0.

It took me nearly a week to finally be emotionally and intellectually able to write this piece, but write it I will. Joe Biden is our President-Elect. Donald Trump has been defeated. Kamala Harris has made history. People danced in the street, they cried tears of joy, they prayed, they rejoiced. For me, Saturday was one of the most moving days I have ever had. The sting of Hillary Clinton’s loss obviously hit me personally, I worked for both of Hillary’s Presidential campaigns, but it hit me even more personally than that. Rarely in the Trump era did I feel targeted by his vitriol, because I’m a white, straight, Catholic, suburban raised man, and he wasn’t trying to scapegoat me. I watched his policies and his rhetoric aimed directly at the heart of family, friends, and acquaintances alike, and felt helpless. It made me angry. The feelings I had this past weekend were so much different, so much better. I watched millions of people genuinely rejoice, dance in the string, and dance. For the first time in my political career, none of the bureaucratic BS of the campaign mattered at all to me. I was just proud of what I had been a part of. Nothing mattered to me but how this made people feel. It’s a new day.

Now, some notes…

The man of the hour.

An ode to Joe Biden.

We don’t give Joe Biden enough credit for what a master politician he is. Just the black and white ink of his resume should have been proof enough- Senate Judiciary Chair, Senate Foreign Relations Chair, seven times elected Senator, two-term Vice-President of the United States, and yes, now the President-Elect. We tend to view Joe Biden through his losses, and lose site of what he’s achieved, be it personal or political. This man is one of the great American statesmen and politicians of post-World War II America. Don’t mistake him for a saint, but don’t dismiss him as Barack Obama’s “crazy uncle #2” either.

Joe Biden was in my top tier in this race from day one (along with Harris, Booker, and Klobuchar), so obviously I’m thrilled with this outcome. Obviously being a part of his team, this is personally fulfilling as well. A lot of people ask me why I felt he was right though, and I’ll give you this anecdote- on Super Tuesday in headquarters, I declared very early in the day that Biden would win Massachusetts, and I was basically laughed at (one super senior staff member simply replied “that won’t happen.”). A buddy on the campaign asked me if I was serious, to which I replied kinda yes, and he asked me why. I asked him what other candidate could possibly win Rep. Pressley (The Squad) and Rep. Lynch’s (Irish Catholic moderate) Boston districts. My point played out pretty well. Biden could build the broadest coalition in the race, because he could speak to and empathize with the most people. He’s got Bill Clinton abilities, combined with the experience of the Obama White House, and the wisdom of years. All of that played huge against Trump.

So much to see here…

The Broken Democratic Brand…

After 2016, one of the criticisms of the Democratic Party was that “the brand” was broken. The party had lost power in all three branches of the federal government at that time, and our 2016 nominee had ended the race deeply unpopular. The argument was basically that Barack Obama had won twice largely on personal popularity. The party itself didn’t poll very well, and seemed to hemorrhage voters they used to get.

Joe Biden won Tuesday’s election, the Democratic Party did not. Let’s be honest beyond Biden about what kind of candidates were winning. Mark Kelly and John Hickenlooper were remarkably strong Senate candidates. Roy Cooper and Josh Stein in North Carolina are very powerful Governor and Attorney General candidates. Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro was the only Democratic row office candidate to win. House superstars like Lauren Underwood and Conor Lamb survived. Many of their freshman colleagues met a much harsher fate. Even at the Presidential level, Joe Biden joined Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton, and Barack Obama as the only Democrats of the post-LBJ/late 1960’s cultural revolution to win a national election. All were very gifted politicians and came to power on the back of a national crisis. We never win on generic ideology.

How bad are things though? In Pennsylvania, Democrats lost the popular vote for the US House by nearly 130k votes, at last glance. Democrats lost the entire New Hampshire state government, including both houses. Pennsylvania’s House and Senate Democrats sit at the exact same numbers they were at after the 2010 midterms. North Carolina’s legislature, just two years after Democrats broke the supermajorities, lost Democratic seats. Pennsylvania Republicans won their first row office victories in over a decade. New York State legislative Democrats lost seats. Minnesota and New Mexico Democrats lost Congressional races in good Presidential years.

I would not say 2020 was a terrible year for Democrats, but it was a correction of 2018’s majority. Like in 2016, late breaking voters seemed to decide giving us strong majorities was not in their interests. The reality is that Republicans have proven very capable of convincing voters to deny Democrats power, even in elections where they are rejecting the GOP. In 2018, Democrats were winning down ballot races in GOP strongholds. In 2020, Democrats lost some of those same seats back, limiting their ability to govern moving forward.

