PPP Releases New 2016 National Poll

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Its been awhile since we have checked in on the ongoing saga that is the trek to 2016, but thankfully Public Policy Polling exists as they have a new poll hot off the presses.  The North Carolina-based polling outfit takes a look at both the Republican and Democratic fields as well as some head-to-head matchup.

Not too much has changed on the Republican side as New Jersey Governor Chris Christie is still the favorite over his more conservative counterparts.  Christie leads with 19% over Texas Sen. Ted Cruz at 14%, Mike Huckabee at 13% and Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul at 11%.  Rounding out the field is Paul Ryan and Jeb Bush who are tied at 10%, Marco Rubio at 7%, Scott Walker at 4% and Bobby Jindal bringing up the rear at 3%.

Some interesting tidbits is that Huckabee, who has recently announced that he is not saying no to the idea of a presidential run (which will likely mean he won’t do anything) is the most popular of the group but it seems that there isn’t that much excitement around him.  By contrast, Chris Christie has an average favorability rating but his supporters are all in for him.

If Huckabee doesn’t run, Christie’s lead swells to 23% to 15% over Cruz.  Also worth noting is the slow fall back to the field that Rand Paul has had and Marco Rubio’s descent into the back portion of the field.  Scott Walker may not be a threat now but don’t be shocked if an infusion of money behind him can catapult him to the top of the field especially considering the likely implosion of a Ted Cruz campaign.

For the Democrats though, ho-hum same story as before.  Hillary Clinton is up 66% to 10% over Vice President Joe Biden with 6% for Elizabeth Warren.  Tied at 2% is Cory Booker, Martin O’Malley, Howard Dean, John Kerry, Andrew Cuomo and 1% over Brian Schweitzer.  Joe Biden is the early favorite if Clinton demurs on a run with 35% over John Kerry and Elizabeth Warren tied at 13%.

Without the big guns of Clinton, Biden, Kerry and Dean; Warren is up 24% to 14% over Cuomo, 13% for Booker and O’Malley at 7%.

What are the main takeaways on the Democratic side?  Hillary remains the clear favorite with Joe Biden in position to capture some excitement should she not run.  Without them?  The most exciting candidate is Elizabeth Warren who I have reservations on if she really wants to run or stay in the Senate where she could likely do more good.

Its hard for a progressive because we finally have a rockstar like Elizabeth Warren but we can’t lose her if she has an unsuccessful run.  It might be best if she stays in the Senate and gains more and more seniority.  I also don’t think Booker would be willing to immediately jump into the fray either and will likely look at 2020 or 2024 (after possibly being a top VP candidate) so that leaves us with a field headlined by Cuomo, O’Malley and Schweitzer.  Eek.

But don’t sweat it too much; Clinton is still expected to probably run.

When it comes to head-to-heads, Christie appears to be the slight favorite over 1,000 days from election day (I’m aware of how ridiculous this is) inching out Clinton by a 45/42 margin thanks to Christie’s popularity amongst independents.  Christie crushes Kerry by 11, Biden by 14, Warren by 16 and Dean by 22.

To be fair though Christie is popular now but I don’t know how he can maintain that when he will get bombarded by ads.  He’ll get thrown through the ringer with his “temperament”, his new bridge controversy and there’s no way he will remain that popular amongst Democrats as the election wears on.  His record is staunchly conservative and we’ll see how it lasts.

 

Tom Latham Retires: Another Taking Back The House 2014 Special Post

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We have made continuous updates to our Taking Back The House series and I have created a master database of all the races we have highlighted and links to all the prospective Democratic candidates.  We continue to edit it as news on races emerge and we hope you follow it.  For the master list, please click here.
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Remember how a few hours ago, I made a post about Frank Wolf retiring with the disclaimer that I had zero intentions of writing a post today.  Yeah, well take freakin’ two.

Tom Latham of Iowa’s 3rd congressional district has decided to retire as well and will not be running for re-election in 2014.  This came about two hours after Democrat Jim Matheson announced he wouldn’t be running in Utah (a seat that will likely overwhelmingly go Republican) and really; today is a great day if you are someone like me.

Anyway, Latham represents another winnable district; one that is probably even more winnable than the one Wolf is vacating.  This is astounding news really and kind of unexpected even though Latham already shocked political observers earlier in the year by demurring a run for Senate.

Latham is well-noted for having a close relationship with Speaker John Boehner and the Speaker of the House probably isn’t too keen on one of his chief allies not being around anymore.  In fact this sparks speculation on the future of the Speaker who seems more likely on the way out as well in some form or another.

But enough about Boehner, let’s look at the district Latham is vacating in the same way we looked at Wolf’s.

