October 24, 2018

Midterm Watch

“With two weeks until the election, the White House is battling against historyas it tries to defend a lengthy slate of seats held by congressional Republicans.”

AP News

As of early Wednesday morning, FiveThirtyEight gave Republicans an 81% chance of holding the Senate and a 15% chance of holding the House.


Both sides are skeptical of early voting numbers:

  • “There’s a perception that high early vote turnout is good for Democrats and bad for Republicans, but that drastically oversimplifies things... Back in 2014, some liberals looked at higher numbers of registered Democratic voters participating in early voting and insisted the polls showing their preferred candidates trailing had to be wrong. They were deeply disappointed on Election Night.” National Review

See past issues

From the Left

The left is highly critical of Trump and the GOP’s “‘scare-avan’ strategy," claiming that they are heading into the midterms with “zero policy goals other than targeting Pelosi, refugees, and [the] media."

Chicago Tribune, DailyKos

“Republican politicians wouldn’t be scrambling to announce their support for key parts of the Affordable Care Act—and President Trump wouldn’t have fabricated a middle-class tax cut—if the party weren’t aware of the necessity of a viable economic message... Candidates need to deliver more than outrage, and that’s all Trump has this time.”


“Following the blueprint that brought him to victory in 2016, he’s relying on the power of immigration fears, enhanced by blatantly false rhetoric...

“He claimed Democrats are for open borders; for the most part, they are not, nor is Democratic Senate candidate Beto O’Rourke, against whom Trump was campaigning. He claimed Democrats were to blame for asylum seekers traveling to the United States; the migrants are fleeing violence and poverty in their home countries. Trump also claimed—without evidence—that Democrats started the ‘caravan’ of refugees currently wending its way northward through Mexico.”

The Atlantic

There is “no evidence that Democrats are paying for the migrant caravan snaking its way north toward the southern border... But that has not stopped the president from repeating such false or misleading claims." Regarding Trump's claim thatMiddle Easterners are ‘mixed in’ with the caravan, a NYU professor who studies authoritarian rulers observes that “this is the way propaganda works. You put different enemies together that really have nothing to do with one another.“

Washington Post

Despite the last minute scramble by Trump and the GOP, many note that “history is on the side of Democrats. Since the Civil War, there have only been three midterm elections in which the president's party didn't lose seats in the House. THREE! Could this be the fourth? Sure. But it's not the likeliest outcome -- especially when you consider Trump's approval rating is in the mid-40s.Historically, that means losses of 30+ seats for the president's party."


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 is optimistic about recent polling numbers, and argues that the Democrats’ position on immigration and focus on political correctness will backfire.

From the Right

The right is optimistic about recent polling numbers, and argues that the Democrats’ position on immigration and focus on political correctness will backfire.

Corry Bliss, executive director of the Congressional Leadership Fund, states, “For the first time in months, we have the wind at our backs. Now we have to figure out a way to keep it up for two weeks... In the last 30 days, the president has done the hardest thing in American politics: to both excite and unite the Republican base."

Washington Examiner

Republicans are on the offense on the issue of immigration by focusing on sanctuary cities and liberals’ calls to abolish ICE... With just two weeks until Election Day, the migrant caravan represents what is wrong with our nation’s immigration system. President Trump and Republicans should welcome this political gift with open arms and use it to score electoral wins by focusing on immigration."

Fox News

It’s worth noting that “one of the emerging lessons of the midterms is that if you’re a Democrat running statewide in Trump country, you have to run as a Trump Republican to have a shot at victory... incumbent Democratic Sen. Joe Donnelly [D-IN] is running an ad campaign attacking ‘the radical left,’ touting Trump’s border wall, and boasting about how often he splits from his own party."

The Federalist

Many also argue that “by [focusing] on the Kavanaugh confirmation... [Democrats] showed themselves willing to take partisanship to its limits... and beyond... Races in Indiana and Florida are too close to call but have moved in the GOP’s direction since the Kavanaugh hearings... [and] Trump’s approval rating is now higher than it has ever been since he became president."

Western Journal

“The trouble for Democrats is that the activists who now run the party come from the PC activist camp. It’s virtually impossible to oppose them, as President Bill Clinton once did, in an effort to reach out to mainstream America. But with 80 percent of America opposed to PC culture, it’s easy for Republicans to make Democrats sound crazy just by quoting PC rules regarding everything from Halloween costumes to the number of genders then watching the Democrats rabidly defend them."

USA Today

“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

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On the bright side...

Titanic ll set to sail in 2022 along the same ill-fated route, promising ‘an authentic Titanic experience

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