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Hochul headlines
Let me start this little dollop of post-game analysis by doing something extraordinarily rare: agreeing with the GOP spinmeisters and the esteemed community of political pundits. It is possible to read too much into Tuesday's special election victory by Democrat Kathy Hochul in upstate New York.

Of course, it is also certainly possible to read too little into it. And it sure seems as if those two groups are practically straining their collective larynxes attempting to do just that. We have read a lot of postscripts about why the election of a Democrat in a historically Republican seat doesn't matter all that much. In proving their case, four dominant bits of evidence have been proffered.

On Wednesday here at Daily Kos, I took on two of the congealing bits of conventional wisdom that emerged from Tuesday night in an attempt to minimize the Democratic victory. While I will spare you a re-run of the entire piece (heck, you can always click the link, right?), here is the highlight reel:

1. Jane Corwin did not lose because of Jack Davis.

One of the primary articles of faith in the Republican community [Wednesday] morning is that Jane Corwin was done in by the spoiler effect of having Tea Party candidate Jack Davis on the ballot.

The problem is that an analysis of the results, coupled with the final polls in the district by PPP and Siena, undermine that argument. The baseline assumption was that the entirety of Davis' support would have bled to Corwin. The data from those two pollsters simply doesn't back that up. To be clear, Corwin almost certainly would have received more of Davis' support than Hochul. But enough to win? Unlikely.

The bottom line: the gap was too wide, and Davis' eventual vote totals too small, for him to be accurately labelled a "spoiler". All his presence did, in the final analysis, was pad Hochul's lead.

2. The "Democratic enthusiasm gap" has badly eroded, if not disappeared.

In the New York 26th, the two best performing Democratic counties [Tuesday] night were Erie and Niagara Counties. In 2010, those two counties combined for 50.7% of the total vote in the district. On Election Night 2011, they combined for 55.4% of the total vote in the district. Meanwhile, the largest GOP-friendly part of the district (Monroe County), which gave Corwin a narrow win [Tuesday] night, dropped from being 22.5% of the total district vote down to just 19.4%.

There is other evidence to suggest that Democrats were more fired up to participate. Districtwide, Hochul's vote total (47.14%) was only a few points higher than the combined performances of the Democratic and Working Families nominees in 2008 (45.03%). But in the Democratic stronghold in the district (Erie County), those numbers leapt up, from 48.5% up to 53.4%.

Even those who tried to flog the "GOP vote got split" meme were ignoring a key point: even if you buy the fallacious assertion that all of Davis' votes would have gone to Corwin (all evidence to the contrary), Hochul still got north of 47% in a district where they have only sniffed those numbers once: in 2006.

Every Democrat would rejoice, and every Republican would shudder, at the notion that the current electorate would look most like the 2006 electorate.

In the four days that have elapsed since that analysis posted here at Daily Kos at Wednesday, we have been treated to two additional bits of analysis to suggest that Hochul's victory was not such a big deal, after all. They deserve a closer look, as well:

3. The New York 26th is a Republican district. Quit pretending that it is a swing district.

When confronted with an unexpected outcome, be it in sports or politics, a favorite defense mechanism is to declare the upset as an entirely predictable outcome. In politics, that usually entails getting awfully creative about describing the terrain in which the election takes place. Palm Beach County being a Buchanan stronghold, for example...

In this case, the creative analysis is in attempting to portray the New York 26th as a kind of "fair-play" district where victory by either party could reasonably be expected. Consider this nugget from Hotline On Call writer Dan Roem, who (rightly) dings newly-anointed DNC head Debbie Wasserman Schultz for a bit of hyperbole, but then makes a bit of a stretch in his own analysis:

Democratic National Committee chairman Debbie Wasserman Schultz told MSNBC's Lawrence O'Donnell on Wednesday that N.Y.-26 is "the 426th worst-district for Democrats in the country. There's only nine districts out of 435 that are worse than this one."

She's presumably looking at 2010 election results, when former Rep. Chris Lee faced nominal Democratic opposition. But just two years before, Lee won election with 55 percent of the vote - and Democrats spent millions in contesting the seat.

A more useful metric to measure the partisanship of House districts is the Cook Political Report Partisan Voter Index, and it shows that the district is less Republican than the average Republican-held House seat.

