Thursday, November 15, 2018

Mia Love Sues To Stop Ballot Count In Utah

Yet another election lawsuit has been filed as Rep. Mia Love (R-Utah) has asked a judge to stop the ballot count in her congressional district. Love’s campaign is seeking approval to challenge the county verification of signed envelopes that accompany absentee ballots.

Love was reported to have lost on election night, but the race is very close and has not yet been officially decided. Yesterday, the Salt Lake Tribune reported that Love has narrowed the race and trailed Democrat Ben McAdams by 873 votes.

Love alleges that her campaign representatives have been allowed to observe the counting, but that challenges to the authenticity of voter signatures have been ignored, notes the Daily Caller. A hearing was scheduled on the lawsuit for Thursday afternoon, but Salt Lake County continued counting ballots in the meantime, releasing the updated count Wednesday night.

Love was mocked by President Trump the day after the election for her loss. The president singled her out for failing to ask for an endorsement of her re-election campaign, saying, “Mia Love gave me no love and she lost. Too bad. Sorry about that, Mia.”

Love’s opponent, Democrat Ben McAdams tweeted in response to the lawsuit, “It is the job of election officials to decide what votes count, not political candidates. Rep. Love's decision to sue only in SLCo as she continues to trail in this race is unfortunate and smacks of desperation. Utah voters deserve better than this.”

Utah’s four congressional districts were all represented by Republicans prior to the midterm elections. Rep. Love’s fourth district, which includes part of Salt Lake City and its southern suburbs, is the only district in danger of being controlled by Democrats.

In other parts of the country, election results continue to trickle in with new gains for Democrats. The race for Maine’s second district was finally decided today in favor of Democrat Jared Golden. Golden, a Marine veteran, defeated Republican incumbent Bruce Poliquin. Golden’s victory brings the total Democrat gains in the House to 35 seats with seven races still undecided. 

Originally published on The Resurgent

Ruling In CNN Lawsuit Over Acosta Ban Expected Today

The judge presiding over the CNN lawsuit regarding Jim Acosta’s White House press access said that he will issue a ruling this afternoon. CNN filed suit on Tuesday and the first hearing in the case was held yesterday. CNN is asking for a temporary restraining order that would force the government to return Mr. Acosta’s White House access.
CNN’s attorney, Theodore Boutrous, said that the “judge was very, very, focused on the key issues of the case.”
In the two-hour hearing, Judge Timothy of the United States District Court for the District of Columbia, a Trump appointee, probed CNN’s claim that Acosta’s ban was viewpoint discrimination rather than an action based on the reporter’s conduct. Boutrous cited the Trump Administration’s attack on CNN for “liberal bias” in a fundraising email sent after the revocation.
James Burnham, the attorney representing the Justice Department, said that the White House didn’t need a reason to ban Acosta “because there's no First Amendment protection and the President has broad discretion.”
Burnham attacked CNN’s First Amendment claim, saying, “A single journalist's attempt to monopolize a press conference is not a viewpoint and revoking a hard pass in response to that is not viewpoint discrimination.”
At issue is whether the White House had valid cause to revoke Acosta’s press access. There is legal precedent from the 1977 case Sherrill v. Knight that “such refusal [for press access] must be based on a compelling governmental interest.” Judge Kelly must decide whether Acosta’s disruptive actions at last week’s press conference were sufficient to give the White House a valid reason for revoking his access. President Trump’s longstanding feud with CNN and Acosta give the news outlet ammunition to claim that the ban was directed at CNN because of their unfriendly coverage of the Trump Administration.
Numerous news organizations such as Fox News and the USA Today Network have filed briefs supporting CNN’s petition. “Secret Service passes for working White House journalists should never be weaponized,” said Jay Wallace, president of Fox News. “While we don’t condone the growing antagonistic tone by both the president and the press at recent media avails, we do support a free press, access and open exchanges for the American people.”
The ruling is expected at 3:00 p.m. Eastern time today.

Originally published on The Resurgent

UPDATE; 11/15/2018 4:02 PM Earlier today, we reported that a ruling would be coming down this afternoon on whether CNN would be granted temporary relief from the White House's decision to revoke press access for Jim Acosta following last week's press conference kerfuffle. We can now report that federal judge Timothy Kelly has delayed the hearing on the temporary restraining order until tomorrow.
CNN reported earlier today that Kelly had rescheduled the hearing for Friday morning at 10:00 a.m. Eastern. At the hearing, Kelly, a Trump appointee, will decide whether to issue a temporary order that restores Acosta's press access until the case is decided. Regardless of tomorrow's decision, CNN says that the case will go forward as they pursue permanent restoration of Mr. Acosta's White House media privileges.

New Ruling Puts End To Georgia Election Wrangling In Sight

A federal judge issued a ruling in Democrat Stacey Abrams lawsuit over the Georgia gubernatorial election. Last night, U.S. District Judge Steve Jones ruled that the secretary of state has confirmed that absentee ballots with missing or incorrect birthdates are counted.

Per a report by WSB Radio, Judge Jones, an Obama appointee, agreed to Abrams’ request to count absentee ballots with missing or incorrect birthdates but rejected several other requests by the Democratic candidate.  Ballots cast by voters in the wrong county or with incorrect residence addresses will not be counted.

Under Georgia law, if a voter goes to the wrong precinct to vote, they are allowed to cast a provisional ballot. The provisional ballot is counted if the voter is determined to be a resident of the county and has not voted elsewhere. Several counties in Metro Atlanta reported that they rejected hundreds of ballots because people voted in a county where they were not a resident. In Fulton County, 972 ballots cast by out-of-county voters were rejected.

Abrams is about 19,000 votes short of being able to force a runoff. Austin Chambers, an advisor to Republican candidate Brian Kemp said on Twitter that the ruling would affect about 800 votes, “nowhere near enough to change the race. This is over.”

Even if the ruling does not change the outcome of the gubernatorial race, it may affect a still-undecided congressional race. Atlanta’s 11 Alive reported that the election for the seventh congressional district was still undecided. Republican incumbent Bob Woodall leads Democrat challenger Carolyn Bourdeaux by only 533 votes or 0.2 percent of the total. Georgia law allows candidates to ask for a recount if the margin in the election is less than one percent.

A similar ruling in a separate lawsuit filed by Bourdeaux required Gwinnett County to count absentee ballots with incorrect or missing birthdates as well. The Gwinnett County ruling was issued by Judge Leigh Martin May, also an Obama appointee, prior to yesterday’s ruling by Judge Jones. Per 11 Alive, the ruling affected at least 265 ballots with the birth year omitted and at least 58 ballots where the birth year was listed as 2018.

