"Joy and pleasure are as real as pain and sorrow and one must learn what they have to teach. . . ." -- Sean Russell, from Gatherer of Clouds

"If you're not having fun, you're not doing it right." -- Helyn D. Goldenberg

"I love you and I'm not afraid." -- Evanescence, "My Last Breath"

“If I hear ‘not allowed’ much oftener,” said Sam, “I’m going to get angry.” -- J.R.R. Tolkien, from Lord of the Rings

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Georgia 6th

Well, Karen Handel, who has got to be one of the least appealing candidates in modern election history, won -- by about 5 points. There's been a lot of wailing and rending of garments on the left -- sure, it would have been stupendous if Ossof had taken the seat, but what's not being looked at by a lot of people is the actual numbers. Josh Marshall has what I think in the right perspective on this one:

All this being said, this is a heavily Republican district and Republicans just barely held on to the seat. Yes, nbspDemocrats gave it everything they had, with small donors from around the country pouring money into the race. But Republican SuperPacs poured millions into the race too. In the last three elections, Tom Price won this seat by 65%, 66% and 62%. A significant part of those almost 2 to 1 margins was due to the fact that Democrats fielded only nominal candidates who raised little or no money. But these are chicken and egg type questions. It is precisely because this is a strongly Republican district that Price drew no serious contenders. A better measure are the recent presidential results. There John McCain won the district by 62% and Mitt Romney won it by 61%. To use yet another measure, 538 rates it a +9.5 Republican district, which means it’s 9.5 percentage points more GOP than the country as a whole.

Democrats have lost five special elections to fill seats left vacant by Trump's cabinet appointments -- but they have lost by narrow margins. As Marshall points out, these were all "safe" Republican seats. They're not so safe any more.

Which all boils down to one thing: the GOP is going to have a fight on its hands in 2018. Can the Democrats take back Congress? Frankly, I doubt it, although the Senate might be a possibility. (Don't forget how heavily the Republicans in state legislatures have gerrymandered congressional districts to dilute minority/Democratic votes.) There might be some surprises, and a lot is going to depend on how horrible the Republicans' secret health care "reform" turns out to be -- and how smart the Democrats are about using that.

It's going to be issues like health care, jobs, and national security that are going to be key. Harping on how Trump and the Republicans are destroying American democracy isn't going to cut it: most people are very confident in the strength of our system, and Republicans don't think much of democracy to begin with.

And don't think Republican strategists aren't very aware of how their base is being eroded. They'll go low, because that's all they have. (And I can't quite shake the feeling that the press will fall in line.)

It's going to be an interesting couple of years.

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