There has been some infighting among Democrats this week about James Thompson’s loss to Ron Estes in a congressional special election in Kansas this week. The DNC’s strategy was apparently to play it cool — don’t promote the candidate. Don’t put any money into the race. Don’t fire up the Get Out the Vote operation. Their belief was that if they didn’t draw any attention to the race that the Republicans might sleep on Voting Day and Thompson would sneak in with a victory on the strength of anti-Trump sentiment.
It didn’t work. James Thompson lost by 7 points, and now many in the party are second guessing the DNC’s strategy. I’m honestly not sure it would have made much of a difference. Thompson might have performed better, but this is a district where Donald Trump won by over 30 points. The fact that it was as close as it was, however, is incredibly heartening.
How heartening? Check out Nate Silver’s reply to Donald Trump’s tweet.
Great win in Kansas last night for Ron Estes, easily winning the Congressional race against the Dems, who spent heavily & predicted victory!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 12, 2017
Estes underperformed Trump's margin by 20.3 points. If every district behaved like that, Dems would gain 122 (!) House seats next November. https://t.co/4H9AjAhF84— Nate Silver (@NateSilver538) April 12, 2017
They'd also win Senate races next year in Texas, Utah and Mississippi (plus Arizona and Nevada).— Nate Silver (@NateSilver538) April 12, 2017
The Dems would pick up 122 seats! Obviously, that’s not going to happen, but the Dems only need to pick up 24 seats, so if they only pick up only one-fifth of Silver’s predicted number, Nancy Pelosi becomes Speaker of the House again.
And what if — as he is threatening to do — Donald Trump decides to tank Obamacare? Or withholds payments to insurance companies? That’s not going to work.
Sixty one percent would put the blame on Trump and the Republican party, and that’s the feeling even before Trump follows through on any such threat. We’ve also still got a year and a half for Republicans to continue to sour on Trump, and weeks like this — in which Trump flip flops, Sean Spicer makes termination-worthy gaffes, and Stephen Bannon comes under fire, thus pissing off Trump’s base — isn’t going to help matters. If I were a Republican, I’d be running like hell away from the party leader.