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2014 Election Tag

Former Vermont Governor and "50 State Strategy" architect Howard Dean teetered on the edge of a meltdown during his Sunday interview on "Meet the Press," asking, "where the HELL is the Democratic party?!" Watch: The Democratic Party is licking its wounds, and for good reason---not even one of its top strategists understands the fundamental, underlying problem with the progressive message. Dean complains that "you [sic] got to stand for something if you want to win," but what do Democrats really stand for? Over the past six years, we've seen top Democrats work together to obfuscate the realities of Obamacare, promote social programs by exploiting fears of racism and disenfranchisement within minority communities, and block even bipartisan legislation from making it out of Congress alive.

When my friends and I first signed up for Facebook back in 2003, I don't think any of us had any idea how the platform would grow and monetize itself over the next decade. What was once the anti-MySpace is now arguably one of the most powerful tools political campaigns and marketing firms have on hand to help push their brands. Political advertising on Facebook ebbs and flows with the cycle, but Facebook has developed and implemented a new way to read user data that will help their team make Facebook ads even more (creepily) specific. "Sentiment analysis"---or, reading a user's feelings on a particular subject based on what they write---is desperately tricky to get right, but if Facebook can do it, everyone from marketing and political consultants to media outlets will be able to gauge reactions on hot button issues simply by looking at a "sentiment analysis." Experts predict that this type of digital strategy could end up outpacing TV and radio as the primary platforms for regional analysis. From Buzzfeed:
Facebook is on the cusp — and I suspect 2016 will be the year this becomes clear — of replacing television advertising as the place where American elections are fought and won. The vast new network of some 185 million Americans opens the possibility, for instance, of a congressional candidate gaining traction without the expense of television, and of an inexpensive new viral populism. The way people share will shape the outcome of the presidential election. Even during the 2014 midterms, which most Americans ignored, Facebook says it saw 43 million unique individuals engage in the political conversation. Now a rawly powerful video may reach far more voters in a few hours than a multimillion-dollar ad buy; and it will reach them from trusted sources — their friends — not via suspect, one-way channels.
Is this new big data push a substitute for traditional polling, though? Experts say no:

Desperate to find a silver lining in the 2014 Midterm shellacking, the media has come up with a new mantra: "The GOP's victory is short lived." 2016 is the GOP's to lose, and I would never put it past the Republicans to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory; but to act as though a Republican loss of the Senate in 2016 is a forgone conclusion is premature at best. Yes, the map will be different, and yes, the GOP has no policy agenda carved in stone, yet neither of these ensure defeat in 2016. The truth is very simple: no one knows what will happen in 2016. And yet... "We were destroyed in the Midterms, what do we say?! What should we write?!" "I know, let's tell everyone that there's no way Republicans can win again in 2016." "Brilliant!" And then they got to work:

WaPo

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On the eve of the 2010 midterms, I noted that Democrats were about to be politically decapitated in Congress:
The Democrats face a political decapitation tomorrow. Dozens of senior Democratic Party leaders in the House and Senate, and in Statehouses around the country, are likely to lose. Unlike Republicans in 2008, there is no next generation of Democratic leaders. Who are the Democratic Party equivalents of Marco Rubio, Mitch Daniels, John Thune, Bobby Jindal, Paul Ryan or Eric Cantor? The Republican Party has numerous rising stars. I cannot think of a single Democratic Party rising star. Can you?
And so it came to pass in November 2010 -- other than a few figureheads, Democrats in the House (in particular) lost their leadership generation, as I laid out in my Brilliant Thoughts from Post-Tsunami, Hurricane-Ravaged, Earthquake-Shaken America:
The Democrats received the feared political decapitation. The Democrats lost, in a single night, two generations of leadership: Numerous members of the old guard, including multiple committee Chairmen, lost, as did dozens of newer members from the 2006-2008 cycles. Because the Tsunami struck in one cycle, there are no young Democratic guns waiting to step into the breach. The Democratic Party in the House is worse than a chicken with its head cut off, it is a chicken with its head and feet cut off.
The devastation of 2010 continued into 2011, as dozens of Democrats, including senior figures like Barney Frank, announced retirement. It just wasn't going to be much fun for them in a House run by Republicans.

