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Court Orders Defamation Case Against Buckley, NHDP to Move Forward

New Hampshire’s top Democrat played fast and loose with the facts, the New Hampshire Supreme Court has ruled, and now he is facing a defamation lawsuit for spreading falsehoods about a GOP candidate.

The State’s highest court decided that a defamation lawsuit filed by state Rep. Dan Hynes (R-Bedford) against the state Democratic Party and its controversial chairman Ray Buckley can move forward in Hillsborough Superior Court.

At issue is a 2018 campaign flier claiming Hynes, who was running for state Senate at the time, was a convicted extortionist who had been disbarred. But the flier got several key facts wrong. Now Buckley and his party are exposed to potential liability.

“Dan Hynes targeted woman-owned businesses for extortion. Hynes was charged by Republican Attorney General Kelly Ayotte, convicted by the State of New Hampshire for ‘theft by extortion’ and disbarred,” the flier stated.

But Hynes’s conviction in a 2009 extortion by theft case was annulled, which makes the flier fundamentally false, the court ruled.

Rep. Dan Hynes (R-Bedford)

“Under New Hampshire law, annulled convictions should be treated as if they never happened. Because a criminal arrest, conviction, or sentence potentially implicates one’s personal freedom, these are the most extreme steps the State can take against individuals. The effect of New Hampshire’s annulment statute is to, as a matter of law, render the arrest, conviction, or sentence void for the purposes of public discourse,” the ruling stated.

“The fact that the plaintiff was convicted undeniably exists, but as a matter of New Hampshire law, upon annulment, it is false and misleading to fail to state that the conviction was annulled.”

And while Hynes was disciplined for his actions with a suspension of his law license, he was never disbarred.

That was enough of a mistake to warrant a trial, the Supreme Court ruled Thursday, overriding a lower court that had dismissed Hynes’ case.

One common defamation defense is to claim the person making the charge wasn’t aware of the facts and made an innocent mistake. Unfortunately for Buckley, the Supreme Court noted that the hit piece mailer included the addresses of internet links to relevant court documents, including Hynes’ annulment. The hit piece also included an internet link to documents concerning Hynes’ law license suspension, meaning Buckley and the NHDP knew or should have known he was not disbarred.

“The inclusion of this citation in the mailer could lead a reasonable jury to find that the defendants were subjectively aware that the plaintiff had not been disbarred and, therefore, subjectively aware that the language in the mailer was untrue,” the ruling states.

Buckley and the state party declined to comment on the court’s ruling or answer questions about the false statements in the campaign flier.

According to court records, Hynes sent a “Cease and Desist/Demand Letter” to Claudia Lambert, Claudia’s Signature Salon owner in Concord, in 2009. Hynes claimed that because Lambert’s salon charged women more money for haircuts than men or children, she was engaging in gender discrimination. 

Hynes’ letter demanded that she stop charging women more money and that she pay him $1,000. Lambert’s husband contacted the New Hampshire Attorney General’s Office, and during a sting operation, an investigator witnessed Hynes taking $500 to settle his claim of unfair trade practices. During that meeting, Hynes reportedly said he had sent other letters to other hair salons and was currently in negotiations with these businesses and their attorneys.

Hynes was convicted, ordered to pay restitution, and had his law license suspended for a year. The conviction was later annulled after completing all the terms of his sentence.

The Midterm Numbers You Need to Know

So what happened in New Hampshire on Tuesday? Here are all the numbers you need to know:


Total turnout was about 580,000 ballots cast, “the first time we’ve broken the half a million mark in a midterm,” Secretary of State Bill Gardner told NHJournal, “and the first time we’ve had a midterm turnout higher than any presidential primary.”

“All that, on a day when we had bad weather, too. If people have the will to vote, they will make the effort–rain or no rain.”



There were 573,735 votes cast in the race for governor: Gov. Chris Sununu, 302,838; Democrat Molly Kelly, 262,408.

Republican Sununu’s margin over Democrat Kelly: 40,430.

A total of 560,034 votes were cast for the major-party Congressional candidates: 310,320 for the two Democrats; 249,714 for the two Republicans.

The Pappas/Kuster margin over Edwards/Negron: 60,606.

That’s a 100,000 “swing vote” margin just in the top-tier races–about 18 percent of voters split their tickets for governor and Congress.

