Make Change Happen 5: Stop being passive

Time for Action - ClockIf you truly want Harry Reid to be demoted, it’s going to take more than just reading and sharing the horeserace articles. It’s going to take you actively getting involved, not just WATCHING change happen, but MAKING change happen.

Stop being a passive observer

Now it’s time to think about what YOU can do to change your world. How do you help a particular candidate?

I’ve walked you through what I suggest as the order of attack in the first four posts of this series. Links to the whole series are at the end of this article. Pick one of those races, and get involved.

Sad Harry Reid

The candidate’s campaign staff will actually know best what the candidate needs. Yes, there are other organizations helping, you and I both get their emails every day. But truly, your best investment at this point is, I think, at the candidate’s campaign site.

Go to the site, contribute a few dollars. If they have a way for you to make calls on the candidate’s behalf, do so.

Look for some issues highlighted on their site, the ones that interest you, and write a blog post about it.

Yes, write blog posts SELLING THE CANDIDATE. Not “reporting on”. Not “commenting on”. Not passively observing. GET INVOLVED. Promote the guy. Did he do or say something good? Share that story on social media – but in a way that is a SALES PITCH.

You know the difference.

When you read an article or a social media post, do you imagine the writer sitting back in his chair, Christopher Hitchens style, smoking his cigarette and making intelligent observations, sharing information, and giving his opinion? Great. That guy is passively reporting.

Or do you imagine the person standing up, talking to you, convincing you of something? Trying to get you to like a candidate, trying to get you to vote for a candidate, trying to inform you of a particular candidate’s unique suitability for the job? THAT is the advocate. THAT is a campaign worker, the operative, the passionate voter, the actively involved person trying to make the world better.

We are all both of those at different times. If you want things to change, now is the time to be that ACTIVE person far more than the passive person.

Arguments against becoming the active party shill:

  • You’ll be called a party shill
  • You’ll get phone calls from the party and the candidates
  • Your mailbox will be full of requests for donations
  • Your followers will KNOW that you are a conservative
  • Some people may unfollow you
  • You’re too busy

Wow, that’s some scary stuff right there. Seriously, if any of those arguments are persuasive to you, that’s fine, just keep being a passive reporter.  Activism isn’t for everyone.

Let me just comment on the last argument, you’re too busy. You have no more or less time than anyone else. Time is one resource that we all get in precisely equal measure. If you are saying that the other things you are choosing to do with your time are more important, that’s fine. Be honest with yourself and us, and just accept that truth. If, instead, there are some things you can stop doing, and trade that time for activism time, please do so.

I do think you’ll be surprised at how much positive difference you can make with just a little time. As we discussed in The Refinery last week, in just a few minutes you can make a bunch of phone calls. That’s still the best way to drive people to the polls to go vote.

I’m Sold! How Do I Get Involved?

Go to My Entire Outline, all races monitored.

That link takes you to the list of candidates, links to their official sites, recent articles about them. It’s the live and most recent version of the info I’m tracking. If I’ve moded candidates from one section to another, it shows up here.

Read my sources

Read the rest of this series

Make Change Happen 4: This is What We Work On

We need to take the majority of the Senate. We need to gain SIX seats. So far, I’ve shown you my list of the races we either don’t need to pay attention to much at all, or the ones we only need to check in on a little.Sad Harry Reid

With total success on the races previously mentioned, we’re up by 4. That’s TERRIFIC, but not at all sufficient.

We’ve got to have at minimum, two more. We know it, the Dems know it. THIS is where the fight is.

I’ll be working over the next few days to give you information on what to do, how to help – what you can do to actually make the change happen.

First though, we have to study the targets. Start looking and learning, read up on these races. Read up on the candidates. Read up on the political environment of the state.

Possible Pickup

Inifnitely achievable, work hard here. In order from most to least likely.


  • Dan Sullivan (R) vs. Mark Begich (D)
  • Dan has recently crossed over in polling from behind to ahead, and his lead over Begich is increasing. Seems unlikely that it would turn around and crash at this point, this is a pretty favorable sign. Yet he’s up by less than 5 points, easily a margin of polling error. The Democrat incumbent is a smart campaigner, and the state GOP is still recovering from a tough primary. Turnout and GOP enthusiasm will be key. Phone calls, social media promotion, and money will help a LOT. Alaska isn’t used to getting attention from the lower 48, our attention could have an outsized effect with the less-politically inclined in Alaska.