District Facts:

  • Contains the state capitol of Des Moines and Council Bluffs; which should help Democrats in 2014.
  • Latham was forced into a race against Democratic Rep. Leonard Boswell due to redistricting but beat him by nine points.
  • Latham’s victory was all the more impressive due to the fact that President Obama carried the district by a 51-47 margin over Mitt Romney in 2012.

Our Candidate(s):

  • As of now, the main Democrat in this race is Staci Appel, a former state senator who while a good candidate might earn some challengers now that Latham is out.

Why We Can Win This:

  • Well, this is a pretty decent dream come true for the DCCC as now we might have a seat that can negate the likely loss of the Matheson one.  This district is pretty favorable for Democrats and it could very well begin as a lean D option depending on how the year goes.
  • Roll Call touts several potential Republican candidates which includes former state party chair Matt Strawn and state senator Brad Zaun who lost to Boswell by four points in 2010.
  • This is a good thing for Democrats, I can’t stress that enough but while Appel does seem to be a decent progressive; this district might need another candidate.  Appel is credible, but did lost by eighteen points in 2010.

Links You Oughta Check Out:

 

Frank Wolf Retires: Taking Back The House

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We have made continuous updates to our Taking Back The House series and I have created a master database of all the races we have highlighted and links to all the prospective Democratic candidates.  We continue to edit it as news on races emerge and we hope you follow it.  For the master list, please click here.
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Well, I wasn’t planning on releasing a new Taking Back The House chapter today but certain extenuating circumstances meant that I had to take the plunge.

Those circumstances?  The announcement that longtime Republican Rep. Frank Wolf would retire and not run for another term in Virginia’s 10th congressional district.  Since Wolf is no longer in the race, I think its best that we sort of shift from our standard format of Taking Back The House to reflect the importance of this open race and why we can do it.

District Facts:

  • Virginia’s 10th district resides in the northern part of the state and includes Manassas.
  • Frank Wolf has represented this district, which has become very purple and competitive over the years, since 1980.  His personal popularity made him a harder to beat candidate even though the demographics weren’t exactly FULLY in his favor.
  • This district went for Barack Obama in 2008 though Mitt Romney won it in 2012 by a 50-49 margin.

Our Candidate:

  • Rest assured the Democrats have a pretty good candidate in Fairfax County supervisor John Foust though with Wolf’s announcement, I wouldn’t be shocked if some ambitious Democrats look at the race.  Foust though must have had some inside information though and he would’ve been Wolf’s most credible challenger in quite some time.

Why We Can Win This:

  • Well, this is not a slam dunk district and in fact will be a dogfight.  However, this has to be one of the main congressional races to watch in 2014 because if the Democrats have ANY shot at winning the House in 2014; this seat has to be won.  Its highly important and critical to future electoral success.
  • Another thing to watch for is who the Republicans nominate with some speculation resting on former Democratic Rep. Artur Davis who switched parties and states (served in Alabama) with the possible intent of another run for office.  Not sure how a carpetbagger/party flipper will go over in this district though.
  • The main candidates for the Republican Party to watch out for are Barbara Comstock, a former Wolf aide and state Delegate, and state Sen. Jill Holtzman Vogel.

Links You Oughta Check Out:

DONATE TO JOHN FOUST’S CAMPAIGN

Man, Sometimes Its Tough To Be A Progressive

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I have finally graduated college.  Now that I have had a sufficient amount of time to reflect, turn in my final papers, take my final exams and detox from a heavier than usual influx of Pabst Blue Ribbon and Hoegaarden from my liver; its time to get back into politics.

I will be honest with you all.  Over the past three months, I’ve been pretty removed from the political world.  I followed it more than the average American, I’m sure, but I really took a break from it to focus on other things in my life.  I focused on graduating, having fun, running, being at my internship and just doing other things.

I got into music, I got into sports, I got into fantasy football again and having a few months of a mini-kinda-not political exile; it felt good again.  To be fair, it wasn’t all just me taking a break from politics but me being fairly downtrodden about the state that we are currently in in this country.  I’m not even talking about Americans, but being a progressive.

It is a tough thing to be a progressive.  Hell, read that sentence.  A few years ago, I would openly call myself a liberal but that term has been thrown through the ringer so much that its only slightly more favorable to call yourself a liberal than it is to be Dick Cheney.

Why was the word under attack?  Well its always been.  For some reason, liberal has always seemed to be an insult as opposed to a call for political change.  That’s ignoring the fact that people were accused of being “liberals” for supporting marriage equality, health care reform, gun reform, Civil Rights, women’s health and most notably; anti-war.  All of those seem to be pretty good, right?

