AuthorTopic: Election Errata  (Read 97636 times)

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🗳️ Midterm elections: Democrats lead popular vote in House by largest margin
« Reply #855 on: November 23, 2018, 07:11:00 AM »
As I said, Trumpofsky is not unbeatable.  :icon_sunny:


Midterm elections: Democrats lead popular vote in House by largest margin in history

Republicans trail by record 8.9m votes with only one seat undecided

    Chris Baynes
    1 day ago

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The Independent US

Democrats are set to pull off the largest midterm elections victory in history, according to a breakdown of the popular vote in races for the House of Representatives.

The party leads the Republicans by more than 8.9 million votes across the US, raw data compiled by the Cook Political Report, an independent, non-partisan political analysis website.

Previously, the largest margin of victory was 8.7 million, which came in the 1974 midterm elections after the Watergate scandal and Richard Nixon’s resignation.

Only one House result remains undeclared. Democrats trail by fewer than 500 votes in California's 23rd congressional district, where there are 15,000 votes left to be counted.

It means the party is on the brink of flipping 40 seats in the House, reaffirming the emerging assessment that this month’s midterms amounted to a ”blue wave”.

Utah’s Mia Love became the latest Republican incumbent to fall as Ben McAdams, the Democratic mayor of Salt Lake County, defeated her by fewer than 700 votes in a knife-edge race for the state's fourth congressional district.

She had been billed as one her party's stars when she became its first black congresswoman in 2014.
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As of Thursday, Democratic candidates had polled 59,351,147 votes in House seats across the country in the 2018 midterms, compared to Republicans’ 50,438,143, according to the Cook Political Report.

Democrats are on course for more than 60.5 million ballots in total, the closest an opposition party has come in midterm elections to matching the president’s popular vote two years earlier.

Turnout across the country the highest since 1914, with Mr Trump’s divisive presidency and rancorous debates over immigration, healthcare and taxes thought to have driven voters to the ballot box.

At least 49.2 per cent of eligible voters cast ballots, the United States Elections Project estimates, compared to 36.4 per cent in 2014.

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🗳️ Beto Has a Path to the Presidency: Lincoln’s
« Reply #856 on: December 02, 2018, 01:00:26 AM »

Beto Has a Path to the Presidency: Lincoln’s

The Texas newcomer would do well to pay attention to what another political underdog did more than a century ago.


December 01, 2018

Of all the places in Washington, Beto O’Rourke chose to run to the Lincoln Memorial. Jogging through an early winter storm in the capital the week following his loss in the race for U.S. Senate, O’Rourke found himself, gimpy knee and all, running up the steps of the majestic monument to the 16th president. There, he wrote in a Medium post, he paused to read the words of Lincoln’s Second Inaugural Address. Suddenly, his knee stopped hurting—as if Honest Abe’s words had a special healing power (but “maybe it just needed to fully warm up,” he wrote).

O’Rourke has not compared himself to Abraham Lincoln outright, but that hasn’t stopped others from noting some similarities as they muse about his potential presidential run. While O’Rourke lost his bid for the Senate to Republican Ted Cruz in red Texas, his fundraising skills, organizational reach and ability to attract throngs of volunteers (his “Beto-maniacs”) have vaulted him into the national conversation about who the Democrats should nominate in 2020. Seen through this lens, the message of his early morning run was hard-to-miss: If a long-shot former member of Congress from Illinois could reach the presidency in 1860, so too can a suddenly not so long-shot three term Congressman from Texas in 2020.

But to win the presidency, O’Rourke will not only have to have Lincoln’s luck, but also his withering focus, burning ambition and considerable political skills. And, say several scholars of the 16th president, he would do well to follow the script that Lincoln followed in 1860.

Those who might dismiss the Lincoln-O’Rourke analogy do well to scoff; despite their common traits, the two are vastly different—and 2020 is not 1860. But the comparisons are intriguing nonetheless. Like Lincoln, O’Rourke is charismatic, tall, lanky, filled with energy, an accomplished public speaker and a natural campaigner. Like Lincoln, O’Rourke is a can-do underdog with an ability to command an audience and energize an army of followers. And finally—just like Lincoln—O’Rourke would begin his quest for the presidency (he says he’s not a candidate, but who believes that), following a Senate campaign that he actually lost. “I go back through our history and tick off the candidates for the presidency and I can’t think of anyone who became president after losing a Senate campaign,” Lincoln scholar Harold Holzer, the author of the groundbreaking Lincoln At Cooper Union, says. “There’s Lincoln and no one else. If Beto O’Rourke does it he would be the second. I have to say, that would be amazing.”

