Even before sunrise today-- and in the midst of an impeachment trial that is putting the Republican Party in a horrible light-- Politico published a piece by Ally Mutnick and Melanie Zanona on the GOP plans to retake the House in 2022. The plan: an ostrich-like posture towards all the things that have made the party less and less trusted so far this year, NRCC chair Tom Emmer, no less a moron than the people who run the DCCC, counsels ignoring it all. He has 47 Democratic seats in his sites and plans to use the failed Republican strategy of calling each one a job-killing "Socialist!!!" and tarring them with Trump's pandemic failures.
Referring to school reopening and job security, he said "We're gonna talk about all the stuff that matters to people. We'll follow through on a game plan. Hopefully, people will allow us to operate under the radar again because they won't believe us. And we can surprise all of you again two years from now." Referring to clueless New Dem Sean Patrick Maloney, born-loser and head of the DCCC, he added "My colleague down the street might think that some fringe extremist theory is something that people care about," but he insisted that fewer people believe in QAnon than think the moon landing was faked.
The GOP needs to net 5 seats and may be able to do that just through gerrymandering in Texas, Ohio, Florida and Arizona. Emmer released a memo to the media outlining his plan to battle in 47 seats-- an absurdly large number for a party that has lost so much financial support from corporate America disgusted by GOP reaction to the insurrection and to Gang-Greene.
There are 29 Battleground Democrats that include seven districts President Biden lost or where the 2020 presidential or congressional margin was within 5%. Next, there are 8 Underperforming Democrats, who won by less than 10% and underperformed the presidential ballot margin. Finally, there are 10 Redistricting Watch Democrats, who currently represent districts in states gaining or losing seats during the reapportionment or have a redistricting commission.
NRCC polling data from the 2020 cycle in these 47 seats shows Democrats hold just a one-point advantage on the generic ballot. Additionally, among those seats, undecided voters lean Republican by three points.
The 29 “Battleground Democrats” that make up the majority of the NRCC’s offensive targets present numerous opportunities for Republicans to flip Democrat-held seats. The list includes members where Joe Biden lost their district in 2020, several who underperformed the top of the ticket and four newly added members who were not targeted last cycle.
Prime ticket-split examples include Cheri Bustos and Ron Kind, who both faced their most serious challengers to date, only winning by 3.9 percent and 2.6 percent, respectively. For reference, Reps. Bustos and Kind both won by over 19 points in 2018. Additionally, Jared Golden narrowly won a district President Biden lost by 7.5%.
President Biden carried NJ-07 and TX-07 by healthy margins, but Reps. Malinowski and Fletcher significantly underperformed the top of the ticket due to strong candidate recruitment, strategic investments by Republicans and the incumbent members consistently voting out of step with their districts.
There were eight Democrats in 2020 who won by less than 10% and underperformed the presidential ballot. Of those eight, seven were targeted last cycle. The final member, Kurt Schrader, is a prime pick-up opportunity for Republicans. Rep. Schrader only garnered 52% of the vote and underperformed President Biden by three points.
In southern California, Reps. Porter and Levin have consistently taken far left votes and are out of touch with their constituents. In 2020, Porter and Levin underperformed President Biden by 4.4% and 6.5%, respectively. With Democrats only moving further to the left, both members are vulnerable in 2022.
The “Redistricting Watch” targets present 10 opportunities for Republicans to defeat Democrats in states that will lose or gain seats after redistricting. The list includes two new targets from last cycle as well as four Democrats in states that are losing seats in which the incumbent underperformed the top of the ticket.
Deborah Ross is part of this group as a new targeted seat for the cycle. Ross underperformed the top of the ticket in a state that is expected to gain house seats in a Republican-controlled redistricting process.
Much of this is pure fantasy and many of these districts are going to be money-pits for the GOP where they lost with Trump on the ballot (enthusing large numbers of fringe rightist who are usually non-voters) and will lose even worse with Trump not on the ballot (like they did in 2018). To think, for example, that the New York Democratically-controlled Assembly-Senate-governor's office are going to jeopardize Tom Suozzi, Sean Patrick Maloney and Antonio Delgado through redistricting is not magical thinking as much as intellectual dishonesty and it would be smarter of Republicans thinking about potential losers in New York to consider how difficult it is likely to be for Claudia Tenney, John Katko, Andrew Garbarino and Chris Jacobs to hold onto redrawn districts.
