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Why FL-19 isn't a health care referendum

In the immediate wake of soon-to-be Rep. Ted Deutch's (D) victory in a special election in Florida's 19th district on Tuesday, the Democratic National Committee released a statement casting it as a rejection of Republican claims that health care would set off an electoral cataclysm for the party.

"With their votes, Floridians also said 'no' to the Party of No," said DNC Chairman Tim Kaine, adding that the Republican nominee campaigned "on the central tenet of Republican obstructionism - rolling back health reform that provides coverage for children with pre-existing conditions and comprehensive care for seniors" and was rebuked.

Brad Woodhouse, communications director for the DNC, followed up Kaine statement from last night with an email to reporters this morning entitled "The sky is not falling" with a link to an Associated Press story on Deutch's win.

"In the very first federal election since reform passed, in a district where the Republican ran against health reform, the Democrat won going away," said Woodhouse. He added that in a district in which more than one in every four resident are over 65 years old, there was little evidence of a fall-off among seniors, who are widely regarded as a critical voting bloc in the 2010 midterms. (Deutch won with 62 percent -- roughly equivalent to the 66 percent that former Rep. Robert Wexler won in 2008 against the same Republican opponent.)

All true. And yet, there are far too many mitigating factors for the Florida special election to be rightly cast as the first true referendum on the recently-passed health care legislation.

Among them:

* The district is VERY Democratic, having given both President Barack Obama and Sen. John Kerry 66 percent of the vote in 2008 and 2004 respectively. Wexler held the seat for 14 years and never dipped below 66 percent of the vote. If seats with these sort of underlying demographics are in play in the fall, Republicans would be in line to pick up 60+ seats, which, of course, they aren't.

* Deutch raised $1.35 million for the race while Edward Lynch, the Republican nominee, brought in $103,000. Money isn't everything in politics but given that huge disparity it's a near certainty that most voters had heard of/been contacted by Deutch while Lynch was a total non-entity. (If voters heard anything about Lynch, it likely had to do with a foreclosure suit that he was hit with late last month.) In a strongly Democratic district then, it's no surprise that voters went for the Democrat.

* The two national parties were entirely uninvolved in the race. Compare what is happening in special elections in Hawaii's 1st district (where the White House and the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee are engaged at a day-to-day level) or Pennsylvania's 12th district (where the National Republican Congressional Committee is up with ads attacking the Democratic nominee on health care) to the dearth of activity in Florida's 19th and it's hard to draw too many national implications from Deutch's win.

Democrats point out -- rightly -- that had they lost this race (or even narrowly won it), the national press would have painted it as an electoral Armageddon. True enough.

But, winning a district that regularly gives two-thirds of the vote to Democratic nominees in a race that featured not only a huge spending disparity but also no involvement from either national party seems like a bit of a stretch.

That doesn't mean Republicans are off the hook, however. The Pennsylvania (May 18) and Hawaii (May 22) special elections are, without question, legitimate proving grounds for whether or not the political environment really is bad enough -- or good enough, depending on your perspective -- to put control of the House back in GOP hands.

By Chris Cillizza  |  April 14, 2010; 11:37 AM ET
Categories:  House  
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Comments

Obama is the worst president of all time!! How many stupid Americans voted for this un-patriotic Muslim? He and his dumb administration; Pelosi and Reid have cast this country into a debt that we the people will NEVER come out of; not to mention the un-employed masses and their children! Every week, Obama does some other off the wall Un-American act that we REAL AMERICANS will never be able to rectify. He has taken our security away, our jobs away, our automobile industry away, our healthcare away, our space program away, our monetary system away, our housing industry away and is trying to ruin our relations with Israel. I truly believe that Obama is a Muslim. My only wish is that he receives his virgins soon.

Posted by: sayhonkmon1 | April 16, 2010 9:25 PM | Report abuse

And this is one reason I think that the GOP might actually have better chances of taking the Senate than the House. The GOP will have very limited resources, and they won't be able to effectively compete everywhere. The Democrats will have oodles of cash for GOTV drives in individual districts. The GOP will have to run a more national race, and Senators are much higher profile.

Remember, Scott Brown won in a Senate race.

============================================
This story should be a much bigger deal. I believe there have been 6 house special elections since the last general election - and the Democrats have won all of them, including a formerly Republican district in NY. It's ahistorical and odd that Chris doesn't mention this, esp. - as noted repeatedly - Scott Brown's win was trumpeted on high.

Posted by: jrc1234 | April 14, 2010 6:27 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: andrewp111 | April 16, 2010 9:06 AM | Report abuse

Sharon, welcome to the blog. I see you have met 37th and sc0ld. He's a rude idiot troll ... but then, you knew that already.