There’s more: Lincoln’s loss to Stephen A. Douglas back in 1858, Holzer points out, actually enhanced Lincoln’s reputation, just as O’Rourke’s loss to Cruz has enhanced his. No less than the Texas Monthly (that go-to arbiter of Lone Star politics) noted that while O’Rourke lost his bid for the Senate, his strong showing in a conservative state made him a winner. He came in just 2.6 percentage points behind his opponent, in what became the closest race in Texas in 40 years. “Beto O’Rourke lost his fight with Ted Cruz while helping his Democratic Party more than any other candidate in two decades,” the Monthly intoned.

The same is true for Lincoln. Prior to his 1858 campaign against Douglas to represent Illinois in the U.S. Senate (the election, following the laws of the time, was actually decided in the state legislature), Lincoln was an unknown former one-term congressman. But his debates (which remain legendary) against Douglas made him a national political force. Lincoln’s showing made Republicans flock to his standard. Then too, the Lincoln-Douglas tilt made Douglas, who hedged his position on the issue of slavery, a pariah among pro-slavery southern Democrats (the fight over his presidential nomination, in 1860, shattered the party). Cruz is not a pariah among Republicans, but he seems as deeply disliked now as Douglas was in 1858. Then too (and as was the case with Douglas), Cruz’s near-defeat against an upstart did nothing to endear him to his own party’s stalwarts. Both men, Douglas and Cruz, should have won in a breeze. They didn’t.

Lincoln’s 1858 campaign against Douglas attracted unprecedented national attention—primarily because, as everyone knew, the real issue between Lincoln and Douglas was slavery, bringing the issue to the forefront of national attention as no other race did in that off-year election. Almost all of the nation’s major newspapers covered their debates: New York’s three major newspapers (the New York Evening Post, New York Tribune and New York Herald) each sent correspondents (“the prairies are on fire,” the Evening Post enthused), while smaller local newspapers (from far flung Reading, Pennsylvania to Mansfield, Ohio, to name just two) and regional heavyweights (the St. Louis Morning Herald) also weighed in. The same was true for the Cruz-O’Rourke campaign—with the major media incessantly weighing O’Rourke’s chances against the favored Cruz, then featuring on-the-ground television reports of Cruz and O’Rourke rallies. It might seem obvious, but it’s pertinent: Television made the Cruz-O’Rourke face-off a national contest, as newspapers once headlined the Lincoln-Douglas match.

The high-profile loss gave Lincoln a one-of-a-kind window, and O’Rourke’s loss may have done the same. If Lincoln had beaten Douglas in 1858 he probably wouldn’t have been a candidate for the presidency in 1860. “Lincoln desperately wanted to be a senator,” historian and author Douglas Egerton says, “and if he had been elected in 1858, he would have probably stayed in the Senate, and conceded the Republican nomination to [New York’s William. H.] Seward. And, you know, running for the presidency while serving in the Senate has proven challenging.” Egerton’s point is borne out in history: Only three candidates have become president while serving in the Senate—Warren G. Harding, John F. Kennedy and Barack Obama. Put another way, Lincoln’s loss to Douglas in 1858 made him available for the presidency two years later, just as O’Rourke’s loss to Cruz in 2018 has made him available in 2020.

Having lost his Senate bid, Lincoln set his sights on the presidency. “Lincoln knew he was a long-shot to win the nomination,” Egerton says, “but I think that in the back of his mind he thought of himself as an attractive vice presidential pick. He knew that the Republicans needed to win those states they’d lost in 1856, when [Republican candidate John C.] Fremont lost to Buchanan. Illinois was the centerpiece, because with Illinois would come Indiana, Missouri and even Pennsylvania. So the map was in Lincoln’s favor.”

The same is true now, for O’Rourke, whose candidacy could build a new blue Democratic wall anchored in the southwest and centered on Texas and its 38 electoral votes. The O’Rourke map would include not only Colorado and New Mexico (which Clinton won in 2016) but also Arizona—which Clinton lost. O’Rourke’s “map” appeals to Democrats, just as Lincoln’s “map” did to Republicans.