How long the recount of absentee ballots will take is uncertain at this point. The state deadline for certifying election was results was missed Tuesday due to the lawsuits. Under the new ruling, all of Georgia’s 159 counties will have to recount the absentee ballots and recertify their results.

Erick Erickson wrote on Resurgent, “There will be no recount and there will be no runoff. There are simply not enough votes. The only thing Democrats have left is to help [Democrat Secretary of State candidate] John Barrow get elected in the runoff.”

“On the upside, this is all almost over,” Erickson added.

Originally published on The Resurgent

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

How Martha McSally Could Still End Up In The Senate

Martha McSally lost this year’s Senate race in Arizona, but she could soon be a US Senator anyway. In a bit of irony following the hard-fought race for the seat of the retiring Jeff Flake, both McSally and Democrat Kirsten Sinema, the winner in last week’s election, could soon be office neighbors across the country in Washington, D.C.

The secret to McSally’s possible success lies in the fact that former Senator Jon Kyl was appointed to fill John McCain’s seat after his death last summer. Kyl, who is 76, agreed to fill McCain’s seat through the end of this year. If Kyl retires before the end of McCain’s elected term in 2022, then Arizona’s Republican governor will appoint another successor to fill the seat. If Gov. Doug Ducey needs a Republican to fill a Senate seat, what better person would there be than a popular conservative congresswoman who just received more than a million votes in a very close Senate campaign?

McSally, a 52-year-old former Air Force fighter pilot, would have to defend her seat in 2022. Given her close race against Sinema in a heavily Democratic year, the advantage of incumbency in an electoral landscape that is possibly post-Trump would make it very likely that McSally would successfully defend her seat.

Laurie Roberts at the Arizona Republic wrote Monday that Gov. Ducey should appoint McSally in an effort to “salve… the open, gaping wound that is post-election Arizona.” Roberts said that McSally has traditionally been a “more moderate voice than the one portrayed during this campaign -- the one that allowed her to represent the state's most competitive district.”

Roberts also noted that McSally has a history of being “willing to work across the political aisle.” That is a quality that is currently in short supply and is very much needed.

Originally published on The Resurgent

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

How Donald Trump Repeated Barack Obama's Biggest Mistake... With Similar Results

As news of the Republican midterm defeat continues to trickle in, it is becoming more apparent that 2018 was a blue anti-Trump wave after all. The Republicans made small gains in the Senate, thanks to an abnormally friendly map, but the GOP lost the House as well as seven gubernatorial seats and numerous seats in state legislatures across the country. How we got to this point is remarkably similar to how Barack Obama led the Democrats to lose more than a thousand seats in his eight years.

As I have written in the past, Donald Trump has echoed many of President Obama’s mistakes and has now yielded similar results. The bottom line is that both Barack Obama, who campaigned as a moderate Democrat, and Donald Trump, who was elected with the support of a minority of voters, both governed as though they had a broad mandate to enact a laundry list of wishes from their most partisan supporters when what voters really wanted was for both parties to work together.  

Barack Obama began his administration with staggering popularity and goodwill. Two years later, he had squandered much of his approval by forcing through an unpopular health care reform law against the will of the people. Opposition to the Affordable Care Act and the way that Democrats enacted the law were prime factors in the Tea Party wave of 2010.

Ironically, Obamacare was unpopular when passed by the Democrats and promises to repeal and replace the law played a major role in the rise of the Republican Congress since 2010. Unfortunately, President Trump and Republicans made a hash of healthcare reform. In fact, Republicans handled health care reform so badly that they managed to do what Obama and the Democrats could not do: They convinced voters that the Affordable Care Act was a good thing.

Obamacare’s protections for pre-existing conditions are so popular that the law directly contributed to the loss of a Republican Senate seat in Arizona. Just before the election, Republican candidate Martha McSally told Sean Hannity that she was getting her “ass kicked” over her vote to reform Obamacare because Democrats were invoking fear that Republicans wanted to eliminate coverage for pre-existing conditions. It now appears that McSally has lost her Senate race to Democrat Kirsten Sinema.

In addition to healthcare, the Trump Administration has adopted a number of other unpopular policies as well. The tax reform law that caused the economy to surge is still not popular with voters. Trump’s policy of separating illegal immigrants from their children was widely unpopular. Likewise, Trump’s personal behavior consistently drives down his approval ratings.

In 2010, Democrats took a “shellacking,” in President Obama’s words. Republicans gained six Senate seats, 63 House seats, and six governorships as well as doing well in down-ballot races for state and local offices. The GOP won control of the House but, like Democrats this year, were unable to win the Senate. For Republicans, it took two more elections until the party finally won the Senate in 2014. Now, rather than building on those hard-won gains, Republicans are giving them back.  

To say that the 2018 wave was not as large as the 2010 wave misses the point. Democrats had more seats to give up than Republicans did. Even after losing six Senate seats in 2010, Democrats controlled 53 seats including two Democrat-leaning independents. The House results in 2018 will leave Democrats within a few seats of the 242 that Republicans controlled after 2010.

The bigger picture is that 2018 was a wholesale rejection of President Trump by moderate and suburban voters. USA Today reported that more than 80 suburban counties voted more Democrat this year than in 2016. In 20 of these counties, Democrats saw a double-digit surge. CNN’s exit polls show that Republicans lost female voters as well as minorities, the middle class, and college-educated voters. Republicans lost moderate voters by 26 points this year compared with eight points in 2014.

President Trump, like Barack Obama, has an abrasive style that is much-loved by his ardent supporters but few others. Like Obama, Trump tends to divide up the electorate and focus on turning out his base rather than on winning converts. Also, like Obama, President Trump is apparently incapable of reaching across the aisle to form a bipartisan legislative coalition, preferring instead to use (or overuse) his executive authority to make small, temporary changes rather than sweeping, permanent ones.

Republicans may look at all that and say, “So what? Obama got re-elected.”

That’s true, but Obama also had a large victory than President Trump, who lost the popular vote and only eked out an Electoral College win with skin-of-the-teeth victories in several states. Obama had much more support that he could lose. And lose it he did, just not quite in large enough numbers to lose the 2012 election.

Up until now, Republicans have maintained a narrative that President Trump’s economic success will overcome problems with his personal style. After the midterms, it is painfully obvious that this view is not true. President Trump is overwhelmingly popular with Republicans and unpopular with everyone else. That leaves the Republican Party in a difficult spot.

The GOP has three different options for moving forward. First, its members can convince President Trump to change course. Trump could possibly reach out to the new Congress and become the dealmaker that he claimed to be in 2016. The two parties could work together to resolve the issues that confront the country. Obviously, this won’t happen.

