One Month of Christmas, Day 3

Good day, today is Tuesday, November 27th, 2018. Christmas is now 28 days away. Here’s today’s random thoughts…

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Paul Manafort? #LockHimUp

Paul Manafort is going to prison. That was true when he was found guilty in his first trial. That was more true when he plead guilty before his second trial. Now that he lied to prosecutors? Lock.Him.Up.

There seems to be a convergence of events that is entirely circumstantial, but you can’t turn away from. First, the revelations that Manafort both violated his plea deal, AND that he had a secret meeting with Julian Assange at the Ecuadorian Embassy in London, before the Wikileaks attacks on the Clinton Campaign. Second, Jerome Corsi’s bizarre rantings about rejecting a plea deal for perjury- which both seems to be the least of his crimes, and not the crime he’s describing. Third, Donald Trump just submitted his written answers to Mueller’s questions.

The only thing that makes clear sense to me is that Bob Mueller is trying to establish a back channel between the Trump campaign, Wikileaks, and Russia. Manafort probably wasn’t totally forthcoming about something related, Mueller had the goods on it, and the deal fell apart. Manafort is pretty much screwed. This isn’t great for Mueller either, as he loses a star witness. Things are at least beginning to become clear though.

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Goliath is Back, and Goliath is the Phillies?

As I write this, Twitter is buzzing with news that Patrick Corbin is at Citizens Bank Park. The elite left-handed pitcher on the market seems to be high on the Phillies wish list, along with Bryce Harper, Manny Machado, every major free agent, and every major trade candidate.

The Phillies are a big market team, with a big market TV deal. In fact, they’re the biggest market with just one team. They have a low payroll and young team. While 80-82 isn’t a great season, it’s good enough to now buy your way back into the playoffs. They have plenty of prospects to work with, one of the richest owners in sports (John Middleton), and a fan base that can fill the seats in a hurry.

The expectations for the Phillies this off-season are high, but not beyond their abilities as a franchise. I’m obviously most interested in getting Bryce Harper, but Machado, Corbin, Kimbrel, and major trade targets are all fine too. I’m just ready to watch a major superstar hit upper deck homers to right again, like the good ole’ days. The possibilities seem endless, and so does John Middleton’s desire to win. Goliath is back in the NL East.

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Make Gritty the new Flyers GM

Here’s some real talk- the Flyers have been a directionless, “good enough” to make a profit franchise for a long time. Here’s some other tough talk- over that long time, the Flyers keep putting ex-players in charge of the team. They haven’t done so hot though. It’s been 40 years since the team won a Stanley Cup. It’s been almost a decade since they blew up a team that lost in the Stanley Cup finals. The team is perpetually disappointing. The most successful thing they’ve done is make Gritty their mascot.

So, I put in the title here “Make Gritty the new Flyers GM.” I’m not really suggesting that, but I guess I am if they’re really going to let Paul Holmgren call the shots in the organization. Holmgren, the ex-GM that failed in his previous role, was rewarded for losing by being promoted to the Team President. If this is the kind of decision making the Flyers do here again, why not let an orange mascot run the operation?

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Democrats Should Stop Fearing White Voters

Over the weekend, I was watching Roland Martin on MSNBC, and he said something profound- Democrats need to stop fearing white voters. His point wasn’t to ignore them, it was to actually campaign at them. His point was pretty simple- what are they getting for voting for their guns, or against immigrants, or any other social issues? Campaign to them on health care, on education, on wages- because these issues apply to them. Will Democrats win white voters? I don’t know, but it’s unlikely. Will they do better? Most likely. This doesn’t mean stop campaigning to the Democratic base, or stop talking about civil rights. It means walk and chew gum.

I do know this- this will work far faster than waiting for demographic changes to get us to victory.

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My Favorite Christmas Specials?

  1. Rudolph
  2. The Grinch
  3. California Raisin
  4. Frosty

I basically make my picks based on the music. You can’t hate.

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One Month of Christmas, Day 2

Good day and Happy Monday, November 26th, 2018. Today is 29 days until Christmas. Here’s today’s random thoughts…

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Our Immigration System Has Been Broken for a Century Plus, but Trump is Creating a National Disgrace

What’s happening at our Southern Border Right Now is a disgrace. Trump sent several thousand troops to the border in a basic political stunt, to pretend he’s getting tough on illegal immigration. The reality? It was a publicity stunt. Now he’s violating American and international law by not allowing asylum seekers to enter our country while their claims are investigated and decided. This is not supposed to be something up for discussion- it’s long-standing law. To make matters worse, he’s literally having us tear-gas people on the Mexican side of the border, for some unknown, indefensible reason. In the ultimate sign that their isn’t intelligent decision making going on here, he might just close some border points altogether, making things inconvenient for Americans who cross the border on the regular.

