Newsletter #22: Democrats And Geography, The Midterm Gender Gap, How To Stop Kavanaugh

What Data for Progress is Doing:

Data for Progress (@DataProgress) will begin releasing data from our first round of polling next week. Sign up on our homepage to get updates in your inbox. We fielded a Generic Congressional Ballot (GCB), which shows Democrats up 43 percent to 37 percent among registered voters (+6). Notably, they are up +29 among urban voters, -3 among suburban voters and -4 among rural voters. That compares to a -4 with suburban voters and -16 with rural voters in 2016. (I’m using self-reported USR here. Using the zipcode level USR we use for MRP shows the same trend). Democratic support is better distributed geographically now than it was in 2016. That means Ds are poised to perform at 2016 levels in the cities and suburbs while vastly over-performing their 2016 performance in rural areas (this matches what we see in specials).

I talked to Andrew Paul Joyce (@AndrewPaulJoyce ) about why Comey is wrong and bad. Specifically, socialism is far more popular than he is and progressive policies could win across the country. There is also a meme.

Alexander Agadjanian (@A_agadjanian) of the MIT Elections Lab (@MITelectionlab) dived into survey data to analyze whether the gender partisan divide is increasing under Trump for the DFP blog. My read: it’s likely that 2018 will have the largest gender gap we’ve seen but that Pew data probably overstate the gap slightly. The CCES vote validated numbers in the piece are most reliable (large sample + vote validation).

Osita Nwanevu (@OsitaNwanevu) covered the case that centrists have lost the battle for the soul of the Democratic Party, citing Data for Progress data.

Eliza Relman (@eliza_relman) on the rise of abolish ICE, featuring Data for Progress data. It’s working (people really fucking hate ICE!).

I joined On The Media to discuss the Overton Window.


Kelly Weill (@KELLYWEILL ) on a Corey Stewart staffer who was in an alt-right hate chat. Congrats to Chuck Todd on the honor of mainstreaming white supremacist views!

Alex Kotch (@alexkotch) shows that Cuomo is kinda the worst.

Rebecca Fishbein (@bfishbfish) on Thomas Blanton an anti-union asshole who was almost kicked out of Congress for saying “damn.” It’s part of a new VICE series on weird stuff in US political history. Could be a good time for a “the prohibitionist movement was actually good” take.

Max Tani (@maxwelltani) on the New York Daily News lay-offs. More here. Public subsidies for local news, now.

Emily Shugerman (@eshugerman ) on the ways women’s rights organizations are preparing for a world without Roe.  

Jamie Peck (@jamie_elizabeth) attended Ozyfest.

Races to Watch:

I called the two Georgia races correctly (in May) - I’m very bullish on McBath in the general (GA-06). See APJ and Marie Solis (@msolis14). Democrats want to win over suburban women horrified by the state of the country, so why not run one? My read is that Kemp is probably more vulnerable in a general and I think there are very good reasons to be bullish on Abrams. The results could be enormous and would likely save the lives of thousands of Georgians.

Ayanna Pressley (@AyannaPressley) picked up another union endorsement and Indivisible endorsement. Congrats to Mike Capuano on his inaugural “Politics and Society” fellowship at Boston University in 2019.

Gaby Del Valle (@gabydvj) covers Julia Salazar’s campaign.

The little known Electronic Classroom of Tomorrow (ECOT) scandal may upend Ohio’s politics. A good primer here. Basically a rich asshole bribed Republicans into giving him fuckloads of government money for a fake charter school and a bunch of people got fucked over. Arielle Swernoff (@ArielleSwernoff) runs Launch Progress (@LaunchProgress), which is active in the state tells me that this could lead to several seats flipping:

Columbus needs leaders who will fight for public schools, not farm out education to whoever can write the biggest campaign check. Unfortunately, the ECOT scandal shows that’s what Republicans have been doing for years. Launch Progress candidates like Jessica Miranda in HD-28 and Louise Valentine in SD-19 have made investing in public education a central part of their campaign, and it’s working. Voters know their children and the state deserve better, and will show up for champions of public education in November.

The Kavanaugh Nomination is Killable

It’s hard to limn a path to killing the nomination right now, but it’s worth noting that Kavanaugh is a huge piece of shit and the public knows it. He comes in with lower favorables than nearly any judge in the past few decades. He’s got decades of baggage, including abetting sexual harassment that may explain why he wasn’t on the first list Trump prepared for the Court. His views on things like Nixon and Roe are only going to continue to trickle out – from here on out almost every story will move him in the wrong direction, away from public opinion.

The hearings will be brutal, and the longer Kavanaugh is under scrutiny, the worse his chances get. In addition, the progressive infrastructure is in a better place to fight this nomination than in the past. ACS is a fine organization, but they weren’t willing to what you have to do to get a nominee underwater. The Supreme Court is a political institution and Kavanaugh is a politician. Message test him, poll him, run ads against him, i.e. treat him like you would treat any other politician. Already, Demand Justice (@WeDemandJustice) and other organizations have sunk the nomination of a Trump Judge, Ryan Bounds, for being too racist. 

At a minimum, a strategy of Ds going hard in the paint will make the vote more painful – Collins, Murkowski, Heller etc and the vulnerable Democrats would rather vote for a nominee with +5 approval than -15. In addition, there’s this weird meme going around that treats activism as though it’s a finite commodity like oil, and that activists might use it up. Better to see activism as a muscle that gets stronger when you flex it. The biggest threat is that Ds don’t do everything they can to fight this.

I talked with two smart politics-watchers about the nomination. Rich Yeselson (@yeselson) tells me,

“Bad paper” is critical to the effort, so Dems need unified message to obtain every conceivable scrap which has Kavanaugh‘s name on it. It also slows process down. Next the two R women, especially Collins, have to be given blunt message that they will be the top targets of the Dems—especially Collins—next time up.
Kavanaugh has to be depicted as a radical extremist, despite his personal affability, especially on issue like heath care, the environment and worker’s right. Use variations of tag line: “He’s a really nice guy—unless you’re one of the 320 million Americans he doesn’t know.”’

And Jeff Hauser (@jeffhauser) tells me,

In the past 15 days since Kavanaugh's nomination, several story-lines have already emerged that indicate Mitch McConnell knew what he was doing when he discouraged Trump from nominating Kavanaugh.
From the files of his past work Kavanaugh's allies are seeking to shield to questions of "what did he know and what did he do about it" with respect to serial sexual harassment by his disgraced mentor, Judge Kozinksi, Kavanugh appears to be an unvetted nominee chosen for his zeal to protect presidents like Trump from "distractions" like legal accountability rather than for his ability to be confirmed.

I agree. As I noted in my piece, Democrats would do well to elevate the bread and butter impacts of the Court in hearings and dig deep into Kavanaugh’s past.

Data Bytes:

2 points - The difference between support for Congressional Democrats nationally compared to the median state, based on Data for Progress analysis (see our method here). The lower the number the better. That compares to a 4 point gap for Clinton in 2016. More evidence that Democratic support is more efficiently distributed now than it was in 2016.

+20 - The average gender gap in recent polls according to recent polling analyzed by Alexander Agadjanian (@A_agadjanian) for the Data for Progress (@DataProgress) blog.

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