Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Juárez:  Sicarioville is Back
Was There a Truce?  Has it Been Broken?

Diario Reports (click here):  Once again Parajes del Sur was the scene of a homicide last night.  Witnesses heard gunfire, alerted police, and a man was dead and another wounded in an attack by two persons dressed in black and driving a white Taurus.

The monthly homicide counts clearly indicate a drop in homicides in the first two weeks in September.  Here is the monthly breakdown this year:  January:  72; February:  44; March:  56:  April:  65;  May:  124; June:  177,  July:  177; August 182.  First two weeks in September, only one reported in the newspapers.

According the the Diario report this morning, recently captured gang members report there was a truce called at the end of August among gangs in Juarez, which accounts for the major slowdown in sicario activity.  The gangs had been worn down by feuding, which led to more police captures of arms and drugs and gang members.

According to the conventional wisdom within official law enforcement circles, the spike in homicides was due to the fallout of a split within the Azteca gang las year between members of the "vieja guardia," (old guard) and the "Empresa."  The old guard, according to this version, left its old bosses in the La Linea cartel to join in with the Sinaloa cartel; both have been competing against each other in the transhipment of drugs to the US.  The rivarly heated up in May of this year, accounting for the spike in homicides this summer.  Readers interested in this can go back to my blogs in early August (see, for example, my entry on August 4, covering the massacre of 13 persons in a picadero near the Juarez airport. 

Only time and the body count will tell us whether this truce, if it is indeed in effect, will last.  In the past two or three days, however, dead bodies have begun to reappear.

Monday, September 17, 2018

Another Execution This Morning in Juárez

From Diario (click here):  Reports of gunshots alerted police, who found a dead man behind a convenience store, with hands and feet tied, two gunshots to his head.  The body was discovered at approximately 7:30 this morning at Gabriel Garcia Marquez and Velentin Fuentes, next to a school.  Children were unable to gain access to the school because police closed off access to the street.
Executions Return to Juárez
Sicarios Get Back to Work Last Night:  Two Bodies
Suspected Sicaria Killed in Encounter With Police

After more than two weeks of inaction, Juárez sicarios got marching orders and went back to work.  Three men driving a compact white automobile last night fired ten rounds and left a man dead on the street in Col. Parajes del Sol.  Closer to downtown, a man dressed in jeans and running shoes was found dead in a garbage drum in Col. Partido Romero, on Panama street.

Equal Opportunity Employers?  Diario reports a woman was killed by municipal police shortly after she and an accomplice killed a man on Zaragoza Blvd and Santiago Troncoso.  According to official reports municipal police were near the scene of the killing when it occurred and initiated a search of the area.  A man wearing a tactical uniform, seeing a police car, ducked into a residence with a woman.  They began firing at police, who surrounded the building.  The suspect shouted out that he would surrender, and when police entered the building they found a woman, dead.  She is believed  to be implicated in the murder of seven persons.

Sunday, September 16, 2018

101.5 FM; Ciento Uno Punto Cinco

 Monday morning Sept. 17 KTAL LP's La Politica New Mexico will feature Angelica Rubio, incumbent House District 35 (no opponent), and Kim Hakes, incumbent County Commissioner, District 5.  

The Mesa Redonda will feature Arturo Uribe and Dolores Connor.

Musica selected by Shirley Baca.

The question of the day for each candidate is:  How well are we being governed by the state legislature and the County Commission?  Also, what are your major priorities, should you be elected?

Saturday, September 15, 2018

Juárez-Style Slaying in Downtown El Paso
Early Friday morning three persons were executed outside an apartment building next to the Travis Elementary School on Lincoln Street in Lower Dyer, downtown El Paso.  A fourth person was shot and hospitalized.  Click here for story in El Paso Times.  El Paso has long been one of the least violent cities in the United States, in contrast to conditions across the River.
Beto-Cruz Agree to Three Debates
Beto proposed six debates, two of them in Spanish.  Cruz, who does not speak Spanish, agreed to three in English:  (a) Dallas, SMU on Sept. 21, with moderated debate over domestic policy; (b) Houston, Univ. of Houston, Sept. 30, town hall format on domestic policy; (c) San Antonio, 16 October, TV studio, moderated debate over domestic and foreign policy.

