CA-50: 36, 35, 34, 33, 32... realignment?
by Chris Bowers, Mon Apr 24, 2006 at 02:27:24 PM EDT
Pew, 4/16: 35% -- 57%
Fox, 4/19: 33% -- 57%
ARG, 4/21 34% -- 60%
CNN, 4/23: 32% -- 60%
The CNN poll (their first with a new polling outfit, post-Gallup) gives Bush a net -28% approval, 3% short of the worst ever recorded for either his father or for Jimmy Carter. In the past, whenever a President has fallen to a net approval worse than that held by Bush (1952, 1974, 1980, 1992), the elections that year proved to be a decisive victory for the party in opposition to the President. Given this, I do not really care if Bush's approval rating goes any lower or not, as long as it remains low. As I have written in the past, the endgame against Bush is not for his approval to be 20% or some other number, but rather for his low approval to result in political realignment.
As I wrote earlier today, this summer, the Connecticut Democratic Senatorial primary is the most important election facing progressives. A very close second is the CA-50th special election to replace Duke Cunningham on June 6th. If Francine Busby wins that election, it will be a sign that realignment, which is a step well beyond simple Democratic control of Congress, is most definitely in play in 2006. I have written extensively about my worries concerning turnout and a generally inadequate democratic electoral machine, but a win in CA-50 would go a long way toward putting those fears to rest.
The Republican spin on CA-50 is that Republicans only fared 1% worse in the April 11th run-off than Bush fared in the district in 2004. Like most Republican spin, it does not hold up to scrutiny. CA-50 is much more Republican in non-Presidential elections than it is in Presidential elections. Democratic congressional candidates should not be performing at the same level as Democratic Presidential candidates in this district for some time, there is a typically long lag period between voters switching parties in presidential elections and switching parties in local elections (see The South, Democrats In). For Busby to reach Kerry's totals despite voters having 14 Republican options to choose form (which basically meant that generic Republican was on the ballot, a tremendous advantage for Republicans) and $5M behind those candidates (much more than any Republican will be able to spend in any district this fall), is, for my money, a very encouraging sign. I like her chances on June 6th
However, if Busby fails to win on June 6th, no matter how low Bush's approval numbers are nationwide, we can probably put our hopes of realignment to rest. While in a normal year Busby should have no business competing in this district, this is not supposed to be a normal year, and on June 6th the cards will not be stacked against her like they were on April 11th. If we want realignment, we have to win in CA-50.
Republicans know this too, and are looking to make a stand in CA-50. To date, the NRCC has spent $800K in this district, and are currently running a $400K ad buy with Swift Boat type ads that include the following outrageous claim:Busby even praised a teacher reported to have child porn, saying he was 'always willing to lend a hand.' That's dangerous." Of course, Busby actually said: "He is a teacher who put in a lot of extra time. He was always willing to lend a hand. I was shocked about the investigation." How dare she be surprised and shocked that a teacher might have been involved in child porn! No one should be shocked by something like that! How dare anyone ever put quotes in context!
This is what Francine Busby is up against: large, slanderous advertising buys form the NRCC. If we want realignment, this is an election we have to win. This is where we determine if our turnout will be good enough, and our machine is good enough to pull it off.
Support Francine Busby. YearlyKos is two days after the election, which makes it entirely possible that the election narrative will dramatically shift in our favor with a victory. This is one where your resources are critical. Oviously, we are going to need to do some better work with absentee voters, but please help out anyway you can.
Volunteer for Francine Busby, no matter where you live.
Contribute to Francine Busby, no matter where you live.