Friday, April 28, 2006

Encouragement for Les Roberts Supporters from Cegelis Supporter

The following comment from "Michael in Chicago", a supporter of the Christine Cegelis for Congress campaign, got me thinking this morning about margins of victory. Michael writes:

"The similarities between IL-06 and NY-24 are way too close for my tastes. Way too close. Down to the pattern and roll out and denying recruitment by Rahm while the DCCC sends help to one candidate even though they don't get involved in primaries.

All I can say is BS, and keep your eye on the ball. Roberts looks like he will be better able to compete financially than Cegelis was due to his connections and your media market.

We lost by less than two votes per precinct. Two. They dropped 11 big huge glossy mailers in 8 weeks, and we came within two votes per precinct.

Fight like hell. You can win."

Earlier, in the article to which this comment refers, I talked about how the progressive, grassroots Christine Cegelis campaign nearly beat the institutional, DCCC-recruited campaign of Tammy Duckworth. I referred to the margin of defeat at 3 percent.

Here, Michael is referring to a loss by just 2 votes per precinct. That doesn't sound right, does it? I mean, how can that add up to a 3 percent gap between Cegelis and Duckworth?

Easily. Sadly easily.

The essential thing to keep in mind about this election is that turnout will almost certainly be low, in both the primary and in the general election. Consider last year's hot special election for an open seat in the House of Representatives: Paul Hackett wasn't the only Democrat running for that seat. It was a heated contest in the election of the year, and yet, only three percent of Democrats showed up to vote in the primary.

So, when we talk about the Democratic primary to come between Michael Arcuri and Les Roberts, we need to keep in mind that Arcuri and Roberts are not really competing for the votes of the typical Democrat in the 24th District. The typical Democrat in the 24th District won't vote. No, the contest between Roberts and Arcuri is a battle to win the hearts and minds of the 3 to 5 percent of Democrats in the 24th District who will care enough about politics to go to the polls.

TV advertisements won't be enough, because, unfortunately, television advertisements only reach those Democrats who choose to sit down and watch a lot of television instead of getting out and doing something. The candidates in this race need to think creatively about how to reach the doers, not the sitters and watchers.

The same principle will apply to the general election. As excited and argumentative we get about the race here in discussions on this blog, we're losing touch if we don't remember that, even though this is an extraordinary political year, we're still talking about a mid-term election. The support of committed, active Democrats will mean everything. Support from Democrats who only vote in presidential elections won't mean anything at all.


Anonymous said...

Jon - did Mike Arcuri attack liberals? You hadn't posted that here, yet this thread seems to state that.

I've got no use for a guy who attacks the party core.

Anonymous said...

you should probably point out that in 2004 Christine Cegelis was the democratic nominee for that race and she lost by about 10% I believe. I am just not seeing your point here. Duckworth decided to run in the primary and edged her out this time. the comparison that is trying to be made here just doesn't add up, especially since you neglect to tell or just dont' know that Cegelis was the nominee in '04. Does a candidate who puts up a good race naturally deserve a chance the next time? I don't think so, Miller did a decent job with very little, should he have just been handed the nomination? You advocate primaries, Duckworth won her primary, that is it.

Anonymous said...

When did the liberal fringes become our party core?

michael in chicago said...

And here in the two comments above you see the first lines of attack they used on Cegelis.

First, they will point to how your candidate is a loser. Just wait until they start calling your candidate that. They will note how much your candidate lost and is hopeless. Cegelis, with absolutely no help or experience, took on 31 year incumbent Henry Hyde and held him to the lowest vote total in his career outside his first race for office. She did better against Hyde than Bean did against Crain, and she raised nearly as much money a year out from her general. But that didn't matter to the DCCC.

Next they will tell you that primaries are good, and you are just trying to annoint your own candidate. They will gloss over the fact that the DCCC isn't suppose to get involed in primaries, and that they indeed are getting hip deep in yours. Of course this help will come in the form of staff "volunteering" for their candidate, lots a free media, and every major Dem in your area swooning over their candidate.

Even though all you argue for is a fair and honest primary, they will deny involvement, but cut off funding by backing their candidate below the radar, having big name beltway folks talk up their candidate, and try to paint your candidate as liberal fringe. They will try to choke off traditional sources of funding like PACs and Labor.

Then after they tap a national donor base, pulling in a realitively low number of contributors maxing out an swelling their candidate's numbers, look for them to tout these FEC numbers. This, they will say, is the proof their candidate is the only one who can effectively fundraise at a level to compete with the Republicans.

Don't buy it. Keep fighting. You can win. Especially in your media market and Roberts' access to large donors. Read the FEC reports and follow the money.

In the end, in my district, $700,000+ was spent to take out a progressive Democrat, buying 11 mailers in 8 weeks, and lots of air time. A very large portion of this money came from your state or the north shore of Chicago, not my district.

But now you've seen the pattern in IL-06. Don't stop fighting. As they will tell you, they just want to win and primaries are good. So give it right back, as you just want to win too, and primaries - as long as the playing field is level - are good, and to the advantage of the candidate who actually stands for what he/she believes in.

Don't give in to their tactics and become the two voters your precinct needed to win. That's their game. Be wise to it. You can win.

thingwarbler said...

anonymous @ 3.36: define liberal fringes. What do they stand for that's so alien to the core democratic values? Are you more at ease with democrats that stand for the Bush Lite school of bending so far to the right in a failed attempt to woo supposedly wavering republicans?

