Fallon’s “Panera theory” suggests Democrats do not have a plan

Democratic strategist and former Clinton press secretary Brian Fallon

Yesterday, Democratic strategist and senior advisor to the Priorities USA Super PAC opined on Twitter that “the path to retaking the House…runs through the Panera Breads of America.” He meant that Democrats should focus on affluent suburban districts that went for Romney in 2012 but showed substantial movement toward Clinton in 2016. The former press secretary for the Clinton campaign cited Georgia’s sixth-district special election, where Democrat Jon Ossoff will face a runoff in June but still got more votes than both of his Republican opponents last night. It’s important to note that Ossoff is talking about retaking the House, not winning the 2020 presidential election. In his interview with Jeff Stein of Vox, he acknowledges that Democrats should try to appeal to working-class voters then. But he seems convinced that his party should focus on moderate Republicans in 2018. Quote:

There’s no doubt in where you start in forming the target list — it will be those 23 districts that switched from [Mitt] Romney to Clinton that look a lot, demographically, like the one in Georgia tonight.

This strategy strongly resembles the one that Hillary Clinton pursued in the 2016 election, which she did not win. That rumbling sound you hear is Sanders Democrats across the country grinding their teeth. But as the interview progresses, Fallon explains that his remark only described one strategy among many—one he qualifies to the point of utter meaninglessness. It kind of sounds like he has no plan. Fallon’s overall message seems to be that the Democrats should keep doing the same thing they did last year, but win.

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Super-important Ohio contains super-vulnerable voting machines

A tech savvy voter determines the next President of the United States.

If Nate Silver is to be believed—and if he is not, pretty much all is lost—FiveThirtyEight blog is running 40,000 election simulations per day. In 50% of those simulations, the candidate who wins Ohio wins the presidency. Silver makes a compelling case that Romney needs Ohio to complete his (editorial opinion alert) baffling comeback; he can get to the White House by other routes, but each is more tortuous than the last. One major provider of electronic voting machines to Ohio is Hart Intercivic. One major investor in Hart Intercivic is HIG Capital, seven of whose directors are former employees of Bain & Co. Four of HIG’s directors are Romney bundlers, and the company has contributed over $300,000 to the Romney campaign.

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People think Romney won, press tells people

Mitt Romney touches a black person.

I watched last night’s debates on PBS, so it’s possible my perception was warped by the atmosphere of measured consideration. I had also just come from yoga and spent the first 20 minutes seeing each candidate as a big turkey leg, but other than that my memory is clear: Barack Obama looked composed if a little sluggish, and Mitt Romney was frantic. He talked over moderator Jim Lehrer and did that breathy puff-laugh he does when he can’t believe people are still asking him questions. Then I watched the post-debate commentary and learned that Romney actually won.

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Killin’ it!

Michelle Obama’s speech was almost exactly twice as good as Mitt Romney’s, at least according to Twitter. It’s possible that points to a difference in the media habits of people who watch the DNC and the RNC, respectively, but I’m going to say it’s because she was twice as good. Lots of people agree with me, even if Charles Krauthammer issued a formal bah, humbug. “And the brilliance of it is this,” he said: “It drained Obama of any, either, ideological motivation, or any having to do with self-interest or ambition, which I think is sort of a more plausible explanation.” You saw through it, Krauthammer: the president is ambitious.

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Montana legislature just a damn church social now

I don’t know if you heard about this, but there there was kind of a conservative resurgence in the last election. Normally, Montana is resistant to such broad national trends—see also: real estate collapse, Trader Joe’s, prohibition against sweatpants in public—and in this case, the notion of the median political position moving to the right seemed almost statistically impossible. Those of us living in Missoula tend to forget, but Montana is one of the redder states in the union, as a quick trip down (and, abruptly, further down) any public roadway will indicate. Yet, like Frankenstein slowing down as he gets older, the Montana legislature has managed to become even more conservative. The other week, we talked about their plan to adopt the most restrictive voter registration requirements in the country. On Friday, they’ll vote on repealing the so-called Missoula Ordinance, which prohibits discrimination in housing and public accommodations on the basis of sexual orientation, and on adopting a law that would ban similar nondiscrimination ordinances across the state. Somewhere in that busy agenda of protecting freedom by outlawing various actions, they’ve also found time for House Bill 438, a law that would require couples to complete ten hours of marriage counseling before they can get divorced.

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