If you care about our electoral politics, you must get Daily Kos Elections

Every day when I read Daily Kos Elections–which I get in my email inbox–I think, “I MUST tell everybody to sign up for it.”

It’s free. When you get it via email it comes in a straightforward easy-to-read column format. No illustrations. (I don’t remember how I signed up for the email version. If you go into Daily Kos Elections, you should be able to work your way around the loud web site version and sign up for the simple email format.)(Or maybe you’ll like the loud version and that’s OK, too. It’s the same text.)

UPDATE 8/7/2017. A couple of nice people gave me the url for signing up: https://www.dailykos.com/campaigns/forms/get-the-daily-kos-elections-morning-digest-over-email

And somehow the Daily Kos Elections staff is able to cover every single electoral district and all election news for each district in each state for the entire United States.

Presidential elections. Gubernatorial elections. Congress–Senate and House. State legislatures and I even have a dim memory of some significant school board elections (although I may be wrong about this).

What Daily Kos Elections will give you is a pithy, often witty summary of news for each electoral position and each potential and already-declared candidate. Although Daily Kos is left wing and Daily Kos Elections’ writing may skew in that direction, their factual news is just that: factual.

Delightfully, too, it’s factually gossipy. You look through peepholes into every politician’s life. Every morning, I find out who’s thinking about running for, say, a congressional seat in, say, Idaho, and what went on in his previous life that might make it difficult for him to sell his values to his locality.

These are people I’ve never heard of but need to, to learn what’s selling politically out there in this great, great country of our.

And–most significant, if disturbing–Daily Kos Elections tells me how much money that potential candidate will bring into the race, or has in his war chest (which for some reason is now always written as “warchest,” except I won’t do that).

Money in politics. We all loathe it, keep unweary eyes upon it (that’s a Yeats quote), fear it, become nauseous over it and try so very hard to pretend or hope it won’t affect the next election cycle. Bad enough we have to worry about the Russians and their kompromat.

But the Koch Bros bought the 2016 Senate races in Wisconsin, Indiana and Missouri. So money, evil though it may be, has awful consequences in elections, and that’s fact. Ignoring it will not make it go away. Ergo, reading Daily Kos Elections will brace you, even harden you, to the reality of money in political races.

It should, but probably won’t, make it clear that Democratic candidates have to raise money in order to run for office. And although it’s thrilling to believe our $27 donations to candidates we love will compete successfully with the Koch Bros and their dark money billions, reality–as demonstrated in those three senate seats I named above–says we can’t. Not really.

Which means Democrats–whose big money supporters do not number as many as the Koch Bros cohort–must, absolutely must go after big money. Which means, brace yourselves, Wall Street and Silicon Valley, where they do occasionally find very rich people who respect and love our democracy.

While you swallow and choke on this awful reality, you can scream curses at SCOTUS for Citizens United. You have my permission. You also have my enthusiastic permission for joining whatever groups are trying to get Citizens United repealed, but while you’re making that effort, progressive or liberal (whatever word you prefer) candidates who actually respect the Constitution and feel that government is an honorable profession and have values and goals you support, still need to raise money to cope with Kochs.

(Gratuitous insertion: what do you think Hillary was doing when she gave speeches to Wall Street executives? Courting people who might support her campaign? Ya think?)

And that’s what you’ll come to learn from Daily Kos Elections. It’s not about the polls, not yet. It’s about who is thinking about running for what office, against what primary opponent(s), against what ad campaign, against what propaganda (you’ll get summaries of those ads in Daily Kos Elections), and…how much money that candidate is raising for her campaign.

I did not mean to write so much. What I meant to do, as an example of the kind of reporting Daily Kos Elections does so brilliantly, is give you this example. Happens to be about my home state, but Daily Kos Elections does the same thing for every state, every district, every, etc.:

NY-11: Mike Grimm was always a delusional nut, so this isn’t as shocking as it ought to be. Despite the fact that he had to resign from congress after pleading guilty to tax fraud three years ago, and despite the fact that he served seven months in prison as a result, and despite the fact that the House seat he left behind is now held by a fellow Republican, Dan Donovan, Grimm is reportedly planning to run for Congress again—and he’s not disputing the story.

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