Sunday, March 23, 2014

Last Call For Rand 2016

Elias Isquith (who I don't always agree with) does get it right on why Rand Paul has no shot in 2016.

To recap, here’s the case for Rand Paul, millennial hero: He’s against surveillance and drone strikes, two issues on which the millennial vote is divided; he’s against comprehensive immigration reform and same-sex marriage, two things that millennial voters strongly support; he’s against big government and universal health care, two more things a majority of millennial voters back; and he likes to talk about getting people of color to vote for him, despite supporting voter suppression and the right of businesses to engage in race-based discrimination. Oh, and he’s comfortable telling the first black president, the one who “surrounds himself with Martin Luther King memorabilia in [the] Oval Office,” how he’s failing to live up to King’s legacy.

So can we stop with this nonsense now? Please?

It's very true that the youth vote won 2012 for President Obama, particularly in Virginia, Florida, Ohio and Pennsylvania.  It's also true that voting restrictions have been toughened in all four of these states.  President Obama won the under 30 vote in all four states by getting at least 60% or more, and that if Romney had split the youth vote 50-50 in those four states, he'd be President right now.

But in order to believe that Rand Paul has a legitimate shot of winning in 2016, you have to believe that there's a large enough Dudebro contingent to abandon the Dems entirely and that this group is  large enough to somehow erase Hillary's lead with women, and that Hillary will somehow manage to alienate voters of color more than Rand Paul.

The first is wishful thinking at best, but the second is patently ridiculous.

Hillary, Super Frenemy

Expect to see a lot of this over the next few years from Hillary Clinton:

During a forum at the Clinton Global Initiative University, Clinton fielded a question from Vrinda Agrawal, a student at the University of California, Berkeley who asked, "If you don't represent women in politics in America as a future president, who will?"

More than 1,000 students roared with approval and applauded while former President Bill Clinton smiled, whispered into TV host Jimmy Kimmel's ear and clapped along.

The former first lady said she appreciated the sentiment but was still deciding.

"I am very much concerned about the direction of our country and it's not just who runs for office but what they do when they get there and how we bring people together and particularly empower young people so we can tackle these hard decisions," Clinton said.

She worked for the guy in charge of that for four years as Secretary of State, but now she's "very much concerned about the direction of the country" and stuff.

Some quality shade throwing there.  As a professional politician and diplomat, she knows exactly how to walk that line between being an ally of our President (and the people who voted twice for him) and open "I told you so back in 2008" disrespect, running against him.

She's only getting started.  As such, new tag: With Frenemies Like This...

Nate Silver On The Senate

Nate Silver's first Senate forecast at his new digs is pretty sobering:  he sees easy GOP pickups of Democratic open seats in West Virginia and South Dakota (90%),  John Walsh losing badly in Montana (80%), Mitch McConnell easily keeping his seat here in Kentucky (75%) and the GOP keeping Georgia's open seat vacated by Saxby Chambliss (70%), Mark Pryor losing in Arkansas (70%) and at best, Mary Landrieu, Kay Hagan, Mark Begich and the open seat in Michigan as toss-ups.

That's four solid pickups for the GOP and four Dem seats that are tossups, plus Mark Udall in Colorado having only a 60% chance of winning.  That puts nine Dem seats in play where the GOP essentially has two outright, most likely has four and a very good shot at getting the six they need.

Martin Longman disagrees about Nate's West Virginia 90% GOP probability call:

Jay Rockefeller's seat in the Senate has been in Democratic hands for all but eight years since FDR's 1933 inauguration and was last held by a Republican in 1958, when John D. Hoblitzell, Jr. was appointed as a temporary replacement for Sen. Matthew Neely.

Joe Manchin's seat in the Senate was held by Robert Byrd for 51 years. Republican Henry Hatfield lost the seat in 1934, and the GOP has only controlled it briefly (November 7, 1956 – January 3, 1959) since that time.

What this says is that West Virginian's are simply not in the habit of electing Republicans to state-wide office, especially for high-profile races.

Yes, the state has changed over the last two decades, and it is remarkably hostile to our multiracial president. But, the same day that Obama was elected president, Joe Manchin was reelected as governor with 70% of the vote. Manchin was then elected to serve in the Senate twice, the second time earning over 60% of the vote on a ballot he shared with Obama. West Virginians also elected Democrat Earl Ray Tomblin to replace Manchin as governor that same election day.

To which I reply that here in Kentucky, we elected and then re-elected Democrat Steve Beshear to succeed Ernie Fletcher, the first Republican governor we had since 1971.  Fletcher's administration crashed and burned in scandal.

But we haven't had a Democratic senator since 1998 and Nate puts better odds of that happening than West Virginia.  Very similar states, Kentucky's registered Democrats outnumber Republicans by 2 to 1, and yet Mitch will probably win by 15 points.  They hate Obama in West Virginia.  They hate him even more here in Kentucky.

Having said that, Nate's warning on that "enthusiasm gap" is real.

A tie on the generic ballot might not sound so bad for Democrats. But it’s a misleading signal, for two reasons. First, most of the generic ballot polls were conducted among registered voters. Those do not reflect the turnout advantage the GOP is likely to have in November. Especially in recent years, Democrats have come to rely on groups such as racial minorities and young voters that turn out much more reliably in presidential years than for the midterms. In 2010, the Republican turnout advantage amounted to the equivalent of 6 percentage points, meaning a tie on the generic ballot among registered voters translated into a six-point Republican lead among likely voters. The GOP’s edge hadn’t been quite that large in past years. But if the “enthusiasm gap” is as large this year as it was in 2010, Democrats will have a difficult time keeping the Senate.

If Dems don't show up in November, Republicans will control the Senate.
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