How it happened…

The Blame Game

Let’s dive into this week’s best political battle- the Conor Lamb’s of the world vs. the AOC’s of the world. I’ll start by stating the somewhat obvious- my politics aren’t a match with “the Squad,” and more so are with Lamb. With that said, I think that both sides have brought forward some interesting thoughts, both about Biden’s wins and the down ballot losses Democrats have suffered this cycle. For me, there’s lots of blame and credit to go around.

First off, I’ll state three obvious truths about Biden’s victory. First, there is no doubt that people of color, and more specifically their organizers, played a gigantic role in flipping Georgia, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Arizona, and holding Nevada. Second, there is no doubt that Biden’s being more acceptable to suburban moderates in those same states got him those last few percentages of the vote that he critically needed. Third, and I can’t believe I’m writing this, but the unity encouraged by Bernie, Elizabeth Warren, and “The Squad” played a critical part in avoiding the lack of enthusiasm we fought in 2016. If you remove any piece of this puzzle, Joe Biden probably becomes the third Democratic nominee this century to win the popular vote but lose the crucial states needed to win. With all this in mind, I have to say that I’m not denying anybody the credit they are being given for this victory. When someone says Stacey Abrams deserves credit for flipping Georgia, all I’m doing is nodding in agreement, because you ain’t wrong.

… but let’s talk about the losing we did too. This is a tough love portion that goes in two parts, with the first being the impact of further-left messaging on the difficult races, particularly swing states and districts. The use of the term “socialism,” which is somewhat misleading anyway by “new left” Democrats, is a non-starter with many immigrant populations (especially Latinos) and suburban voters (swing districts). It played a huge role in losing Florida and Texas, and more specifically swing Congressional districts. Pointing out that candidates who supported Medicare-for-All and the Green New Deal all won, while not pointing out that they represent safe blue districts, is dishonest at best. Talking about defunding the police, abolishing private health care, ending commercial flights, and phasing meat out of our diets, while quite popular in our liberal enclaves, is a straight ticket to defeat in the kinds of districts that you have to win to get a majority. For their popularity in blue districts, “the Squad” is a perfect boogeyman for Republicans to put front and center in their efforts to call moderate Democrats extremists. You can’t build a majority under the American government system for further-left politics. Fortunately, I don’t think the “socialist” messaging stuck to Biden in most places, particularly after he won a primary against that. It absolutely worked is scaring late-breaking voters in Florida, Maine, North Carolina, Texas, and Congressional districts in Nebraska, Oklahoma, Ohio, and even New York. It’s not about forcing everyone to be moderate, it’s about forcing them to be disciplined. If your policy isn’t to actually *defund* the police, don’t use words with that meaning to gin up voters who are already with us. If you’re not actually going to *seize the means of production,* don’t call yourself a socialist. Since anything you say will be used against you anyway, only give them words you mean to give them. I will give a rare rebuke to our leadership though on the Hill for this- if you don’t want AOC to be the face of the party in Iowa and Florida, start pushing some other voices out front and on TV more. If you don’t, don’t get mad later.

Let’s not limit the blame to just the progressives though. Not all of AOC’s critique of the party is wrong. The Democratic Party is not interested in party building at a precinct level, across the nation. Most state legislative caucuses are fully owned by their expensive television consultants, and their money flows there. AOC’s point about investing heavier into the online presence, which those of us in the industry call digital organizing, was proven right this cycle by those of us on the Biden campaign, who both organized Super Tuesday almost fully online, then spent literally months organizing digitally during the pandemic. Elections are literally won where the people are, not Washington, and that is online in communities, and at the most localized level, which is the precinct. Want some truth? Hillary lost Pennsylvania by 5 votes per precinct in 2016. Our organizing model does not view campaigns through that sort of lense (more later on this.).

So much fun…

The Waste of the Grassroots Donor

I don’t have to remind you that well-funded Democrats lost Senate races in Kentucky and South Carolina. I don’t have to remind you of the hundreds of millions of dollars wasted on these races, which you may have contributed to. I doubt I need to dive too far into the relative disappointment for Democrats, particularly on the House and Senate level, with how we performed relative to how well funded we were.

This is not something that would have even been a thought before Howard Dean’s 2004 Presidential campaign, and it wasn’t even conceivable until after 2008. The old big donors would ask the party leadership essentially where to donate. With the shift away from PACs and institutional donors, there’s no way to focus donations into the most flippable seats. Let’s be honest about some of the well funded Senate seats we lost- Kentucky, Montana, South Carolina, Kansas, and even Texas- were not supposed to be competitive for President. The money still flowed there. Small dollar donors as our primary life blood in donations means a lot of money will go to waste. They will donate with their hearts, not their heads, and that’s their right to. That doesn’t help though.

