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If there's one message that has really resonated with me since I started visiting and blogging here at Dailykos, it's that Democrats should always have a viable candidate in every race.

Despite this, there are six Republican Senators up for election this year who currently have zero Democratic challengers (Based on Wikipedia; let me know in the comments if this information is not up to date.). Coburn can be excused since he only recently announced his retirement so his seat wasn't under consideration. Compare this to only four Democratic Senate Seats that currently have zero Republican challengers, and this means Democrats are playing defense.

Really?

I realize that Democrats currently hold a majority in the Senate, and so a lot of attention is being paid toward pickups in the House, which the Republicans currently hold. Obviously, like any other Democrat, I am just as intent on decreasing their disastrous hold here.

And I realize that some of these filing deadlines are still months away, so some of these might likely already have a Dem challenger or two in the works.

And I also realize that because resources are limited, the major political groups often have to focus their energies on the most statistically possible pickups. And since all of these seats except Mississippi are safe Republican seats, picking up any of these is considered a long shot at best.

However, given all of these caveats, I still think that the benefits of having viable Democrat candidates run in these races, and as soon as possible, even if they are not statistically likely to win, are well worth the investment.

After all, imagine if Bridgegate had been unraveled just three months earlier.

Imagine if Democrats didn't have a strong challenger to Tea Partier Richard Mourdock in Indiana. Indiana voters went overwhelmingly for Mitt Romney, 54%-44%, so it could easily be excused if Dems wrote this race off. But if they didn't have any challenger, they would not have been able to capitalize off Mourdock's blunder.

Most analysts expect Democrats to fight heavily just to maintain their majority in the Senate. From a strategy standpoint, perhaps this is the most effective use of resources. However, I'm of the position that the best defense is a strong offense.

And just like forcing a country to fight a war on multiple fronts is always an effective strategy, we must bring the war against Republican depravity to every open seat.

Below, I will try to make the case as best I can.

Again, the main points Steve Singiser made for why Democrats should run in every race:

1. Never underestimate the ability of GOP primary voters to mess the bed.

One of the most critical by-products of the bubbling internecine war in the Republican Party is that GOP primary voters, smaller in number and more pure in their ideology, have managed to elevate some truly unelectable candidates over the years.
This factor is especially important in these very red seats that Democrats don't want to challenge under normal circumstances.

2. Thinning the playing field plays into the hands of the Republicans.

This means that not a dime of money, nor a minute of effort, has to be spent on these seats. Even if none of them are appetizing prospects (and they probably aren't), you'd rather see a GOP incumbent have to make a nominal effort at re-election, rather than none at all. In my (admittedly limited) experience, incumbents are infinitely more likely to hoard their resources when they draw a challenger ... any challenger. Freed of that burden, they can bolster their own vulnerable incumbents, and assist in efforts to oust vulnerable Democratic incumbents. They can lend their fundraising prowess to the team, since they no longer are under any individual burden to do so.
3. You simply never know when a wave is going to build.
If a wave does develop, in either direction, a critical side effect of that wave is seats that have been completely stricken from the list of competitive seats for years become races to watch. One must think that the Republicans are quite grateful that they lucked out and had Blake Farenthold running in what was viewed as solid blue territory in heavily Latino South Texas. His defeat of veteran Rep. Solomon Ortiz had to be considered one of the biggest upsets in recent House history. And an election like that can only happen in a wave election. Absent that GOP wave of 2010, Farenthold gets smooshed, like pretty much every Republican that had come before him in the long tenure of the Democratic incumbent.
In addition to these points, in the comments of that diary I added some more, which I will re-iterate with some updates here:

4. It gives Democrats an opportunity to discover new talent/be discovered.

As a Democrat, running in one of these dark-red districts, or whatever, where the incumbent would otherwise go unchallenged, offers that Democrat a chance to gain experience running for a state office, allows them to gain exposure for their platform, and allows them to build name recognition for future campaigns, the importance of which belies many of the polls that we so often rely on, and without the pressure of high expectations.

The other thing is that for higher offices, the political parties are always looking for candidates who personify the demographics they are trying to reach. Finding Democrats who identify with these districts and still stand up for the party's values makes them attractive candidates for future campaigns.

5. Coat-tails and reverse coat-tails.

In the US election system, all these elections are related. Local, state, and national. Candidates at the top feed support to candidates below them. Candidates at the bottom share more familiarity with the constituents and can drive overall perceptions for the candidates at the top of the ticket. When Democrats, and Republicans, run a candidate in a race, it affects all the races on that ticket, and not having a warm body in that slot is essentially a wasted vote.

6. It forces the Republican to run a more active campaign.

It's easier for a Republican, in general any incumbent, to hide their horrendous views, agendas, and voting records when nobody is shining a light on them. Having a challenger actively combating them opens more opportunities for the constituents, and the general public like us, to catch wind of their true colors.

And with the Republican Party of today, as we all have seen, the more we get them out into the public as often as possible, the better off our chances become. The more chances there are to force one of those Todd Akin or Richard Mourdock moments, that tanks their campaign and gives Democrats the chance they need.

7. At the very least, Democrats in those districts deserve a candidate.

When a Republican incumbent goes unchallenged, the Democratic Party is basically abandoning its constituents in those districts. They should not be penalized for living in a red area; if anything, we need to make sure they have someone representing them more than any place else. Even if the Dem candidate has very little hope for winning, it keeps the Democratic grassroots in those areas strong. Building networks and connections to local media and fundraisers and organizations, for example.

8. It challenges the perception of the Democratic Party being pushovers.

Deservedly or not, the Democratic Party has a reputation for not putting up strong fights, at any level. Always having a candidate for every race, with a solid network of supporters for every election, close or not, should be the basic example we have for overcoming this perception.

Also good points by a fellow commenter Russells 10:

9. Spending dollars on Democratic messages matters.

Even if a state legislative candidate raises and spends only $5 or $10k, s/he spends it on SOMETHING. A mailer, a newspaper ad, some paid canvassers going door-to-door.  That money can be spent to reinforce a key message -- sane immigration policy, for example. Plus, the local media's coverage of the campaign -- and things like Op-Eds -- add up. Even token opposition is important to simply make an argument.

10. You activate volunteers in local communities.

Sooner or later Texas will go for the Democrat in a Presidential election. When it happens, it will take a massive volunteer effort. The more volunteers you have to make calls and knock on doors in every state race in the off-years, the better your chances of getting them to start contacting voters in March or April of the Presidential year.

To be sure, these aren't the only reasons we should find challengers for these races. And for sure, there are many people who can offer up valid reasons for why it might not be worth.

But in the grand scheme of things, I feel like it's much easier to reconcile putting up an honest fight in these elections with Democratic principles and convictions.

Here is the current list of Republican Senators facing re-election in 2014 without any declared Democratic challengers:

Alabama (2012 Presidential Results for State: Romney 61%-38%)
Incumbent: Jeff Sessions
Filing Deadline: June 2

Dailykos Election's Analysis:

"The state is one of the most conservative in the country and incumbent Jeff Sessions is relatively popular there. The state Democratic party is in disarray and is unlikely to put forth anything more than a token challenge."