The second alternative is for Republicans to distance themselves from Trump and try to repair the damage with moderate voters. One problem here is that Donald Trump does not take rejection well. Distancing oneself from the president will bring forth the full wrath and fury of the First Tweeter. A second problem is that many polls suggest that today’s Republican voters are more loyal to Donald Trump than to traditional Republican ideals. Unless Republican voters sour on Trump, most Republicans officials who oppose him are likely to be on the losing end of the fight.

Finally, the third option is for Republicans to say, “Damn the torpedoes! Full speed ahead,” and go right on doing exactly what they are doing. This is the option that Democrats chose after 2010 and, given President Trump’s claim that the midterms were a “big victory” for Republicans, it seems likely that the GOP will follow this course now.

If the parallels between the Obama and Trump Administrations persist, Trump might be re-elected by following Obama’s model of doing very little aside of issuing Executive Orders and blaming the opposition for their obstructionism. However, given Mr. Trump’s slim victory margin in 2016 and the GOP’s lack of success in the “blue wall” states this year, it seems more likely that the parallels will diverge as the president fails to win a second term.

If President Trump and the Republicans realize the error that they are making, they may be able to break the pattern before the party suffers a series of Obama-like defeats. Although they would have to stand up to factions of the base on issues such as immigration, if Republicans can come together with Democrats to create bipartisan solutions, they might be able to win back their majority. More importantly, they would be helping the country and doing the job that the voters hired them to do.  

Originally published on The Resurgent

Monday, November 12, 2018

Republicans Shouldn't Joke About Hangings

From the WTF files, the Republican incumbent senator in Mississippi commented about being on the “front row” of a “public hanging.” If you are wondering in what context it is appropriate for senators anywhere, much less Mississippi, to use the phrase “public hanging” in an approving sense, there is none.

The unfortunate and asinine comment came in a video released over the weekend that depicted a Nov. 2 conversation between Senator Cindy Hyde-Smith and a group of supporters in Tupelo. In the video clip, Hyde-Smith is standing beside a tall man who has been identified as Colin Hutchinson, a cattle rancher who supported her re-election campaign. Hutchinson has his arm around her shoulders and the two are standing in front of a small group of supporters, all of whom are white.

The dialogue is difficult to make out because of a train horn that is blowing at the same time, but Hyde-Smith gestures toward the man and clearly says, “If he invited me to a public hanging, I’d be on the first row.”

In a statement released on Sunday, Hyde-Smith dismissed the comment as a joke, saying, “I referred to accepting an invitation to a speaking engagement. In referencing the one who invited me, I used an exaggerated expression of regard, and any attempt to turn this into a negative connotation is ridiculous.”

While Hyde-Smith’s comment was obviously an attempt at homespun humor, it is equally obvious that the joke fell flat and played right into the hands of the Democrats. In a close race with Democrat Mike Espy, who happens to be black, making a reference that would be connected with lynchings is monumentally stupid.

Whether Hyde-Smith intended the reference to be racial or not, many voters took it that way and now she has to spend time explaining to voters that she’s not a racist, she’s only a person who makes stupid comments. Most candidates would rather spend the weeks before a close runoff election talking about policy and criticizing their opponent instead of explaining their sense of humor.

Here’s a free piece of advice for Republican candidates everywhere: Democrats are going to try to paint you as bigots and racists. Don’t say things that help them do this.

Between 1877 and 1950, about 4,000 black people and about half as many whites were lynched by racial mobs that often included members of the Ku Klux Klan. The murderers in the cases were rarely prosecuted. One of the most famous lynchings, the murder of Emmet Till, occurred in Mississippi as did the murders of Medgar Evers and other civil rights workers. It is not surprising that modern black Americans are still a bit sensitive about a century of lawlessness and racial violence.

It shouldn’t come as a shock to most readers that the Republican Party has a problem with minorities. Exit polls confirm that the GOP’s performance with minorities, particularly black voters, is abysmal. When Republicans such as Cindy Hyde-Smith make comments that can be perceived as race-baiting by minority voters, it only confirms the attitudes that black voters already have about Republicans.

The thoughtless remark may also put Mississippi’s Senate seat in jeopardy. Hyde-Smith was appointed to take the place of Thad Cochran, a Republican Senator who retired earlier this year. In the election last week, she finished one point ahead of Espy in a three-way race that also included Republican Chris McDaniel. Since no candidate received a majority of votes, Hyde-Smith and Espy now face each other in a runoff.

Mississippi is typically considered a red state. It has not had a Democrat Senator since 1988, but, like many Southern states, Mississippi has a large black population that typically votes Democrat. In fact, blacks make up about 38 percent of Mississippi’s population, but only 32 percent of Mississippi voters this year were black. There's a pretty good chance that black voters might be motivated to turn out for a black Democrat over a white Republican who jokes about lynching.

Mississippi is red in large part because many of its black voters don’t show up. If the Republican Party continues to alienate black voters while its candidates simultaneously make statements that motivate black voters to get to the polls, it won’t end well for the GOP.

The Republican Party seems to have gotten the notion that it can nominate pretty much anybody in the South and they will still get elected because Democrats are worse. Donald Trump bragging about grabbing kittens? Sure. Brian Kemp pointing a gun at his daughter's beau and talking about hauling illegals in his pick-em-up truck? Fine. Ron DeSantis teaching his toddler to build a wall with blocks? Okay.

2018 should be a wakeup call for Republicans. They didn’t actually lose across the South, but they very nearly did. Kemp, DeSantis, Rick Scott, and even Ted Cruz in Texas had very narrow victories. If Republicans keep nominating people that appeal primarily to white Republicans with no regard for winning minority voters, they are probably going to start losing. The losing may begin with Cindy Hyde-Smith.

Senator Hyde-Smith should not try to defend her statement. She should apologize for making such a stupid joke. Being sensitive to how other people perceive what you say is not being politically correct. It’s being polite.

She should also go talk to some black voters. She should ask to address the state NAACP and go to some black church services. She should make visits to black neighborhoods and ask for the support of black voters. Until the GOP starts doing this, black voters will continue to support Democrats and thoughtless comments will further cement the status of blacks as a Democrat bloc.

Originally published on The Resurgent

Florida Recount and Vote Fraud Allegations

Florida’s secretary of state ordered an official recount to begin today. Secretary of State Ken Detzner, a Republican, ordered the recount in both the Senate and gubernatorial races after the vote margin from the unofficial results that included absentee ballots was found to be within 0.5 percent. Under Florida law, less than 0.5 percent difference mandates a statewide machine recount of all ballots. There will also be a recount in the agriculture commissioner race.