Reporting for the NY Times this morning, Nick Corasaniti, Annie Karni and Isabella Paz wrote about how badly and profoundly the insurrection has hurt the GOP in the eyes of voters. Even before the powerful impeachment trial, tens of thousands of Republicans had officially switched their party registrations to independent or Democrat. "In California," they wrote, "more than 33,000 registered Republicans left the party during the three weeks after the Washington riot. In Pennsylvania, more than 12,000 voters left the G.O.P. in the past month, and more than 10,000 Republicans changed their registration in Arizona. An analysis of January voting records by the New York Times found that nearly 140,000 Republicans had quit the party in 25 states that had readily available data (19 states do not have registration by party). Voting experts said the data indicated a stronger-than-usual flight from a political party after a presidential election, as well as the potential start of a damaging period for G.O.P. registrations as voters recoil from the Capitol violence and its fallout... [T]he tumult at the Capitol, and the historic unpopularity of former President Donald J. Trump, have made for an intensely fluid period in American politics. Many Republicans denounced the pro-Trump forces that rioted on Jan. 6, and 10 Republican House members voted to impeach Mr. Trump. Sizable numbers of Republicans now say they support key elements of President Biden’s stimulus package; typically, the opposing party is wary if not hostile toward the major policy priorities of a new president.
This kind of polling is what Emmer thinks he and his brand-damaged party can hide from-- and when Democrats plan to keep pounding on it all the way into the midterms. Here's another that bodes poorly for all the NRCC boasting:
“Since this is such a highly unusual activity, it probably is indicative of a larger undercurrent that’s happening, where there are other people who are likewise thinking that they no longer feel like they’re part of the Republican Party, but they just haven’t contacted election officials to tell them that they might change their party registration,” said Michael P. McDonald, a professor of political science at the University of Florida. “So this is probably a tip of an iceberg.”
...In Arizona, 10,174 Republicans have changed their party registration since the attack as the state party has shifted ever further to the right, as reflected by its decision to censure three Republicans-- Gov. Doug Ducey, former Senator Jeff Flake and Cindy McCain-- for various acts deemed disloyal to Mr. Trump. The party continues to raise questions about the 2020 election, and last week Republicans in the State Legislature backed arresting elections officials from Maricopa County for refusing to comply with wide-ranging subpoenas for election equipment and materials.
It is those actions, some Republican strategists in Arizona argue, that prompted the drop in G.O.P. voter registrations in the state.
“The exodus that’s happening right now, based on my instincts and all the people who are calling me out here, is that they’re leaving as a result of the acts of sedition that took place and the continued questioning of the Arizona vote,” said Chuck Coughlin, a Republican strategist in Arizona.
For Heidi Ushinski, 41, the decision to leave the Arizona Republican Party was easy. After the election, she said, she registered as a Democrat because “the Arizona G.O.P. has just lost its mind” and wouldn’t “let go of this fraudulent election stuff.”
“The G.O.P. used to stand for what we felt were morals, just character, and integrity,” she added. “I think that the outspoken G.O.P. coming out of Arizona has lost that.”
...Though the volume of voters leaving the G.O.P. varied from state to state, nearly every state surveyed showed a noticeable increase. In Colorado, roughly 4,700 Republican voters changed their registration status in the nine days after the riot. In New Hampshire, about 10,000 left the party’s voter rolls in the past month, and in Louisiana around 5,500 did as well.
Even in states with no voter registration by party, some Republicans have been vocal about leaving.
In Michigan, Mayor Michael Taylor of Sterling Heights, the fourth-largest city in the state, already had one foot out the Republican Party door before the 2020 elections. Even as a lifelong Republican, he couldn’t bring himself to vote for Mr. Trump for president after backing him in 2016. He instead cast a ballot for Mr. Biden.
After the election, the relentless promotion of conspiracy theories by G.O.P. leaders, and the attack at the Capitol, pushed him all the way out of the party.
“There was enough before the election to swear off the G.O.P., but the incredible events since have made it clear to me that I don’t fit into this party,” Mr. Taylor said. “It wasn’t just complaining about election fraud anymore. They have taken control of the Capitol at the behest of the president of the United States. And if there was a clear break with the party in my mind, that was it.”
Mr. Taylor plans to run for re-election this year, and even though it’s a nonpartisan race, community members are well aware of the shift in his thinking since the last citywide election in 2017.
He already has two challengers, including a staunch Trump supporter, who has begun criticizing Mr. Taylor for his lack of support for the former president.
The silly NRCC happy-talk memo was released before the new Gallup polling came out this morning, showing the Republican Party brand is in the toilet and headed deeper down that hole. Their obstructionism and complete lack of an agenda to help working families and the middle class is not likely to turn that around any time soon.