Posted by: margaretmeyers | April 15, 2010 12:27 PM | Report abuse

Obama said "Whether we like it or not, American is still the dominant military power"

You call that patriotic ?

==

[superfluous blank lines removed as courtesy to readers]

I don't get your fixation on this statement. It seems pretty neutral to me. Neither patriotic nor unpatriotic.

"Like it or not" has no implication that it's a bad thing, only that a lot of people probably don't iike the potential for moral responsibility that comes with it. Does being able to right wrongs mean that we are obliged to spend ourselves into squalor in doing so?

A pity the 37th duty reverted from the guy who was making sense to the guy who makes none.

Posted by: Noacoler | April 15, 2010 12:47 AM | Report abuse

What do you say to this, DDAWD?

Conventional wisdom or unvarnished bias? Think it'd be "not about healthcare" if the Republcan had won?

Posted by: Noacoler | April 15, 2010 12:42 AM | Report abuse

Sharon


You sound like a 300pound cheerleader.


Obama said "Whether we like it or not, American is still the dominant military power"


You call that patriotic ?

Have you checked out Obama's trillion dollar budget deficit ???


Do you realize what the national debet is going to be like???

Do you really want to pay all the additional taxes for Obama's health care plan - did they tell you that your State taxes are going up TOO in order to pay for the health care plan ??

Or do you just say Ra Ra ra ra all day long ?


.

Posted by: 37thand0street | April 15, 2010 12:25 AM | Report abuse

Thanks President Obama for making our country great again! In the short time you've been President my taxes have fallen, my savings plan has boomed, you gained 8B from a bailout, got a health care plan going for those Americans who don't have health insurance and have helped those of us that have pre-existing conditions, etc., the economy is picking back up slowly and surely, and you're taken a world leadership role on nuclear weapons! America is great again! Considering what you were handed by the previous administration, You've Got Our Vote Sir! Please just get us out of these Bush Wars--5 tours for our family is enough already!

Posted by: Sharon_6441 | April 14, 2010 11:37 PM | Report abuse

Hi there LawyerMom*, thank you,
I was not questioning the math,
I was trying to figure out why just 15% of the D voters would bother. Is it because they knew there was simply no contest?

*good friends are lawyers and moms, a few are both.

Posted by: shrink2 | April 14, 2010 11:33 PM | Report abuse

shrink2 -- that was an estimate. There are about 234,000 Democrats in the district and Deutch got around 37,000 votes.

Posted by: LawyerMom | April 14, 2010 9:46 PM | Report abuse

That makes 6 special Congressional District elections in a row LOST by Republicans. A special election is a big opportunity to grab a seat and the Republicans have failed. Pennsylvania will not go their way either. Murtha made the 9th a very satisfied CD, and they will stay with the Democrats.

There's a wave for you!

Posted by: margaretmeyers | April 14, 2010 8:48 PM | Report abuse

"Given that only 15% or so of Democrats came out..."

Hmmm. We'll have to look at that.

Posted by: shrink2 | April 14, 2010 7:55 PM | Report abuse

@12, I'd be real disappointed in Nate if he did. :)

Posted by: broadwayjoe | April 14, 2010 7:45 PM
----------------------------------
On a lighter side, I wouldn't mind Ron Paul as the Republican nominee. Can you imagine that? Despite what some think, I don't denigrate Paul, he's libertarian and unashamed of it. Republicans would NEVER vote for him.

Posted by: 12BarBlues | April 14, 2010 7:52 PM | Report abuse

@12, I'd be real disappointed in Nate if he did. :)

Posted by: broadwayjoe | April 14, 2010 7:45 PM | Report abuse

Thank you, LawyerMom, for the post I have been waiting for all day. You wrote the whole story, clear as day.

Posted by: mark_in_austin | April 14, 2010 7:37 PM | Report abuse

@bwj,

Nate Silver did a piece today on that Ras poll. Too complicated to describe, except to say he didn't agree with Rasmussen.

Romney, Not Paul, Fares Best in '12 Matchups
by Nate Silver @ 2:08 PM

http://www.fivethirtyeight.com/

Posted by: 12BarBlues | April 14, 2010 7:30 PM | Report abuse

For the last two years, you told us practically every Congressional race that a GOPer won was a direct referendum on BHO and his progressive agenda.

But NOW, after a Dem wins the first Congressional election since the passage of Obamacare, you do a 180 and suddenly the election "isn't" referendum. What's that sound? The credibility of this blog running dowm the drain?
_______________

BTW, as reported in Daily Kos, the Rasmussen polling operation has totally "jumped the shark." No one, not even wingers and baggers, will take it seriously from now on.