So now I have to censor myself and call myself a progressive.  Great, I’m a censoring liberal.  That will definitely go over well when I get called out on this the first term.  I can already picture a #tcot going “he’s scared of the term librulll! :proceeds to load shotgun and spits out Skoal:”.  I know, I know.

But what is it going to ever take to have some type of mini liberal….anything in America?  The Occupy movement was covered at first, but no one is touting the “Occupy” candidate that wants to challenge some Third Way centrist Democrat in a blue state.  Hell even one of the most prominent liberals in the Senate, Bernie Sanders, probably won’t ever be taken seriously as a presidential candidate unlike Rick Santorum, Mike Huckabee, Michele Bachmann for that one day and Rick Perry before he opened his mouth in a debate.

You would’ve thought the “Great Recession” would’ve at least inspired SOME type of reform in a good or bad way.  Well, we didn’t get that.  I’ve been told this recession is over and while it seems that way, I can’t pretend that our family is doing any better than it was in 2008.  Some things seem to have even took a turn for the worse though at least my father is employed which is awesome.  Now I got to find his lead, but that’s life.

Maybe the great displeasure of the war on terrorism would have sparked some major reforms and while we have yet to be attacked; it always seems like we are on the cusp of war.  Maybe that’s just a pessimistic way of looking at things.

I have no problems being a Democratic loyalist.  The only way I will get progressive achievements in my lifetime is by fighting for the party that has the best people on its team.  No, not all Democrats are great; far from it actually.  But as long as Sherrod Brown, Tammy Baldwin, Elizabeth Warren and Jeff Merkley are Democrats; then I can call myself one and hold my nose when it counts.

But jeez, isn’t it hard to stick up for the healthcare law that we weren’t too keen on.  Of course, we weren’t getting single payer but man we were fighting for that public option. Alas though, maybe we are on the way to that in the future.

I guess that’s what being a progressive is about.  The past has its ugly moments.  The present always needs to be fixed but there’s always the future to look ahead to.  We have to move forward or the only way we will accomplish anything is to just progress.  That involves not giving up, getting your voice out there, actually trying to accomplish something that is worth it.

No, you won’t be the reason why background checks on guns will be implemented.  You won’t be the catalyst for Wall Street taxes or improving our public schools.  But you will be the person that fights for that in the belief that one day, you know what; we might get closer to it.

Taking Back The House 2014: Mike Fitzpatrick

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We have made continuous updates to our Taking Back The House series and I have created a master database of all the races we have highlighted and links to all the prospective Democratic candidates.  We continue to edit it as news on races emerge and we hope you follow it.  For the master list, please click here.

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We’re BAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAACKKKKK.

Yes, its time to dust off our Taking Back The House series as I prepare for graduation and the country prepares for 2013 to turn to 2014.  I know we have been a bit inactive over the past few months, but its time for the official relaunch of Pollitics Today.  Before we get into our latest Republican target; here’s another little plea.

Please share our website when you can.  It would mean a tremendous amount to me if you would either follow the Twitter account, like the Facebook page or just be a routine reader/commenter.  I feel like we can build something special here.

But enough with the pity, you guys are here for one reason.  To find out another potential pickup opportunity for the Democrats in November 2014.

File:Mike_Fitzpatrick,_Official_Portrait,_112th_Congress

 

Mike Fitzpatrick has been representing the 8th district in Pennsylvania since 2010 though its actually his second go-around in Congress.  Fitzpatrick previously held this seat from 2005 to 2007, being ousted by Patrick Murphy in 2006, before winning the seat back in 2010.

Legislation & Notable Votes:

Headlines:

Electoral History:

2004:  Michael Fitzpatrick (R): 55.3%, Ginny Schrader (D):  43.3%
2006:  Fitzpatrick (R):  49.7%, Patrick Murphy (D): 50.3%
2010:  Fitzpatrick (R):  53.5%, Murphy (D): 46.5%
2012:  Fitzpatrick (R):  56.6%, Kathryn Boockvar (D): 43.4%

PVI:
R+1

Potential Prospects:

There are two Democrats in the race to take on Mike Fitzpatrick and both seem to be decent candidates.  The establishment-backed/DCCC option appears to be Kevin Strouse.  Strouse is an Iraq War veteran and has been very active, slamming Fitzpatrick in an op-ed for job losses due to the sequester.  He definitely has an engaging profile and currently has about $325,000 on hand.

The other candidate in the field is Shaughnessy Naughton, a scientist and small business owner.  Naughton has received an endorsement from EMILY’s List and a local Ironworkers Union which could help her get some traction.

Why We Can Do This:

Make no mistake about it, this won’t be an easy one as Fitzpatrick (sans 2006) has seemingly outperformed the district though, with the exception of Murphy, seems to be facing his toughest competition yet.  Fitzpatrick seems to be a solid fundraiser as well so he won’t go quietly.