Or put another way, Republican Chris Sununu outperformed the two GOP congressional candidates by 53,000 votes, while Molly Kelly underperformed her Democratic colleagues by 48,000.

“It’s not that unusual, actually,” Gardner told NHJournal. “When Ronald Reagan ran in 1980, he won New Hampshire by a 2-1 margin. The same year, the Democrat running for governor won 2-1, too.”

(NHJournal checked, and Gardner was right: Reagan got 58 percent of the vote in New Hampshire in 1980, and incumbent Democratic governor Hugh Gallen got 59 percent.)



“The Democrats did an unbelievable job of drilling down into the lower-tier GOTV universes,” Greg Moore, Executive Director of Americans for Prosperity-New Hampshire, told NHJournal. “Net-net, they brought out 320,000 of their folks and the conservatives brought out 260,000.

“To put that into perspective, Eddie Edwards in the NH-01 race got 6,000 more votes than Republican Frank Guinta did in 2014–and Guinta won by 9,000 votes. Edwards lost by 24,000.”



Billionaire Tom Steyer has been bragging for more than a year about the $1 million or so he planned to spend in New Hampshire getting college students out of their dorms and into the polls. His organization NextGen America had almost 40 paid workers covering the campuses, and according to NextGen’s New Hampshire comms person Kristen Morris, it worked. She tweeted:



It’s easy after a wave election–and that’s certainly what happened in New Hampshire–to simply be grateful the party held onto the governor’s office. But several NHGOP pros have noted that the governor’s race was closer than it should have been, and the rest of the ticket suffered.

“With a popular incumbent governor running for re-election against a hitherto unknown former state senator, Molly Kelly significantly out-raised and outspent him,” veteran GOP strategist Tom Rath told NHJournal. “And that should never happen.  Keeping the governor’s race close allowed the Democrats to make big gains down ballot.”



Final numbers aren’t in, but it’s clear that New Hampshire Democrats had a huge financial advantage, in part because of a massive amount of money donated through the ActBlue program at a national level (more than $1 billion in small-dollar donations alone), some of which made its way to New Hampshire.  And in part because Republicans did not raise the resources they needed.

“We’ve been outspent in the past,” outgoing Senate Majority Leader Jeb Bradley told NHJournal, “but not like this. This time it would appear our Democratic colleagues had so much money that it almost didn’t matter how they spent it.”

“Drilling down as deeply in their GOTV efforts as the Democrats did takes tons of money,” Greg Moore notes.

And GOP strategist Mike Dennehy is even more blunt: “If New Hampshire Republicans don’t figure out fundraising, they can kiss this state goodbye.”



At the Union-Leader, Kevin Landrigan picks up on the fascinating story of Manchester Republican Ed Sapienza.

“A lifelong Democrat, Sapienza changed his party affiliation to the GOP last spring to run for Hillsborough County Register of Deeds,” Landrigan reported. When nobody filed to run as a Democrat, some friends of Sapienza wrote him in during the primary and so his name appeared on Tuesday as both the Republican and Democratic nominee.

“In rock-ribbed Republican Merrimack for example, Sapienza the Democrat got 500 more votes than Sapienza the Republican did,” Landrigran noted.

That’s 500 more votes simply for being a Democrat.  That number pretty much sums up the 2018 midterm election in New Hampshire.

Noon Today: “Day After The Midterms” With Bill Kristol and NH GOP Insiders

New Hampshire is the home of the “First In The Nation” presidential primary, and on November 7th it will be home of the first event of the 2020 presidential election cycle when nationally-known conservative leader Bill Kristol joins a panel of Granite State GOP insiders on the day after the 2018 midterms.

This free event, hosted by NH Journal and the SNHU College Republicans, will feature a panel analyzing the results of the midterm elections and the performance of the Republican Party.  Did the GOP hold the House? How did Republican candidates fare in swing districts like NH-01? And is a serious GOP primary challenge of President Donald Trump more or less likely?



All these topics will be covered by a panel to include:

  • Bill Kristol – Co-founder of The Weekly Standard
  • Chris McNulty – Causeway Solutions, Former RNC Political Director
  • Ovide Lamontagne – 2012 NHGOP Gubernatorial Nominee
  • Sen. Sharon Carson – NH State Senator
  • Daniel Passen – Chairman, NH Federation of College Republican

So make plans now to join NHJournal and the SNHU College Republicans on Wednesday, November 7th, noon-1:30pm at SNHU’s Walker Auditorium in Manchester, NH.