The latest Raz poll linked to by Drudge shows, in a 2012 Presidential race, it's BHO 42, Ron Paul (yes, of "Ron Paul Newsletter" fame) 41. LOL!!!!!!!! Henceforth anyone who cites a Raz poll exposes himself as a certified FOOL.

The MSM finds it inconvenient to discuss the Paul newsletter. Wonder why?

"A 1992 political newsletter by former Rep. Ron Paul, R-Texas, included portrayals of African-Americans as inclined toward crime and lacking sense about political issues, the Houston Chronicle reported Thursday. Paul, a former Libertarian Party presidential candidate who defeated Democratic-turned-Republican Rep. Greg Laughlin in the March primary, in November will face Democratic attorney Charles (Lefty) Morris, whose campaign is distributing Paul's writings.

Under the headline "Terrorist Update," Paul reported on gang crime in Los Angeles and wrote, "If you have ever been robbed by a black teenaged male, you know how unbelievably fleet-footed they can be." About blacks in Washington, D.C., Paul wrote, "I think we can safely assume that 95 percent of the black males in that city are semi-criminal or entirely criminal." Paul said Wednesday that his comments came in the context of "current events and statistical reports of the time," and that he opposes racism.

In later newsletters, Paul wrote that lobbying groups who seek special favors are evil, and that "by far the most powerful lobby in Washington of the bad sort is the Israeli government.""

BHO 42, Paul 41...yeah, right--in Bizarro/Drudge/Fix World.

Posted by: broadwayjoe | April 14, 2010 7:20 PM | Report abuse

I live in the FL19 and one point that hasn't been made yet is that turnout was 10-20% of registered voters, depending on precinct. Even in a district that is 2-1 Democratic, if Republicans were fired up enough to get out the voters, they could have won. Given that only 15% or so of Democrats came out, if Republicans could have come out in numbers twice as strong and changed some Democratic minds, then the Republican could have won. Truth is, they aren't so fired up -- at least not here.

Posted by: LawyerMom | April 14, 2010 7:15 PM | Report abuse

I have to disagree Chris. Most voters are Democrats at their core. Republicans with their message of greed really doesn't resonate with most Americans. Unfortunately, the Democrats for the past for the past 40 years have been shooting themselves in the foot every chance they get because frankly they have diluted their message to the point of confusion. Socialism, fascism, anti-middle-class, fiscal irresponsibility were all credible charges if not compelling when scrutinized. Here we are nearly a year and a half into President Obama's administration and we have not had a point by point denunciation of GOP policies. Certainly, FDR wasn't bashful about speaking out against Hoover's administration.

I think what Democrats have to be careful in how they cast themselves. If they come across as wannabe Republic

Posted by: Reesh | April 14, 2010 7:05 PM | Report abuse

This story should be a much bigger deal. I believe there have been 6 house special elections since the last general election - and the Democrats have won all of them, including a formerly Republican district in NY. It's ahistorical and odd that Chris doesn't mention this, esp. - as noted repeatedly - Scott Brown's win was trumpeted on high.

Posted by: jrc1234 | April 14, 2010 6:27 PM | Report abuse

thebobbob

Just an fyi, this blog is where we find out how Republicans think. It is like a window into their minds, Chris Cillizza's access and all that. We see them grazing political news in a mock neutral setting.

So if you want to find out what is going on in the real world...lets put it this way, you wouldn't go to a zoo and complain the animals' behavior isn't natural.

Posted by: shrink2 | April 14, 2010 6:13 PM | Report abuse

Ya see, there's that "Liberal" Press again. Republican Brown's election (against an incompetent campaigner) is trumpeted for weeks as a sign from On High that Obama has fallen from grace and it's just a few more days before his suspect policies are going to be jettisoned by mobs of angry 'real' Americans.

Now, Democrat Deutch wins and the "Liberal" press is silent about the failure of the energized and motivated wave of Independents, Republican tea party-ers and disillusioned Dems to send a message to that commie Obama.

Meanwhile not a word about the success of the Obama Administrations economic policies and foreign policies. Just fixing the Mess the Republicans made of the country.

"Liberal" Press??? Ha!

Posted by: thebobbob | April 14, 2010 5:52 PM | Report abuse

"That doesn't mean Republicans are off the hook, however. The Pennsylvania (May 18) and Hawaii (May 22) special elections are, without question, legitimate proving grounds for whether or not the political environment really is bad enough -- or good enough, depending on your perspective -- to put control of the House back in GOP hands."

FWIW the HI election might not be an indicator of the national political environment. In the upcoming winner-take-all election it looks like it will depend on how the top two Democratic candidates split the vote which could let the GOP candidate to slip past for the win. Check out the local Hawaii dailies.