Back in the primaries, I ripped the DNC for using the number of donors as a criteria to make the stage. I said it forced candidates to chase the whims of Democratic activists, not the average, median voter back home. I maintain that criticism after this general election.

Turns out this stuff works.

The Failed Democratic Organizing Model.

I’m just going to cut straight to the chase here- The Democratic Organizing Model being used nationally basically exists to make it’s managers look good. That’s it. It’s there to produce large scale numbers that look good to your potential next employer. It’s not there to do much else.

I told you earlier that Hillary lost PA by 5 votes per precinct, which she did. Did we react to that by partnering with down ballot candidates to increase our vote share, precinct by precinct? No. We instead focused on macro change, with the focus on statewide autodialers and big shifting numbers. This is not a Pennsylvania specific problem, and even in a victory it showed up in our losses down ballot. Democrats will lose roughly a dozen Congressional races nationwide, and lost close state legislative races in swing states like North Carolina, Pennsylvania, and Texas. This is specifically why we can’t govern and have nice things.

The average organizer was managing 25 to 40 precincts total. The organizing model in an area that size should emphasize quality, not quantity and efficiency. We should be building a precinct captain structure, and running each district as it’s own mini race. Recruitment call goals should take a back seat to one on one’s and meeting with clubs, party committees, and active citizens. We should be less reliant on predictive analytics to tell us who to talk to, because we should have volunteers engaging their neighbors. We should organize, not phone bank. Our turfs are small enough to do so.

Don’t limit this to just organizing. Our constituency outreach is one-size fits all, and often times turns off more people than it should. Our political outreach often times has no idea who the local electeds are. Our press teams spend way too much time on statewide and national press. In short, I think Democratic campaigns are too big and bloated in their structure, and broken in their execution. We got through that this time, because people worked hard and our candidate was made for this race. That won’t happen automatically again.

El oh el…

What I Got Wrong

In the beginning of this race, I said we needed to nominate Biden or someone like him, who could beat Trump in the close states- because I said then that Trump would get every vote of his 46% from 2016, if not more. I was right then, more so than I was right at the end. To this point, Trump has received nine million more votes than he did last time, and sits around 47.5%, a 1.5% upward shift. While his campaign and White House seemed inept, and he was polling around 41-42%, the fact is that this race played out very similarly- most of the undecided voters were actually for Trump. Trumpism was about more than a campaign or policies, but was inherently cultural. He proved much of the Democratic professional class wrong- you don’t need to quantify everything and be precise in every calculation to succeed politically. You can do it through blunt force and speaking directly to an audience motivated by things without a policy objective. Political incorrectness is what motivates their base, and we learned in this election that trying to match that turns off some of the folks we need to build a majority.

As I suspected, the demographic divides in our politics began to crumble. Biden made gains among white voters, seniors, suburbanites, and independents. Trump made gains among black men and certain Latino groups. Demographics were not destiny. I over-estimated the impact that would have in a few swing-states though- namely Florida, Ohio, and North Carolina. The truth is that the era of monolithic demographic movements is coming to an end. With that end, our politics will almost certainly re-align some more. This is probably good for Democrats, if they embrace it, as the GOP did not pay a price for their embrace of Donald Trump really.

There is another silver lining- I do not see another Donald Trump. He is their turnout machine, and he will not be on the ballot in 2022. while others will try to embrace Trumpism, I sincerely doubt their ability to do it. While he is morally troubling and intellectually lazy, Donald Trump is the greatest marketing mind on the planet and he managed to sell himself- an inexperienced, personally flawed, policy lightweight- as the symbol of political masculinity, the anecdote to political correctness, and the pushback to Obamaism is America. He knew there was no market for Paul Ryan’s Ayn Rand crap, Cheney’s neocon wars, or even the moral smugness of much of the old school “Christian Conservatism” crowd. You may think a Tom Cotton, a Mike Pence, or Don Jr. can easily pick up his cause now, but you’ll likely find that is wrong. Much like Bill Clinton’s successors (Gore and Hillary) could not ride his popularity to the White House, and Barack Obama’s personal popularity didn’t push Hillary over in 2016, you’re likely to find its hard to find another Trump.

That’s all for now. I’ll gather this whole series up in one, later on.

14.