Of course, the test of any political analogy is whether it works in practice. “Lincoln was an absolutely masterful politician,” Egerton says, “and O’Rourke is very good. But is he masterful?” Egerton, who detailed Lincoln’s run for the presidency in his book Year of Meteors, says that Lincoln purposely positioned himself as a centrist on the issue of slavery. “Back in 1860, Seward was viewed as a radical, while Lincoln made statements that would make him more palatable to moderate Republicans. That was absolutely crucial,” Egerton told me. More specifically, Lincoln was helped when, in 1858, Seward referred to the division over slavery as “an irrepressible conflict.” The phrase was viewed as a prescription for war—and Seward was vilified.

Lincoln’s deliberate courting of his party’s center is a lesson that O’Rourke has yet to learn, a number of campaign analysts argue. One of them is David Alexrod, a former senior adviser to President Barack Obama, who told Politico’s Tim Alberta that while he admires O’Rourke, he “staked out some positions that are difficult positions for some of these voters in the middle to embrace.” O’Rourke apparently hoped to offset this by recruiting new and younger voters, many of them educated liberals drawn to Texas by the booming job market. In the end, it wasn’t enough. Lincoln was careful to stick to the center, a lesson that O’Rourke might have to learn if he runs in 2020.

Of course, there’s no prescription for gaining your party’s nomination—and every campaign is different. But, as Harold Holzer notes, O’Rourke could do worse than to follow Lincoln’s 1860 strategy. When I spoke with Holzer last week (on the anniversary, as he pointed out, of Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address), he provided a compelling argument that O’Rourke might begin as Lincoln did—with an address at New York’s Cooper Union, which has served as a testing ground for national candidates. “New York is a tough crowd. Lincoln had to do well there to be taken seriously, and he knew it. And Cooper Union was in Seward’s back yard, so Lincoln was throwing down a challenge.” Lincoln’s address was careful, precise, plainspoken, typically midwestern—and a resounding success. Lincoln followed with speeches in New England, but then returned home to await the outcome of the nomination vote. O’Rourke could follow a similar strategy, using a Cooper Union appearance to show that his Texas roots play well in the east, while differentiating himself from other candidates, like potentially New York’s Kirsten Gillibrand.

But even after his New York success, Lincoln knew he needed a convention strategy—first to stop Seward, and then to secure his own nomination. Holzer ticks off Lincoln’s thinking: “The first thing Lincoln did was pick David Davis to run his convention campaign. Davis was brilliant. He really knew what he was doing. The second thing he did was secure the votes of the Illinois delegation, who were with him on every ballot. The third thing he did was gain the endorsement of his state’s most important newspaper—Joseph Medill’s Chicago Daily Press and Tribune. It was a potent combination.” O’Rourke, Holzer suggests, probably doesn’t need to Lincoln to learn these lessons, but they’re worth remembering: “He will need his own David Davis, and the Texas delegation, and the newspapers.”

Egerton laughs: “There was a little bit of underhandedness involved in the Lincoln nomination,” he says. “Davis printed counterfeit gallery passes during the convention, and passed them out to Lincoln partisans. They showed up early, while Seward’s people were left outside. And Davis put the Illinois delegation in the middle of the convention floor, where they were the center of attention, with Seward’s New York delegates well to the front, where no one could see them.” Lincoln won on the third ballot. Seward, and his supporters, were stunned.

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“I think when Seward didn’t get the nomination on the first ballot, Lincoln must have known he would win, because the other delegates weren’t as committed to their preferred candidates as Illinois was to him and New York to Seward,” Egerton argues. Ohio had Salmon P. Chase, a humorless marplot, as their favorite son, while Pennsylvania had the shrewd but corrupt Simon Cameron as theirs. But unlike Illinois and New York, the Ohio and Pennsylvania delegations were only committed to their candidates through the first ballot. “Chase was as disliked in Ohio and even the Pennsylvania delegation knew Cameron was corrupt,” Egerton says, “so when Seward failed on the first ballot it was only a matter of time before Ohio and Pennsylvania joined Illinois. There was a little luck involved, but it was pretty well played.”

So, how far can the similarities between the two candidates take us? The process of nominating and electing a president in 1860 seems almost superficially more simple than it is today: There were no primaries, no “super delegates,” no mass mailings, no digital strategies and no shoulder-to-shoulder televised debates of half-a-dozen (or more) candidates. And, despite the controversy on any number of issues (like immigration), America is not facing “an irrepressible conflict” as it was in the mid-1800s. Then too, while Lincoln was underestimated in 1860, O’Rourke is not. And of course, Lincoln turned out to be one of the greatest leaders in U.S. history, and who knows now whether or not O’Rourke can come close to comparison.

