Sacramento Bee: “Facing the risk that the party could get shut out of the general election race for one or more competitive Republican-held seats, liberal groups formed to attack Republicans now say they are at least considering spending money to support particular Democratic candidates in the primaries. National Democratic officials say all options are on the table in the lead-up to June — including launching negative attacks on members of their own party, a tactic that stirred controversy in the Texas primary.”
McClatchy: “Nine months from Election Day, political veterans eyeing the House landscape struggle to even identify a single Democratic House hopeful — of the hundreds running — who openly opposes abortion rights.”
“Their absence is a significant development for a party in places such as western Pennsylvania, where Democrats even recently would run self-identified ‘pro-life’ candidates… And it’s reshaping the cultural agenda of a party that, on everything from immigration to guns, has moved decidedly to the left in the last decade – to the chagrin of some who worry it’s reducing their appeal to some right-leaning voters.”
Ron Brownstein: “This silence speaks volumes about the Democrats’ inability, or unwillingness, to recognize the evolving nature of the party’s demographic and geographic base. While many Democrats still think of the party as the home of blue-collar industrial regions hostile to trade, in fact, the party is now centered in the major metropolitan areas that are integrated into global markets and at the forefront of the transition into the information-age, digital economy. The most telling measure of that shift: while Hillary Clinton won fewer than one-sixth of America’s counties in 2016, her counties accounted for nearly 60 percent of all US exports, according to calculations by the Metropolitan Policy Program at the center-left Brookings Institution.”
“Yet few Democrats are articulating the interest of those areas in the tariff debate — either because they share the President’s long-standing suspicion of free trade, or because they fear antagonizing the labor unions who promote protectionist policies as well.”
“The Democratic Party’s hierarchy on Saturday acknowledged the ‘perceived influence’ of insiders over voters in picking a presidential nominee, but don’t know yet how to settle an issue that bedeviled the bitter nomination fight between Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders in 2016,” the AP reports.
“At issue is the role of Democratic National Committee members, elected officials and other party dignitaries — known collectively superdelegates. They overwhelmingly favored Clinton, who won the nomination, though her wide advantage among this group ultimately saddled her with charges of favoritism.”
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First Read: “Given that chaos, Democrats believe they’ve discovered the kind of candidates that could be appealing to voters, especially those in red and purple areas, one year-plus into Trump’s presidency: candidates who project stability.”
“Think of Ralph Northam (military background, doctor, lieutenant governor) who won Virginia’s gubernatorial contest last November. Or think of Doug Jones (a former prosecutor who promised he could ‘work with Republicans better than Roy Moore can work with anyone’) in December’s Alabama contest. Or think of Conor Lamb (military background, former prosecutor) who’s running in this month’s special congressional election in a Pennsylvania district Trump won by 20 points in 2016.”
“It’s chaos vs. stability. It’s reality-show background vs. military/prosecutor backgrounds. And it’s excitement vs., well, a little boring.”
“Looking to harness anti-Donald Trump enthusiasm in what could be a banner year for Democrats, the Democratic National Committee will announce Wednesday that it’s planning to contact 50 million voters before the November elections,” NBC News reports.
“The DNC, which has struggled financially and faced doubts about its relevance, will focus its 2018 midterm elections organizing plans around partnerships with a wide range of groups aimed at boosting turnout among Democratic-leaning voters, who have been less likely to get to the polls in recent non-presidential elections.”
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“It will be an intraparty war. That’s what you can expect.”
— Rep. Alcee Hastings (D-FL), quoted by Politico, predicting a “mass exodus” of Democrats if they don’t win control of the House in November.
Andrew Sullivan: “It triggers a deep and visceral response: a defense of the tribe before all other considerations. That means, in its modern manifestation, that the tribe comes before the country as a whole, before any neutral institutions that get in its way, before reason and empiricism, and before the rule of law. It means loyalty to the tribe — and its current chief — is enforced relentlessly. And this, it seems to me, is the underlying reason why the investigation into Russian interference in the last election is now under such attack and in such trouble. In a tribalized society, there can be no legitimacy for an independent inquiry, indifferent to tribal politics. In this fray, no one is allowed to be above it.”
“On the face of it, of course, no one even faintly patriotic should object to investigating how a foreign power tried to manipulate American democracy, as our intelligence agencies have reported. And yet one party is quite obviously doing all it can to undermine such a project — even when it is led by a Republican of previously unimpeachable integrity, Robert Mueller. Tribalism does not spare the FBI; it cannot tolerate an independent Department of Justice; it sees even a Republican like Mueller as suspect; and it sees members of another tribe as incapable of performing their jobs without bias.”
Playbook :”We were inside the House chamber for the speech last night, with a prime, first-row viewing spot to check out the reaction in the room to Trump’s speech. The opposition party — in this case, Democrats — has rarely, if ever, been as negative on a president as Democrats were last night. Yes, they stood at times. But Nancy Pelosi and Steny Hoyer could barely contain their, well, let’s call it displeasure with the president’s remarks. When Trump said he created 2 million jobs, Pelosi shook her head. Pelosi shook her head when Trump said America is seeing rising wages again. Pelosi and Hoyer shook their heads a lot during Trump’s remarks, looking befuddled for much of the speech.”
First Read: “As for the Democrats, it was noteworthy last night how much they don’t like President Trump – and how they don’t hide it. Sure, there was ‘You lie’ and visible GOP opposition to Barack Obama. But the disdain coming from Democrats was noticeable.”
Politico: “At a time when many Democratic candidates and groups are reporting record-breaking fundraising, the top state party officials gathered here for the meeting of the Association of State Democratic Committees say their local parties are cash-starved, raising the prospect that they won’t be able to take full advantage of what could be a historic opportunity in the midterm elections.”
“Local committees are in desperate need of more money if they’re going to support the costly precinct-level organizing and political groundwork needed to win back the House of Representatives, compete for the Senate and governor’s mansions, and swing back state legislatures, they say.”
Rep. Joe Kennedy (D-MA), a rising star in the Democratic Party, will deliver the Democratic response to President Trump’s State of the Union on Tuesday, Politico reports.
“Kennedy is a closely watched member of the House Democratic Caucus, not only because of his famous last name, but for his future ambitions. Many Democrats expect Kennedy to follow in the footsteps of his elders and run for Senate when a seat opens in Massachusetts.”
Reid Wilson: “Pollsters routinely measure how enthusiastic voters are about upcoming elections. This year, those surveys have found a gap between an energized Democratic base and a comparatively demoralized Republican electorate.”
“The dozens of special elections that have occurred since Trump took office indicate the enthusiasm gap is real: Compared with prior elections, Democratic voters have shown up at higher rates in ordinarily low-turnout special elections than Republicans have.”
“In the last year, states have conducted 98 special elections for legislative seats, ranging from a U.S. Senate seat in Alabama to state House races in New Hampshire. Democrats have flipped 16 of those seats… Republicans have won only three formerly Democratic-held seats, in Louisiana, Mississippi and Massachusetts.”