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Defying the Odds

Defying the Odds
New book about the 2016 election.

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

The 2006 Playbook

In Defying the Odds, we discuss congressional elections as well as the presidential race

The last time Democrats took over the House from the GOP was 2006.  The head of the DCCC was Rep. Rahm Emanuel of Illinois.  Aiding him was Rep. Chris Van Hollen of Maryland, who led DCCC's "Red to Blue" program.

In The Thumpin', Naftali Bendavid described their approach:
Emanuel had one criterion for candidates: he wanted people who could win. That may sound obvious, but it's not. Many Democrats did not believe in recruiting candidates who were so conservative they were pale reflections of Republicans. In the past, candidates who opposed abortion, for example, had not been welcome in the party. In 2005, many Democratic activists wanted only staunchly anti-war candidates. That was not Emanuel's approach. "This is not a theoretical exercise," Van Hollen said. “The goal is to win this thing. In dealing with candidates, we don't have an ideological purity test. If you believe in the basic gut principles of the Democratic Party-opportunity, fairness for all—we're not going to hold people to a litmus test on a checklist of issues that different interest groups may have an interest in." That reflected a change taking place throughout the party, but Emanuel's approach earned him hostility from the party's liberal wing.