Thursday, April 20, 2017

It Is Not A Time For Democrats To Celebrate (Yet)

The pie chart above reflects the results of a new Rasmussen Poll -- done between April 13th and 16th of a random national sample of 1,000 likely voters, with a 3 point margin of error. It shows that about half of the public thinks the job being done by the Republican-dominated 115th Congress is hurting the chances of Republican candidates this year. Only 25% think those candidates are helped, and 25% think it will have no impact or are unsure of the impact.

Some Democrats may think that is cause for celebration, especially when combined with the performance of the Democratic candidates in Kansas and Georgia special elections. I disagree.

In the Kansas special election to fill a vacant House seat, the Democratic candidate lost to the Republican candidate by about 6.8 points. The normal difference in that House district is about 30 points in favor of the Republicans. Some Democrats see that as a cause for celebration. But at best it's a pyrrhic victory.

Close may be good in horseshoes and hand grenades, but it is meaningless in electoral politics. Getting close only means one things in politics -- you lost! And it doesn't matter if you lose by 0.1% or by 30%, it's still a loss. The Kansas special election just means that another Republican went to Washington (regardless of his winning margin).

Then we have the Georgia special election to fill another vacant House seat. I've seen many Democrats celebrating the Democratic candidate finishing first in a large field of candidates. But that's no surprise -- since he was the only Democrat running against several Republicans (who split the GOP vote). Everyone expected him to finish first. But sadly, he did not get the 50% needed to win that seat. Their will be a run-off in June, and he will have only one Republican opponent.

Projections are that it will be a close race in June -- and it will depend on which party is best at turning out their voters. There is a chance the Democrat can still win, but it's a slim one with only one GOP opponent in a district that Republicans have won for decades.

My point is that, at least so far, there is nothing to celebrate. The Democrats have not picked up any seats in these special elections. If coming close is now a reason for Democrats to celebrate, then our party is truly in sad shape. Coming close doesn't accomplish what we need -- to flip this Congress to Democratic control.

When we start winning some Republican seats, then it will be time to celebrate.

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