Praise Jesus—we have a Democrat facing Dana Rohrabacher come November. And he is, in this website’s opinion, a man with a legitimate shot at winning a seat that feels more and more blue-likely as the years pass.
So how can Harley Rouda overcome Dana’s demographic and financial advantages? Here are a bunch o’ thoughts:
A. Be smart about who comes to speak for you.
You’re in a unique spot, where national Democrats will likely want to come and stump on your behalf. A good candidate is smart about these things. Here, on a 1 (shit) to 10 (take it immediately!) are potential endorsees:
Barack Obama (10)—Duh
Joe Biden (10)—Double Duh.
Kamala Harris (9)—No brainer.
Any Republican officeholder (8 1/2)—Would be hugely helpful.
Bill Clinton (8)—Still carries swagger.
Corey Booker (6 1/2)—Can’t hurt.
Diane Feinstein (6)—Lotta baggage.
Elizabeth Warren (5)—On the one hand, she’s badass. On the other hand, Republicans will run photos of you side by side on mailers.
Bernie Sanders (3)—Wrong message for the 48th.
Hillary Clinton (2 1/2)—I would understand the temptation. But bang for buck not there. You need to sway Republicans. She’s toxic.
Nancy Pelosi (1)—Don’t touch it.
B. Dana Rohrabacher’s achilles isn’t as obvious as one might think.
Life is a crapper, and Donald Trump is polling at 45 percent. That’s not very good, but it’s not enough to sink a ship. So while I’d certainly portray Rohrabacher (rightly) as kneeling and obeying all the whims of King Donald, I think there’s a MUCH bigger winner here: Dana doesn’t do anything.
Shit, in all these years he’s proposed, what, three bills? Even worse, he’s never here. Never at office hours, no town halls. A representative, by definition, represents. So where is he? I think that’s a very powerful and real take. “Vote for me, and I’ll be here. I won’t duck you when times are tough. I won’t dodge. I’ll hold town halls EVERY [FILL IN THE BLANK] months. I work for you—whether you voted for me or not.”
C. Don’t give in to amateur temptations.
Specifically, the ol’ show-up-at-Dana’s-office-to-see-if-he’ll-debate show. That shit only serves to remind voters that you’re the wanna-be and your opponent is the King Bee. It looks silly.
D. Show that you’re ready to roll.
Say what you want about Donald Trump—throughout the election he made it clear that he had big plans come his first day in office. Copy that, because it’s smart. Dana has done shit. But you’ll do X and Y and Y and X. You already have a staff. You already know this and that. Make your win feel inevitable, and inevitability is all the more likely.
E. Speak to Republican groups.
If they’ll have you, go. Ask for 10 minutes at the Whatever Town Republican Club meeting. Be humble. Open by admitting you know they probably won’t vote for you, but that if you win you’ll represent their needs, too. Pick three or four issues that they’d agree with you upon, and stress those. Every vote counts in these races. If you pick up one or two of 10 Republicans, that’s a huge swing.
F. Don’t run soft.
Bring the hammer. Be aggressive. Don’t overthink. Be yourself. You’re a sharp, smart, handsome, accomplished dude. Dana is a rumply napkin.