NewDealdemocrat | March 23, 2018 3:40 pm
I pour some cold water on 2018 midterm overoptimism
In the wake of Conor Lamb’s election victory in Pennsylvania last Tuesday night, some Democratic partisans are suggesting that every GOP-held seat from a district that is less than trump +20% is in play.
Hold your horses. The results of last June’s special election in Georgia, in which GOPer Karen Handel defeated Democrat Jon Ossoff show that there is a roadmap to the GOP minimizing their losses in this November’s midterms.
Because while all of the legislative elections in 2017 and so far in 2018 have featured huge gains in Democratic turnout, the difference in Georgia was that there was a *similar* spike in GOP turnout. And this playbook is going to be easier for the GOP to run in nationwide contests than in local special elections.
Let’s start with turnout in Pennsylvania last week. Here’s the graph on point:
Democratic turnout in the PA special election approached that of Presidential election levels, while GOP turnout was much smaller. Simple point: when D’s turn out, and R’s don’t, D’s win.
Let’s take a similar look at turnout in the Virginia legislative elections last November:
What is noteworthy in this graph, and a point that was made at the time, is that it wasn’t only Democratic turnout that exceeded the levels of the last state election. GOP turnout was *also* higher, although not by nearly so much. Even so, that slight increase in GOP turnout was enough for them to hold on to the Virginia House of Delegates (literally, by one vote!) even though more votes were cast statewide for Democratic candidates, by a margin of 54%-46%.
Finally, let’s turn to the Georgia election from last June. Here is the similar graph:
While there was sky-high Democratic turnout, turnout by GOPers was almost as high — enough so that their candidate prevailed. In other words, when both D’s and R’s turn out at near-Presidential levels, the outcome resembles that of the district’s vote in the last Presidential election. That’s the point made in this analysis by Politico:
Pollsters say sky-high turnout drove Handel, the GOP nominee, to a nearly 4-point victory on Tuesday, despite most pre-election surveys showing Ossoff with a small-but-shrinking lead.
… [I[t wasn’t because Democratic voters didn’t show up. More than 259,000 votes have been tallied as of Wednesday afternoon, considerably more than the 193,000 votes in the first round of voting in April.
In fact, turnout was much higher than for other off-year special elections in recent history….
John Anzalone, Ossoff’s pollster, said the Democrat’s campaign succeeded in turning out its voters — but they were swamped by Republicans who came out in numbers that ended up dwarfing previous high-profile special elections ….
“When turnout starts going up that high, and people start coming out of the woodwork to vote,” Cahaly said, “it moves back to the [natural] alignment of the district.”
Cahaly added that, in his view, Handel and Republican outside groups also drove turnout by nationalizing the race.
In November, it is going to be much easier for the GOP and their propaganda organs like Fox to “nationalize” local elections, arguing that a Democratic House is likely to impeach Trump (true) and veto new regulations on, e.g., Muslim and Latino immigratiion proposed by Trump’s bureaucracy (true), while a Democratic Senate will refuse to confirm Trump’s anti-gay and anti-abortion Judicial nominations, including any vacancies that may open up on the Supreme Court (also true).
At the same time, they probably will use social media accounts to try to drive down Latino turnout by arguing that the Congressional Democrats sold out Dreamers (as to which there is at least some merit).
If so, the vote in Congressional districts and Senate races is likely to come closer to mirroring that from 2016. That strategy probably concedes that GOPers will lose any Congressional districts that voted more for Hillary Clinton than Trump. But under that result — even one in which Democrats “win” the number of ballots nationwide by something like 53%-47% — the GOP nevertheless retains control of the House and Senate.
While as I pointed out several weeks ago, demographics alone should make the electorate less reddish, people shouldn’t get carried away with over-optimism.
On Meet the Press last Sunday they analyzed that the Republicans have no agenda — that anybody cares about anyway (tax cuts ever get big?). Neither what they want to do or what they want to undo is going anywhere for them.
Ergo, the consensus on the show seemed to be that the Democrats ought to have no agenda either — and just let the 2018 elections just fall into their laps like ripe fruits.
This is how we ended up with Bozo in the White House — specifically, not having any agenda to shape up and shake up this country to work for the average person once again.
No academic progressives — including Bernie or Elizabeth — never seem to catch on that 6% labor unions isn’t everything, it’s the only thing. Can’t anybody use their large forebrains to imagine what a German style union density would do for us here?
AND!!!, it’s so easy to accomplish — overnight — our new, blue Congress (if it manages to get itself elected by being for nothing) can simply mandate regularly scheduled union certification elections at every private workplace (one, three or five year cycle; plurality rules). America has evolved a uniquely toxic in all the first world anti-collective bargaining market (pure extortion controlled labor market) and we need a legal way around it more than we need anything else.