Kansas (Romney 60%-38%)
Incumbent: Pat Roberts
Filing Deadline: June 2

DKE Analysis:

"Kansas is a starkly Republican state, but the scant polling released in 2013 has showed Roberts quite unpopular. However no serious Democratic candidate has emerged and even his Republican primary challengers are lower tier, meaning that Roberts is in a strong position."
Mississippi (Romney 55%-44%)
Incumbent: Thad Cochran
Filing Deadline: March 1

DKE Analysis:

"Perhaps the most polarized state in the nation for federal elections, Mississippi is solidly Republican under any and all circumstances. Longtime incumbent Thad Cochran is relatively popular among the general electorate, but recent polling has shown him to be viewed as insufficiently conservative by the Republican primary electorate. That has prompted a strong and well-funded challenge by tea party state senator Chris McDaniel who has courted controversy with ties to neo-confederate organizations. Still in this age of vigorous tea party challenges demanding ultra-conservative voting records, the likely support of outside money groups like the Senate Conservative Fund, and Cochran being viewed as inadequately conservative, at the moment I believe that McDaniel is a modest favorite to win the primary. As for the general election, there had been talk of Blue Dog former representative Travis Childers running for Democrats but even he would be exceedingly unlikely to prevail even over McDaniel given the current state of Mississippi's electorate."
Nebraska (Romney 60%-38%)
Incumbent: Mike Johanns (Retiring)
Filing Deadline: March 1

DKE Analysis:

"Despite this being an open seat, Democrats have no hope in solid red Nebraska. Former senator Bob Kerrey got stomped by a 2nd tier state senator in 2012 and national Democrats aren't keen on investing here again. State treasurer Shane Osborne and Midland University president Ben Sasse are the two Republicans to watch here."
Oklahoma, Special Election (Romney 67%-33%)
Incumbent: Tom Coburn (Retiring)
Filing Deadline: April 11

DKE Analysis:

"This 2nd seat in Oklahoma will be open with the early resignation of incumbent Tom Coburn. The field is not yet set on the Republican side but anyone who wins the nomination would win the general election under any circumstances short of a conviction."
Wyoming (Romney 69%-28%)
Incumbent: Mike Enzi
Filing Deadline: May 30

DKE Analysis:

"Wyoming is among the most Republican states in the country and Mike Enzi is quite popular. With Liz Cheney dropping her quixotic primary challenge he could sleepwalk through the primary and general."
If anyone can think of any viable Democratic candidates to challenge these seats, please mention them in the comments and explain why you think they would be good representatives of the Democratic Party.

Of course, having potential candidates is a far cry from actually convincing them to run. After all, nobody wants to be a sacrifical lamb. And anyone who makes a run should not expect much national support from the Democratic machine that largely runs on its own survival. Then again, these are exactly the political leaders that have driven the agenda away from the populist strategy that leads to Democratic victory. And to wrest control from these biased actors, we have to get back down to grassroots organizing, such as drafting unexpected candidates.

And if we want to see Democrats win as big in 2014 as they did in 2012 and 2013, we have to attack on all fronts.

3:48 PM PT: Thanks to LeilaMonaghan for pointing out Wyoming will have a Democratic challenger: Charlie Hardy for US Senate.

Thanks also to terjeanderson for identifying potential candidates in Mississippi, and that Nebraska also has a Democratic challenger: Run Dave Run: Domina for US Senate Representing Nebraska.

9:18 PM PT: Thanks to footfootfoot for this update:

AL-SEN: The filing deadline was actually moved to February 7, leaving only 1 week to find a candidate.

KS-SEN: Shawnee County District Attorney Chad Taylor formed an exploratory committee in November.  I cannot find any news on when he will announce whether he is running, but he has a website up now with the message "coming soon."

OK-SEN: 2 Democrats have expressed interest in running.  Defense attorney Clark Brewster says he will decide in the next couple weeks.  State Senator Constance Johnson, who has sponsored a bill to legalize marijuana in Oklahoma, is also considering running.

Originally posted to The Progressive Atheist on Fri Jan 31, 2014 at 08:27 AM PST.

Also republished by Community Spotlight.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (127+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    bgblcklab1, CenPhx, Glen The Plumber, zerelda, certainot, Involuntary Exile, Sylv, Homers24, Pinto Pony, Crashing Vor, JBL55, GwenM, Thinking Fella, Laurel in CA, RandomNonviolence, BlueMississippi, gooderservice, Dave in AZ, jan4insight, Egalitare, turn Virginia blue, dizzydean, Pilotshark, wdrath, Anthony Page aka SecondComing, AWilson, thomask, this just in, Yosef 52, scyellowdogdem, defluxion10, viral, OutCarolineStreet, rat racer, Andrew Lazarus, No one gets out alive, Paragryne, jbsoul, JamieG from Md, cantelow, Chaddiwicker, Dburn, ceebee7, ColoTim, profundo, AaronInSanDiego, eagleray, Onomastic, pcl07, CDH in Brooklyn, HeyMikey, jarbyus, ichibon, Sam Hill, Matt Z, Woody, la motocycliste, Sharon Wraight, grape crush, Mayfly, sow hat, philipmerrill, akmk, myboo, JanL, gramofsam1, EagleOfFreedom, greengemini, duhban, Penny GC, Square Knot, hyperstation, LSmith, Hammerhand, badscience, PsychoSavannah, hooktool, elfling, enemy of the people, robertlewiws, Loonesta, psnyder, Radiowalla, Liberal Thinking, Panacea Paola, Hirodog, merrylib, Kevskos, BC Progressive, deha, tegrat, tarheelblue, WheninRome, exNYinTX, RunawayRose, buckstop, flavor411, dksbook, ctsteve, oceanview, cal2010, mslat27, terabytes, ruleoflaw, deepeco, HarpboyAK, Black Max, devtob, smokeymonkey, Amayi, wmspringer, Coneria, Dodgerdog1, DanielMorgan, foresterbob, Minnesota Deb, slothlax, FindingMyVoice, caliberal2001, mattfiller7, Vatexia, rasbobbo, Possiamo, fhcec, kurt, science nerd, Odysseus

    "In a country well governed, poverty is something to be ashamed of. In a country badly governed, wealth is something to be ashamed of.” -Confucius

    by pierre9045 on Fri Jan 31, 2014 at 08:27:46 AM PST

  •  those are talk radio states- that's samson's hair (19+ / 0-)

    challengers with aggressive effort on the part of state dems to monitor and challenge the state talk radio apparatus will have a better chance.

    these red state/talk radio state seats are called safe R and ignored because any challenger is up  against a massive red neck republican attack machine- and it's led from the state RW radio stations, which are never factored in despite being the main reason those states are red.

    make state university support for RW radio an issue. protest the stations as they attack dems, etc. point out think tank (out of state/ koch, etc) support and control of those stations.

    the pitiful state of republican party should not be lost on common sensical honest voters in those states and an aggressive attack on the national and local talk radio gods that create the alternate reality in which these senators operate and depend on could make a difference.

    those major radio stations are GOP headquarters and its samson's hair.

    This is a list of 76 universities for Rush Limbaugh that endorse global warming denial, racism, sexism, and GOP lies by broadcasting sports on over 170 Limbaugh radio stations.

    by certainot on Fri Jan 31, 2014 at 08:49:15 AM PST

    •  Love the analogy (6+ / 0-)

      I suspect there needs to be more research done into this, as far as how we cut Samson's hair.

      "In a country well governed, poverty is something to be ashamed of. In a country badly governed, wealth is something to be ashamed of.” -Confucius

      by pierre9045 on Fri Jan 31, 2014 at 01:00:59 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  #12. (Re-)Shaping the Discourse on Issues. (9+ / 0-)

        An articulate, intelligent candidate can at least work to get a Democratic message into the media (via press releases, debates, interviews, low-cost newspaper ads, canvassing/ doorbelling, etc.). If the state is truly hopelessly GOP, the Democratic candidate can be all that much truer to the national Democratic platform, with less worry.

        •  takes more than that because the right's think (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Sharon Wraight, rhauenstein

          tanks will take the candidate apart, devise a counter strategy, and blast it out of their radio stations all day for as long as it take, locally coordinated. see comment above/below.

          This is a list of 76 universities for Rush Limbaugh that endorse global warming denial, racism, sexism, and GOP lies by broadcasting sports on over 170 Limbaugh radio stations.

          by certainot on Fri Jan 31, 2014 at 08:46:30 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Takes more than what, to achieve what? (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            certainot, DanielMorgan

            I'm not sure I understand your point. Would you explain further?

            My point was that even in the absence of major changes or major funding, Dems can still push back by running in every race. Even in 'hopeless races' they can at least get their message out to other receptive Democratic (and some independent/winnable) ears, to help keep alive those ideas and sow seeds. Of course the right-wing media juggernaut will push back, try to crush these ideas, etc. But imho it's better to offer some voice, than silence and not even running a candidate. Do you agree?