I’m reminded throughout this mess that we are a nation of immigrants, and that my family has immigrant roots too. My great-grandfather Joseph, from my father’s paternal side of the family, came to the United States with his brother from Poland, immigrants who would not become citizens for years after their arrival. My great-grandmother Julia and her husband, from my father’s maternal side of the family, came to Ellis Island from Czechoslovakia, and also took years of working here and raising a family before getting citizenship. None of these relatives were high-skilled “desirable” workers, in fact some of the family members who came here had been gassed in World War I and were what I would call insane. They were all welcomed here to work though, and they built a life a world away from places in Europe where they no longer felt okay with staying. It’s the best side of America that they were allowed in.

In 1892, Ellis Island began processing immigrants as a port of entry. In 1924, just months after my Great-Grandmother Julia Kravchak arrived from her village of Udol, in present day Slovakia, the Immigration Act of 1924 shut down Ellis Island as an immigration entry processing center, and turned it into a detention center for undocumented immigrants in our country. That law created quotas for immigration, largely racist quotas that favored immigrants from white nations over people from non-white nations (at that time, largely aimed at Asian nations). While the law has been amended since then, these same quota systems have largely survived in American law. They have caused much of the backlog of those waiting for entry from Mexico, Central America, and South America, while making it easier to come from “more desirable” places. Our asylum system, our system of refugees, and our educational visa system have all worked fairly decently though, and have been good for our society and economy. Or, at least they were. Now Donald Trump’s border policy has become to fire tear gas and rubber bullets at families trying to flee violence and oppression. There is nothing to be proud of here. This is our Immigration Act of 1924, except that this time we’re actually being violent.

I’m not arguing that we should have an open border, because I don’t think we should. I’m not arguing that we shouldn’t deport criminals, because I think we usually should. I’m arguing we should be a humane people, because I think we always should.

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The Eagles Still Suck

Yes, they won a football game yesterday. Yes, they’re 5-6, and one game out of first place. Yes, three of their final five games are against the two teams in front of them, so they just need to win games to win the division. Yes, someone has to win the division, host a playoff game, and then has the same shot as everyone else in the NFC. With all of that said, the Eagles stink. They have guys literally coming in off the street playing in the defensive secondary. They have no deep threat, aren’t committed to the run, and have a quarterback who still seems just a little bit off this year. Oh, and they’re not as good in the trenches on either side of the ball. And the coaching is worse. 

Who are they really going to beat though? New Orleans? The Rams? Kansas City? The Patriots? The Chargers? Please let me know, because I don’t see a contender they can beat, right now. As a result, my enthusiasm is low.

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Climate Change, Climate Change, Climate Change, and yes, more Climate Change!

I don’t think we can scream loud enough about the U.S. Government’s report on Black Friday the climate change is an imminent problem that will hurt our society across all demographics and income levels. The report, mandated by law across many agencies not only said climate change is real, or that it is man-made, but also that it is dangerous. Of course the Trump Administration tried to release it on Friday of a holiday weekend.

Democrats, but also really any people who care about Earth’s future, need to scream bloody murder about this. I may think less of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and her Pelosi protest stunt than an outdated can of spam, but she is absolutely right to be calling for a “Green New Deal” right now- Democrats need to latch onto this, party wide. First off, in nakedly politically potent terms, jobs. Second off, we have to move towards a more green economy, now, to avoid disaster. The fact is, there’s no sane argument *not* to move towards a green economy.

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So You Think You’re Smarter Than Your Dog?

This really isn’t a long post here, but let’s dive in here- are you smarter than your dog? Sure, dogs can’t build the intricate society we have, with houses, currency, relationships, and entertainment. On the other hand, who cares? Dogs don’t care about all of that. They like to eat, play a bit, go outside a few times a day, and sleep. In many ways, I envy them.

Today though, I was talking to my dogs and it hit me- when I talk at them, they seem to grasp my language and know what I mean. When they bark at me? I have no idea. So their brains managed to evolve enough to understand another species, but mine didn’t.

Who saved who again?

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Jimmy Butler and Joel Embiid are the Best Sports Entertainment in Philly

No, for real, fight me on this. Jimmy Buckets has been here for like two weeks and has two walk-off baskets. Joel Embiid is throwing himself alley-oops off the glass. Embiid is playing like an MVP, leading the league in 30 pt., 10 reb. games so far this year. I realize maybe Ben Simmons isn’t quite leaping forward as hoped, but he’s your third scoring option now- does he need to? Not in November.