Well, we’re into the homestretch. With under two weeks to go, RCP has it 51-42.5%, or Biden plus 8.5%. Comparable to 2016, Biden’s lead is 2.9% bigger than Clinton’s. In yesterday’s polls, Biden lead by 8%, 9%, and 3% (in the one poll that gave Trump a final lead in 2016), which looks pretty healthy. If you look back at Clinton’s final 2016 RCP lead (3.3%), the thing that stands out is that she only hit 50% in one poll, and was often around 45%. Biden regularly hits 50%. 538 gives Biden an 87% chance of victory, while their polling average sits at 52.2-42% for Biden. Meanwhile, The Economist model gives Biden a 93% chance of victory, projecting a 346-192 win. None of this is close or good for Trump at this point.

Let’s talk about Trump insulting Erie during his stop there last night. There was no way he was coming, he didn’t have to. Really? One of the rather remarkable things about this election is how steady Joe Biden’s lead has really been since 2017. This President has never been very popular, compared to any predecessor in modern times. It is more likely than not that he is going to go down as having won a 2016 fluke, a statistical accident, than that he ever was really favored to win. Him thinking otherwise is both hilarious and insulting.

Could he win? It is statistically possible, and should be taken seriously until it’s called, but it’s unlikely. It is true that Trump finished 3.9% better than his RCP average, which was an almost identical 42.2% in 2016. It is also true that Gary Johnson and Jill Stein both lost close to a point from their averages though, a non-factor this time, and that Hillary finished 2.7% above her average as well. A similar change this time would push Biden close to 54%, a huge number for any modern nominee. The 2016 results were complicated and need to be read far deeper into than we often do. it’s highly unlikely to look the same in 2020.

Feeling confident as ever, more later…

21.

Without toss-ups…
With toss-ups…

In 2016, Donald Trump beat Hillary Clinton by narrowly pulling out Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Wisconsin. His margin in those three states was roughly 75K votes. Add on Florida, North Carolina, and Arizona, and his margin was roughly 450K votes. Flip those states? It’s a Democratic landslide. Throw in Ohio, Iowa, and Maine-2, which all flipped from Obama to Trump? You have a battleground.

Right now, I’m calling Joe Biden to flip all of these states but Iowa. I’m predicting victory in Nebraska-2 as well. At this time I’m not calling flips in Iowa, Georgia, or Texas, but all are possible. Had Hillary won the popular vote by 3% (her polling average lead was 2.9% that morning), she flips PA, MI, and WI. With only a small bump past that, she wins FL, NC, and AZ. If Joe Biden holds a 10% lead on election night, every state I’ve named here goes blue. A 10% win is an easy 400+ electoral vote win. I don’t presume a 10% final victory. I do presume a healthy win though.

I’m not sure I’m as confident in the Senate though. The Democrats have plenty of opportunities, but a lack of sure things. They have solid leads in Arizona and Colorado, but also look like they’ll lose Alabama. Maine, North Carolina, Iowa, and Montana all look super close, as Democrats often lead, but haven’t closed the deal. In Michigan, their incumbent seems to be treading water. Yet at the same time, South Carolina, Kansas, Alaska, Texas, and both seats in Georgia seem competitive. And of course Kentucky is still out there. A 56-44 Democratic Senate isn’t crazy. Neither is a 51-49 Republican one. I still think the Democrats win, but I wouldn’t bet anything valuable.

The House? It doesn’t seem to be in play. If races like SC-1 aren’t really in play, is the House? If races like PA-6 and 7 aren’t in play, how do the Republicans defend themselves in tough defenses? I’d bet on Democrats winning a dozen new house seats.

There are some interesting Governor races in Montana and Missouri, and seemingly a solid Democratic win in North Carolina. The Democratic Party looks to be headed to crushing defeat in West Virginia, Indiana, New Hampshire, and Utah though. Don’t expect too much change here.

Three weeks. Three more weeks…

50.

Today’s outlook

There’s 50 days to go. National polling remains remarkably steady. RCP shows a 7.1% Biden lead, which is remarkably consistent since the conventions. FiveThirtyEight shows Biden winning 76 in 100 simulations, which is also remarkably steady. 538 also shows Biden up 7%, 50.5-43.5%. Perhaps most importantly, Biden is consistently polling at 48% (Hillary/Kerry) or higher, while Trump has not surpassed his 46% from 2016 at all in recent polling. The polling is remarkably steady. The race does not have much in common with 2016. Both averages in the polls here show undecideds as a low number, about 6-7%. Biden’s lead, in the RCP average, is 5.3% bigger than Hillary’s on this date. In short, Biden has a steady, durable, substantial lead. Right now this race looks much more like 2012 than 2016. The likely tipping point state is Pennsylvania, right now.

