Democrats among Asian American voters. After President Obama walloped Mitt Romney 73-26 in 2012, Republicans actually had a one point advantage (50-49) in the 2014 House nationwide exit poll. A column in Bloomberg View summed it up this way:

While it's premature to argue that Republicans have figured out how to appeal to Asian-American voters again, yesterday's results should encourage those looking to build support for Republican candidates and policies in minority communities. The real test will come in the 2016 presidential race.

Heh. 2016, eh? Well, how?s that working out?

First, it should be noted that the 2014 exit polls were very likely wrong; see here for a good critique. Polls that were carefully designed to sample Asian American voters did not show such a dramatic reversal, although Democratic fortunes did lag somewhat.

One of those excellent pollsters just released a new report this week, the Spring 2016 Asian American Voter Survey, and, in a theme that is starting to sound familiar, Asian Americans really do not like Donald Trump.

But there?s a twist: In the past, this segment of the electorate has been much less likely than the electorate at large to identify with a party. This year, however, there?s been a surge in identification as a Democrat. The survey report proposes that the exclusionary rhetoric of Trump may be a factor.

We?ll start with the basic favorability ratings, shown at the top: Approximately two-thirds of Asian American voters have a favorable view of President Obama, up somewhat since 2012. Hillary Clinton has numbers similar to what Obama?s were in 2012.

And Trump? He?s sitting at a paltry 19 percent, worse than Mitt Romney?s numbers in 2012. And that is how 2016 is working out.

More details below.


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