The 2010 elections will hit moderate, conservative House Democrats hardest

by: Chris Bowers

Thu Nov 19, 2009 at 16:33


Which House Democrats are in danger in 2010?  According to the Cook Political Report, mainly it appears to be Blue Dogs and New Dems, and unaffiliated Democrats:

Cook Political Report's 34 most endangered Democratic incumbents
Member District Blue Dog? New Dem? Progressive?
Total --- 12 10 3
Bright AL-02 Yes Yes No
Griffith AL-05 Yes Yes No
Snyder AR-02 No Yes No
Mitchell AZ-05 Yes Yes No
McNerney CA-11 No No No
Markey C0-04 No No No
Grayson FL-08 No No Yes
Kosmas FL-24 No Yes No
Minnick ID-01 Yes No No
Foster IL-14 No Yes No
Hill IN-09 Yes No No
Schauer MI-07 No Yes No
Kratovil MD-01 Yes Yes No
Skelton MO-04 No No No
Childers MS-01 Yes No No
Kissell NC-08 No No No
Shea-Porter NH-01 No No No
Teague NM-02 No No No
Bishop NY-01 No No No
Hall NY-19 No No Yes
Owens NY-23 No No No
Arcuri NY-24 Yes Yes No
Massa NY-29 No No Yes
Driehaus OH-01 No No No
Kilroy OH-15 No No No
Boccieri OH-16 No Yes No
Space OH-18 Yes No No
Spratt SC-05 No No No
Gordon TN-06 Yes No No
Tanner TN-08 Yes No No
Edwards TX-17 No No No
Nye VA-02 Yes No No
Perriello VA-05 No No No
Kagen WI-08 No No No
Given how few Progressives are in danger, in the extended entry I discuss how the 2010 elections are likely to increase Progressive power in the House Democratic caucus.

More in the extended entry.

Chris Bowers :: The 2010 elections will hit moderate, conservative House Democrats hardest
For hypothetical purposes, if all of these Democrats lost to Republicans, and there was no other switch in the partisan control of any seat in Congress, the power balance within the Democratic House caucus would shift as follows:

Three major Democratic ideological House caucuses as a percentage of overall Democratic caucus (full voting House members, only)
Congress Blue Dogs New Dems Progressives
111th 20.2% 26.4% 30.6%
112th 17.7% 25.9% 33.9%
In this scenario, the overall Democratic advantage drops to a narrow, 224-211.  Blue Dogs become a smaller percentage of the overall Democratic caucus, New Dems remain about the same, and Progressives noticeably increase their share.

Now, this would not necessarily weaken overall Blue Dog power.  First, they could easily replenish their numbers, as there are many members of the House who want to be in the Blue Dogs but whose applications were rejected.  Second, with a smaller overall Democratic majority, fewer Blue Dogs would be needed to create a Republican plus Blue Dog majority.

However, what if we were to tweak this situation with successful activism on behalf of House Progressives?  For example, what if Grayson, Hall and Massa were all able to hold onto their seats, if Progressives won primary challenges against Blue Dogs Jane Harman and John Barrow, if Progressives won the open seat in AL-07 and one other Democratic district, and if Progressives were able to take over Republican held seats in LA-02, IL-10, DE-AL, and one other blue district?

In that scenario, Democrats would hold a 231-204 majority.  Progressives would become 39.0% of the caucus, New Dems 23.8%, and Blue Dogs 16.5%.  In fact, given the significant cross-over between the New Dems and Blue Dogs, there would actually be slightly more House Democrats in the Progressive Caucus than in the New Dem or Blue Dogs caucus combined (although I should note there are a handful of House Democrats who are both New Dems and Progressives).

In a year where Democrats seem likely to suffer at least some House losses, the idea that Progressives could actually gain seats is intriguing and hopeful.  We could then follow-up in 2012 by running more Progressives against Republicans, and winning many of the numerous primary challenges that will inevitably result from redistricting.  Suddenly, a Blue Dog-proof majority in the House by 2012 actually seems like a possibility.

It will take a lot of work, but the progressive electoral infrastructure to make this happen in strengthening all the time.  Certainly, it will be a top project of Open Left over the next three years.


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Great idea, Chris. (4.00 / 4)
It makes me hopeful.  

Except (0.00 / 0)
about Grayson!

[ Parent ]
What about the members of no caucus? (0.00 / 0)
There are, by my count, 14 Democrats unaffiliated with any of the ideological caucuses.  One presumes that they are generally to the left of Blue Dogs.  If one categorized the Steve Kagens and the Tom Perriellos and Betsy Markeys according to which ideological caucus their voting most resembles, how would those seats break down?

Things You Don't Talk About in Polite Company: Religion, Politics, the Occasional Intersection of Both

Is it possible to put Collin Peterson of MN on the list... (4.00 / 1)
for example by finding and helping fund a strong primary opponent?

There is no such thing as a free market.

No (0.00 / 0)
He seems to be a safe incumbent whose district will lean Republican when he retires.  He is strong because his constituents support him personally not because he has a D attached to his name.

Things You Don't Talk About in Polite Company: Religion, Politics, the Occasional Intersection of Both

[ Parent ]
The flaw in your calculus (4.00 / 3)
Will an increased percentage of progressives as a portion of the House decrease the likelihood that they will fold? Will it decrease  percentage of Blue Dogs increase the likelihood that the remaining conservative Democrats will fold? If not, the calculus seems flawed. The numbers are not the problem right now, is it? I mean- did those numbers force the Democrats to fold or did they fold because as you just wrote about the Senate:

"The Senate bill reduces the number of people uninsured in this country by roughly two-thirds, thus potentially saving 30,000 lives a year.  The House bill will reduce the number of uninsured by roughly 75%, thus potentially saving 36,000 lives a year.

