Democratic candidates in battleground districts may try to distance themselves from Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) in the 2014 mid-term election, but in the likely event that they receive help from the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC), they’re benefitting from her fundraising efforts (emphasis added):
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, who is waging an intense push to seize back the speaker’s gavel from John Boehner, raised more than $35 million for her party in 2013.
Pelosi held fundraising events last year in 50 different cities. Of the $35.5 million she raked in, the aide said, nearly $27 million was funneled to the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.
The DCCC is the campaign arm of the party’s caucus, meaning that the money Pelosi will seep into the races in which Democratic candidates are running. Republican leaders also do the same thing to protect or win seats.
Though it’s unlikely that any candidate from either party will decline any outside help in a competitive race, here’s just a sampling of vulnerable or potentially vulnerable Democratic incumbents who will benefit from the DCCC and, ostensibly, Pelosi’s largess:
Republicans are more excited about the 2014 mid-term election than Democrats, according to a poll released earlier this week by Pew Research. In fact, they’re more excited than they were at this same point in 2010, the election year in which Republicans gained 63 seats and took control of the House of Representatives.
The poll found that 51% of Americans are looking forward to the 2014 congressional mid-term election, which, Pew Research explained, is around the same at this point in January 2010. But Republicans have an edge over Democrats in anticipation.
“Currently,” the polling firm noted, “63% of Republicans and 53% of Democrats say they are anticipating the midterm elections; a similar gap was evident four years ago (60% of Republicans vs. 48% of Democrats).”
That’s an ominous sign for Democrats. But there is still a lot of time between now and November, and anything can happen, as has been pointed out in this space before. Congressional Republicans could, for example, overplay their hand on big issues that may either hurt them with their base or needed independent voters, who aren’t looking forward to the mid-terms as everybody else.
Unless there is a game-changing event, like another government shutdown, Republicans will almost certainly hold the House. Control of the Senate, however, is entirely up for grabs. Republicans need a net-six seats to win the chamber, and most political analysts and prognosticators have practically given them three — Montana, South Dakota, and West Virginia.
Americans are increasingly declaring their independence from the two major political parties in the era of hyperpartisanship, according to a new Gallup poll, and they’re doing so in record numbers.
The poll found that a record 42% of Americans identify themselves as independents in 2013, up from the 40% in 2012. The figures represent the average for the entire year in which the polling was conducted.
The quarterly numbers found a sharp increase throughout 2013, with 37% identifying themselves as independent. That number rose gradually throughout the year, reaching 46% in the fourth quarter. The government shutdown happened at the beginning of October and the Obamacare meltdown which occurred through out the last three months of the year.
The bad news for Republicans is that fewer Americans are identifying with them. Gallup found that just 25% self-identify as Republicans, down from 34% in 2004 and 29% in 2010, the year that the GOP won 60-plus seats in the House of Representatives. The poll found that those who identify themselves as Democrats remained steady at 31%.
Including independents who lean Republican, the GOP gets 41%, down from 45% in 2011. Democrats attract 47%, which, again, is steady from 2012, but up slightly from a couple years ago.
A legislative aide to a Colorado state senator alleges that he was fired for visiting a colleague and friend who works inside a Republican office, according to a report from Campus Reform (emphasis added):
Tyler Drum, a 21-year-old homosexual aide to Democrat state Senator Irene Aguilar, was fired on the spot from his position in the Colorado Senate because he allegedly visited the office of a fellow college aide who happens to work for a Republican.
Drum, a 2013 graduate of Colorado State University, told Campus Reform that Aguilar did not explain why he had been fired.
“She just said leadership was uncomfortable with me befriending Republicans,” Drum said.
Drum, who is a registered Democrat, is disappointed in his firing.
“I thought this would happen on the Republican side, now I’m a disenchanted Democrat,” he said.
Colorado Democrats saw their majority in the legislature’s upper chamber diminished last year after pro-Second Amendment activists successfully recalled two anti-gun state senators, including Senate President John Morse (D-Colorado Springs). The grassroots activists were motivated by onerous gun control measures passed by the state legislature.
A third state senator who was the target of a recall effort resigned to ensure that Colorado Democrats would maintain control of the seat. Moreover, recent polls out of Colorado show that Gov. John Hickenlooper, a Democrat, could be vulnerable this fall, depending on who Republicans decide to run against him.
Staring down what could be a tough year, President Barack Obama and congressional Democrats are focusing their message on the tired theme of “income inequality,” focusing state-based measures to raise the minimum wage and extend jobless benefits to the long-term unemployed.
But the focus on heavy-handed and expensive government programs is misguided. In an op-ed yesterday at The New York Times, Laurence Kotlikoff explained that the best way to help American workers is to eliminate the corporate income tax.
“That might sound like a giveaway to the rich. It’s not,” wrote Kotlikoff, an economic professor at Boston University. “The rich, including Boeing’s stockholders, can take their companies and run — and not just from Washington State to, say, North Carolina.”
“To avoid our federal corporate tax, they can, and often do, move their operations and jobs abroad,” he noted. “Apple’s tax return says it all: The company, according to one calculation, paid only 8.2 percent of its worldwide profits in United States corporate income taxes, thanks to piling up most of its profits and locating far too many of its operations overseas.”