And since I know you’ll bring up Markelle Fultz- relax. He’s 20. He should be in college yet. Yes, it’s possible he has a debilitating nerve injury and is shot. Maybe he’s a head case. Or maybe he’s just young, and has been snake-bit by injuries and an impatient fan base. Why trade him now, at pennies on the dollar? Put him on the bench, get him safe minutes, and hope he turns into 70% of what you hoped in a few years.

But for now, just watch The Process and Jimmy Buckets amaze you.

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Run DMC’s “Christmas Time in Hollis, Queens” is a Better Christmas Anthem than Mariah’s Song

Hear me out- I don’t hate Mariah Carey. I don’t even hate her over-played “All I Want For Christmas.”

But the reason for the season is “Christmas Time in Hollis, Queens.” It’s getting overplayed, in NBA and car commercials. But it’s just better, more authentic, and didn’t play to the fantasy land Christmas love story narrative of millions of teens in my generation. They just wanted you to know they loved their mom’s cooking.

And I do too.

One Month of Christmas, Day 1

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Good evening, it’s Sunday, November 25th, 2018. Today is exactly one month until Christmas, the first day of my month of random thoughts on lots of subjects.

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No, don’t just “stick to baseball.”

Major League Baseball gave money to Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-MS), the appointed Mississippi Senator and neo-Confederate darling. They gave her $5,000 at a recent event, ahead of Tuesday’s run-off election between her and former Congressman and Clinton Administration Agriculture Secretary Mike Espy. The donation itself is not shocking or abnormal, MLB actually has significant federal policy issues that it is engaged in. The donation came ahead of Hyde-Smith’s positive comments about attending a public hanging, or pictures of her in a Confederate hat. MLB has since asked for their money back, joining several corporate titans.

Several national baseball writers have chosen to cover the story. Some of them have even chosen to editorialize on the subject. This has annoyed some sports fans, either because they “don’t want to read about politics,” or because they actually have no issue with Hyde-Smith. They are taking to Twitter and telling writers to “stick to baseball/sports.”

They couldn’t be more wrong.

You have the right to decide you don’t care about MLB aiding a racist Senate candidate. You even have the right to agree with it. You don’t have the right to sweep it under the rug. Major League Baseball wrote a check to a candidate who said she would gladly go to a “public hanging”- as Senator from Mississippi, of all states. She said voter suppression against Democrats, which in Mississippi is almost synonymous with African-Americans, was fine. And now we have pictures of her wearing the Confederate flag. Yes, baseball fans needed to know about the contribution. Then it’s on us to judge it. Fortunately (for whatever reason), MLB did the right thing. The writers were right to put it out there.

Sadly, I think this will all help her win.

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Cash Rules Everything Around Me

The best four college football teams in the country are Alabama, Clemson, Notre Dame, and Georgia. I don’t think it’s close after that. Michigan was wildly and ridiculously overrated, and thankfully we won’t have to hear how they are better than Notre Dame anymore, despite losing to Notre Dame.

Unfortunately, Georgia is likely to lose to Alabama in the SEC title game this week, knocking them out of the playoffs, and opening up the fourth spot. This will likely cause a dispute between Oklahoma and Ohio State over who should get in. ESPN and other media outlets will push Ohio State, because Urban Meyer is a big name and Ohio State sells. They will push to jump Ohio State over Oklahoma for beating Michigan and Northwestern. All in the name of money. All to probably lose to Alabama.

Better hope Georgia wins.

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Dwight Howard

Long-time NBA star center Dwight Howard is embroiled in a strange story that involves him being in a “non-traditional” relationship, potential abuse, and a real societal question about men and their sexual identities. I have a feeling this story will get a lot more press in the coming days.

As the story goes, Dwight Howard was involved in a relationship with a person, of whom it is not clear if they are a transgender woman or a homosexual man (from what I’ve read so far, so I’m going to be very careful linguistically). When Howard’s partner found out he was engaging in sexual relations with other people (possibly prostitution, possibly sex parties, maybe even both), they ended the relationship, and Howard apparently threatened them. Then Howard’s pastor apparently tried to catfish this person and offer them money for their silence. There’s a lot to unpack here.

Obviously, there’s a real problem with Howard threatening this person to try and force their silence, and violence towards transexual and homosexual people is a problem in our society. There’s also a real societal problem that Howard felt the need to fear his private life being public. Perhaps the most disappointing thing here is that there are people trolling and mocking this story on Twitter and other social media outlets, reinforcing why people like Howard are so afraid of these kind of stories, and why they then resort to violence against homosexual and transgender people in our society. All of the bad things in this story really find their genesis in our ability to accept that other people are attracted to whoever they are attracted to, it’s all fine if the other person is an adult, and none of this is our business. Quit mocking other people for being who they are. It’s a bad look, for you.