At the present time, polls show Cruz about 4 points ahead of Beto, with momentum in Beto's favor.  Can he catch up?  The debates might make a difference.  Expect Beto to make sure people know he speaks Spanish fluently.

Thursday, September 13, 2018

Fivethirtyeight Gives Dems Only On-In-Three Chance
of Flipping the Senate:  New Model Presented Yesterday
Beto's Chances Slightly better than One in Three

 Fivethirtyeight has inaugurated a new model (click here) to predict the outcome of US Senate races being held this November.  As of Yesterday, based on polling and other data on each Senate seat, the model predicts the Democrats have only a 32.5% chance of taking over the Senate.  The web site also updates information about each senate race so viewers can track those most likely to be of interest.  The model shows the Texas Senate race currently at about 47.6% for Beto, 50.5% for Cruz, momentum still building for Beto.  Turnout in the Rio Grande Valley, usually low, will be critical in determining this race.
Both Fivethirtyeight and Fairvote Models Flip the House Again Today

The generic congressional ballot has widened again in the last two weeks, showing Democrats with a 9.2 point lead over Republicans on the question of which party the voter would support for Congress.  Democrats are still 1.2% shy of hitting the 50% mark, but Republicans are 10.6 points short of hitting 50%.  
Fivethirtyeight's 2018 Projection for the House this morning gives Dems an 83.3% chance of winning back the House this year in their "classic" model, and a 78.5% chance of winning in their "deluxe" model, which includes opinions from experts on the ground in each district.

The Fairvote.org model, which does not rely on any polling, but looks at the relationship between a district's competitiveness (past elections, party registration, gerrymandering, incumbency bump, etc.) and the national generic congressional ballot, shows the House flipping with a Democratic Party winning margin on 5 seats based on today's values on the generic congressional ballot.  But it still shows the CD2 seat a a "safe seat" for Republican candidate Yvette Harrell.

Polls this year as well as these models have consistently shown a preference on the part of voters for a sizeable shift in partisan leadership in the House.  But gerrymandering and the power of incumbency have made the will of the national electorate much less important in determining the outcome of a congressional seat.  These rigging processes have been going on for a long time, but in recent years, with better data and more sophisticated models, they have become much more reliable in squelching the will of the people.  
And they go a long way toward explaining why, when polls show an overwhelming majority of voters want universal health care and reasonable drug prices, reasonable measures to keep guns out the hands of crazies, more investment in infrastructure and schools, and some curtailment of the runaway salaries of corporate CEOs, none of these have materialized.  Our political system no longer maintains the kinds of checks and balances on power, wherever it lies, as envisioned in our constitution.  Congress, for example, this year, has completely abdicated its constitutional role as a major check on executive power.  And our least democratic institution, the US Supreme Court, is now being rigged again in favor on those anti-democratic forces that have done so much to subvert the will of the people.  These are not partisan issues; the damage was done with strong bipartisan support under Democratic as well as Republican presidents and Congresses.  We are in a constitutional melt-down.

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Sicario Activity Down in Juárez so far in September

After several months of warfare among rival gangs in Juárez, scrambling to protect turf in the increasingly lucrative local market for choice drugs, such as crystal meth, heroin, coke, and other substances, the murder rate appears to have dipped significantly in the last couple of weeks.  Why would this be?  Is the average sicario getting his kids ready for school?  Is discipline being restored by the major cartels, who until now have left gangs alone to squabble for turf?  Are things quieting down until the on-the-ground policies of the new presidential administration,  (AMLO will take over in December) shake out?  Do changes in the local political scene have an impact?  It may take a while for the pros who follow Mexican drug cartel activity on both sides of the border figure things out and, if they choose, to let us know.  Meanwhile, lower and mi-level business men and women providing services to powerful organizations involved in the commercializing and transshipment of popular recreational drugs are probably  breathing a cautious sigh of relief.
Mexican production of poppies for heroin is up to record highs, according to the ONDCP, the White House's coordinating agency for drug control.  The White House has announced its concern about this.  Will separating more children from their families help reduce this production?  Will another announcement about Mexican immigrants being rapists help in this battle?  Will unilateral destruction of the NAFTA agreement result in lower poppy production?  Is there any connection between the acreage of poppies in Mexico and the state of US-Mexico relations?