But there is a boon, Fitzpatrick has an apparent self-imposed term limit which will expire  in 2016.  Lame ducking yourself might not be the most grand strategy ever.  Also, Fitzpatrick seems to be vulnerable against a “Generic Democrat” but we will have to see how they attack Strouse or Naughton.

Links You Oughta Check Out:

DONATE TO KEVIN STROUSE’S CAMPAIGN
DONATE TO SHAUGHNESSY NAUGHTON’S CAMPAIGN

The Tent Is Big: Inside The Small Battle Of The Democrat Party

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There is nothing that the political media likes, sans future presidential elections maybe, than an “inter-party” war.  I’ve realized over the past few years that whenever a blogger makes a claim of the “So-And-So Civil War”; it gets more clicks than a post about millennials missing the 1990s.

Usually the “Civil War” click bait focuses on the Republican Party.  Now to be fair, there always seems to be a bomb about to be dropped in the House of Regression.  You have the classic conservative establishment versus the new right wing which, right when you seem to doubt they can go any further, always find a way to top itself.

But it never really goes too far even though it seems that its always hyped up.  If anything; the “war” seems to be more of the occasional rebuke by John McCain and the right costing itself potential elections in the name of party purity.

If you are a progressive, and its hard to imagine you are reading this blog if you aren’t, it might be upsetting to think that a third party (which seems to be what the media is salivating over and deep down, all of us as well) will never form due to GOP fracturing.  However the right’s insistence on nominating toxic candidates is all we really need to further bolster the Democratic Party.

But when speaking of the Democrats, there is a small battle going on in the party between two of its wings.  It seems fairly underreported as Republican cannibalism is much more sexier because they wage their battles publicly; but there is something interesting going on.

The “establishment” side, the center so to speak, is in a precarious spot.  They might be representing the slightly more popular political party of the moment but they seem to still be ruining any chance of a populist agenda by embracing Wall Street.  Chuck Schumer, one of the highest ranked Senate Democrats, lobbed this Cruz missile at “left wing blogs” and comparing them to the Tea Party for their

This obviously infuriated anyone who has voted Democrat and sees themselves as a non-Wall Street insider.  We are aware that the Democrats can not fully wage war on the people who essentially fund their campaigns and considering Schumer represents New York; its not too much of a surprise that he has decently close ties to big money.

But in light of the hope that the Democrats can capitalize on the Tea Party’s influence in the party; why the hell is Schumer saying these things?

Then you think about it more and it sort of makes sense to me.  Schumer, as a Senate veteran and someone who is very close to being a future Majority/Minority leader, must be hearing something from the inside that is causing him to drop this boomstick.

As Markos Moulitsas, founder of the DailyKos says, he must be “feeling the heat from its resurgent populist wing: the Warrens, Baldwins, Browns and Merkleys”.  That is of course referring to Elizabeth Warren, Tammy Baldwin (both elected in 2012), Sherrod Brown (re-elected in 2012 after being targeted heavily by Republicans) and Jeff Merkley (elected in 2008) who, alongside independent Bernie Sanders, have started to create a populist wing of the Democrat Party.

Now Schumer’s words won’t win him any praise from the left nor should it as attacking part of your party’s core base is fairly idiotic.  Though I guess we can take solace in the fact that Chuck Schumer sees the left as more of a threat to America than regulating Wall Street.

That’s what always makes me laugh when the issue of Wall Street comes to light.  We don’t need to attack Wall Street.  We don’t need to make them into our enemies.  Hell, all we want is slight, lawful regulation so we can take pride in the fact that the ultra-wealthy don’t have all the advantages in our society.

But nope, its those “LIBRULLLSSS” that are the problem in America.  Of course.  How many times do we take one on the chin for the sake of getting things done?  We had a real opportunity to make headway on healthcare and we gladly settled on a market-based law in the Affordable Care Act which in most of our eyes, does something but not enough.

I’m not saying to not vote for people like Schumer.  Schumer does have some good in him as evident by his stances on gun reform and being pro-choice.  But he is symbolic of how hard it will be to find someone who is pro-regulation to come from the Empire State.

But he is also symbolic of something slightly more bigger.  Its not a stretch to think that only thirty or forty years ago, someone like Chuck Schumer would be a Republican.  You know, the good ole’ “Rockefeller Republican” that would negotiate on social issues but was very much pro-business.  New York has had a rich history of those types including Jacob Javits, Charles Goodell and of course Nelson Rockefeller.

However that breed of moderate Northeastern Republicans is all but extinct.  They are now either out of business or Democrats which has been a boon for the party in terms of numbers but has inched the party towards the middle when it comes to policy.

