Blue Dog Bloodbath.

Ed Kilgore considers the coming defeat of the Blue Dog Democrats:

[Nate Silver’s] entire projection estimates a net loss of 53 seats by Democrats, leaving a House Democratic Caucus of 203 members. In that scenario, a Blue Dog Coalition of 27 members would represent 13 percent of the caucus, as compared to 21 percent today.

This is partially baked into the cake: Blue Dog Democrats go out and win seats that most Democrats couldn't -- Tennessee's imperiled Bart Gordon comes from a District with a 13-point Republican registration advantage. But a lot of their trouble comes from the way these candidates have positioned themselves. There's no particular reason that likely loser Sen. Blanche Lincoln had to endorse the estate-tax repeal, for instance, aside from a certain wealthy retail family based in her home state of Arkansas. She could easily make a populist argument for fairer taxes that might resonate with voters, if not donors, but she's chosen not to. The candidates running against their votes on major items like the Affordable Care Act are sending erratic messages to their constituents rather than demonstrating leadership.

While this will make progressives happy in the short term, the long-term future of the Democratic Party depends on its ability to be a big-tent party, earning a majority through a broad electoral coalition. That's why Tom Perriello's race in Virginia is so important this year -- elected to a Republican district, Perriello was the Blue Dog who never barked, instead setting out to convince his constituents that his votes were in their interest. Should he succeed, Democrats will have evidence of a better approach to succeeding in swing districts.

-- Tim Fernholz

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