            I certainly agree with you about the power of right-wing radio, and your suggestions sound like excellent ideas. I hope you're able to follow up with the appropriate people.

            There's been lots of talk for decades about creating a progressive alternative on radio, and some action. The folks at Pacifica Radio launched in Berkeley in 1949. It has aired Democracy Now since 1996. Democracy Radio (2002-2005) helped expand the careers of Ed Schultz and Stephanie Miller. It helped spawn Air America, which aired from 2004-2010. Air America in turn helped expand the careers of Thom Hartmann, Randi Rhodes, Mike Malloy, Rachel Maddow, and Al Franken. Not a bad start, but a long way to go for parity with Clear Channel.

            It would of course be great to see progressive voices expand their radio audience, and especially (as you say) to push back against the propaganda spread by Flush Limberger, including on Armed Forces Network (AFN), as written up in many Kossack diaries including these:
            http://www.dailykos.com/...
            http://www.dailykos.com/... (OleHippieChick's petition got more than 25,000 signatures and forced the White House to respond -- albeit the WH response sucked)
            http://www.dailykos.com/...
            http://www.dailykos.com/...

            No-one said this will be a picnic.

            •  good overview of the radio. there's a lot of talk (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Sharon Wraight

              about running candidates or not relative to using resources dem wisely. i was thinking along those lines, and the evaluation process that leaves out the effect of talk radio.

              by not factoring in and challenging state and nationally coordinated talk radio campaigns, by many as if it barely exists (that's no exaggeration- i've talked to them and hear them in media all the time) dems and progressive groups are wasting significant resources- volunteer time and money.

              they'd have a much better chance in these 'lost' states if they did. and win a lot more of the close ones.

              i agree though, if dems can and want to try in those 'lost' states then all the better.

              This is a list of 76 universities for Rush Limbaugh that endorse global warming denial, racism, sexism, and GOP lies by broadcasting sports on over 170 Limbaugh radio stations.

              by certainot on Sat Feb 01, 2014 at 07:32:40 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

        •  The media must cover the Dem and his/her message (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Sharon Wraight

          In this day of he said/she said journalism, even an underfunded Democratic candidate will be covered by local media. No matter how in-the-tank for the RW the media outlet is, the Democrat's message will leak out. That counts.

          •  I think the point you make cannot be overstated (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Sharon Wraight

            Even in a deluge of right-wing propaganda, a trickle of Democratic messaging, that resonates with the general public, makes a world of difference.

            "In a country well governed, poverty is something to be ashamed of. In a country badly governed, wealth is something to be ashamed of.” -Confucius

            by pierre9045 on Sat Feb 01, 2014 at 12:02:32 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

        •  analyze the voter data (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Sharon Wraight

          find the areas with the most Dem voters, reach out to them, organize, get them to bring in their friends, and build from there...

          prepare coherent talking points that are specific to the area and to the R incumbent

          go on talk radio - if it's possible - and challenge the central memes...

          write LTEs...

          talk to voters and non-voters - do what you can to register more voters - your work will matter, if not in the upcoming election, in future ones.

          that's what the Rs do in heavily Democratic districts. Use the same tactics, but speak the truth...

          "There's nothing serious about a plan that claims to reduce the deficit by spending a trillion dollars on tax cuts for millionaires and billionaires." - President Obama

          by fhcec on Sat Feb 01, 2014 at 08:40:01 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  dems have NEVER challenged RW radio- their worst (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        pierre9045, Black Max, Minnesota Deb

        enemy.

        i said it above and can go into more detail:

        !) use mavericks free mac transcription software (available on every 2012 and later mac)  (or better:dragon for $200) to monitor local radio blowhards and finally allow dems to honestly say they're getting their reps and candidates' backs by responding to attack sand distortions in real time- within a few days - instead of continuing the usual idiotic 25 yr pattern of having to react after the lies have been turned into truth with unchallenged repetition.

        2) get dems in any university that takes a few grand to allow limbaugh and sons to festoon their slimy soapboxes with their macotts to protest and lobby until the colleges are forced to declare they begin to honor their mission statements and will look for apolitical alternatives. the RW propaganda machine will suffer greatly and local media will feel the freedom.

        3) protest those fucking sewage hurlers. they are the state megaphones and HQ's for the ALEC/GOP propagnadists. they allow the right to dominate messaging and create that alternate reality that's plaguing us at every turn. that is their advantage.

        4) dems in media need to refer regularly to talk radio and the talk radio gods to give them the blame they deserve, to further damage the certitude they need to sell the lies and hypocrisy the GOP is riding now. not fox.

        This is a list of 76 universities for Rush Limbaugh that endorse global warming denial, racism, sexism, and GOP lies by broadcasting sports on over 170 Limbaugh radio stations.

        by certainot on Fri Jan 31, 2014 at 08:42:59 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  Targeting RW talk radio (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      AlexDrew

      In this day and age, TV is a much more powerful brainwashing tool than radio. But certainly talk radio is a factor, as are the 1% who can individually spend $millions on campaigns.

      What the party pros now recommend, and I agree, that it's more productive to spend resources in States where there is a fairly good chance of winning.

      IMO the Tea Party has been able to move all of Washington to the right. We probably would do well copy similar tactics, such as challenging Democratic incumbents who are not progressive--those that prefer war to peace--especially in safe Democratic states.

      I would like to see most of the Dems Senators that have recently joined the Repubs in the attack on the Obama peace initiative with Iran, to be challenged by candidates who prefer peace to war.

      Also it was just a couple day ago that 89 Dems in the House voted to cut food stamps. We need better representation in States that are truly Democratic.

      War is costly. Peace is priceless!

      by frostbite on Fri Jan 31, 2014 at 06:03:32 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  absolutely wrong. radio made/makes the difference (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        pierre9045, Black Max

        there are many alternatives available on TV for politics. more with print and much more with internet. just turn the channel or the page.

        tv is most effective relative to what it leaves out, but it cannot push the nationwide UNCHALLENGED and ubiquitous repetition possible from 1200 stations reaching  50 mil a week. fox depends entirely on rw radio. it is the visual icing on the lie turd pie of rw radio.

        in most parts of the US there are no free alternatives for politics while driving or working. the planet will burn up before free internet is available in every car and the talk radio monopoly has been very effective reducing that possibility.

        considering the time lost on global warming, ignoring rw radio for 25 years has been the biggest political mistake in history.

        take fox. it leads cable but maybe 1mil watchers every night. limbaugh is 10 -20 mil a week. and then his spawn repeat the same message from 1200 stations all day reaching a whopping 50 mil a week.

        with the same think tank-coordinated message.  obama doesn't have the bully pulpit. talk of dem messaging is useless- a waste of time. as is most strategizing that does not include RW radio - which is just about all of it the last 25 years.

        see comment above for solutions

        This is a list of 76 universities for Rush Limbaugh that endorse global warming denial, racism, sexism, and GOP lies by broadcasting sports on over 170 Limbaugh radio stations.

        by certainot on Fri Jan 31, 2014 at 08:58:36 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Wrong, how about using the facts? (0+ / 0-)

          Certainly RW radio needs to be of some concern. However, I did major in propaganda and have worked in marketing for 50 years. I do have some understanding of the role that media plays in politics. The reason that advertisers spend dozens of times more on TV is that it is more cost effective.

          You claim that Fox has about "1 mil watchers every night." Yet O'Reilly alone has more than 2 million viewers, and when you count all the other Fox talking heads, and the millions of other viewers on all of the other stations it's obvious that you should try to educate yourself a bit more before trowing insults.

          We cannot hope to make real changes without a good understanding of the facts involved.

          War is costly. Peace is priceless!

          by frostbite on Sat Feb 01, 2014 at 03:28:52 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •   i was referring to your statement that (0+ / 0-)
            In this day and age, TV is a much more powerful brainwashing tool than radio.
            i didn't mean it as an insult, but you are very wrong, for the reasons i stated in my comment above, and more.

            for selling the teabagger alternate reality talk radio hands down does the heavy lifting.

            you're right about the viewer numbers, but i don't know how to compare with per week. says here http://www.pewresearch.org/...