But as the Democratic Party grows it swallows up the Republicans who are sick of their party’s public quarreling.  Then they come into the Democrat tent, welcomed with open arms, but the party doesn’t move much to the left.

We are a welcoming party.  I’m in that boat too and have no problems highlighting candidates who are more “moderate” in the name of winning elections.  But it can be frustrating for the grassroots to be attacked by its leadership even though most of them are pretty proud loyalists to the likes of Schumer.

Our tent is a mix.  We have liberals, progressives, moderates, former Republicans, Jim Matheson and even some Southern Democrats who have continued their party registration against the red tide that has swallowed up the South.  We should be proud of our tent.

But that doesn’t mean we should be submissive to it either.  The voice of the left is just as critical for the future of the party as is the voice of the other factions.  The Democrats can’t afford to lose the left either or we they could have a more public war of words in their future.

Chris Christie Is The Favorite To Win The Republican Nomination In 2016: How Do You Beat Him?

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Okay, in the aftermath of an election, you tend to hear some pretty huge hyperboles being tossed around.  You hear words being tossed around like “mandate”, “game changing” and almost always a peek into the future as the news media craves horse race news.

It is sickening but as much as we hate to admit it, we love complaining about Chuck Todd or Peter King in front of some map of Iowa and spouting platitudes about how Chris Christie’s personality will REALLY GO WELL in Cornville, Iowa (“blue collar folks LOVE him!”).

But I digress because as the sole blogger of a political website that thrives (50 views a day!) on election news, I am one of the biggest supporters of more horse race news.  So bare with me for a bit because like it or not, we are getting closer and closer to the seasons of Iowa visits, ongoing speculation about backbench Congresspeople (“Louie Gohmert has publicly mentioned that he could see himself in the White House”) and exploratory committees forming.

However, last night was a pretty big night for myself.  As a New Jersey resident, this summer and fall has been a pretty big deal in general.  We had a contested Senate primary to replace the late Frank Lautenberg, the following general election, a gubernatorial race and various statewide contests.  While the races were overall snoozers, it still provided us with some answers.

Mainly that Chris Christie will be the favorite to be the Republican nominee for President in 2016.

Now, let’s get some things settled first and foremost.  There was no way in hell that last night’s gubernatorial election in New Jersey would be even close, let alone result in Chris Christie losing to state senator Barbara Buono.  With the state-level party easily willing to ditch Buono and embrace the incumbent, the massive fundraising edge possessed by Christie and his personal national popularity facing off against the sparsely known Buono; it was destined to be a blowout.

Also, Christie was always the favorite to snag the nomination and his other rivals have very little shot at stopping him with the exception of either some terrible gaffes or horrendous scandals.  Anything can happen (Rudy Giuliani comes to mind immediately as does Hillary Clinton) but frankly, it would be asinine to disagree with the fact that it’ll be hard to topple Christie.

But considering that the calendar is officially past November 5th, 2013; Christie will be on a collision course with 2016.  As a liberal Democrat, I have no problems spousing all of the truths about Christie.  He’s just as anti-union as Scott Walker, as socially conservative as any generic Republican and his “bold” political move was hugging the President in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy.

Still though, perception matters and right now Christie has a lot going for him.  At the risk of sounding like someone who craves nostalgia and shares BuzzFeed lists, I remember a time when Chris Christie’s public meltdowns were considered just that.  To some who weren’t partisan, he looked like an egotistical bully that was going to do his own thing, be damned!  For him though, his own thing was fairly similar to what Scott Walker did in Wisconsin only with more personality and less political carnival.  The Democrats were all too keen to roll over.

The aftermath of Sandy though did change something.  Christie embraced the President, publicly announced how he didn’t care about the upcoming presidential election at the very moment, blasted the Republican-held House of Representatives, appeared on Letterman and cleaned up his image a tad with his genuine (yes, I believe the word genuine counts) sadness over the destruction of the boardwalk.

All of a sudden, Christie’s temper tantrums started to look different in a reflective light.  The general consensus (this of course without cited sources but general belief) was that Christie may not be someone you agree with all the time but by golly, he listens to no one and he’s a straight talker!

If there is one thing that gets Middle America and the stereotypical “blue collar” (FYI:  blue collar shouldn’t just mean people who would be played by John Goodman in a sitcom or television movie, it should be anyone who ISN’T perceived to be wealthy) worker excited it is someone that sounds like how they fantasize they would sound if they were an elected official.  It’s the same semi-populist language that drew people initially to Sarah Palin or any other “folksy” candidate (on either party).

Pundits also love it because they can debate on how genuine or truthful guys like Christie are when they begin to promote themselves.  You will hear how Christie called out Congress, which is not a bold move when you consider Congress’s unpopularity and how Christie doesn’t serve in D.C. so he can take an outsider’s approach, but also look at how he vetoed minimum wage increases and marriage equality.