Today’s insane story is a Georgia ICE detention center apparently had a doctor performing a massive number of hysterectomies on Latinas in custody. This is clearly, massively f***ed up, and deeply disturbing. There are some reports coming out that this may not be what it seems, and I hope they’re true, but this is something to watch.

On a happier note, I saw an old college friend for the first time in over a decade when I dropped her a Biden-Harris sign. She’s about to be a mother, which is awesome, and she’s currently a public defender in Lehigh County. As a strange aside, she was in law school with my little sister just a couple years ago.

Tomorrow we move into the 40’s for days remaining. I’m ready for this to get to zero.

Democrats are Easy to Hate

There’s a race for Mayor of Philadelphia on May 21st. Mayor Kennedy is probably going to get re-elected, but not because he polls well- his opponents are the pro-charter school State Senator he crushed four years ago and the City Controller who lost his primary for re-election just two years ago. Kenney’s own loss of popularity is somewhat tied to his passage of “the soda tax,” a well intentioned idea to fund Philadelphia Public Schools, which of course didn’t all end up going to the schools. Kenney’s standing in his former strongholds of South and Northeast Philadelphia don’t like it. He’ll probably win a very, very low turnout race by 20% though. There’s nothing to love.

The best way to sum up the public standing of Democratic Politics, both in Philadelphia and beyond, was the recent video of State Rep. Brian Sims having an altercation with a pro-life woman outside of a Planned Parenthood in Philadelphia. Intellectually speaking, I agree with Sims point. In fact, I usually agree with Sims, in terms of a political point. I probably agree with that woman on very little. Somehow, I watch the video though and feel like Sims was basically a dick, a liberal who wanted an altercation with a conservative, because she committed the crime of believing different stuff. It’s a bad look. This is particularly a quagmire because of the reality of the situation- lawmakers that woman votes for are passing bills like the Alabama and Georgia anti-abortion bills that will criminalize women for receiving constitutionally protected health care, and probably put the health of hundreds of thousands of women at risk. I get that. Yet, Sims makes the woman advocating for that the “victim” here, in the optics.

The Democratic Party, at it’s best, is the defender of the marginalized minority. We stand up for the rights and well-being of the disadvantaged, minorities, and those who are different than the majority of us. That would be those kids in the Philadelphia schools that Jim Kenney passed the soda tax for. That would be the women who need to have a choice, for their life and well being. It would be every African-American wrongfully shot by police officers. It would be the Asylum seekers we open our doors to, whether they be Bosnian or Guatemalan. It would be for all of us, when we fight to protect our environment. The Democratic Party that emerged from the 1960’s has been a party that fights for the marginalized, and that has been a valuable public service.

The problem has been pretty straight forward though- the other side has defined the American left as being against many of the institutions and norms that have been identified as “good” in American culture. Worse yet, they’ve done so by using the words and actions of those on the American left. Kenney’s soda tax shows he’ll “hammer the working class” to pay for the big ideas of “Center City liberals.” The Sims video reinforces that we hate religious people. Ilhan Omar’s use of traditionally anti-Semitic language to describe the Israeli lobby in the U.S. reinforces that “liberals hate Israel.” AOC’s release of a “white paper” on the Green New Deal that blames “cow farts” for climate change and calls for “economic support for people who ‘choose not to work'” was a treasure trove of reinforcement for stereotypes about Democrats. They’ve even managed to turn Black Lives Matter into Democrats hating police, only a quarter century after Joe Biden and Bill Clinton passed the COPS Act.

You can’t be against the local church, the hardworking police officers, a good steak on the grill, a bottle of “pop,” the state of Israel, the existence of national borders, and the basic existence of traditional, cultural norms, and win elections in most of America. Most Democrats aren’t, of course, but that is not the message being broadcast by Fox News, or virtually anyone shilling against justice and reform. That message worked for Nixon in ’68, Reagan in ’80, Gingrich in ’94, and Trump in ’16. It pulled people who voted for Barack Obama over to Trump, and it did so across most demographics. While it is important that we defend those who need it, it’s also important to remember that even most of our voters live fairly normal lives.

In poll after poll, Americans say they agree with Democratic positions on policy issues. That was even true in the exit polls in 2004 and 2016, the last two Republican Presidential victories. Democrats usually only lose the questions about leadership, relatability (who would you have a beer with), and honesty and conviction in our causes. Despite that, Republicans have controlled the White House for 32 of the last 50 years, the House for 20 of the last 26 years, and the Senate for almost 15 of the last 26 years. It turns out being “right” isn’t that important to winning elections and making change. Americans, despite their desire to see some changes and reforms, don’t hate their “way of life,” or view their culture as fundamentally flawed. We can argue the merits of how right or wrong they are, but that won’t change it.