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Putin is a Dirtbag, Reason 7,143

Russia is trying their best to start a war with the Ukraine. They apparently seized Ukrainian Navy ships off the coast of Crimea. Russian Coast Guard boats rammed the ships and took them over.

Basically, Crimea is still in dispute, but both countries had agreed in a 2003 treaty to insure free access for their ships through the Kerch Strait, a narrow body of water that connects the Black Sea to the Sea of Azov. Eastern Ukrainian ports rely on that access to get their goods in and out. Russia says the bridge there is under threat from Ukrainian radicals, so they parked a tanker under the bridge and started running inspections.

To be clear, this is Russian aggression. This is a power play by Putin to mess with Kiev, and flex his muscles. Russia is a neo-Soviet Union, and is seeking to assert control over their former “sphere of influence.” They want to cripple the Ukraine’s economy, and force them into concessions. The whole situation is really rather shameful.

Nancy Should be Speaker

I don’t consider myself a Nancy Pelosi loyalist- I think she was an outstanding Speaker, but it’s been eight years. With that backdrop, it would be easy to say House Democrats should move on from Nancy Pelosi. She’s deeply unpopular in polls, and winning a majority of House members is supposed to help prevent someone like that from being Speaker. She knew Tim Ryan and Seth Moulton opposed her as Leader, and did nothing about it. She’s been in leadership for 18 years, and her party has won just 3 of the 10 elections in that time. She hardly represents the kind of median district necessary to win majorities. There are plenty of compelling, at the very least, arguments for Democrats to make a change, and I say that as someone opposed to a “generational” change.

With all of that said, Nancy Pelosi is the person Democrats should choose to lead us for 2019-2020 in the House. She is simply the best prepared, most capable leader we have. She is best prepared to lead through divided government, as she has before. She is best prepared to face down an out-of-control President in negotiations. She is best prepared to tame the unruly and insane few that were swept in on a Democratic Wave, and want to do things we can’t do. She’s the best vote counter in Washington. She’s the best fundraiser in the party. She’s the best prepared to represent the new wave of women in the House who represent what 2018 was about. These are not times to have someone new learn on the job. No one has credibly stepped forward to take her on (most notably Steny Hoyer and James Clyburn, the only other two people I see as ready).

I don’t believe anyone “deserves” something in politics. I’m not for Nancy Pelosi as “Speaker for Life.” I could back someone like Adam Schiff in the future to lead the House. This isn’t about ideology or emotion to me. This is a rational choice of who will do the best job as Speaker. That person is Nancy Pelosi, and Democrats should hand her the gavel for one more term.

Goodbye, My Sweet North Carolina

I’m out today. I’m heading up to DC, then off to Philadelphia, home, New York, State College, home, and back to DC in a short period of time. Only the DC stops are in any way related to business, and my future is not set in stone yet. I would like to do 2020. Beyond that, I’m open.

The 2018 Election was good to me. We swept all five state legislative elections in Mecklenburg County that we targeted to pick up, so North Carolina was good to me. North Carolina was good to Democrats in general, as we narrowed the House from 75-45 to 64-56 (pending recounts), the Senate narrowed from 35-15 to 29-21 (pending recounts), and the state elected a Democrat to the Supreme Court. To top it off, I lead a victory back up in Wilkes-Barre, PA for a state house seat. I haven’t lost a race to a Republican since 2016 (so maybe I’m not bad?). It was an amazing year.

There was great vindication to coming back here and winning after 2016, and to just winning period after the primaries earlier this year. I was so disappointed after 2016. My feelings are so different after this time. This was a really great experience. This was a really great cycle.

Thanks for reading.

Goodbye, 2018

It’s all over. The election is over. With a little over a week’s time now gone by, it’s fair to make some assumptions about 2020, and re-write some assumptions about 2018.

