Finding Oil Everywhere
by Matt Stoller, Mon Sep 18, 2006 at 01:08:58 AM EDT
I love TIVO. I watched Jim Webb and his debate with George Allen on Meet the Press, and it was truly a pleasure. I really enjoyed seeing someone really smart take it to Allen, and speak in blunt and forceful language just how egregiously awful our strategic choices have been in Iraq. If you get the chance to watch the debate, I highly highly recommend it. Webb really destroyed Allen.
Allen's vulnerability suggests something that I think a lot of us knew. This is going to be our year, big time. Harold Ford is doing well in Tennessee, Jim Webb is exceeding expectations in Virginia, Mark Kennedy is getting crushed in Minnesota, Jon Tester is winning in Montana, Sherrod Brown is surprisingly trouncing Mike Dewine in Ohio, and the House side is looking pretty good as well. Old timer forecasters are predicting seat swings of 40-50 seats; I'm not a forecaster, but that doesn't seem out of the question. With good candidates like Charlie Brown successfully contesting weird seats, like John Doolittle's, and a demoralized right-wing base, it's looking like a Democratic takeover is almost inevitable.
The reason is pretty simple. Bush is really bad news for the Republicans. Iraq is really bad news for the Republicans. I agree with Chuck Schumer about this election - while there's work we can do, 80% of this election is a referendum on Bush. We've recommended a certain strategy for candidates to follow emphasizing accountability, but the reality is that this strategy isn't the only path to victory. In fact, it seems like all strategies are working right now. For Democrats, it's Texas in 1928, if you stick your finger into the ground you find oil.
In the end, though I'm spending a lot of time looking at ads, I think this race is going to come down to field. If we get our base out, we will win this election. That means putting money into black radio, hispanic media, and other base mobilization activities. It means nationalizing the election around Bush so that local candidates and groups can shift resources into field and away from media. My only worry is that our field and base mobilization strategies might be inadequate, and if it's close, they could take it away from us.
Still, a huge wave is coming.Update (Chris): See? It was Jerome's job in 2002, my job in 2004, and now in 2006 it will be Stoller's job to get eveyrone's hopes up before the election. Let's hope that Matt doesn't end up feeling the same sting that Jerome and I felt.
Still, right on schedule for this post, after a wave of good new polls for Democrats, Rasmusen now lists the Senate as firmly in play. They currently list 49 seats as Republican or lean Republican, and 48 seats as Democratic or lean Democratic. The three toss-ups are Tennessee, Missouri and New Jersey. We would have to win all three to take the Senate, but I still have a lot of hope for Virginia (and even some for Arizona). I also like our chances in all three of the Rasumssen toss-up states lately (but those really are toss-ups).
Also, Electoral-Vote.com currently lists the Senate picture as 50-50. As we improve in our best pickup chances (PA, OH, MT and RI), make more races truly competitive (TN, MO and VA), and make most seats Republicans are targeting safe (MI, WA, MN and MD), the race for the Senate is really heating up.