Jon Ossoff Loses Georgia Race, But All Four Special Elections Show GOP Edge Dramatically Cut From Elections In November 2016

All of the four Congressional special elections, due to sitting Republican Congressmen taking positions in the Trump Administration, were won by Republicans, but in all four districts, the margin of victory was much closer than the races for those seats in November 2016.

It is disappointing that Jon Ossoff lost the race in the Georgia Congressional District, but Karen Handel’s margin of victory is one fifth what it was for Tom Price last year.

The same for Ryan Zinke’s seat in Montana; Mike Pompeo’s seat in Kansas; and also Nick Mulvaney’s seat in South Carolina.

But one must realize all four districts are strong Red districts, so the massive narrowing of the margin of victory is a major story.

The reality is that 23 Congressional districts with Republican wins in 2016 were also Congressional districts won by Hillary Clinton, and none of these four special elections were among those 23 districts.

So it comes down to the reality that IF Democrats can win those Clinton districts, with all of the discontent and turmoil over Donald Trump and the Republican agenda, they would be on the way to a likely gain of the House of Representatives majority in 2018, whereby 24 seats need to be gained.

But to do so, the Democrats must be much more aggressive in their campaigning, and must vigorously work to recruit the best possible candidates, so that they can revive their fortunes before the Presidential Election of 2020.

This is NOT the time to be downcast over the Ossoff defeat, but to applaud how he cut down the Republican party edge in the district by about 19 points, and mobilized thousands of people to become engaged in politics, who had never done so before.

Confidence and optimism are the key words to be emphasized and pursued!

22 comments on “Jon Ossoff Loses Georgia Race, But All Four Special Elections Show GOP Edge Dramatically Cut From Elections In November 2016

  1. Pragmatic Progressive June 21, 2017 5:57 pm

    This nails how I feel:

    The Fight of Our Lives
    by Nancy LeTourneau
    June 21, 2017 3:25 PM

    Every morning I start off with the best of intentions. I’m going to read the news and write about issues that are emerging. And then I run across stories like the one today about how this White House seems intent on making life a living hell for any brown person in this country. Or about how the EPA director wants to silence scientists. And then I get depressed.

    When I turn to what liberals are talking about, I hear arguments over whether Democrats should be reaching out to Trump or Romney voters. I hear otherwise sane liberals writing about how Democrats need a substantive agenda after hearing other folks rail that Hillary Clinton was too wonky. I hear endless arguments over whether Democrats should go after white suburbanites or white rural voters, the college educated or non-college educated.

    All of this makes me want to scream, “What the h-e-l-l is wrong with you people?”

    In this country right now we have a Republican House Speaker who bragged about his dream of getting rid of health care for poor people since he was attending keggers in college. We have a Republican Majority Leader in the Senate who is working in secret to take health care away from millions of people in order to give a tax cut to his rich friends. And we have a Republican President who…well, that one is going to require a list.

    1. After only five months in office is under investigation for obstruction of justice and whether or not his campaign coordinated with the Russians to win the election,
    2. Lies an average of 4-5 times a day,
    3. Doesn’t seem to know the basics about how our government works,
    4. Doesn’t seem interested in learning anything about how our government works,
    5. Is obviously mentally unfit to be president,
    6. Adheres to no real ideology other than sexism, racism and xenophobia,
    7. Attacks anyone who attempts to hold him accountable,
    8. Is constantly under suspicion because he won’t release his tax returns or divest himself of business holdings,
    9. Has the self-control of a two year-old,
    10. Vacillates between being a laughing stock and an opponent to our allies abroad,
    11. Has an obvious preference for brutal autocrats,
    12. Has assembled a staff full of white nationalists and those whose history has been spent undermining the very mission of the agencies they are running.

    I am reminded of that time during the presidential campaign when Obama warned us that democracy and justice were on the ballot. He was right. When I get depressed its because I feel like I’m losing my mind as we watch the very foundations that have held this country together being slowly stripped away one little piece at a time. We keep focusing on that one little piece, which is understandable. But that means we’ve zeroed in on a tree when the whole forest is in the process of being burned down.