Following Detzner’s announcement of the recount, Democratic gubernatorial candidate Andrew Gillum rescinded his concession, saying, “I am replacing my words of concession with an uncompromised and unapologetic call that we count every single vote” per CBS News.

Republican candidate Ron DeSantis responded, “With the election behind us, it's now time to come together as a state as we prepare to serve all Floridians. Since Tuesday night, that is what I have been doing and that is what I will continue to do in the days and weeks ahead.”

As of noon on Saturday, Republican candidates led the governor and Senate races while Democrat Nikki Fried led Republican Matt Caldwell in the Agriculture Commissioner race by 5,326 votes according to Florida Politics. DeSantis led Gillum by 33,864 votes while Republican Rick Scott led incumbent Democrat Senator Bill Nelson by 12,562 votes.

“Democrats would like nothing more than to rip victories away from Ron DeSantis, Rick Scott and Matt Caldwell,” said Christian Ziegler, a member of the Florida GOP Executive Board told Florida Politics. “As we’ve seen in Broward County, they will stop at nothing to win, including possibly violating the law.”

On Friday, Senator Marco Rubio (F-Fl.) tweeted an accusation that Broward County mishandled provisional ballots. Rubio said that Broward had included invalid provisional ballots in the vote totals that it submitted to the state, an accusation backed up by the Miami Herald.  

Rubio also tweeted about provisional ballot boxes found in Broward and speculated that the unguarded boxes could contain more ballots. An attorney for the county’s Supervisor of Elections, Brenda Snipes, told the Miami Herald that the boxes had previously contained ballots, but now contained only office supplies.

Alleging vote fraud, earlier this week Rick Scott sued to force Broward and Palm Beach Counties to allow campaign and party representatives to monitor ballot counting. By Saturday night, the Miami Herald reported that state observers form the Florida Division of Elections had seen no evidence of criminal activity.

In a machine recount, the county duplicates ballots that were damaged and all ballots are rescanned. If the numbers match up and the resulting margin is greater than 0.25 percent, the county certifies the results and submits them to the state. Undervotes and overvotes, ballots on which voters made too few or too many choices, are not counted the machine recount. If the margin is less than 0.25 percent after the machine recount, a hand recount of overvotes and undervotes only is ordered. The entire process could take several days. Additionally, overseas ballots can be accepted until Nov. 16.

In 2000, a recount of the presidential election votes in Florida also centered on Palm Beach and Broward Counties. That recount took 36 days to complete. Democrat Al Gore conceded to George W. Bush on Dec. 13.

So far there is no firm evidence of wrongdoing or improper activities in the handling of Florida ballots, but it is curious that recounts always seem to benefit Democrats. Even though some Republicans can still win elections after a recount, I can’t recall a single recount that left a Republican candidate with a better margin over their opponent than before the recount started.

Originally published on The Resurgent

Saturday, November 10, 2018

As More Election Results Come In, The Blue Wave Gets Bigger

As the results of the midterm election continue to come in, the extent of the Democratic wave is becoming larger than it seemed on Tuesday night. Not all House races have been called, but it appears that, when the dust settles, Democrats will have gained at least 35 seats. In the Senate, Republicans seem to have gained three seats (with Arizona and Florida still not settled) due to a very friendly map.

But beyond these headline congressional matchups, the blue wave extended to the state level.   Democrats won full control of state governments in six states: Colorado, Illinois, Maine, New Mexico, New York, and Nevada. At the same time, Republicans lost control of four states, Kansas, Michigan, New Hampshire, and Wisconsin, as voters decided to divide the branches of government. The only state that moved from divided government to Republican control was Alaska.

As the nation moves toward redistricting after the 2020 census, increased control of state governments gives Democrats an edge in many states where drawing congressional districts is a partisan process. The Republican wave of 2010 and its influence on the redistricting that followed helped to blunt Republican losses this year, which was still the largest Democratic wave since the Watergate era.  

In gubernatorial races, Democrats flipped seven states from red to blue. Even though Democrats lost high profile races in Florida and Georgia, the party quietly took control of governor’s mansions in Illinois, Kansas, Maine, Michigan, Nevada, New Mexico, and Wisconsin. The only state where Republicans added a governorship was Alaska, where Republican Mike Dunleavy succeeded independent Bill Walker.

Democrats took full control of the state legislatures in Colorado, Maine, and New York, all of which had been formerly split with Democrats in control of one house and Republicans the other. In Minnesota, Republicans lost control of the House of Representatives, making the state the only divided legislature in the country. Per the National Conference of State Legislatures, next year, Republicans will control 30 legislatures and 21 state governments and Democrats will control of 18 legislatures and 14 states.

Before the election, Republicans held a narrow advantage in the share of state legislators. Republicans had 52 percent of state legislators compared with 47 percent for Democrats. Those numbers have not been updated since the election due to many races still being undecided.

Judgeships are often overlooked in elections since judges are appointed in some states and nonpartisan in others. There was, however, at least one smashing victory for Democratic judicial candidates. In Texas, Beto O’Rourke lost but his surge of Democrat voters increased Democrat control of state appeals courts to seven of 14, including the influential courts in Austin, Dallas, and Houston. Before the election, Democrats controlled only three of these courts.

As more election results trickle in, it is more and more apparent that there was a blue wave. The fact that Republicans extended their hold on the Senate and won highly publicized gubernatorial races in Florida and Georgia masked many of the gains made by Democrats this week. It would be a mistake for Republicans to laugh off the Democrat wave based on winning red state Senate seats and governorships by narrow margins. Unless Republicans can reverse the voter anger at President Trump and their party, they may be in for more devastating election in the years to come.

A hidden result of Barack Obama’s Administration was that, even though Democrats retained the presidency for eight years, they lost more than a thousand legislative seats in Congress and around the country. As Republican unpopularity mounts, Democrats are on track to regain many of these lost seats.

Originally published on The Resurgent

Friday, November 9, 2018

What 2018 Exit Polls Tell Us About Republican Voters

The exit polls are in for this week’s midterm elections. If you’re a politics junkie, it can be fascinating to compare the breakdown of this year’s voters with previous years. Even if you aren’t a fan of statistics, it can be useful to look at who voted for who to help determine why the election turned out the way it did.

In this case, we can look back at previous exit polls to compare how well Republicans and Democrats did with various demographic groups. Since midterm elections have a different electorate from presidential elections, I looked at CNN’s exit polls from 2014 as well as 2016 to compare them with the new results from the 2018 midterms.

The most basic breakdown is between genders. In 2018, Republicans won 51 percent of male voters but lost female voters by a 19-point margin (40-59 percent). This was six points worse than the 2016’s 13-point gender gap and 15 points worse than 2014.