The event is free but seating is limited, so advance registration is strongly recommended. Click here to reserve your seats.

Attorney Says “Poor Performance” in Porn Shoot Sparked GOP Pol’s Violence

According to the attorney representing Rep. Frank Sapareto’s alleged assault victim, the reason behind the New Hampshire Republican’s violent outburst was his “poor performance” during his porn shoot the day before.

“He wasn’t performing very well in his scenes or with the adult film actresses,” attorney Eric Dubin told NHJournal. “He was apologizing a lot to the female talent and his frustration carried over into the attack.”

When asked what the nature of the performance issue was, Dubin told NHJournal: “It’s not that they were going badly. Apparently they weren’t going at all.”

Dubin’s client, Jonathan Carter, alleges that Sapareto broke into his apartment and assaulted him, beating him so badly that Carter lost consciousness. According to the emergency department report from Adventist Health Simi Valley, Carter suffered a “closed-head injury with LOC.” [Loss of consciousness].

“Pt [patient] has scrapes to right chest, arm, left knee. C/O dizziness, disorientation. Left mandibular pain, headache, neck stiffness and mid back pain following assault when a very large man broke into the patient’s apartment and started punching him in the face,” according to the emergency room report.


Rep. Sapareto was previously found guilty of assault in 2013 and ordered to take anger management classes. He denies that the assault took place and points to the fact that local authorities in California declined to press criminal charges. Sapareto also told NHJournal that, while he admits to being the man seen with an adult film actress in a video released by Carter’s attorney, he claims it’s been “doctored.”

“I don’t know how he did it,” Sapareto told NHJournal. “He just does it. This [manipulating video] is what he does. He said he was going to destroy my political career and that’s what he’s trying to do.”

Sapareto says he went into business with Carter to create tourism videos for a Japanese audience, even creating an LLC called Standard Video here in New Hampshire. But then, Sapareto says, he was “set up.”

“The guy had me shoot all this video, in unusual positions, I didn’t know why,” Sapareto said.

For example, Sapareto admits that he is standing in the doorway of a video clip released by his alleged victim, but says the rest of the shot was manipulated to make it appear that he’s speaking to an adult film actress as she exposes her breast.

In response, Carter’s attorney released another, more explicit, clip showing a nude Sapareto in bed engaged in sexual activity with an actress.

A screen capture from video viewed by NHJournal

“I’m only talking to the press to respond to what Sapareto is saying,” Dubin told NHJournal in response. “I have a duty to my client. It’s been shocking to listen to Sapareto lie about every single aspect, from never having met my client, to claiming he was only stopped for a traffic ticket, to making a tourism video.”

Dubin, who was involved in the successful wrongful-death lawsuit against actor Robert Blake over the death of his wife, said he thinks the sex element is a sideshow. “The porn part isn’t relevant to me. It’s his willingness to lie that relates to my client’s case.”

But, Dubin added “it is surprising to see how far someone like Sapareto has made it up the political ladder in New Hampshire, even with a previous assault charge.”

As for the claim that the video is fake, Dubin told NHJournal: “I have seven hours of film that includes four separate sex scenes with four different actresses.  It’s 1000% him.”

GOP Rep. Frank Sapareto Sued Over Allegedly Punching His Porn Partner



The AP’s Amy Taxin and Holly Ramer broke the story:

A New Hampshire state lawmaker producing and starring in a porn film assaulted his business partner in California after he felt his scenes didn’t go well, according to a civil lawsuit filed by the partner.

Jonathan Carter filed the suit Friday in Southern California, seeking unspecified damages following a June incident that he claims involved state Rep. Frank Sapareto.

Sapareto denied the allegations or knowing Carter or having any business involvement with the adult film industry.  “I don’t know what you’re talking about,” Sapareto said in a phone interview.

“I don’t know what you’re talking about,” Sapareto said in a phone interview.

“Wow, that’s a great story,” he said, laughing. “I haven’t heard that one. I thought we were all done going after men.”