But it makes Christie a threat and he looks really strong right now especially given how the rest of the field looks.  Marco Rubio has nothing to run off of and is frankly the ultimate amateur who would be over his head running in 2016.  Rand Paul is outing himself as a plagiarizer with a staff that would not be able to organize a presidential campaign.  Ted Cruz is strictly a political extremist that is highly popular amongst a highly unpopular segment of the political spectrum with a high level of combustibility.  Jeb Bush’s time has likely come and gone plus Christie is a more personable version of him anyway.

Now a lot of hay gets made of how right wing conservatives hate Christie just as much as progressives.  The thing is though, they hated Mitt Romney for the same reason.  They did nothing to stall him.  We have this perception that if you don’t win Iowa, you are basically done as a candidate even though Romney got edged out by Rick Santorum (!) last year and Mike Huckabee won in 2008.

The most important thing is money, organization and fundraising.  Romney had all of that as it was basically inevitable that he would survive the primary season.  Even though Christie will be attacked frequently, he will be able to probably float above the inter-conservative squabbling on who is more likely to eliminate LGBT people from the country and deport Hispanics while receiving an endorsement from Kirk Cameron.  They will be more concerned on who will be the “not-Christie” as opposed to winning the damn nomination.

All Christie has to do is coast until Super Tuesday.  He doesn’t need to trounce the field, he just needs to spread their resources thin.  He can set up base camps in various states while Santorum-lite candidates go all in on Iowa; hoping to get by which is probably the best position one can be in.

Does that mean he will win?  No, but it looks really hard to envision him losing.

Still the thing is, how do you topple Chris Christie in a general election?  His schtick, as tiring and obvious as it is, still connects with independent-minded voters.  They eat that stuff alive.  Too much of it could wear thin at a certain point plus if Hillary Clinton is the nominee; Christie will have a tough time against a battle-tested candidate.

To beat Christie though, you have to go after the jugular.  You have to look at some of the failed promises, the missteps, the likely implosions, the pro-Koch legislation, the fact of the matter that everything he provides is merely lip service as opposed to measurable political accomplishments.  With Christie you get a guy who toots his own horn and merrily pats his own back because he said a witty thing about gridlock.  But do you get anything out of it?

Time will tell.

Tips For Democrats On Taking Back The House

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I knew I was onto something when I started my Taking Back The House series in the beginning of the calendar year.  While we have been able to carve out a small niche for those who are excited about elections, we weren’t able to muster that much excitement.

However, I had faith in one thing.  It was the basic belief that the Republican Party would do anything to sabotage its electoral prospects for future cycles.  Thanks to the rabid obsession of right-wing practices by the “non-establishment” Republicans, the country now sees the party for what it truly is.  A party hijacked by extremists, ideologues, faux-reformers and Ted Cruz.

If I, a confessed Democrat loyalist, had to pick one gripe with the Democrats its that they don’t do enough.  The party that should house liberals under its tent plays a fairly conservative game.  They compromise easily, they try hard (and usually succeed) to quell contested primaries and really; they don’t reach far.

But that strategy might pay off as the Republican Party radicalizes to be ya know, the party that temporarily shut down a part of our government.

I’m not one that quite can buy the potential that Democrats can take back the House of Representatives.  There’s still a whole year of Republican scare tactics and while they clearly seemed to have lost the public; they always have a way of rebounding fairly quickly.  You’ll now see them trying to re-shift the focus to the ongoing saga that is the website that is the focal point of the Affordable Care Act.

But I’m not quitting.  In fact, our odds are increasing on at least making significant headway to recapturing the House of Representatives.  But you need to join.  You need to become active and its high time that you join the cause because we can’t do this alone.  Apathy or feigned passion will get the party nowhere as we need to capitalize on the unforced errors that the GOP seems to be prone to making.

So here are some tips that we can do to ensure that we have a shot at making some damage.

1)-Learn the Names

  • Most important thing to do right now is begin the process of shifting the word “Generic Democrat” to actual names.  All these polls that show the Democrats beating identified Republicans look great!  But they don’t mean much other than show that certain Reps. are not popular.

    But that doesn’t mean they are losing right now.  Instead, they are losing to the idea of someone that doesn’t exist.  A flawless, uncontroversial, unnamed Democrat.  By the time the election cycle will kick into full gear, we will get to see biographical ads and attack ads launched in quick succession.  It’s going to take some manpower to fight back in some of these elections that will take place in Republican-favored territory.