There are over 240 GOP-held House seats. So the fact that the New York 26th district is less Republican than the "average" House seat would seem to be small consolation to the GOP. After all, by Roem's own calculations later in the article, there are nearly one hundred Republican-held House seats with a Cook PVI that are either equal to, or more Democratic than, the New York 26th.

ABC's political newsletter, The Note, adds a few other fun facts about the district that makes this defeat seem a little more significant for the GOP:

How Republican is New York’s 26th district? Only three Democrats have won the House seat in this area in the past century. It was one of just four districts in the state that voted for John McCain over Barack Obama in the 2008 presidential election. And it was one of the few districts that voted overwhelmingly for Republican Carl Paladino in last year’s governor’s race. Paladino lost to Andrew Cuomo by a wide margin, capturing only 34 percent of the vote in the entire state.

Of course, Paladino hailed from the region, which makes his success here somewhat predictable. But a century is a long time, and to have the region only represented by a trio of Democrats in all of that time is rather telling, indeed.

Let's be clear: the 26th is not a swing district. In two outstanding Democratic cycles, the GOP held this seat with 52% and 55% of the vote. On Tuesday night, they won just over 42%. Even if you re-allocate Jack Davis' vote, the GOP would have been unlikely to crack 49%. That is signficant, and cannot be minimized easily.

4. Special elections are unpredictable, but that doesn't mean they aren't meaningful.

When all else fails, another convenient defense mechanism upon losing a contest is to deny the importance of the contest. Particularly, in politics, there seems to be a direct correlation in the wake of a special election between the amount of relevance a party places on the election, and said party's performance in the election.

With that in mind, it was not surprising to read some Republicans warn solemnly post-election that it is dangerous to try to divine predictive value from special elections, which are often unpredictable and poor predictors of future electoral currents.

This time around, that analysis was echoed by several in the pundit/analyst class. Case in point: Real Clear Politics' number-cruncher Sean Trende:

Some political scientists note, going back to 1900, the party that nets seats in special elections picks up seats in the House roughly two-thirds of the time. But this relationship has weakened over the years; if we just look at special elections in the 1990s and 2000s, the party that has netted seats in special elections has actually lost seats in the upcoming elections 58 percent of the time.

Special elections are, simply put, quirky things, and this one was particularly so.  Looking back from November of 2012, the benefit of hindsight may well enable us to conclude that this election was the first clear sign of the ebbing of the tea party momentum that had propelled the big Republican victories of 2009 and 2010. But there is as good a chance that this Democratic victory in upstate New York will reveal little in the context of the larger macro election forces at work, much like PA-12's results last May revealed very little about the GOP's 63-seat pickup in November.

The problem with Trende's analysis is that it is hard to accept his notion that this special election was "particularly" quirky. Hawaii-01 last year, with it's "all-comer" format allowing Charles Djou to sneak through when the Democratic vote got split, was quirky. New York-23, with Doug Hoffman essentially substituting for DeDe Scozzafava as the de facto GOP nominee in 2009 was most definitely quirky.

But this election? The quirkiest thing about it was Jack Davis, and his support cratered on Election Day, dropping him into the single digits. There wasn't even the grand schism we have seen in New York elections in the past: Jane Corwin was both the Republican and Conservative Party nominees. There was no great disparity in funding--Corwin's self-funding plus third-party contributions likely gave her a cash edge. Indeed, the quirkiest thing about this election proved to be its outcome.

Trende's primary point (that special elections aren't always predictive) is a legitimate one. However, there are legitimate reasons to suspect that this election is different than others. For one thing, NY-26 didn't happen in isolation. You had legislative special election wins in nominally hostile districts in Wisconsin and New Hampshire in previous weeks, plus the near-miss in Wisconsin's judicial election, where Republican David Prosser dropped from a vast lead in the primary to a nail-biter on Election Night. Polling data has also shown distinct and real movement. Even GOP-friendly Rasmussen has the generic Congressional ballot down to a toss-up, while other recent polls have echoed similar trends.

For another, as Dante Chinni noted, the geographic distribution of support for Hochul paints a pretty interesting picture, as well, with major implications for 2012:

As we have noted often on this blog and in longer-term reporting, the Service Worker Centers, have long tended to vote Republican and often by sizable margins.

