When Doug Applegate came for his Blue America interview, he brought his campaign manager, Robert Dempsey, the guy who ran Bernie's very successful Minnesota campaign– where Bernie beat Hillary 118,135 (61.6%) to 73,510 (38.4%), winning every single congressional district in the state. Yesterday, after Trump tweeted out an explicit endorsement of Darrell Issa– something most congressional campaigns have avoided, Dempsey told the media that “Issa Issa once again shows why he's unfit to represent this district in Congress. When he's not busy lining his own pockets, he's trying to score political brownie points with one of the least qualified candidates for president in the history of the United States. I guess Issa couldn't help himself in showing the voters of this district that he really is a mini-Trump who will always put party before country.”
Issa finds himself suddenly in danger of defeat, a prognosis worsened by his decision to embrace Donald J. Trump.
“It’s a mystifyingly bad campaign that Issa’s run,” said David Wasserman, an editor of the nonpartisan Cook Political Report. “And he is in grave danger.”
Democrats, who cannot contain their glee at the prospect of his defeat, are trying to make the case that Mr. Issa is not alone. “If Darrell Issa, a long-term member who is well known in his district and outside his district, who is the richest member of Congress, is on the cusp of losing,” said Representative Xavier Becerra of California, a member of House Democratic leadership, “then it’s not just Darrell Issa who’s going down.”
The most current polling shows Applegate beating Issa As of yesterday by 4 points, 46-42%– in a district that hasn't gone Democratic in a presidential year since FDR's second term. As of last week's FEC reporting deadline Issa had already spent $3,930,927 to Applegate's $975,049. Applegate has gotten help from the DCCC ($1,655,181) and from Pelosi's House Majority PAC ($914,046) and neither the NRCC nor Ryan's House Leadership PAC have put any money into the race at all. A Ryan staffer told me that Issa's “the richest guy in Congress and all he put it is $27,000. If he doesn't want to pony up neither do we… Screw him and let him pay for his own ads. Out you're way we're trying to save Jeff Denham who looks like he's in worse trouble than Issa is… He should of thought about what would happen in a district like his before he endorsed Trump. He's out of touch.”
Yesterday's L.A. Times painted a similarly dismal picture for Issa, predicting that Orange County is turning Blue. In 2012 CA-49's electorate included just over 66,000 voters in Orange County and about 170,000 in San Diego County. Issa won the Orange County part of the district with 66% and the San Diego part with 56%. Right now Hillary is leading in San Diego County by 14 points and in Orange County by less than a point. (Obama won San Diego County 52-46% and Romney won Orange County 53-45%.) And they held Issa up as an example of how the increasingly extreme GOP is losing it's once-solid grip on the suburbs across the country.
[T]he American political map has been upended by Donald Trump’s campaign: He has sped up a decade-long shift in which the GOP has gathered strength in white, blue-collar regions that once routinely elected Democrats, but traditional Republican suburbs increasingly have turned blue.
From Chester County outside Philadelphia to Gwinnett County east of Atlanta and on to Fort Bend County near Houston and Tarrant County west of Dallas, big, affluent suburban regions seem likely to shift significantly toward Hillary Clinton this year, according to analysts who track county-level voting trends.
That’s an immediate hurdle for the GOP, which has long counted on suburban strength to offset Democratic votes in the cities. It could be an even bigger problem in the longer term because those suburbs are among the nation’s most economically dynamic, growing regions.
The shift reflects changing demographics: As with Orange County, many of the nation’s suburbs have become racially and ethnically diverse, shedding their status as all-white enclaves.
It has been accelerated by Trump’s weakness among college-educated, white voters. That group has sided with the Republican in every presidential election since reliable polling began in the U.S. in the 1940s, but this year it has consistently shown a Democratic majority in polls.
Because of the demographic changes, “the question is not whether or not a Democrat is going to win in Orange County, it’s just a question of when,” said Jon Fleischman, an influential conservative blogger who lives in Anaheim Hills.
“If Donald Trump were not at the top of the ticket, I don’t think it would be this year,” he added. “Because he is, it may very well be the case.”
…As the region has grown more diverse, GOP margins have narrowed. The last time a Democrat took Orange County was 1936, when Franklin Delano Roosevelt won by nearly 12 percentage points. In 1980 and 1984, Ronald Reagan won by 50 points. But in 2008, President Obama came close to flipping the county, losing by 2.5 points to Sen. John McCain.
Trump’s disparaging rhetoric about Mexicans and Muslims, his breaks with past Republican stands on trade and the overall tone of his campaign seem likely to create the final tipping point this month.
“He’s a bad fit for upscale suburbs,” said Stu Rothenberg, a veteran nonpartisan political analyst. “They expect a certain style from their presidential nominee, a certain intellect and a kind of measure in serious discussion of policy.”
The GOP’s problem is most acute among college-educated white women.
“Trump is a bully and a misogynist and incompetent,” said Anna Hornbostel of Mission Viejo.
The 36-year-old Republican, who holds a master’s in education and is studying for a second one in marriage and family therapy, is no fan of Clinton. “She’s a career politician, and I think she embodies everything that’s wrong with the system,” she said.
But Trump has her considering a Democrat for the first time in her life. His language about women appalls her, she said, adding that her three brothers would never use such words and that she would never want her 10 nephews to hear them.
“I’ll probably end up voting for Hillary– closing my eyes and plugging my nose– because I trust her ability as a politician to not … get us into a nuclear war,” she said.
Local Democrats hope Clinton’s coattails, along with an expected drop in Republican turnout, will help them tip congressional, legislative and local races as well.
Other suburban district Republicans who, like Issa, the DCCC never imagined they could successfully target but who are in trouble going into the last week before the election, largely because of Trump, include Patrick Meehan (PA-07– Delaware, Montgomery, Chester, Berks counties), Peter King (NY-02– Nassau and Suffolk counties) and the odious Lamar Smith (TX-21– Travis, Bexar, Comal and Hays counties). Unfortunately, the DCCC has refused to lend a hand to the progressive opponents of these Republicans, respectively Mary Ellen Balchunis, DuWayne Gregory and Tom Wakely and is spending no money on any of their races, although these grassroots progressives are likely to outperform some of the wretched Blue Dogs and New Dems the DCCC and Pelosi are wasting tens of millions of dollars on. If you can, please… Balchunis, Gregory and Wakely– and Applegate:
“When fascism comes to America, it will be wrapped in the flag and carrying the cross.” — Sinclair Lewis