That would be the approach taken by the DCCC honchos and their strategists, the wankers that have made losing elections an achievement...

The fringe is, in fact, the core -- y'all just wandered so far off to the right that you've lost site of what a genuine democrat stands for. Time to return to the fold and lead the nation back no the right path, don't you think?

Or maybe *your* party is not our party at all, but really that other party -- and if so, would you mind giving Joe Lieberman a ride to GOP HQ when you realize that and go?

Anonymous said...

3:36 our party is a messy disorganized contentious bunch. That's the beauty of it. Seriously.We don't march in lockstep.

Norway said...

Mike in Chicago--
I believe everything you are saying. If you think the DCCC is competent to pick your candidates, look at what they did in NY District 29. Oops! And now Massa is raising money hand over fist and polling very very close to "Shotgun" Kuhl. The DCCC represents all that's wrong with the Democratic Party.

Silence Dogood said...

Isn't it odd that Les Roberts approached that nasty DCCC for support in the first place?

He must be very happy that they don't think that he's the strongest candidate. Otherwise he'd be forced to accept all of the support that they're (going to be?) giving to the Arcuri campaign.

In all fairness to Mr. Roberts, at the point in his campaign where HE approached the DCCC for support, he'd only recently become a Democrat and didn't know how evil they were!

Anonymous said...

Dogwood, that's a minor point with this bunch.

Norway said...


For all I know, Les Roberts adores the DCCC. How should I know? Go ahead--name any Dem Congressional candidate from any state who hasn't approached them at the beginning of a campaign. The whole process stinks. I don't want Rahm "Make No Waves" Emanuel commandeering MY election. This is MY district; I've lived here 15 years, and I'm having my choices eliminated by the DCCC. Am I just supposed to bend over and take it?

And you know as well as I do that the DCCC is already giving assistance to the Arcuri campaign, for all that they publicly claim to stay neutral in primaries. Lies and more lies. The Fix Is In.

michael in chicago said...

Every candidate approaches the DCCC. As noted in the article you post the link to, Roberts approached them to convince them that the GOP incumbent was beatable, not to ask for help in defeating his Democratic opponent in the primary. Big difference. The same arguement was used against Cegelis - she approached the DCCC as well.

The issue is whether or not the DCCC should be intervening in the primary in your district. The "evil" DCCC by supporting one Democrat over another is trying to influence the primary, taking the decsion for who represents the district out of the hands of the voters.

Let both candidates run on their own merits. If Acuri is stronger, then he should win on his own, right? If he is the stronger candidate, why does he need so much help from the DCCC? We kept hearing this in IL-06 - Duckworth is the stronger candidate! Well, if she was then she didn't need Rahm sending out letters asking for $100,000 in 7 days, or Hillary doing fundraisers for her in NY, but they did them anyway. But even with this, the "stronger" candidate managed to spend over $700,000 and only win by 2 votes per precinct.

It's a predictable BS arguement, and one I've heard before. Next will come the FEC cash on hand argument, and how this makes the chosen candidate better able to compete with the Republicans because he can raise more money. It's just so predictable at this point.

Anonymous said...

Oh come on. As IF Les Roberts, or even that footnote Cegalis would have REFUSED help from the party. Let's see if I have this right now. Les Roberts can't get DCCC help so Mike Arcuri should turn that help down. The blog is becoming a regular temper tantrum, it's like watching a kid throw himself on the floor in the candy aisle, screaming. "It's not fair! Waaaaaaaaaaaa!".

Anonymous said...

Those whining greenies looked like idiots in the last campaigns under the apt leadership of has-been Ralph Nader. Now they can't get their ludicrous acts on the ballot and get more than their mothers' votes, so what do they do? They join the Democratic Party and work on finishing off the planet by giving elections to Republcians, which is what they do best. The green party is the best thing that ever happened to the Republican Party.

bob in phoenix, spokane, or is it toledo said...


what makes you think that arcuri asked the dccc for help in beating roberts? I don't think he needs their help in beating roberts, but both candidates need their help to beat meier. arcuri seems to take a lot of grief because the dccc has acknowledged that "they" think he is the better candidate. further, if the dccc wasn't such a big deal then why does everyone on here complain about it so much???

Anonymous said...

I don't think everyone on here is complaining about the DCCC. The problem is some congressman in Illinois who heads the DCCC and doesn't even list Iraq as one of the top ten problems facing America. Why is that?

Anonymous said...

The Democratic thing for the DCCC to do would be to actually trust the Democratic voters of the district to decide which candidate they want representing them on the ballot in November. Then the job of the DCCC is to make sure they do everything possible to help the Democrat win.

I am a loyal Democrat--and the greatest testament to my loyalty is that I don't leave the Party in total disgust, even as I watch my Party leadership flout the basic principles of Democracy, and then, what's worse, lose anyway.

It would be plenty sad enough to see the Democratic Party sell its soul to win elections. It's positively devastating to watch it sell its soul and lose anyway.

It's great the Party has a thing called the DCCC, to help us win seats in Congress. How much greater it would be if the Party had a DCCC that was really good at its job. Worst of all is a DCCC that purports to be doing its job well, but actually doesn't.

This is precisely tantamount to the dangers of quack cures--it's not just that they don't work and you die, it's the fact that by trusting and taking them you reject the cure that would actually have saved your life.

It's not just that the DCCC picks poorly and we lose; it's that DCCC picks prevent us from running winning candidates.

Has anyone compiled the DCCC's recent track record? Perhaps some stats would help change my mind?