Discussion: Against All Odds: Democrats Pour Money Into Longshot Races

I believe we remain a free country, but we better get rid of a lot of republicans if we are to keep our freedom.


GOP’ers have to be sweating bullets…


“Even though maybe my paltry money can’t do much, I still want to support these people in the deep red districts, because the Democrats (at party headquarters) aren’t going to do it.”

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I have to think it means something that ordinary people are donating money to their local candidates in record numbers. They probably have a better idea of what’s going on in their district than pundits and PACs trying to monitor the situation from afar. And it also suggests a momentum and excitement that a big bundle from a Super-PAC or corporation can’t duplicate. Still an uphill climb, but I’m certainly hopeful.


“People who say, ‘Money doesn’t vote,’ have never run a campaign,” Sanchez said.

Not quite. Th fact is, if you’re a sh*tty candidate with little campaigning skills OR if you’re a great candidate but in a district that’s not receptive to you, all the money out there isn’t really going to get you over the finish line.

“Even though maybe my paltry money can’t do much, I still want to support these people in the deep red districts, because the Democrats (at party headquarters) aren’t going to do it.”

This is good and necessary. As pshah points out, it’s the folks on the ground who are much more attuned to what is possible and what isn’t. Personally, I don’t want the “party headquarters” throwing money around an area that’s just not going to deliver the votes we need. Money isn’t unlimited.


All this money, drawn from liberals, and ultimately given to conservative media owners, which they later spend on their multifarious attacks on our society.

We cannot win like this, not in the long term. Not if we have to pay our oppressors for the privilege of running candidates.


I am firm believer that all politics is local. What each of us needs to do is to find our local candidates. Attend events. Get to know them. Open our wallets. If we all become active locally great things will happen. Most importantly we will know the candidates we elect and they will know us.


"The average cost of winning a House seat is more than $1 million. "


In every wave election there are candidates who win or lose that were not on anyone’s radar as being in danger. Local money is actual smarter in local races than national money.

I also hope this money is pouring into gubernatorial races. We need to win the corner office in big swing states. If we can win FL, OH, MI, WI Governorships we can kill GOP gerrymandering after the 2020 census.


Money usually is necessary because there aren’t enough volunteers willing to work for free, and because there are certain things that a campaign needs to be successful (e.g., phone lines, campaign signs and posters, etc.) that cost money. Also, depending on the nature of the district and whether the candidate has a job, there is a limit to the ability of most candidates to knock on doors and talk to all of the voters in a congressional district.

Nevertheless, candidates have been known to succeed without a lot of money as long as they have the time and enough volunteers helping them.


I am firm believer that all politics is local.

I live in part of what used to be Charlie Rangel’s NYC district - it’ll vote Democratic until well after Hell freezes over. Large donations will just produce an even larger campaign surplus in an inevitable Democratic victory.
In a case like mine, where control of congress is crucial, it makes good sense to donate to out of district candidates.


There is another way, and we’re seeing more and more of it this cycle.

I live in Orange County’s 39th District, a traditionally Republican district in Orange County, California, and this year during the primary I was inundated with flyers, phone calls and knocks at the door from volunteers for the Democratic candidates Andy Thornburg and Gil Cisneros. This District has long been ranked as a traditionally Republican one, but things took a turn in the last election and Hilary won by a significant margin. Things are now heating up, and the local race is attracting a lot of attention.

California uses “jungle primaries”, and we had a lot of Democrats splitting the vote at first, and yes one of the two to advance to the next round was a Republican, but Gil Cisneros won the second slot, and it’s currently ranked as a tossup. The grassroots approach appears to be working here this time around.

What’s important to me is how Cisneros did it - lots of non-broadcast material and hands-on direct touching. I basically never watch broadcast TV and haven’t had cable for years now, so if you want to reach me (and the hundreds of thousands of other engaged voters like me) you’re going to have to come looking for us.

Sure, candidates have traditionally spent a fortune on broadcast media, but this race shows what it looks like to go for a more grassroots approach. I received tonnes of flyers, pamphlets and calls, and didn’t see a single traditional media ad (I’m sure they ran them, I just was never exposed to them).

I’m hoping we see a lot more of this, as I found collecting and then reviewing all that material I received at the end helped keep me focused. I was also able to detect and be happy about the clear attempt by Cisneros’ folks to overcome an early perception that he’d “gone negative” against Thornburg. This helped turn me around on him, as what I’d seen early on was a lot of ‘eating our own’ but Democrats seemed to get over that in time.

One thing that surprised me was the number of calls I received, mostly from Democratic volunteers. Once you get on the list as a potential supporter, I guess it’s normal that they keep an eye on you, but I don’t recall ever being that targeted before (and I don’t mean that in a bad way) and I certainly didn’t see the same hands-on approach from the Republican side.

Direct outreach in close races can definitely make a difference, without handing a lot of cash over to the five companies that control 90 percent of legacy media. If we support it, we should see results and get more of it (he said hopefully).


Okay, am I the only one who remembers the Clinton campaign trying to get some longshot states out west because they were so certain of states like Michigan?


Find the nearest purple or red district and organize there. Staten Island comes to mind.

Where the Democratic party has failed in recent years is its tendency to retreat from Republican areas.


Agreed… notice that Beto has run his own race without the DNC or PAC money - and looks to have momentum on his side.

I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but these are all different campaigns and candidates. We can run in all of them at once.

I think there was a lot more going on than the campaign was willing to admit. In a lot of places she was showing up her numbers were going down every time she did.

Gov. Dean was right with the 50 state strategy. I’m glad to see individuals making it happen. It is time to start playing the long game better, even if the D doesn’t win the red district this time, shrink the margin of victory and maybe win next time with a stronger candidate who likes the improved odds or with the same candidate who is now more experienced and known.


Ya this is the money flow that Citizens United increases in a feedback loop of GOP cash and power. The victor was the media companies and their owners.