Democrats are still in full cover up mode days after the Republican wave crashed over the heads of embattled progressive candidates, and even pundits who have conceded that Democrats totally blew it are still scrambling to convince the American people that the election had nothing to do with the merits of liberal policies. Bill Maher hosted a romp on his Friday night show in which he did his best to convince his guests that this election wasn't a rejection of progressive lawmaking, but a referendum on Barack Obama, his blackness, and...other...things?...that I can't quite tease out at the moment. Via Mediaite:
That being said, he still had some issues with Republicans, like how, Maher claimed, the entire GOP victory was all about a continuing resentment of the “first black president.” Maher said their entire strategy was “screw Obama, we hate Obama,” and was amazed that it actually worked. Senator Bernie Sanders said it’s very easy to beat up on Obama instead of talking about big issues that affect the country. Maher pointed out how few Democratic candidates said anything positive about Obama and said they just suck. He argued they didn’t have that hard of a record to run on, and when actual Democratic policies were on the ballot, voters approved them. Maher said the Democrats were just horrible and “treated Obama like a teenager treats his mother.”
Watch:

Byron York remarks on one of the more remarkable aspects of Obama's post-election press conference, the notion that those who did not vote have given him a mandate:
President Obama did something extraordinary, perhaps unprecedented, in his post-election news conference Wednesday: He claimed a mandate on behalf of voters who didn't vote. "To everyone who voted, I want you to know that I hear you," the president said. "To the two-thirds of voters who chose not to participate in the process yesterday, I hear you, too." What did that mean? What did those non-voters say? It would probably be more useful to ask what the president heard. And apparently Obama heard expressions of support from non-voters across the land. The president explained that many more voters turned out when he was elected, and then re-elected, than in Tuesday's midterms that left Republicans firmly in control of House and Senate. "One of the things that I'm very proud of in 2008 and 2012, when I ran for office, was we got people involved who hadn't been involved before," Obama said. "Part of what I also think we've got to look at is that two-thirds of people who were eligible to vote just didn't vote."
http://youtu.be/VMIWgaPd_1w?t=26s York continues:

Amidst all the good news from election 2014, the victories of Tim Scott, South Carolina's Senator, and Mia Love, new Representative from Utah's 4th District, are especially noteworthy. There's no way to deny that their race becomes important, if only because Democrats have emphasized race so very much. Sadly, these usually-baseless accusations of Republican racism have become more frequent, not less, since the administration of Barack Obama. Scott and Love are living, breathing refutations of that rhetorical approach, and proof that conservative black candidates can win even in a place like Utah, which is one of the whitest areas in the US. Here's an example of Scott's approach to answering questions about his race and his conservative politics: The Democratic Party must be shaking in its shoes worrying that the black community might actually start listening to someone like Scott or Love.

Congress is gearing up for the next big budget battle, and the Administration's latest funding request could stir tensions between the midterm election's winners and losers. This week President Obama approved deployment of an additional 1,500 U.S. soldiers to help train Iraqi and Kurdish forces in their battle against ISIS. The additional forces and support activities will tack on an additional $5.6 billion to the budget, but defense officials argue that continuing success in the region means putting more resources to the task:
Lately, with the aid of the U.S. strikes, the Islamic State has suffered a number of losses in Iraq, where it is fighting government forces, peshmerga and Shiite militias aided by Iran and the Lebanese Hezbollah group. Last week, Iraqi forces recaptured the town of Jurf al-Sakher. ISIS also lost Rabia, Mahmoudiyah and Zumar, a string of towns near the Syrian border, last month. Besieged Iraqi troops have also managed to maintain control of Iraq's largest oil refinery outside the town of Beiji north of Baghdad, despite numerous attempts by the Islamic State group to capture it. At the same time, some have warned the U.S. operation is insufficient. In particular, there have been calls to send troops to the western Anbar province, where extremists have been slaughtering men, women and children. A senior military official said one of the operations centers being set up by the U.S. will be in Anbar Province, and that it is likely that the bulk of the additional troops will be in Iraq by the end of the year. ... The money will also go toward “replenishing or replacing munitions expended while conducting air strikes against ISIL, including from Air force and Navy platforms” as well as “financing operations and maintenance costs for air, ground and naval operations, including: flying hours; ship steaming days; and fuel, supplies and repair parts,” according to the White House.
The elephant in the room, of course, is this past week's elections, which many believe served as a mandate against President Obama's policies at home and abroad. The media has already begun to hint at trouble brewing for this new mission and its funding.

