With so much happening in New York, the hosts opened the episode with a discussion of a shocking result from New York’s 19th district, where Democrat Pat Ryan won a special election after Representative Antonio Delgado was nominated for lieutenant governor. narrowly defeated Republican Mark Molinaro. .
This It was expected to be a race that Republicans would likely win, even if Biden carried the district narrowly, as it was shaping up to be a good year for Republicans. So, in this district, which Biden narrowly won, Republicans should have been able to pick up the seat — but they didn’t. Molinaro was expected to win until the polls closed and the results came in. Polling was sparse, but it all showed Molinaro ahead.
As Beard elaborated:
It’s definitely the kind of result that makes you reconsider, especially with the other special election results we’ve had recently … better Democratic than you’d expect in a red year. Pointing to the results.
[It] Makes you rethink the entire state of the 2022 election and makes you consider whether the Democrats are going to potentially hang on or whether the Republican wave year is going to be a fair year. Maybe even a little better than a fair year? It’s really a result that makes you stop and think, because as we’ve talked about, special elections are the best evidence you can get about how the election is going to turn out.
“WWith less than a hundred days left for the elections, there is only so much time for things to change,” he added. “And with special election after special election, with the Democrats showing to outperform what you’d expect, it makes you think that things are possible that we thought weren’t possible if we were six. Would have been talking about it months ago.”
Neer said there have now been many races where Democrats have outperformed expectations:
We can’t stress this enough because the thing with special elections is that you never want to read too much into just one race, but now we have multiple races. We had a special election in Nebraska’s 1st District, which came after the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, and Democrats fared by the presidential margin in that district. Then we had a special election in Minnesota’s 1st district, again, same thing, conservative district, Democrats lost, but they did much better in that district than the president did.
And not only did Democrats win New York’s 19th District, but they also overtook the president’s margin in another special election in the state’s more conservative 23rd District. Neer and Beard also explored several other elections in New York, including A The titanic showdown between two 30-year veterans of the House—Congressman Jerry Nadler and Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney—emerged after redistricting created a district that included both the Upper West Side and Upper East Side in Manhattan.
Heading to Florida, the pair also discussed a near-huge upset on the Republican side in Florida’s 11th Congressional District, where incumbent Republican Rep. Dan Webster narrowly edged far-right troll Laura Loomer by a 51-to-44 margin. done Loomer describes himself as a proud Islamophobe, and is banned from several different social media apps and ride shares.
But to continue on the theme of winning elections as much as Democrats can, Beard and Neer highlight what’s stirring up north in Alaska.
A The special election in Alaska was actually last week, but the results are not yet final, and then there are runoff tabulations. This is the second round. As Beard said:
There are still a few more votes he’s waiting to get, but right now we have Democrat Mary Peltola at 39%, Sarah Palin at 31%, and Nick Begich at 28%, and we don’t expect those places to change. . So in that case, Begich would be eliminated and his votes would be split between Peltola and Palin, depending on how his voters ranked him as their second choice.
While “Sarah Palin is a special creature,” Neer said, a runoff between Palin and Peltola would result in just a straight Democrat vs. Republican race. This means that it will be possible to compare the results with the inclination of the president of Alaska. “Alaska, of course, is a red state, which has supported Trump by double digits, and it is almost certain that Paltola will carry it. So again, this looks like another good data point pushing back the idea of any kind of red tide,” he added.
After a short break, the cohosts welcomed Kleinman back to the show to offer his perspective on the competitive state legislative races taking place across the country.
Kleinman offers a history lesson before diving into the work he’s currently doing. Before The States Project began, in the early 1970s, future Supreme Court Justice Lewis Powell wrote a memorandum for the Chamber of Commerce on how the right wing could defeat the postwar liberal hegemony that basically was present in the United States from the end. of World War II.
What came to be known as the Powell Memo highlighted a number of different areas. One of them was building their own organizations in both media and academia — for example, Fox News, The Heritage Foundation, and all these kinds of right-wing-funded think tanks, basically. “He also said that we need to take over the federal judiciary. That’s why you have the Federalist Society and really a 50-year concerted effort by the right wing to install ideological judges who will focus on outcomes beneficial to them and the Republican Party,” Kleinman said.
