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2014 Election Tag

In 2007, I could have sworn President Barack Obama was supposed to be the savior of the Democrat Party. The smooth talking, suave Illinois senator had everything to bring the party together and end any GOP dominance. Well, it turns out, the Democrats have lost 1,030 seats across the board since Obama took office in January 2008. This includes seats in state's houses and senates, governorships, and Congress.

Following huge 2014 midterms losses, Democratic Party leaders did some soul searching, analyzed their problems, and made recommendations for winning in the future. The results were published in the Democratic Victory Task Force Preliminary Findings. Most notably, Democrats want more "narrative" to help them win back the southern whites they hate. You can read the document here. I'll share a few short excerpts:
As Democrats, we believe in an economy where hard work is rewarded, where everyone pays his or her fair share and plays by the rules. We believe in a government that’s focused on building a stronger and more secure middle class, with good-paying jobs, affordable higher education, and a secure retirement... The national Democratic Party must never allow itself to become a party of Beltway consultants who routinely recommend cookie-cutter campaigns that are detached from the concerns of the people we hope to represent, at the city, state, and federal level. In order to consistently win on every level, we have to reconnect with the reason we want to win—and that reason is the people. The national party must work with and help grow state and local parties, to empower the people to participate in politics, while recruiting and training the next generation of office holders.... We know that our message is powerful because our opponents are trying to steal it. Income inequality and the resulting middleclass economic stagnation have become so extreme that even the Republicans are giving lip service to economic fairness—even as they advocate policies that would undermine it...

Republicans may have just executed a historical midterm coup, but the American people are still skeptical about the new Congress' ability to rebuild trust with the American people. The 113th Congress was famously divided---and famously unpopular. It ended 2014 with its approval rating bottomed out at 16%. A new poll conducted by Gallup at the very start of the 114th Congress shows that not much has changed: only 16% of Americans approve of the job Congress is doing, and a sky-high 76% of Americans disapprove of a body that has been at work for less than a month. This, of course, says less about faith in individual members, and more about how Americans feel in general about the way Washington has played politics over the past few years. The average American finds no enjoyment or catharsis in ugly floor fights and media battles, and the poll numbers reflect this disconnect between the glass-walled terrarium that is Washington politics, and the rest of the country. Still, data from previous sessions shows that this Congress still has an opportunity to redeem itself with its skeptical electorate. Gallup explains:

Last night Charles Krauthammer took the outgoing Congressional leadership to task over their legacy of obstructionism. Watch: Via the Daily Caller (emphasis mine):
”It sounds like Schumer is saying that, for the first time in living memory, we’re going to have amendments introduced in the U.S. Senate, which is a remarkable constitutional achievement and it’s because Harry Reid is gone. The grown-ups are now in control of the Congress. This idea that we should be using American oil in America is so idiotic, it’s almost unworthy of talking about. So what we’re going to do is we’re going to use the Canadian oil and if we export it, which we will because we have a surplus, we’re going to substitute gallon by gallon American oil, it makes no sense at all.” “Look, I think what’s really important here is that Republicans are going to have a chance to show how retroactively for the last six years everything has stopped in the Senate. Democrats stopped it, Harry Reid stopped it and they effectively acted as a shield to make Obama look as if he wasn’t the one stopping stuff. Well now he’s going to be exposed because he’s going to have to exercise the veto. Schumer and the others could prevent a few of the bills from landing on the president’s desk with these ridiculous amendments on Keystone, for example. But I think it will expose them. But the days of hiding under Harry Reid’s desk are over.
This is important, and it's not a point that should be ignored by conservatives. Starting today, we'll be holding accountable not just a newly-minted leadership, but a President who now finds himself in the minority after six comfortable years of playing pen-and-phone politics.

