Nov
10
2014
2

Ten bad assumptions about 2014.

Oh, trust me, there are more.  But these are the ones that most immediately come to mind. Also note that I’m not going to saturate this with links; this is an almost-casual observation/recap, not a would-be public policy paper.

  1. The polling.  This has been commented on, over and over and over again: and I’m only adding it because otherwise somebody will say But, Moe: what about the polling? – But, yeah, the polling was all over the map, with the exception of some of the local pollsters.
  2. Primary results are not diagnostic.  You know why I didn’t sweat WI-GOV?  Because Scott Walker did almost as well in the 2014 primary as he did in the 2012 recall primary.  FL-GOV?  Because Rick Scott did well there, too.  Those surprisingly strong for Republican California results?  All hinted at in the primaries.
  3. The Democrats had a plan.  I don’t know about the rest of the VRWC, but whenever I saw a mock-worthy Democratic fundraising email I always had the thought What if this is part of a clever strategy that we’re not seeing? in the back of my mind,  …Turns out that it wasn’t, unless of course “Get your heads handed to you in 2014″ is part of an even longer game.
  4. The Democrats had learned from their victory.  This is kind of related to #3, but the difference here is that you can still win without a plan, if you have an organization.  The Democrats thought that they had one, but what was on the box was not the same as what was actually in the box.
  5. The electorate is in an anti-incumbent mood.  The electorate almost never is, honestly.  It just changes its mind on a regular (but not quite predictable) basis about which party it hates more, and spanks that party accordingly.  This year it was the Democrats’ turn in the barrel.
  6. The Republicans had not learned anything from their defeat. Every article made about improved Republican turnout and voter outreach programs assumed that the GOP would need to catch up with the Democrats.  And that may, in fact, still be true… in the sense that the GOP in 2014 may still not be up to the standards of the Democrats in 2012.  However, it’s fairly clear that they were certainly past the standards of the Democrats of 2014.
  7. Buying airtime at the end of the election cycle is not cost-effective.  Well, it’s certainly not cost-effective if you lose.  But if you’re in a tighter race than people think because of #1 and #4, and you’re willing to pay out extra… yeah, it can have its points.
  8. [Insert favorite superstition here].  There were a bunch of these. “Democrats always win incumbent Senate races.” “Turnout will save us.” “What’s mine is mine; what’s yours is negotiable.” “There are blue states and red states, and never the twain shall meet.” To paraphrase Bob Heinlein: if you can’t express it with an equation, it’s not a fact.  It’s an opinion.  We had a lot of opinions this cycle.
  9. Long-term demographic trends have any meaning whatsoever right now.  This was mostly seen with the perennial Hispanic voter debate.  It will be relevant in 2024 or 2034 whether or not the currently extrapolated trends on population makeup and partisan makeup are accurate.  But for right now they’re not – and the Democrats couldn’t draw on presumed future support, either*.
  10. Dice have a memory. This applies to both sides, including the Republicans: because let me tell you something.  A day will come when the incumbent President’s party will clean up in the sixth-year midterm election, whether or not the President is popular.  Or that incumbent Senators will be able to distance themselves from an disliked President. Or any of the other rules of thumb that haven’t been tossed in the wastepaper basket yet.  And I absolutely assure you that the GOP winning big this year does not give them some sort of mystical protection from future failures. Especially if the Republicans try to rest on their laurels: complacency kills electoral careers faster than almost anything else I can think of**.

I think that covers it, for right now.

Moe Lane (crosspost)

*The so-called ‘woman gap’ is a slightly different situation, because (in my personal opinion) it is noticeably more accurate in Presidential years than it is for midterms.  This cycle it didn’t really have that much of an impact.

**Almost.  Taking pictures of your genitals and showing them to people on the Internet is actually hubris, which is even worse than complacency.

Nov
05
2014
3

Vermont gubernatorial election is going to the legislature. With any luck: hijinks will ensue.

Hee.  Vermont’s gubernatorial election is going to the legislature:

Under the Vermont Constitution, candidates for governor, lieutenant governor and treasurer are required to win a minimum of 50 percent plus one to be elected directly. If not, the race is decided by the Legislature.

In the history of Vermont, 23 previous elections for governor have gone to the Legislature, which nearly always gives the election to the candidate who won the most votes. There have been three exceptions, the last one in 1853.

And Peter Shumlin didn’t get the votes, so there you go.  This actually happened to Shumlin in 2010, too: so he’s probably assuming he’s a shoo-in.  But if I was a troublemaker in Vermont, I’d be getting the GOP delegation to go to the Progressive delegation and ask if they can think of a Democrat not named Peter Shumlin that would be acceptable to them. Solely because you take your pranks where you can get them – besides, it might even work.  Probably not, but either way you’d get people in the Vermont state legislature screaming at each other for a week, which is not an insignificant thing to pull off.

Moe Lane

Nov
05
2014
8

Well. *Good* morning, huh?

Exciting night, by all means. Gobsmacked about Maryland-GOV, I am. Did not see that one coming. Did see Kansas-SEN and Massachusetts-GOV, though: and, of course, Wisconsin-GOV and Kentucky-SEN. But the fun one – not from a partisan point of view, but for sheer future wackiness – may be… well, that’s another post.

Take a day to recharge, folks. And then it’s back to the races. And, oh, my, how many more people we will have racing with us for the next two years…

Written by in: Politics | Tags:
Nov
03
2014
2

One more day.

Just one more day.

Written by in: Politics | Tags:
Nov
01
2014
6

Three days to go until the elections. The die is cast. So CALM DOWN.

