November 8, 2018

Gubernatorial Races

On Tuesday, Democrats gained seven governorships: Nevada, New Mexico, Kansas, Wisconsin, Illinois, Michigan, and Maine.

New York Times

In Florida, Republican Ron DeSantis narrowly defeated Democrat Andrew Gillum; in Georgia, Republican Brian Kemp holds a narrow lead over Democrat Stacey Abrams.

AP News

See past issues

From the Left

The left is celebrating its gubernatorial gains, but is disappointed by the results in Florida and Georgia.

“Democrats flipped at least seven gubernatorial seats Tuesday, a significant achievement that could help undo years of harmful Republican policy — particularly when it comes to the gerrymandering efforts that help keep GOP politicians in control."


“The seven Democratic gains in governorships were the most for either party in a single year since 1994... [but] in a potentially ominous harbinger for the 2020 presidential election, Democrats lost races they aggressively targeted in the battlegrounds of Florida, Ohio, and Iowa. In Florida, Andrew Gillum’s narrow defeat to the Donald Trump ally Ron DeSantis, despite Gillum holding a lead in most polls, was particularly stinging for progressives."

The Atlantic

“For the third straight general election in a row, the Florida Democratic Party’s top candidates got shellacked. But unlike in past election losses, there are no easy scapegoats, no simple answers to what happened to Gillum and Nelson."


Regarding Georgia, “In the end, it looks like Kemp won. It’s impossible to know if his attempts to restrict the franchise are what pushed him over the line. But if the Georgia race had taken place in another country—say, the Republic of Georgia—U.S. media and the U.S. State Department would not have hesitated to question its legitimacy, if for no other reason than Kemp’s dual roles as candidate and election overseer... Kemp’s asterisk win suggests that the battle for voting rights, which many imagined was over and done with in the last century, is still very much in progress."

The Atlantic

The political calendar and Trump's approach could give grounds for optimism. Kim, who has presided over a limited form of economic development inside North Korea, is under pressure to deliver improvements in the lives of his people… So he has an incentive to try to seek economic benefits or aid from the United States and wants punishing economic sanctions lifted — a potential opening for US negotiators… Kim must realize that his chances of basking in this kind of legitimacy with a US President other than Trump are slim. So if he fears Trump could lose in 2020, he may reason the time may be ripe for a deal. And Trump wants nothing more than a big diplomatic breakthrough months before the election.”
Stephen Collinson, CNN

Regarding the Cadillac tax, “high-premium employer-based plans raise the cost of health care for everyone by encouraging the overconsumption of expensive services. This means that even Medicare and Medicaid face higher prices. Quite aside from its benefits for the health-care market, the Cadillac tax would also have the effect of expanding the tax base and making the tax code more efficient. It would raise revenues by about $15 billion a year… Rather than killing or delaying the Cadillac tax, Democrats should be trying to make it operational. The tax would raise revenue, lower costs, increase the efficiency of the tax code and give the Obamacare individual market its best chance at success.”
Karl W. Smith, Bloomberg

“The two issues with which he is most often associated, support for a balanced budget and opposition to free trade, put him at odds with both of our major political parties. An old-fashioned, soft-spoken Southerner, he nevertheless held views on so-called ‘social issues’ that would be to the left of the mainstream of the Republican Party, both then and now. He was a fervent supporter of the Vietnam POW/MIA movement in the late '80s and early '90s, but he was not in any sense a hawk. Never mind 2003. Perot opposed the first war in Iraq in 1990… Perot's death should be mourned by all Americans who regret the fact that it is no longer possible to make reasoned, non-ideological arguments about questions of public import, and by the devolution of our political life into mindless partisan squabbling.”
Matthew Walther, The Week

From the Right

The right argues that Gillum and Abrams were too extreme, but worries that the races were so close.

From the Right

The right argues that Gillum and Abrams were too extreme, but worries that the races were so close.

“Gillum and Abrams, among others, were supposed to prove the progressive theory that not only could unvarnished leftism win, it could win in the purplest of states. They... sort of proved that theory; they were very competitive, after all. But Gillum lost a race he was supposed to win, to a Trumpy candidate no less."

