November 2, 2018

Midterm Watch

“After two years of wielding no practical political power in Washington, the Democratic Party faces a strong chance of winning control of the U.S. House of Representatives in next week’s election, with Republicans likely to keep the Senate."


See past issues

From the Left

The left is focused on healthcare and accuses the GOP of using the immigrant caravan as a distraction.

“Dozens of Republican office holders and candidates this election cycle have abandoned the GOP’s long-standing campaign promise to repeal the ACA. Some who once opposed Medicaid expansion, like Ohio Republican gubernatorial hopeful Mike DeWine, have changed their position. Others... have promised in campaign speeches to defend the ACA’s popular protections for people with pre-existing conditions...

"After years of tiptoeing around Obamacare’s dismal approval ratings, [Democrats are] suddenly embracing health care on the trail.”


“The modern conservative policy agenda, which centers on cutting taxes and tearing up the social safety net, is consistently unpopular. By large margins, voters want to raise, not lower, taxes on corporations and the wealthy. They overwhelmingly oppose cuts in Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. Even self-identified Republicans favor preventing insurers from discriminating against people with pre-existing medical conditions."

New York Times

“Strong majorities [also] consistently disapprove of the president’s handling of immigration... Trump’s strategy of only appealing to his hardest-core supporters and not making any effort to expand his coalition is a dangerous strategy, since his base remains a small share of the electorate. The president’s decision to go all in on immigration in the last week of the midterms will provide a crucial test of whether the base is indeed insufficient—or whether he once more knows something the political class doesn’t."

The Atlantic

“For as much as Republicans decry identity politics, preying on white fears about changing demographics and brown criminals is just another form of it... They are running campaign ads that look more like horror movies, with dangerous (often brown) criminals as the villains...

"The scare tactics might explain why Republican voters are far more preoccupied with security when they head to the polling booth compared to independents and Democrats. Their candidates want them very, very afraid.”


"[But] aside from modest proposals to expand development aid to the source countries, the Democratic leadership has not campaigned on [immigration] policy solutions that might motivate their voters. Neither in 2014 nor any time since have they made concrete proposals on how many migrants ought to be granted asylum and under what conditions.”

Washington Post

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 believes a “blue wave" is unlikely, instead expecting a close election. They attribute recent improvements in GOP prospects to the Democrats’ move to the left.

From the Right

The right believes a “blue wave" is unlikely, instead expecting a close election. They attribute recent improvements in GOP prospects to the Democrats’ move to the left.

Thus far, in a record turnout, Republican voters hold the edge by a slim two-point margin in ballots already cast in the midterms… [this] cuts against the expectation of an oversized Democratic turnout that led to the ‘blue wave’ predictions for most of this cycle… Pollsters largely missed the mark on turnout models in 2016, and it’s very possible they’ve failed to learn their lesson in time for this election."

Hot Air

“If Republican turnout is up just a couple of points higher than expected, the GOP could win all six [close Senate races]. The reverse is true as well if Democratic turnout is a couple of points higher than expected... The practical implications of these small shifts are enormous. A Republican sweep of the competitive races would give them a 56-44 majority in the Senate. A Democratic sweep would lead to a 50-50 Senate."


It’s worth noting that in many races, “Democrats have run candidates with conservative credentials... For all the talk of the ‘year of the woman,’ it is equally the year of the Democratic ‘veteran.’ In battleground after battleground district, Democrats recruited former service members as their candidates... a vote to rebuke President Trump’s inflammatory politics isn’t the same as an embrace of a progressive agenda or its candidates. The Democrats’ own recent history and campaign strategy prove it."

Wall Street Journal

“Democrats... fell into every cultural trap that Trump set for them, seemingly determined to prove his point that they are the party of hard-left identity politics and hatred for the ‘deplorables’... No doubt many Americans wish Trump would tone down some of his rhetoric, particularly in the aftermath of Pittsburgh. I’m one of them. But Trump’s Twitter account isn’t on the ballot Tuesday."

New York Post

The Democrats have left themselves precious little middle ground on important issues, which they need if they want Republicans and independents to shift from their previous voting stances. Who wants to join a party when you’re not invited? The only driver of change seems to be that Democrats want a do-over of the 2016 election.“

The American Conservative

Democrats should “talk sincerely about jobs, job creation, better trade deals, and root for the country and you can see how [white working class voters] can flip. They’re swing voters. They voted for Bush. They voted for Obama. And they voted for Trump in 2016. Step away from the political correctness/social justice warrior ethos, and you could give the GOP heartburn in future elections."


“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

Editor's note: Every week we receive dozens of emails from readers sharing their thoughts and insights (please keep it up - we love hearing from you!). We're so excited to continue growing our team and readership, and look forwarding to moderating group discussions one day. In the meantime, our friends over at No Labels have a great Facebook group where Democrats, Republicans, and independents from across the country can connect and engage in positive and respectful dialogue. Let's all join to #breakthegridlock!

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