             1.7 m/evening for fox news...

            This is a list of 76 universities for Rush Limbaugh that endorse global warming denial, racism, sexism, and GOP lies by broadcasting sports on over 170 Limbaugh radio stations.

            by certainot on Mon Feb 03, 2014 at 12:06:47 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

    •  can we convince Battleground Texas (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      pierre9045

      leaders to give some tutorials on organizing to people from the heavily R states?

      That would make a support group for the organizers, who could then build local support groups, ...

      Might work????

      "There's nothing serious about a plan that claims to reduce the deficit by spending a trillion dollars on tax cuts for millionaires and billionaires." - President Obama

      by fhcec on Sat Feb 01, 2014 at 08:48:03 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Good idea (0+ / 0-)

        I imagine they have their hands full this year. But then they will be battle-tested. Then, get them to run clinics all over.

        "In a country well governed, poverty is something to be ashamed of. In a country badly governed, wealth is something to be ashamed of.” -Confucius

        by pierre9045 on Sat Feb 01, 2014 at 08:57:03 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  I agree that the Democrats... (32+ / 0-)

    ...should be fielding a viable candidate in every Senate and House race.

    But that requires that a viable candidate actually exist for those races. The party can't support candidates if the candidates don't exist.

    I think that means that there needs to be a candidate who fulfills all three of these basic criteria:

    (A) The candidate must have enough experience, gravitas, intelligence, etc. to not embarrass the party. Republicans have proven time and again that sometimes not running anyone at all is preferable to running a warm body who's not ready for prime-time.

    (B) The candidate must obviously have strong ties and some kind of prominence in the state or district in which they're running. Carpetbagging just isn't an option, particularly since a couple of the places where Democrats aren't running candidates (Alabama, Mississippi) were the site of the original carpetbaggers.

    (C) The candidate has to actually be willing to run for the office—meaning that they're willing to go through at least a year of fundraising and campaigning, possibly jeopardizing any elected position they currently hold, in order to try for an office that they're very, very unlikely to actually win. Keep in mind that despite Richard Mourdock saying one of the most offensively stupid things any major-office candidate has said in years, Joe Donnelly only won by about 5%. If Donnelly hadn't been campaigning like hell for that seat, Mourdock might still have won.

    I'd be willing to wager that for those Senate seats and for a lot of unchallenged House seats as well, the people who fulfill criteria A and B are of the mindset that they're fortunate to still hold elected office at all in the beet-red states, and therefore don't fulfill criterion C.

    "When I give food to the poor, they call me a saint. When I ask why the poor have no food, they call me a communist." --Dom Helder Camara, archbishop of Recife

    by JamesGG on Fri Jan 31, 2014 at 08:52:00 AM PST

    •  I think you bring out good points (18+ / 0-)

      Ideally, any candidate who chooses to run as a Democrat should possess all three of those points. Finding candidates who fulfill A and B are probably a lot easier than C. Having a way to address that issue for any candidate who fits the first 2 criteria would ideally help this strategy.

      In that effort, national Democratic organizations are supposed to fill that need, but we all know how that is going. Red-state seats like these are not on their radars, to put it mildly.

      I don't have a readily-realistic answer for that. Perhaps the Dailykos community could one day grow to replace that void. Building a network of organizers/supporters for every state for any candidate who runs an aggressively-progressive campaign, with a focus on candidates in these red areas who wouldn't normally draw much national support. It could also be a way to build up a stronger Progressive stable of candidates.

      "In a country well governed, poverty is something to be ashamed of. In a country badly governed, wealth is something to be ashamed of.” -Confucius

      by pierre9045 on Fri Jan 31, 2014 at 09:07:32 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  It starts with local races (23+ / 0-)

      I'll bet there are lots of empty ballot slots where there should be a Democrat all the way down the ticket.

      It doesn't matter if a candidate wins. Running locally creates candidates for the future who will have A) and B).

      Running locally allows you to spread the message, get experience, and find supporters who will work for you and raise money for you. Local candidates can work together and share resources (canvassers, phone bankers, etc.)

      Every race that has a Democrat running in it forces the other side to spend money. It excites our voters, and helps to drive turnout, which we need if we are to win the bigger races.

      Imagine all the people, living life in peace. You may say I'm a dreamer, but I'm not the only one. John Lennon

      by GwenM on Fri Jan 31, 2014 at 09:21:35 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  It matters a lot, if you're the one running. (10+ / 0-)
        It doesn't matter if a candidate wins. Running locally creates candidates for the future who will have A) and B).
        It may be a net benefit to the party one way or the other, but parties don't run for office—people do. And to the candidates themselves, it does matter, because running for office—even local office—carries a cost, sometimes a substantial one.

        In addition to the monetary cost of running—a cost the candidate, particularly in local races, usually bears some, if not all, of—there are other costs. It costs the candidate time they could spend with their family or friends, or in their hobbies, or at their house of worship, or volunteering somewhere, or in their job. It costs energy for the candidate to be campaigning, especially if they're holding down a job or raising a family while doing it.

        It can often tax relationships or even livelihoods—not just because the candidate has less time for their family or friends, but also because running for political office tends to mean one is involving oneself in controversies. From a candidate's perspective, it could make them a hated person—how often have we heard people say that all politicians are worthless?—or, worse, bring up controversies they've put in their own past and blow them out of proportion.

        There's a reason most people don't run for office, and those who are intelligent and wise enough to make good office-holders tend to be even more aware than most of the costs of running a credible campaign. So it's an uphill battle to convince them to run and incur all of those costs, if there isn't a decent chance that all of those costs will pay off with a win on election night.

        "When I give food to the poor, they call me a saint. When I ask why the poor have no food, they call me a communist." --Dom Helder Camara, archbishop of Recife

        by JamesGG on Fri Jan 31, 2014 at 09:58:11 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  I have run for local office 3 times (37+ / 0-)

          I won last November for the first time.  My experience was very positive, even though I lost twice.  Each time I found friendships, helped other candidates, ands overall have strengthened the Democratic presence in a traditionally Republican district.  We can only win if we are in the game.

          Individual candidates come and go, but if we aren't building a structure and encouraging and supporting others we will be whining about a lack of good candidates all the way to 2020.

          Just because it's difficult, doesn't mean it isn't worth doing. Michigan, where I live, was once a progressive state.  The Republicans worked the system and look at the radical right wing agenda we are now forced to live with.  I for one, want to take it back from them, and that means candidates, supporters, ground game, and money. At all levels on the ballot.

          Imagine all the people, living life in peace. You may say I'm a dreamer, but I'm not the only one. John Lennon

          by GwenM on Fri Jan 31, 2014 at 10:08:34 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  But it does cost *something.* (7+ / 0-)
            I have run for local office 3 times [...] I won last November for the first time.  My experience was very positive, even though I lost twice.
            Thank you. Seriously, thank you. I wish we had more people who were willing to run for office, and I'm glad you had such a positive experience.

            However, I'm sure you've undoubtedly met someone in your work who has had less-positive experiences running for office—and when a person is considering whether or not to run, it's that possibility they're concerned about.

            Individual candidates come and go, but if we aren't building a structure and encouraging and supporting others we will be whining about a lack of good candidates all the way to 2020.
            Except that the individual candidates are the ones who we're asking to make the sacrifice. They need to be convinced that the gains will be worth that sacrifice, either because they've got a chance of winning or because it'll build the party. Clearly, you're convinced that it's worth the sacrifice you've made for it—but not everyone has the same mindset.

            So how do we convince people that it's worth making the sacrifices to run for office if they don't have much of a chance of winning?

            Just because it's difficult, doesn't mean it isn't worth doing.
            But for some people, the potential losses are just too great, and the potential gains too nebulous, to bring them over the hump from "considering" to "running"—and some people don't have the resources to be able to do it at all.