  • Tom Cotton (R) vs. Mark Pryor (D)
  • Arkansas is in the early stages of turning solid Republican, there’s still a good deal of enthusiasm for the GOP to grow and increase its strength in the state, it’s on the upswing. Tom Cotton is a great candidate, Pryor is the son of a Dem Seantor – old versus new is the story here, but not to offend old voters, it’s the “old ways” the “old system” versus the new system


  • Cory Gardner (R) vs Mark Udall (D)
  • Let’s turn Colorado back red! This is a SUPER close race, but definitely winnable with some effort for Gardner. The Dems will not want to lose this one Udall has been ahead the whole time. But it looks like Gardner may be about to take the lead – keep that momentum going. The whole state seems to be swinging back GOP, make it happen, take advantage of the “surprise” that Udall is vulnerable.


  • Joni Ernst (R) vs Bruce Braley (D)
  • Another REALLY tight one. Braley seems to be making mistakes, which our guys tend to not take much advantage of. Ernst is a combat veteran – leverage that with older voters, drive enthusiasm and patriotism.

North Carolina

  • Thom Tillis (R) vs Kay Hagan (D)
  • Hagan is up, but Tillis is getting some good support from the GOP machine. He’s made some errors of late, at about the same time the Dems hit with a lot of Hagan ads. This is a test of OUR will to win the race even with a less than perfect candidate. Turnout, phone calls, money – that’s what this race needs.

New Hampshire

  • Scott Brown (R) vs Jeanne Shaheen (D)
  • Shaheen is ahead by almost 5, but that’s inside the margin of change. Also she’s on the downswing and Scott Brown is trending up, it’s worth sticking with it to see if we can bring it home. Brown will have to get support from Independents and soft Democrats, and the disillusionment with Obama can help here.


  • Terri Lynn Land (R) vs Gary Peters (D)
  • Peters is up by almost 5, but it may be that folks just haven’t yet started paying attention. It’s worth some attention NOW to see if the polls start to trend her way. The previous mid-term voter was Repbulican, the previous Presidential voter was Democrat. Can we make the Dems stay home, rally the GOP and get Land elected?

Remote Chance Pickup

Stretch goals, worth a shot if the above are done deals. Alphabetical order.


  • Jim Oberweis (R) vs Dick Durbin (D)
  • Durbin is up by considerably more than 10, it appears that Durbin is “Senator for Life” in Illinois. I’d love to be wrong. I just want this guy to go away. It’s included here mostly to remind all of us that on any given Tuesday in November, miracles can happen


  • Mike McFadden (R) vs Al Franken (D)
  • Franken is up by a lot, the differential between the two is pretty steady. Franken has the incumbency inertia vote.

New Jersey

  • Jeff Bell (R) vs Cory Booker (D)
  • The Dems would HATE to lose this one. They didn’t plan on having to defend it, so any money we can make them spend here is money they weren’t planning to spend. Putting forth effort for Jeff Bell also makes more sense than putting forth effort in IL or OR – because Jeff Bell has a GOP Governor to help him, and the NJ GOP is on an upswing, doing some good things for the state. Good turnout for Bell will help downballot GOPers and will help the party strengthen itself for the future.

New Mexico

  • Allen Weh (R) vs Tom Udall (D)
  • This has moved from GOP no chance to a slim possibility
  • It’s a remote chance, but a chance nonetheless. The candidate isn’t all that strong, but the environment isn’t great for democrats in general, Udall is a dynastic name and there’s some anti-establishment fervor that could be leveraged.


  • Monica Webby (R) vs Jeff Merkley (D)
  • Merkley is up by more than 10, and Webby’s trending seems to be negative, this seems a REALLY remote chance, extremely remote.


This list will change over time, I’ll be adding resources to it, moving some links from the general list below into the specific races, etc. So consider this list a preliminary view, food for thought, and…

Questions – do you think I have some of this wrong? Let me know!

Make Change Happen 3: The Easy Ones

Sad Harry Reid
Let’s DEMOTE this guy!

In Parts 1 and 2 of the Make Change Happen series, we looked at the Senate races coming up, and of the 36 races, saw that we only need focus on 18 of them. Let’s start looking at those in more detail, and start with the easy ones first!

In general, the current GOP Senators are in good shape, and as Obama’s approval rating drops, our lot improves, but there ARE a few of our guys that need some attention, and one conservative state with a long serving Senator who is retiring, so it’s technically up for grabs.

Republicans at Risk

The states lean R, so it shouldn’t be too much of a lift to ensure R victory, but losing these could hurt on multiple levels. We’d have to gain TWO from the other lists rather than one to make up for the loss of an existing R. Also, there’s a negative down ballot effect on established GOPers in the rest of the state if we are to lose at the top.