These 660 counties gave George W. Bush a 14-percent margin of victory in 2000 and a 17-percent margin of victory in 2004. In 2008, Sen. John McCain won them by only 5 percentage points, but by the 2010 midterms they looked solidly Republican again -- GOP congressional candidates won the counties by some 12 percentage points.

What does that have to do with NY-26? Well, those trends were mirrored in the five Service Worker counties in the district through 2010. And Hochul's numbers in those Service Worker counties look a lot like Obama's 2008 numbers in them -- eerily so.

In Genesee, Hochul took 39 percent, Obama had 40. In Livingston it was 42 Hochul, 45 Obama. In Niagra, 47 for Hochul, 47 for Obama. In Orleans, 40 for Hochul, 41 for Obama. In Wyoming, 36 for Hochul and 36 for Obama.

Republican rhetoric, to say nothing of Republican governance, has been based on the premise that the American electorate has a 2010 mentality. It underscores many of the false premises that my friend DemfromCT skewered earlier today.

There is nothing in the electoral results from this week that bolster that case. And while it would be a mistake for Democrats to prematurely declare 2012 victories based on the results in upstate New York this week, it would be a larger mistake for the GOP (and, for that matter, the pundit class) to minimize what happened there, as well. Indeed, the best thing for Democrats in 2012 might well be if the GOP insists on making that very mistake.

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Comment Preferences

  •  NY-26 was a disaster for them (9+ / 0-)

    They blew a sure thing. Corwin is NY's version of Martha Coakely. In any normal election, against generic competent Republican, someone like Hochul should lose. And in 2012, depending on redistricting, generic competent Republican will give Hochul a run for her money.

    •  Not likely... (13+ / 0-)

      The republicans didn't "blow" anything. This is who they are; dismantling the social safety net is their goal. Even now, after this amazing defeat, the republicans haven't given an inch on their demands. They want to slash these programs and tax cuts are absolutely off the table.

      And, in 2012, the republican candidate will have those same goals, I guarantee.

      The only question is whether the democrats are going to grab hold of this issue and use it to drive the republican party into the ground.

      “Sometimes, the most reasonable thing in the legislative process is to be unreasonable.” Mike Pence, R-Ind., on negotiating with the democrats.

      by dclawyer06 on Sun May 29, 2011 at 05:17:07 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Funny that you bring up Coakely... (4+ / 0-)

      ...because when she was defeated by Scott Brown, it was Democrats who tried to argue that the outcome was a fluke.  As November 2010 demonstrated, it turned out to be far from a fluke.

      Now it's the Republicans who are trying to rationalize away the significance of the outcome of a special election.  Which is fine with me...I'm much happier for them to be in that position this time around.

      Political Compass: -6.75, -3.08

      by TexasTom on Sun May 29, 2011 at 05:47:43 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  But the similiarities are striking (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Mike in Wa, terjeanderson, HylasBrook

        Corwin blew what should have been a sure thing for the GOP into an embarrassing loss.

        •  NO NO NO! (0+ / 0-)

          Coakley blew it by being a weak candidate (Capuano was a better choice) and by running a poor campaign, as in not working hard enough.  Corwin lost on her positions, which can be generalized to other Republican candidates who will stick with, or be stuck with, Republican proposals such as Ryan's.  Totally different cases.

          If looks could kill it would have been us instead of him.

          by jhannon on Mon May 30, 2011 at 05:47:36 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Absolutely correct (0+ / 0-)

            Corwin was a mediocre candidate, at least compared to Hochul, but nothing like Coakley, who turned out to have zero voter appeal. Corwin lost on the issues.

            But then again - while NY-26 is solidly rep, MA is overwhelmingly dem. It was a bigger loss... And even though the national health care debate played a big part of the outcome here too, the decisive factor was the candidates. In NY-26 I would put those two factors in reverse order.

      •  It was the first such election (0+ / 0-)

        We didn't know what it would portend.  