My basic plea to Democrats is simple- stop sticking up for bad actions by those we deem as having good intentions or causes. It’s literally fueling the fire for the other side. As long as the voters outside of the big cities view us as dishonest brokers, who hate everything about their way of life, we’re going to continue to be electoral losers. As we saw with a disciplined message in 2018, lead by pros like Speaker Pelosi, it doesn’t have to be this way.

Thankful

I’d like to think I’m a thankful person, but the truth is that I take a lot of things in my life for granted. I’ve been blessed with many great things in life, whether it be my family, a comfortable middle-class life, intellectual and athletic abilities, decent health, a solid education, friends, second (and third) chances, or even just the chance to be alive. When you live every day in relative peace and tranquility, it becomes your norm, and you take it for granted. It’s not to say I haven’t had trials and tribulations, it’s to say I’ve lived my life free of oppression and despair. I should be thankful for that, every day.

This Christmas though, I am happy for my career in politics. Since I was 19, I’ve lived around political campaigns, and the people in them. Many, many of those people are not like me. I’m not calling them better or worse, but they’re there for very different reasons and motivations, and their different perspectives have enriched my understanding of life. Learning from their experiences, I think I’ve grown to be a better man than I might have grown up to be, as I was as a 19 year old intern on my first campaign.

I’ve had so many wonderful opportunities, and some not wonderful ones, to see the world through different eyes. I’ve worked with people who had undocumented relatives they desperately wanted to save from deportation. I’ve worked with people struggling to speak their own truth, and come out as who they are. I’ve worked with war refugees, who’s entire families were on “kill lists,” forcing them to leave their countries and seek asylum here. I’ve worked with people who grew up in poverty in southeast Washington, New Jersey, Appalachia, and Philadelphia. I’ve worked with Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans. I’ve worked with a Latin American member of his nation’s Congress who was assassinated when he went home. I’ve worked under some of the most accomplished members of our Congress in my lifetime. I’ve worked for career teachers. I’ve worked for Muslims, Catholics, Jews, and Protestant Christians. I’ve worked for Midwesterners, Northeasterners, and Southerners. I worked for the first African-American Congresswoman in New Jersey history. I’ve worked for prosecutors, and alongside ex-felons. I’ve worked for Latinos, African-Americans, and white people. I’ve worked for winners and losers. I’ve worked for incompetent people, evil people who left their jobs in shame, and some of the finest people I’ve ever met. I’ve worked for Senators, Governors, Congress people, cabinet secretaries, state legislators, local officials, unions, and even a President. I’ve probably worked for or on a lot of cool things I’m forgetting right now.

Politics hasn’t made me rich, God knows that, but I’d like to think it’s enriched me as a person ten fold. I’d like to think the people I’ve met professionally, in addition to the people in my personal and private life, have all left an impression on me in some way. I’d like to believe the pathway I’ve chosen in life has made me better than perhaps I would have been otherwise. Lord knows I’m not a perfect person, that my vices and flaws would leave me unacceptable to some. Nevertheless, I’d like to think those of you who have gifted me with your presence have made me a better person than I would have been, and that this better person has helped make the world a better place than it would have been otherwise. We’ll all die, and we’ll all make mistakes on the way there, I’m not really worried about that. I’m just thankful that my pathway has forced me to take stock of different positions in life than my own, and maybe changed my view of the world for the better.

I think my time out in the field will come to an end soon. Probably after 2020. I’m on the old end of the pool at this point, so I need to be in an office or headquarters, and maybe have a little life stability. At 35, that’s not too much to ask.

Thank you to you all. Merry Christmas.

One Month of Christmas, Day 6

Good evening, today is Friday, November 30th. There are 25 days until Christmas. Here’s today’s thoughts…

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Rudolph is Fine, Get a Life

So apparently, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer isn’t good to show to kids. Why? Apparently showing the other reindeer bullying Rudolph is bad for kids. I kid you not.

This is part of why America hates liberals. Bullying is something that goes on in life. Will against it if you like, it will still be there generations after I’m dead. In this particular case, the victim at least ends up being beloved and popular, a powerful lesson to kids that bullying is stupid. That kid you’re bullying will grow up to make you feel foolish for being a jerk.

Honestly, people need to get a life.

**************

Holy Commercialism, Aerosmith

I just watched Aerosmith’s “Dream On” in a Tiffany and Co. commercial. Aside from my burning disdain for jewelry companies, good for them. Except that I recently saw another of their songs, “Livin’ on the Edge,” in a smart phone commercial. Oh, and Aerosmith will be “in residency” in Las Vegas next year.