Democrats typically win younger voters and 2018 was no exception. The difference this year was that the Republican-leaning age groups were even older than normal. In 2014 and 2016, Republicans won majorities of age groups above 40-years-old while Democrats won all age groups younger than 40. In 2018, Democrats won all age groups younger than 50.

Margins were worse for Republicans in all age groups as well. Even though the GOP won all age groups older than 50 in 2018, the margin was only 1-2 points, a virtual tie.

When it comes to race, there was more bad news for Republicans. The GOP won just over half of white voters, 54 percent, and lost all other racial demographics by convincing margins. The share of white voters won by Republicans has declined from 60 percent in 2014 and 57 percent in 2016.

In the exit polls, minority voters are broken into three categories, black, Latino, and Asian. Again, the Republican share of these demographic groups has declined as well. The percentage of each group that voted Republican is listed below by year:
Black – 10 percent
Latino – 36 percent
Asian – 50 percent
Black – 8 percent
Latino – 28 percent
Asian – 27 percent
Black – 9 percent
Latino – 29 percent
Asian – 23 percent

Between 2014 and 2018, Republican support among blacks remained relatively constant at just less than 10 percent. Support among Latinos declined initially and then stabilized at slightly less than 30 percent. Support among Asians has been more than halved over four years.

In 2004, when President George W. Bush ran on immigration reform, the numbers for Latinos and Asians were considerably better than they are today. Although President Bush only garnered 11 percent of the black vote, he won 44 percent of the Latino vote and 44 percent of the Asian vote.

Interestingly, while the percentage of black and Asian voters in the electorate has remained relatively constant, the share of Latino voters has increased. From eight percent in both 2004 and 2014, Latinos increased to 11 percent in 2016 and 2018. Over the same time period, white voters decreased from 77 percent of the electorate to 71 percent.

Voting patterns have also changed with respect to education. In 2014, Democrats won voters without high school diplomas and voters with postgraduate degrees. Republicans won high school graduates and four-year college graduates. By 2016, most college graduates were voting Democrat. In the 2018 elections, voters who had not graduated high school and voters with associate degrees were the only categories won by Republicans.

By ideology, conservatives usually vote Republican and liberals usually vote Democrat. The share of conservative, liberal, and moderate voters has remained relatively constant over the past four years, but moderate voters have voted Democrat at an increasing rate. In 2014, moderates went Democrat by eight points. By 2016, the margin was 12 points and, this year, moderates selected Democrats by a whopping 26 points.

Low-income voters typically vote Democrat, but Republicans won voters who earned above $50,000 annually by double-digit margins in 2014. In 2016, Republicans eked out a victory in the $50-100,000 range by only three points. Voters who earned more split almost equally between the two parties. This year, Democrats won the $50-100,000 category while Republicans won voters who earned more than $100,000.

Republicans enlarged their Senate majority in 2018, but the party has lost support in every demographic group. Even white males, the GOP’s core demographic, has declined from 64 percent support in 2014 to 60 percent in 2018.

Much has been made of the Republican gender gap with 2018 being called the “year of the angry female college graduate.” This prediction turned out to be true with Republicans losing women by almost 20 points. Unfortunately, the Republican problem is not limited to women. The GOP also has an age gap, a race gap, an education gap, and an income gap. So far, all of these gaps are getting worse under President Trump.

Originally published on The Resurgent

Thursday, November 8, 2018

Nancy Pelosi Lays Out Impeachment Strategy

Nancy Pelosi may not be holding the Speaker’s gavel yet, but she is already laying out the Democratic strategy for the new Congress. Before the votes had all been counted from Tuesday’s election, the congresswoman from California was already pouring cold water on the left’s hopes for impeachment of President Trump.

In an interview with PBS Newshour Tuesday night, Pelosi told Judy Woodruff that impeachment would not be a Democrat priority. “It depends on what happens in the Mueller investigation,” Pelosi said, “But that is not unifying.”

“I get criticized in my own party for not being more in support of it, but I'm not,” she continued. “If that happens, it would have to be bipartisan, and the evidence would have to be so conclusive.”

Pelosi is apparently taking the smart route in playing down impeachment. Apparently having learned from both the Clinton impeachment and the Kavanaugh hearings that such actions often galvanize resistance, Pelosi does not want to stir up the Republican base ahead of a presidential election. Even though Bill Clinton was impeached in 1998, he became even more popular afterward and survived an attempt at removing him from office.

By insisting on bipartisan support for any impeachment, Pelosi keeps the door open to future action if Donald Trump loses the support of Republicans, but she also implicitly acknowledges that Democrats don’t have the votes to do the job. It only takes a simple majority vote in the House to impeach a president, but a two-thirds vote in the Senate is required to remove him from office. While the Democrats hold the House and theoretically have the votes for impeachment, the exercise would ultimately be pointless if the Senate’s Republican majority would not vote to remove the president from office.

 Instead, Pelosi said that her priority will be to work with Republicans on bipartisan legislation. “What people want us to do is address the concerns that they have in their lives,” she said. “There is serious financial instability in many families in our country. They want to see us working to do — to get that done for them. They want results. They want peace, and that's what we will bring them.”

The once-and-probably-future Speaker of the House noted that she had “worked closely on many issues” with George W. Bush despite their differences. She contrasted her claims of cooperation with Republicans during the Bush years to Republican attempts to block President Obama.

“We're not going to act the way they did,” Pelosi said. “Again, for those who want impeachment and… that's not what our caucus is about.”

Pelosi’s comments about impeachment stand in contrast to comments recently made by Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y), the ranking Democrat on the House Judiciary committee. A Federalist writer recently overheard Nadler discussing the possible impeachment of not only Trump but also Brett Kavanaugh.

While Pelosi’s promises of bipartisan cooperation on national priorities are unlikely to last long into the new year, her plans not to impeach Donald Trump should have more staying power. Democrats have been acting as obstructionists for the past two years. That is unlikely to change. In the case of impeachment, however, Pelosi is a seasoned politician who knows that the downside of impeaching President Trump is much greater than the benefit.

Orignally published on the Resurgent

Why Midterm Results Are Bad News For Trump's 2020 Hopes

President Trump took a victory lap yesterday to take credit for the Republican gains in the Senate during the midterm elections (as well as taking credit for helping Republican congressmen to survive the blue wave), but one aspect of the midterm results that few have mentioned does not bode well for the president’s re-election hopes. This week’s elections suggest that the Rust Belt states that propelled Trump to an Electoral College victory in 2016 may be once again returning to the Democratic orbit.