    In light of that it seems ridiculous to be arguing about whether or not we need to appeal to people who live in the suburbs or rural areas. Just as most of the disagreements on the left that we’re hearing about right now seem trivial in comparison to the challenge we face. This is an “all hands on deck” moment where we need to take in the big picture of what’s going on and understand what is at stake. That is why what Adam Gopnik wrote resonated with me so powerfully.

    What’s needed against Trump now is what has been found in France—not an ideologically narrow, politically focussed opposition but the widest possible coalition of people who genuinely value the tenets of democracy, meaning no more than the passionate desire to settle differences by debate and argument, rather than by power and cruelty and clan.

    We can disagree over the specifics of how we get to universal health care, or whether Democrats should push for free college for everyone. But those kinds of arguments don’t capture the two major battles that are front and center right now. The first is whether or not we’re going to roll back the progress we’ve made as a country over the last 50-60 years, and the second is whether or not our democracy will survive this assault. I’m ready to reach out to anyone who’s willing to take on that fight right now.

    This, to me, is the fight of our lives. If you’ve ever wondered how you would react during the major challenges this country has faced over our history, now is your time to find out.

  2. D June 22, 2017 3:29 pm

    Here is an interesting response to the very recent Special Georgia #06 U.S. House runoff election…–hoskx8tC8

  3. Princess Leia June 22, 2017 4:41 pm

    South Carolina had a special election as well. Some info about that:

    What Parnell Did in South Carolina to Make it a Close Race
    by Nancy LeTourneau
    June 22, 2017 10:22 AM

    One thing that hasn’t been mentioned about the two special elections on Tuesday is that they both happened in states that are the heart of the Southern Confederacy. Perhaps that’s because they took place in districts that had been gerrymandered to maximize the white vote. But as Jason Johnson points out, that doesn’t mean that racial dynamics weren’t involved.

    In the South—even the “educated” suburban South of a teeming multicultural metropolis like Atlanta—racial dynamics and party dynamics overlap in inescapable ways. White people generally don’t vote for the Democratic Party in Georgia, or any other Southern state. The idea that a coalition of educated suburban whites would actually team up with black voters to send a message to Donald Trump from Georgia was a fantasy created by the blue screen and CGI of outside Democratic analysts who want a happy ending to the Trump narrative in eight months.

    In Georgia’s 6th District, African Americans are only about 13 percent of the population. But in South Carolina’s 5th District, they make up almost 30 percent. Not many media outlets reported on what happened in that race until Archie Parnell beat the odds against Ralph Norman and lost by only 3 percent. Here’s what made it unique:

    See Twitter link in article

    Much of the commentary on the left about this race has involved the kinds of dualities that have consumed those still caught up in the Clinton/Sanders primary. While some have attempted to propose various reasons why Parnell did so much better than expected, they have mostly ignored what Democrats and the candidate actually set out to do.

    The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, the biggest outside contributor to the race, has spent $275,000 to test a host of messages aimed at driving black voters to the polls. The results, officials say, will inform Democratic turnout efforts in African-American communities in the 2018 elections.

    “We’re aiming to try to get out 40,000 voters from the African-American community, and with that we’d be in a good place to win,” Mr. Parnell said. “No one knows how many people are going to vote. Whether we’ll be successful, time will tell.”

    Mr. Parnell has spent his 15-week campaign in black churches, barber shops and community events arguing that Mr. Trump is reversing the legacy of President Barack Obama. He speaks regularly about the Affordable Care Act’s protections for diabetes and heart disease, ailments that disproportionately affect the black community, and the high incarceration rate of black South Carolinians.

    “There is more excitement and more activity regarding this election than we’ve had in a long time,” said Melvin Poole, a former president of the NAACP chapter in Rock Hill, S.C.

    Here’s the results of that strategy:

    See other Twitter link in article

    Ruthven went on to tweet that, “Archie Parnell increased black votes and made inroads with whites, that’s why it was close. That’s the Southern Democrat Holy Grail.”

    While it is discouraging that Parnell lost, this is exactly what Democrats need to be doing in districts like South Carolina’s 5th. One size does not fit all and it probably wouldn’t have helped much in Georgia’s 6th. But I hope that the lessons learned from Parnell’s race are chronicled and then implemented again in 2018 in places where African American turnout can make the difference. Simply assuming that without Barack Obama at the top of the ticket means that Democrats have to look elsewhere for votes doesn’t cut it.

