Saturday, April 28, 2018

The leftward shift in AZ CD8 - What it is ain’t exactly clear

In the recent Arizona CD 8 special election, the Voucher Vulture Queen Debbie Lesko beat Democratic new-comer Hiral Tipirneni by only 4.8%. That’s in a solid Republican district in which Obama lost to Romney 25% and Clinton lost to Trump by 21%.

Writing in Blog for Arizona, AZ Blue Meanie says ‘There’s something happening here …’. We know that. The interesting aspect of the AZ race, as well as other Democratic gains around the country, is the rest of the lyric (from For What It’s Worth, by Buffalo Springfield): "What it is ain’t exactly clear.”

Inferring cause and effect in social science research is tricky. There are lots of variables at play in a social phenomenon like an election. As in any scientific experiment, what you have to do to conclude causality is to eliminate all other possible causes of the phenomenon. All? That’s a tall order. But we can settle for eliminating most of the alternative possibilities thus leaving us to conclude a probable cause. And that’s what the Blue Meanie’s sources have done. Here’s a run-down.

(1) Republican and Democratic voters turned out at about the same rate …
(2) … which suggests that voter enthusiasm in the two groups was about the same.
(3) Candidate quality (regardless of what Scriber thinks of Lesko) was arguably the same for both candidates. From one of the sources cited by AZBlueMeanie, a Washington Monthly article: "… Republicans had a good candidate in Lesko. She had no major scandals and raised plenty of money. One of the excuses in previous elections that Republicans lost like Alabama US Senate (with Republican Roy Moore) and Pennsylvania 18 (with Republican Rick Saccone) was that the Republican was either scandal plagued or didn’t know how to raise funds. Lesko wasn’t either of those, and there was still a significant shift to the left.

So the conclusion, after ruling out other possibilities, is that “A lot of registered Republicans are showing up and voting for the Democratic candidate.” That may account for the average 17 point shift leftward nation-wide in the votes cast in the elections since 2016.

The Blue Meanie concludes:

Clearly there were substantial Republican cross-over votes for the Democrat Hiral Tipirneni. The Tipirneni campaign, the Arizona Democratic Party, the DCC and its pollsters need to survey Republican voters in CD 8 to find out why they crossed over to vote for Tipirneni. It has to be something more than the fact that she is an attractive and well qualified serious candidate who offered voters in CD 8 a clear alternative to the GOP candidate for the first time in many years.

Whatever that “something’ is, Democrats need to learn what it is, and fast.

Tipirneni’s surprising and exceptional performance with a grassroots campaign funded by small donors, without the financial support of the DCCC and other Democratic aligned outside groups, should now attract their financial support for the November general election. Tipirneni is within less than 5 points of Debbie Lesko now. This is a doable margin to overcome with a solid ground game infrastructure and a well-financed ad campaign, something no Democratic candidate has enjoyed in this heavily Republican district in decades.

In CD8, and likely in other districts as well, we are at a tipping point, a Tip-irneni point so to say. We are now 50 years from the 1968 election when the Buffalo Springfield song was popular. It’s time, finally, to bend the arc of history. Or, as Martin Luther King put it: “the arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.”

Now is the time for the DCCC and other Democratic organizations to weigh with both financial feet to make AZBlueMeanie’s vision a reality:

This special election should sound a warning alarm to other Republicans in Arizona congressional, statewide and legislative races. Your decades-long stranglehold over this state may finally be coming to an end.

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