Now anyone can file a civil suit alleging anything, so the part of the AP story that makes this interesting is that there’s a police report from Simi Valley, CA involved:

“In the police report, authorities say Sapareto told them that he met Carter online while seeking a business partner to make an adult film and that he went to his home to return camera equipment. According to the police report, he denied assaulting him…

When asked about the police report, Sapareto said that he was stopped for a traffic violation. In a follow-up email, he said police didn’t find the allegation credible and that he has not been accused of anything.”

So we’ve gone from “what police report?” to “I was stopped for a traffic beef” to “Ah, the police didn’t believe it anyway…”  Yeah, not a good look for the Republican from Derry. And it’s not the first time he’s been accused of assault.  Sapareto was convicted on multiple counts of simple assault in 2013, involving an ex-girlfriend and some of her family members. Rep. Sapareto was sentenced to 30 days (suspended) a $500 fine and anger management classes.

Apparently he didn’t study….


The question now is how his GOP colleagues will respond on the eve of the midterm elections. Unlike the Sen. Jeff Woodburn case, the details here are sketchy (for the moment) and Sapareto doesn’t face any criminal charges.  Voters and Republican leaders are left with a civil lawsuit and some vague details.

Oh–and PORN.  

If this were about a shoving match at a bar or baseball game, it could be shrugged off. But when the guy you punched was in charge the camera crew zooming in on your actions areas during a steamy scene in “Lascivious Legislators IV,” that’s a political problem.

What are Democrats going to say about it? Thanks to Sen. Woodburn, not much.  The Democratic state senator is charged with a crime and, unlike Rep. Sapareto, we’ve all seen the photos. (And please, Frank–let’s keep it that way!).

Best guess is Sapareto is re-elected, but he can pull down his page promoting his election as House Speaker down now. That dream is over.

OPINION: The BIA Asks “What’s the Score?”

Baseball fans love to argue who has the strongest team, the best pitching, and fiercest lineup. And they make their case by using stats: winning record, ERA, batting average.

At the State House, many of the players say they’ll support legislation that promotes a healthy climate for job creation and a strong New Hampshire economy. Because businesses are the number one payer of state taxes, legislators often say they’ll get behind efforts that help businesses thrive. But when they finally get their turn at the plate, some just leave the bat on their shoulder and watch pitches go by.

BIA recently published its fourteenth annual Legislative Scorecard and fifth annual Victories & Defeats for New Hampshire Businesses. (Access the publication on our website, The companion pieces track how all Senators and House members voted on legislation of keen interest to the business community and summarizes the outcome of a wide variety of bills in a mix of policy areas.

The Scorecard section is easy to follow. Individual scores are based on roll call votes only (those in which lawmakers’ votes are recorded by the clerk), not up-or-down voice votes in which a Senator’s or Representative’s position is difficult, if not impossible, to identify. Selected legislation (ten bills for the Senate, eleven bills in the House) covers a variety of issue areas.

BIA is a nonpartisan advocate for our members – leading employers in every corner of the state. Business-friendly legislation sometimes falls on the political left and sometimes falls on the political right. Not everyone agrees with BIA on every vote; however, 141 Senators and Representatives – both democrats and republicans – scored high enough to warrant special recognition.

Those scoring between 86-100% on selected legislation received the honor, “Champion of Business.” Those who scored between 70-85% are recognized as “Friend of Business.” If you meet a state legislator running for re-election over the next few weeks, ask them what their BIA Scorecard percentage was (or look it up yourself online).

While the Scorecard is intended to hold legislators accountable for their response to business issues, the Victories & Defeats portion of the publication reports on the legislature’s efforts to enhance New Hampshire’s climate for job creation. By extension, the publication is a reflection of BIA’s efforts to influence public policy. As New Hampshire’s leading business advocate, our members expect us to communicate their concerns to elected officials. No one bats a thousand, but looking back at the 2018 session, BIA did well.

For example, in the area of employment law, we flashed some Gold Glove-caliber defense on a flurry of bills that would have allowed state government to intrude on private business decisions in everything from hiring practices to scheduling to benefits administration. We think employers know better than politicians how to run their businesses. Most lawmakers agreed with us, and all bills of this type, which are listed in the document, were defeated.

