September 2, 2014

I'm gonna go out on a limb here and say I think the Democrats can pull off an upset this year and take back the House. The mood of the public "feels" like 2006 -- and if you recall, pretty much every pundit and consultant (including the Democrats) wrote the Democrats off as dead that year. We took back control of everything: The House, the Senate and the majority of governor's races.

Yes, we had the magic of Howard Dean and the 50-state strategy. But that wasn't the whole story. We also increased turnout by 5.5% -- and 5.1% of depressed Republican voters stayed home.

I get really pissed when armchair prognosticators "explain" to me that it doesn't matter, the GOP has gerrymandered away any chance of victory. Horse hockey: Gerrymandering only works when Dems have their usual tepid turnout. If we turn out, we win.

And here's the simplest way to do it: Call every Democrat you know the weekend before the election, and remind them how important it is to vote. Then call and remind them the night before. No big deal, just friends reminding friends to get their butts in the booth:

Tepid fundraising, underperforming candidates and a lousy party brand are threatening to deprive House Republicans of the sweeping 2014 gains that some top party officials have been predicting this year.

POLITICO interviewed more than a dozen top strategists from both parties about their outlook for the House in the midterms, and their assessment was nearly unanimous: Republicans are on track to expand their majority by only five or six seats, or roughly half their goal. The conversations covered everything from advertising strategies to fundraising to polling.

With the post-Labor Day homestretch kicking off, the interviews revealed:

* Republicans are convinced they’ll be significantly outspent by Democrats — in contrast to the 2010 midterm election when the GOP overwhelmed their opponents with an avalanche of cash.

* GOP strategists are particularly worried about the performance of a handful of candidates who are well positioned to win but seen as running poor campaigns. Three candidates are mentioned repeatedly: Florida Rep. Steve Southerland, Nebraska Rep. Lee Terry and Virginia Republican Barbara Comstock.

Nearly a year after the government shutdown, Republicans privately say the party’s tattered public image is dragging down candidates in key races.

* Despite the GOP’s troubles, Democrats remain anxious that the political environment could deteriorate still further before Election Day. They say two of their vulnerable incumbents, New Hampshire Rep. Carol Shea-Porter and Illinois Rep. Bill Enyart, may soon be lost causes and are scrambling to prevent that list from growing.

And if you have any time to spare, call your local Dems or Democratic campaign headquarters and volunteer to do phone calls. This is important, damn it!

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