            And quite honestly, it's actually those people—the people working two jobs, the people trying to raise a family on their own, the people who are struggling just to make it—whose perspective we need more of in government.

            So how do we go about building the support structures to reduce the cost of running for office, or convincing people that it's worth the sacrifice? I think that's where our efforts need to be—not in lambasting the Democratic Party in red states because nobody was willing to step up, work like hell, and potentially take a lot of abuse just to very likely get creamed in an election.

            "When I give food to the poor, they call me a saint. When I ask why the poor have no food, they call me a communist." --Dom Helder Camara, archbishop of Recife

            by JamesGG on Fri Jan 31, 2014 at 10:34:44 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

          •  Thank you for your service! (12+ / 0-)

            Public office is often a thankless job. I'm grateful for people like you who put themselves out there.

          •  Ah-ha, I thought this was your second try, not (7+ / 0-)

            your third! Even more impressive, seriously, to have that perseverance. Looking forward to working with you this spring and summer~!

            Support Small Business: Shop Kos Katalogue If you'd like to join the Motor City Kossacks, send me a Kosmail.

            by peregrine kate on Fri Jan 31, 2014 at 12:18:55 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

          •  Thank you for running for office (6+ / 0-)

            Wish you all the luck in taking back my home state from Snyder and his crooked ilk.

            "In a country well governed, poverty is something to be ashamed of. In a country badly governed, wealth is something to be ashamed of.” -Confucius

            by pierre9045 on Fri Jan 31, 2014 at 01:10:30 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

        •  I think the best answer for this (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Woody, merrylib

          is publicly financed campaigns.

          These problems that you mention-all the costs that go into campaigning-selectively bias who ultimately ends up running: people who are fairly well off and can afford to take time away from work, from family. It's no wonder then that Congress is the home of millionaires, and it's no wonder there is very little support for the poor and working poor and unemployed.

          If a person is qualified to run for office, we should make sure their personal and professional lives do not suffer as a result of the campaign. Because a hard-working person should have just as much opportunity to represent their fellow Americans as a millionaire.

          "In a country well governed, poverty is something to be ashamed of. In a country badly governed, wealth is something to be ashamed of.” -Confucius

          by pierre9045 on Fri Jan 31, 2014 at 01:08:33 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Unfortunately, even our partial public (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            JanL, gramofsam1, merrylib

            financing scheme (for presidential elections) is in tatters these days. I'm a volunteer with AARP's Tax-Aide program helping low income seniors and workers file their taxes, and it seems like 9 out 10 times I ask if they want $3 to go to the presidential election fund (and it won't affect their refund etc.), they say "No, there's too much money in politics already." Arrggh...

            "All governments lie, but disaster lies in wait for countries whose officials smoke the same hashish they give out." --I.F. Stone

            by Alice in Florida on Fri Jan 31, 2014 at 03:31:38 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Not to mention (0+ / 0-)

              Will any presidential candidate accept federal funding after 2008? If not, is it really worthwhile to be sending money to the parties?

              Now, if we could take that same fund and instead provide, say, a $25k stipend for any major party candidate for office, a lot more people might be able to afford to run for local races...

          •  The best answer right now is for progressives not (6+ / 0-)

            afraid to use their voice for progressive issues and not afraid to lose actually step up to the plate.

            Young progressives are especially good as they can help turn out younger voters if they are organized and committed.

            •  I don't think Democrats do enough (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              GwenM, deepeco

              grooming and developing of young political leaders. They have the most upside, room to grow. They would be great candidates for these red seats; they would be young enough that a loss wouldn't severely hamper their futures. And just because they are young, doesn't mean that they aren't already sharp enough to run a serious bid for most local seats.

              "In a country well governed, poverty is something to be ashamed of. In a country badly governed, wealth is something to be ashamed of.” -Confucius

              by pierre9045 on Fri Jan 31, 2014 at 05:26:25 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

        •  GwenM & JamesGG--great comments--we need a (7+ / 0-)

          national Democratic program to build "minor league" teams so best players can move on to the major leagues.  We need to support school board candidates, county commission candidates, city council candidates, etc.

          The right of the women of this State to be secure in their persons against unreasonable searches shall not be violated by the State legislature.

          by Mayfly on Fri Jan 31, 2014 at 02:53:08 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Creating support (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Mayfly, pierre9045, wmspringer

            Logistical support - a network of volunteers who will have the candidate's back - is hugely valuable.

            Having seasoned advice and a fundraising network is important, too.

            How can we make running for office more fun? I mean, I know it sounds stupid, but can we make running for office a time when you spend time with people you enjoy and a more energizing experience, instead of a parasitic one where the candidate is schmoozing people on the phone for money and taking away time from friends and family?

            Especially in these states where we don't expect a Democrat to win, can't we figure out a way it can be a more positive process?

            Fry, don't be a hero! It's not covered by our health plan!

            by elfling on Fri Jan 31, 2014 at 05:11:48 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Excellent points, elfling! (0+ / 0-)

              The right of the women of this State to be secure in their persons against unreasonable searches shall not be violated by the State legislature.

              by Mayfly on Fri Jan 31, 2014 at 05:25:57 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

            •  These red seats are the perfect (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Mayfly, elfling

              proving grounds for the kind of campaign ideas you are talking about.

              Things like fundraising events for local charities, community picnics, maybe a group trip to a minor league ballgame.

              "In a country well governed, poverty is something to be ashamed of. In a country badly governed, wealth is something to be ashamed of.” -Confucius

              by pierre9045 on Fri Jan 31, 2014 at 05:29:00 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

            •  Our local Dem club(s) have been a great for me (4+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Mayfly, pierre9045, elfling, wmspringer

              People want to have someone to support.  Seasoned party people know the ropes, they know how to organize.  I found folks at the local Democratic club monthly meeting that knocked doors with me, gave me money, made phone calls, drove people to the polls, and helped with the campaign finance reporting. They let me practice my message in front of a group. With other candidates, we coordinated canvassing and mail.  

              I have learned much and gained many friends in the process.  

              Imagine all the people, living life in peace. You may say I'm a dreamer, but I'm not the only one. John Lennon

              by GwenM on Fri Jan 31, 2014 at 05:49:43 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  Awesome (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                GwenM, wmspringer

                If we can make these lost cause seats basically an extended local Netroots Nation of fun and camaraderie, I think people would run for the seat. Let's plan to run the funnest, most wonderful losing statewide campaign ever! A benchmark that all other campaigns aspire to beat!

                Worst case scenario: a bunch of Democrats get to know each other better, have a good time, and maybe recruit more people to have fun with.

                And maybe, just maybe, we'll get lucky. Or maybe, that will be the foundation for the next race.

                Fry, don't be a hero! It's not covered by our health plan!

                by elfling on Fri Jan 31, 2014 at 07:36:20 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

          •  Sometimes the local seats aren't even hard to win (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            GwenM

            The village I live in has three open seats, with two people running, so pretty much all you have to do is declare and you're on the village board. (I can't, for a couple of reasons - my contract with my employer says no outside employment and since I'm deaf I can't follow what people say in meetings).  It's nonpartisan and not a big deal, but it's still some political experience...

      •  District 95 in Maine is open (0+ / 0-)

        Wesley Richardson of Warren announced Monday he was seeking to return to the Legislature. A Republican, he served four terms in the House representing the Warren area.

        Richardson is running in newly reconfigured House District 95, which includes Warren, Hope, Appleton and most of Union. When Richardson served from 2004 to 2012, he represented a district that included Warren, Union, Friendship and Cushing.

        Richardson is running as a privately financed candidate.

        The Warren resident said he enjoyed his eight years in the Legislature and wants to return to serve his community. Richardson retired as president of the Waldoboro Bank, served on the board of School Administrative District 40, and while in the House served on the Insurance and Financial Affairs Committee.

        There are no other candidates in the race and there is no incumbent because of the redistricting.

