Keep Calm & Trickle Up

Dear All,

I just returned from what was meant to be a respite from Trump Derangement Syndrome. 

But, in the wake of the whistleblower bombshell, even the 5-hour time difference between London and Litchfield County couldn't derail my obsession with the kickoff of the impeachment inquiry. Besides, every Brexit-beleaguered Brit I met only wanted to talk about American politics. “Will you finally get him this time?” they asked plaintively. 

Early signs are heartening. Trump’s situation is distinct in that public support for his impeachment is higher than it was for Richard Nixon and Bill Clinton when the House started impeachment inquiries against them. With the Ukraine scandal still unfolding and a second whistleblower — this one a member of the Intel community with first-hand info that buttresses some of the allegations outlined in the original complaint — waiting in the wings, support is likely to intensify. (Flashing back, it helps to remember that a majority of the public didn’t support impeaching Nixon until just weeks before he resigned.)

Meanwhile, last week Trump alternately behaved like a cornered rat and a mad king, which prompted the New Yorker’s Susan Glasser to ask “Did Donald Trump Just Self-Impeach?”

As painful as it is to watch an American president outsource the integrity of our democracy, countless organizations are working to counteract and mitigate the damage by rebuilding the infrastructure of the Democratic Party.

Here’s what you can do to help:

*Get involved with “Contest Every Race an organization dedicated to ending GOP dominance in rural America by making sure that no Republican runs for office without a fight. According to the website, there are 520,000 elected offices across America and Democrats aren’t competing in up to 75% of them. When Dems aren’t on the ballot, turnout tanks and congressional and statewide candidates get crushed — even when there are plenty of registered Democrats. The bottom line? When we stop the GOP from running up the score in rural areas, we’ll start winning back state houses, governors’ mansions and Congress.

*Support your local Democratic Town Committee — or whatever the equivalent entity is in your area. Lawn signs are starting to pop up all over town — a harbinger that local elections are only a month away. Reach out to your town committee — chip in some money (to help buy the lawn signs,) volunteer to GOTV by door knocking, making phone calls, post carding or driving voters to the polls. Local races may not be sexy but winning them is integral to the trickle up victory strategy. 

Two years ago, Washington CT could have been the poster town for “Contest Every Race.” Democrats didn’t even bother to field candidates for many of the elective offices — as a result, Republicans ruled. After canvassing for donations to support the Democratic Town Committee, we recruited candidates then followed up with a robust GOTV effort and won many of the races. Next month we’re hoping to build on that base.

*Defend our blue firewall in the House (then build on it.) First, read this WaPo piece, “Running up the score in House races could help Democrats deliver the White House.” Third Way, a center left think tank analyzed all 235 districts held by House Democrats to identify which seats are key to victories that will enable Democrats to retain the House majority as well as win back the Senate and the presidency. 

As reporter Paul Kane notes, "Some obviously important Democratic seats are even more critical when looking up and down the ballot in their respective states. These are so-called “five point races”: freshman Democrats who narrowly won a GOP-held seat in 2018, running for reelection in districts that Trump won two years before, whose states will also be battlegrounds in the presidential and Senate contests.

There are eight “five-point” Democrats: Reps. Abby Finkenauer (Iowa), Cindy Axne (Iowa), Angie Craig (Minn.), Jared Golden (Maine), Elaine Luria (Va.), Elissa Slotkin (Mich.), Abigail Spanberger (Va.), and Haley Stevens (Mich.) All of them had already faced tough re-elections. But those who came out recently in favor of the impeachment inquiry via a WaPo editorial — Luria, Slotkin and Spanberger — are even more endangered now. 

As documented in today’s WaPo piece, Congresswoman Slotkin is already facing substantial blowback for her decision. She’s enraged constituents and now draws protestors to her town halls. In the six hours following her announcement to support the impeachment inquiry, the RNC raised $350K for her eventual opponent. 

But, as Slotkin says simply, “Sometimes there are some moments in life that are beyond politics, and I felt that this moment was that.”

As Nancy Pelosi noted recently, she’s hoping to rally as much financial support for vulnerable House members before the end of this year. To that end, I’ll be compiling a list of the most endangered House members in early November. (A list of Senate candidates/members will follow.)

Until then, I’m jammed with my day job as moderator of our topical town hall series “Conversations on the Green.” I’ll be prepping for our Saturday, October 26th event with Seth Meyers (tickets here) as well as our sold out “Working Without a Net: On Air in the Age of Trump” program with MSNBC’s Stephanie Ruhle and CNN’s Jim Acosta the very next day on Sunday, October 27th. 

If you missed last month’s compelling “Democracy in Danger" panel — “On Tyranny” author and Yale historian Timothy Snyder, Washington Post columnist Max Boot and MSNBC National Security Analyst Malcolm Nance — you can watch the show which aired on CPTV here or listen to the podcast here.



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