A great deal of financial information on campaigns is made available and easy to navigate courtesy of the Center for Responsive Politics. I have analyzed data from the CRP on the 14 battleground Senate races occurring in this midterm election. Perhaps you’ve seen many headlines about Democrats doing well with fundraising, most notably as of late Beto O’Rourke’s fundraising feat. In fact one of the first findings was how much the Democrats have raised despite the rhetoric that Republicans are the “party of the rich”. But it is well known, or at least it should be, that money alone doesn’t win elections. Candidates do.
In analyzing the data I sought to see whether the devotion of funds by Democrats and Republicans would give insights to predicting the midterm results. Instead, I found that Republicans are generally more strategic with their donating. In my earlier piece, Mapping the Senate in the midst of midterm elections, I analyzed 14 battleground races setting up the stage for further exploration and analysis. Here I analyze the same data from those same 14 races to see if the money can bring some clarity to the various toss ups.
Republican Best Case Scenario
In an absolute best case scenario, the Republicans hold on to all of their seats and flip 9 Senate seats from blue to red. Those seats are identified in pink. The pink states in addition to the red would give the GOP a massive legislative advantage if also matched by a good day for their House candidates. 9 seats is a red tsunami, but netting 3 or 4 is still a fantastic day that will surely crush Democrat expectations of a Blue Wave.
Best Case Scenario For Democrats
This is the absolute best case scenario for Democrats, 51 seats. This would give the Democrats just enough power, if united, to control the Senate. It requires the Blue Wave to maintain all of its seats and win over an additional 3 seats from Republicans. Note: the race in Texas is not close enough to be considered in this scenario and while we’re at it neither is North Dakota, but if Democrats are to control the Senate every incumbent is in a must win.
The Republican Financial Disadvantage
The Democrats have far more seats to defend and far more seats to lose. So with having incumbents, generally means having more money. A few incumbents, however, are being outspent such as Bill Nelson (D-FL), Bob Menendez (D-NJ), Dean Heller (R-NV), and even Ted Cruz (R-TX). There are two vacant seats held by Republicans where Democrats have the financial advantage (Arizona and Tennessee). Is money a huge advantage or have the Democrats discovered the concept of diminishing returns?
It is very possible Democrats are putting more money than necessary in campaigns. Take Ohio where they have a $23 million dollar advantage in a race where the Republican candidate is a longshot. This graph is particularly meaningful in measuring the efficiency of each party with campaign funds. Republicans, like Ted Cruz, have demonstrated a deal of business sense when it comes to managing campaigns in the past.
Most Skilled Democrat Campaigners
The largest slice of the blue money pie is gong to Beto O’Rourke. Despite being a longshot, Beto has accomplished great feats in fundraising. Conservatives aren’t as intimidated by O’Rourke’s fundraising and media attention as one might think. This 61 million dollar campaign is loaded with funds that otherwise could have gone to more competitive Democrats.
Overall the Democrats’ breakdown is a reflection of the most savvy campaigners. But even Phil Bredesen is a solid candidate who only received 5.11% of the pie. Heidi Heitkamp is shorted in her struggling incumbent bid. And almost nobody wants to help out Bob Menendez who received the smallest slice. The Democrats are after the bigger states in both size and population. They want Ted Cruz out of the Senate badly. They want to hold on with a Democrat in the swing stat of Florida.
There also appears to be a certain amount of over spending among the Democrats. Sherrod Brown is likely going to win in Ohio and enjoys a insurmountable financial advantage. Of all the Democrat funds he should have received around what was dedicated to the campaign in Michigan.
The distribution of Democrat funds shows ambition but little coherence to an overall strategy. The slice of the pie seems dependent on the gravitation of their candidate. It’s less about flipping seats and keeping the GOP at bay rather than supporting popular candidates.
The Republican Triage
In contrast, the Republican distribution of funds shows an obvious triage. Longshots like John James in Michigan and Jim Renacci in Ohio are getting little. The effort in Florida, on the other draws the most attention. Florida receiving 18% shows a disproportionate vested interest in the state. This can be attributed to Rick Scott, a party favorite and a formidable candidate to oust Bill Nelson. The Senate race is also nicely aligned with the gubernatorial race. The Republicans, if smart, will want to tilt Florida red keeping it from being a swing state in 2020 and beyond. A big election win here would help in that effort. Another factor at play is redistricting in 2020. Florida is anticipated to be awarded 2-3 congressional seats. At number two is Ted Cruz. Texas being a larger state and the Democrats bringing a more enthusiastic candidate are the reason for that. At three and four are Missouri and Arizona.