  • Winners from Tuesday- Amy Klobuchar and Sherrod Brown jump out to me. Based on what the battleground looks like, these are the only two contenders who saw their chances significantly upgrade. Small ups for Eric Garcetti and Kamala Harris with the West in such play.
  • No Longer Swing-States- Let’s throw Virginia, New Mexico, and Colorado in the “Blue” column. Texas and Georgia ain’t really swing yet. Ohio, Florida, and Iowa delivered mixed signals, but shouldn’t be centerpieces in the Democratic strategy right now.
  • The Berniecrats weren’t players- Show me a swing seat they won. Show me a narrow seat he campaigned in?
  • Lefty Heroes didn’t do the heavy lifting- Beto, Gillum, and Abrams all appear, at the moment, to have come up short. This was an establishment wave. That doesn’t say it wasn’t diverse, liberal, exciting, or anything else, but it was establishment campaign models that won. If you couldn’t win in 2018, you just can’t win. You won if you ran a traditional campaign.
  • The Senate Democrats… won?- Hear me out. They probably lost one to two seats this cycle. Losing is bad. Democrats were defending ten Trump-state seats. If all they lost this cycle is two, call it a win. Especially with two better cycles ahead.
  • History was made- Whether it was Colorado, the Kansas City suburbs of Kansas, Pennsylvania, Iowa, or any number of places, history was made. “Firsts” were made all over the country.
  • You saw the future- The re-alignment we are in is showing the long-term future. The House will be more Democratic If suburban, educated whites are coming over. The Senate will be more Republican as the population becomes more lopsided.

With all of that, it’s worth understanding- things change fast. No one saw Hillary losing in the Rust Belt until the ground had shifted. The last two years were very unique. The next two are likely to be, as well.

The Mid-Terms Are Over

Last night was a great night for me personally, and actually a really good night for Democrats nationally, even if it doesn’t feel like it. Democrats should be really happy though. Donald Trump should be really not happy.

The Democrats thumped the Republicans in the House. They pulled back the Rust Belt. If last night’s map is the 2020 map, they win.

Yes, the Democratic heroes, people like Beto, Gillum, and Abrams, they all lost. What can we learn from that? Florida, Georgia, and Texas are all crappy states politically, and the 2020 Democratic nominee is not going to win them. Second, we should understand that our base, unlike their base, can’t be what carries us to victories. Third, we win when the discussion is about what we’re going to do for people. Health care, schools, jobs, infrastructure- when that’s the focus, we win. All of these candidates were talking about these things, but the national conversation of making history, and changing the country, that took over those races. We lost then.

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From a personal standpoint, it was a great night. We picked up four Republican seats in the North Carolina House and Senate last night in Mecklenburg County, helping break the Republican supermajority in Raleigh. We’re down 52 votes in a fifth. Anita Earls is the newest Judge of the North Carolina Supreme Court, and she won big here. All told, Democrats won at least eight seats in the North Carolina House. We needed four House seats to give Governor Cooper his veto pen back.

How did we do so well? Schools, health care, infrastructure, jobs, health care. Nothing sexy, nothing controversial, nothing flashy. We ran on the building blocks. We won.

Up north, I was once again overseeing PA Rep. Eddie Day Pashinski’s re-election. He faced his strongest challenger to date in long time radio personality Sue Henry. He won with 57% of the vote thanks to a strong TV, mail, and digital campaign that focused on only three things- taxes, education, and health care. Message discipline was key, and it worked.

Aside from those races, some other races went well that I had more than a passing interest in. My old boss Bob Menendez won another term in New Jersey. PA Rep. Maureen Madden, who I’ve done some work for, won another term surprisingly easily. Susan Wild will be my Congresswoman now, winning the PA-7 race. Of course, Bob Casey and Tom Wolf won easily too.

There were a few disappointing results to me personally. Amy Cozze ran a great campaign to be my representative in Harrisburg, but came up short. Here in Charlotte, it looks like we are slightly behind in NC’s 9th Congressional district for Dan McCready.

I guess you have to lose sometimes.

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Democrats won 23 out of 35 Senate races last night, but had a terrible night. Imagine that. There was exactly one blue state Republican up for re-election last night, and we beat him. Tough political states like Arizona and Florida are heading for re-counts. Texas was competitive. Manchin cruised in West Virginia. But it was a bad night.

Democrats will be in a more substantial hole than expected after this, and Donald Trump will get more judges, bottom line. But here’s the good news- 2020 is a good map for Democrats. The class of 2014 has to defend their seats. Democrats can absolutely win back the Senate, if Chuck Schumer can stay out of his own way and avoid a third straight poor performance.

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Speaker Nancy Pelosi. That appears to be the biggest news of the night. Democrats have won 221 seats so far, with 19 remaining on the board. I had originally predicted they would win 30, then upped my prediction to 35. They currently have won 28.

To avoid any chaos or confusion, Democrats could use a few more seats. If they get to about 230, they can let some members who promised not to vote for Pelosi to do so. That would help everyone.

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Democrats had a pretty good night at the state level, but not quite what one hoped. New Democratic Governors are coming into office in Maine, Michigan, Wisconsin, Illinois, New Mexico, and Nevada, netting five seats after losing Connecticut. Even so, you can’t argue with gaining seats.