Republicans enter 2014 with optimism that this could be their year to take control of the Senate. There are many factors that will come into play when voters head to the polls in November — including their opinions of President Barack Obama and the economy. But Larry Sabato believes that Republicans could win it all this year.
In an article at Politico Magazine, Sabato, director of the University of Virginia Center for Politics, explains that while the economy is improving “voters still don’t believe their personal economy, at least, has picked up much.” He also notes that Obamacare is “at this point is a loser for Democrats.”
Sabato believes that Republicans will maintain their majority in the House, despite some open seats that could be picked up by Democrats. That means that all eyes are on the Senate, specifically, the seven seats currently held by Democrats in the states that Mitt Romney won in 2012.
“In 2014 the Senate map unmistakably favors Republicans—although they have recent experience in throwing away their inherent advantages,” Sabato wrote. “The GOP almost automatically inherits the Democratic seats held by Sens. Tim Johnson and Jay Rockefeller in the red states of South Dakota and West Virginia, with a better-than-even chance for the Montana seat of Max Baucus (and his probable appointed Democratic successor, Lt. Gov. John Walsh).”
The Republican National Committee has taken to the airwaves in several states and congressional districts in an effort to remind voters that Democrats lied when they promised Americans that they could keep their health insurance plans under Obamacare.
The ad is It plays off the PolitiFact “Lie of the Year” dishonor recently given to President Obama for his now-infamous health plan promise. It’s worth noting that the promise was also repeated by a number of House and Senate Democrats, including Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-LA), who is among those targeted by this ad.
“So what’s your New Year’s resolution? Here’s one you can keep. Resolve to keep Senator Mary Landrieu honest in 2014,” says the narrator. “President Obama and Landrieu said if you like your insurance plan you can keep it under ObamaCare. They lied to you. Big time. PolitiFact called that the “lie of the year.”
“Millions will lose their insurance—and their doctors,” the narrator notes. “2014 is your chance to hold Landrieu accountable. Tell her this is one New Year’s resolution you’re sticking to.”
Well, this is entirely unsurprising. With Obamacare looking like a political liability for Democrats in the 2014 mid-term election, the White House and its Leftist allies are looking to launch initiatives to raise the minimum wage in states where vulnerable incumbents face tough bids for re-election:
Democratic Party leaders, bruised by months of attacks on the new health care program, have found an issue they believe can lift their fortunes both locally and nationally in 2014: an increase in the minimum wage.
The effort to take advantage of growing populism among voters in both parties is being coordinated by officials from the White House, labor unions and liberal advocacy groups.
“It puts Republicans on the wrong side of an important value issue when it comes to fairness,” said Dan Pfeiffer, the president’s senior adviser. “You can make a very strong case that this will be a helpful issue for Democrats in 2014. But the goal here is to actually get it done. That’s why the president put it on the agenda.”
At the same time, Democratic campaign officials and liberal activists — conceding that Democrats face tough prospects in some Senate races — are working to put minimum-wage increases on the ballot next year in places like Arkansas, Alaska and South Dakota. The hope is to stoke Democratic turnout in conservative-leaning states where the party’s Senate candidates have been put on the defensive by the mishandled rollout of the Affordable Care Act.
Staring down the possibility of a building GOP wave in the 2014 mid-term election, the Democratic National Committee (DNC) is trying to raise money before the end of the year by highlighting comments made by a handful of Republicans about impeaching President Barack Obama:
A DNC blog post that was emailed to donors on Saturday features quotes from Republican members of Congress talking about impeaching Obama.
“We can have an impeachment hearing in the House and in my mind, the president has committed impeachable offenses,” Rep. Michelle Bachmann (R-Minn.) is quoted as saying.
“If we were to impeach the president tomorrow, you could probably get the votes in the House of Representatives to do it,” is another quote, from Rep. Blake Farenthold (R-Texas).
The blog then concludes with the message, “Show these Republicans that they are way, way off-base, and give President Obama a Congress that has his back.”
It asks for donations for Democrats running in 2014 before midnight on Tuesday, the end of the year. It notes Democrats “only need to win 17 Republican seats to win back the House of Representatives.” Political observers generally do not expect Democrats to win back the House. The president’s party usually loses seats in the House in midterm elections.
Well, it’s not like they can fundraise off the great year President Obama had. After all, he faced scandal after scandal and watched Obamacare, his signature domestic achievement, unravel before his eyes.
With around 11 months to go until voters head to the polls, commentators are beginning to wonder what impact Obamacare will play in the 2014 mid-term election. Polling data on everything from the law’s tepid support to President Obama’s dismal job approval rating to generic congressional ballot show that Democrats should brace themselves.
But a lot can change in the course of 11 months. It’s an eternity in politics. In October, Republicans were reeling in the polls only to find themselves back on top just weeks later after the botched Obamacare rollout and the firestorm over canceled health plans.
Though he’s mindful of that a lot can change, John Fund surmises that the political landscape could possibly become even more toxic for Democrats, pointing recent polling from CNN which found a lack of enthusiasm from their base:
What worries Democrats the most is that their base voters will be unenthusiastic about voting in a year when President Obama isn’t himself on the ballot. The CNN poll has some evidence backing up that fear. It finds that only 22 percent of Democrats are currently extremely or very enthusiastic about voting. At the same time, 36 percent of Republicans can’t wait to find a polling booth and register their discontent.