I agree with Josh that I think Labor as a whole or at least SEIU, USW and AFSCME are willing to sit this one out in neutrality if Specter can deliver an 80% EFCA compromise (binding arbitration, increased enforcement mechanisms, stronger intimidation penalities etc).
I think this is actually a fairly good poll for Sestak as an incumbent against a no-body often goes down as they have to defend themselves. Specter is topped out at 50% to 55% and he will lose support as he has to make tough decisions (be a more generic Democrat or appease the Sunday talk show circuit). Remember Lamont v. Lieberman at this point was polling in the mid-teens at best. Now if these are the numbers in January, then Sestak is toast, but there is room for growth and Sestak has the budget to run a credible campaign. My big question on him is who are his door knockers?
Agreed, I was born in 1980 so I am borderline Millenial/Gen Xer but the GOP has been the stupid partying attacking either me (I'm a pointy headed nerd) or my friends (women, gay, not white, not evangilical Christian) for my entire political consciousness. The first campaign that I was interested in was the 1992 Presidential election as my family was in the midst of the Massachusetts Construction Bust (my dad's an electrician); one guy was denying that there was a recession, one guy was promising austerity, and the last candidate was trying to do something. Guess who I was sympathetic to....
As long as the Dems don't fuck up in the next four years, my generation is locked in voting as Democrats as the default option --- of course shocks and horrendous candidates/corruption will change the individual vote but the default option will be Democratic.
How is this gaming the system? It is a campaign trying to get its supporters eligibile to vote while also building up the Dem. Party rolls. And it is a good thing.
For instance, my wife was until last week a registered independent/unaffiliated in Pa-14. We both share similiar liberal political views, but I am a registered Democrat so I was eligible to vote in April. She has been very excited to vote for Hillary Clinton and once she was told that she needs to be a registered Democrat, she changed her affiliation. So she'll cancel my vote for Obama in a district where he needs to win big to get a 5:2 split.
And in the future, my liberal wife will be voting in Democratic primaries for local and state-wide races, and most likely getting more involved too. This is a good thing for both campaigns to be running.
I'm the author of the Newshogger post, and I am not trying to equate money with morality. I am trying to equate marginal money with marginal power with the assumption that the netroots as an amphorous entity wants to gain and wield power for progressive policy ends and that the means to do so is through the political process.
I am assuming, and this is a large assumption, that most of the netroots money that is either identifiable as netroots ideological money or from people who otherwise would be identified as such is coming in from the smaller donors. I am making this assumption on the basis of the average (sub $100/donor) donations for the 2004 Dean Internet takes, and also on the average donation for the major ActBlue lists from the 2006 cycle.
PA-18 is a district where a hard grassroots fueled challenge has a decent change of knocking off Tim Murphy --- I would put PA-18 in the second teir of Dem target districts in PA along with PA-15 but below Gerlach's district
Chris --- sorry for getting into this thread late --- one of my hobby horses has been following troop deployments, rotations and reconstitution cycles since at least August, 2003. I am only using public sources so I will be wrong, but I think my margin of error is fairly small.
Right now the Bush escalation plan is to put 20 brigades into Iraq by mid-May, and 2 brigades into Afghanistan. Right now the Iraq force is designed to be 18 active duty brigades, and the two in Afganistan are also active duty brigades. The National Guard as a whole will not be available in sufficient numbers until the very end of this year or the first quarter of 2008. Between the US Army and the US Marines, there are a planned fifty active duty brigades/regiments, so twenty brigades is 40% of the force.
However the entire force is not deployable right now. There are at least six Army brigades forming up/reorganizing, and another brigade in South Korea unavailable for deployment, so we are down to 20 out of 43. Of the remaing 23 brigades, at least sixteen of them have rotated out of Iraq or Afghanistan in the past 8 months. These units are nowhere near ready for deployment. The remaining seven brigades have rotated out of combat from 8 to 18 months ago. These brigades would be the first ones effected by Murtha, and my guess, repeat guess, is that none of these units have adequate training time on the right equipment. All the current reporting is stating that the brigades not in combat theatres are at C-3 or C-4 readiness, which is the two lowest levels of combat readiness.
