The Other McCain

"One should either write ruthlessly what one believes to be the truth, or else shut up." — Arthur Koestler

How to Lose a Special Election

Posted on | February 14, 2024 | Comments Off on How to Lose a Special Election

What is the first thing you notice about that picture? It shows last week’s televised debate for the special election in New York’s 3rd Congressional District — a seat vacated because fraudulent “Republican” Rep. George Santos was kicked out of Congress. Don’t even get me started on how Santos got elected up there, but let me instead repeat the question: What do you notice about that picture of last week’s debate?

Well, it’s a black woman debating a white man. Don’t worry, I won’t accuse you of racism — “RAAAAACISM!” — for noticing this, because guess what? I think voters in the 3rd District noticed it, too.

You may not realize it, but the black woman in that picture was the Republican candidate, and the old white guy — Tom Suozzi — is the Democrat, who just got himself elected to Congress:

Former Rep. Tom Suozzi (D-NY) has won the special election for New York’s Third Congressional District in a blow to House Republicans’ already thin majority.
Suozzi . . . beat out Republican Mazi Melesa Pilip, a member of the Nassau County legislature who served as a paratrooper in the Israeli Defense Forces. . . .
Suozzi will fill the seat that was vacated when embattled former Rep. George Santos (R-NY) was expelled from Congress in December. Once Suozzi is sworn in, Republicans will only have a six-seat advantage over Democrats, at 219 seats to 213, amid key spending battles with the Democrat-controlled Senate and the Biden administration.

The New York Republican Party is decadent and depraved. As in most Democrat-controlled “blue” states, the GOP exists in New York merely as a local organization in rural areas. Because there is a near-zero chance that any Republican could win a statewide race, no one in New York with political ambition would choose to be a Republican. And, in case you haven’t figured this out yet, politicians are motivated mainly by ego and ambition, rather than by devotion to some abstract “principle.”

This is a factor that most voters don’t understand. The difference between us (i.e., regular people) and them (aspiring politicians and other members of the political class) is that for them, politics is not really about ideas or issues or policies. No, for them, it’s about getting paid. It’s a job, a career, a way to pay their bills, and they will say or do whatever is necessary to win elections, without regard to whatever “principles” they may claim to cherish. One of the reason the journalism business has gone into the toilet is because the field started attracting “Democratic operatives with bylines,” political activists who consider it their duty to promote whatever line of propaganda will most benefit the Democratic Party. That’s their job, see? It’s what they get paid to do, and otherwise they are unemployable, because they have no other skill.

Speaking of CNN — do I know how to write a transition, or what? — this morning the Last-Place Cable News Network was enthusiastically pumping up the Democrat’s victory in this special election as signifying some kind of Important National Trend favorable to Joe Biden’s reelection chances. It was so bad, I just turned the TV off for a couple of hours, rather than subject myself to this insultingly bad interpretation of why Tom Suozzi won. How about money?

Democrats vastly outspent Republicans, putting in $13.8 million to the GOP’s $8.1 million.
House Majority PAC, House Democrats’ main outside group, contributed the most: $6 million. Its Republican counterpart, the Congressional Leadership Fund, spent $4.3 million. Suozzi and the DCCC each spent around $3.9 million, and had a $94,000 coordinated buy. Meanwhile, the NRCC placed around $1 million and Pilip spent a little over $300,000; the committee and Pilip also spent $1.4 million on coordinated buys. Secure New York State PAC, a Republican group, put close to $1.1 million into the airwaves.

How about the district’s voting history? Democrats control the legislature in New York and this district was redrawn after the 2020 Census, so you can’t judge its party alignment based on previous results, but Tom Suozzi represented part of the current district for three terms (elected in 2016, 2018 and 2020) before leaving Congress to make a failed gubernatorial bid. So he came into the campaign with strong name recognition whereas Mazi Pilip was just a member of the Nassau County legislature (what would be called a county commissioner in most of the country).

When you’re running a county commissioner against a former three-term member of Congress, and you get out-spent by $5 million — well, how does this predictable defeat tell us anything about national trends?

You can see why, even though I normally watch CNN (so you don’t have to), I had to turn off my office TV today, rather than listen to them explain how this special election shows MAGA is totally doomed!

In case you haven’t noticed, Donald Trump is not a county commissioner with low name recognition. He’s also not an Ethiopian Jew.

Far be it from me to say that the Republican Party should never nominate Ethiopian Jews for Congress. In fact, having raised her profile in this special election campaign, perhaps Mazi Pilip has a bright future ahead of her in GOP politics, and her success in that endeavor would make me very happy. But was she really the ideal candidate to face Tom Suozzi in this special election, in a district that is 70% white, 15% Asian, 11% Hispanic and barely 3% black? Going out on a limb here, but in terms of finding a candidate who makes the best “fit” for a district, it seems to me that the New York GOP might have done a better job.

Readers are probably like, “Well, duh,” but you have to understand that the talking heads on CNN were all hyped up about this election as a national bellwether, and not once did any of them mention the fact that the GOP thought it was a brilliant idea to run an Ethiopian Jew as their candidate in a 70% white district, while Democrats nominated an old white guy and won. Gosh, too bad the Republican Party in New York doesn’t have any old white guys . . . Wait a minute. What did you say?



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