In 2016, President Trump swept the upper Midwest states of Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan, and Wisconsin. Ohio, with 18 Electoral votes, is a swing state, and the other four states, which typically vote Democrat in presidential elections, contain 46 Electoral votes. The loss of Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin would have changed the outcome of the election.

So how did these Rust Belt states vote in 2018?

Ohio held the best news for President Trump. The good news is that the Buckeye State elected a Republican governor to succeed John Kasich. Mike DeWine won a four-point victory over former Consumer Financial Protection Bureau head Richard Cordray. The bad news is that Democrat Senator Sherrod Brown was re-elected by more than six points.

Pennsylvania re-elected Democrats to both the governor’s mansion and the Senate. Voters rehired both Gov. Tom Wolf and Senator Bob Casey by double-digit margins.

In Michigan, voters also selected Democrats in statewide races. Democrat Gretchen Whitmer won the gubernatorial race by nine points and Senator Debbie Stabenow was re-elected by six points.

In Wisconsin, former Republican presidential candidate Scott Walker lost a heartbreaking re-election campaign by slightly more than one point. Democratic Senator Tammy Baldwin fared better, winning her re-election campaign by 11 points.

The Democratic near-sweep of the Rust Belt gubernatorial and Senate races is an indication that Donald Trump may not have permanently expanded the Republican base in those states. At the very least, the president’s coattails did not extend to Republican candidates in the statewide races that are similar to Electoral College races that Trump will need to win in 2020.

Even though the outcome in midterm elections can’t be directly correlated to presidential elections, it’s hard to find evidence in Tuesday night’s results that Donald Trump has expanded, or even maintained, his support in the upper Midwest. After having won the 2016 election despite losing the popular vote, failing to grow his support could spell doom for his re-election campaign.

The situation may change over the next two years and the presidential election will also be affected by such factors as who the Democrats nominate and the outcome of President Trump’s trade war. It is also possible that voters in these states will turn out for Mr. Trump even though they failed to do so for other Republican candidates.

The loss of seven of eight statewide races in a vital region this week doesn’t necessarily mean that Donald Trump will lose his re-election campaign, but it does show that Mr. Trump has a tough race ahead of him. Trump has two years to reverse the trend of his declining Rust Belt support. If he cannot win the three blue Rust Belt states, as well as the other states that he won in 2016, he will probably be a one-term president.

Originally published on The Resurgent

Wednesday, November 7, 2018

Midterm Lessons For Both Parties

The midterm elections ended pretty much as predicted. Democrats won the House and Republicans enlarged their hold on the Senate. If there was a surprise, it was the extent of the Republican gains in the Senate where all of the very close races (that have been called) seem to have gone red. Nevertheless, both sides can claim victory in the split decision. There are also lessons that both sides should learn.

For the Democrats, the most obvious lesson to take from the midterms is that radicalism does not pay. Even though Democrats won the House, they underperformed in many races. This may be due in large part to the fact that the party nominated radical candidates. For example, in the Florida gubernatorial race, the Democrats nominated a democratic socialist who was the subject of an FBI ethics investigation. Socialism may play in deep blue districts of the Northeast or West Coast, but not in purple states. And the experience of Hillary in 2016 should have taught Democrats to steer clear of candidates mired in FBI investigations.

Likewise, gun control is death for Democratic candidates in red states. In the Georgia gubernatorial race, which is still too close to call, Stacey Abrams trails by less than two points. In a red state like Georgia, even hinting at the possibility of gun confiscations is a red flag for voters. Abrams’ anti-gun platform may have been the deciding factor for many voters. And no, calling it “common sense gun laws” doesn’t make it better.

Perhaps the biggest lesson for Democrats is that they should steer clear of the politics of personal destruction, especially when there is no evidence to support the accusations. The Kavanaugh confirmation hearings seem to have been the catalyst that angered Republicans voters and inspired them to get to the polls. Joe Donnelly, Heidi Heitkamp, Bill Nelson, and Claire McCaskill should serve as warnings to Democrats from red and purple states. Joe Manchin, the sole Democrat who voted to confirm Kavanaugh, cruised to re-election in deep red West Virginia.

For Republicans, the most important takeaway from the election is that the gains in the Senate are due to geography rather than the party’s popularity. The Republican pickups in the Senate were, with the exception of Florida, all in red states. These Democrat incumbents would have been in trouble in an election year and the timing of Senate elections meant that few Republican seats were vulnerable. The opposite is true over the next two election cycles.

Republicans should also be alarmed about exit poll data. Even though many Republicans are claiming victory by virtue of avoiding disaster, voter data shows that the GOP is becoming white, old, and male.

2018 was purported to be the year of the angry college-educated woman and exit polls confirm the truth of those forecasts. Democrats won women by 19 points and college graduates by 20 points. Additionally, Democrats won black, Hispanic, and Asian voters by 90, 69, and 77 percent respectively. Democrats won every age group under 50, most by double-digit margins.

The Republican problem with women and minorities goes a long way towards explaining the close races in traditionally red states like Georgia and Texas. In Georgia, black voters make up 30 percent of the electorate. In Texas, 39 percent of the population is Hispanic. If the GOP can’t do better with minorities, both of these states could become blue or purple in the near future.

The Republican problem is already apparent in suburban districts around the country. Democrats knocked off well-known Republicans such as Dave Brat (R-Va.) in districts that typically lean red. Others, such as Mia Love in Utah, will probably be added to the list of losses in coming days. Many of these losses can be attributed to the GOP’s gender gap. Karen Handel’s suburban Atlanta district has gone from double-digit Republican to blue in two years.

If the election was a referendum on Donald Trump, the collective decision of the nation was “meh.” In total, most voters disapproved of Trump by a 54-45 margin. This is similar to Barack Obama’s approval in 2010.

Both parties have reason to celebrate the election result, but both also have reason to be cautious. Democrat gains were hurt by the party’s crazy antics in the months ahead of the election. Republican rhetoric on immigration may have contributed to the GOP’s gains in the Senate, but it may also poison the well with minorities and deepen the racial divide in American politics.

Originally published on The Resurgent

Monday, November 5, 2018

California Referendum Puts Voters In Control Of Time

While much of the country will be watching the results of the House and Senate battles tomorrow night, some Americans will be closely eyeing a race that could split the country on a topic that can be even more divisive than support for Donald Trump. For Americans who abhor the dreaded ritual of springing forward and falling back, California voters may lead the way with a rebellion against the biannual resetting of the clocks.

California is the king of voter referendums. Many of the ballot measures that the state’s voters consider range from strange wastes of time to the absurd. In the past, the state’s voters have been asked to weigh in on such proposals as making politicians wear NASCAR-style corporate logos, legalizing “the possession, importation and transportation of pet ferrets,” and summarily executing homosexuals. Incidentally, the “Sodomite Suppression Act” was ruled “patently unconstitutional” by a California judge before it made it to the ballot.

