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Defying the Odds

Defying the Odds
New book about the 2016 election.

Saturday, December 5, 2020

The Limits of Ticket-Splitting

 In Defying the Odds, we discuss state and congressional elections as well as the presidential race.   Our next book, title TBA, discusses the 2020 results.

The victories of Mark Kelly, John Hickenlooper, and Tommy Tuberville mean that Arizona, Colorado, and Alabama no longer have split Senate delegations.  In the 117th Congress, only six or seven states will have split delegations, depending on the Georgia runoff.  (I count King and Sanders as Democrats):

  • Maine
  • Montana
  • Ohio
  • Pennsylvania
  • West Virginia
  • Wisconsin

So we will have the smallest number of split Senate delegations since the direct election of Senators.

The last state with a significant amount of split-ticket voting was Maine. Democrat Sara Gideon did 10.6 points worse than Biden, while Republican Sen. Susan Collins did 7.1 points better than Trump. Because Maine is a fairly competitive state, that was enough for Collins to win the state even though Trump lost it. That gives Maine a unique distinction: It is the only state so far1 that didn’t vote for the same party for president and Senate, something that used to be fairly common. But this year, Collins was the only candidate whose bipartisan bona fides (she voted against Trump more often than any other Republican senator, most recently her vote against now-Supreme Court Justice Amy Coney Barrett) were strong enough to pull the trick.

All other Senate races hewed quite close to presidential results — and because this year’s Senate races took place largely on Republican turf, that was a big blow to Democrats’ efforts to flip the chamber. Before Election Day, Democrats were hopeful that strong candidates like Steve Bullock, Jaime Harrison and Barbara Bollier could swim against the partisan tide and pull out wins in Montana, South Carolina and Kansas, respectively. But for all the money they raised, for all of their theoretical crossover appeal, Bullock ran just 4.6 points ahead of Biden, Harrison just 0.8 points ahead and Bollier just 0.3 points ahead. As a result, none came particularly close to winning their very red states.

...

A better take is that Democrats “performed poorly” in the Senate and House simply compared with pre-election expectations. But they still won more House seats than Republicans did, and arguably, the main reason they didn’t do better in the Senate is because of the chamber’s Republican bias. In reality, Democrats performed about the same in all three races, but the structures through which those results were filtered — the Electoral College, the Senate seats that happened to be up and a House map biased toward Republicans — produced different results.



Friday, December 4, 2020

Maloney to Lead DCCC

In Defying the Odds, we discuss state and congressional elections as well as the presidential race.   Our next book, title TBA, discusses the 2020 results.

Some Democrats think that the controversy over "defunding" the police -- and other aspects of big-city progressivism -- cost their party seats in the 2020 congressional elections

Bridget Bowman at Roll Call:

House Democrats have chosen New York Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney to lead their campaign arm in 2022, and Maloney has his work cut out for him.

Maloney defeated California Rep. Tony Cárdenas in the race to chair the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, leveraging his knowledge of the committee’s inner workings and his own experience running in a competitive district. The caucus vote was 119-107.

Democrats enter the 117th Congress with their smallest majority in more than a century and face a difficult election cycle in 2022, since the president’s party typically loses House seats in midterm elections.

House districts will also be redrawn across the country to reflect population changes in the 2020 Census, and a Democratic effort to capture control of state legislatures that would control that process came up empty in November..

...
Maloney will succeed the outgoing DCCC chairwoman, Illinois Rep. Cheri Bustos, who almost lost her own race after Democrats faced disappointments in races across the country. Instead of adding to their House majority, it’s shrunk to single digits, and Democrats did not defeat a single House GOP incumbent.

Sarah Ferris and Ally Mutnick at Politico:

Cárdenas was vocal about reforming some of DCCC’s practices, including ending a contentious policy that banned the organization from hiring any consultant that has helped a primary challenger of a sitting Democrat — a practice that enraged progressives.

Maloney has acknowledged concerns with messaging and said he would reconsider the DCCC blacklist, though he has been mostly restrained — both publicly and privately — in his assessment of DCCC’s miscalculations.
“The smart thing for the DCCC chair to do is to say, I don't know what happened until I’ve really had a chance to dig into the numbers,” Maloney said in a recent interview.

As chair, Maloney will have an additional task of shepherding members through the decennial redistricting process, which is fraught with politics and internal bickering, particularly in states that are on track to lose a seat. Adding to the uncertainty is the fact that the Census Bureau will almost certainly not be able to release its reapportionment data in December, delaying states ability to draw new maps.

It’s entirely possible that redistricting alone creates enough red-friendly seats to place Republicans in the majority in 2022. The GOP has total control of the process in many key states, including Texas, Florida and North Carolina, which could have a combined total of 82 seats.