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Analysts from Sunland, Anthony, Question MLG's Traction in South Doña Ana County
 On La Politica NM, KTAL LP

Two longtime activists from the Southern end of Doña Ana County questioned Michelle Lujan Grisham's popularity in that neck of the woods on a talk show on KTAL LP yesterday.  Ken Giove, former city council member from Sunland Park flatly stated if the election were held today in Sunland Park, Steve Pearce would come out ahead.  And Arturo Uribe, an activist in the South Mesilla Valley, indicated Pearce has been reaching out for many years to locals and has gained a measure of popularity.  Both agreed that Howie Morales, MLG's running mate, so far has generated more interest than the candidate herself.

While the campaign for governor has barely gotten under way, these reports, if true, should sound a cautionary note to the MLG campaign.  The South Valley of Doña Ana County, one--on-one between Hillary-Trump in 2016, supported Hillary Clinton with a margin of 73-27.  As a voting block in the county it racks up the highest percentage of votes for Democrats.  With about 21% of the county vote, that ain't chicken feed.  In contrast. outside of the South Valley Clinton won the presidential race in the county with 56%,17 points behind the South Valley.  It is also heavily Hispanic. Ninety seven percent of the student body of the Gadsden Independent School District, which comprises a hefty chunk of the South Valley, is Hispanic, and of these 33% are English language learners.  Thus far, however, many local elected officials, while Hispanic, do not speak Spanish, and few have managed to inspire citizens with a voice that resonates their interests.  This may be about to change.

With El Paso spilling into the Southern part of Doña Ana County, the South Valley has become a dynamic growth area, with an upwardly mobile, although still low-income, population.  The proximity to job markets in El Paso, the growing Santa Teresa border industrial area, and much lower property taxes, leave this region poised for continued growth.

Louis Biad, a Republican businessman, commenting on the same talk show but not specifically addressing the DAC South Valley, said he believed the race, overall, was MLG's to lose, given the advantage Democrats have over Republicans in registered voters, the lack of popularity of Donald Trump, and the bump the party out-of-power normally has in an off-year election.

La Politica New Mexico airs live on Mondays at 8 AM, on KTAL LP (101.5 FM) and began its coverage of the 2018 campaign yesterday.

Thursday, September 6, 2018

Fairvote.org CD2 Race Projection Goes Back to R Side

The generic congressional ballot has gone down a couple of points, down to about 9 points in favor of the Democratic Party.  Fairvote.org which projected the race to be a tossup just a couple of days ago is now back to predicting an R win, with "high confidence."  Fivethrityeight has consistently rated the probability of a D win to be only about one in four.

Juárez Municipal Elections
Armando Cabada is Declared Mayor After a See-Saw Recount Process

After a contentious period of counting, recounting, and re-recounting votes, the Municipal Electoral Assembly has declared Armando Cabada did after all win his re-election bid.  He will begin serving his second term on September 9.  Initially, Cabada's opponent, Javier Gonzalez Mocken, who had served previously as mayor, was declared the victor.  Gonzalez Mocken was again confirmed the victor after a recount by the Chihuahua Electoral Institute, but Cabada appealed the decision and the Federal Electoral Institute intervened.  After a punctilious third recount, Cabada was declared the winner yesterday.

Cabada was until two years ago a popular news anchor on Canal 44, a television station owned by his family.  He ran as an independent.  His opponent, Javier Gonzalez Mocken, was appointed mayor in December 2015, when the incumbent mayor resigned to run an unsuccessful campaign for governor.  He served until October 2016, when Cabada was elected mayor.  Gonzalez was running for mayor this time under the flag of the Morena Party, which elected Anrés Manuel Lopez Obrador President this year.  In January of this year he renounced his long affiliation with the PRI party to join with Morena.