Another area where legislators heard us was on environmental policy. Most thoughtful business leaders agree the issue of emerging contaminants, such as PFOS and PFOA, should be taken seriously and thoughtfully addressed. Throughout the 2018 session however, we saw an overreaction to this issue. Although modern technology can now detect the presence of chemicals at increasingly smaller concentrations (parts-per-trillion), science around health impacts of smaller concentrations is lagging.

We saw lawmakers attempt to address this conundrum by tasking the state to do something the federal government’s Environmental Protection Agency, academia, and industry scientists have yet to do: establish new standards for a cornucopia of compounds in the air, groundwater, and surface water. Then legislators proposed taking existing standards and unilaterally change them to arbitrary levels – levels not based on science, just numbers that would show their constituents they’re “doing something.” After articulating the folly of this approach, these bills were defeated.

We had a mixture of wins and losses in the areas of tax policy, economic development, health care, and education. For example, the House and Senate missed opportunities to put downward pressure on New Hampshire electricity prices, which are already 50-60% higher than the national average year-round. They instead listened to special interests that wanted ratepayer subsidies for unprofitable power generators.

The season at the State House is over and we spectators are already thinking about the next season coming up in January. BIA’s Legislative Scorecard and Victories & Defeats publication is a stat sheet for voters to evaluate their elected officials and determine who’s an MVP and who should ride the bench.

Sen. Woodburn’s Victim to NH Dems: “I Didn’t Bring This”

Having been forced out of her position as Coos County Democratic Party chairwoman, the former domestic partner of State Sen. Jeff Woodburn–and the alleged victim of his violence–wants her fellow Democrats to know: She’s not the problem.

“My client did not report [Woodburn’s attacks],” her attorney Patricia LaFrance told “She was contacted by the authorities who asked her if something was wrong, and who told her they had reason to believe something was happening to her. She didn’t bring this. They [the authorities] brought it to her.”

LaFrance pointed out that this information was made public during the recent court hearing on Sen. Woodburn’s criminal domestic violence case, and yet her client is still being punished by the community. “She got an email, sort of like a friendly warning, that her own party was planning–and these were the exact words–“a political lynching” for her,” LaFrance told NHJournal.

“I spent 18 years in a prosecutor’s office, and I know from experience it’s hard enough getting victims of domestic and sexual violence to come forward. To see a woman treated like this…in 2018? It’s unbelievable.”

LaFrance’s client was allegedly forced from her county leadership position over Facebook postings on the Coos County Democratic Party page highlighting the issue of domestic violence and violence against women–a problematic issue when the party’s nominee for state senate is facing criminal charges for allegedly punching and repeatedly biting his former domestic partner.

At an August meeting of the Coos County Democratic Committee after Woodburn’s arrest, his fellow Democrats rejected a motion to call for his resignation. And the New Hampshire Democratic Party says it stands behind their decision to oust his victim from her county chairmanship.

“Let me be clear: The party maintains its decision to withdraw support for the District One nominee (Woodburn),” NH Democratic Party chairman Ray Buckley said in a statement. However, Buckley denied that he or the state Democratic Party had any knowledge of the harassment or threats she has received from local Woodburn supporters.  “Whoever did this was not acting on behalf of, or authorized by, the New Hampshire Democratic Party. We do not support these actions, and as soon as we learn of more details regarding this, we will address them immediately,” Buckley said in his statement.

The NH GOP wasted no time responding.  “The intimidation tactics by Ray Buckley and the Democrat political leadership against this individual are reprehensible,” GOP state party chair Wayne MacDonald said in a statement. The NHGOP also released a series of Facebook screen grabs showing prominent state Democrats like Rep. Steve Shurtleff (D-Penacook) and Sen. Martha Fuller Clark (D-Portsmouth) celebrating Woodburn’s victory over his female opponent in the September 11th Democratic primary.


Woodburn’s case–which involves multiple accounts of domestic assault and violence— comes at an unfortunate time for New Hampshire Democrats, who have been working hard to increase their support among women, have nominated a woman gubernatorial nominee (former state senator Molly Kelly), and have repeatedly attempted to link incumbent Gov. Chris Sununu and the NHGOP to allegations of misogyny and anti-woman attitudes from President Trump and the national GOP.  The tacit support for Woodburn’s candidacy feeds charges of hypocrisy from their GOP counterparts.