But if Beto is channeling Abe, as his post-campaign jog up the steps of the Lincoln Memorial suggests, he might do well to study the Great Emancipator’s nominating strategy. For in 1858, as in 2018 (and as Lincoln knew), it’s one thing to be in the national conversation and another thing to stay in it.

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🗳️ Bernie the Phoenix Rises from the Ashes
« Reply #857 on: December 03, 2018, 08:44:46 AM »

 POLITICS 12/03/2018 08:42 am ET
Bernie Sanders Eyes ‘Bigger’ 2020 Presidential Run Despite Some Warning Signs
The Vermont senator has indicated he would step aside if another candidate with a better shot at beating Donald Trump should emerge.

BURLINGTON, Vt. (AP) — An insurgent underdog no more, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders is laying the groundwork to launch a bigger presidential campaign than his first, as advisers predict he would open the 2020 Democratic presidential primary season as a political powerhouse.

A final decision has not been made, but those closest to the 77-year-old self-described democratic socialist suggest that neither age nor interest from a glut of progressive presidential prospects would dissuade him from undertaking a second shot at the presidency. And as Sanders’ brain trust gathered for a retreat in Vermont over the weekend, some spoke openly about a 2020 White House bid as if it was almost a foregone conclusion.

“This time, he starts off as a front-runner, or one of the front-runners,” Sanders’ 2016 campaign manager John Weaver told The Associated Press, highlighting the senator’s proven ability to generate massive fundraising through small-dollar donations and his ready-made network of staff and volunteers.

Weaver added: “It’ll be a much bigger campaign if he runs again, in terms of the size of the operation.”

Amid the enthusiasm — and there was plenty in Burlington as the Sanders Institute convened his celebrity supporters, former campaign staff and progressive policy leaders — there were also signs of cracks in Sanders’ political base. His loyalists are sizing up a prospective 2020 Democratic field likely to feature a collection of ambitious liberal leaders — and not the establishment-minded Hillary Clinton.

Instead, a new generation of outspoken Democrats such as Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker and California Sen. Kamala Harris are expected to seek the Democratic nomination. All three have embraced Sanders’ call for “Medicare for All” and a $15 minimum wage, among other policy priorities he helped bring into the Democratic mainstream in the Trump era.

Acknowledging the stark differences between the 2016 and 2020 fields, Hollywood star Danny Glover, who campaigned alongside Sanders in 2016, would not commit to a second Sanders’ candidacy when asked this weekend.

“I don’t know what 2020 looks like right now,” Glover said before taking a front-row seat for Sanders’ opening remarks. “I’m going to support who I feel to be the most progressive choice.”

One of Sanders’ chief supporters from neighboring New Hampshire, former state senate majority leader Burt Cohen, acknowledged that some people worry Sanders is too old for a second run, although that’s not a major concern of his. Like Glover, he’s not sure if he’ll join Sanders a second time.

“There are other people picking up the flag and holding it high, and you know, it could be Bernie, but I think there are other people as well,” said Cohen, who did not attend the Vermont summit. “It’s not ‘Bernie or bust.’ That’s certainly not the case.”

Another high-profile Sanders supporter who was in attendance, Cornel West, described the Vermont senator as “the most consistently progressive one out there,” suggesting that some would-be 2020 candidates have adopted Sanders’ words, but maintained ties to Wall Street and “militarism.”

Still, West conceded that none of likely 2020 candidates “have as much baggage” as Clinton did.
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Perhaps the most important member of Sanders’ network, wife Jane O’Meara Sanders, said Democrats may be embracing Sanders’ “bold progressive ideas” on health care and the economy in some cases, but there’s need to go further on issues like climate change, affordable housing and student debt.

Whether her husband will lead the debate as a presidential candidate in 2020, she said, remains unclear. O’Meara Sanders noted that one question above all others would guide their decision: “Who can beat Donald Trump?”

“That has to be the primary goal. To win. We think you win by a very strong progressive commitment,” she told AP. When asked if Sanders could win in 2020, she said “every single poll” showed that Sanders would have beaten Republican nominee Donald Trump two years ago.

O’Meara Sanders also downplayed the grueling personal demands of a presidential campaign, something that historically has led some other spouses to pressure their husbands to avoid the white-hot presidential spotlight more than once.