While Cabada served only a two-year term in office as mayor, he will now serve a three-year term that will end in 2021.  For many years the three-year term in office in Chihuahua's municipalities did not coincide with national elections held every three and six years.  Largely as a means of raising turnout rates, the state accommodated a change to the national cycle, and as a result Cabada's term in office was from 2016-2018.  He will be eligible for re-election in 2021.

Tuesday, September 4, 2018

La Politica New Mexico Goes on Radio Monday Morning 8 AM
 KTAL LP, 101.5; Also available for Streaming (click here)
Analysts from Mesquite, Sunland Park, and Las Cruces

Beginning September 10, Mondays at 8 AM, and continuing throughout the election season, La Politica New Mexico will broadcast on Radio KTAL LP, 101.5 FM, with co-hosts Jose Z. Garcia and Shirley Baca, and focusing on the Dona Ana County political scene.  

There is also an A-Team Roundtable of analysts on each program.  The analysts on Monday, September 10 at 8 AM will be Arturo Uribe (Mesquite) Ken Giove (Sunland Park), and Dolores Connor (Las Cruces).  The discussion will be about how the national, state, and local races are likely to play out here in Doña Ana County, with special emphasis on CD2, the Governor's race, and the Sheriff's race.
Generic Congressional Ballot  Now Shows 11.3% Lead for Democrats
This Predicts Flipping the House and Moving CD2 into Tossup Status at Fairvote.org
Fivethirtyeight Polling Still Shows Xochitl with only 29% Chance of Winning

In recent days the generic congressional ballot has widened in favor the the Democrats.  The Fairvote.org model now predicts the House will flip to Democratic with a margin of  224D-211R.  It also moves the Xochitl race into the "tossup" category, up from "lean Republican."  The Fivethirtyeight model (click here), based more heavily on polling, still shows Xochi with only a 29% chance of winning, but it now shows Democrats have an 80% chance of winning the House.

The generic congressional ballot has favored Democrats over Republicans this year by margins as close as 3.9% (on May 22) and as much as 11.9% (on January 1).  Because of heavily gerrymandered districts favoring Republicans, the House is unlikely to flip unless the gap is at least 8-10 points wide.

While the gap has been trending recently against Republicans, this may be simply because President Trump has been having a bad two weeks.  A few tweets of anti-immigrant insults and railing against Nancy Pelosi, and the gap may well narrow again.

The models change daily, with new information, so you may find different numbers if you check.

Monday, September 3, 2018

Four Myths About Politics in the South Valley of Doña Ana County

The South Valley of Doña Ana County has always been something of a mystery to Las Crucens, to say nothing of people North of I-40.  Rumors, sometimes confirmed, of lap-dancer videos and blackmail, political bosses buying or selling votes, or the city being taken over by the state, have plagued the image of Sunland Park for many years.  Anthony has not suffered from a black image, but perhaps even worse, has been all but completely ignored as a vital corner of the county, a black hole somewhere under the freeway on the way to El Paso.  Part of the problem is that Texas and New Mexico blend into each other without official notice:  the river is not often the dividing line, all the way to Sunland, and Anthony Texas is across the street from Anthony NM.  Santa Teresa lies somewhere in the misty clouds of the contemporary US-Mexico border imaginary, sometimes aggrandized as the biggest economic development project in the state, sometimes consigned to the trash heap of failure, water always being a prime but murky motivator.

I will leave painting a more realistic big picture of the DAC South Valley for another time, and confine myself here to putting some perspective simply on the electoral value of this region.
Where is the South Valley?  Definitions are always arbitrary, but for heuristic purposes I have counted 20 of the 120 DAC voting precincts as comprising the South Valley.  I start with Mesilla, but not Mesilla Park, throw in Tortugas and Pecan Valley, and then go South, without including Chaparral (which I consider, culturally, to be a piece of Otero or El Paso County that drifted into the waters of DAC by mistake).  Chaparral is worthy of discussion, but that will also come later.