As they approach their 50th anniversary together, Aerosmith is clearly cashing in. And you know what, good. Bands shouldn’t feel bad about making money off their music. It just feels like Aerosmith is going to hit gold here in the next few months.

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Yes to Woodstock 2019

Yeah, sure, Woodstock 1999 was kind of a shitshow. Sure, they burned some stuff. Sure, there were kind of, sort of rioting. But we have had a 20 year timeout. And dammit, 2019 is the 50th anniversary of the original Woodstock.

I not only want a 2019 Woodstock, but I want the Red Hot Chili Peppers and Green Day back there. I want to see the bad behavior surrounding both’s Woodstock performances repeated. I’m totally in for it.

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#NC09 is a Real Mess

The only race we were involved in on Election Day in Mecklenburg County, NC that didn’t end in victory was the 9th Congressional District race. We won Mecklenburg County for Democrat Dan McCready by a comfortable margin, but the final count has put him down by 905 votes. He conceded the day after, and the race seemed over.

I have to say it *seemed* over. We now know that foul play seems to have been going on, in a county well East of where I was. In Bladen County, an individual named Leslie McRae Dowless, the Soil & Water Commissioner, worked for Mark Harris’ Congressional campaign. In that county, Harris got 61% of the mail-in ballots, but only 19% of the voters who mailed in ballots were Republicans. The North Carolina State Board of Elections now has affidavits, signed by voters that Dowless’ had people going door to door to pick up ballots and “mail them in” for them. In some cases his people filled in ballots for people, in other instances they discarded ballots for Dan McCready. Dowless standed to make a $40,000 bonus if Harris won. It appears he may have broken some rules to get it.

If that’s so, these election results cannot be certified.

***************

We’ll be back at it tomorrow…

3

I saw her today at the reception, a glass of wine in her hand. I knew she was gonna meet her connection, at her feet was her footloose man.

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Today’s GOTV playlist:

  1. The Rolling Stones- You Can’t Always Get What You Want
  2. Aerosmith- Dream On
  3. Aretha Franklin- R.E.S.P.E.C.T.
  4. Meek Mill- I’mma Boss
  5. Peter Tosh- Legalize It

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The best part of GOTV? Everybody either is slacking off or trying to be the next James Carville. Nobody seems to just stay in their lanes, do their job, and follow directions.

Hence, it’s 11:16pm and I’m writing this.

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Today’s candidate of the day is Rachel Hunt. Rachel is the daughter of a four-term former Governor of North Carolina, a fighter for quality public education, better jobs, and better health care. Rachel wants to make Raleigh work again, for the average people. Donate to help her here. Volunteer here.

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Looking at the Governor’s Mansions, This May be where Democrats make their biggest gains on Tuesday. Despite probably not winning back Massachusetts, Vermont, New Hampshire, or Maryland, Democrats are poised for huge victories.

By my count, I favor Democrats in Maine, Ohio, Michigan, Illinois, Wisconsin, Iowa, Florida, New Mexico, and Nevada, for a pick up of 9 seats, giving them 25 Governor’s Mansions to 24, with 1 independent. I’m not conceding defeat for Democrats in Georgia, Kansas, South Dakota, and New Hampshire too. It’s going to be a good night for Democrats at the state level.

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Is anyone cooler than Joel Embiid? He had another monster game, with 39 points, 17 boards, and 2 blocks in a win over Detroit. He did so against Andre Drummond, who is actually pretty good. Then he went on social media and dogged Drummond everywhere he could.

The Sixers don’t look like a championship team yet to me, but Embiid looks like he improved- yet again. That’s crazy.

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No feeling bad for Patrick Corbin. The Diamondbacks lefty is about to get paid. With Clayton Kershaw and Cole Hamels getting 3/$93 million and the option year at $20 million respectively, Corbin would seem to be heading towards $25 million a year and five or six years.

Cheers to that.

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Today was Baconfest up in Easton. I’m not there. It’s safe to say I’m jealous.

4

I’ve been going through life, making foolish plans. Now my world is in your hands. Send in the congregation. Open your eyes, step in the lies. The jukebox generation. Just as you were…

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Tonight’s GOTV playlist:

  1. Foo Fighters- Congregation
  2. Eminem- My Name Is
  3. The Rolling Stones- Jumping Jack Flash
  4. Kanye West- Never Let Me Down
  5. The Dropkick Murphys- Shipping Up to Boston

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Tonight’s candidate of the night is Christy Clark, the Democratic nominee here in North Carolina House District 98, North Mecklenburg County. Christy is fighting for quality education, affordable health care, jobs, clean drinking water, stopping gun violence, and voting rights. Endorsed by Emily’s List, Christy has put an entrenched incumbent, in a traditionally red seat in play.

