Category Archives: Framing Memos

Reframing the House Race: Polls created unreasonable expectations. Democrats are doing just fine.

In the Blue Wave of 2018, Democrats won seats well into Red America. They should have been expecting to lose a few, but with the polling showing pick ups they weren’t paying attention to the reality on the ground. I was in Arizona in 2018 when Democrats picked up the 2nd CD. The 6th CD was a very long shot at best.

If we look at the accumulated gains since 2016, we see a different story. Democrats have had a good run.

UPDATE: Dems will hold the US House.
Dems are at 220 seats in the House: net +26 over 2016.
If Dems lose all 11 remaining TBD seats,
they would still hold 25 of the 40 seats they gained in 2016.
If Dems win IL-14, NY-19 and IA-02 (likely D) they’ll be net +28 over 2016.
I’m calling that a pretty good outcome.

Since 2016, 50 Congressional seats changed hands at least once:

DEMs flipped 26
REPs flipped 3
DEMs gained +23 seats
14 races are still TBD

7 seats changed but changed back:

DEMs won 7 seats in 2018 that REPs retook in 2020 (RDR)


29 seats changed hands:

REPs flip 3:
2 picked up by REPs in 2018 and held in 2020 (DRR)
1 picked up by REPs in 2020 (DDR)

DEMs flip 26 seats:
25 seats won in the 2018 blue wave and held in 2020 (RDD)
1 seat picked up in 2020 (RRD)


14 seats are still TBD:

6 lean D:
6 flip opportunities for Ds (RDD or RRD)

8 toss up:
7 flip opportunities for Ds (RDD or RRD)
1 flip opportunity for Rs (DDR)

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Reframing the U.S. House Race: Polls created unreasonable expectations. Democrats are doing just fine. If we look at the accumulated gains since 2016, we see a different story: Democrats had a net gain of 23 seats with 13 pick up opportunities still TBD.

How to Fight the Fraud Frame and Re-legitimize our Elections

Framing Memo #1: Legitimate Elections

Go to Talking Points

The rights of voters are being attacked on every front. Trump and friends’ favorite tactic is pre-emptive projection: they accuse us of what they are about to do, so when we accuse them, it sounds like yet another “he said/she said” partisan fight.

Republicans: “They are trying to steal the election through mass voter fraud. We are doing everything we can to fight voter fraud.”

Democrats: “They are trying to steal the election through mass voter suppression. We are doing everything we can to fight voter suppression.”

Voters: “Screw you guys! I’m going home.”

Purveyors of disinformation say that if you can’t win on the merits, flood the zone. Chaos is the autocrat’s best friend. With literally hundreds of voter suppression cases working their way through the courts, how do we break through the crazy?

We win the debate by putting it all in a larger context: by giving the public a set of criteria they can use to judge right and wrong for themselves, PHILOSOPHICAL PRINCIPLES that are morally unassailable and that can be applied consistently across this entire chaotic collection of offenses. Doing this will also give us the consistent and clear message that so often eludes us.

Our Principles:

  • We believe in democracy.
  • All authority comes from the consent of the governed.
  • To be legitimate, elections have to express the will of the people.
  • The right to vote is what makes us free.
  • Our right to vote shouldn’t have to be spelled out in the constitution. This is a democracy. The right to vote should be self-evident and inalienable.
  • Everyone must be able to exercise their right to vote by casting their vote.
  • Every vote must be counted, no matter how long it takes.

That is the standard by which everyone should judge right and wrong when it comes to our elections. Every individual case can be tied back to this theme.

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