Republicans walloped Democrats on Tuesday night, gaining control of the Senate and substantial pickups on the state and local level---but national groups aren't even close to calling it a day. The NRSC and RNC are currently organizing staff from across the country for a mass deployment to Louisiana to help resolve December's runoff election for U.S. Senate between incumbent Democrat Mary Landrieu, and breakthrough challenger Bill Cassidy. Neither Cassidy nor Landrieu managed to secure the votes of a majority of Louisianans, and national groups are counting on the volunteer efforts of seasoned campaign staff and operatives to secure the election for Cassidy. From this morning's RNC e-mail blast:
We had great, historic Republican victories on Election Day. But here's the deal: there is still ONE key Senate seat left to win — Louisiana. Only 1% - just 16,400 votes - separated the Democrat incumbent from the Republican frontrunner in the Louisiana Senate race on Tuesday. And now they're in a neck-and-neck runoff race. This weekend, the RNC is sending hundreds of our staffers into Louisiana. We must secure ONE more seat to strengthen our newly won Senate majority, so we can stop President Obama's radical agenda and enact pro-jobs, pro-growth policies. President Obama and Senate Democrats are not happy about Tuesday's results. They are pouring in resources to hold onto this final seat and keep liberal Senator Mary Landrieu in office. The RNC is ready for the challenge — but we need you to stand with us one more time.

I don't know about you, but I look forward to many more moments like this in the coming weeks. White House spokesman Josh Earnest was grilled by the White House press pool to admit that the midterms were bad for Democrats and a good laugh was had by all. The Washington Free Beacon reported:
White House Spin on Midterms Leaves Reporters in Disbelief The White House is still reeling from Tuesday’s elections, and has continued to deflect any questions on the subject. Press Secretary Josh Earnest did his best to keep the mood light and respond to the press Thursday, however, his audience was not impressed. “Would you say that Tuesday night was a big loss for Democrats?” a reporter asked. To the dismay of his audience, Earnest declined to answer directly since it would not be appropriate for him to offer any sort of “punditry.” “There are lots of people who get paid a lot more money than I do, who are responsible for offering up analysis and spinning the elections,” Earnest said. “I’m not going to do that.”
Watch and enjoy: As I said, I look forward to more of this.

For many living in states not called Texas, it might seem odd that a place most regard as the "reddest" state in the union would fight so hard to gain ground in traditionally-liberal districts. Isn't a solid governing majority and clean slate of statewide office holders enough? Not if you want to keep building. And build Texas has, by electing a full slate of Republicans on the statewide level, defeating Battleground Texas' initial efforts to elect a Democrat statewide, and making key inroads with both battleground districts and battleground demographics. Perhaps our most notable achievement this cycle was flipping Wendy Davis's Senate District, SD-10, in favor of Republicans. When Tea Party candidate Konni Burton first announced her candidacy for Davis's old seat, many wrote her off as a long-shot; on election night, however, she proved them wrong. Via the Fort Worth Star-Telegram:
“It’s hard to believe that over 20 months ago I started having conversations with conservatives across Tarrant County about the need for someone to challenge Wendy Davis,” Burton, a Colleyville conservative with Tea Party ties​, told about 300 supporters gathered at the Texas Cowboy Hall of Fame. “We were all sick and tired of being represented by a liberal in Austin who didn’t reflect the conservative values of District 10.

Following an epic GOP whoopin' on Tuesday, the liberal media is in full pout mode. That the country would almost unilaterally reject President Obama's policies and a statist agenda is incomprehensible to some. There must be some other reason! Those that were kind enough to concede the shellacking tried their best to undermine its meaning. And so we present the 10 most delicious liberal election headline disasters. Extra credit to Salon who is kicking butt and taking names in the "Bitter Loser" category.

1. It was nice knowing you, polar bears.

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2. Hey, whatever helps you sleep at night.

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As I discussed earlier this week, the local races would be vitally important in this election. I must admit, I despaired that California would completely miss-out on this "change election", and simply hoped that we might be able to elect Republican Carl DeMaio into CA-52's congressional seat -- though I did predict that there would be "historic election results on November 4th that would have been unimaginable until this August" elsewhere. Imagine my surprise to discover I was not optimistic enough! The election tsunami generated a rogue wave that hit California! The Democrats have lost their supermajority in the state senate, and their status in the Assembly is in doubt.
Two years after California Democrats swept to commanding two-thirds majorities in both houses of the state Legislature, they were unable to again claim the same margin in the Senate and the Assembly remained in doubt with key races too close to call. Republicans captured two closely contested Senate seats central to the supermajority hopes of Democrats. Orange County Supervisor Janet Nguyen defeated former Democratic Assemblyman Democrat Jose Solorio, while Republican Sen. Andy Vidak, R-Hanford, repelled a challenge from Democrat Luis Chavez to retain a spot in the Senate he first won in a tight special election last year.

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