“It was extremely inspiring meeting all the people all over the country,” she said of the 2016 campaign. “And what might be difficult for me is not as important as what might be difficult for them and whether or not we can help them with those difficulties.”

“It’s not about us,” O’Meara Sanders added. “It’s about what’s right for the country.”

Despite signs pointing to a 2020 run, Sanders has given himself a clear escape hatch.

Weaver, like Sanders himself in a recent interview, suggested that the senator would step aside if he believes another candidate has a better shot at denying Trump a second term. There are no clear indications from Sanders or those closest to him, however, that he currently has that belief.

“I know they haven’t announced, but it sort of seems like that’s what’s happening,” said John Cusack, another actor invited to the weekend summit. Asked about his preference for 2020, he called Sanders “the only real progressive candidate out there.”

“All of the sudden, what was once fringe politics is now mainstream. Don’t get me wrong, it’s great that (Texas congressman) Beto O’Rourke and all these young candidates are running on the People’s Summit and progressive movement platform, but let’s not forget who broke us through.”

“If he runs again, I’ll be on board,” Cusack said.

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Re: Election Errata
« Reply #858 on: December 03, 2018, 11:59:01 AM »
As much as I'm not a socialist, I'd have to vote for Bernie if he were to get the nomination, and I'd probably vote the Democratic primary this time, instead of trying to cross over to influence who gets the GOP nomination, since all possible choices there are horrible.

He looks pretty good for a guy his age. I'm glad he's still got some game. You have to admire his spirit.

The Democrats have nobody else, in my view. Zero electable candidates, and it looks like Hillary Clinton is still bent of making a stab at it, which would only hurt the Dems chances.
What makes the desert beautiful is that somewhere it hides a well.

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Re: Election Errata
« Reply #859 on: December 03, 2018, 12:04:04 PM »
As much as I'm not a socialist, I'd have to vote for Bernie if he were to get the nomination, and I'd probably vote the Democratic primary this time, instead of trying to cross over to influence who gets the GOP nomination, since all possible choices there are horrible.

He looks pretty good for a guy his age. I'm glad he's still got some game. You have to admire his spirit.

The Democrats have nobody else, in my view. Zero electable candidates, and it looks like Hillary Clinton is still bent of making a stab at it, which would only hurt the Dems chances.

I think Fusion candidates are best for the Demodopes, assuming they can get through the primary process without shredding each other to bits with negative campaigning.  I think a Bernie-Liz ticket brings out the Wimmen vote and the Social Security vote also.  It will be interesting to see who garners the most support in the primaries.  Top vote getter should be at the top of the ticket as POTUS, next best as Veep.


Offline azozeo

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Re: Election Errata
« Reply #860 on: December 03, 2018, 12:18:26 PM »
John-John will rise to garner the ticket  :icon_mrgreen:
I know exactly what you mean. Let me tell you why you’re here. You’re here because you know something. What you know you can’t explain, but you feel it. You’ve felt it your entire life, that there’s something wrong with the world.
You don’t know what it is but its there, like a splinter in your mind

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🗳️ Democrats need some 2020 Senate candidates
« Reply #861 on: December 07, 2018, 03:39:37 AM »

Democrats need some 2020 Senate candidates
Beto O’Rourke, Steve Bullock, John Hickenlooper, and others are needed down-ballot.
By Matthew Dec 6, 2018, 9:00am EST

Democratic Senate candidate Beto O’Rourke holds an Election Night event in El Paso, Texas. Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Wednesday morning, recently reelected Montana Democratic Sen. Jon Tester broke some exciting news by telling Montana College Democrats that their state’s governor, Steve Bullock, would challenge incumbent Republican Sen. Steve Daines in his 2020 reelection bid.

Minutes later, Bullock’s chief of staff offered a contrary view: Not only was Bullock not ready to announce, he’s not interested in running at all.

It’s easy to see what Bullock is thinking. If the national political environment that exists today continues forward to Election Day 2020, he will probably lose a Senate race in Montana. By contrast, if he somehow manages to secure the Democrats’ 2020 presidential nomination — and reports in the Washington Post, BuzzFeed, and Politico suggest he’s interested — then he’ll probably win.

In other words, it’s a small-state version of the same choice facing Beto O’Rourke down in Texas. Run for Senate against John Cornyn as a distinct underdog, or take a punter’s shot at securing a chance to run against an unpopular incumbent president.