Christy is one of a group of candidates I’ve been down here in the Charlotte area trying to elect. You can donate to her here. You can come down and volunteer by clicking here.

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New York friends- I’ll be in town the 16th and 17th. Come out and join me.

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Tonight’s final GOTV story of time’s past- 2016. It was the worst of times, and the worst of times. I was here in North Carolina, but in the northeastern most 15 counties. The saving grace- waking up some mornings on the bayside of the Outer Banks, or other mornings in an Elizabeth City hotel room, hung over. I built up a lot of character in that election, but all I got to show for it was that I’m back here to get Governor Cooper a better legislature now.

It wasn’t just losing the state for Hillary, or losing the national election, but it was as much the ugly under current I saw here (and across the nation) around that election. Open white nationalism, sexism, and bigotry of all kinds was prevalent. I never had so many organizers and volunteers express fear and anxiety over voter contact.

But other than that, it was a beautiful place, and I saw some amazing sights.

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So the Senate seems pretty straight forward to me: Democrats have to win Nevada for anything to matter, and Republicans are almost certainly winning North Dakota. That probably means the Senate rides on Missouri, Florida, Arizona, and Tennessee. The Democrats probably need to sweep them to win the Senate, or they need a win in Texas, of which I’m still skeptical of (I’m not saying he won’t win, just that I’m a doubter.) Republicans are still hoping to win in Montana, Indiana, and West Virginia, but I don’t see them as likely to do that.

If I were betting today, I’m seeing a 50-50 Senate. Republicans will win North Dakota and Missouri, but lose Nevada, Arizona, and Tennessee. The Senate probably rides on Texas, Florida, Missouri, Tennessee, and Arizona this Tuesday.

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Speaking of Missouri, for as much as has changed, that state will still come down to McCaskill winning the pro-life Democrats and suburbanites in St. Louis County (not the city proper). The problem, of course, is that this cycle has seen so much discussion of social issues that I’m just not sure that holds up. Yes, Claire seems to win the close ones. This still feels like the wrong cycle for her.

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Easton won their playoff football game back home tonight, 39-19 over Easton. I saw them play in week two and was impressed. I look forward to seeing them on Thanksgiving.

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Tomorrow will be a busy day, overseeing over 500 canvass shifts from my boiler room. This is the time of year political operatives live for though. All of this Democratic energy from the last two years means nothing if we don’t turn it into seats in Congress and state capitols.

13

There are 13 days remaining in the 2018 Election, also known as less than two weeks. Information about the election appears to depict a close race. Turnout should be considerably lower than a Presidential election, despite the crucial nature of these elections. Governorships, the Senate, the U.S. House, state legislative seats, and thousands of county and local offices are at stake- but the majority of voters won’t show up. Let that sink in.

More after the jump…

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Clayton Kershaw dropped another dud in the World Series/Playoffs. The guy is going to end up with a sub-3.00 career ERA and a boatload of individual awards, but he’s about as unclutch as they come.

By the way, I know he and Sale were both less than great last night, but this trend of pulling guys early drives me nuts. If the game’s tight, at least get six innings.

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And so the bomb went off- not literally, thank God. CNN, Hillary Clinton, and Barack Obama all received “suspicious packages,” all of which thankfully didn’t explode. It’s a serious enough situation that even Donald Trump talked about unifying. It’s dead serious. George Soros, Eric Holder, and Maxine Waters have also been targets, and Debbie Wasserman-Schultz has been listed as a return address.

This shouldn’t be construed as a left/right thing. Donald Trump is not the “liable” party here, he’s not sending these explosives. His rhetoric is enabling nuts though, nuts of all stripes. Let’s not lose sight of the reality- Donald Trump’s dividing us, and it could be fatal for some.

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Today’s candidate of the day is Joe Donnelly. The Senator from Indiana was a surprising winner in 2012, but now is battling for his second term in Mike Pence’s home state.

Whether you believe Democrats are going to win back the Senate in 2018 or 2020, Donnelly is part of the math. Donate to him here. Volunteer for him here.

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It seems increasingly clear that the people voting early are the most motivated voters- the regular voters. In fact, Nate Silver even suggests that the election looks similar to 2014, more so than 2016.

What this suggests, as I’ve said throughout this cycle, is that 2018 is a persuasion election, not a base election, at least if your goal is electing a Democratic Speaker of the House. Get mad if you’d like at that statement, but American elections will be decided in the suburbs for some time.

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Tonight’s House projection- Democrats 232 Republicans 203.

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