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More to come later.

5 Hours Out…

We’re six hours from polls closing here in North Carolina, not that I’m counting or anything. Here’s what we know/are hearing…

  • At 7:33am in my home precinct of Palmer Middle-1, Northampton County, PA, turnout was already 54. That’s a swing voting district, in a swing township, of a swing Congressional District, in a swing state. That’s also 33 minutes in.
  • The Department of Justice has election monitors in PA-7.
  • Phone bankers in Florida’s 26th Congressional District are finding “90% of voters on our list say they voted.”
  • Rain has stopped here in the Charlotte area, but it’s still cloudy.
  • A person was killed back home in Northampton County after voting. They were hit by a car after voting.
  • “Inactive voter” status is an issue around Charlotte.
  • Somerset County, NJ reports record vote-by-mail ballots requested and returned, with Democrats enjoying a 2,000 person registration advantage.
  • 36 million voted early.

Go vote.

0- Election Day

I was in an odd place on Election Night of 2002. I was suffering from mono, and had just decided to not try to return to running track and field or cross-country once cleared. I wasn’t playing the drums anymore, and was only about 20 months removed from my last wrestling bout (a 15-0 win), after 11 years in that sport. At that time, I was simply a young political science major, driven mostly by my opposition to the Iraq War and my support for the working class and unionized labor. I had no idea that politics would replace sports and music as the central meaning in my life yet, or the places it would take me. I thought I was majoring in political science at that time as a pathway to law school, not to be heading into 2020 still working on campaigns, but life doesn’t ask permission when moving you in a direction.

What I wouldn’t give to be back on a wrestling mat today, or run down that windy back-stretch on Easton’s track, or jam out on my drum set for a jazz band competition. All of those things once defined me as a person, and their fading from my life is part of why I am where I am this morning- running a regional boiler room, over-seeing the Charlotte area for the Democratic Party. Politics has taken me all over the place, and let me see places and things I never would have expected to see. I’ve managed Congressional, county and State legislative races, been a statewide field director, run a statewide early and absentee vote program, and of course been a regional field director. I’ve worked for members of the progressive caucus in Congress, and downright conservative Democrats. I’ve been exposed to people, places, ideas, and issues that I never would have seen otherwise. Politics has come to re-define who I am, what I am, and how I see the world. It truly filled the voids I previously left.

Father Time is not my friend though. If I want to retire at 65, I need to start moving in that direction sometime soon. Politics, and yes the Democratic Party, have changed a lot since I was a 19 year old intern for the PA Dems coordinated campaign. I don’t honestly know how I feel about it, if I’m honest. It’s not what I signed up for as an anti-war, pro-union youth. At the same time, these values are who I am now, at this point.

I’m not sure how many of today’s I have left. Let’s hope this is enjoyable.

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GOTV is not a place or time for intellectual thought- you just do it. You do your job, as instructed, and just hope it works out. Freelancers who try to do their own thing and be heroes usually end up doing more harm than good. It’s a place for people who are orderly and follow directions. I find that Democrats aren’t so hot at that.

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By 11pm tonight, one of two narratives will take hold:

  1. Democratic passion and enthusiasm, buoyed by anti-Trump fever, swept the nation up in a Blue Wave that at a minimum flipped the House, and maybe more. I also imagine that inside of this narrative will be a sub-story on whether “Berniecrat” lefties or mainstream, establishment figures lead the way, which will shape the opening salvos and days of the 2020 Election.
  2. Donald Trump’s stark rhetoric, his barnstorming schedule, and the awakening of the right-wing over Brett Kavanaugh’s “treatment” by Democrats stoked Republican enthusiasm to perform better than expected. Trump’s tough talk on immigration and Republican tough rhetoric against Democratic candidates in Georgia, Florida, and more saved the day. While many races were tight, Republicans held on in Republican seats. Donald Trump looks nearly impossible to beat.

For what it’s worth, be careful to not over buy on either story. The Democratic “Resistance” of these past two years may or may not work in a mid-term, in which Donald Trump is not actually on the ballot. Either way, that doesn’t mean you should conclude the same for 2020, when the Democrats will have to pick an actual person to run against him.

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Just to make things clear, on no other level has the national political environment helped Democrats as much as the U.S. Senate. We are not talking much today about normally swing state seats like Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota, or Virginia. If Hillary had won in 2016, all would be in serious danger today. Even so, the road to winning a majority is brutally hard tonight. Democrats must:

  • Win tough races they currently lead in West Virginia, Indiana, and Montana.
  • Win at least one, if not two of Florida, Missouri, and North Dakota, all of which are within a point leads or much worse.
  • Pick up at least three of Nevada, Arizona, Tennessee, and Texas, all of which are razor close.
  • Get Mississippi to a run-off and hope Republicans pick a nut, if they fall short on any of the above.