        I said at the time that trying to spin it in our own minds was a perilous choice.  Democrats did not vote in sufficient numbers and Republicans were uber-motivated.  republicans are always uber-motivated and Democrats must be sufficiently inspired to show the hell up at the polls.  Scott Brown's win was a combination of a badly run campaign by Coakley, a late-to-the-game DNC, a sense of entitlement from Democrats who didn't bother to vote and an energized Republican party.  And of course the 'independents' who believe the last thing they heard before going to the polls.  If people don't know the difference between Democrats and Republicans in this political climate........

        NY-26 is more instructive in my opinion.  There were some serious Republican defections.  There is some distrust of the Republican overreach within the few moderates left who call themselves Republican.  

        However, the Repubs are ginning up the message and we're busy gloating.  We can and should be ahead of Republicans on this budget (which is much more than just Medicare).  I still see Democrats waiting for Republican messaging and then refuting it instead of driving the message.  

        DWS and Steve Israel are excellent messengers and I'm hoping they whip the entire messaging machine into shape.  

    •  I don't think the Coakley analogy fits (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Flaming Liberal for Jesus

      Coakley lost in large measure due to laziness and incompetence as a candidate. Corwin tried hard; she was simply rejected by the voters.

      •  Incompetence (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        Corwin's incompetence as a candidate and her campaign's ineptitude were large factors here on the ground. She just gave off the vibe she didn't like people, and they kept her away from unscripted situations and audiences that weren't carefully vetted to be supportive. That was all in marked contrast to Kathy Hochul, who clearly loved wading into unfamiliar crowds.

  •  NY-26 is one of the districts... (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    annieli, arpear, bythesea, HylasBrook

    most likely to be written off the 2012 map, isn't it?

  •  Btw... (0+ / 0-)

    does anyone know what Bill Clinton was doing?
    Every time I hear that clip I get a little angrier.

    “Sometimes, the most reasonable thing in the legislative process is to be unreasonable.” Mike Pence, R-Ind., on negotiating with the democrats.

    by dclawyer06 on Sun May 29, 2011 at 05:19:49 PM PDT

  •  Yeah, all those special elections in '09 (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    were quite meaningful. Right before Democrats got their asses kicked last November...

  •  Best we not forget (7+ / 0-)

    There is gonna be a great deal of redistricting done this year by republicans in various states that lost democratic majorities.  And, the census brought out some numbers that will help the republicans as well.

    Let's not get too cocky...good advice in this diary here.  Republicans aren't gonna crash and burn simply because of an upset win in upper NY.  They had a number of upset wins in 2010 so they know, however, that it isn't currently a good sign for them.  They're most certainly rallying their troops and re-doubling their efforts.  

    -- **Nothing sucks more than that moment during an argument when you realize you're wrong.**

    by r2did2 on Sun May 29, 2011 at 05:27:30 PM PDT

    •  And they're rigging voting laws (6+ / 0-)

      Everywhere they've taken power, they're doing everything they can to discourage voting by people likely to vote Democratic with new registration restrictions, etc. They've been screaming about voter fraud for years to set the stage for these maneuvers.

      "No special skill, no standard attitude, no technology, and no organization - no matter how valuable - can safely replace thought itself."

      by xaxnar on Sun May 29, 2011 at 05:50:25 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Big push for Voter ID (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        xaxnar, HylasBrook

        There is a big push going on within the Red States to require a picture ID in order to vote.  Might sound like small potatos, but this one "requirement" affects a huge number of lower income folks and indigents and so forth that normally vote democratic.  

        You're dead on with what you're saying.  I doubt there will be anything that can be done except to hope that democrats can win big in 2012.

        -- **Nothing sucks more than that moment during an argument when you realize you're wrong.**

        by r2did2 on Sun May 29, 2011 at 06:02:15 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  But we're doing it too, (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      TofG, Arnie, HylasBrook

      and in Illinois will net 4-5 seats alone.

      "Intolerance is something which belongs to the religions we have rejected." - J.J. Rousseau -6.38, -4.15

      by James Allen on Sun May 29, 2011 at 06:46:54 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  That's good, but they are probably coming from (0+ / 0-)

        another Blue state.  Almost all of the added districts are going to the South.

        That's something that really scares me is that the south and mountain states will have enough congressional seats to outvote all the blue states even if we have no Republican representatives in the north.