Now, however, California may have stumbled onto something big. To paraphrase Charles Dudley Warner, who was famously quoted by Mark Twain, “Everybody complains about Daylight Saving Time, but nobody does anything about it.”

Well, by cracky, Californians are doing something about it! A referendum that will be presented to California voters this Tuesday proposes that the state institute permanent Daylight Saving Time and eliminate the twice-yearly clock-resetting ritual.

Can I get an amen?

Supporters of the measure cite medical studies that “show that the risk of heart attacks and strokes increases during the days following a time change” and claim “changing clocks twice a year increases our use of electricity by four percent, increases the amount of fuel used by cars and costs $434 million.” Opponents argue that the US tried year-round Daylight-Saving Time in 1974 and “people hated getting up in the dark in the morning.” Opponents also argue that energy-savings from the measure would be unproven.

The Sacramento Bee, which helpfully points out that the proper term is “Daylight Saving Time,” not Daylight Savings Time,” notes that the effect on electricity use from the change would probably be nil. People would turn on lights later but would use their air conditioning more. The Bee also claims that the Air Transport Association estimates that synchronizing California time with the rest of the world would cost about $147 million.

If you ask me, $147 million is a small price for someone else to pay to prevent an interruption to my sleep schedule. The ATA estimate seems likely to be a one-time cost since much of the world, as well as the states of Arizona and Hawaii, already don’t celebrate the clock-resetting ritual. Likewise, if I have the choice between getting up when it’s dark and coming home to a dark afternoon, I’ll take the former.

Left unsaid is how much time and effort will be saved by not adjusting clocks. Sure, mobile phones and computers can update their own clocks, but what about all the other clocks in your house? These days nearly every appliance comes with a clock. In my kitchen alone, we have clocks on the microwave, the oven, the coffee maker, and the clock, which is mostly decorative since we have about half a dozen other ways to determine the time there if you include phones and iPads.

The clocks on our car radios alone can take upwards of a week to figure out how to reset. Until then, I experience moments of panic when I glance at the radio and suddenly think that I’m an hour late for work. Suddenly those reports about time-change induced heart attacks don’t seem so farfetched.

Aside from having to adjust our body clocks twice a year, the real problem of the time changes is that days are getting shorter as we head into winter. Benjamin Franklin, the scientific genius among the Founding Fathers, published a paper in 1784 that would have resolved this fundamental problem, proposing that an “immense sum” could be saved each year “by the economy of using sunshine instead of candles.”

Some take Franklin’s proposal to be satirical, but I believe that his idea is totally serious and sensible. It makes perfect sense to adjust our working habits to coincide with the daylight in winter. During the coldest months of the year, what better place to spend the dark hours than snug in your bed, preferably with someone you love to keep you warm? Is the economy really so dependent on dark-side-of-clock activities that we can’t afford to spend 12 hours or so under the covers?

Unfortunately for Californians, even if this eminently sensible and not-crazy-even-by-California-standards ballot measure is approved by the voters, it won’t go into effect immediately. The referendum would have to be affirmed by a two-thirds vote of the California legislature and approved by Congress. The Uniform Time Act of 1966 expanded the reach of Big Government to control even the time that we set on our own personal clocks in our individual states!

Proposition Seven is a rare case of California coming up with a sensible idea. I’ll bet that stopping the time-changes and settling on Daylight Saving Time is an issue that could unite the majority of Americans in a common cause. Hands off our clocks! It’s an idea whose time has come. 

Originally published on The Resurgent

Senate Polls Show Possible Dem Surge

Two days before the midterm elections, there are signs that Democratic Senate candidates might be gaining on their Republican opponents. A number of polls released over the first days of November show Beto O’Rourke in Texas, Kirsten Sinema in Arizona, and Phil Bredesen gaining ground.

In Texas, a Change Research poll found O’Rourke tied with Republican Senator Ted Cruz at 49 percent after weeks of Cruz holding a solid lead. In early October, Cruz held a solid lead averaging in the high single-digits, but polling over the last two weeks showed O’Rourke narrowing the race.

The Change Research poll of 1,211 likely voters showed Cruz with near unanimous support among Republicans, but with O’Rourke leading other groups. O’Rourke has “over 99% of Clinton 2016 voters, over 90% among Jill Stein voters, and double-digit leads with 2016 non-voters and Gary Johnson voters,” the organization posted on Twitter.

In Tennessee, another race that has been trending toward the Republican candidate, Marsha Blackburn, in recent weeks, a new poll suddenly put Democrat Phil Bredesen back in the race. The Targoz poll of 480 likely voters has a small sample size and comes after three consecutive polls showing Blackburn with a lead of more than five points.

In Arizona, the polling is erratic and swings wildly from one candidate to the other. Of the two polls taken in November, one favors Republican Martha McSally by 5.6 points and the other favors Democrat Sinema by three points. The Trafalgar poll favoring Sinema has a sample size of 2,166 likely voters, which is more than three times as large as the 600 voters sampled in the Harris poll that favored McSally.   

The state of the races in Florida and Missouri are also very close. Polling in Florida varies between showing leads for incumbent Democrat Bill Nelson and Republican challenger, Rick Scott. In Missouri, Democrat Senator Claire McCaskill and Republican Josh Hawley are locked in another margin of error race. The most recent poll there has the largest sample size, 1,424 voters, had the two candidates tied at 47 percent.

A possible explanation for the shakeup is President Trump’s concentration on illegal immigration and the migrant caravan moving through Mexico. The president’s rhetoric, including a statement that soldiers would shoot members of the caravan who throw rocks, may have inspired some moderates and independents to oppose Republican candidates. President Trump’s plan to issue an Executive Order to end birthright citizenship may also have inspired opposition among swing voters in addition to exciting his base.

While the polling appears to show a slight surge for Democrats in several races, it is too early to tell whether this represents a fluke or if there is a legitimate last-minute rally. It is very possible that the polls represent outliers that do not accurately report a change in the status of the race.

​Since three of these very close races are for Republican seats, if the polling is correct, Democrat hopes for a Senate majority remain alive. To make it a reality though, Democrats would have to sweep all five states since Heidi Heitkamp‘s seat in North Dakota will go red.

With only one day left before the election, the answer is likely to be found only when the official election results come in on Tuesday night. With at least five Senate races too close to call, it will come down to which side is able to better motivate their supporters to get to the polls.

Originally published on The Resurgent   

Sunday, November 4, 2018

High Levels Of Early Voting Indicate Intense Interest In The Election

Early voting is over in many states and the results show very high turnout in many states across the country. In at least 27 states, early voting this year has exceeded 2014 levels and, in some cases, has doubled from four years ago.

