November 19, 2018

Midterms Analysis

The holidays are just around the corner. Now’s a GREAT time to forward us to friends and family, and not let politics ruin Thanksgiving dinner!

Washington Post

“Democrats needed a net gain of 23 seats to attain [the] majority in the House and they have added 38, putting their lead at 232-200, with three races yet to be decided.”

USA Today

"Democrat Stacey Abrams on Friday ended her candidacy for governor more than a week after polls closed in Georgia." In an interview with CNN, she said that “while her opponent, Republican Brian Kemp, was the legal victor of the state governor's race, she would not call him the legitimate winner.”

NBC News, CNN

See past issues

From the Left

The left is encouraged by the midterm results, though the strategy for 2020 remains unclear.

“Many voters in previously red America supported candidates across racial, socioeconomic, and cultural lines... these races should serve as a reminder that Democrats’ impulse to paint Trump supporters with a single brush can obscure what’s really happening in voters’ hearts and minds...

“[Democrats] need to focus on enticing voters not by bludgeoning Trump, but with impressive candidates who offer hopeful, purposeful messages. That’s how they’ll wed the Democratic Party’s urban base with the swing voters who live in broader metropolitan regions. And that, in the end, is the key to Democrats winning in 2020 and beyond.”

The Atlantic

The dilemma facing a party nominating a presidential candidate is always the same: do you go with the star candidate who can motivate the base... or a ‘safe’ candidate with more crossover appeal...

"In 2020, there will be an added twist to the puzzle: the Democrats must find a candidate capable of tangling with Trump personally, one who can mix it up enough with the president to stop a landslide among base Trump voters, but not become tarnished in the process in a way that tamps down Democratic enthusiasm.”

The Guardian

Some claim that “political elites are far more polarized than the voters, or at least the center is much bigger than politicians, academics and media folks would have you believe. The strong showing of Democratic moderates, especially in the suburbs, suggests that Democrats need not go far left as Trump goes far right; to the contrary, the large center is wide open if Democrats run appropriate candidates."

Washington Post

Others note that “65 percent of the incoming House freshman class embraced some version of Medicare-for-all or expanding Social Security benefits. Almost 80 percent embraced lowering prescription drug costs by challenging Big Pharma. And 82 percent favored challenging corporate power in our political system by rejecting corporate PAC money, passing a constitutional amendment to overturn Citizens United or passing campaign finance reform...

“The center of gravity within the Democratic Party and the general electorate has dramatically shifted in the direction of bold economic populism.”

Washington Post

Regarding Stacey Abrams:

Some caution against ‘stolen election’ rhetoric. “There is no question that Gov.-elect Brian Kemp, while secretary of state, made it harder for minority and other voters to register and vote, through a combination of deliberate efforts and gross incompetence... [But] a democratic polity depends on losers accepting election results, even if the election was not conducted perfectly...

“Saying Kemp tried to suppress Democratic votes and saying the election was stolen are two different things, and making charges of a stolen election when it cannot be proved undermines Democrats’ complaints about suppressive tactics...

"Rather than questioning the election’s legitimacy or making [unprovable] claims of stolen elections, Democrats should focus their efforts into doing whatever is possible to prevent voter suppression and incompetence in the upcoming 2020 elections.” (Slate Magazine)

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 encouraged that the election results validated the strength of our electoral system, and note that the Democratic field for 2020 is wide open.

From the Right

The right is encouraged that the election results validated the strength of our electoral system, and note that the Democratic field for 2020 is wide open.

“Our ideological divides are gaping and growing, and yet elections in America are orderly, transfers of power are peaceful, and seriously disputed results are rare... The most obvious lesson of November 6 is that our country’s electoral system is vibrant and strong. Candidates, both good and bad, won across the country, and those who lost gave way to the winners."

The Weekly Standard

Regarding gerrymandering, “state legislatures have been drawing congressional boundaries to favor one party or another since America’s founding. During the 40 years of sustained Democratic control of the House in the late 20th century, this worked in the Democrats’ favor... Democrats sometimes enjoyed congressional majorities nearly 10 percentage points larger than their share of the House popular vote...

“[This election cycle] Democrats busted one of their own cherished myths by proving that Republican gerrymanders weren’t preventing them from retaking the House of Representatives... [they] will hold about 53.6% of seats—a 7.1% edge. And, what do you know, Democratic House candidates nationwide have 52.8% of votes—7.3% more than Republicans.”

Wall Street Journal

“The media’s discussion of the GOP ‘losing the suburbs’ frames the issue in a way to flatter the sensibilities of liberals and Democrats (the two parties split 49-49 in the suburban vote according to exit polls)... The reality is that the Democratic Party has become the party of the rich (including rich suburbs) and the poor, and the GOP the party of the forgotten and increasingly disempowered middle class...

“Overall, the Democrats hold the poorest 10 percent and wealthiest 10 percent of districts by a staggering 75-11. Among the other 80 percent of seats, Republicans hold a 190-158 advantage, even after taking heavy losses in the midterms.”

The Hill

Looking ahead to 2020, “Pelosi may want to hold off on impeachment proceedings, at least until special counsel Robert Mueller releases his report. But it's doubtful the Democratic base shares her patience...

"This could create the same dynamic that led 17 Republicans to throw their hats into the ring in the 2016 presidential primaries. The Obama team poured attention on Trump because they thought it would make the GOP look bad. Instead, they elevated him. It's likely Trump could pursue the same strategy with some Democratic firebrand.”

Townhall

Regarding Stacey Abrams:

“We were told just days ago by all the great and good in the media when Martha McSally conceded that gracious losing is absolutely essential to our democracy. Well, here’s Stacey Abrams explicitly saying in her concession speech that she’s not conceding and, basically, alleging a dire plot to deny her the Georgia governorship.”

National Review

When a race is close and a Republican is ahead, the message from the national media is: ‘Take as much time as needed to count every vote. The values of democracy and elected government are at stake.’ When a race is close and the Democrat is ahead, the message from the national media is that the Republican candidate is being a sore loser and dragging out a futile exercise and needs to concede and accept defeat gracefully.”

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...

Get troll-free political news.

Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.