Myth No. 1:  The South Valley is where Chope's is, and then you hit Sunland Park and the Racino, surrounded by pecan farms, lightly populated.  Not very important politically.  A counter-myth (see below) is that without the South Valley Democrats would be wildly outnumbered by Republicans in the county, so it is vital to the Democratic Party.

The Truth:  The South Valley contains a little more than one fifth of the population of the county.  It contains, to be exact, about 21.5% of the registered voters of the county.  Is that important?  Read on.

Myth No. 2:  People don't vote in the South Valley. They don't register, and if they do they don't go out to vote.  Politically, they are weaker than their potential numbers

The Truth:  Turnout numbers in the South Valley are almost exactly what you would expect, given voter registration numbers.  In the 2016 presidential elections, the South Valley comprised 21.7% of the county's registered voters, and provided 20.7% of the number of votes cast in the county for president, a very small under-vote.  Voter turnout in the South Valley is not significantly different from the rest of the county.

Myth No 3:  Without the South Valley Democrats couldn't win races in DAC.

The Truth:  Democratic performance is clearly stronger in the South Valley than in the county as a whole.  For example, Hillary took the South Valley with 68% of all votes cast for President (remember this includes Gary Johnson and Mickey Mouse); The rest of the county--not counting the South Valley--gave Hillary only 50.0% of the vote.  Stated slightly differently, one-on-one with Trump, Hillary won with 73% in the South Valley.  In the rest of the county Hillary got 56.3% of the Hillary-Trump vote.  So, in that race, the South Valley outperformed the rest of the county by about 17 points.  Seventeen points is certainly enough to make the difference in many cases between a candidate winning the county and losing.

Myth No. 4:  People in the South Valley are first generation Mexicans, who only speak Spanish and aren't citizens so that's why (see myth no. 2) they don't vote.

The Truth:  The US Census shows about 15% of Doña Ana County were born in Mexico.  And out of the entire Hispanic population in the county, about 22% were born in Mexico.  In the Gadsden Independent School District (roughly the DAC South Valley) 97% of the student population is Hispanic, and 33%% of all students are English Language Learners, "unable to communicate fluently or learn effectively in English…"  So only about one third of the parents are likely to have been born in Mexico or, possibly, in El Paso, where Spanish is essentially a native language.  In any event, as we saw in Myth No. 2, above, voter turnout among registered voters is virtually the same as the rest of the county, in spite of the high number of Spanish speakers among voters.  Speaking Spanish at home, in other words, is not a hindrance to the propensity to vote or otherwise exercise citizenship.

Incidentally, in spite of the large number of english languag learners, Gadsden Independent School District student performance lies in the top third of all 89 school districts in the state, in comparison with the Las Cruces School District, whose students perform deep into the bottom half.  This is a remarkable achievement for one of the most impoverished districts in the state.

Early September Juárez Rain:  of Bullets
That is, Bullets Still Reign

Witnesses on a street in Col. Mariano Escobedo (Northwest Juárez) heard six gunshots and found a man, dead, face up, arms extended in the form of a cross, beneath a tree.

Friday, August 31, 2018

Juárez:  170 Murders With One Day Left in August

The last murder last night in Juárez took the life of a woman who died on a sidewalk in Col. Villa Colonial from five gunshot wounds to the head.  La Polaka counts 170 homicides so far in August with one more day to go

Wednesday, August 29, 2018

The Generic Congressional Poll Widens:  
FairVote House Model Now Predicts the House Will Flip

Fivethirtyeight's generic congressional poll (click here) has widened, now showing a 9.15 point lead for Democrats.  If applied to the FairVote.org House model (click here), (which relies on measures of how safe a House seat is, rather than on polling) and if the gap remains the same until elections are over, the House is likely to flip by a margin of five votes (220-215). Until today the margins showed Republicans retaining control of the House.

Fivethirtyeight's House "deluxe" model (click here) this morning, (based on polling and the views of local experts) shows Democrats with a 70% chance of flipping the House.  This model has been consistently in that neighborhood since it was put up a couple of weeks ago.

Note:  these numbers change daily.  So if you click on the model you might get different numbers.

Why Has the Generic Congressional Ballot Widened Recently?