Posted by: tuber | April 14, 2010 4:23 PM | Report abuse

" "Are you talking about the Dbagger free lunch party of the extremist left? The people that don't understand the American Revolution of the 1770's?" Free lunch as in the teabaggers, who want to cut taxes but still keep big defense and Medicare? A great many baggers are on MEdicare, SS, unemployment,etc. That's the free lunch. They're nothing but deadbeats. As far as understanding the Revolution, since we on the left are by and large better educated than you, andhave actually *read* the Constitution, the Declation, Thomas Paine, Jefferson and Hamilton's writings, yes, i think we do understand it. It has nothing to do with whining. Posted by: drindl "

The Tea's history is right out of Humpty Dumpty's dissertation in Through the Looking Glass.

Thery get to say history is what they say it is.

There was a T event in Columbus, and some Idiot showed up as ASbraham Lincoln, who was personally and historically the antithesis of everything the T-s stand for, contradictions and all.

A Lincoln was a big government, pork barrell, high tax and soft money man from his days splitting rails for a living. He ignored the Constitution when he found it convenient to do so, and quite obviously had no sympathy for rebels, period.

So OBVIOUSLY he is a T- Party hero.

When you have the Astroturf funding and professional event staff that the T-s have you can hire all the costumed clowns you want and fob it off as a national movement. I truly hope they keep it up, because the Distraction of RINO hunts and Purity Parades will make the next two election cycles easy on the Dems, and the cycles that follow, as Centrists try to gel in a party that has reality as one of its founding principles, and identify Party Brand and keep the Right in Tres Partes Divisa.

There will eventually be a Party of the Realpolitik Right, and it will win elections, but with Fox's help and any luck it won't be in my lifetime.

Posted by: ceflynline | April 14, 2010 4:22 PM | Report abuse

"That doesn't mean Republicans are off the hook, however. The Pennsylvania (May 18) and Hawaii (May 22) special elections are, without question, legitimate proving grounds for whether or not the political environment really is bad enough -- or good enough, depending on your perspective -- to put control of the House back in GOP hands."

FWIW the HI election might not be an indicator of the national political environment. In the upcoming winner-take-all election it looks like it will depend on how the top two Democratic candidates split the vote which could let the GOP candidate to slip past for the win. Check out the local Hawaii dailies.

Posted by: tuber | April 14, 2010 4:22 PM | Report abuse

"If Dems pick up the next two races, can we pleeeeeze stop hearing about how every election is a 'referendum' on Obama? I know that's the beltway and winger CW -- but it's usually wrong, isn't it? Posted by: drindl"

When the last trolley dodger is long since buried, the trolley dodger battle cry of "Wait'll next yeah!" will still reverberate in the increasingly moribund Republican Party. It is all they have, faith that this next election will be the turning point and this yeatr the bums will win the penant.

This particular district was an all out attempt by the R to run on Agin' ACA, Agin' Obama dissing the Jews. Of course the last didn't gety a whole lot of traction, deutsch being himself a Jew, but it was a fortaste of the R's Agin' It strategy, and in this case Agin' It didn't cut it.

Posted by: ceflynline | April 14, 2010 4:08 PM | Report abuse

Well, Mr. Cillizza, it is hard not to wonder what you would have written had the outcome been different. Most of the comments here were more useful than your column. As I read it, what you are saying is that while a republican candidate being elected changes the world in a dramatic way simply by being elected, this election is barely noteworthy. I think a lot of average citizens are increasingly tired of the MSM inside the beltway obsessively searching for discord, failure, defeat, and negative narratives.

It would be interesting to see if any of you will ever get secure enough to simply acknowledge successes of the new administration and the currently prevailing party. Would that we would have had such diligent searching for problems during the previous administration.

Posted by: pbkritek | April 14, 2010 4:05 PM | Report abuse

A must-win for Democrats in a yellow dog district.

Posted by: kwijibo | April 14, 2010 3:50 PM | Report abuse

It's true, had the dems lost this particular race the Republicans would have seized on it as some omen of doom for the democrats ala Scott Brown. The democrat won and the media plays it down as being meaningless.

Obama is a great president. He's done more in 14 months than Bush did in his few years unless you consider 911, the war in Iraq and driving the deficit up to the trillion dollar mark positive accomplishments.

What the GOP is really afraid of is Obama and the Dem's successes. It's the typical passive agressive GOP behavior. Instead of working with their colleagues to fix what's broken in this country they spend their time wishing and hoping for the failure of the opposition.