        Live Free or Die --- Investigate, Incarcerate

        by rktect on Fri Jan 31, 2014 at 08:43:42 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  "Charts and Graphs" again.... (0+ / 0-)

      Outside of bloggo world; it's crystal clear the "democratic" party is a gigantic failure... the party of dimwits and half-wits.

      it's sort of hilarious, really.

      "It is essential that there should be organization of Labor. Capital organizes & therefore Labor must organize" Theodore Roosevelt

      by Superpole on Fri Jan 31, 2014 at 04:54:29 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  11. Money, pure and simple. (31+ / 0-)

    The point of 50-state (like its precursor, Project 90) was never to try to win every seat. It was to make them spend their money.

    Every candidate raises money. When there's no opponent, s/he can ship it off to a House or Senate party PAC to be used in races that are competitive.

    Whether or not you can win a race, get in it and make the bastards drain their chest.

    I live under the bridge to the 21st Century.

    by Crashing Vor on Fri Jan 31, 2014 at 09:20:02 AM PST

  •  I agree with all your reasons. (14+ / 0-)

    Challengers can inflict a lot of damage, and the "true colors" strategy can heavily influence voters, be it keeping disgusted GOP voters home, giving independents a real choice, or encouraging Democratic voters to show up.

    Besides, there's a long-term strategy as well.  It's not just about the 2014 election: it's about setting the table for future elections, especially the 2020 elections.  We can't allow the GOP to redraw any more lines.

  •  NE, MS and KS have all had Dems in high office (7+ / 0-)

    recently--Bob Kerry and Ben Nelson for NE, Ronnie Musgrove in MS and Kathleen Sebelius in KS.  We may not particularly like the Dems that win these types of election (ugh, Nelson), but they are not entirely unwinnable....

    To be free and just depends on us. Victor Hugo.

    by dizzydean on Fri Jan 31, 2014 at 10:48:07 AM PST

  •  Very nicely written, pierre9045. Thank you. /nt (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    viral, JanL, greengemini, elfling
  •  Comments (18+ / 0-)

    In these deep-red seats, the low likelihood of a D pickup means, perversely, you can take greater risks.  And greater risks mean greater returns if it pays off.

    This means the D candidate can test market different messages.  They can use a very focused message, and try to experiment with clever advertising alternatives.  Even in Mississippi, there is a population of liberals who, evolution being what it is, have egos as strong as tanks and a very low bullshit quotient (needed for survival there).

    Find someone to run in these states, give them a bit of national money, and see what they can do with it.  We're the entrepreneurship party; let's draw on that.

  •  You can't win if you don't play. (11+ / 0-)

    I live in SW Mo. and I get so sick an tried when I go vote to see Republican Candidates for in most cases multiple judgeship's all by themselves on the ballot with no Democratic Party nominee thus those Republicans ALWAYS WIN.

  •  Michael Bennet of CO is DSCC Chair (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    JanL, elfling, happymisanthropy

    He's a horrible choice.

    I don't trust him.

    He ain't doing shit for the job of trying to get more D's in the Senate.

    You guys need to complain about this guy big time.

    •  Bennet asked Republicans for permission! (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      pierre9045, Woody, elfling

      He asked R's to bless his mission.

       

      Before accepting the traditionally partisan top job at the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, Sen. Michael Bennet got assurances from all over Capitol Hill that he could carry out the duty without being a bridge burner.

      Bennet says he took almost a month to decide whether to take on the role because in part he wanted confirmation, from Republicans in particular, that the job would not imperil relationships he has painstakingly built in four years on Capitol Hill.

      "I ... wanted to make sure it would not interfere with my ability to work in a bipartisan way in the Senate," Bennet said in a short, guarded phone interview. "I talked to people on both sides of the aisle about that and became convinced."

    •  Well, look who's in the House? (0+ / 0-)

      D-trip chair:

      Ah, Steve Israel.

      I tried to go online to find a similar bear head...but when I searched “Big Bear Head” it gave me a San Diego craigslist ad entitled “Big Bear needs some quick head now” and then I just decided to never go on the internet again.--Jenny Lawson

      by SouthernLiberalinMD on Fri Jan 31, 2014 at 03:18:21 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  If no Dem, back an indie (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Woody, birdboy2000

    If no Dem runs, back a Green or Socialist Workers Party candidate.

    Stupid question hour starts now and ends in five minutes.

    by DrillSgtK on Fri Jan 31, 2014 at 12:05:21 PM PST

  •  Where the Stupid is Strong, Democratic Candidates (0+ / 0-)

    are just wasting money -- like in this teabagger heaven.

  •  New Jersey Governor race, too (11+ / 0-)

    When Christie, the invincible, ran for reelection, Buono's candidacy was seen as futile. But she steadily climbed in the polls from 20% a year before the elections to 35% on election day, and if a whiff of what was to happen to Christie had leaked out a few months earlier, she would have won.

  •  I'd hope we could find (5+ / 0-)

    a popular Nebraska Democrat elected official somewhere in Omaha, where 35% of Nebraskans live.

    I'd also hope we could run black Democratic Senate candidates in Mississippi and Alabama, there have to be some mayors of decent sized cities in both states who could step up.

    “The answer must be, I think, that beauty and grace are performed whether or not we will or sense them. The least we can do is try to be there.” ― Annie Dillard, Pilgrim at Tinker Creek

    by 6412093 on Fri Jan 31, 2014 at 01:31:10 PM PST

  •  Well. At least Texas isn't on THIS crappy list. (6+ / 0-)

    It's not worth a lot, but we do have Dems Maxey Scherr and David Alameel running against Cornyn and several other GOP candidates in their primary field.

    And my TX-32 Gee Oh Pee Congresscritter, Pete "Taliban" Sessions has a challenger in the person of... NO ONE!  Pete gets a free ride this time.  Crap...

    My State Rep., Stefani Carter, Texas HD-102, has three challengers in her GOP primary, including two 'Baggers each trying to out-conservative the incumbent, and a former Dallas City Council member who is brighter than the other three together.  The Dem challenger is a former State Education Board member, gay and outed by the GOP party to which he belonged right up until last summer when he decided to be a Democrat.  Whew!  If I ever get a chance to ask him at a candidates' forum, I want to know what took him so long, since his previous party cohorts wre so personally nasty to him.  I am wary of his switch and candidacy, and think he has no chance. I hope the 'baggers lose, is all.

    Yes, real challenges are what is needed.  Even the symbolic ones that make the GOP incumbent (or challenger, if you have one) spend money.  But as in Pete Sessions' case, no challenger means he keeps all his money, and raises more, for next time.  He has been in Congress since 1996, the only US Rep my college freshman son has ever had.  What a shame...

    I'm part of the "bedwetting bunch of website Democrat base people (DKos)." - Rush Limbaugh, 10/16/2012 Torture is Wrong! We live near W so you don't have to. Send love.

    by tom 47 on Fri Jan 31, 2014 at 01:32:32 PM PST

  •  Senate candidate in Wyoming (9+ / 0-)

    Cheyenne Wyoming native and long time educator, Democrat Charlie Hardy will be running for the Senate from Wyoming.  He launches his campaign February 4th.

    https://www.facebook.com/...

  •  Possible candidates in Mississippi (7+ / 0-)

    In Mississippi, in addition to former Representative Childers, there are other names being floated.  

    - the strongest potential candidate is doubtless Jim Hood, the current Attorney General. He was re-elected with 61% in 2011. He is unlikely to run.

    -  Ocean Springs Mayor Connie Moran. She was the Democratic nominee for Treasurer in 2011 - where she only won 38%, the same as the Democratic Gubernatorial candidate in a year Democrats were getting destroyed statewide. She is viewed as politically talented, but hard to find an great opening for her to make it to higher office as long as Mississippi voting remains as polarized as it is.  

    - Brandon Presley is an elected Public Service Commissioner from northern MS. He is related to Elvis. He's young (38) and could be a key player in the effort to revive Democratic prospects in MS.