Part 1:  The generic congressional ballot pretty much mirrors the presidential approval ratings, at least in the past few months.  When Trump does something to alienate a significant part of his famous "base" (such as pouting instead of praising a fallen war hero like John McCain), his approval rating goes down.  On the other hand, when he insults Mexico or Nancy Pelosi, or makes another racist comment, it "fires up the base" and his approval ratings go up.  As these swings occur, they are mirrored, after a brief time lag, in the generic congressional ballot.  The childish snub of McCain, which bothered even evangelical Trump sycophants who equate patriotism with flag-waving, appears to have affected the generic congressional ballot.

If part 1 were the only part of the story I would predict Trump would simply remind his base (we've seen this movie before) through a new wave of insults against Mexicans and blacks, breathlessly covered 24/7 by TV media (the owners of whom have been lavished with huge tax cuts and, I suspect greater barriers to market competition) that he is, indeed, racist, sexist, and vulgar--which is precisely what his base loves about him--while at the same time promising more corporate deregulation and even greater permissiveness to monopolize more markets with the help of an even more fanatical Supreme Court.  If that was all there was, I would predict the strategy would work and House would remain an instrument of Trump's increasingly tyrannical rule, at least for the next two years.

Part 2:  But there is more than the McCain snub.  In the past few weeks evidence is piling up the president is crooked.  Payoffs to porn stars and others; mischief between Trump campaign higherups and Russian oligarchs while our elections are being rigged in Trump's favor; using the presidency with a wink and a nod to make money for Trump properties, in open violation of the Emoluments clause of the Constitution (strict constructionism, anyone?  Isn't that what conservatives want?); the refusal to cough up tax returns.  The Manafort guilty verdict and the confession of Cohen brought Trump's essential crookedness into focus.

All of this adds up to a serious question about the rock-bottom legitimacy--not the legality--of the Trump presidency and, given the behavior of Congress, our system of governance as a whole.  Many uncomfortable  questions arise here.  Given the internet lies paid for by Russian operatives, and read by hundreds of thousands of unsuspecting voters, and given the closeness of the elections in which Hillary won the popular vote by three million votes, can we assert with a straight face that our elections were legitimate; that is, fair and honest, reflecting the will of the American people?  When a president insults a true American hero like McCain, while openly talking about pardoning a criminal like Manafort; when this same president, given all we know, licked Putin's boots in front of the world, at what point can we say with fairness he has abandoned his right to rule?   When the president threatens to shut down the rule of law in his own Attorney General's office are these the legitimate (again, this is different from legal) actions of a president?   Are these questions not touching truths that run deeper than mere partisan opinion? 

The walls closing in on Trump are not just legal.  It is every day more difficult to sustain the concept that his presidency is legitimate.  And as his legitimacy as President comes into question, the specific findings of the Mueller investigation, which focuses only on legal issues, not legitimacy, become less and less crucial: We already know enough.  The president lost his right to speak on my behalf by his behavior, out in the open. And, by the way, when a handful of partisan bosses in Congress violate their constitutional duty to create effective checks and balances in power, aren't we entitled to take action, stop the mischief and demand a return to constitutional rule?  We know the television media and Congress will refuse to raise these questions.  Do we have the courage to pose them out loud as we talk to friends about this election season?

One final point:  the real reason Democratic leaders have been so slow to challenge Trump at this gut level, is that they don't want to go there, even though they dearly hope to put an end to Trumpism. The system is rigged, and Democrats, knowing all too well they are part of the swamp, want you to do away with Trumpism, without questioning legitimacy of the current system itself.  This is the unspoken secret of American politics today:  Trump became president in great part because the system is rigged and most Americans in both parties wanted to fix it.  We deserve far more than we got, and we have a chance to start fixing it ourselves this fall.

Tuesday, August 28, 2018

More Executions Yesterday in Juárez
One Decapitated, One Encobijado, One Killed While Driving

Diario de Juárez reports three more executions yesterday.  La Polaka, without providing details, asserts that five persons were murdered.  One man was found encobijado (wrapped in a blanket) on Km 20 in the Southwest portion of the city.  Another was found decapitated.

