Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Attention Not Always A Plus

At 9:23 p.m. Tuesday night, Nate Silver commented on his five-thirty eight blog

If we wind up with Handel winning by like 2 points and Norman winning by about 4 points, that’s by no means the worst outcome for Democrats. In fact, it’s a sort of par-for-the-course one, given expectations going in. But it’s just about the most annoying possible outcome for Democrats, closing the gap in a lot of places, but not winning anywhere yet.

That would have been almost the most annoying thing. Instead, the most annoying thing occurred. Silver's colleague Dave Wasserman a few minutes earlier had remarked

If Parnell loses South Carolina by 4 or 5 points, lots of Democratic activists will point fingers at the party’s hierarchy for not getting more involved (cough, cough Kansas 4). But it’s possible that Parnell is doing well tonight because he wasn’t hyped, not despite it.

As it turned out, Democrat Parnell lost by only 3.2% while Ossoff, in what was considered a far more winnable district, was defeated by 3.8%.  Steve M. (assisted by the phony ad below) argues

If Democrats actually did better in the race that didn't get national attention, I worry that it means Democrats struggle to overcome the relentless, 24/7/365 demonization of their party in the right-wing media, which is basically the mainstream media in much of white America. The South Carolina race was ignored by the rest of the country, which means that allegedly nasty nationwide Democrats were never a factor.

In Georgia, Handel voters weren't voting against Ossoff -- they were voting against evil coast-dwellers from New York and Massachusetts and California. They were voting against Nancy Pelosi, history's greatest monster. Watch this:

Ossoff was attacked for getting too much money from outside Georgia -- as noted in the attack ad above, which was paid for by the Congressional Leadership Fund, which is, um, not Georgia-based. Neither are the National Republican Congressional Committee and the Republican National Committee, which contributed massive amounts of money to elect Handel (more than comparable national Democratic organizations)....

On Handel's behalf, a D.C.-based organization made that ad to persuade people that outsiders were too involved in Ossoff's campaign. And it worked.

The Democrat lost a House race by 3.9% at a time when Donald Trump is more unpopular than he was when he defeated Hillary Clinton in the same district by 1%.The final 2016 presidential election polls had Clinton up by an average of 1.9% in the critical state of Pennsylvania, prior to her loss there by 1.2%. Lest we forget

With less than 24 hours to go before Election Night, Hillary Clinton proved on Monday night in Philadelphia that she could still draw a crowd. Or at least, she proved that she could draw a crowd if she appeared with Jon Bon Jovi, Bruce Springsteen, and Barack and Michelle Obama all backing her up.

Many who tried to see the presidential hopeful didn’t get the chance, as cars full of would-be attendees lined up for blocks around the venue.

After an opening from Bon Jovi, Bruce Springsteen got the crowd gathered in front of Independence Hall on its feet, regaling them with some of his biggest hits. “The choice tomorrow couldn’t be any clearer,” Springsteen said. “Hillary’s candidacy is based on intelligence, experience, preparation, and an actual vision of America where everyone counts.”

Springsteen even changed the lyrics to “Thunder Road” and sang, to cheers: “It’s a town full of losers, tonight we’re pulling out of here to win.”

It was a night designed to please, boasting stars from both the music and political worlds. Clinton had just one more rally planned, for midnight in North Carolina, where she would be joined by Lady Gaga.

Bill Clinton, appearing alongside his daughter, did what he does best. He delivered a soaring, patriotic speech, drawing on Independence Hall for inspiration. “This country began here,” he said, calling on everyone to get out and vote “to form a more perfect union.”

Michelle Obama, perhaps the biggest draw of the night, spoke proudly of her husband’s legacy, saying, “We have a duty to ensure that this country is handed over to a leader that we all can trust.”

Before the candidate herself appeared, there were Bon Jovi, Bruce Springsteen, Bill Clinton, Michelle Obama and finally "President Obama, who showed Springsteen he’s not the only one with a catalogue of oldies to repurpose. He led the crowd in one of his most popular chants from 2008: “Fired up, ready to go!”

Hillary Clinton had widespread celebriy support and often brought out the big guns, but no more so than Jon Ossoff, attacked by Karen Handel as practically the love child of Nancy Pelosi and "Hollywood celebrity Alyssa  Milano."  The attention and support from individuals perceived as outsiders did no good for either. How that should translate into strategy is difficult to determine but it now appears to be a factor Democrats must contend with.

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