Wednesday, April 25, 2018
Closely Watched Elections
Close only counts in hand grenades and horse shoes, but in a district that is more than 70 per cent white, largely retired "snowbirds," ergo mostly Republican, to only win by five points is pretty much a loss. All though, this was a seat formerly held by Gabrielle Giffords before she was gunned down in 2011.
The RNC had to pour in lots of money and outside support to carry Debbie Lesko to victory. Conversely, the DNC offered little more than logistical support to Hiral Tipirneni, and she nearly pulled off an upset that would have dwarfed that of Conor Lamb.
So, why did the Democratic National Committee offer so little support for Tipirneni? Is it because she doesn't have a wikipedia page yet? Or, they didn't want to get burned like did in the Georgia special election, when they poured in a huge amount of resources only to see Jeff Ossoff lose by a similar margin? Or, they weren't too happy Tipirneni wasn't supporting Nancy Pelosi? Whatever the case, the DNC missed a golden opportunity, as with a little more national media attention Tipirneni just might have pulled off the upset, as she had miraculously managed to garner 47.5 per cent of the vote in a district that in no way favored her candidacy.
Of course, Trump will claim he is now 6 for 6 in House special elections, dismissing Pennsylvania as an anomaly, but the reality is that the Republicans will have to fight for every seat in the House. This means the $250 million they have set aside for the midterms will have to be spread pretty thinly. Meanwhile, the DNC can take solace from the fact that they don't need to invest heavily in many of these elections, as there is enough of a groundswell to replace the GOP-led House that all a Democratic candidate has to do is create a little distance from the establishment and remind voters that there is a Mad Man in the White House that needs to be reined in.
The only strategy the RNC appears to have in the midterms is to make Nancy Pelosi the Hillary Clinton of this election cycle. Like Lamb, Tipirneni refused to support Pelosi, although she wasn't quite so adamant about it. Not that it will really matter because the GOP has a far more serious problem in defending Trump.
He hasn't exactly distinguished himself these past 15 months, and with a slowing economy, it doesn't look like the GOP will have much to run on in 2018. I think most Americans have gotten past all the overblown rhetoric of 2016 and want some normalcy to return to the political process. Right now, the Democrats better represent that normalcy than do the Republicans.
Debbie Lesko was often strident, and at times looked crazed in her appeals to hold off the "blue wave" sweeping the country. Hiral Tipirneni represented a much more calm, reassuring face, and now that more people know her, she can run against Lesko again this Fall, as all this election did was fill a void left from Trent Franks early departure. Maybe this time around the DNC will make more of an effort to back her candidacy.