    So right now, here’s a simple exercise.  Familiar yourself with the names of Gwen Graham, Ann Callis, Jerry Cannon, Andrew Romanoff, Pete Aguilar, Pete Festersen, Kevin Strousse, Shaughnessy Norton, Erin Bilbray, Sean Eldridge, Michael Eggman, Domenic Recchia, Martha Robertson amongst others.  We already gave you links to some of these candidates Facebook and Twitter accounts so start simple and “follow” or “like” them.

2.  Try To Stay As Local As Possible

  • No races are really local anymore but a common problem we face is when the “national” party gets involved.  If you are from Florida, in a gerrymandered district that really seems to be uncompetitive; look at the closest local race.  Help out a neighboring state even.  But try to stay as local as possible so we can show the opposing party that we want our states back.

3.  Volunteer

  • This is the biggest one and might be the hardest.  A lot of these political operations, while they have some national help when it comes to organizing and fundraising, could always use an extra person to spread the word.  Buy campaign gear to increase dollars, phonebank, participate in Get Out To Vote campaigns, show up at local rallies and convince a few like-minded friends to join you.

    Democrats need to unite together.  In campaigns like this, some critical races will generate more attention than others.  Always stay active and we will help you out when it comes to those who look to be underrepresented!

4.  Don’t Expect Perfection

  • There are a few candidates we have that seem fairly progressive and will be a boon to our national party.  There will likely be a few senatorial or gubernatorial prospects in the mix as well.

    However for the few bright spots that will emerge, there will be some duds.  There will be ones who don’t fundraise well, who make a few critical gaffes or even some that appear to be a bit too “conservative” for your liking.  But do not give up, the only way we’ll get a “blue tide” is by keeping the tent large and then we can start looking at primaries or something similar in the future.

5.  Defense Will Happen As Well

  • Its fun to think that all the Democrats need to do is pick up seats but the truth remains that there will need to be some defense played as well.  Republicans will be looking to increase their majority or trying to negate any gains that the Democrats make by ousting names such as Jim Matheson, John Barrow, Ron Barber or Raul Ruiz.

    Always keep an eye what’s going on in your backyard.

6.  Help Us Out!

  • We will be helping you along the way, but sign up for alert system or like us on Facebook/follow us on Twitter at the links at the very top of this article.  Help us help you as we will be offering constant updates as election day 2014 rolls near!

Taking Back The House Updates: Could The GOP Actually Lose The House?

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Follow us on Twitter @PolliticsToday for more insight, commentary and updates concerning this blog or “LIKE” us on Facebook.  To get alerts on our newest articles, sign up for our alert system.  Seriously, do those things; we could use more followers and support! 

By now you probably have heard the buzz that has spread a bit around Facebook as of late.  According to Public Policy Polling, 17 Republicans are trailing “generic Democrat” opponents and if that holds true to form; the Democrats have a shot at taking the House back.  Circumstantial evidence such as the GOP’s rabid unpopularity in the midst of the continuing government shutdown saga has been cited as a reason why its not that farfetched of an idea.

But before we look into the likelihood of Speaker Pelosi, let’s look at how our targeted races are faring according to the poll.  The margins we are using are the ones that follow the question of “Would you be less likely or more likely to support Congressman X if you knew he voted to support shutting down major activities of the federal government as a way to stop the health care law from being put into place, or does it not make a difference?”.

  • Gary Miller trails Generic Democrat by a 12 point margin
  • Jeff Denham trails G.D. by 4 points
  • Mike Coffman is down by 10 points
  • Rodney Davis trails by 5 points
  • Steve Southerland trails by 9 points
  • David Valadao is up by 2 points
  • Dan Benishek trails by 22 (!) points
  • Tim Walberg trails by 9 points
  • Kerry Bentivolio trails by 15 points
  • Joe Heck is up by 3 points
  • Mike Grimm is down by 1 point
  • Chris Gibson is down by 6 points
  • Tom Reed is down by 6 points

Now this looks all fine and dandy as of now and downright promising.  In fact, upon first look at these numbers I couldn’t help but smile and think “hey, is this possible?  It has to be too good to be true”.

In all honesty, this is somewhat showing of a few things.  Benishek and Bentivolio are in fairly safe Republican districts but the former has underwhelmed in his brief electoral career and the latter is more than likely to be beaten in a primary by a better funded and less “colorful” generic Republican.  Still, I find it rather odd to see Benishek down by such a ridiculous amount already.

Also, this poll is not “skewed” but is dependent on messaging.  When the poll asks the question it did to get those results, its implying that voters will only hear the Democratic Party’s message and the Republicans will not be able to counter.  We have to assume that the Republicans will go back to their playbook of “do you REALLY want Speaker Pelosi again?” and complain about creeping socialism, Sharia, Kardashian, etc. to make Americans fearful of a Democratic-ruled House.

