White House paints Handel win as Trump triumph

26 June, 2017, 00:42 | Author: Essie Rivera

Everybody uses special elections to ratify whatever they thought before a single vote was counted. "Democrats Depressed", the network's homepage blared.

In the age of Trump, big ideas are over-rated, but it seems clear that it takes more to win than simply being anti-Trump.

So a party sorely demoralized in November is demoralized yet again - and left to wonder if the intense anti-Trump passion visible in protests, marches, money and new volunteers isn't just some theatrical, symbolic, abstract thing.

As they have in the past, Republicans have mocked Pelosi's leadership.

The House seat that their sights were on had been safely in Republican hands for almost four decades. But, despite their public celebrations, Republican strategists are surely unsettled by the result.

The election was held to fill the seat vacated by Mr Tom Price after he was appointed secretary of the US Department of Health and Human Services.

Instead, Republicans cited Handel's win as a rebuke to Democratic "obstruction".

Yet Democrats have consistently fallen short of their own expectations since.

In the Ossoff race, even though the 30-year-old documentary filmmaker and former congressional staffer ended up running a more centrist and not Trump-centric campaign, Republicans were able to zero in on the more than $23 million in donations Ossoff raised, largely from liberal enclaves like California and NY, and make an easy connection to Pelosi. California Congresswoman Karen Bass says while the Pelosi attack ads might have worked in the traditionally red 6th District of Georgia.

-About 75 percent of the state House races in Arkansas and SC lacked either a Democratic or Republican candidate.

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"Ossoff's problem is that he didn't win the first round", Brian Fallon, senior adviser to Priorities USA, a Democratic super PAC, said in an interview. Moreover, the race garnered the attention of the entire nation, including the likes of President Donald Trump.

A document issued by Ben Lujan, chair of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, sought to put the best possible face on the four defeats in four elections, noting the sizeable swing to the Democrats in percentage terms, although the actual number of people voting for the Democrats plunged in three of the four districts.

It was enough to help Handel raise more than $5 million, not a paltry sum in a congressional race, but only about a fifth of Ossoff's fundraising haul. In light of those massive disadvantages, Parnell's narrow loss should be the story of the night.

What's more, Democrats are now 0-4 in their attempt to snatch a seat in special elections held in GOP districts since Trump took the oath of office. Allies and grassroots supporters were sent suggested tweets Thursday that urged Democrats not to ditch Pelosi in the middle of a high-stakes legislative battle over the future of health care reform. Democrats were not supposed to have a chance in any.

Pelosi insists Democrats still have a shot at winning the majority in next year's midterm elections, saying, "The House remains in play now". Since 2002, Pelosi has hauled in $568 million for House Democratic campaigns - including $141 million during the 2016 campaign cycle. But more realistic, if still ambitious, scenarios could yet turn the House blue.

Even though Trump's approval ratings are historically low, Republicans have yet to achieve retaking any previously Republican held seats.

In a letter to her colleagues on Wednesday about the special elections, Pelosi maintained an upbeat tone.

A whole lot can happen between now and next November. Former president Barack Obama struggled with the same during his 2012 reelection.

When voters cast ballots for state representatives last fall, millions of Americans essentially had no choice: In 42 percent of all such elections, candidates faced no major party opponents. "They need a much more focused economic pitch".

Adam Gerchick is a pollster and researcher with PSB, a global market research consultancy.

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