To be clear, it’s possible that Republicans pick up like five seats, and Democrats get none of their pick-ups. A 56-44 GOP Senate could happen. By the same token, so could a 53-47 Democratic Senate. Neither seems likely. I still would expect the GOP to hold the Senate with 50-53 seats after this election. That, by the way, is not a bad outcome for the Democrats, relative to where they started the cycle.

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I don’t want to start 2020 before it needs to, but it’s worth noting- not many of the Democratic leading candidates are being invited into swing districts to close. You see some Barack Obama. You see some Joe Biden. You do see some Kamala Harris and Cory Booker, the occasional Elizabeth Warren, and a few others in blue areas to try and bump turnout, but you don’t see them going much to PA-10, NC-9, or any other moderate district we need to win the House. For the most part, this tells me that our field doesn’t have a broad enough audience to win the electoral college in 2020. A majority party that wins elections can win electorates that aren’t fully ideologically aligned with them, especially against a polarizing figure like Donald Trump.

Just saying.

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If Democrats win back the House tonight as expected, it’s important to remember all the points on the road to this victory, beginning with Donald Trump’s victory speech in the early hours of November 9th, 2016 in New York. There was the GOP’s decision to try and repeal the Affordable Care Act, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court striking down their Congressional map and putting their own fair map in place, the GOP pushing through two conservative judges after blocking Judge Garland, Charlottesville, Parkland, many Trump statements, Connor Lamb’s victory, and of course the tax cuts, to name a few moments.

When you watch tonight though, there are some key areas of the country to watch. The Philadelphia, Miami, and San Diego media markets look ripe for big Democratic gains. California, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, North Carolina, Texas, and Florida all look like states where major gains are happening.

What are some districts that Democrats have to win? PA-5, 6, 7, 17, CA-49, NJ-2, 11, AZ-2, CO-6, FL-27, IA-1, IL-6, KS-3, MI-11, MN-2, 3, VA-10, WA-8. These 18 seats are prime pick-ups.

What are the toss-ups that Democrats need to win some of to win back the House? CA-10, 25, 39, 45, 48, FL-15, 26, GA-6, IA-3, IL-14, KS-2, KY-6, ME-2, MI-8, NC-9, 13, NJ-3, 7, NM-2, NY-19, 22, OH-12, PA-1, 10, TX-7, 32, UT-4, VA-2, 7. These 29 seats are where Democrats would tip the House and build their margin.

What seats would signal a huge Democratic wave? There are actually 56 additional GOP seats in their likely or leaning camps, which the Cook political report is still tracking. I can tell you for a fact that at least a couple of these seats are firmly in play after early voting. All told 103 Republicans are waking up in danger today. 80 of them could win, and they would still possibly lose the House. Remember, the Democrats are flat out favored to take 18 of these seats.

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Down here in Charlotte this cycle, things have been eventful. My region has five state House races, all pick-up opportunities. It has two State Senate seats, also pick-ups. We also are doing GOTV for NC-9 on the Congressional level, a pick-up opportunity. It’s nice playing all offense, for a change. I expect us to pick up a State House seat or two, a State Senate seat, and possibly a Congressional seat tonight (though that will be tight). If things go well though, we could easily pick up much more than that. If you’re watching at home, you should keep an eye on HD’s 68, 98, 103, 104, and 105, SD’s 39 and 41, and CD 9.

Back up home, the only work I did for the general was PA HD-121. I have more than a passing interest in PA-115 (did work there last cycle) and 137 (my home district, I tried to push some personal capital with national organizations in there for our nominee). I did some Summer field work on PA’s CD-10 before it was targeted too. I am hoping for a Blue Wave to sweep them all into office.

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My three tiers of potential Democratic Gubernatorial pick-ups tonight:

  • Likely- Maine, Michigan, Illinois, New Mexico
  • Leaning- Ohio, Florida, Wisconsin, Iowa, Nevada
  • Possible- Georgia, South Dakota, Kansas, New Hampshire
  • Giant Blue Wave- Vermont, Massachusetts, Maryland, South Carolina, Arizona

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There’s less good forecasts out there for state legislatures than any other major level of government. Fortunately, the Washington Post recently published an article on this, and named the following chambers as “in play”:

  • Michigan House and Senate
  • North Carolina Senate
  • Maine Senate
  • New York Senate
  • Arizona House and Senate
  • Colorado Senate
  • New Hampshire House and Senate
  • West Virginia House

For what it’s worth, people in North Carolina think the House is at least as much in play. Carl Klarner did the forecasts for the Post, and you should check him out here.