Molly Kelly, a political ally of Woodburn’s in the past, hasn’t helped her party’s cause. Though she offered a pro forma call for Woodburn to resign when he was first arrested, she refused to join other Democrats in endorsing or campaigning for Woodburn’s primary opponent.


Another Down Datapoint for Democrats

The only question Democrats should be asking themselves about taking control of the House of Representatives in 2018 is “What color does Nancy Pelosi want for the drapes?”  At least, that’s the conventional wisdom. Add together the fact that it’s Trump’s first term (first-term midterms are usually bad for the party in the White House); Republicans have lost far more special election since Trump’s election than they’ve won: and the fact that, well, it’s President Trump, and it would appear that a Democratic House majority is a 2019 lock.

And yet…

Small data points keep appearing that give the Republican faithful reason to hope. The most recent is a new Reuters/Ipsos poll showing younger voters’ support for the Democratic Party fading as the midterms draw nearer.

Enthusiasm for the Democratic Party is waning among millennials as its candidates head into the crucial midterm congressional elections, according to the Reuters/Ipsos national opinion poll.  The online survey of more than 16,000 registered voters ages 18 to 34 shows their support for Democrats over Republicans for Congress slipped by about 9 percentage points over the past two years, to 46 percent overall.

And they increasingly say the Republican Party is a better steward of the economy.  That presents a potential problem for Democrats who have come to count on millennials as a core constituency – and will need all the loyalty they can get to achieve a net gain of 23 seats to capture control of the U.S. House of Representatives in November.

NHJournal has already reported why younger voters have less of an impact on New Hampshire elections than almost any other state. However, any sign that anti-GOP sentiment might be fading is good news for embattled Republicans hoping to pick up a congressional seat in New Hampshire this year.

Other recent pro-GOP data points include:

     Democrats’ Lead On Generic Ballot Has Gone From “Humongous” To Merely “Big”

In February there were polls showing Democrats had a 14-point lead on the question “Would you rather be represented by a Democrat or a Republican in Congress?” That’s a huge number, historically speaking. But the latest Real Clear Politics average shows the Democrats’ advantage down to 6.8 percent, and the trend is narrowing.  It’s still a sizable lead—about the same lead the GOP had just before the 2010 midterms when they won 63 seats and took control of the House.  So while the number may be improving….it’s still bad.

     The GOP And Its Allies Are Raising Lots of Money.

The Republican National Committee recently announced it raised $39 million in the first three months of 2018, including a record $13.8 million haul in March. It’s part of a $250 million campaign for the midterms. Meanwhile, the NRA just announced it set a one-month record in fundraising for its political arm. It’s true that Democrats are also raising a lot of money but, given the enthusiasm gap, the GOP can be encouraged by the fact that they’re keeping it close.

     Trump’s Approval Rating Seems To Have Stabilized at “Mediocre.”

Nate Silver, the notorious numbers-cruncher at made an interesting observation at the end of April: The Trump presidency may be volatile, but his numbers are not.

“Trump’s approval rating has been between 40.0% and 41.1% for 55 consecutive days in our tracking. It really doesn’t move very much at all. And it’s not like there hasn’t been news during this period.”

Now add in the fact that the overwhelmingly-negative media coverage makes some percentage of Trump supporters unwilling to admit it to pollsters—say, around 3 percent—and you’ve got a president whose real approval is around 45 percent. Not great, but not a disaster, either. 

All in all, Sean Trende, Senior Elections Analyst for RealClearPolitics told  “Trump’s improving job numbers and the narrowing generic ballot suggest that Republicans have a fighting chance, though not much of one.”

Which is why so many GOP candidates in 2018 are recalling the words of that great political philosopher, Lloyd Christmas: “So you’re telling me there’s a chance…”

For Republicans In 2018, The Kids Are NOT Alright

A new poll by Harvard’s Institute of Politics has a lot of news about young voters, Republicans and the 2018 midterm elections—none of it good.

First the bad news: According to the IOP’s Spring 2018 IOP National Youth Poll, voters under the age of 30 really don’t like Republicans in general and President Trump in particular. Things were bad for Republicans  last fall when 65 percent of young voters wanted Democrats controlling Congress, and just 33 percent picked the GOP—a 32 percent Democratic advantage.

Believe it or not, that number has actually gotten worse. In the IOP’s new poll, the GOP now trails Democrats by 42 percent, 69-28, when it comes to partisan preference among young voters.