        HylasBrook @62 - fiesty, fiery, and fierce

        by HylasBrook on Mon May 30, 2011 at 07:53:26 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Steve, Jack Davis had a bigger effect… (8+ / 0-)

    …than the results at the voting booth show. What you can't discount is the effect that the fight between Davis and Corwin's legislative director had in pushing people considering either of them into Hochul's camp because she looked like a grown-up compared to the two children.

    Teh stoopidTM, it hurts. Buy smart, union-printed, USA-made, signs, stickers, swag for everyone:

    by DemSign on Sun May 29, 2011 at 05:30:04 PM PDT

    •  Saw a Davis voter on the news (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      weinerschnauzer, HylasBrook, davybaby

      He was the clueless type who thinks if Washington isn't working, sending a guy who doesn't belong to either party is somehow going to fix things. God save us from clueless swing voters.

      "No special skill, no standard attitude, no technology, and no organization - no matter how valuable - can safely replace thought itself."

      by xaxnar on Sun May 29, 2011 at 05:53:05 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  And we never would've thought we could (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      win if it wasn't a three way fight.  We were wrong, but Jack being in it made us think we could compete.  We wouldn't have tried without him.

      "Intolerance is something which belongs to the religions we have rejected." - J.J. Rousseau -6.38, -4.15

      by James Allen on Sun May 29, 2011 at 06:47:49 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  An Excellent Point.... (2+ / 0-)

      I suppose the point I was trying to make was Davis' presence alone wasn't enough to swing the outcome. But a real issue, and tougher to quantify, is how Corwin having to engage Davis (and looking dumb doing it) mattered.

      But handling an opponent poorly is part of the game, too. If she fumbled dealing with Davis, there's no reason to presume she'd have played error-free ball when left only with Hochul.

      "Every one is king when there's no one left to pawn"
      Black Rebel Motorcycle Club

      by Steve Singiser on Sun May 29, 2011 at 07:53:38 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  True, It Is As Simple As The Color Of (0+ / 0-)

    butter in a red state where the reds want butter too doncha know.

  •  Mass. group think VS stem the tide (5+ / 0-)

    Unlike the special election in Mass. that started the whole "Dems doomed in 2010" meme, a "Reps doomed in 2012" meme will be fought in every news cycle by the punditocracy. Conspiracy? No. For the most part there doesn't have to be, they all think alike. But imagine if the race had been a squeaker and gone the other way. The meme would be "Reps on the rebound". The Halperns /Brooks etcs of the "thinking non-insane conservatives who truly represent our center right country" will need to be bludgeoned by polling data for months and months to even start to mention a "structural change good for the Dems" storyline, the storyline they jumped on and rode immediately after the special elect in Mass.

    Even if Sept 2012 looks fantastic for the Dems in the House look for late breaking "the tide has turned" story lines. The "unelected serious thinkers" will have to lose big before they stop (subconsciously) believing they can tell Soccer Mom, Joe Six Pack and this "center right country" what to think.

    But this may be our time. Win really big in 2012 and defeat the Reaganauts and their insane dim allies.

    If you didn't like the news today, go out and make some of your own.

    by jgnyc on Sun May 29, 2011 at 05:33:42 PM PDT

  •  Was a Republican District :) (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    xaxnar, bythesea, HylasBrook

    Let's at least be assertive about it, huh?

    (nice FP story)


    by potatohead on Sun May 29, 2011 at 05:35:22 PM PDT

  •  Jack Davis' impact (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    DemSign, xaxnar, James Allen, jhannon

    I don't usually do this, but I'm going to re-post a comment I made a few days ago in a different diary discussing NY-26.

    I think your underlying conclusions about the dynamics and meaning of this special election are spot on. But I also think it is important to recognize that Jack Davis had an impact on this election that went beyond the simple question of his final vote %. I think an argument can be made that his presence in the race played a major role in how the contest unfolded on multiple levels, and that he damaged Corwin seriously. (That doesn't mean that Hochul couldn't have won without Davis in the race....)

    On the surface, I agree that the votes that Jack Davis received weren't the reason that Hochul won. The Republicans' argument that all those votes would have gone to Corwin had Davis not run is clearly bogus.  Both the Sienna and the PPP polls showed that Davis was drawing Democratic and Republican votes, and the fact is that Davis was best known in the district for 3 previous runs as a Democrat. His focus on trade had particular resonance with blue collar Democratic voters in this economically challenged rust belt district.