Kentucky R-McConnell

  • Mitch McConnell (R) vs. Alison Lundergan Grimes (D)
  • RCP analysis:
  • This shouldn’t really be anything we have to worry about, but state politics and a grassroots lack of enthusiasm for McConnell after the primary make this one that we can’t take for granted. It’s currently looking OK, but definitely needs to be watched – the Dems could start throwing resources at it at the last minute. Watch THEM – if they abandon Grimes, then we’re ok.

Georgia R-Chambliss (retiring)

  • David Perdue (R) vs. Michelle Nunn (D)
  • RCP analysis:
  • Momentum is on Perdue’s side, Georgia is a basically conservative state and might be recovering from the bruising GOP primary. It is expected that as the likely voters start paying attention to the race being Perdue v. Nunn, they’ll come down on the side of Perdue, even if they aren’t huge fans of his in general. Keep a close eye on this one.

Kansas R-Roberts

  • Pat Roberts (R) vs. Greg Orman (I)
  • RCP analysis:
  • This was not supposed to happen, and is a case study in the damage that 3rd parties and vicious Democrats can do. The D candidate was bad, so they deep-sixed him and recruited Orman. Orman IS a Democrat. He will be a Democrat vote, make no mistake. But the voters are being misled that he is a fresh new outsider-y face compared to the old guy Roberts.
  • Currently the Democrat-fake-Independent is ahead by 5 points and a lot of GOP resources are being poured into this state.
  • It might make more sense for US to let the big name and party resources work to save Roberts while we put our efforts towards shoring up the likely pickups and maybe grabbing a couple of possibles.
  • From a psychological standpoint, I’d trade a loss of Roberts for a couple of Dem pickups. Saving Roberts at great expense isn’t a big victory, that’s an expensive draw. But sending a few more Democrats home, and having states get stronger GOP infrastructure by virtue of having a GOP Senator – that’s a legitimate win.

So…as long as we can hold on to those three states, we only have to add seats, we don’t need to make up for any losses. Those states are important, but also…not as much fun, because we don’t get to take a Democrat and knock them off the hill. Let’s look at the places we are likely to squash the Dems like bugs. These are the FUN states. But just because it’s fun doesn’t make it optional. We HAVE to win these races. HAVE to. They will get us 2/3 of the way there.

Likely Pickup

We really have to have these states. Make sure we have these sealed up before putting ANY energy on the “possible” or “remote chance” states.

West Virginia D-Rockefeller (retiring)

Montana D-Walsh (not running)

South Dakota D-Johnson (retiring)

Louisiana D-Landrieu

  • Bill Cassidy (R), Rob Maness (R) vs. Mary Landrieu (D)
  • RCP analysis:
  • Louisiana doesn’t have a party primary. All three candidates run on Nov 4, and if none get over 50% of total vote, it goes to a runoff. Cassidy is expected to beat Maness, giving us a Cassidy v. Landrieu race in December.
  • Due to the nature of Louisiana politics, we can actually ignore this one until after the mid-term election, let Louisiana determine their GOP candidate, and then we can help make sure Landrieu is defeated in the December runoff

Alright, that’s 7 races we stand a decent chance of winning, there’s really only one real danger there. If we can get all 7 of these, we’ll only need 2 more to take a bare, risky, scary majority. So we should…get these 7 DONE, NOW, and then we can focus our efforts on the next groups.

Why is a bare majority so scary? Because that creates the situation of a Senator crossing the line to vote with the Dems and becoming famous and beloved for doing so. Don’t think that that media and the Dems (BIRM) don’t know that. We really need a comfortable majoirty with 2 or 3 spare just to keep our team in line. Really we do. We know this. Don’t complain about it, just elect more GOP and take the issue off the table.

My next post will cover our possibles, and our remote chances. Then, once we’ve got the whole list done, we’ll start talking about WHAT to do, HOW to do it, and WHEN.

Make Change Happen 2: The Focus List

So, we have less than 6 weeks until the mid-terms, our opportunity to remove Harry Reid as Senate Majority leader and take our best chance to reduce the damage that the Democrats can do over the next two years.

In Part I  we looked at 36 Senate elections, but only half of them are worth paying any attention to at all. So we’re down to only 18 to even bother with.

That’s only 18 races to focus on, it’s our Focus List.

We must have a net increase of 6 seats.Time for Action - Clock

I’ve separated the 18 races into 4 sections, so that we can all better see where to target our efforts. They’re in order within those sections based on RCP average polling, and ranked most likely R to least likely R, so start at the top and work your way down.

In this post, just the races. Details of each section coming next. If you have ANY updates or feedback on this list, please let me know.

This is intended to be a resource, you’re seeing it get built…it’s only as good as the info I have to put into it…be a source for me!

