Will the Real Enthusiasm Gap-Please Stand Up!

 

 

With the mid-term elections just around the corner, Republican poll numbers are cresting, as Democrats are making their way back to their ideological home.

With the DNC raising a record 16 million in September, it is very clear that the Democratic Pary is alive and well and the voters are gearing up for the November election. 

According to The Fix, “The Democratic National Committee raised $16 million in September alone, a startlingly strong month of fundraising that party operatives insist is a sign of momentum for their side with roughly one month remaining before the November midterms.”

The DNC record haul was not only their best month of 2010, but also their best year since 2002. What is even more encouraging for Democrats is that 80% of the record total came from the Internet and direct mailings, not fundraisers featuring wealthy individual donors.

On the GOP side, the RNC has not, and probably will not release their fundraising numbers. Michael Steele has crushed all Republican confidence in the organization, and the RNC has been struggling to raise money since he became chairman. The RNC and Republican organizers such as Karl Rove, have been relying on outside groups such as the Koch brothers to fund their slate of candidates around the country. It is becoming apparanet that big time money will not guarantee an election victory, as Republicans were betting on after recruiting a handful of wealthy contributers.

The media loves to drum up expectations of the election results,even before the voters cast their votes. They use generic poll questions to measure voter enthusiasm, and then use the unreliable results of their pretenious poll, to predict in their words the beginning of a "Republican Tsunami".  However, as Democrats wake up from their Summer slumber and begin to focurs on the election and determine what's at stake in the midterms, voter apathy is being replaced by voter enthusiam. The tidal wave of the GOP, may yet become a myth as the election draws near.

It isn’t a coincidence that as President Obama has hit the road and started to campaign for Democrats and define the message of the 2010 election, Democratic voters are engaging. They are beginning to understand and realize that a Republican 'Tea Party' takeover is not an alternative that the country can afford to make . Contrary to the media narrative, Democrats are far from dead. In fact they may not only survive, but retain their majorities in what was supposed to be the so called year of the Republican.

 

 

 

 

2012 Electoral Calendar Taking Shape

Meeting in Kansas City, the Republican National Committee adopted a new schedule for the 2012 presidential primaries on Friday. The new plan pushes back the start of the first contests to the first Tuesday in February. Under the new schedule, no state would hold a primary or caucus before February 6, 2012. Iowa and New Hampshire retain their status as the nation's first contests while South Carolina and Nevada are also allowed to hold February events.

Other states would begin holding their primaries or caucuses in March though most contests would come in April or May. The new schedule will go into effect only if the Democratic National Committee adopts similar primary rules before the end of the year.

The RNC also voted to retain its proportional awarding of delegates rather switch to a winner take all system. From the Washington Post:

The proposal, drafted by a special RNC panel, gained approval from more than the necessary two-thirds of the committee's 168 members.

Party leaders hailed the vote as a historic change in the presidential selection process, one that would avoid the development of a single national primary in which states choose to hold their nominating contests on the same day.

The new schedule is designed to make it difficult for a candidate to rack up an insurmountable number of delegates early in the process, forcing candidates to campaign across the country.

Under the new schedule, no state would hold a primary or caucus before the first Tuesday in February 2012, in attempt to avoid a repetition of 2008, when the Iowa caucuses were held Jan. 3.

Iowa and New Hampshire would retain their status as the nation's first contests, held in February, joined by South Carolina and Nevada.

Other contests would generally be held in April or later, although states would have the option of holding votes in March, provided convention delegates chosen at those elections were awarded to candidates in proportion to the percentage of the vote they received, rather than in a winner-take-all system.

The use of primaries to select presidential candidates is rare outside the United States. In parliamentary systems political parties, of course, choose their leaders in a intra-party vote. In many countries, the selection of the presidential candidate is hand-picked by party leaders or a party directorate. In Brazil, it was outgoing President Ignácio Lula da Silva who picked his top aide Dilma Rousseff to be the candidate of the Partido dos Trabalhadores (PT), the Workers' Party. 

To my knowledge only Argentina, Chile, Colombia, México and South Africa have some sort of presidential primary to choose candidates of the various respective political parties. In each of these cases, a national primary is held on the same day. And only Colombia allows non-party members to vote in the primaries of a political party. The Chilean left, however, has generally held a primary to choose a single candidate from the various parties that form the La Concertación, a grouping that includes Marxist to Christian Democratic parties. In Argentina, only registered Peronists can vote in the Peronist primary just as in México, the PRI primary is limited to members of the PRI. 

The idea of a national primary has been a progressive goal since the Taft Administration and next year will mark the centennial of the first legislative proposal, that of Alabama Congressman Richard Hobson, to hold a national primary. Teddy Roosevelt and Woodrow Wilson both supported the idea.