Thank God McCain and Palin didn't get elected. We'd all be selling pencils and apples on the street corner at discounted prices or in the middle of yet another war because Sarah and John's testosterone levels are elevated.

As far as the majority of us are concerned President Obama (nice ring to it eh?) has reassured Americans that not every citizen in this country hates the middle and lower classes nor are they gun toting racists.

Does anyone know how much the Republican party pays FOX news to run a perpetual camopaign for them?

I can't wait to hear the weeping, wailing and gnashing of teeth on FOX Faux News. It'll be like a Hieronymus Bosch painting come to life! Glenn Beck will be apoplectic and it will do my heart good.

Posted by: davidbronx | April 14, 2010 3:43 PM | Report abuse

And that makes 6 special Congressional Districts in a row LOST by Republicans.

There's a wave for you!

Posted by: margaretmeyers | April 14, 2010 3:39 PM | Report abuse

And that makes 6 special Congressional Districts in a row won by Democrats.

:-)

Posted by: margaretmeyers | April 14, 2010 3:36 PM | Report abuse

Perhaps the happy results of this special election reflect the high percentage of people in this district who are on government provided health insurance and are happy with it. Their experience of medicare actually removes the fear factor the GOP tries to inject into government run health care. I hear it works quite well in several other countries.

Posted by: margaretmeyers | April 14, 2010 2:27 PM | Report abuse

Obvious far-right conservative bias by WaPo - this is ground-shaking news.

By the way, I just e-filed my income taxes and I have this to say as a middle class person sending his son to college (can't deduct room and board cause he stays at my house) - I LOVE PRESIDENT OBAMA!

Posted by: WillSeattle | April 14, 2010 2:12 PM | Report abuse

Here's a quote for you leapin. Clearly, you are one of those who hate government. It's the problem, you say.

But here is what our founders had to say:

'In Federalist No. 39, Madison presents the clearest exposition of what has come to be called "Federalism." In Federalist No. 51, Madison distills arguments for checks and balances in a memorable essay often quoted for its justification of government as "the greatest of all reflections on human nature."

Read the Federalist papers and then tell me about the Revolution and government.

Posted by: drindl | April 14, 2010 2:06 PM | Report abuse

I think the Pennsylvania special election is a truer test of TEA Party validity. If they have the presence and profile the media says they have they should carry the Pennsylvania district. I have relations living there, and from all descriptions, this should be a hot bed of TEA Party activism.

The district is beautiful rural and small town America, beribboned by some of the best highways your Federal Tax dollars can buy. The Democrats have been very, very, very good to that District and I think the voters will stick with the party that "bought" them. That's a snarky simplification of the situation, but if you travel through that CD the benefits of the Federal gov't are visible everywhere in the parks, new schools, fabulous roads, infrastructure work, clinics (named for Mrs. Murtha) and new hospitals, etc. Like that NY CD, they would be in a sorry state without Federal support, and Democratic representation has been delivering to them.

Posted by: margaretmeyers | April 14, 2010 1:46 PM | Report abuse

_________________________
This wonderful district in Central PA is a place that has made great changes over the past years since the loss of the steel and coal mining communities.
No matter what you say, Rep. Murtha did a great job in bringing opportunities to this small area that otherwise would not have come. The area is now a leader in healthcare, communications and education. The cost of living has remained relatively low.

And even with the recent economic downturn, the area remains opptumistic.

however people in this area hate FRAUDS and game-playing. They hate OBSTRUCTIONISTS and people who prefer to play games than help people. They will reject the RETHUGS as representatives that are not out to help the people, but to keep America from rebuilding.

Posted by: racerdoc | April 14, 2010 2:05 PM | Report abuse

"Are you talking about the Dbagger free lunch party of the extremist left? The people that don't understand the American Revolution of the 1770's?"

Free lunch as in the teabaggers, who want to cut taxes but still keep big defense and Medicare? A great many baggers are on MEdicare, SS, unemployment,etc. That's the free lunch. They're nothing but deadbeats.

As far as understanding the Revolution, since we on the left are by and large better educated than you, andhave actually *read* the Constitution, the Declation, Thomas Paine, Jefferson and Hamilton's writings, yes, i think we do understand it. It has nothing to do with whining.

Posted by: drindl | April 14, 2010 1:59 PM | Report abuse


Was Rep. Ted Deutch's (D) victory in the Florida special election a referendum on 'No-back on health reform'? Vote

http://www.youpolls.com/default.asp

.

Posted by: usadblake | April 14, 2010 1:54 PM | Report abuse

I think the Pennsylvania special election is a truer test of TEA Party validity. If they have the presence and profile the media says they have they should carry the Pennsylvania district. I have relations living there, and from all descriptions, this should be a hot bed of TEA Party activism.