  4. Ronald June 22, 2017 5:04 pm

    Princess Leia and Southern Liberal, I tend to agree with what you have posted.

    D, I know you have a different view, and I respect that, but I do NOT see Sanders as the future of the Democratic Party, and I see the close races in the four states with special elections a good sign for Democratic gains in districts that Hillary won that have Republicans. To have expected victory in hard right RED districts was unreasonable, as I see it.

    I do not have a great admiration for Jimmy Dore’s view, but I welcome all debate, of course!

  5. Former Republican June 22, 2017 5:47 pm

    Joy Reid posted on her Twitter page about how someone in Trump’s base reacted to the disabled protestors:

    I’ve given up trying to understand or reach out to the Trumpies, as I call them.

  6. Pragmatic Progressive June 22, 2017 6:58 pm

    Speaking of divide, some info regarding the urban/rural divide.

    The Urban/Rural Divide Is More Cultural Than Economic
    by Nancy LeTourneau
    June 19, 2017 11:11 AM

    Over the weekend the Washington Post released the findings from their latest poll with the Kaiser Family Foundation that looked at rural and small-town America. Here is their summary statement:

    The political divide between rural and urban America is more cultural than it is economic, rooted in rural residents’ deep misgivings about the nation’s rapidly changing demographics, their sense that Christianity is under siege and their perception that the federal government caters most to the needs of people in big cities, according to a wide-ranging poll that examines cultural attitudes across the United States.

    This is a big part of the reason why they say the divide is more cultural than economic:

    Rural voters who lament their community’s job prospects report supporting Trump by 14 percentage points more than Clinton, but Trump’s support was about twice that margin — 30 points — among voters who say their community’s job opportunities are excellent or good. Trump also earned about the same level of support from those who say they don’t worry about paying their bills as those who couldn’t pay their bills at some point in the past year.

    On the cultural divide, the part of this finding that should cause concern for Democrats is the “perception that the federal government caters most to the needs of people living in big cities.”

    The largest fissures between Americans living in large cities and those in less-dense areas are rooted in misgivings about the country’s changing demographics and resentment about perceived biases in federal assistance, according to the poll…

    The poll reveals that perceptions about abuse of government benefits often go hand in hand with views about race.

    When asked which is more common — that government help tends to go to irresponsible people who do not deserve it or that it doesn’t reach people in need — rural Americans are more likely than others to say they think people are abusing the system. And across all areas, those who believe irresponsible people get undeserved government benefits are more likely than others to think that racial minorities receive unfair privileges.

    It is interesting to note, however, that 67 percent or rural respondents say that people in their community rely a great deal or a fair amount on the federal government to get by, while 41 percent report that they (or a family member in their household) received public assistance in the last year (compared to 35 percent of urban respondents).

    When it comes to what the federal government should do to improve the job situation in their area, 68 percent say that lowering government regulations is important and 79 percent say lowering taxes on businesses is important.

    On the specific issue of Republican plans to repeal/replace Obamacare, a majority of rural voters (54 percent) support that effort, while a majority of urban (58 percent) and suburban (52 percent) voters oppose it.

    In summary, the Republican Southern Strategy seems to have effectively conflated government intervention with assistance to the “underserving,” who are consciously or unconsciously associated with urban people of color. I found this quote fascinating:

    “Being from a rural area, everyone looks out for each other,” said Ryan Lawson, who grew up in northern Wisconsin. “People, in my experience, in cities are not as compassionate toward their neighbor as people in rural parts.”

    In other words, it is difficult to relate these views to a lack of compassion. They are more the result of a distrust of government combined with a fear of people who aren’t part of “us.”

  7. D June 22, 2017 7:12 pm

    Ronald writes, “D, I know you have a different view, and I respect that, but I do NOT see Sanders as the future of the Democratic Party…”

    I’m not focusing on the “future of the Democratic Party” right now. Its present is a disaster.

    The following interview, which happened before the Special Election of Georgia #06, is between Kate Halper and “What’s the Matter with Kansas” and “Listen, Liberal: Or, What Ever Happened to the Party of the People?” Thomas Frank. It is also very interesting.

  8. Ronald June 22, 2017 7:32 pm

    Thanks, D, for this and other videos you have posted, much appreciated, and worthy of thought!