The Republicans aren’t throwing money at lost causes. The highest risk for Republicans in a conventional sense appears to be Bob Hugin in New Jersey. Yet the staunch blue state will likely see difficulty in reelecting a scandal ridden incumbent. Republicans sense blood and are investigating in the race at a rate comparable to Indiana or Tennessee.
The most effortless win in the election may in fact come from the ousting of Heidi Heitkamp in North Dakota. The Republicans throwing less than 3% behind a challenger is a bargain of a return. All signs in North Dakota point to a GOP victory, and the Republicans will achieve that despite being outspent. Another interesting contrast is that the Republicans aren’t overspending in any of these battleground Senate races. The largest argument for overspending may be found in Texas, but while Cruz is slated to win, he will still have to work for that win.
In contrast, the Republican distribution of funds is more economical. They reflect both the size of the state and the chances of winning. This takes away from what previously, in Chart 3, could have suggested that the GOP underfunded its Senate candidates in various states. Instead the Republicans are revealed to run their campaigns like a business or investment.
Meanwhile, the Democrats finance their campaigns as a whole like a popularity contest that is a reflection of how popular their candidate is along with how unpopular the Republican candidate is, to them. And while this overall trend is drawn from the donations of many individuals and organizations, that is the source of the significance. Republicans, both individuals and organizations, are very economical about their financial contributions.
The next question is: are they just as economical with their campaign spending as they are with their giving? This question can only be answered in full after the midterm election, but North Dakota appears to be evidence of that answer being yes.
Pelosi’s endgame strategy: Impeach Trump during general election season
Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi has been playing a balancing act for the past few months. On one hand, she has to stop her caucus from becoming too zealous about impeaching President Trump, fearing the same public backlash the GOP received in 1998 during impeachment proceedings against President Clinton. On the other hand, she needs to keep the specter of impeachment alive so she doesn’t start getting attacked by the radical Democratic base who want the President out immediately.
But lost in the mix is the speculation that Pelosi is fully prepared to impeach the President, just not yet. She wants to bring impeachment and all the mud that will be flung at the President as a result during the heart of general election season.
Evidence of this is all circumstantial but compelling. In a closed-door meeting with committee heads yesterday, she instructed her team to keep up the pressure through investigation after investigation. This would normally not be enough to appease impeachment hawks like Maxine Waters and others, but their clear support for the strategy is an indicator that they’ve been promised vindication at a better time than now. Otherwise, there’s enough support for impeachment among the base for them to continue beating the drum louder and possibly even call for Pelosi’s ouster.
It’s also conspicuous that lower members of the Democratic totem pole haven’t gone after Pelosi, including known antagonists like Representatives Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Ilhan Omar.
Pelosi knows her time is short if things don’t go her way quickly. She was able to gather support from opposition within her caucus by promising to only serve as Speaker for two years. But she has no intention of stepping down if Democrats retain control of the House of Representatives through the 2020 election. Instead, she intends to build her credentials by strategically beating the President, not only on the political arena but in the 2020 election itself. No, she’s not running, but if she launches her impeachment hearings in a way that can earn her credit for the Democratic nominee to win, she will have solidified her seat as Speaker for as long as she wants to stay there.
It’s a huge gamble. Depending on how the impeachment proceedings go in the eyes of the public, she could do enough damage to help kick the President out of the Oval Office. On the other hand, she could seal her own fate if the President wins as a result of sympathy he’s able to garner from the political move of a well-timed impeachment proceeding. It has the potential to backfire spectacularly if the public sees it as a dirty trick, one that could even cost the Democrats control of the House.
But in reality she doesn’t have much to lose. If she impeaches now when it won’t affect the election or if she chooses not to impeach at all, there’s a very good chance she’ll be held to her word to step down as Speaker in 2021. If she delivers the White House to the Democrats, she’ll be locked in her Speaker seat indefinitely.
