The aftermath of the House vote to pass the American Health Care Act provided proof that every move that Republicans are making is only adding to the Democratic momentum on the march to 2018.
Time reported on the surge in progressive fundraising after the vote, “Swing Left, a new grassroots organization devoted to taking back the House, raised $150,000 in the first hour after the vote, and at least $800,000 since Wednesday afternoon. Add in the cash raised by liberal networks like Daily Kos and ActBlue, and progressive groups eyeing the 2018 midterms hauled in at least $2 million in a matter of hours to help Democrats take on Republican incumbents….The Swing Left funds are earmarked to aid Democratic candidates in 35 swing districts represented by GOP representatives who voted for the AHCA. In many cases, the money is being raised for candidates who haven’t even announced yet. Swing Left says it will stay out of primaries, but as soon as those Democratic nominees emerge, they’ll get cash to attack Republican incumbents.”
A big change from previous election cycles is that outside groups tend to be engaging less in Democratic primary fights. While there are times when a contested primary is beneficial, for the first time since 2006, Democratic voters and progressive activists appear to be placing a renewed emphasis on winning.
It explains why progressives and outside groups have rallied behind moderate to conservative Democratic House candidates in the Georgia and Montana special House elections. When Trump won the White House, the Democratic Party agenda shifted from policy debates on how to expand health care and pay for free college to a very simple unified goal of stopping Trump.
Nate Silver found that as many as 85 incumbent House Republicans could be vulnerable next year. The Cook Political Report has moved 20 GOP House seats towards Democrats after the Trumpcare vote.
Money and resources are great. Democrats had plenty of both in 2016, but what matters most is converting resources into votes on Election Day. The early evidence suggests that millennials are primed to more engaged in the 2017 special elections and 2018 midterms than they have been for anything outside of a presidential election.
House Republicans successfully passed a health care bill, but it is Democrats who are winning the war to control Congress.