Of the five brigades going forward into Iraq for the escalation, two brigades of the 3rd Infantry Division had between 12 and 14 months of rest between deployments. These two brigades at the very least will not meet the Murtha training/readiness requirements. The other three brigades are very questionable. Additionally, one brigade of the Minn. National Guard saw its tour extended by 3.5 months, and one Marine regiment equivalant is having its tour extended by 2 months.
So if the Murtha requirements were in place this afternoon, the maximum sustainable force in Iraq is most likely 10 or 11 brigades. The number of eligible brigades will decrease in the next six to nine months, and then slowly start increasing again to a max of 18-20 active duty brigades eligible.
If we are serious about primarying people to achieve specific policy objectives I think a couple of things need to be made explicit both on the target criteria and timelines. We as the netroots do not have the financial resources to primary 80-150 Democratic. Instead a small group of demonstration primaries are what we can afford to mount and show political power.
So who should we target? High value targets include the obvious one of Rep. Hoyer, but whom else? I propose that we target as a class Democratic representatives who hold very, very safe seats that are dominated by liberal and progressive urban voters but the Rep. is not reflecting their expressed preference for getting out of Iraq.
Additionally, as we learned in the Harman primary and the CT-Sen primary, we only need one or two early effective showings, not even wins, although wins are much more valuable, to start getting positive changes in behavior. So we should be looking at districts that have relatively early primaries. So that means ignoring California or Massachusetts or Pennsylvania reps for the first round, as the primaries are too late.
So we need to find three to five very good candidates within the next month or two, get their campaigns up and running, fund them to a credible degree and use the threat of expanding this program to put the fear of a ferocious primary fight into fickle or non-responsive Democrats....
Just looking at the numbers here: 10 successful rematches out of 200 total rematches = 10 incumbents beaten out of 200 total incumbents =5% successful rechallenge rate = 95% defense rate.
Looking at these numbers, rematches are low probability events, but except in wave years such as 1994 and 2006, any challenge to an incumbent is a low probability event of victory. If I remember correctly, the recent rate of defense is roughly 98%.
So re-challengers have a more than double success rate than first time match-ups.
Yeah, I did some early work in PA-18, and I am convinced that Murphy is extremely vulnerable to an aggressive and competent candidate. Roll Call has the rumor that Allegheny County Exec. Dan Onorato may be considering a run against Murphy. One candidate that I met a couple of times in the previous cycle and whom I was very, very impressed with was Bill Sargent when he was running for the Dem. Nom. in the State House 42nd District. He withdrew [don't remember the reason] and the eventual Dem nom went on to win.
I have been doing some writing on this district at my blog, Fester's Place. I think that the successful Dem candidate has to come from Allegheny County and has to be willing to organize the living fuck out of Westmoreland County to be competitive.
I agree with you, building a Vast Left Wing Conspiracy and actually taking care of the people who are working within it will require money and time. However, I think that it will be significantly less expensive than the Vast Right Wing Conspiracy has been as we have already outsourced a good chunk of our scientific policy creation to actual scientists who are dealing with facts instead of creating shit up at the Competitive Enterprise Institute. We already have the public on our side that the economy should be serving the average/every man instead of just paying attention to marginal tax rates for the top 1%... reality is a cheaper ground to work on.
Secondly, I do not think that the VLWC needs or should replicate the exact mechanisms and institutions that the conservative groups have built as they will not serve our needs in the same manner. Instead, a more distributed, a more effective harnessing of social capital should lead to the same impact on publlic debate with a smaller cash component. Look at the post just put up by Stoller on the impact of technology in 2008 --- stuff like that is pretty cheap to deploy and it is relevant in a few to few media environment while the broadcast institutions of the right are becoming less relevant but more expensive.
I agree funding streams need to be found, and I like the D-Kos model of using his site as a profit center to fund site relevant activism. I know that this model will not work for everyone, but it is a component of the model.
How about this --- use grassroots leaders under the definition that you are using [local committees/local activists who live in the relevant district] to identify promising and potentially promising candidates far enough out for regional, statewide, and national support to come in and provide the seed support needed to get campaigns off the ground. In my limited political work, the first couple of months, couple dozen volunteers, and $10-$20,000 dollars are the hardest ones to find successfully. This is where the DLC has its advantage, it can give funding, support and candidate recruitment services eighteen months out, and therefore they get to set the playing field way out of proportion to the actual attractiveness or support of their agenda within both the Democratic PArty primary voter universe and the general population.