The New York Times has the big Senate story Thursday on Democrats’ plan to make the midterm electorate more friendly. It’s also another signal to allies about why the party needs help on TV.
— The DSCC will run a $60 million field operation, using a staff of thousands to find, register, and turn out eligible but irregular voters in 10 states. If this was easy, it wouldn’t be interesting, but it might be the best path forward for Dems. The voters are out there: It took over 2 million voters to win North Carolina in the 2008 and 2012 elections, but Sen. Richard Burr (R) won in a relative landslide with fewer than 1.5 million votes in 2010.
— The “Rising American Electorate” on which Democrats rely so heavily (minorities, young people and unmarried women) turns out in droves in presidential years and grows each time, but it lags 10 years behind in midterms: RAE turnout in the 2010 midterms basically matched its 2000 presidential turnout. This turnout project is Democrats’ attempt to build a time machine for the midterms.
— Don’t miss an important subtext in the NYT, where Senate Dem strategists again not-so-subtly call for help in the TV war. AFP has already spent $27 million, most of it against Democratic senators, and the media has been full of appeals for big Democratic donors to step up. DSCC director Guy Cecil saying he’s “not willing to sacrifice the turnout operation” looks like another nudge for help on the airwaves.
The early TV battle right now is catching eyes now, but field programs will play a critical role later. Democrats will hope they have money behind both.
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