Wishful thinking won't win elections for Democrats

Democrat wishful thinking may be getting ahead of electoral reality, if a mcclatchydc.com article headlined "Dems are starting to win state races in Trump districts" is any indication.

Writer Alex Roarty, in the post linked at drudgereport.com, quotes a Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee staffer:

Out in the states, we're seeing an incredible over-performance at the state legislative level.

Oh, really?

In what amounts to a pep talk for Democrats, the author claims that Democratic candidates have "already won four seats previously under Republican control" and describes in anecdotal fashion, with no links to any further details, a total of six state legislative special election results.  A few details of the six races in question paint a slightly different picture:

  • A New Hampshire "Democratic Senate candidate" defeated a former state senator, but the Democrat win "kept the seat in Democratic hands."  No pickup there.
  • A "pair of victories earlier in July in deep-red Oklahoma" were indeed Democrat victories in Republican-held seats, but "[b]oth of the races came out of Republicans resigning after sex scandals."  And as tulsaworld.com notes, "the overall trend for the [Oklahoma Democratic] party has been downward in the Legislature."
  • A "New Hampshire state House" special election won by a Democrat was held "to fill the seat vacated by the resignation" of another Democrat who had won the seat in November 2016.  No Democrat pick-up there.
  • A "New York state general assembly" Democrat special election winner did indeed replace a 13-year Republican assemblyman, who had resigned to take a local government position.
  • In a special election race "in Delaware for state Senate," the Democrat winner, who incidentally received campaign support from former vice president Joe Biden, filled the seat vacated by another Democrat who moved on to win election as the state's lieutenant governor.  No pick-up there either.

Summing up the six Democratic state-level special election wins referenced in the Roarty column, three were replacing Democrats, two were replacing Republicans who had resigned in disgrace, and one was actually a solid win in a formerly Republican seat.

To put these six Democrat state legislative wins in perspective, there are currently 7,383 state legislative seats, with 4,146 held by Republicans, as compiled by the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL).  That's after losing "958 state legislative seats" during the "Obama years."  And after four losing straight congressional special elections this year, in Kansas, Montana, South Carolina and Georgia.  The Democrats are essentially pinning their hopes on one state assembly pickup in New York.  Talk about grasping at straws.

As one NCSL source notes regarding the handful of Democrat special election wins at the state level:

That is a really small sample size to extrapolate much beyond these local races[.]  There are quirky factors in all of them, and you just never know until you see a big trend.

The Roarty piece mentions the big fundraising haul by the National Democratic Redistricting Committee, "a high-profile group with the support of former President Barack Obama and former Attorney General Eric Holder," but also quotes a Republican source, who adds, "The results they have gotten, based on that financial increase, really are not that impressive."

Countering the Democrats' wishful thinking, David Bossie, writing at foxnews.com, contends that "[t]he Democratic Party is a mess. It has no effective national leader. It has no serious agenda."  Bossie goes on to say:

The idea that ultra-liberals like House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi of San Francisco, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer of New York City,  Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, or Socialist Sen. Bernie Sanders of the People's Republic of Vermont have any intention of fixing or even acknowledging the problems facing ordinary Americans is absurd.

And a politico.com piece observes that the Chuck Schumer-Nancy Pelosi "Better Deal" message is receiving mixed reviews at best among Democrats across the states, with one "Democratic consultant who is working on a wide range of 2018 races" sarcastically questioning the wisdom of a coordinated message, saying "[t]he message should be: 'The other guy sucks[.]'"

A cnn.com piece by Jonathan Tasini, who appears to take the Bernie Sanders approach to most questions, compares the Democrats' "Better Deal" branding to "a sales pitch for a discounted item at a shopping mall."  So much for superior messaging by Democrats.

As Bossie notes, Trump voters in particular "have well-founded beliefs about what today's Democrat Party stands for – and it's not good."  It will take more than wishful thinking for Democrats to make significant inroads in the Republican majorities at the federal and state levels. 

Perhaps New Jersey Democratic senator and possible 2020 presidential candidate Corey Booker is on to something, as he "introduced legislation" on Tuesday to "end the federal prohibition on marijuana and encourage [i.e., coerce by withholding federal funds] states to legalize pot."

That would make wishful thinking easier for everyone.