Examining the DCCC v. Netroots Meme
by Jonathan Singer, Thu Nov 09, 2006 at 09:12:55 AM EST
One of the memes shared by both the conservative blogosphere and the establishment type Democrats is that Tuesday's midterms somehow proved that the progressive blogosphere, the Netroots, is largely impotent and unable to seriously affect the electoral process (or at least sway elections in the Democrats' favor). This article originally from The Nation sums up a number of these items, specifically focusing on Joe Lieberman's victory over Netroots favorite Ned Lamont.
But a more interesting and indeed deep look at election day comes from The Hill's Aaron Blake, who examines how Democratic candidates who had been opposed in primaries by the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee faired on election day.
In another sign of just how high the Democratic tide was on Election Day, four candidates whose primary opponents were supported by the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) went on to win anyway.
A fifth could join them if Democrat Larry Kissell defeats Rep. Robin Hayes (R) in a yet-undecided race in North Carolina's 8th District.
Democrats John Yarmuth in Kentucky, Zack Space in Ohio, Jerry McNerney in California and Carol Shea-Porter in New Hampshire were all seen as less attractive options in tough districts early on. But Space and McNerney won thanks to corruption issues dogging Reps. Bob Ney (R-Ohio) and Richard Pombo (R-Calif.), while liberals Yarmuth and Shea-Porter appeared to benefit big from the national environment.
The National Republican Congressional Committee had sent out releases chiding its counterpart for failing to get its preferred candidates in those races.
The DCCC has said it was neutral in the Yarmuth and Space races, but DCCC leaders met with Yarmuth's opponent and DCCC chairman Rahm Emanuel (Ill.) gave $7,500 to Space's opponent.
The DCCC also endorsed McNerney's and Shea-Porter's primary opponents.
It's important to also note that Tammy Duckworth, Ken Lucas and Lois Murphy, the top three receipients of independent expenditures from the DCCC, all lost on election day. Duckworth's race is of particular note because the close to $3.2 million in IEs the DCCC appropriated on her behalf moved the yarstick in the district by five points from 2004 at a time when the Democratic share of the national popular vote for the House by significantly more than that.
My point isn't necessarily to bash the DCCC. I'm ecstatic about Tuesday's outcome. But for all of the Beltway types who are going to great lengths to needlessly trash the Netroots out of fear that their power will be challenged by this relatively-new bottom up grassroots movement let's just remember that the track record of the establishment wasn't as uniformly positive as they might have us think -- and nor was the Netroots' as uniformly negative, either.More (Chris): I don't mean to jump on the bottom of every post Jonathan makes, but I wanted to point out that the winning percentage in the general election for grassroots and movement candidates who defeated party-backed candidates in the primary appears to be very high. Assuming Larry Kissell wins, did we go five for five in the House once our candidates got out of the primary? Did any grassroots and movement candidates lose in the House once they got out of the primary? Makes you wonder how Christine Cegalis would have done in IL-06.