For the last several weeks, we've been living in a sort of Twilight Zone episode where many people on the left including Obama and the media haven't realized how big the midterms were for Republicans. Until now. Reid Wilson of the Washington Post has just begun to notice:
Republicans in state governments plan juggernaut of conservative legislation Legislators in the 24 states where Republicans now hold total control plan to push a series of aggressive policy initiatives in the coming year aimed at limiting the power of the federal government and rekindling the culture wars. The unprecedented breadth of the Republican majority — the party now controls 31 governorships and 68 of 98 partisan legislative chambers — all but guarantees a new tide of conservative laws. Republicans plan to launch a fresh assault on the Common Core education standards, press abortion regulations, cut personal and corporate income taxes and take up dozens of measures challenging the power of labor unions and the Environmental Protection Agency. Before Election Day, the GOP controlled 59 partisan legislative chambers across the country. The increase to 68 gives Republicans six more chambers than their previous record in the modern era, set after special elections in 2011 and 2012. Republicans also reduced the number of states where Democrats control both the governor’s office and the legislatures from 13 to seven.
Was the election yesterday? Is this new information about how many Republicans won?

Obama recently sat down for an interview with National Public Radio during which he was asked how he is going to work with the new Republican controlled congress for the remainder of his presidency. His response was rather telling. Brendan Bordelon of National Review has the story:
Obama: ‘I’m Obviously Frustrated’ Dems Didn’t Run on My ‘Great Record’ in November In an interview released Monday by National Public Radio, President Obama made clear what’s long been suspected by White House observers — he believes Democratic politicians sowed the seeds of their own defeat in November by failing to support his “great record” as president... “I’m obviously frustrated with the results of the midterm election,” he said. “I think we had a great record for members of Congress to run on. And I don’t think we — myself, and the Democratic Party — made as good of a case as we should have. And, you know, as a consequence we had really low voter turnout, and the results were bad.”
Watch the segment below: Of course, some liberal media types are already trying to correct the mistake the American people made in November.

Lee Stranahan of Rebel Pundit is in Louisiana covering Saturday's Senate runoff election between Mary Landrieu and Bill Cassidy:
On Monday in Baton Rouge, Louisiana the Black Conservatives Fund held a press conference to show a new video that exposed Opelousas Mayor Don Cravins telling a crowd of black Democrats: “If you early voted, go vote again tomorrow. One more’s not going to hurt and tomorrow we’re going to re-elect Earl Taylor as D.A., so he won’t prosecute you if you vote twice!” .... Landrieu’s first move to nip the story in the bud was to announce a press conference across town at the exact same time as the Black Conservatives Fund’s Monday presser. Divide the press and conquer. Nothing to see here. Not only did Landrieu hold a counter-press conference to try and stop the Black Conservatives, but the Democrats sent a group of protestors to try and shout down the conference on Monday. Here’s where I come in. The undercover video was shot by a Louisiana local, but I did some work on the final video presentations for the Black Conservative Fund. I flew down to Baton Rouge last Friday and I was at Monday’s press conference. After the event, I went outside to talk to the loud, chanting protestors. The real action starts about a minute into this video, where the Democrat operative hits my camera while I ask questions of a young woman who was the protest handler.
In his post at Rebel Pundit, Stranahan highlights that while questioning a female Democratic operative, a second female Democratic operative appears and smacks his camera (at 1:05). That second operative who smacked the camera is Kirstin Alvanitakis, Communications Director for the Louisiana Democratic Party.

We're just days away from the Louisiana Senate runoff election, and Mary Landrieu is in trouble. Recently released polling data has Republican challenger Bill Cassidy up by almost 16 points over the embattled incumbent, and internal polling conducted by the Cassidy campaign is showing a similar lead. Although Cassidy has earned and maintained a nearly-unbeatable spread, he's not leaving anything to chance. I'm spending time in Louisiana this week campaigning for Cassidy, and I'm not the only "foreigner" putting her boots on the ground. Activists by the hundreds are busing in from all over the country to help Team Cassidy maintain their lead and secure a win in Saturday's runoff. These people are motivated, excited about Cassidy, and ready to pound the pavement to secure a thin-but-comfortable majority +9 caucus for Senate Republicans.

