Don’t know about you but my email has been flooded with fund-raising pitches from political candidates around the nation. For news purposes I dip into Republican come-ons as well as Democrats but the Democrats are clearly more agitated.
Almost every email refers to the enormous dark money being raised by Republican opponents. A little research determined it is true.
|Is Claire McCaskill top GOP target?|
Respected journalists concede that McCaskill is the top target of dark money. Her newest pitch accurately quotes them: “The Washington Post has reported that our seat is the most likely to flip in 2018, and Roll Call called me the most vulnerable Senate Democrat in 2018,” which is why her Blue Missouri campaign has gone nationwide.
Brown in Ohio might argue it is him, if this were a battle of which Democrat was the most hated by dark money. Brown, a popular progressive and hard worker you would think would be above attack, nevertheless comes from a state where Trump had a strong showing, so the GOP is going after him hard.
|Baldwin is also fighting off dark money.|
Each is seeking the most potent secret financing support not just within the state but outside it. Richard Uihlein (who spent $23 million on conservative candidates in 2016) and billionaire Diane Hendricks (who has signed on to Vukmir’s campaign) provide just two of the wealthy names revealed to be using front groups pledged to generic attack ads. They’ll get more specific depending on who wins the primary.
Part of the sense of desperation is that every email says money is needed this week or by end of the week. But that’s because campaigns are trying to reach reporting deadlines so they can look successful compared to the other side. My recommendation will not be liked by the campaigns – give when you can what you can and forget the deadline pleas.
We’ve barely tapped the GOP hit parade. Sen. Bill Nelson of Florida has joined the email scamper, pointing out that Trump recruited Florida Gov. Rick Scott to join a violently expensive effort to defeat him despite solid acceptance since 2001.
Even Massachusetts’ popular Elizabeth Warren is under fierce money attack, but typical of her support for underdog candidates elsewhere, she has announced she is splitting national donations with Doug Jones, the Democrat running against heavy odds in the growingly strange state of Alabama.
|Alabama's Doug Jones|
It is a crazy ugly history that helps explain why twice defrocked state supreme court justice Roy Moore is now on the GOP ticket for the senate against Jones, who was given a boost by a Fox News poll showing the race tied.
As good as that might make Democrats feel, deeper surveys suggest Jones is still 10 points behind in a deep red (for embarrassment?) state, but that’s still in striking distance because of the latest well researched scandal to descend on Moore, who has had almost a deity status in Alabama. But minigods are hard to tarnish.
Moore’s self-publicized views have outraged both sides of the aisle, which may explain how quick Republicans were to believe the child molestation report about him and urge him to resign.
But he won’t, though the details of women chasing and juvenile prowling expose a hypocrisy that has become familiar to observers of evangelical pastors and politicians. But also familiar is how the evangelical faithful refuse to believe it. Some in Alabama think Moore may do better because of the scandal while others hope the state will take this chance to grow up. Electing Jones would be a great sign.
Sometimes, though, the candidates have a natural charisma that draws voters to them, and that is Beto O’Rourke’s best longshot against, of all people, Sen. Ted Cruz.
|Beto O'Rourke, a longshot to knock off Cruz|
But quietly O’Rourke is actually making inroads early, drawing national mom and pop support.
Despite his youthful appearance, O’Rourke is a seasoned campaigner, having won his House seat in the El Paso area three times with big majorities. His “against the grain” grassroots campaign challenges Cruz not only on ideological fronts but as the spearhead of a progressive youth movement that is raising alarm among Republicans in Texas. Political insiders think he has a narrow chance by picking off moderate Republicans against the much disliked Cruz.
The larger question may be how aroused the voters are. Will they be swayed by who has the most money or who waves the flag the hardest? That worked in the past, as did misleading opposition research or insinuations. The vast money being thrown against Senate Democrats is a bet that the techniques of the past will always work because we are a nation of sheep.
To which I say, Baaa.