By no means does this solve the health care problems we face in America, but this is still a real achievement. "

I actually favor the House bill too. But, I question whether outcomes would have changed due to different concentrations of progressives to conservatives when the real issue seems to be willingness to fold on key issues. So long as conservatives are willing to go all in, and you are not, that puts you at a distinct disadvantage regardless of the pot size.


The goal should be to (0.00 / 0)
get the number of Progressives up and Blue Dogs down to the point where we could lose every Blue Dog and still be at 218 votes to pass whatever the hell we want.

At that point the Blue Dogs will have no more bargaining power.


[ Parent ]
This is the basis of a strategy (4.00 / 2)
Let's call it the Democratic Lifeboat.  Let's put together a pot of money which will go to named progressives on this list.  Not to other causes but to progressives who will sign up for certain core principles.  If we are focused on the 3 progressives in a the above list and have a couple of million dollars to spend we will have a lot of power.  If on the other hand, when we think that our three members are safe, we can prioritize the triple no people in that list.  Money is of course only one way, we also can recruit volunteers, man phone banks etc.   This would be a positive side

A less positive side might be to have everyone who gave money to one of these endangered non-progressives (through Act Blue) to reply to fund raising appeals from them with a note saying, "no, I don't give to people who betray Democratic values". and copy some central point.   This would allow someone to say to a group of rightest Democrats (and leadership)  X people who gave Y dollars last time have refused explicitly because of these votes.

Life boat is an expression from an earlier generation.  The more contemporary one would be "I gave you Y dollars last time but because of your votes on zzz, I am voting you off the island."


What are those certain core principles? (0.00 / 0)
Progressives have had problems because there's no agreement on a list of core principles.  You get a list of twenty issues and anyone who is okay on 17 or 18 of them is deemed progressive enough, which means there are always enough dissenters on any given issue to weaken the strength of progressives.  

I think five is an appropriate number of items on that list. Can you make that list?  

Things You Don't Talk About in Polite Company: Religion, Politics, the Occasional Intersection of Both


[ Parent ]
Prospective Blue Dogs' applications were REJECTED?! (4.00 / 1)
for what, not being a big enough asshole?

The Blue Dogs cap their membership (0.00 / 0)
At 20% of the size of the Democratic Caucus.

Things You Don't Talk About in Polite Company: Religion, Politics, the Occasional Intersection of Both

[ Parent ]
Well that's dumb (0.00 / 0)
what's the sense in that?

[ Parent ]
Maintain Solidarity (4.00 / 1)
In theory its to maintain a level of consistency and solidarity within the group. Get too large, and the message becomes diluted.

The key for them is to always to have a group large enough to deny 218 votes if their "interests" aren't being met. Anything beyond that ranges from running up the score to a potential headache.  


[ Parent ]
This is really good analysis (0.00 / 0)
and it points towards who we should work for in 2010.

We should make a list of the Better Democrats we want to support and make it one of the permanent links at the top, along with the public option whip count and House/Senate forecasts.

So far, based off of this paragraph

However, what if we were to tweak this situation with successful activism on behalf of House Progressives?  For example, what if Grayson, Hall and Massa were all able to hold onto their seats, if Progressives won primary challenges against Blue Dogs Jane Harman and John Barrow, if Progressives won the open seat in AL-07 and one other Democratic district, and if Progressives were able to take over Republican held seats in LA-02, IL-10, DE-AL, and one other blue district?

that list would be

Democratic Incumbents

Alan Grayson (FL-8)
John Hall (NY-19
Eric Massa (NY-29)

Democratic Primary Challengers

Marcy Winograd (CA-36)
Regina Thomas (GA-12)

Democratic Open Seats Candidates

AL-7 ???
one other district ???

Republican Open Seats Candidates

IL-10 ???
DE-AL ???

Republican Incumbent Challengers

LA-2 ???

one other district ???

Net progressive pickup: +8 seats

Now, we got to find people to plug in those questio


Ah crap (0.00 / 0)
Too bad we can't delete posts... ignore this one.

[ Parent ]
"Give us a bigger majority" worked out real well huh (0.00 / 0)
I have a mental exercise for those who consider themselves Democratic and Progressive.  I read about it in a book on the science of psychedelics, of all things, and have adapted it here.

Draw yourself a line segment.  Mark a dot at the left end and label it "Canada".  Mark a dot at the right end and label it "Mexico".

Now find and mark the point on that line to the right of which you will NOT hold your nose and pull the lever for a candidate, regardless of their or your party affiliation, and instead certainly vote for a minor party candidate well to the left of that line.

If you put that mark anywhere in the right two-thirds of that line, maybe "left" is the wrong word for you.


MORE Pathetics Will = ??? (0.00 / 0)
We outnumber the sell out dogs and we get rolled-

Stu-Pid-Pak is the same ol same ol shit that's been going on for decades, as our noblerer smarterer nicerer betterer goody two shoes get slapped around and their milk money taken ...

ooops! I was thinking about grammar school playgrounds!

How dare I compare our highly educated, highly credentialed, highly titled "lions" to cowering bully punching bags!

What kind of progressives are we going to get?

While I can appreciate that we have progressives who don't sleep with a copy of The Prince next to their bed, we currently have progressives who are so morally superior they think that by humming "My Favorite Things" the world will get better. IF everyone is upbeat, THEN the world will be upbeat!

Good riddance to the fascist sell out blue dogs - and pelosi while we're at it.  I hope we get more than more diaper shitters and more bed wetters.

rmm.  

It is too full o' the milk of human kindness To catch the nearest way


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