    - Former Governor Ronnie Musgrove is mentioned. He won 45% running for Senate in 2008, is still young enough (57), and would be a very credible candidate. (Although he has staked out some political positions - such as supporting marriage equality - that would be a hard sell in MS.)

    - Clarksdale Mayor Bill Luckett, who received 45% in losing the 2011 Democratic gubernatorial primary run-off.

    All of these mentioned candidates are white. Sadly, if MS Democrats are going to be competitive for this seat, an African-American candidate would face many challenges. Voting in MS is so racially polarized that a black Democrat stands little chance of winning enough white votes to be competitive. But a candidate like Johnny Dupree or any of a large number of African-American state legislators or Mayors or community leaders would have a good chance of winning a primary and holding onto a respectable statewide total vote.

    Mississippi Democrats might have a remote chance winning the seat if the neo-Confederate wins the Republican nomination. My understanding is that MS Democrats are determined to nominate a viable candidate to be able to take advantage of any such potential opening.

    My friends, love is better than anger. Hope is better than fear. Optimism is better than despair. So let us be loving, hopeful and optimistic. And we’ll change the world - Jack Layton

    by terjeanderson on Fri Jan 31, 2014 at 02:08:20 PM PST

  •  There is a candidate in Nebraska (6+ / 0-)

    Unlikely to win, but actually reasonably credible.

    His name is David Domina - he's a prominent lawyer

    Domina for Senate

    My friends, love is better than anger. Hope is better than fear. Optimism is better than despair. So let us be loving, hopeful and optimistic. And we’ll change the world - Jack Layton

    by terjeanderson on Fri Jan 31, 2014 at 02:12:31 PM PST

  •  They should all have opponents (7+ / 0-)

    You never know when a candidate is going to suddenly retire, die, accept an appointment in the executive branch, resign to become a lobbyist, get arrested, say something stupid, or lose a primary.

    Because any of those things could happen, we should opponents running for for all open Republican seats.  You never know when the lightning will strike, so you have to be prepared all the time.

  •  We're not being run by Howard Dean (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    akmk, socal altvibe

    anymore. No 50-state strategy for us!

    Can we do better? Well, depends what you mean by "we."

    I tried to go online to find a similar bear head...but when I searched “Big Bear Head” it gave me a San Diego craigslist ad entitled “Big Bear needs some quick head now” and then I just decided to never go on the internet again.--Jenny Lawson

    by SouthernLiberalinMD on Fri Jan 31, 2014 at 03:16:20 PM PST

    •  Throwing Dean to the curb (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      SouthernLiberalinMD

      said everything. Howard Dean and those who learned at his feet should be at the core of the democratic party machine.  Not exiled to the hinterlands.

      •  That was when I first started getting (0+ / 0-)

        a cold feeling in the pit of my stomach.

        For all that I disagree with Dean on the Middle East, any Democratic party that throws him out is heading in a bad direction.

        I tried to go online to find a similar bear head...but when I searched “Big Bear Head” it gave me a San Diego craigslist ad entitled “Big Bear needs some quick head now” and then I just decided to never go on the internet again.--Jenny Lawson

        by SouthernLiberalinMD on Sat Feb 01, 2014 at 08:23:37 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Tweet this with a #DSCC! (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Radiowalla
  •  12. It builds community. (8+ / 0-)

    People like to be part of a community.  They like to feel like their opinion is the majority.  People are much more likely to speak up if they feel the people around them share their opinions.

    That's what Fox and right-wing talk radio have done for Republicans in the bluest of states and cities.

    Running a campaign is one way to build a blue community in a red state.  I experienced this myself, working in Mobile AL on the Obama primary in 2008 (my first diary here was about it).  That campaign suddenly brought all these liberal and progressive folks out of the woodworks, got them realizing there were other people like them living nearby, and got them working together toward a common goal.  I can't say enough about the camaraderie it generated, the vestigial racist discomfort it overcame, and the groundwork it laid for people to take positive action in their community well past the election, totally apart from the OFA machine.

    Republican power rests on the ability to generate fear of the unknown, fear of our neighbors, fear of everything beyond our electric fence and fortifications.  When we actually get out and start working together, and discover we have things in common with each other and can work through our differences, the Republican platform disintegrates.

    This is how we plant and cultivate the seeds for true social change.

  •  This is a post unworthy of the laziness of the (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    psnyder, pierre9045

    Democaratic party and therefore excellent.   They think all campaigns must have wheel barrows full of money or there ain't no sense in running a candidate.

  •  NOPE. "We" Can't Do Better..... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    psnyder

    For years here I've pointed out just how weak and feeble the so called democratic party is.

    they are hideous.

    they stood around and did nothing back in 2010... now we're stuck with assclowns like Walker, Snyder and Scott.

    the "democratic party" DOES NOT plan... they have NO strategy.

    FAIL.

    "It is essential that there should be organization of Labor. Capital organizes & therefore Labor must organize" Theodore Roosevelt

    by Superpole on Fri Jan 31, 2014 at 04:50:35 PM PST

    •  Then why the hell are you here? (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      pierre9045

      This blog is about electing Democrats.  Don't waste our time with such a whiny, unproductive post.

      The diarist has come up with concrete suggestions.  Why not consider them?

      It's the Supreme Court, stupid!

      by Radiowalla on Fri Jan 31, 2014 at 05:53:17 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  "This blog is about electing Democrats." (0+ / 0-)

        Really?

        What sort of democrats? the deadbeat kind like we have in office now? THAT is a total waste of time and money.

        you realize these guys are getting us nowhere, right?

        "It is essential that there should be organization of Labor. Capital organizes & therefore Labor must organize" Theodore Roosevelt

        by Superpole on Sat Feb 01, 2014 at 01:21:31 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  I can't imagine... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    rhauenstein

    between the money, the scrutiny, and the ignorance, it takes deep pockets, some serious clout, and a willingness to play well with others. Doesn't seem like many posters here would attempt it. I guess it's not surprising who people get to represent them.

  •  Very good post, good arguments. (4+ / 0-)

    Should be in the Recommended column, instead of the circle jerks around the NJ governor.

    These books may interest you: Whistling Past Dixie (Schaller) and The Emerging Democratic Majority (Judis & Teixeira).

    Democrats are overly confident that circumstances favor their future. Passive politics. Why this hasn't worked thus far is due to the wealth and energy of the their Republican opponents, a situation that will not change any time soon as far as I can see.

  •  Maybe the Democrats aren't interested ... (0+ / 0-)

    in holding the Senate.  This makes that quite obvious.

  •  Yes, also as Rethugs grow increasingly vile, (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    pierre9045

    stupid and sadistic you never know what sort of skeletons might appear at an inconvenient time. Good to have a warm Democratic body on the ballot just in case and not leave it empty or open for fakes placed by the opposition.

    You show a little grit and you lands in jail.

    by cal2010 on Fri Jan 31, 2014 at 06:30:37 PM PST

  •  Here in Oklahoma there really isn't much (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    pierre9045, waterstreet2013

    we can do except switch our registrations to Republican and vote for the least scary of the lot in the primary. And they will all be scary, without a doubt.

    Apologies in advance, rest of the country.

    A little blue dot in a vast sea of red.

    by deha on Fri Jan 31, 2014 at 06:55:00 PM PST

  •  Tea Party challengers especially... (4+ / 0-)

    ...should be considered invitations to the Dems to field a candidate.  We have seen Tea Partiers win nominations then lose what should have been winnable races for the GOP.  In fact, Dems probably have the Tea Party to thank for the fact that they are still the Senate majority.

  •  Updates on AL, KS, & OK (3+ / 0-)

    AL-SEN: The filing deadline was actually moved to February 7, leaving only 1 week to find a candidate.

    KS-SEN: Shawnee County District Attorney Chad Taylor formed an exploratory committee in November.  I cannot find any news on when he will announce whether he is running, but he has a website up now with the message "coming soon."

    OK-SEN: 2 Democrats have expressed interest in running.  Defense attorney Clark Brewster says he will decide in the next couple weeks.  State Senator Constance Johnson, who has sponsored a bill to legalize marijuana in Oklahoma, is also considering running.

