The current narrative on town halls pushed by the Democrats, and finding its way into a lot of media coverage, is that 2017 is the mirror image of 2009, when grassroots Tea Party protests at town halls were a sign of mounting public anger over Obamacare that spilled into a GOP landslide in the 2010 elections. You will notice that this is very different from the old Democratic narrative of what happened in 2009, and you will also recall that Democrats went ahead and passed Obamacare anyway. You will also notice that incidents like left-wing protestors heckling a pastor giving an opening prayer at Louisiana Senator Bill Cassidy’s latest town hall suggests that the protests from the Left these days are not exactly apolitical mom-and-pop types who are suddenly worried about their healthcare.
But leave all of that aside for now. Because what’s less noticed in the furor over Republican town halls is that many of the Democratic Senators who face potentially tough re-election bids next year are avoiding holding town halls:
Few of the 10 Democratic senators facing re-election next year in states carried by Trump have scheduled in-person town hall meetings during this week’s congressional recess.
Missouri Sen. Claire McCaskill declined an invitation to attend a town hall organized by a group called Kansas City Indivisible this weekend, deciding to send a staff member in her place. The two-term senator, up for re-election next year in a state Trump won by nearly 19 percentage points, is scheduled to chat with voters next week on Facebook Live….The political pressure is particularly intense for West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin and North Dakota Sen. Heidi Heitkamp…Both have avoided formal town halls this week…Few vulnerable Senate Democrats are expected to do so in settings that allow for unscripted questions.
In Montana, where Trump prevailed by 20 percentage points, Sen. Jon Tester made several public appearances this week, but he did not advertise any of them as town halls….In Pennsylvania, a spokeswoman for Sen. Bob Casey said he would host a town hall in early March, but the details hadn’t yet been set. In Florida, Sen. Bill Nelson addressed students at two Thursday appearances focused on education. And in Ohio, Sen. Sherrod Brown “has participated in several telephone conference calls recently” and his office “emailed surveys out to constituents” to gauge their priorities, said spokeswoman Jennifer Donohue.