The district is beautiful rural and small town America, beribboned by some of the best highways your Federal Tax dollars can buy. The Democrats have been very, very, very good to that District and I think the voters will stick with the party that "bought" them. That's a snarky simplification of the situation, but if you travel through that CD the benefits of the Federal gov't are visible everywhere in the parks, new schools, fabulous roads, infrastructure work, clinics (named for Mrs. Murtha) and new hospitals, etc. Like that NY CD, they would be in a sorry state without Federal support, and Democratic representation has been delivering to them.

Posted by: margaretmeyers | April 14, 2010 1:46 PM | Report abuse

C'mon Cillizza ! If the Republican wins the Honolulu race, it'll be because two strong democrats split a majority of the votes and the republican ekes by with a narrow plurality.

Of course the national parties are going to be involved given that this is a unique opportunity for the Republicans to pick off a Democratic seat.

Obviously that won't stop the winning party from crowing about it, but you should not overhype national significance that really doesn't exist.

Does it ever bother you that the Beltway CW of which you are a part is so frequently misplaced, when not outrightly inaccurate?

Posted by: SnowCamp | April 14, 2010 1:39 PM | Report abuse

agree with you, jb. I think people are by and large turned off by all the hate paraded around by the baggers. Tomorrow there will be a number of their rallies -- including an open carry fest near DC -- and we will see how people react to the latest outpouring of rage.

Btw, in the military wing of the baggers - who say they don't have to obey orders from the President -- the first one is now facing court martial, and there will be more.

Posted by: drindl
-----------------------------------------
Are you talking about the Dbagger free lunch party of the extremist left? The people that don't understand the American Revolution of the 1770's?

Posted by: leapin | April 14, 2010 1:38 PM | Report abuse

Chris, your analysis may be on the mark though, as several others have already commented here, it sure sounds like an effort to make the facts fit a pre-existing framework calling for GOP gains and making excuses for their failure to do so.

In fact, has ANY Republican won a special election for the House since Pres. Obama took office? Other than Scott Brown's Senate victory, the GOP has made no inroads at all--yet the conventional wisdom is that the midterms are shaping up to be a repeat of 1994.

Sorry, but I'm not buying it.

Posted by: DCSteve1 | April 14, 2010 1:36 PM | Report abuse

Chris, I agree with point #1, but couldn't point #2 be seen as a referendum on HCR? People donated money to the person who was for it. $1.35 million for a candidate in a non-competitive district in a race without national party involvement? Seems like a lot, no?

Posted by: DDAWD | April 14, 2010 1:14 PM | Report abuse

I agree with you, jb. I think people are by and large turned off by all the hate paraded around by the baggers. Tomorrow there will be a number of their rallies -- including an open carry fest near DC -- and we will see how people react to the latest outpouring of rage.

Btw, in the military wing of the baggers - who say they don't have to obey orders from the President -- the first one is now facing court martial, and there will be more.

Posted by: drindl | April 14, 2010 1:06 PM | Report abuse

To the dems:


Hold Murtha's seat and we will talk.


.

Posted by: 37thand0street | April 14, 2010 1:05 PM | Report abuse

Why is it whenever a Republican wins, it's a "referendum" on something the Dems do, but when a Dem wins, it's meaningless?

Look, Scott Brown won in MA because the Dems ran an incredibly crappy campaign while Brown ran a very good one. Same with McDonnell in VA, and a moss-covered rock could have beaten Corzine in NJ. On the other hand, Owens won NY 23 because the national GOP leadership bullied in and fumbled the ball--they probably would have won if they'd stuck with Scozzafava instead of throwing her, a party loyalist who'd worked in that district for years, under the bus for some guy with a serious case of crazy-eyes.

If anything, these races over the past year or two should tell you one thing and one thing only: local political races are a reflection of local politics. They are very rarely "referendums" on anything but the losing candidates and how they ran their races.

Posted by: dkp01 | April 14, 2010 1:03 PM | Report abuse

If Dems pick up the next two races, can we pleeeeeze stop hearing about how every election is a 'referendum' on Obama? I know that's the beltway and winger CW -- but it's usually wrong, isn't it?

Posted by: drindl | April 14, 2010 1:02 PM | Report abuse

great post Alex, cosign every word:

1) The traditional media (yourself being a part of it) has talked incessantly about seniors hating the Affordable Care Act ("ACA"), yet in a district with over 50% seniors, the Democrat wins by 27%.

2) The traditional media (yourself being a part of it) has talked incessantly about Jews being angry about the Obama administration's handling of Israel, yet in a district with over 40% Jews, the Democrat wins by 27%.