Hot Air

“Journalists had invested a great deal in the storyline that the floundering of Dems in Florida governor’s races was due to the paucity of progressive choices. Stop running centrists, they argued, and field a full-blown leftist and the Democratic rank-and-file will flock to the polls... The irony is that if the Dems had run a Manchin-like candidate this year... they could have won the governorship."

American Spectator

Many note that “Democrats are making in-roads. Abrams’ strategy of pumping up new registration and pushing hard on GOTV efforts – particularly in black and minority communities – is probably a strategy that will be repeated across the south by Democrats, and it’s not impossible to see them succeeding, either... If Texas, Florida, and Georgia had run candidates who were more appealing to the center, those races could have flipped easily."


Regarding claims of voter suppression in Georgia, “The claims against Kemp [are] off-base. For instance, during early voting and on Election Day, there were multiple reports about problems with polling stations and absentee-ballot requests. But these services are managed by county election boards, not the secretary of state’s office, and the places where the complaints were most numerous were in counties largely run by Democratic officials."

Spectator USA

“Not only did [Trump] attack the ‘squad,’ he managed to do it in a way in which no other prominent Democrat can continue to criticize them publicly, lest they be perceived as echoing the president’s contention that they should go back where they came from. At the exact moment the accusations and counter-accusations were set to do lasting damage, Trump just had to jump in and give them an attack that would unify them all. It often seems like Trump would rather have a bad news cycle that focuses on him than a beneficial news cycle that focuses on someone else… Everyone around the president can read a poll and knows that his rage-tweeting is a liability; it is perhaps the biggest liability in a presidency that, with prosperity and a perception of peace, ought to be comfortably cruising to reelection.”
Jim Geraghty, National Review

“If Joe Biden can win his way through the primaries, he’s almost lab-engineered to beat Trump. He doesn’t cause Republican panic, he has the potential to connect with white working-class voters in a way that Hillary couldn’t in 2016, and he has a potential to connect better with black voters than Hillary did… if Biden emerges from [this] crucible, Trump will face a very different challenge than he faced in 2016.”
David French, National Review

“NBC and MSNBC embraced Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts in the first debate of Democratic presidential candidates Wednesday night, treating her like the star of the show. The debate led off with Warren, who had a huge popularity advantage from the start… NBC anchor Savannah Guthrie started it off sounding more like Warren’s press secretary. ‘You have many plans – free college, free child care, government health care, cancelation of student debt, new taxes, new regulations, the breakup of major corporations,’ Guthrie said, before teeing up an economy question. Guthrie even used Warren’s plan to break up tech companies as the foundation for a question for Sen. Cory Booker of New Jersey… the round-robin final comments also ended with Warren, as Maddow asked her for the ‘final, final statement.’ That let NBC bookend the entire debate with Warren and Warren.”
Dan Gainor, Fox News

President Trump should be happy. As much as Warren is articulate, obviously intelligent, and energetically supported by Democrats, she would also be far easier to defeat than Joe Biden… Considering Trump's economy, the president is well placed to defeat Warren.”
Tom Rogan, Washington Examiner

A libertarian's take

“The fans who avidly followed the men’s tournament certainly weren’t doing anything wrong. And it’s hard to argue that each of them had a moral obligation to be exactly as interested in women’s soccer. Even if we could stop them from watching the men more than the women, should we?…

“It’s tempting to answer that the fan choices aren’t innocent, they’re sexist. But since we can’t peek into their hearts, to say that definitively, we’d have to assume that men’s greater speed, strength and endurance definitely make nodifference to the sport’s quality. Fair enough, but then why do fans prefer to watch Megan Rapinoe play instead of the sedentary elderly who could presumably use some exercise? Alternatively, maybe pay should be equalized precisely because biology is unfair. But that seems to be an argument for curbing the pay of all top-level athletes, who have to hit the genetic lottery just to get on the field. It might be easier to focus on the distributions across society at large, rather than every individual industry, especially when fundamental biology is in play.”
Megan McArdle, Washington Post

On the bright side...

Why did _________ cross the road? Alpaca climbs into backseat of taxi cab in Peru, flooded creek sends salmon swimming across road, and confused deer runs through Pennsylvania Walmart.


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