In both cases, the choice has less to do with the particular qualities of Bullock and O’Rourke than it does with the basic geography of American politics. The presidency is the least gerrymandered branch of the federal government (the Electoral College gives the GOP about a 2-point edge, enough to make Trump president but smaller than their edges in the House or Senate) and therefore the prize Democrats have the best odds of capturing. Presidential nominations are always valuable prizes, but the skewed maps make them especially valuable.

But from a party perspective, this cuts in the exact opposite direction. If Trump remains this unpopular (obviously a big if), there are lots of candidates who'd stand a good chance of beating him. But to govern the country, Democrats will need a Senate majority. The party will need quality candidates who run ahead of the national political fundamentals. Responsible party leaders should be doing everything in their power to recruit quality politicians like Bullock and O’Rourke to those races.
It’s bad maps all the way down

A Democratic mantra throughout 2018 was that the party was facing an almost freakishly bad map, given the huge number of incumbent Democrats defending seats in states that Trump won. And that’s true, as far as it goes. Had Bill Nelson, Joe Donnelly, and Claire McCaskill managed to hold on and give Democrats a narrow Senate majority, holding that majority steady in 2020 would have been a lot easier.

But they didn’t hold on, and from the standpoint of a minority party looking to win a majority, the 2020 map isn’t so hot either.

    Democrats have a solid pickup opportunity in Colorado, a Clinton state whose incumbent Republican Sen. Cory Gardner has done nothing to differentiate himself from Trump and the national party.
    They also have an okay shot at Arizona, a state Trump won with less than 50 percent of the vote and where Democrat Kyrsten Sinema just narrowly won a race last month.
    Maine is a Clinton state and thus a pickup opportunity, but incumbent Sen. Susan Collins is very popular and has proven extremely difficult to beat in the past.
    Sen. Doug Jones has to run for reelection in Alabama, and while he can always hope Republicans nominate another problematic candidate, you wouldn’t necessarily want to take that to the bank.

If Democrats win all four of those races plus the presidency, the vice president will be able to break the 50-50 tie and they’ll control the Senate. If, more realistically, they end up losing in either Alabama or Maine (or both), then they’ll need to make up that ground in Texas, Georgia, North Carolina, or Montana. These are not impossible races to win, but they’re all challenging. You could easily imagine Democrats having a good year nationally even as Trump wins all four of those states. To win, they’re going to need some mix of good luck (it always helps when the incumbent stumbles for whatever reason) and good candidates.

After all, even the 2022 map (when Republican seats in Wisconsin, Florida, and Pennsylvania are up while Democrats only need to defend Colorado, Nevada, and New Hampshire) isn’t all that hot for Democrats. They’d have a great chance at pickups then if Trump wins reelection, but midterms are rough for incumbent presidents unless they have a really fantastic map. And there simply is no really fantastic map for Democrats coming down the line, because the Senate’s longstanding small-state skew has become a sharp partisan skew. Right now the median state is 6 points more Republican-leaning than the nation as a whole, meaning Democrats are facing an endless series of bad maps.
Quality candidates are dithering

Given these geographic realities, there is simply no easy path to a Senate majority for Democrats.

But the best path starts with quality candidates. Beating an incumbent Republican in a state as red as Montana is inherently difficult. But Bullock, who's won multiple statewide races in the state, is by far Democrats’ best shot at doing it.

By the same token, O’Rourke is now known statewide in Texas and has a network of volunteers and donors who could be activated for another run. The state party is set to be in stronger shape than it’s been in a long time, since Democrats did pick up a number of down-ballot offices in the 2018 wave, and there’s no better choice to try to keep the momentum going with another statewide run. Democrats do have a solid fallback option in Texas — former San Antonio mayor and HUD Secretary Julian Castro — but he is also mucking around with a presidential campaign.

Colorado is Democrats’ best shot at a Senate pickup, and the state’s incumbent Gov. John Hickenlooper would obviously be a very strong candidate. But Hickenlooper hasn’t announced a Senate bid yet, not because he’s retiring but because he’s — guess what? — pondering a presidential bid.

In Georgia and Arizona, Democrats do not appear to have been driven mad by presidential aspirations, but Stacey Abrams could use encouragement to take another shot at a statewide win. It’s worth saying that in the case of both Abrams and O’Rourke, there’s nothing particularly unusual about losing candidates running for statewide office again and winning. John Thune lost a close race to Tim Johnson in 2002, and then in 2004 unseated a superficially stronger candidate in a worse national political climate. Mike DeWine, Ohio’s newly elected governor, got booted from the Senate in 2006 and then picked himself up off the floor and got elected state attorney general four years later.