On December 1, Democrats will gather together in a last ditch effort to save Mary Landrieu's political career---but all the money in the world might not be able to save a race that many leftist groups have written off as a lost cause. The swanky fundraiser, headlined by Hillary Clinton, is sure to bring in a sizable chunk of cash, but it might not be a helpful optic for the embattled incumbent. Clinton headlined a rally for Landrieu days before the general election, and Landrieu still failed to rally enough voters to hit the 50% mark. In fact, it seems like Landrieu can do nothing right these days; her campaign is foundering, and even progressive strategists are looking at this runoff as a prime example of what not to do when your campaign is in trouble. From The Hill:
She's fallen back on an advertising strategy that seeks to portray her GOP opponent, Rep. Bill Cassidy (La.), as bumbling and incompetent. But nearly three weeks into their final faceoff, it is Cassidy who is ahead in the polls, and Democrats who are worried that Landrieu’s efforts are falling short. “It didn’t work before, and if all you have is Cassidy bumbling in a speech, then you’re reaching,” said Danny Ford, a Democratic lobbyist and former party official in the state. “If they had something else on him they would have played it already.” Bernie Pinsonat, an independent pollster and political consultant in Louisiana, called the ads “goofy” and said that they do nothing to alter the narrative in the state that Cassidy is bulldozing his way to the finish line. While another Democratic operative close to the race argued that Cassidy remains a relative unknown who can still be defined by the ads, nearly three weeks into their final faceoff, strategists say it’s the Republican who is running the more effective campaign.
Considering Bill Cassidy is currently polling almost 16 points ahead of Landrieu, I'd say the unnamed operative is right. Meanwhile, tea party groups and activists who worked hard to split the Republican vote in the general have joined Team Cassidy, as have volunteers brought in by the RNC and NRSC's joint grassroots effort. This is significant not just for Cassidy's race, but for races in the future.

The Republican Wave of newly-elected GOP freshmen have been put through their paces at new member orientation, and are preparing to get to work after January's swearing in. Newly elected from Utah's 4th Congressional District, Mia Love has wasted no time letting Democrats know that she doesn't intend on being polite about Obama's plan to fundamentally change immigration law in America via executive order. The Daily Caller has the video:
“This is not about the president. It’s about the American people, and what the American people want the President to do,” Love said Wednesday. “The American people want Congress to work with the President, want the president to work with Congress so that we can be compassionate, so that we can create a uniform rule of naturalization. “It is Congress’ job under Article 1, Section 8, to create a uniform rule of naturalization, a way in,” she continued. “It should be done line by line, section by section with the input of the public instead of being done by one person. It looks more like a dictatorship when a president is unilaterally making decisions for the American people.”
GOP freshmen aren't limiting their criticism to the President's plans. Texas freshman Will Hurd (TX-23) is one of several freshmen being courted by the oft-controversial Congressional Black Caucus, and he hasn't been shy about holding off on his decision to join (or not to join.)

Democrat incumbent Senator Mark Begich has finally conceded the Alaska Senate race to Republican challenger Dan Sullivan nearly a week after the Associated Press called the race for Sullivan. Begich had initially refused to concede the race, citing concerns over uncounted ballots. The race dragged on until last Wednesday, when the AP finally declared Sullivan the winner. In his concession, Begich jabbed at Sullivan about the need for bipartisanship, and hinted at a return to politics. Via Politico:
“When I spoke with Dan Sullivan today, I encouraged him to adopt a bipartisan resolve in the Senate,” Begich said in a statement. “Alaska is ill-served by the partisan fights that don’t reflect our state’s unique needs and priorities.” The 52-year-old hinted in his concession that he might not be finished with politics. His 500-word statement listed a series of accomplishments, from expanding energy production to protecting military bases, during his six years. “As a born and raised Alaskan, I will always be involved in my community, and the results of an election have never diminished my desire or passion to achieve these goals,” he said.
Sullivan seems ready to go to work, citing a desire to serve on committees that address issues related to commerce, public works, and the environment.

The new Congress hasn't even been sworn in yet, but many pundits and activists are already assuming that come January, we're in for a world of pain, disappointment, and failure---but maybe we should rethink our gloomy outlook. Fox News Sunday host Chris Wallace had Sens.-elect Cotton and James Lankford on this weekend to talk about the upcoming battle between the Republican Senate majority and President Obama, and when the conversation turned to repealing Obamacare (and dealing with the mass #Grubering of the American people) Cotton put to bed the idea that a Senate majority won't be able to get anything productive past President Obama (emphasis added):
WALLACE: But Senator-elect Cotton, realistically, what do you think you can get down about ObamaCare while President Obama is still in office? COTTON: Well, Arkansans are conservative people, but they're practical people as well. They realize it's going to be hard to repeal a law named ObamaCare when the president is named Barack Obama. What they want is relief from the immediate harms. The House of Representatives has already passed a lot of bills that would stop those harms, like preventing people from having to pay a tax that they can't afford in ObamaCare plan, or business from having to pay a tax if they can't provide an ObamaCare plan, or letting people keep their plans as was promised. Those passed the House with bipartisan support. The president has taken some of those steps as an administration measure. I think we could pass that legislation again and the president would be hard pressed to explain why he wants to veto it if he's already done it as an administrative measure and it has broad bipartisan support.
I'm all for managing expectations during a lame duck session, but isn't what Sen.-elect Cotton is talking about the point of electing new representatives to Congress, as opposed to just throwing in the towel?