3) The traditional media (yourself being a part of it) has talked incessantly about teabaggers being all revved up and Dems sitting it out, yet the Democrat wins by 27%.

4) This is the first election with national implications since ACA passed and an open seat (albeit one vacated by a wildly popular incumbent), in a very low turn-out special election, where the vote was clearly a referendum on ACA, the Democrat wins by 27%.

Sorry Chris, but it's clear that your inside-the-beltway cocktail parties are clouding your judgment.

Posted by: drindl | April 14, 2010 12:57 PM | Report abuse

My sense is that the teabaggers are finally starting to fizzle out. A lot of people are turned off by the hateful turn the party has taken the past few months -- they don't want to be tied to the white supremicists and "open carry" groups. Also, a lot of the teabaggers are a little obese; fear of diabetes and heart disease my have them rethinking nationalized health.

Posted by: jb777 | April 14, 2010 12:56 PM | Report abuse

Now even as the healthcare 'repeal' meme fades, Republicans are trying to follow on the same path with something even less likely to work for them.

What are they going to say, "Stop banking reform!" Is their idea, bankers know what is best for themselves and so they don't need government to tell them? When bankers win, the TEA people will vote Republican?


"Mr. McConnell’s comments offered a first glimpse at a Republican strategy calibrated for a highly competitive midterm election year. In many ways it is a political high-wire act, as the Republicans seek to oppose the Democrats’ bill while not appearing to side with the banks at a time when popular anger at Wall Street is high."

Posted by: shrink2 | April 14, 2010 12:54 PM | Report abuse

Oh I get it...if the GOP would have won it was earthshaking. Since the Dems won it's no big deal.

Posted by: Ralph_Indianapolis | April 14, 2010 12:51 PM | Report abuse

this analysis demonstrates "base case neglect". the historical record of past elections is of utmost importance when analyzing this sort of thing. a district that goes 80% to a party will never switch over. It is the 5-10% swing voters that matter. If a district is within the 50-60 range, it is in play.

when the atmoshpere is against Repubs, as in 2009, a lot of these will flip over. now that the wisdom is that Liberals have ruined America, they will all flip back.

fundraising and candidacy is always based on the gap of victory in the previous election. when you win by a couple thousand votes, you are automatically a target.

that is why the talk of absolute numbers of retirments is nonsense, it is retirments in dangerous districts that counts.

Liberals are in deep trouble next fall. thay are likely to get a severe spanking for their incompetence and bravado. Harry will be fired, Nancy will be sent to the broom closet and berry will be a two year out lame duck.

Posted by: Comrade_Zero | April 14, 2010 12:49 PM | Report abuse

I am not a statistician; however, it does prove that if the media blitz of false assertions is not projected into the race, people will vote thier heart, mind and soul.

Posted by: aggiephysics | April 14, 2010 12:47 PM | Report abuse

Given the demographics of this district, I have to think that there was never really any serious doubt that the Democrat would win. I think the point Democrats are trying to make in the wake of that is not that this is some sort of shocker, but that the predictions of some of the more extreme on the Republican side -- particularly those sympathetic to the Tea Party positions -- are out of whack. Anyone who reads these comments knows that some on the right are constantly predicting that the passage of health care reform means doom 'n gloom for each and every Democrat, and that the loudness of that message is causing it to get more credence than it should. What the left is doing here is saying, "Hey, look, it turns out that doom 'n gloom you're been predicting isn't working out so well for you."

It's an interesting strategy. Both parties love to hammer home the message that their victories will be massive and inevitable, and this is a pretty standard shot along those lines. It's an effort to fight back some of the louder right-wing narrative that's been gaining steam, and as perception tends to be reality in politics, that's a plus for the Dems. In addition, the further out this story gets from Florida, the less this district's established Democratic leanings matter; voters hate doing research, and eventually the message is going to get distilled from "Democrat wins race in highly Democratic district against also-ran Republican opposed to health care reform" to "Democrat wins race ... against ... Republican opposed to health care reform."

The risk, of course, is that Democrats see this victory as meaning more than it does and get complacent. I hate to bring up Scott Brown's victory over Martha Coakley -- I know, I know, soooooo three months ago! -- but you know Coakley wouldn't have run such a sorry campaign if she hadn't been complacent. For whatever reason, the inevitability narrative works a lot better for Republicans than for Democrats, and the Democrats would be wise to use it sparingly, lest they end up looking like fools.

Posted by: GJonahJameson | April 14, 2010 12:43 PM | Report abuse

skiobiora, I had this whole screed written and then you corked* it.

The return to predictable FL 19 is very important.