This should infuriate Democrats more than Republicans, especially the growing radical wing of the party. Their goal, as stated by the Justice Democrats, is to take over the party from within. But Pelosi’s moves are not only meant to harm Republicans but also increase the power over the Democratic Party held by the establishment.
We may be witnessing the swampiest tactics every put on display from Capitol Hill as Speaker Pelosi plots the takedown of a sitting President. Some say she’s impotent, but clearly she’s a viper with plenty of bite left.
AOC says 2/3rds of Democrats have ‘social intelligence of a sea sponge’ for believing her 12-year apocalyptic claims
On May 12, Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez said anyone who took her literally about the world ending in 12 years over climate change would “have to have the social intelligence of a sea sponge.” A new survey by Rasmussen indicates most Democrats have such social intelligence. They took her literally, and therefore they all possess sea-sponge-intellects, according to their young cult leader.
This is a technique of the GOP, to take dry humor + sarcasm literally and “fact check” it.
Like the “world ending in 12 years” thing, you’d have to have the social intelligence of a sea sponge to think it’s literal.
But the GOP is basically Dwight from The Office so who knows. https://t.co/pmkwrdeAnq
— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) May 12, 2019
67% of Democrats believe the United States has only 12 years to aggressively fight climate change or else there will be disastrous and irreparable damage to the country and the world.
This is the problem with radical progressive politicians like AOC. She mixes hyperbole with her actual feelings and doesn’t give indications as to when she’s being literal and when she’s using “dry humor + sarcasm.” But if you listen to one of the many instances where she makes the claim about 12-years-until-apocalypse, she seems deadly serious.
She’s not the biggest problem, though. The real problems are the millions of sheep who follow here without question, who believe everything she says and support everything she does. The left often argues that President Trump’s most passionate followers are like a cult, but even the President’s supporters aren’t as dedicated when it comes to taking him literally as AOC’s cult following is with her claims. The response to Trump’s actions and statements are supported but measured. Moreover, I’ve seen (and participated in) plenty of pushback against some of his policies from tariffs to firearm restrictions to dealing with North Korea.
We hear fairly regularly about pushback from prominent conservatives, and oftentimes the President takes this pushback into account when making decisions. But with AOC, the only occasional pushback comes from the Democratic establishment as Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi or other old school Democrats jab at AOC a bit. Otherwise, she’s unabated in her rhetoric and unchecked in her actions.
Here’s the sad part. If you were to tell AOC’s followers they were sea sponges for taking her literally, they’d scream at you. But if you showed them that SHE called them sea sponges, they’d nod and say, “Oh, if AOC said it, I must be a sea sponge.”
Lindsey Graham makes two great points about the Democrats’ impeachment hysteria
Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) went on Fox News with Sean Hannity today to discuss how many Democratic lawmakers and candidates for president have gone into full-blown impeachment hysteria. He made a pair of excellent points.
First, he noted that the Democrats are doing so at their own peril. It’s difficult for them to justify pushing forward following failed investigations and realizations that their narrative about President Trump colluding with the Russians was patently false. The American people have and well continue to see through their attacks as nothing more than unhinged anti-Trump rhetoric designed to distract voters from their own shortcomings. Nevertheless, they’re forced into this line of thinking by the hyper-leftist base that is essentially telling them to take the impeachment way or the highway.
But he noted something else equally important. He said, “The public’s going to kick the Democrats out of power and they’re going to reelect the President if he stays focused on doing the job for the American people.” [emphasis mine]
This is extremely important to understand because the President is known as a fighter. Ever since Attorney General William Barr released his summary of the Mueller Report, the President has Tweeted and talked about it almost non-stop. As recently as this morning, he focused again on the Democrats coming after him.
….But they really want a do-over! You can’t investigate and legislate simultaneously – it just doesn’t work that way. You can’t go down two tracks at the same time. Let Chuck, Nancy, Jerry, Adam and all of the rest finish playing their games….
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 22, 2019
Graham is correct. If the President keeps doing what he’s been doing in the Oval Office and refrains from being drawn into the Democrats’ petty battles with him, the people will appreciate it. If he goes low with them, there could be challenges.
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