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Do Democrats Actually Have a Strategy to Win Back Congress?

Politico reported that the DCCC is keeping its super secret plan to win back the House away from the eyes of the public. Is there actually one?

Pelosi Wins Minority Leader

According to a Politico report, the Democratic Campaign Congressional Committee kept its 2016 autopsy under lock-and-key at a meeting of Democratic House members.

Per Heather Caygle and John Bresnahan:

After nearly five months, Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney (D-N.Y.) will present his investigative report to lawmakers during a members-only gathering at the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee headquarters Thursday night.

But members are not allowed to have copies of the report and may view it only under the watchful eyes of DCCC staff.

Some Democratic lawmakers and staffers think the cloak-and-dagger secrecy is overblown and actually makes the findings look worse than they are. But the DCCC is sticking by its strategy.

According to Caygle and Bresnahan’s sources, Maloney recommended improved data and media operations, in addition to a more diverse set of consultants.

However, it’s questionable how the changes would affect the battle for the House.

Currently, the makeup stands at 238 Republicans and 193 Democrats, with 4 vacancies. If Democrats won all four special elections for the vacancies, which is highly unlikely, they would still have to flip 21 seats in 2018 from red to blue.

The Cook Political Report presently considers three GOP seats to be “Toss Ups” and ten GOP seats to be “Lean Republican.” Even if Democrats won the two special elections considered “Likely” or “Safe” Republican, all three “Toss Ups,” and all ten “Lean Republicans,” they would still fall nine seats short of reclaiming the House majority.

While the full autopsy report itself is not publicly available, the leaked focus points show that the DCCC focused more on surgical, relatively minor changes to campaign tactics rather than broad reexamination of its strategy.

Facing a 45-seat deficit, this lack of sweeping overhaul at the DCCC, combined with an absence of any meaningful legislative agenda in Congress, suggests that their only true plan for 2018 is to wait and pray for a wave election.