    30, pal of Foot Foot, VA-02 (resident), NJ-01 (my old ancestral home)

    by footfootfoot on Fri Jan 31, 2014 at 07:26:11 PM PST

  •  On a personal level... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    waterstreet2013

    ...running for the senate (or any office) is no easy task...let alone as as a sacrificial candidate.

    If you aren't 'to ready to do it yourself, don't chastise others for not doing it.

    So, pierre9045, are you announcing?

    •  I'm not old enough (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      waterstreet2013

      And I do not mean to chastise the candidates themselves for choosing not to run, only the Democratic machinery that is supposed to recruit and support these candidates so running is not as costly for them.

      "In a country well governed, poverty is something to be ashamed of. In a country badly governed, wealth is something to be ashamed of.” -Confucius

      by pierre9045 on Fri Jan 31, 2014 at 08:48:46 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  the 50 state strategy needs to be bought in (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    waterstreet2013

    at the top.

    Rahm Emmanuel hated it and Obama doesn't care about it.

  •  Was just going to mention Dave Domina but (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    pierre9045, foresterbob

    see you have already updated.  He'll get some non-traditional support from people opposed to the pipeline in Nebraska.  Here's some more info:

    Domina campaign

    "Forever is composed of nows." Emily Dickinson

    by Leftovers on Fri Jan 31, 2014 at 07:55:58 PM PST

  •  It sure makes you wish (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    pierre9045, waterstreet2013

    Howard Dean were still Chair of the Democratic Party...

  •  Running against those guys would be a long shot, (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    pierre9045, foresterbob

    but the potential payoff is a six year term.  I once lightly considered running against my very conservative Congressman.  I talked with someone from the state Democratic headquarters about it, to see if they might want to support someone who was more walking against him than running.  My main question was if the incumbent/nominee died just a little time before the election, how soon would the election have to be so he couldn't be replaced on the ballot.  It turned out there was only about a six week window of opportunity for a well timed incumbent death to mean the ballot would have been a choice between me and a corpse.  

    That didn't seem worth the lifting a finger for, especially since the potential payoff would have been a two year term in the House of Representatives.  But for a six year term in the Senate, it seems different.  Democrats should always have someone to vote for in Senate races.  After all, in addition to the incumbent dying, there's always a chance he'll be caught in bed with the proverbial dead girl or live boy.

    We're all pretty strange one way or another; some of us just hide it better. "Normal" is a dryer setting.

    by david78209 on Fri Jan 31, 2014 at 08:16:29 PM PST

  •  We always need challengers (4+ / 0-)

    I am reminded of my dear friend, the late Dr. Joe Sonneman, a tireless worker for the Alaska Democratic Party.  Joe would run against statewide Republican incumbents when no one else except loonie cringe candidates would (which meant that in pre-primary TV debates, he was the only one talking sense on the Democratic panel).  He ran against Don Young (now unfortunately the longest serving member in the House) , Frank Murkowski (Lisa's dad), and Ted Stevens when he had very little chance of winning, because he didn't want them to coast to victory without having to debate the issues on statewide TV.

    Joe was an attorney (Georgetown Law) and economist (U. of Chicago, Claremont Graduate School), and was a thoroughly prepared if somewhat academic and pedantic debater, so his opponents had to prepare for the TV debates.  Joe wasn't able to raise a lot of money (none from national sources) but he was determined to force the incumbents to spend some of their giant warchests.

    And making Repugnicans spend money in races that they otherwise would take for granted is a good thing.  I loved one of Joe's bumper stickers:  "Make him spend it all, Joe!"

    RIP, Joe, a veteran who wanted to be buried in the Sitka National Cemetery but told me that since he grew up in Chicago, he thought about being buried there so he could keep on voting Democratic.  We need more Dems like him.

    "Everybody wants to go to Heaven but nobody wants to die" --- Albert King

    by HarpboyAK on Sat Feb 01, 2014 at 12:04:59 AM PST

  •  Please consider voter registration. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    pierre9045, foresterbob

    You run a candidate, no matter what, so you can use the campaign to get your voters registered.

    Otherwise you've got no Democratic Party to go out and raise Hell. You got nothing.

    And if you don't run, a lot of them don't register.

    It always matters.

    "I hesitate to agree with Ted Nugent...."

    by waterstreet2013 on Sat Feb 01, 2014 at 06:14:45 AM PST

  •  I agree to a point (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    pierre9045, foresterbob

    but how do you get someone to run, factoring in cost, time away from family, etc., by telling them that if they start this now, eventually, the message will eventually get through for someone else to win, but probably not you?

    •  Indeed, as things stand, it takes very selfless (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      foresterbob

      people, to go through all that when you know that it's a longshot. Which is why we need some better systems, publicly financed campaigns, or more supportive Democratic Party groups, who will step in and mitigate some of the personal costs. After all, the Democratic Party needs people like this to build their grassroots organizations that allow it to succeed, not the flashy candidates that gladhand Wall Street.

      "In a country well governed, poverty is something to be ashamed of. In a country badly governed, wealth is something to be ashamed of.” -Confucius

      by pierre9045 on Sat Feb 01, 2014 at 07:59:19 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  So in these uncontested races, where's ... (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    pierre9045, foresterbob, GwenM

    ... the pushback to call the Republican Senator to account? To educate young voters. To put politics, state and local as well as national, in a context. Tell Obamacare success stories.

    Go ahead, make the Far Right think tanks blast their messages, the Far Right contributors spend some more money. We benefit from GOP overkill elsewhere, from the opportunity to create unforced errors. Why not call them to account, make them come out an play?

    It would seem to me that it wouldn't take much to organize a media/internet centered campaign. Local TV would have to cover a debate or two or three, and the Democrat need not be a slave to the Republican Senator's favorite talking points. One that at least forced the other guy to explain his or her votes on the floor! One that might get people talking.

    No wonder the Far Right is cocky.

    2014 is HERE. Build up the Senate. Win back the House : 17 seats. Plus!

    by TRPChicago on Sat Feb 01, 2014 at 07:26:49 AM PST

  •  Roberts in Kansas (0+ / 0-)

    Our governor, Brownback, is so despised in this keep red state that he's in serious danger of losing to Democrat Paul Davis. The groundswell against Brownback can only help a Democratic challenger to Pat Roberts.

  •  by concerted action, can we convince (0+ / 0-)

    national media (MSNBC) to take on some of these states on a rotating basis to bring national attention, money and support to local Dems?

    How long, after all, can they ride the Christi bus into the drink?

    Let's see if we can get Rachel et al. to look at some of the really tough states in more detail to support nascent Democratic groups and candidates.

    "There's nothing serious about a plan that claims to reduce the deficit by spending a trillion dollars on tax cuts for millionaires and billionaires." - President Obama

    by fhcec on Sat Feb 01, 2014 at 08:45:37 PM PST

    •  I don't know how likely that is (0+ / 0-)

      Mainstream media, just like the political establishment, prefer to focus on the battleground states, act like the deep-blue and deep-red do not effectively exist.

      Given the current climate, the most use mainstream media is to these areas is when the Tea Partiers/kooks say or do something really scandalous, which draws national attention to the area for awhile.

      What these Dems need-the ones heavily besieged in deep red territory-is enough support that they can put up solid candidates for every election. If we can figure out how to provide this bare minimum automatically, I think we will finally start to see some of these areas at least go purple.

      "In a country well governed, poverty is something to be ashamed of. In a country badly governed, wealth is something to be ashamed of.” -Confucius

      by pierre9045 on Sat Feb 01, 2014 at 09:06:00 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  If democrats don't compete, they can't win. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    pierre9045

    That was Howard Dean's message in his 50 State Strategy..and it's still a good one.  

  •  Jeff Sessions (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    pierre9045

    Although every time Sessions opens his mouth what I hear is: "What a prick am I.",  there's hardly any Democrats to put up against him.  Guess I'll be writing-in  "Mickey Mouse" once again.

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