House Democrats Claim "Momentum" For 2014


The eerie similarities between the Republican disaster in 2006 and the coming Democrat disaster in 2014 continue to mount. The latest is a fairly desperate memo from DCCC chair Steve Israel which purports to show that Democrats have “momentum” heading into the 2014 elections based on some evidence that could most charitably be characterized as “flimsy”:

House Democrats head into the August congressional recess and the fall campaign season with a newly energized base, after some unpopular moves by their Republican counterparts, the head of the Democratic campaign committee argues in a new memo.

Facing a challenging congressional map and political environment ahead of the November elections, Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee Executive Director Kelly Ward touted the DCCC’s end-of-July fundraising spree, criticized House Republicans’ border bill, and called their vote to take President Obama to court out of the mainstream in the memo, which was obtained by National Journal. And Ward continued the Democratic drumbeat against the GOP’s “impeachment talk”—a key fundraising driver which has grown louder than any Republican talk of removing the president.

Notably absent from the DCCC memo is any suggestion that actual voters are turning towards the Democrats in November – an issue on which polling has remained remarkably consistent for the last two months. Nor is there any suggestion of how the Democrats plan to make gains in the House when they are defending 26 competitive seats while the GOP is defending only 15, according to Cook (note that the Dems would need to win 17 seats to control the majority). Money and an amorphous sense that the other side is screwing up do not prove or even suggest that the Democrats are mounting any actual momentum in terms of gaining votes in November.

In fact, the evidence suggests that the country prefers the House to stay in Republican hands:

Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid may be in trouble.

NBC/WSJ/Marist has published a new poll, conducted July 28-31, that shows a plurality of registered voters want a Republican majority in both the House and Senate.

They were asked if they would like to see the majority in the House stay Republican, or become Democrat. 43 percent of registered voters wanted Republicans in the majority and 41 percent wanted Democrats in the majority, with 16 percent unsure.

The Senate showed similar results. Respondents were asked if they want the Senate to stay Democrat, or become majority Republican. As with the House, 43 percent of registered voters wanted Republicans in the majority and 41 percent wanted Democrats in the majority, with 15 percent unsure.

I know this feeling. A rising tide of discontent with an increasingly unpopular President is going to hang like an anchor around the necks of Congressional Democrats, who have consistently owned his policies and failures as their own, regardless of how bumbling or inept their opposition might be. And it is likely that Steve Israel and Nancy Pelosi know this – but despair and doom don’t do well in fundraising pitches and so they’ve had to manufacture “momentum” from thin air.

Enjoy the feeling while it lasts.