Republicans at Risk

The states lean R, so it shouldn’t be too much of a lift to ensure R victory, but losing these could hurt multiple times. We’d have to gain TWO from the other lists rather than one to make up for the loss, it would also have a negative down ballot effect on established GOPers in the rest of the state.

  • Kentucky R-McConnell
  • Georgia R-Chambliss (retiring)
  • Kansas R-Roberts

Likely Pickup

We really have to have these states

  • West Virginia D-Rockefeller (retiring)
  • Montana D-Walsh (not running)
  • South Dakota D-Johnson (retiring)
  • Louisiana D-Landrieu

Possible Pickup

Infinitely achievable, work hardest here

  • Alaska D-Begich
  • Arkansas D-Pryor
  • Colorado D-M. Udall
  • Iowa D-Harkin (retiring)
  • North Carolina D-Hagan
  • New Hampshire D-Shaheen
  • Michigan D-Levin (retiring)

Remote Chance Pickup – stretch goals, worth a shot if the above are done deals

  • Minnesota D-Franken
  • New Jersey D-Booker
  • Oregon D-Merkley
  • Illinois D-Durbin


Make Change Happen – in less than six weeks!

Do you want to make your life better? Do you have a short attention span and can only really focus on one project for a few weeks at a time? I’ve got the project for you!

We have the opportunity to change things in Washington  a little bit, coming up in less than six weeks. I’m talking about the November mid-term elections.

If we can change the Senate from a Harry Reid-led Democrat chamber to a Mitch McConnel-led Republican chamber, there’s a chance to make the last two years of the Obama Administration a bit less bad.

We need to pick up 6 seats.

Yeah, I’m downplaying the expectation of “real change” but don’t think I’m downplaying the importance. Being able to actually really really STOP bad legislation or nominees, and maybe being able to defund a few horrid executive actions may be the only good things that can come from Washington in the next two years. And if it’s possible, we really need to make an effort to make it happen.

So, for the next few weeks, who cares about the Presidential race, let’s try to get the Senate turned around.Time for Action - Clock

There are 36 races (33 regular and 3 special elections). That’s not so hard. But wait! We can narrow it down further by eliiminating the Democrat races we can’t win, the Republican races we won’t lose, and just look at the races that need our help.

That gets the list of races to worry about down to 16. That’s totally manageable.  I’m gonna lay that out here in part 1. Later, I’ll show you the ones that are most important right now, and then give you the contact info so you can DO SOMETHING to help.

It’s not enough to just follow along with the horserace stories.

Do you want to just observe and report on history as it happens to you, or do you want to make an effort to influence it for the better?

For part one here, I’m gonna just list the 36 races, in 3 sections

  1. Safe Hold – no need to pay attention, the locals have this one handled
  2. No Change / No Chance – safe Democrat seats, no point paying attention, we have no chance here
  3. Needs Attention – either because we could lose it, or because we could know off an incumbent Democrat

Tomorrow we can start to look at those “Needs Attention” races a bit more closely.

This will be a work-in-progress blog post series, and it can only get better with your feedback, so please help me out!

Safe Hold – don’t worry about these right now

  • Alabama R-Sessions
  • Idaho R-Risch
  • Maine R-Collins
  • Mississippi R-Cochran
  • Nebraska R-Johanns
  • Oklahoma R-Inhofe
  • Oklahoma R-Coburn (retiring), Lankford running
  • South Carolina R-Graham
  • South Carolina R-Scott
  • Tennessee R-Alexander
  • Texas R-Cornyn
  • Wyoming R-Enzi

No Change / No Chance – don’t waste a moment’s thought on it

  • Delaware D-Coons
  • Hawaii D-Schatz
  • Massachusetts D-Markey
  • New Mexico D-T. Udall
  • Rhode Island D-Ree
  • Virginia D-Warner

Focus List – THESE are the ones to work on, in alphabetical order

  • Alaska D-Begich
  • Arkansas D-Pryor
  • Colorado D-M. Udall
  • Georgia R-Chambliss (retiring)
  • Illinois D-Durbin
  • Iowa D-Harkin (retiring)
  • Kentucky R-McConnell
  • Louisiana D-Landrieu
  • Michigan D-Levin (retiring)
  • Minnesota D-Franken
  • Montana D-Walsh
  • New Hampshire D-Shaheen
  • New Jersey D-Booker
  • North Carolina D-Hagan
  • Oregon D-Merkley
  • South Dakota D-Johnson (retiring)
  • West Virginia D-Rockefeller (retiring)

I’m getting my info from these and other sources. If you’ve got some good overview sources, let me know and I’ll add them to this list