    But beyond the sheer mathematics of the vote totals, it is certainly possible to argue that Davis hurt Corwin's campaign considerably.

    First, his entrance on the "Tea Party" line forced Corwin to devote significant time and resources trying to consolidate the right wing vote in the contest. As a result, she spent much of the campaign running to the right, attacking Davis while ignoring Hochul, and failing to address moderates and independents.

    Secondly, Davis spent more time and energy and MONEY attacking Corwin than he did Hochul, and this probably significantly drove up Corwin's negatives. His populist style made her multi-millionaire elitist ethos seem even  more out of touch with the rural and working class district.

    Third, Corwin made a number of unforced errors because of Davis' presence in the race. Most notably, the incident where her Assembly chief of staff attempted to harass and bait an old man like Davis into a fight backfired horribly on her. Her initial claims to have no connection to the incident, and then her failure to condemn or fire he staffer made her look really really bad.

    Hochul was clearly the superior candidate, Medicare caught fire as a real issue, and the 2010 Republican wave is ancient history. All of those things account for the victory -- but I would also argue that, in some intangible ways, Jack Davis helped create the dynamic that won the race last night. Hochul very well may have won without any of this happening and without Davis in the race - but he shaped the narrative in significant ways.

    Jack Davis is a sickening, opportunistic, right wing, xenophobic bully - I'm glad that he will never be in Congress. But he may have inadvertently helped create the circumstances for a Democratic pick-up.

    Once social change begins,it cannot be reversed. You cannot uneducate the person who has learned to read...You cannot oppress people who are not afraid anymore.

    by terjeanderson on Sun May 29, 2011 at 05:36:57 PM PDT

  •  What my mother saw (10+ / 0-)

    She lives in the district, and has been a Republican most of her life, BUT....

    She does NOT like the people who are the current stars of the party or the direction the party is going in.

    She saw a lot of angry seniors turning out where she voted (Batavia, Genesee County).

    She was voting against Corwin because Corwin is Anti-Choice. Medicare may or may not have been a factor for my mother, but the issue of Choice definitely is.

    My mother has held local political office in her time as a Republican. My parents used to have Barber Conable and his wife Charlotte over from time to time.  These are the kind of people who used to be the backbone of the Republican Party - there's no place for them now.

    "No special skill, no standard attitude, no technology, and no organization - no matter how valuable - can safely replace thought itself."

    by xaxnar on Sun May 29, 2011 at 05:46:15 PM PDT

    •  Same here (5+ / 0-)

      My folks were terrified of the YAF'ers and Birchers of the Goldwater era; Reagan was "that actor from California" whom they supported in the 80s only because of Bush (similar to the folks who voted "for Sarah not him!"). It's harder and harder and harder for them to be enthusiastic about voting Republican. My folks loathe their Republican state legislators in NJ as a bunch of "hacks", but there's no Dem bench to mount any kind of serious opposition (yet).
      My mom is burned out on the anti-Obama demonization saying, "He's just not that bad!"

      •  That's the hidden story of many elections. (3+ / 0-)

        Too many voters don't pay attention to state elections, so the state ends up with conservative legislators determined crush unions, disenfranchise the poor, and keep women from having abortions.

        Note how in the Special Elections in NY (NY-20, NY-23, and NY-26)  the Republican candidate was in the NY State assembly.

        That's a good background to have in running for Congressional Office.

        We need to work on electing more Democrats to state seats.  It prevents passage of laws that infringe on people's rights and well being,  and it gives useful experience as a stepping stone to higher office.

        HylasBrook @62 - fiesty, fiery, and fierce

        by HylasBrook on Mon May 30, 2011 at 08:07:13 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  This seems to be the story of Reps in much of NY (0+ / 0-)

      or the whole north east for that matter.
      I think a factor in Hochuls win was also that the time was getting ripe.
      Yes it is the most republican area of NY-state, but that doesn't mean it hasn't been slowly blueing (or in this case turning purple) like the rest of upstate. And having first a third party candidate spending all his energy on smearing Corwin and then an appealing dem candidate with the right issues was just what it took to get enough disgruntled old time republicans to cross the line.
      This has not made it a blue area, but the days of rep hegemony is over, also post Corwin, Davis and Medicare-debate, I think.