The third—and possibly most important—component of the plan was the state legislatures. Thus, in the early 1970s, there was a real focus by the Right to take over state legislatures. As Kleinman explained, many of the behaviors and policies we’ve seen from the GOP didn’t happen overnight. Rather, it was created through decades of deliberate action. Now, reclaiming state legislatures is a major motivation for the work that the States Project does:
I think a lot of people woke up on November 9, 2016, like, how did we get here? And a lot of people looked at the state legislatures as one of the reasons that we haven’t created the institutions that have authority here. And so in 2017, our executive director, Daniel Squadron, who used to be a New York state senator, founded what became the State Project. And we began working to figure out how we as an organization could focus grassroots attention on flipping state legislative seats and winning majorities that align with our values to corporate special interests. Will not work, but will work for common good. .
“So I’m sure there are a million different answers to that question. This is something I’ve thought about a lot. I’ve gritted my teeth a lot, but why do you think the Democrats went decades without their own Powell memo? Why have conservatives seized these levers of power and progressives, Democrats on the left, whatever you want to call it, almost abandoned that kind of playing field? Neer asked.
As Kleinman notes, the New Left that emerged in the late 1960s and early 1970s adopted a litigious-forward strategy that did not see much success:
The New Left was really focused on a kind of litigation forward strategy, kind of setting up ways for people to actually sue to get things or stop them. And I think that litigation forward strategy backfired when it worked when you had a federal judiciary in state courts that was appointed by Democrats, but in terms of taking over judiciaries across the country. This has made it harder and harder.
And it’s also kind of taken away from the organized labor movement, has actually led to a real decline in people organizing around things that are really close to them, like state legislatures. And so this vacuum was left there. And also I think, again, the right wing effort, it took too long. I mean, if you look before the 2010 election, the Democrats, they controlled state legislatures. It was like Alabama. Also in 2012, they were in majorities in Arkansas and West Virginia. And so it really took a long time to capture these state legislatures. yes I mean, think a big part of it was just kind of how the New Left organized itself in a very kind of litigious and DC-centric way that directed activist energy into those areas.
“I think that’s a very interesting answer. So in a way, it’s almost like a multi-decade frog boil,” added Neer.
The hosts also asked Kleinman how the Status Project differs from the Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee (DLCC).
Kleinman noted that the biggest difference between The Status Project and the DLCC is that the DLCC is basically a party organization, and The Status Project is a non-party organization:
We will work with any MP who shares our values, regardless of their party. And so you can see that in a state like Alaska, for example, where you have a state house controlled by Democrats, independents, and Republicans, who oppose the very right positions of their governor. which cut social services for people. the state Being neutral gives us the flexibility to work with such a group. Another such state is Nebraska. Because in Nebraska you have nonpartisan state legislative elections. And so it gives you more wiggle room to try to find candidates who share your values but maybe not necessarily the party.
According to Kleinman, the Status Project’s work begins immediately after the election, when they begin collecting election data for all legislative districts. This cycle was slightly different because of redistricting – so they started as soon as the new state maps came into effect. Kleinman stressed the importance of trying to hit the ground running as soon as possible with electoral and demographic information about those new maps. The organization’s strategy is to collect them all and then see which states have legislative chambers where either party has a path to changing the majority, or where there is a chance of hitting a significant non-majority threshold, such as a veto. Preventing overrides or filibusters. .
The trio also looked at competitive races and chambers to flip in Michigan, Pennsylvania, North Carolina and Nebraska.
As the episode concluded, Kleinman offered the audience ways to get involved, specifically highlighting The States Project’s GiveSmart program:
If you go to StatesProject.org, and you click on our GiveSmart page, right now we have six candidates: Cindy Hance, Kevin Hertel, Maurice Imhoff, Veronica Kleinfelt, Christine Marsh, and Sam Singh. They are all in Arizona or Michigan. And those are the candidates who, based on our knowledge of the states and campaigns, are the ones who need donations the most right now. And feel free to go in there, check it out, and give whatever you think they need.
downbelt Every Thursday comes out wherever you listen to the podcast! As a reminder, you can reach our hosts via email [email protected] Please send any questions you have to next week’s mailbag. You can also contact us via Twitter @DKEelections.