Put another way: “Ladies and gentlemen, please fasten your safety belts and put your tray tables back up into the full, upright position. We are beginning our final approach: our estimated touch-down time will be 72 hours.”

Seriously, folks: this is the home stretch for the elections.  The polls are highly unlikely to be anything except chaotic noise at this point; the fundamentals of the various races have been locked in*; and it’s going to take the equivalent of getting caught with a dead girl/boy** at this point to REALLY move the needle for any one candidate.  None of this means that you should just look at the RCP averages at this moment in time and say That’s Tuesday’s total***; just that there’s a limit to what people can do, and we’re reaching it. (more…)

Oct
23
2014
2

White House pretends that not trusting them on immigration is crazy-talk.

There are times when I don’t really get this administration’s messaging strategy.

The White House said Wednesday it was “crazy” to attempt to divine the president’s post-election plans for an immigration executive order based on a procurement request issued by the Department of Homeland Security.

“I mean, this is crazy,” White House press secretary Josh Earnest said, adding he would caution reporters against “making assumptions” based on the “procurement of green paper.”

The proposal, unveiled earlier this week by Breitbart News, asks potential contractors to prepare for the possibility of producing up to 34 million green cards and work permits over the next five years.

I mean, let’s game this out. (more…)

Oct
22
2014
13

On the ‘margin of fraud.’

These two sentences from Dan McLaughlin’s article on close elections are the most important, I think:

For whatever reason, when statewide races are decided by less than 1 point, Democrats win almost three-quarters of the time.

And

When the margin opens to 1-2 points, that advantage dissipates, and the Democrats win only half the races…

(more…)

Oct
20
2014
4

Quote of the Day, The Democrats Now Just Counting The Days edition.

Sean Trende wrote a very useful post on the polls today that the Democrats will utterly refuse to heed:

The bottom line is that we have neither the data nor well-tested theories to explain what sort of skew we should expect this cycle. For my money, there are two races where I really take charges of poll skew seriously: Alaska, where seven of the last seven races have understated Republican strength (by seven points on average), and Colorado, where the introduction of mail voting probably does make the electorate difficult to model. Beyond that, I would not be surprised if there was a Republican skew, but I likewise would not be surprised if there was a Democratic skew. The possibilities basically cancel out, and I’m left with the simple poll averages as the best guidance for this election.

…because, of course, the simple poll averages are currently spelling out D-O-O-M for Democrats. And, given that we have only two weeks left before the elections, if the Democrats admit that now then – well, then they have nothing left, do they? Except whatever’s on TV, I guess.

Oct
20
2014
4

Somebody at @TexasAFP has a truly VICIOUS sense of humor.

I approve.

Moe Lane (crosspost)

PS: It occurs to me that people who were never Democrats may not get the full effect of that poster.  Trust me: the iconography and style is deliberately designed to send Commies and/or progressives into a frothing rage, which is why Americans for Prosperity did it – and why I’m posting it on the front page here.  It really and truly is a calculated vicious insult, on a variety of levels… (more…)

Oct
15
2014
1

DCCC chair Steve Israel upset that Democratic groups don’t give money to dead people.

Oh, there’s a certain reputation that clings to the Democrats about their willingness to let dead people vote, but that’s a different power dynamic entirely. This is something else:

Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee Chairman Steve Israel told reporters Wednesday he is “frustrated” that his party’s outside groups have not supported House Democrats on television in the final stretch of the midterms.

Many big Democratic players — such as environmental and labor groups — focused their financial firepower on the Senate, which is in play this cycle. This has caused increased anxiety among House Democrats, who also face losses in 2014.

House Democrats must pick up a net of 17 seats to win control of the House, but it’s increasingly likely the party will lose seats in that chamber this cycle. For the first time, Israel made a public plea to outside groups for their financial help.

(more…)

Oct
13
2014
2

White House to Senate Democrats: “Sauve qui peut!*”…

This is not what you tell people when you’re trying to keep a loss from being a rout:

Understanding full well Obama’s unpopularity is a drag on some Democrats in tight congressional races, White House officials are signaling to party leaders and campaign managers alike there will be no consequences should they run away from the president in order to win.

This is what you tell people when you think that there’s going to be a rout, no matter what, but you want to maybe rebuild something from the shattered fragments afterwards.  It’s also a tacit admission that you’re expecting this preemptive forgiveness to be largely if not almost completely an academic exercise anyway. If I was a more reckless man, that’d be grounds for a DOOM call right now.

Via

and

Moe Lane

*Classical Reference.

Oct
12
2014
1

Do NOT rely on this news about how bad Democratic turnout is likely to be.

That is not to say that it’s untrue:

The Democratic Party’s worst fears about the midterm election look to be coming true.

Polling in recent weeks suggests turnout on Election Day could be very low, even by the standards of recent midterms. That’s bad news for Democrats because core groups in the liberal base are more likely to stay home than are people in the demographic segments that lean Republican.

A Gallup poll last week found that voters are less engaged in this year’s midterms than they were in 2010 and 2006. Only 33 percent of respondents said they were giving at least “some” thought to the upcoming midterms, compared to 46 percent in 2010 and 42 percent in 2006. Even more troubling for Democrats, Republicans held a 12-point advantage  when those paying “some” attention were broken down by party.

…because it almost certainly is true; but “Turnout will save us!” is the single most dangerous statement in electoral affairs. Use it as a pick-me-up.  Certainly deploy it as a weapon against our political foes.  But never, ever put your weight on it.

That’s all.

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