Alex Rogers at CNN:

When asked whether proposals from the Left -- like defunding the police and banning fracking -- hurt Democratic candidates, Maloney told CNN that the House "didn't pass a single piece of legislation that had anything to do with defunding the police" and "never pushed socialism."
"Those are caricatures that our opponents used often with great dishonesty," Maloney told CNN. "I don't plan to enhance the attack by echoing it. There are tough messages being thrown at you in every challenging election cycle. My job is not to whine about it. My job is to win."
Cárdenas campaigned on his work as chairman of the Hispanic Caucus' BOLD PAC, but the group's process to endorse California Secretary of State Alex Padilla for Vice President-elect Kamala Harris' Senate seat rubbed some members the wrong way. California Rep. Linda Sánchez, and another Hispanic Caucus member, Texas Rep. Veronica Escobar, were among those whipping Democrats to support Maloney.
"I'm supporting Sean Patrick Maloney because he has the depth of experience to remake the DCCC, and he's personally committed

 

 



Thursday, December 3, 2020

Kraken Update

 In Defying the Odds, we discuss Trump's dishonesty and his record of disregarding the rule of law.  His legal challenges to the election of Joseph Biden have toggled between appalling and farcical.   

Zach Montellaro and Kyle Cheney at Politico:
Sidney Powell released the Kraken. And it turns out the mythological sea beast can't spell, is terrible at geography and keeps mislabeling plaintiffs in court.

A congressional candidate Powell claimed to represent in one lawsuit said that, in fact, he had nothing to do with Powell or her quixotic effort, which she dubbed “the Kraken,” arguing the election was stolen from President Donald Trump. An expert witness cited in another suit named a nonexistent county in Michigan. A Wisconsin lawsuit sought data on alleged irregularities at a voting center in Detroit, which is in Michigan. And a filing in federal district court signed by Powell misspelled “district” twice in the first few lines.

The sloppy mistakes aren’t just a sideshow, despite Powell’s quip on Twitter when a POLITICO reporter took note of the mangled words: “No extra charge for typos.” Judges also have been flummoxed by the procedural moves and errors committed by Powell, who was booted from Trump’s legal team in November but still is crusading to overturn the election results.

“While the caption of the motion includes the word ‘emergency’ and the attached proposed order seeks an ‘expedited’ injunction, neither the motion nor the proposed order indicate whether the plaintiffs are asking the court to act more quickly or why,” Pamela Pepper, chief judge of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin, wrote in an order issued on Wednesday. “As indicated, the motion does not request a hearing. It does not propose a briefing schedule.”

Quite the AP lede from  Aamer Madhani and Kevin Freking:

Increasingly detached from reality, President Donald Trump stood before a White House lectern and delivered a 46-minute diatribe against the election results that produced a win for Democrat Joe Biden, unspooling one misstatement after another to back his baseless claim that he really won.

Trump called his address, released Wednesday only on social media and delivered in front of no audience, perhaps “the most important speech” of his presidency. But it was largely a recycling of the same litany of misinformation and unsubstantiated allegations of voter fraud that he has been making for the past month. 


Wednesday, December 2, 2020

Election Litigation Update

 In Defying the Odds, we discuss Trump's dishonesty and his record of disregarding the rule of law.  His legal challenges to the election of Joseph Biden have toggled between appalling and farcical.   

Peter Montgomery at Right Wing Watch:
Lin Wood, an Atlanta-based lawyer who says President Donald Trump asked him to join the effort to challenge Joe Biden’s election victory, is promoting a right-wing group’s call for Trump to declare martial law and use the military to oversee a new election. Retired Gen. Michael Flynn also promoted the call for martial law just a day after the Justice Department released the language of the extremely broad pardon Flynn received from Trump

Michael Balsamo at AP:

Disputing President Donald Trump’s persistent, baseless claims, Attorney General William Barr declared Tuesday the U.S. Justice Department has uncovered no evidence of widespread voter fraud that could change the outcome of the 2020 election.

Barr’s comments, in an interview with the The Associated Press, contradict the concerted effort by Trump, his boss, to subvert the results of last month’s voting and block President-elect Joe Biden from taking his place in the White House.

Barr told the AP that U.S. attorneys and FBI agents have been working to follow up specific complaints and information they’ve received, but “to date, we have not seen fraud on a scale that could have effected a different outcome in the election.” 
Welcome to the 2020 Election Litigation Tracker, a joint project of Election Law at Ohio State and SCOTUSblog. During the 2020 election season, we will provide up-to-date information on major election law cases as they make their way through every level of the court system. Our goal is to serve as a resource on election law and administration for the general public, lawyers, educators, journalists and policymakers. You can read all of our previous election-related coverage here. [Disclaimer: SCOTUSblog and Election Law at Ohio State are nonpartisan and do not endorse, support or oppose any candidate, campaign or party.]

Tuesday, December 1, 2020

Pushback Against Threats in Georgia

In Defying the Odds, we discuss Trump's dishonesty and his record of disregarding the rule of law.  His legal challenges to the election of Joseph Biden have toggled between appalling and farcical.   

