Practically no one is expecting Democrats to keep the House after this fall’s election. The senate is up for debate; most reports right now indicate Republicans will take back several seats, cutting down the Dems’ majority. The New York Times just ran an editorial bemoaning the lack of enthusiasm on the left, while the right has managed to tap into a powerfully active base.
So why is Reid Wilson of the Hotline arguing the Dems will keep the House? Really, it’s a long con; Wilson doesn’t lose much from writing this now because the election is still far off, speculation is running wild and in a week no one will remember he ever predicted this. If Wilson is wrong, which he almost certainly is, this article gets lost to time, irrelevant. However, on the incredibly off-chance he is correct, and some catastrophe stops the Republicans dead in their tracks, Wilson can point to this piece and say, “Told you so.”
What reasons does Wilson provide?
- Most Democratic candidates have more cash, and the DCCC has twice as much as the NRCC.
- Money = advertising and turnout operations, which bring more people to the polls
- Money also = opposition research. “Democrats have engaged in what they characterize as an unprecedented research campaign, digging up dirt on GOP candidates in hopes of driving their negative numbers through the roof.
- Republican voters are enthusiastic but polling can be misleading about the percentage who will actually get out and vote. Wilson cites the special election in the Pennsylvania 12th earlier this year.
Blah blah blah blah. Each point contains a speckle of truth, but Wilson is blowing everything out of proportion. Some counterpoints:
- More cash: Money isn’t everything these days. So much information is disseminated via internet and TV, official campaign spending is really only a fraction of the media blitz preceding an election. This is especially true on the right, where media outlets like Fox News, Rush Limbaugh and BigGovernment.com provide practically free support to conservatives. And don’t forget the Tea Parties, although it is still very unclear how much influence they carry.
- Better turnout: Turnout operations don’t really persuade people who weren’t going to vote anyway. This is even more overestimated because the turnout operations are funded by the official campaign dollars, which as was just stated are only a part of the spending going on.
- Opposition research: It’s possible to take out one or two of the newly minted Republican candidates around the country this way, but tarnishing the GOP itself is increasingly difficult. Besides, many of these populist Republican candidates are like Teflon to dirt: Nikki Hailey’s (literally) unbelievable infidelities; Rand Paul’s wacky college kidnapping tale; Sharron Angle’s veiled threats of violence against Democrats, which seems to have only increased her support.
- Polling: The Pennsylvania 12th is hardly a microcosm of America’s voting habits. Consider that the special election took place during the Specter-Sestak primary, drawing more Democrats to the polls than may normally have voted.