Saturday, August 25, 2018

Two Paths for Xochitl:
Wanna Help Flip the House?  Read On

Xochi is predicted in the Fairvote.org model to lose her race by 2.8%, if the generic ballot holds at a 6.6% margin in favor of Democrats, pretty much where we are today (see story below)
Accepting this model (and I believe it is a good a prediction as you can get this far out) Xochi has two paths to victory:

Path One:  Only if the generic ballot goes up to 55.6% in favor of Democrats--an eleven point lead--nationwide, is Xochi likely to win the race, and then just barely, given the voting record of CD2.   Eleven points is a stretch because the generic ballot has been hovering only between 3 and 8 points in the Dems favor for the past couple of months.  The last time the generic ballot favored Dems by 11 points was on January 14.  Fox News and Rudy Giuliani have  told Republican viewers not to waver, regardless of the ugliness of ugly facts, and at least for the moment Republicans nationwide appear to be obedient.  Bottom Line:  the implications for strategy in these numbers is that if Xochi runs a "nationalized," campaign, asking voters to send her to Congress as a counterpoint to Trump, she is likely, unless public opinion shifts, to lose by about 3 points, close, but no cigar.  Path One is a long shot.

Creating Path Two:

This is an open race, against a relatively unknown Republican opponent, who does not appear to have a lot of charismatic appeal.  The last time these three factors coincided in CD2 was in 2008, when Harry Teague, a Democrat, won the seat for one term.  That was, of course, a Presidential year, when turnout margins were favorable for Democrats, and when a popular incumbent president got reelected. Without those tailwinds, Harry would not have won.

This year Dems will not have a presidential tailwind, and normally in an off-year turnout rates favor Republicans.  But this is not a normal year.  Republican congressional candidates are everywhere fearful of a tail drag because of the overall unpopularity of the President.  The latest numbers show Trump with a 41.5% approval rating (it was 39% in January), nationwide, (I suspect it is higher in CD2), and there is widespread speculation Dem turnout, given the intensity of feelings against Trump, will be higher than normal.  These factors are going to help Xochi, but (see above) they aren't enough by themselves to produce a win.

So if nationalizing her campaign is not a wise strategy, what might be a better one? 

Path 2:  

Let's start by reviewing how Harry Teague won in 2008

As someone who worked on the margins of his campaign I can attest that Harry had not one charismatic bone in his body.  Nor did Harry have a coherent message.  He won that seat because hundreds  of Democrats called their friends and neighbors and got out the vote, giving him a special plug. The presidential coattails was critical, but there was also a of of grassroots work behind the scenes.  In this county, at least, Harry's campaign manager, Frank Constanza, consulted with local folks with strong community ties.  Activists like Arturo Uribe put together a ground game specifically for him in the DAC South Valley.  Doña Ana County provided one third of the total number of votes Teague got that year, and 57% of the surplus votes he won.  For a candidate with a Texas accent and a public persona so hidden it was never seen, coming into a county that at that time was 67% Hispanic (today it is 70%), this was no small achievement.

Each election is different.  If the numbers don't on the surface look as good for Xochi as they did for Teague, it is also true that  Xochi is a far better candidate than Harry, more dynamic, articulate, so she can build on that.  Based on what I observed ten years ago I would suggest the following.

1.  Localize the race in the big counties.  This means collecting serious information about what might motivate likely voters, and acting on that information.  For various reasons, (some of them specific to the dynamics of this year's election) it is especially important to motivate Hispanic voters in CD2.  But after the colossal disappointment in the name Martinez, who doesn't speak Spanish, Hispanic voters will need more than the name Torres and a phone call on election day to motivate them.  It might help for Xochi personally to consult, openly or in private, with local leaders to plumb their thoughts.

2. Motivate voters by being a better candidate.  This is Xochi's strong suit, but she needs to demonstrate she deserves the job more than Yvette by showing up everywhere and proving it over and over to skeptical audiences who will be turned off with perfunctory talking points that could be given in any of 435 congressional districts.

3. Build an early, Xochi-specific ground game in the big counties.  This is particularly important in heavily Hispanic precincts.