... liberals are now ... giddy that a Donald Trump presidential nomination -- or a Ted Cruz nomination, for that matter -- could put the 30-seat Republican majority in the U.S. House of Representatives into play.This is pathetic -- and yes, the districts in which no Democrat is running include quite a few considered unswervingly Republican, but that's not true of all of them.
... David Wasserman of the Cook Political Report recently altered ten House ratings to favor Democrats, commenting, “It’s impossible to know just how bad it could get for Republicans sharing a ballot with Trump or Cruz.”
... But it takes years to recruit and train candidates who can raise enough money to win a congressional election; you can’t throw it together in a few months. You can see how unprepared Democrats are for this scenario by looking at how many districts won’t have a Democratic candidate at all. Nineteen states have already closed their filing process for House elections, representing 163 Congressional districts. And as Stephen Wolf points out, in 27 of those 163 seats -- about one in six -- no Democrat will appear on the ballot.
Elsewhere, Dayen reports, Democrats have candidates in place, but they're weak candidates running for winnable seats.
Daily Kos Elections’ David Nir looked at two winnable Republican seats in southern New Jersey, where antipathy to Trump could produce unexpected results. In the 2nd district ... Representative Frank LoBiondo will likely face a Democratic challenger who raised only $55,000 when he was on the ballot in 2014, losing his primary by 64 points. In the 3rd district ... freshman Representative Tom McArthur will compete against one of two Democrats: perennial losing candidate Frederick LaVergne, or Jim Keady, who got pummeled in a state legislative race last year.Given all the talk of "revolution" I'm hearing in the presidential campaign, I'm surprised there aren't Sandersites offering themselves as candidates (Democratic or third-party) for some of these seats.
Actually, I'm not surprised at all -- Bernie fans are falling for the widely held but incorrect notion that if you elect a progressive president, the entire federal government will simply fall in line. (A lot of progressives also thought that would happen eight years ago, with the election of Barack Obama.)
I disagree with Dayen about one thing: It doesn't always take "years to recruit and train candidates who can raise enough money to win a congressional election." Every so often, even a newbie candidate can catch a complacent opponent napping and win despite a lack of experience or cash. That's what teabagger Dave Brat did in his successful 2014 primary challenge to Eric Cantor -- Brat won while being outspent approximately 40-to-1 by Cantor.
In states where there's still time to get on the ballot, why don't some Bernieites try to take on congressional Republicans, especially in districts the Democratic establishment has already conceded to the GOP? Try it even in heavily Republican districts -- let's test the premise that the Sanders message appeals to Republican voters, especially the discontented voters backing Trump. And maybe the people making all those small donations to Sanders can spare a few bucks for people with Sanders values downballot.
You want a revolution? You're going to need some foot soldiers, not just one iconic leader. Try this.