There seems to be some level of disagreement out there in the outer fringes of leftwing lunacy when it comes to the recent election that took place in Kansas’ 4th congressional district. Because of the closeness of the outcome and the fact that the district has been reliably Republican for 20 years, there are some who describe it as being an opportunity lost while others describe it as a harbinger of things to come and still others say it’s much ado about nothing. After a longshot Democrat candidate came within seven points of winning, progressive strategists have since come out to blame the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) for not putting enough money and resources into the contest, and national operatives more broadly for paying too little attention to it.
And despite the fact that Republican Ron Estes won the Kansas special election Tuesday evening, prominent news outlets were quick to interpret the win as a positive sign for Democrats. NPR asserted the race was in a very strong Republican district and should have been won easily. The reason the race was close, NPR suggests, is because the race was a referendum on Trump, and not a referendum on Hitlery, like the district voted in 2016. The outlet blared the headline: “A Special Election In Kansas Could Signal ‘Big League’ Problems For GOP, Trump.” Politico noted that the Democrat party didn’t shell out any cash in the race, and compared that to the fact that President Trump, Vice President Pence, and Speaker Ryan all held fundraisers and campaigned on behalf of Estes.
Jake Sherman and Anna Palmer noted in ‘Playbook’ that Trump carried the district with a 27 percent lead over Hitlery, implying the win should have been much bigger, so it was a good sign for Democrats. They wrote, “The DCCC did not spend a dime in this race. Again: Trump won this district by 27 points.” CNN called the race a “surprisingly strong challenge” to Republicans, asserting that the GOP closely avoided a loss. Some unnamed GOP staffer told CNN, “This should be a wake-up call to the Administration and the Republican Congress.” And then added, “The Democratic base is fully mobilized and unlikely to be defused. We will have to beat them. That will take motivating our base. So far we have not.” CNN ran the ominous headline: “Republicans avert disaster in Kansas but 2018 trouble looms.”
And it was Jim Dean, president of something called ‘Democracy for America’, a progressive advocacy group, who said, “To the Washington Democratic insiders who wrote this race off before it began, it’s time to wake up and realize that the grassroots expects this resistance effort to be waged unflinchingly in every single county and every single state across the country.” And then we have Bernie Sanders’ former presidential campaign team, now running a group called Our Revolution, that piled on saying, “The Democratic Party can no longer ignore districts that they consider ‘safe’ for Republicans.” Even the Democrat candidate, James Thompson, himself said that the party needs to become more active everywhere – even in conservative districts and states.
Thompson’s ‘strength’ heading into the final days of the Kansas special election is said to have stunned Republicans forcing national GOP officials to make a major, last-minute effort to help their nominee. Democrats in Washington flatly reject the charge that they did anything wrong in Kansas, arguing that involvement from the national party would have been counterproductive and an unwise use of scarce resources. For many reasons, moving the needle in a district this conservative is difficult for a group like the DCCC. But the split over Kansas is emblematic of the rift growing wider between the activists and the operative class as two wings of the Democrat Party struggle to find common ground not only on policy but on the strategy and tactics that might lead them back to power.
Although the race was closer than former Rep. Mike Pompeo’s win in 2016, politically speaking it was hardly close. Estes won with 52.5 percent of the vote, and Democrat candidate James Thompson earned 45.7 percent of the vote. That’s substantially lower than Pompeo’s 60.7 percent of the vote in 2016, but the lower number could be a result of any number of factors. For starters, 275,251 people voted in the 2016 election, indicating that the presidential race brought a lot of people to the polls, and only 120,897 people voted in the special election. Estes also didn’t have anywhere near the high name recognition enjoyed by the nationally-known Pompeo, who had held the seat since 2011. So I think we can all agree that come liberals are making some fairly broad assumptions here.
Meanwhile, Democrat allies of the DCCC have argued that running TV ads in the Kansas district would likely have done more harm than good because the Republicans could have then used them to argue that Thompson was nothing more than a tool of the national party – a potent criticism in such a conservative area. They also say that calls for the party to help with mail or field staff would have taken months of preparation for a race nobody knew would be competitive until just last week. Apparently the DCCC did not even conduct a poll of the race until just days before the election. Ian Russell, who served as DCCC’s political director last year, said, “Everybody’s internal numbers on both sides didn’t have this being a race in time to start a field operation.”
Mr. Russell then went on to add that the committee also had to be realistic in its assessment of the race, which many party strategists deemed unwinnable even with an energized Democrat base. Any investment from Democrats would have most assuredly been met with an equal or greater response from Republicans, while donors might have been misled into thinking that a victory was imminent. Russell said, “The DCCC has to be honest with its donors about where they have opportunity.” And he went on to say, “If you cry wolf all the time, it makes it very difficult to actually move resources you have a real race.” But that misses a larger point, some progressive leaders say. To many on the left, the party went to great lengths to ignore the race entirely, refusing to acknowledge it in emails or fundraising pitches.
But we can rest assured that Democrats will continue to use every opportunity that they can to demonstrate that discontent, regarding President Trump, is mounting and tend to favor them come 2018. Progressives and the DCCC will have another chance to get on the same page next week, during another special House election, this one in the north-Atlanta suburbs, one both parties see as a political bellwether. The political committee has had field staffers working in the Georgia congressional district for months and is spending $250,000 on get-out-the-vote ads on African-American radio stations. The efforts are poised to benefit Jon Ossoff, who has become a favorite of the activist left, which has helped him raise more than $8 million for his campaign in only a couple of months.
National Democrats have long had reservations about the viability of the race, but they do see it as being a better bet than the contest in Kansas. And DCCC officials say their involvement there – along with the relationship they’ve tried building with activists groups and the 20 staffers they sent into Republican districts in February – is proof they have a strong partnership with their party’s grassroots. Meredith Kelly, DCCC spokesmoron, said, “Energy amongst Democrats is off the charts, which the DCCC recognized and acted on earlier than any previous cycle.” She said, “We now have a good sense of energy that’s out there in terms of how it actually translates at the ballot box.” She added, “That certainly is going to shape how we look at the remaining special elections and the general elections next year.”
But the problem is not the Democrat strategy being applied to the elections, the problem, I would argue, is the message of the Democrat Party. It’s a message that simply no longer connects with working class Americans. Americans who place more importance on having a job than allowing thousands of refugees into the country. Things are already getting better because of Trump and the Republicans in Congress. Hopefully, it will be years before the Democrats are ever able to again gain control of anything. But lest we forget, liberals are far from being powerless because they still control the media, the majority of our most powerful corporations, and our entire education system. And the ‘Republican Establishment’ in Congress continues to allow the ‘snowflake’ Democrats far more power than they have to.
Considering their habit of refusing to look in the mirror and correct your errors and doubling down on the far left rhetoric that caused your losses in the first place, there is zero reason to expect anything other than more losses. So let the Democrats spend all they want, I very much doubt they’ll win in Georgia. In the end, The Republican will take his seat in Congress. But even with all that being said, the Republicans in Congress, beginning with our hapless Speaker of the House, and a less than impressive leader in the Senate, must get busy working ‘together’ in advancing the Trump agenda or there will undoubtedly be Hell to pay come November 2018. Replace Obamacare, cut taxes and begin work on ‘The Wall’ THIS YEAR and then brag about it all next year in the run up to the election and it’s a done deal.