  •  Sane Republicans are taking this loss seriously (4+ / 0-)

    despite what may be said in public.  Only truly idiotic GOPers believe all the spin they're spewing to downplay this devastating loss.   Fortunately for use, idiots seem to be controlling the Republican Party these days.

    Thanks for this great analysis.

  •  One can make too much of this (4+ / 0-)

    in isolation. However, along with a 22% None of the Above presidential primary preference. I mean look at NH ... sure Mitt has a high name recognition, but he's clobbering everyone else there - those voters know who the others are, and Do Not Want them! Santorum is all but handing out faux fetuses at rallies in IA and barely registering in the polls there among some of the most socially conservative electorate in the nation.

    Add in the numbers from WI, OH and FL. At this rate, if things don't turn around significantly, most independent voters will either stay home or vote Dem.

  •  Conventional wisdom is never correct (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Zack from the SFV

    in unconventional circumstances.

    "Without LOVE in the dream it will never come true..." -Hunter/Garcia

    by US Blues on Sun May 29, 2011 at 06:18:03 PM PDT

  •  Just LOOK at the place (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Tam in CA, weinerschnauzer, TofG, jhannon

    My God, this is Nixon country, Reagan country, Bush country.  There isn't any way any Democrat could do well here unless they caught the GOP candidate with kiddie porn.  Of course this time every Republican in Congress went and voted for kiddie porn.

  •  Deeply significant... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    It is a deeply significant victory, and it's not just the GOP trying to downplay it.  

    Some Dems, like Mr. DLC himself Bill Clinton, are saying he hopes that Dems won't use this as an excuse not to "fix" Medicare, and don't forget Billy was hangin' with Paul Ryan just a day or two afterwards.  

    Note to GOP and the Dems who love them....keep your fucking hands off Medicare.  

  •  Hadn't seen this stat (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Flaming Liberal for Jesus

    In the Hotline article, they point out that only one Republican holds a district as blue as NY-26 is red -- Robert Dold in IL-10.

    by Brandon English DCCC on Sun May 29, 2011 at 07:23:59 PM PDT

  •  Keep it up Republicans (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    I hope the Republicans keep minimizing the role Medicare played in the NY congressional election results.  He who cannot acknowledge his mistakes is doomed to repeat them.  Bodes well for the 2012 elections.

  •  PLEASE STOP!!! (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Why are you warning them???

    [I]t would be a larger mistake for the GOP ... to minimize what happened there

    I, for one, would prefer to allow them to keep on minimizing. The later they see the train headed in their direction, the harder it will be to get off the tracks.

    Why encourage them to face reality? The sooner they realize that their positions and messages are scaldingly unpopular, the quicker they can "recalibrate" and claim that they aren't who they really are.

    Let's let them keep flying Paul Ryan's banner as long as possible. Our best hope in the next election is that the American people see the Republican party for what it really is.

  •  On Jack Davis' role (0+ / 0-)

    It is true that it wasn't Davis' presence that was decisive on election day.

    But in the scrutinizing of the exit polls it is very often overlooked what third party candidates do to the race during the campaign, and here I think Jack Davis was definately a factor.

    Seen from the electorally more dynamic situation I live in in a multi party democracy (Denmark) it is well known that new parties (arieses about every ten years) often are able to attract former core voters away from their maybe very long standing party allegiances - much more than the political opponents that have been around for ages are able to.
    But as the new political entity implodes (and they do more often than not) either during their first campaign or in the period running up to the second, many of those voters will not automatically return to their old party. Having said goodbye to their old allegiance, they have broken the ties and are now looking at the candidates/parties with fresh eyes.
    So the function of new parties - or in the US third party candidates - is very often to channel voters away from their old party allegiances, and serve as a sort of bridgeway towards the former automatically rejected mainstream opponent, while the third party candidate himself flames out before election day.

    To me it looks much like that dynamic has been part of the story in NY-26 - and thus Jack Davis had his big role in Corwins defeat. It was just a role that had played itself out by election day.

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