No, Pennsylvania is not on here. Expect solid gains though tonight. I suspect the Democrats will end up with between 92 and 95 House seats, and 20 Senate seats. This puts both chambers at least marginally back in play moving forward.

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Go vote. No, really, do it. Your country needs you, whoever you are. While I have interesting stuff to write here, none of it matters like you doing your civic duty. I have friends who are overseas right now representing our country, the least you can do is go vote.

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I used to pray for times like this to rhyme like this, so I had to grind like that to shine like this, in a matter of time I spent on some locked up $hit, in the back of the paddy wagon cuffs locked on wrists.

See my dreams unfold, nightmares come true, it was time to marry the game, so I said yeah I do, if you want it you gotta see it with a clear-eyed view…

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Tomorrow is the 2018 Election in the United States of America. Tomorrow, 435 seats in the House, over a third of the Senate, most of the Governors, and almost all of the state legislatures are on the ballot. It is the first federal election held nationally since 11/8/2016, when Donald Trump was elected President by a minority of the people.

I have already cast my ballot in Pennsylvania, by absentee. I hope you will do your civic duty as well. While our democracy can annoy us all, those who don’t participate don’t deserve it.

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One of the amazing things about this election has been the rise of the citizen candidate. Small-business owners, veterans, union guys, and moms are just some of the normal, common people that stepped up to run. It should make you feel better about our democracy, I hope.

There is a flip side that we’ll see tomorrow though- many of them will lose. Even in this wave, this backlash election, over 80% of Congress will return. The percentage in some state legislatures could be higher. Incumbents enjoy huge advantages in American politics.

But- look to the bright side- the energy in this country right now is unprecedented. Let’s see where it goes.

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So I’ve predicted a 50-50 Senate GOP Majority (because of Pence), a 230-205 Democratic House, and a 25-24-1 Democratic split in Governor’s mansions. What if I’m being too conservative? What if a bigger wave hits? What would it look like?

On the Governor side, I said Democrats will win Maine, Ohio, Michigan, Wisconsin, Illinois, Iowa, Florida, New Mexico, and Nevada. Georgia is obviously very close, but what else would tip? South Dakota is a popular choice, as are Kansas and New Hampshire. Some are hoping Vermont or Arizona get in here, thoug that seems less likely. A dozen Governorships seem possible though, in more than just our dreams.

In the Senate, it feels like the national climate has both already propped up Democrats in a lot of swing and Trump states like Ohio and Pennsylvania. That same climate seems to be hurting Democrats in North Dakota and Missouri trying to save their seats. Could the Democrats win back the Senate though? Obviously a Heitkamp and/or McCaskill win would do wonders for the math. The Democrats have to pick up a net of two seats, which is very hard, but not impossible, even if those two women lose. Any road to a majority begins with wins in Nevada and Arizona late tomorrow night. Then the Democrats would need to flip both Tennessee and Texas- both difficult, but literally tens of thousands of new voters came out of the woodwork to vote early in both seats. Democrats will need to hold their slim leads in Montana, Indiana, and Florida as well, or shock us in a state like Mississippi. On the high end, Democrats could win four seats tomorrow night, and get to 52 Senate seats. That’s the high end though.

Then there’s the U.S. House. I upped my thinking from 30 to 35 in recent days, but what if it’s bigger? What if Pennsylvania supplies five, California six, New Jersey four, Texas four, Florida three, and North Carolina four, just for starters? That’s 26 seats, and an almost certain majority on the backs of six states. There are 44 more states with varying degrees of competitive seats. There are seats in Maine, Michigan, Georgia, Iowa, Colorado, Washington, Kansas, Illinois, New York, and others. There are 100 competitive seats on the board. If the ground moved 3% left in the closing month, as Nate Cohn from the New York Times suggested, the road to 50 seats for Democrats is plausible. A 245-190 Majority is possible.

Obviously the most important, but hardest to forecast races are state legislative ones, and if Democrats are truly successful, they will be the biggest winners. If you start hearing of whole chambers flipping, you’ll know a wave is coming. The over/under here is probably a half-dozen, though that isn’t scientific.

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Today’s GOTV playlist:

  1. Meek Mill- Dreams and Nightmares
  2. Aerosmith- Dream On
  3. Jay Z and Linkin Park- Encore
  4. Linkin Park- In The End
  5. Nas- One Mic

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Lots more tomorrow…