*Bristol Bay talk for when a boat zooms in and lays a net (seen as a floating line of 'corks') right in front of your own.

Posted by: shrink2 | April 14, 2010 12:43 PM | Report abuse

Here is another, more serious, analysis:

1) The traditional media (yourself being a part of it) has talked incessantly about seniors hating the Affordable Care Act ("ACA"), yet in a district with over 50% seniors, the Democrat wins by 27%.

2) The traditional media (yourself being a part of it) has talked incessantly about Jews being angry about the Obama administration's handling of Israel, yet in a district with over 40% Jews, the Democrat wins by 27%.

3) The traditional media (yourself being a part of it) has talked incessantly about teabaggers being all revved up and Dems sitting it out, yet the Democrat wins by 27%.

4) This is the first election with national implications since ACA passed and an open seat (albeit one vacated by a wildly popular incumbent), in a very low turn-out special election, where the vote was clearly a referendum on ACA, the Democrat wins by 27%.

Sorry Chris, but it's clear that your inside-the-beltway cocktail parties are clouding your judgment.

Posted by: AjaxtheGreater | April 14, 2010 12:40 PM | Report abuse

Floridians have a large population of seniors. Seniors like the government run Medicare program. I like it too. It is efficient. We just need congress to reserve the Social Security funds (that employees pay) for the Social Security program rather than placing that money into the General Fund.

Posted by: ThelmaMcCoy | April 14, 2010 12:36 PM | Report abuse

Chris, how do you reconcile your commentaries on these elections? When Scott Brown wins in Massachussetts (a heavily democratic state) campaigning against health care, it's about health care but Ted Deutch's victory in a heavily democratic district campaigning for healthcare is "not about healthcare"! These are clearly double standards. Everything you said that makes Ted Deutch's victory "not about healthcare" was same in MA Senate Race. Did Coakley not have more money?

Posted by: skiobiora | April 14, 2010 12:26 PM | Report abuse

The thing the repugs don't get is there is far, far more
good people in this country than petty hateballs that
post on these boards. Their currency is peddeling fear
of communism and socialism so they can allow their
clients who pay them to fleece and steal like used car
salesman. The good people are the vast, vast middle-
class with kids and a mortgage and this bill will help them and they will see results. The Teabaggers only
have hate and the latent fundamentalism of racism
and that just will not carry the day.

Posted by: Geopolitics101 | April 14, 2010 12:22 PM | Report abuse

"there was little evidence of a fall-off among seniors, who are widely regarded as a critical voting bloc in the 2010 midterms."


That should give pause to Repub strategists that are trying to blow this off as no big deal. If you're not making inroads with the most reliable voting bloc, your prospects of an electoral sweep are limited.

.

Posted by: bsimon1 | April 14, 2010 12:19 PM | Report abuse

While the victory itself is not telling, I think the margin is. If seniors were as angry about HCR as the republicans would like us to believe, there would have been at least some shift in voting patterns - there wasn't.

Also, I disagree that Hawaii will be telling. There are TWO democrats in the race, which means they could split the vote and the republican could slip in. It will only be truly significant if one of the dem candidates drops out (unlikely).

PA is another story - that is more significant, although PA often can swing conservative, so it wouldn't be totally unexpected.

Posted by: mclajwashingtonpost | April 14, 2010 12:18 PM | Report abuse

I agree with the corinthian that the fact that Duetch won with the same percentage as Wexler before him show the lack of political movement healthcare is really creating. It also shows that Scott Brown's election was more of a fluke and not a trend that can be replicated.

I think this is another sign that the GOP/Tea-party has peaked about 7 months too early. Its true that the Hawaii and Pennsylvania races will be more telling, but this should be seen as shot across the collective GOP strategy that just preaching about repealing HCR (even to seniors) isn't going to cut it, and I would suspect that this will become clearer to everyone as we get further and further away from the bill becoming law.

Posted by: AndyR3 | April 14, 2010 12:05 PM | Report abuse

I disagree. This is exactly the type of district where the Repub/Tea Party should be shining. Swing districts usually swing the other way after a change in power, that's why they are called swing districts. The question is, Is there a backlash among the Democratic core? These results would seem to say no.

Posted by: crete | April 14, 2010 12:05 PM | Report abuse

If the Republican candidate was the same one who ran in 2008 then shouldn't he have had higher name ID than you suggest? And Democratic district or not, this was a senior citizen-heavy district where the Republican made opposition to the health care law the centerpiece of his campaign and it didn't seem to give him any traction. Nor did it motivate independents to go red or bring in big bucks. Maybe it isn't the electoral goldmine they think it is.

Posted by: thecorinthian | April 14, 2010 11:52 AM | Report abuse

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