University of Florida associate professor Michael McDonald, head of the University of Florida Elections Project, told CBS News that the high levels of early voting indicate that total voter participation could reach 45-50 percent by Election Day.

“In the last three decades, we've had about 40 percent of those eligible to vote participating in midterm elections. If we get in the upper end of that range, if we can beat the 1966 49-percent turnout rate, you'd have to go all the way back to 1914 to get a turnout rate above 50 percent,” McDonald said.

In Georgia, where the gubernatorial race between Brian Kemp and Stacey Abrams is being watched closely around the country, the Atlanta Journal reported that Georgia’s early voters totaled almost 2.1 million. This is more than twice the number of Georgians who voted early in 2014. The UF Elections Project reports that Delaware, Tennessee, and Texas also doubled the number of early voters since 2014.

More than half of the states, at least 27, report increases early voting over 2014. These states include Arizona, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Minnesota, Missouri, Mississippi, Montana, North Carolina, North Dakota, New Mexico, Nevada, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, Wisconsin, West Virginia and Washington, D.C. More than 24 million early votes have been cast across the country. In 2014, that number was 21.2 million.

The increased interest in early voting has led to lines at some polls. In my county in Georgia, only one polling station is open for early voting. I always vote early due to an unpredictable work schedule and usually walk right in and out. This year, however, my wife and I had to wait about 20 minutes to cast our ballots ahead of Election Day.

Some may try to read the tea leaves by looking at voter registration data of early voters. NBC News reported that, as of October 31, Republicans had cast 43 percent of ballots compared with 40 percent for Democrats and 16 percent for independents. In a year of crossover voting with the #WalkAwayFromDemocrats and #GOPVotingBlue campaigns and control of the Senate hinging on very close races, this seems uncertain at best.

Like a kid before Christmas, politicos of both sides will just have to wait until Tuesday night to find out what the voters have decided. There’s no way to peek or peel back the wrapping of the election results since even early ballots are not counted until Election Day. The only certainty is that the amount of early voting indicates intense interest in this midterm election.

Originally published on The Resurgent

Saturday, November 3, 2018

Why Democrats Could Win The House But Still Lose The Senate

Many election forecasters are predicting that Democrats will take control of the House of Representatives in a blue wave, but that they will fall short of a Senate majority. In fact, there is a good chance that Republicans will gain seats in the Senate. These forecasts leave many Americans scratching their heads and wondering why voters would put Democrats in charge of the House and give Republicans a bigger majority in the Senate. It isn’t that voters are hedging their bets by voting for a split ticket. It all has to do with how the chambers of Congress are set up.

The two houses are set up differently. Members of the House of Representatives, which was intended to be closely responsive to the will of the voters, serve two-year terms and must stand for re-election every cycle.

In contrast, the Senate was designed to be more insulated from the whims of the public. Senators were originally chosen by state legislators, not voters. That changed with the 17th Amendment, which was ratified in 1913. Since then, voters have picked their state’s senators who serve six-year terms. That works out so that about a third of sitting senators have to stand for election in any given election year. Over three election cycles, the entire Senate comes up for re-election.

It was the Democrats’ bad luck (or the good luck of the Republicans) that timed the purported blue wave in a year when the majority of Senate seats up for re-election were defended by Democrats. Of the 35 Senate elections this year, 26 are in seats held by Democrats and only nine are held by Republicans. Of course, most of these seats are not competitive. Control of the Senate will come down to about 10 competitive races.

There are five Democratic seats that are considered tossups and one that is considered a likely Republican win. Heidi Heitkamp’s seat in North Dakota will almost certainly be won by the Republicans. The tossup seats are found in Florida, Indiana, Missouri, Montana, and New Jersey. With the exception of New Jersey, where the Democratic incumbent Bob Menendez faces ethics scandals, and the swing state of Florida, these competitive Democratic seats are in deep red states where Democrats would be expected to have a difficult time in any year. Democrats might be grateful that the blue wave appears to be helping them limit losses of these very vulnerable seats.

On the Republican side, there are four competitive races. These are found in Arizona, Nevada, Tennessee, and Texas. No Republican seats are leaning Democrat at this point. Only Arizona and Nevada seem like possible Democrat pickups at this point.

2020 might also be difficult for Democrat Senate hopes. A casual look at the map doesn’t show many possible pickups other than Jon Kyl in Arizona, Corey Gardner in Colorado, Joni Ernst in Iowa, and Susan Collins in Maine, who might have primary problems. Democrat Doug Jones of Alabama is likely to be retired. 2022 will bring opportunities for Democrats in Arizona, Florida, Iowa, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin.

In the House, the two-year term of all congressmen negates the Republican advantage in the Senate. Additionally, Republicans have to contend with defending vulnerable districts that were won during the Obama Administration.

Barack Obama was successful at winning presidential elections, but other Democrats tended to lose during his tenure. During the eight years of Obama, Democrats lost more than 1,000 seats in Congress and statehouses across the country, including about 60 seats in the House of Representatives. Many of those new Republican seats are vulnerable under an unpopular Republican administration.  

When Barack Obama pushed an unpopular Democratic agenda that included things like Obamacare, voters in swing districts voted in Republicans to stop him. Now, when Donald Trump pushes an unpopular Republican agenda that ironically includes things like repealing Obamacare, voters are mobilizing to elect Democrats to stop him. By the end of 2017, Democrats had already won back about 40 seats.

Unlike the Senate, where the battle is primarily on Republican turf, the battle for the House is in the Democrats’ backyard. The list of competitive House districts shows Republicans defending a plethora of districts in blue states like California and New York as well as typically blue Rust Belt states like Minnesota and Pennsylvania.

In the House, where Democrats need to win 23 seats to take control, 17 Republican districts are rated as likely to turn blue. An astonishing 28 Republican tossup districts give Democrats ample opportunities to make up the difference. On the Democrat side, two districts are rated as likely to go Republican and there is one tossup.

Because the Republicans picked up so many seats in state elections during the Obama years, the blue wave is likely to extend beyond Washington even if Republicans hold the Senate. Twelve Republican gubernatorial seats are vulnerable to Democrats with the races in Georgia and Ohio particularly close. There are few forecasts for state legislatures, but Democrats are positioned to make gains in statehouses across the country.

Next week when voters hand the House of Representatives to Democrats and renew the Republican lease on the Senate, it won’t be because voters are schizophrenic. It will be because different voters in different districts had different ideologies and partisan leanings. Recent history will also be repeating itself as an unpopular president costs his party seats across the country.

Originally published on The Resurgent