  9. Pragmatic Progressive June 22, 2017 8:38 pm

    The wealthcare bill, a.k.a., Trumpcare, shows that it is the Republicans who are the party that is against the poor and the middle class, NOT the Democrats. This horrible bill the Republicans have come up with, which most voters overwhelmingly disapprove of, hands enormous tax cuts to the rich and to the drug and insurance industries, paid for by cutting health care for everybody else.

    This cartoon editorial sums up what the Republicans are doing:

  10. Princess Leia June 22, 2017 8:53 pm

    Why Moral Victories Matter in Special Elections
    by Nancy LeTourneau
    June 21, 2017 9:47 AM

    I can guarantee you that any Democrat who claims a “moral victory” in any of the special elections that have happened this year will be drowned out with claims that winning is all that matters. There is some truth in that. As in most competitions, coming in second doesn’t count for much.

    But special elections don’t matter all that much in and of themselves. The reason they garner so much attention is because they are seen as harbingers of what is to come in midterm and general elections. Beyond winning, it is important to keep that in mind when analyzing the results.

    So what can we learn from the special elections in Georgia and South Carolina yesterday, combined with what happened in Kansas and Montana earlier this year?

    The first thing to keep in mind is the reason there was a special election in the first place. All of these seats opened up because the representative was chosen by Donald Trump to serve in his administration. In other words, they were previously held by Ray Zinke, Mike Pompeo, Mick Mulvaney and Tom Price. That makes all of these districts solid red in their leanings. Here’s a look at the history in Georgia’s 6th:

    See Twitter link in article

    We can now fill in that last number. Karen Handel won by 4 percent. A lot of people will point to the fact that Ossoff performed worse that Clinton in the presidential race, where Trump won the district 48-47. But that is the point. In 2012, Obama lost this same district by 23 points. Donald Trump and the Republicans are hemorrhaging support in a district that not only elected Tom Price, but Newt Gingrich for years. Looking at the forest instead of the trees tells us that doesn’t portend well for them. Here is how David Wasserman captured that when it comes to all four special elections this year:

    See Twitter link in article

    From the Cook Political Report, “PVI measures how each district performs at the presidential level compared to the nation as a whole.” On average, these four Democrats outperformed their district’s PVI by 8 points. That’s huge. A trend like that could put a lot of Republican congressional seats in play.

    Because these elections all happened in deeply red districts, several people on Twitter last night were comparing Democratic losses to what happened to Republicans in 2009.

    See Twitter link in article

    Six out of seven of those special elections were held because the incumbent was chosen to be part of the Obama administration—the same scenario we’re experiencing now, only in reverse. At least one GOP operative was not ready to celebrate yet.

    See Twitter link in article

    That is as good of an example as you’ll find for why, when trying to gauge what special elections portend for midterms, it is important to consider the moral victories.

    Finally, in applying any lessons from these special elections to the 2018 midterms or 2020 presidential election, there is the unpredictable. John Harwood captured that:

    See Twitter link in article

    We don’t know what might happen over the next year or three years. I doubt you’ll find a Democrat who assumes that the policies of Trump and the Republicans will fare very well. So things aren’t likely to swing in their direction. But it is very possible that both domestically and abroad, the situation will get worse. I’m not happy being a doomsayer, but that is simply the reality we’re living in right now.

    Does that mean that Republicans will pay a price in 2018 or 2020? If we’re extrapolating to those elections from the four we’ve witnessed so far this year, that is the unknown. But it is a safe bet to assume that whatever happens won’t be good news for Republicans.

    Update: David Wasserman added this commentary to his tweet up above:

    If Democrats were to outperform their “generic” share by eight points across the board in November 2018, they would pick up 80 seats. Of course, that won’t happen because Republican incumbents will be tougher to dislodge than special election nominees. But these results fit a pattern that should still worry GOP incumbents everywhere…

  11. Princess Leia June 22, 2017 9:28 pm

    Seconded, Southern Liberal! In the comments section, postings showing that both he and Tim Kaine and other Democratic Congressmen from our state are vowing to fight these Medicaid cuts.

  12. Former Republican June 23, 2017 10:40 am

    Trumpcare is proof that elections matter. That’s why it’s important to vote.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.