This November, Democrats have an excellent chance to pick up 23 Republican-held seats and take back control of the House of Representatives, but where should the left focus their time, energy, and resources over the next two months in order to do so?
Statistician and writer Nate Silver and his team at FiveThirtyEight developed probability models for every congressional district in the country, and concluded that Democrats have a better than 70-percent probability of winning back the House in this year’s midterm elections. Dave Wasserman of The Cook Political Report puts Democratic odds at 60 to 70 percent. But within those macro projections, which races, exactly, most deserve the attention of progressives?
Steve’s Top Ten
So that I don’t bury the lede or drag this out like a bad reality show, here is a list of places where my calculations and analysis show that the national progressive movement can have the biggest positive impact on the overall odds of taking back the House.
(This table with links to more information about the candidates and the groups working in those districts can be found on my website.)
These are the contests where investment from progressives can help change the electorate’s composition and create a voting universe more favorable to Democrats. These are also places where there is a local progressive organization with a track record of effectively mobilizing Democratic voters.
Why These Ten?
Compiling this list required a significant amount of analytical firepower (from much greater minds than mine) and months of review of multiple data sets and sources. The foundation of this analysis is an extraordinary statistical calculation compiled by the “PhDs of the People”—Dr. Julie Martinez Ortega (the principal researcher for my book Brown Is the New White) and Dr. Tom K. Wong, Political Science professor at the University of California, San Diego. Using a proprietary algorithm that incorporates 22 different statistical variables, they developed projections for Democratic and Republican turnout this fall in 65 competitive districts across the country. While others (such as The Cook Political Report) have analyzed previous totals of votes cast in a district, no one to my knowledge has looked at every individual voter in the competitive districts, reviewed their voting history, and then modeled district-by-district turnout rates to assess each district’s winnability. On top of that, Martinez Ortega and Wong then added a data overlay incorporating the size of the pool of potential Democratic voters, with a particular focus on voters of color (nearly 80 percent of whom historically vote Democratic).