Now he is attacking Georgia Republicans for failing to help him steal the election.

Zach Montellaro at Politico:
Gabriel Sterling, a top official in the Georgia secretary of state’s office, condemned President Donald Trump and the state’s two Republican senators, David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler, in a fiery press conference Tuesday after a local election worker received death threats.

Sterling, who works for Republican Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, opened the press conference by saying an election contractor in Gwinnett County had received death threats after conspiracy theorists spread videos of the worker on social media.

Sterling did not name the worker, who he called a “twenty-something tech” working for Dominion Voting Systems, a voting machine vendor that has become the subject of unfounded right-wing conspiracy theories regarding the election results. Sterling said the worker has “death threats and a noose put out, saying he should be hung for treason” and that his family has been harassed. Social media posts falsely accuse the worker by name of manipulating data. (POLITICO is also not further identifying him for his safety.)

Monday, November 30, 2020

Trump and the Georgia GOP

In Defying the Odds, we discuss Trump's dishonesty and his record of disregarding the rule of law.  His legal challenges to the election of Joseph Biden have toggled between appalling and farcical.   

Now he is attacking Georgia Republicans for failing to help him steal the election.

 Aidan McLaughlin at Mediaite:

President Donald Trump attacked Republican Governor Brian Kemp of Georgia over the 2020 presidential election, declaring he was “ashamed” to have ever endorsed him.

Trump floated a series of wild and false conspiracy theories about the 2020 election, falsely claiming it was stolen from him by Joe Biden, in his first interview since his loss with Fox anchor Maria Bartiromo.

Biden’s win came in part thanks to Georgia, a typically red state he won by a narrow margin. Trump has repeatedly pressured Georgia Republicans like Brian Kemp — who was narrowly elected in 2018 on a pro-Trump platform — and Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger to intervene and help his effort to steal the state from Biden.

“The governor’s done nothing. He’s done absolutely nothing. I’m ashamed that I endorsed him,” Trump said of Kemp on Sunday.

At a press availability on Thursday, Trump also attacked Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, who like Kemp, is a Trump-supporting Republican:

I read this morning where Stacey Abrams has 850,000 ballots accumulated. Now, that’s called “harvesting.” You’re not allowed to harvest, but I understand the Secretary of State, who is really — he’s an enemy of the people, the Secretary of State. And whether he’s Republican or not, this man — what he’s done. Supposedly, he made a deal — and you’ll have to check this — where she’s allowed to harvest but, in other areas, they’re not allowed. What kind of a deal is that? They’re not allowed to harvest during the presidential.
Some Democrats are encouraging GOP divisions in Georgia:

Sunday, November 29, 2020

Instagram Socialism as a Problem for Democrats

In Defying the Odds, we discuss state and congressional elections as well as the presidential race.   Our next book, title TBA, discusses the 2020 results.

Some Democrats think that the controversy over "defunding" the police -- and other aspects of big-city progressivism -- cost their party seats in the 2020 congressional elections

Derek Thompson at The Atlantic:
One analysis of Census Bureau data projected that by 2040, roughly half of the population will be represented by 16 senators; the other, more rural half will have 84 senators at their disposal. If Democrats don’t find a way to broaden their coalition into less populous states with smaller metro areas, it may be impossible to pass liberal laws for the next generation.

Earlier this month, the Los Angeles Times published an analysis of California ballot measures that found that “the state’s two major population centers have grown more and more different” from the rest of the state. Residents of Los Angeles and the Bay Area were at least 30 percentage points more likely than other Californians to support various propositions, such as reinstating affirmative action and allowing parolees to vote. A 30-point gap is massive—akin to the difference between deep-blue Massachusetts and purple Pennsylvania. From a political perspective, Los Angeles and the Bay Area look like leftist havens in an otherwise moderate state.

Many of their causes are virtuous, such as universal health care and higher pay for low-income service workers. But given the dynamics of online communication, which prizes extremity, Instagram socialism usually functions as a crowd-sourcing exercise to brand widely appealing ideas in their most emotional and viral—and, therefore, most radical—fashion. Thus, major police reform (a popular idea) is branded “Abolish the Police” (an unpopular idea); a welcoming disposition toward immigrants (a popular idea) is blurred with calls for open borders (an unpopular idea); and universal health care (a popular idea) is folded into socialism (an unpopular idea).

Defund police, open borders, socialism—it’s killing us,” said Representative Vicente Gonzalez, a Democrat from South Texas who nearly lost a district this year he’d previously won by 20 points. Beyond giving Republicans and Fox News easy ways to tarnish otherwise appealing reforms, Instagram socialism’s sloganeering is a turnoff for moderates who spend time online but are not, in the modern capital-O sense, Online. The average voter in a general election is something like a moderate 50-year-old woman without a four-year college degree who stays away from partisan media and follows politics only occasionally. She might hate Trump, but her dispositional conservatism makes her less likely to embrace policies tweaked in a social-media lab for viral emotionality.