Politics is weird and unpredictable, but parties put themselves in position to succeed when they get quality candidates to run.
Democrats need to win to pursue fixes

In the longer term, obviously, Democrats need a structural fix for their map woes.

Admitting DC, Puerto Rico, and the US Virgin Islands as states polls well nationally and would partially offset the current partisan skew of the Senate. It’s possible that the actual inhabitants of Puerto Rico and the USVI wouldn’t go for it (the state of DC opinion is a lot clearer), but there’s no earthly reason Democrats shouldn’t pursue fair referenda and quick statehood for these Americans territories. In the longer term, more exotic ideas — like dividing California, Texas, Florida, and New York into a larger number of smaller states to bring population disparities closer into line with what the founding generation experienced — are worth pursuing.

But none of this is possible without winning an election first, and to win that election Democrats are going to have to fight on a skewed map.

The ongoing power grabs in Wisconsin and Michigan should remind Democrats that if the 2020 election leaves Republicans in charge of the Senate, they will likely use that authority in unprecedented and aggressive ways that make it completely impossible to govern. And while the presidency is a more important office than any single Senate seat, the recruitment of quality candidates probably matters more on the Senate side precisely because the map is so skewed. It’s completely understandable that individual ambitious politicians are gazing at the White House, but party leaders, operatives, donors, elder statespeople, etc. have a serious obligation to discourage this trend and push talented politicians into the Senate races where they are needed.

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Beto O'Rourke narrowly tops wide-open MoveOn 2020 presidential straw poll; Biden is runner-up
The progressive group had backed Bernie Sanders in 2016 over Hillary Clinton.

Rep. Beto O'Rourke, D-Texas, then a candidate for U.S. Senate, speaks to supporters at a campaign rally in El Paso on Nov. 5.Mike Segar / Reuters

Dec. 11, 2018 / 7:21 AM AKST / Updated 7:26 AM AKST
By Alex Seitz-Wald

An early straw poll of members of the progressive group shows a wide-open competition for liberal voters in the 2020 Democratic presidential contest, with Rep. Beto O'Rourke narrowly beating out former Vice President Joe Biden.

The poll, obtained by NBC News, shows a plurality of respondents — 29 percent — either said they did not yet know whom they would support or wanted someone else not listed among the group's more than 30 potential candidate choices.

The most popular potential candidate was O’Rourke, D-Texas, who was selected by 15.6 percent of respondents, followed by Biden at 14.9 percent, and then Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., with 13.1 percent.

It's another sign of O’Rourke's surprising popularity among national Democrats and a potentially troubling indication for Sanders, whom MoveOn endorsed in the 2016 Democratic primary. That year, 78 percent of MoveOn members voted to back Sanders over Hillary Clinton

The three men were followed by Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., who garnered 10 percent support, and Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., with 6.4 percent. Meanwhile, three Democratic senators, Sherrod Brown of Ohio, Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota and Cory Booker of New Jersey, and former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg were each selected by about 3 percent of members.

"While the race for the 2020 Democratic nomination for president remains wide open and MoveOn's endorsement is up for grabs, MoveOn members and progressives across the country are clear: They're looking for candidates who will rally voters around a progressive vision of building a country where every American can thrive — whether we're white, black, or brown, rich or poor," said Ilya Sheyman, executive director of MoveOn Political Action.

"We'll be challenging prospective candidates to inspire us with big ideas in the months to come — including at a series of events in early voting states in early 2019," Sheyman added.

MoveOn, which was founded during Bill Clinton's presidency, is one of the largest progressive online organizing groups with millions of members across the country, so its endorsement has been coveted in the past.

This year, the group plans to hold a series of events in early presidential nominating states as part of its endorsement process, which is ultimately decided by a vote of its members.

Here are the top 10 finishers in the MoveOn straw poll:

Someone else/DK/other: 28.8 percent

Beto O’Rourke: 15.6 percent

Joe Biden: 14.9 percent

Bernie Sanders: 13.1 percent

Kamala Harris: 10 percent

Elizabeth Warren: 6.4 percent

Sherrod Brown: 2.9 percent

Amy Klobuchar: 2.8 percent

Michael Bloomberg: 2.7 percent

Cory Booker: 2.6 percent


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