The same with President Trump, whose dismal approval rating among young voters a year ago (32 percent) is now down to an abysmal 25 percent. To put that number into context, President Nixon’s overall approval rating when he resigned was 24 percent.

Republican partisans tend to dismiss bad poll numbers from the under-30 set because of they don’t tend to turn out on Election Day, particularly for midterms like 2018.  Which is why the worst number for the GOP in this new poll may not be the depth of the partisan divide, but the height of the political passion.

The IOP poll found a record-high level of interest in voting in the November midterms.  “The percentage of young voters who say they definitely plan to vote this year is 37 percent,” said IOP’s Polling Director John Della Volpe.  “That’s 14 points higher than in 2014 when the GOP took control of the US Senate, and six points higher than the last wave election in 2010.”

“We’re seeing a voter intensity among young people unmatched in recent times, and it will only get hotter as the election nears,” Della Volpe said.

If that intensity holds up, the GOP’s chances of holding the House will be completely washed away.

Consider a state like New Hampshire, where Republican Gov. Chris Sununu won in 2016, a presidential year, by just 3 points. (He lost among young voters by 5 points, by the way).

In midterm elections, turnout among under-30 eligible voters in New Hampshire averages just 20.3 percent, according to research by the Center for Information & Research on Civic Learning and Engagement (CIRCLE) at Tuft University’s Tisch College of Civic Life. If 37 percent of young voters actually do turn out in New Hampshire this November, Sununu and the state GOP will be wiped out by a Democratic tidal wave.

Is it likely that youth voter turnout in the Granite State will nearly double over its average, from 20 up to 37 percent? Probably not. But even if it just goes up by 25 percent, Republicans like Sununu will struggle to hold onto office. Which may be why Tufts CIRCLE ranks Gov. Sununu as one of the 10 governors most vulnerable to the impact of young voters in 2018.

Then there’s the impact on congressional races.  If under-30 voters really do turn out as the IOP poll indicates, competitive districts like NH-1 (Democratic incumbent Carol Shea-Porter isn’t seeking re-election) become an almost-certain lock for Democrats.

More bad news for Republicans. And once again—it gets worse.

The left-leaning Voter Participation Center tracks the voting behavior of demographic groups like Millennials, unmarried women, minorities, etc. and their influence on election outcomes.  Their most recent report found that this group, which includes voters under-30, makes up a smaller segment of the New Hampshire electorate than in any other state.

In other words, the Granite State may be as good as it gets for the GOP. And right now, it looks very, very bad.

How Democrats Who Refuse Compromise Could Wind Up Hurting Their Party

There are 19 groups in New Hampshire that have signed on to completely resist President Donald Trump, and they’re trying to take a page out of the Tea Party’s playbook.

A new national organization called “Indivisible” is going back to the basics: push back against Trump from the grassroots level. The group published a manifesto, essentially a manual on how to resist the Trump agenda, written by former Democratic congressional staffers.

“We examine lessons from the Tea Party’s rise and recommend two key strategic components: A local strategy targeting individual members of Congress; a defensive approach purely focused on stopping Trump from implementing an agenda built on racism, authoritarianism, and corruption,” they wrote.

Indivisible, which has more than 2,400 local groups registered with them, is advising voters to assemble at the local level and have members focus on their respective elected senators and representatives by speaking out at town hall meetings, asking their elected officials questions at local photo-ops and ceremonies, showing up at their district offices for meetings, and overwhelming their phone lines with coordinated calls.

“We can all learn from their [the Tea Party] success in influencing the national debate and the behavior of national policymakers,” the group wrote. “To their credit, they thought thoroughly about advocacy tactics.”

Many progressives are trying to recreate the circumstances that led to a wave of Republican victories in Congress and state legislatures in the 2010 midterm elections. Republicans gained control of the House of Representatives, gained more seats in the Senate, and flipped several state legislative seats, mostly campaigning on conservative ideals and anti-President Barack Obama rhetoric. But liberals could find it difficult to implement a similar strategy and might find more success if they work with Trump when possible.

The Democratic Party enters the Trump presidency completely shut out of power, with Republicans in control of the White House, House, Senate, and even most state governments. And they’re already divided amongst themselves with progressives versus moderates, and whether they should oppose Trump or work with him on common interests.