Senator Mary Landrieu (D-LA) is facing a tough runoff with Republican challenger Representative Bill Cassidy, and she's doing her best to spearhead a legacy vote before Louisiana voters head to the polls in December. Landrieu, who currently chairs the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, is pushing for a Congressional vote approving the Keystone XL pipeline in hopes that it will ingratiate her with voters who haven't yet decided whose name to check on Election Day 2.0. Via CNN:
"This has been a project that has lingered far too long. It is clearly supported by 60 or more members of this body," Landrieu said on the Senate floor Wednesday, minutes after lawmakers kicked off their post-midterm election lame duck session. The Louisiana Democrat is fighting for her political life ahead of a Dec. 6 runoff election against Republican challenger Bill Cassidy. The Keystone XL pipeline represents a chance for Landrieu to flex her muscles on issues important to her energy-rich state one last time. Republicans have countered her moves by promising Cassidy a seat on the energy panel.
This move by Landrieu may ingratiate herself with the energy lobby, but if President Obama chooses to veto Congressional approval of the pipeline project, her efforts may be meaningless:

In the wee small hours of the morning, the Associated Press called the Alaska Senate race for Republican Challenger Dan Sullivan, making another notch on the GOP's belt of ousted incumbents. According to the AP:
Republican Dan Sullivan won Alaska's U.S. Senate race, defeating first-term incumbent Democrat Mark Begich. Sullivan led Begich by about 8,100 votes on Election Night last week and held a comparable edge after election workers had counted about 20,000 absentee, early-voted and questioned ballots late Tuesday. Thousands more ballots remained to be counted, but the results indicated that Begich could not overcome Sullivan's lead. The Alaska seat was initially considered key to the Republicans' hopes of taking control of the U.S. Senate, but that goal was accomplished before the Alaska race was decided. Sullivan, in a statement, said he was humbled and sounded a note of inclusion. While it was a hard-fought race, moving forward "I want to emphasize that my door will always be open to all Alaskans," he said. "While we have challenges to address, the opportunities in Alaska and our country are limitless," Sullivan said. "Today, we are going to begin the process of turning our country around and building a brighter future for our children." Begich was not conceding. His campaign manager, Susanne Fleek-Green, said in a statement that Begich believes every vote deserves to be counted and will follow the Division of Elections as it continues toward a final count.

California's 52nd district will keep its current representative in Congress for the next two years, as Republican Carl DeMaio failed to oust incumbent Democrat Scott Peters last Tuesday. The election results were not finalized until 72 hours after voting booths closed, and the final tally came down to 51.25% for Peters and 48.75% for DeMaio, with about 4,400 votes making the difference. Before all absentee ballots were counted, the election was called as a Republican victory, with some news outlets prematurely posting articles about DeMaio being the first openly gay Republican to run and win a congressional race. Alas, Peters did win, much to the dismay of many Republicans who admired DeMaio's potential as a "New Generation Republican." The DeMaio campaign was hit with a nasty October surprise in the form of sexual harassment allegations from former campaign staffer Todd Bosnich, who is also openly gay. This was followed by the re-emergence of similar claims from DeMaio's time on the San Diego City Council. DeMaio contended that Bosnich, fired for plagiarism, was merely seeking to exact revenge, and that he was responsible for the May break-in of the DeMaio campaign headquarters days before the primaries.  DeMaio further alleged that Bosnich was responsible for passing on internal campaign documents to the Peters campaign. The Peters campaign handed over the documents to the police, saying they received them anonymously.