This is also not the best poll as it only says “Generic Democrat” meaning someone who hasn’t offended anyone and only exists in the voter’s minds.  The poll didn’t mention challengers such as Pete Aguilar, Andrew Romanoff, Gwen Graham, Ann Callis, Michael Eggman or Jerry Cannon but candidates who exist without a name.  That will change, for some it’ll be better and for some it’ll get worse.

Now this isn’t meant to dismay you, as I did Taking Back The House for a reason but if you really want to make some inroads in some of these districts here’s what you can do.

1.  Follow/Like These Candidates

  • Go back to our database and check out the candidates.  Follow them on Twitter and like them on Facebook.  The only way we can make these Generic Democrats stand on their own is by rallying around them.  If you are in their district/state really consider volunteering for their campaign and donating.  The more people in Florida that can donate to Gwen Graham, the better.  If you don’t know who Gwen Graham is you have to start doing your part.

2.  Contribute

  • Money wins politics.  That’s a sad fact.  As I stated earlier, I’d rather people who were in the same state or district pick a candidate and donate money or time to them.  Anything from phone banking to helping the “get out to vote” crowd or even just retweeting a few tweets can make a difference.

3.  Be Aware

  • Not all candidates are perfect and some might not fit your ideology but if your main goal is to ensure President Obama has a Democratic House for his final two years as President, you must be aware of what it’s going to take.

What Does A Government Shutdown Mean?

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Alright, well the main point of this website is to inform (and maybe even rally) people up about upcoming elections and how certain news events pertain to future races.  For the most part, the posts on this website have been geared towards that specific goal.

However, since I’m still in college and see so many people talking about certain news events on Facebook & Twitter with only a rudimentary idea of what is going on (Usually “WELFARE”); I like to take some time to explain what is going on.  Usually its a mixture of facts and editorial so people understand what the hell is going on.

Well, in light of a government shutdown that has taken place for the past twelve hours, I thought I’d log back into WordPress and tell the people what exactly is going on to the best of my understanding.

What Does A Government Shutdown Mean?

Well, its basically what it sounds like.  As of 12:00 midnight, the federal government has shut down.  Now, its not a full-bloated shutdown (aka we still have a President and yes, we still have laws so you don’t have a get out of jail free card) but really here’s what happens.

The federal government gives out funds to keep neat things operating such as national parks (see:  Statue of Liberty for an example), museums, federal agencies, etc.  As the government shuts down, well….those people as of right now are off from work for the foreseeable future.  How many you ask?  Think around 800,000 government workers right now, some of whose livelihoods depend on their jobs (like all of us!) can not go into work and there’s no guarantee that they will be paid for the time they missed.

How Long Will It Last?

Who really knows?  In 1995 and 1996, the government shut down for five and twenty one days, respectively.  This will last about as long as until a “Continuing Resolution” or Appropriations bill get passed.

That could take anywhere from an hour from now until….well, whenever the Republican-backed House feels like it.

What’s the reason for the shutdown?

Well, there’s a few thoughts about that but mainly as you know, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act is now starting to begin in earnest.  You might know that as “OBAMACARE” or “that health care bill people keep talking about”.  The funding of the ACA is being attacked by Republicans who believe it should be repealed, defunded or slowly eliminated before really taking place.

What’s that got to do with anything?

Nothing precisely.  However, its being used as a hostage by Republicans in exchange for a bill to be passed.  The Republicans dominate the House as of now, and the Democrats control the Senate and the White House.  As of now, there is plenty of gridlock (obviously) and the Republicans are trying to score a political win by defunding the health care bill they didn’t pass while blaming President Obama for the shutdown.

Who Benefits?

Right now, outside groups dominate political fundraising.  The big CEOs/hedge fund managers/etc. that pump in their own millions for certain causes are in charge.  Really the Republican Party, in an attempt to drum up interest and cash for future electoral cycles, is playing to those groups.

The real beneficiary might very well be Ted Cruz, the Senator from Texas, who is often seen as a contender for the 2016 Republican nomination for President.  He is a very conservative firebrand that is trying to derail a bill that was signed into law (in 2010) before he was elected to the Senate (2012).

But as the shutdown continues, the real winners could likely be the Democratic Party.  Remember the Republicans effectively SHUTDOWN parts of the federal government to rail against a bill that was signed into law, approved by the Supreme Court as constitutional and mostly approved by voters in 2012 who reelected plenty of Democrats who were instrumental in its passage (including the President).

Who Loses?

Federal workers whose only crime was getting a job to feed themselves, their families and paying their bills.  As always, the “little people” are used as pawns for the big fish and that’s something that should infuriate you as it could very well be you one day.