Just after his first week in office, it looks like many Democrats and progressive activists want to resist him at every step. The American Civil Liberties Union already filed a lawsuit challenging Trump’s executive order that temporarily bars entry to refugees from Iraq, Syria, Iran, Sudan, Libya, Somalia, and Yemen due to terrorism concerns. A federal judge granted an emergency stay Saturday to stop deportation of people with valid visas who landed in the United States.

But if they continue that mentality, they might run into some trouble in the 2018 midterm elections and even the 2020 presidential election. Even though the party in charge usually doesn’t do well in midterm elections, many House seats will still favor Republican control due to gerrymandering. And Democrats have to defend 10 Senate seats in Republican-controlled states. The political terrain isn’t favorable for them right now.

By refusing to compromise, Democrats may be unable to influence policy even when the president’s agenda aligns with traditional Democratic interests. It’s true that rejecting compromise can reveal internal differences and struggles within the president’s own party, such as with the ongoing Republican debate on repealing Obamacare. More damage could be done by working with Trump and exposing the internal divide in the Republican Party that’s been there since the rise of the Tea Party movement in 2009.

An area some Democrats and Trump could work on together is infrastructure spending, albeit with some disagreements on how to fund it. Trump will almost need Senate Democrats to help get it through Congress. Some of his ideas resemble the “big-government conservatism” of George W. Bush that upset many Tea Partiers. Working out a few deals with Trump could anger some Republicans, and it might do more damage to the president than being vehemently opposed to everything he does.

If the Democrats could unify around that message, they could be in much better shape to retake Congress and the presidency, and ultimately be able to govern themselves and the country better than before.

Uncompromising Democratic opposition is essentially saying the party wants to be more like the Republican Party, by trying to emulate what the Republicans did in 2009. But while the Republicans were “unified” by being anti-Obama anything, they didn’t take the time to rebuild as a party and create a clear message for the base. That was evident by the loss of Mitt Romney in 2012. And now, look at them. They ended up nominating a candidate who barely aligns with their platform. They have full control over the federal government, but they still are struggling to be unified over how to run it, as exhibited by disagreement over many of Trump’s policies.

While it’s understandable that Democrats and progressive activists would want to go about rebuilding their party the same way the Republicans did in 2009, it’s better for their party to engage with Trump in policy debates because those issues are ones they can build a campaign on, and not just on partisan rhetoric.

The Democrats have a prime opportunity to genuinely build their party from the grassroots level up. If the loss of Hillary Clinton in the 2016 election taught them anything, it’s that they need to listen to the working class in Middle America again and create a message that appeals not only to their base, but also to disenfranchised voters who feel left out of the system.

It’ll prove to be difficult for them to do that though, especially with some major players on the national stage that see the party going in a different, more radical direction.

Just look at the confirmation hearing battles. Several Democratic senators who are looking to run for president in 2020 won’t vote for anything put forward by Trump out of fear from attacks to their left. John Kelly was confirmed as secretary for homeland security by a vote of 88-11. Some of those “no” votes came from Sens. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Cory Booker (D-N.J.), and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.). The more moderate Democrats might feel pressure to vote a certain way in order to follow suit, and especially when the media reports that former Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders, Warren, and Booker voted one way, it could make it seem like the Democrats who don’t fall in line aren’t supportive of the party.

An unpopular Trump could win another four years if the next Democratic presidential leader is too far outside of the political spectrum.

And speaking of leaders, the race for the next chair of the Democratic National Committee is revealing to show how anti-Trump and against compromise the Democratic Party could be. While members of their party were participating in the Women’s March earlier this month, most of the 10 candidates for DNC chair were at a private fundraising conference held by liberal political operative David Brock. The message that could send to grassroots leaders is that the Democratic Party hasn’t learned its lesson from its recent defeat and instead, continues to listen to big money rather than voters.

The latest forums between the candidates have also shown that there aren’t many disagreements between them; they don’t have many new ideas to jumpstart the party, and they all have zero desire to work with Trump.

“That’s a question that’s absolutely ridiculous,” said New Hampshire Democratic Party chairman Ray Buckley at one of the forums, when he was asked about working with Trump.

If the Democrats try to imitate the Tea Party movement, don’t create a unifying message for its voters, and resist Trump at every turn, then they’re in for a long eight years.


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