September 20, 2018

Midterm Watch

We're officially on Insta! Did I throw on a blazer at 5 am for all you lovely people? You bet I did!

As the midterm elections draw closer, Democrats maintain approximately a 9-point edge on the generic Congressional ballot. FiveThirtyEight

See past issues

From the Left

The left is optimistic, but cautions against taking victory for granted.

“While cable news may be all-Trump-all-the-time, the Democratic message in [many] races has been much more about insurance premiums, school funding and Social Security than the Russia investigation, Stormy Daniels or Trump’s tweets."

Politico

“Democrats are bullish about the November elections... But remembering 2016 causes some of them to wake up in the middle of the night wondering what could go wrong." One Democratic strategist remains “concerned that President Trump will try to bait Democrats into a false debate on abolishing ICE instead of a real debate on GOP efforts to abolish protections for people with preexisting conditions."

Bloomberg

Moreover, “to state the overly obvious, you have to actually win in close elections to take at least 218 seats and control of the House. While these special elections are often held up as proof that a blue wave is building, they remind us exactly how big that wave has to be... some of the less remembered results over the past two years, where there was fleeting excitement about potential Democratic upsets that didn’t pay off, should sound a warning for the party: Victory is not guaranteed."

Vox

On the one hand, “registered voters who are 65 years of age and up preferred Democratic congressional candidates to Republicans by margins of 20 and 16 percentage points, respectively... This is a potentially huge problem for Republicans."

CNN

On the other hand, “many political science experts note that Trump’s unpopularity is far from enough to suggest that Hispanic and Latino voters will turn out for Democrats in the fall...

A USC professor explains that “most Latino voters hold negative views toward Trump, but by a much smaller margin than Democrats overall. Indeed, Latino views... are closer to those of independents which, of course, defies the notion that Latinos are a steadfast Democratic constituency and the presumption that Trump’s immigration policies have alienated large numbers of Latinos.”

Vox

“In theory, there’s no reason why a bad businessman can’t go on to become a good president. But a commander-in-chief whose signature legislative achievement expanded tax loopholes that he himself describes as grossly unfair is pretty much a bad president, by definition.”
Eric Levitz, New York Magazine

From the Right

The right is worried, but remains hopeful about Republicans’ electoral prospects.

From the Right

The right is worried, but remains hopeful about Republicans’ electoral prospects.

“Elections are decided not by those who answer polls, or those who complain loudly on social media, but by those who actually show up and vote... The hard reality for Democrats is that they have a harder time than do Republicans in getting voters who show up for presidential elections to turn out for midterm elections. This fall’s outcome will turn on whether 2018 is different."

Wall Street Journal

“The endless stream of Trump atrocities large and small talked about on Sunday morning TV is not what voters were talking about... [Out here] social media is for kids and cats, marches for folks who don’t have to work a weekend job. Racism and pronouns matter, but only after figuring out how to pay for health care... If Democrats insist on November being [a referendum on Trump]... they may not like the answer that voters give."

The American Conservative

“Ever since Ronald Reagan refashioned the modern Republican Party on the three-legged stool of social, fiscal and foreign-policy conservatism, liberals have complained that social conservatism drives the white working class to vote against its own economic interests... The irony is that it is now Democrats who are using cultural appeals to persuade a demographic group—college-educated suburbanites—to vote against their own economic interests."

Wall Street Journal

Some argue that Republicans need to “create a national message that defines a set of big choices that contrast the Republican positions and those of the left... such as favoring work over welfare, paychecks over food stamps, safe and orderly immigration over dangerous borderless chaos, personal health versus bureaucratic health."

Fox News

Others, however, posit that Republicans “really need to be returning to the established law which maintains that all politics is local. The Democrats have a huge story arc to lean on from a national perspective, summoning up the #RESIST movement to drive their base to the polls. But if the GOP is going to stop the bleeding, it’s going to be done one battle at a time, district by district.”

Hot Air

Others posit that “the reason Kim is developing missiles that can strike Seattle or LA is that 28,000 U.S. troops are in South Korea… If we cannot persuade Pyongyang to give up its nuclear weapons in return for a lifting of sanctions, perhaps we should pull U.S. forces off the peninsula and let China deal with the possible acquisition of their own nuclear weapons by Japan, South Korea, and Taiwan…

“After an exhausting two weeks [between North Korea, Iran, Venezuela, and others], one is tempted to ask: How many quarrels, clashes and conflicts can even a superpower manage at one time? And is it not the time for the United States, preoccupied with so many crises, to begin asking, ‘Why is this our problem?’”
Pat Buchanan, Townhall

“The Democrats want to talk to Don McGahn, and maybe they will ultimately prevail in court to get his testimony, but what’s the point? McGahn talked extensively to Mueller, and surely everything remotely damaging is already in the report

“Congress has the report, and now it is up to it to decide. But it doesn’t want to. It’s too painful to admit that the Mueller report was a bust on Russia and that the obstruction material, while damaging to Trump, is hardly a slam dunk; that the public doesn’t support impeachment; that if the House goes through with it anyway, it will end with a whimper in the Senate; and that it’s better for Democrats to focus on beating Trump in 2020 than a forlorn impeachment.”
Rich Lowry, National Review

Lede check

Poll: Democratic women turbocharged to vote in midterms” (Politico)

71 percent of Democratic women said they are “very motivated” to vote, vs. 69% of Republican women, 68 percent of Republican men, and 63 percent of Democratic men. A difference of two percentage points between Democratic and Republican women is hardly a “turbocharge.”

Moreover, the same difference of two percentage points is cast very differently when comparing Republicans and Democrats overall: “Just as many Republicans (69 percent) overall as Democrats (67 percent) are very energized.”

Our assessment: 4 partisans

A libertarian's take

“The scoop reflects poorly on Trump, who willfully misled the public for a decade in hopes of fraudulently representing himself as a man with a Midas touch. But he could not have succeeded without the assistance of many Americans, some mercenary, others over-credulous, who helped to spread the deceit and deception, generating countless newspaper articles, magazine stories, and TV segments that misinformed the public about the publicity hound’s record in business. New evidence of his staggering losses in that decade therefore provides an apt occasion to reflect on the media’s complicity in Trump’s brazen deceit and deception… Let [this] be a lesson for today’s tabloids, gossip columnists, over-credulous or mercenary journalists, and reality-television producers.”
Conor Friedersdorf, The Atlantic

On the bright side...

People from across the country gatheredin a small Carolina town for the first annual Bigfoot Festival.

NPR

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