Welcome to Daily Kos Elections! DKE is Daily Kos's official elections portal. It's the successor to the Swing State Project, a blog which has been obsessively covering elections since 2003. For those of you visiting here for the first time, I thought it might be helpful to provide a little background about DKE and explain our "rules of the road."
As our name indicates, DKE is focused exclusively on elections. Our emphasis is downballot races: senate, house, governor, and sometimes even further into the weeds, like mayoral races and state legislative contests. We cover just about everything that takes place on or around the campaign trail: polls, fundraising, candidate announcements, redistricting, gaffes, TV ads, and more. And in a return to something we did in our earliest days, we also plan to cover presidential polls going forward. Bigger news items will generally get their own posts, while smaller tidbits will appear in our daily roundup, which we call the Daily Digest.
Some of our posts will be cross-posted to the Daily Kos front page. If you're reading the FP, you'll be able to tell because they'll say "Reposted from Daily Kos Elections" at the very top, just beneath the title and byline. Cross-posted material will usually consist of more important news stories, as well as the Digest. Wonkier, nerdier stuff—like hardcore number-crunching and map-making—will get published exclusively to DKE.
The most crucial thing to know about DKE is that our mantra is politics not policy. That is to say, we stay laser-focused on the process and outcome of the electoral horserace, and we avoid debates about policy issues. This isn't to say policy questions never come up, but when they do, it's in the context of how they'll affect what happens on the campaign trail.
To take a classic example, when the healthcare fight was being waged on Capitol Hill, many Democrats disagreed as to whether the final legislation should include a public insurance option. At our predecessor site, we steered clear of this question and instead asked a more specific one: What would the electoral consequences be if the bill did—or did not—include a public option? In other words, the electoral implications of various policy choices are fair game.
We also try hard to separate out our personal preferences from our analysis. DKE is a progressive, Democratic site, and we never hide our partisan leanings. But while we root for Team Blue, we aren't cheerleaders: If the news is bad for us or good for the other side, we won't hesitate to report on it, and we'll give clear-eyed analysis no matter what.
So yes, I'd love to see 250 strong progressives elected to the House, and I roll my eyes (and then some) whenever some grating conservaDem decides to let loose his inner wanker. But it's important to be realistic in our assessments, and to always bear in mind that what we want may not have a lot in common with what the electorate in a particular district or state or the country as a whole wants. This is the cornerstone of insightful, dispassionate electoral analysis.
We also always try to support our arguments and opinions with evidence, rather than make flat, conclusory assertions. Evidence can take many forms, including (but not limited to) polls, newspaper articles, or even personal observations. And links are always greatly appreciated. The conversation is always more interesting when people bring support for their arguments to the table.
We understand that this approach may be different than what you're used to, but the great thing about Daily Kos is that if you are interested in debating policy questions on the merits, there are many, many venues for doing so without ever leaving the site. We just ask that if you see a DK Elections diary, you join us in sticking to a discussion of the politics, not policy. So you may see us (the administrators of DKE) step in from time to time to nudge the conversation back on track as needed.
I also want to note that SSP's fairly large community of commenters and diarists (which has been around for quite a while) is making the move as well. It's an interesting transition: For the "Swingnuts" migrating over here, it's like we're re-locating our old home, which we're very familiar with, but to a new neighborhood that some of us may not know as well. And for longtime Kossacks who may not be familiar with SSP, it's by-and-large the mirror image situation. So I hope that each group will extend a warm welcome to the other: that Kossacks will show SSPers around the new neighborhood, while SSPers show Kossacks around our old home in its new digs.
I mentioned the DKE administrators just above—here's who we are:
David Nir (formerly known as DavidNYC): Daily Kos user since 2002 and contributing editor since 2004, founded the Swing State Project in 2003, and this year joined Daily Kos as the site's Political Director
James L: SSP editor since 2006
Arjun Jaikumar: DK editor since 2007
David Jarman (f/k/a Crisitunity): SSP editor since 2008
Steve Singiser: DK editor since 2009
Jeffmd: SSP editor since 2010
We've also put together a glossary of some of the lingo, acronyms, and home-grown terms we use regularly. It's a work in progress, so be sure to also check out the comments to that post if you're looking up an unfamiliar term. But don't hesitate to ask if you don't see something! We've put a permalink to the glossary in the "Blogroll" section of the right-hand sidebar, along with some other key links that we rely on extensively.
One other important detail: If you write a diary about electoral topics and would like to see it appear in DKE's right-hand sidebar under the "Related Diaries" section, please include the tag "DK Elections" with your post. I would only ask that Trusted Users not add this tag to diaries written by others—at least for now, I'd prefer to let people decide on their own whether or not they wish their posts to appear here at DKE.
If you have any questions, please feel free to fire away in comments, or to send any of the admins a private email using the site's internal messaging system. And once again, welcome to Daily Kos Elections!