It's striking that GOP leaders are hailing this new schedule because it avoids the development of a single national primary. By holding the first contests in smaller, rural and generally some of the more conservative states, they can weed out the more moderate and liberal candidates. Not since 1984 has the most liberal candidate in either party won the nomination. And that is largely due to the outsized influence that Iowa and New Hampshire have. It's not that the winner of these contests necessarily go on to win the nomination but rather that those who fare poorly are forced to drop out before the rest of the country gets to pass judgment.

 

RNC still using fake census forms to raise money

A month after the House and Senate unanimously approved a bill restricting direct-mail pieces designed to look like census documents, the Republican National Committee is at it again:

An RNC mailer obtained by TPMmuckraker bears the words "Census Document" and, in all caps, "DO NOT DESTROY/OFFICIAL DOCUMENT," on the outside of the envelope. In smaller letters, it says: "This is not a U.S. government document." The new law requires, among other things, that such mailers state the name and address of the sender on the outside of the envelope -- something the RNC's missive doesn't appear to do. Inside, a letter from RNC chair Michael Steele, dated April 12, asks recipients to fill out a questionnaire about their political views, and solicits donations of as much as $500 or more. (See the mailer here.)

Last month, in response to virtually identical RNC mailers, members of both parties cried foul, raising the concern that the mailers could reduce the response rate for the actual Census -- which was mailed to Americans last month -- by confusing some voters. [...] Congress quickly passed a law -- the House vote was 416-0 -- requiring that mailers marked "census" state the name and address of the sender on the outside of the envelope, and contain an unambiguous disclaimer making clear that the mailer is not affiliated with the government.

Based on a PDF image, the mailer obtained by TPMmuckraker does not appear to state the sender's name and address on the outside. And the words "DO NOT DESTROY/OFFICIAL DOCUMENT" would appear to make the disclaimer that it's not a government document less than unambiguous.

The RNC's fundraising efforts have taken a hit this year, and Chairman Michael Steele is under pressure to turn things around, so I can't say I'm surprised by this desperate act.

On a related note, census mail-back rates exceeded expectations this year, which will save the U.S. Census Bureau hundreds of millions of dollars. The top five states so far in terms of census participation rate are Wisconsin (80 percent), Minnesota (79 percent), Iowa and Indiana (77 percent) and Nebraska (76 percent).

Money and the 2010 Midterms

A bit of cold water for those who think the outcome of the 2010 midterms has already been decided, with the Republicans set to retake one or both Houses of the Congress.

The top 3 Dem campaign committees have outraised their GOP rivals, adding to a financial gap that some on the GOP side believe could rob them of opportunities come Nov.

The DSCC will report having raised $6M in March, barely higher than the NRSC's $5.14M raised. The DSCC also has a narrow cash on hand advantage, with $17M in the bank versus the NRSC's $15M.

Also this month, the DNC outraised the RNC by a $13M to $11M margin. Earlier today, the DCCC announced it would file reports showing it had outraised the NRCC, $9.77M to $8M.

Both the DCCC and the DSCC have paid off all their debt. The DNC still had $3.7M in obligations at the end of last month, though they have yet to report a debt figure this month. None of the GOP committees have showed a debt for months.

Looking deeper into the numbers, specifically into those relating to the House of Representatives, which is viewed as more tenuously in the hands of the Democrats than the Senate, the party in power now holds a $26 million to $10 million cash-on-hand advantage over the challenging Republicans. What does this mean? The national Democrats now have the capability to play in 2 1/2 times more seats than the national Republicans. While this financial disparity isn't assured to remain through November, the fact that the Democrats continue to raise more than their Republican counterparts suggests that all of the talk of the House already having been all but lost for the Democrats might be a bit overblown.

Weekend open thread

What's on your mind this weekend?

I am horrified by the plane crash that wiped out so many influential past and present citizens of Poland. If you're wondering why the Polish elite were flying on a Soviet aircraft, apparently it was faster than the planes other countries use for similar purposes.

Many prominent Iowa Republicans and candidates are attending Representative Steve "10 Worst" King's "Defenders of Freedom" dinner, featuring Representative Michele Bachmann. King grabbed the blogosphere's attention this week by slamming the Humane Society as "vegetarians with an agenda."

I've been reading some clips on the Southern Republican Leadership Conference this weekend. Although the event is in New Orleans, Hurricane Katrina was very much off the radar. Sarah Palin electrified the crowd yesterday, but the presidential straw poll ended up nearly tied between Mitt Romney and Ron Paul. I was amused to read this snapshot of Republican family values:

just overheard a mom tell her young daughter at #SRLC, "No, we don't support Medicaid. Medicaid is for losers."

Michael Steele seems secure in his job as Republican National Committee Chairman for now. 58 RNC members are publicly supporting him, "a tally that makes it mathematically impossible for Steele to be removed from his job before his term expires next year, barring some unforeseen implosion."

For the record, I wouldn't rule out an unforeseen implosion.

The floor is yours.

Diaries

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