Not my idea.
Why Not Hold Union Representation Elections on a Regular Schedule?
Andrew Strom — November 1st, 2017
While I was out shopping just now it came to me that all the Fight-for-15 kind of organizations could freak out their employers and every other employer by asking them (not just their own employers) how they would react to the proposal for legally required regular union elections — and then go report their responses to the media. That could surely get the issue going.
It should suit their in-your-face militancy.
And like I keep plugging away: once the issue gets out there, simple logistics (because it would affect every family, rich or poor — IT WOULD RESTRUCTURE SOCIETY FROM BOTTOM UP), without even merit, would make it as hot as any issue for the last hundred years.
I’m going to come up with a plea to those young, militant groups (who already got my email on the idea — like everybody else has or will, every paper’s journalists in every paper over 50,000, even less; unions and academics too — take couple of months).
Who will our Russian stooges support this time around though?
Trump may pull the ejection handle. He didn’t want the job; doubt he enjoys it or even much of anything about it. What he wants is all that counts. Maybe he’ll fire Muller just to get fired — or impeached and then he’ll do a Nixon (it’s been a long time since he’s molested a beauty queen).
And then we’ll be stuck with Pence — an infinitely slicker operator — who may actually have a “secret plan” to take Republican territory back. And there stands the Democratic Party — standing for nothing; nothing that matters to middle to low income folks (who should be the Democratic back bone) as usual.
Elections are won on turnout. Have been for a while. All the things that people point to as predictors of Democratic gains in 2018 are also predictors of Democratic turnout advantages in 2018. That’s what it means to say, “Democratic prospects look good in 2018.”
You are reasoning from the idea of the swing voter. Otherwise known as the marginal rational voter. Economic concepts work even less well in understanding human voting behavior than they do in understanding human economic behavior. So… pretty bad.
reasoning from the idea that the swing voter *normally* decides elections, and therefore all these things like generic ballot and special elections are predication so of how the swing voters will go, but that this new phenomenon of turnout deciding is something that is different.
Don’t forget tribalism. In Lipinski’s district for Congress, 20,000 Republicans actually pulled the lever (punched the hole, tapped the link) for an avowed NAZI.
None of this takes into account a Reichstag Fire/wag-the-dog event that will unify the country around Trump and the GOP status quo. Bush got a yuge bump from 9/11, a lesson the Government Of Putin hasn’t forgotten.
The Osoff election was close to the Trump election so a bunch of things had not happened and the base was still fired up. In addition, the DCCC came into the GA race and totally changed the Progressive public stances pushing Osoff to run as a CONservative Dem. Many people who supported him early felt betrayed and the DCCC is meddling in races to undermine Progressives all over this country. Never fear, the DCCC and DNC are capable of pulling defeat from the jaws of victory!
The idea of there being any substantial number of swing voters is beyond silly.
it is all about turnout of the voters who vote Dem when they vote, and voters who vote Rep when they vote.
Trying to appeal to mythical voters who might switch their allegiance is one of the biggest problems Dems have had for the last 4 decades. Waste of time and money and actually serves to discourage actual Dem voters.
Here’s a more salient point–even if the Democrats sweep this election, in practical terms in will change NOTHING other than the party identity of the politicians who represent the .01%. The Democrats do NOT stand for universal health care, slashing the Pentagon budget, ending the wars, stopping drone assassinations, closing Guantanamo, restoring Habeus Corpus, prosecuting Wall Street criminals, restoring labor unions, improving public transportation, fixing the social safety net–the list goes on and on.
Especially given the way the Dems sold us out the last time they took power from 2006-10, only a seriously deluded partisan could believe it will be any different this time.
Any ABer want to say what they think the public (voter) reaction would be to Democratic candidates promoting mandatory union certification elections at every private workplace; one, three or five year cycles, plurality rules on the latter?
Going by: Trump won by taking Obama’s place. Obama ran as populist against Wall Street Hillary.
Seems the perfect route to take the blue collar voter back. With the promise to give the middle class the power to run the country back again.
Sounds like the dream-dream, win-win issue to me. And if passed would actually send this country a long way to being like Germany — fast.
Trying to appeal to upscale suburban voters, while abandoning their working class base has been the biggest disaster for Democrats for the last 4 decades. Hillary blew it. Ossoff was a terrible candidate who the donor base and centrists like, if not the voters.
Lamb ran pro-union and pro-social security medicare etc. A liberal Democrat nearly defeated a previously thought unassailable incumbent in the Chicago suburbs. Time to be optimistic if not overly so. The Dem voters of all stripes are fired up. Activists are running up and down the ballot. Republicans are retiring to join lobbying firms. Republicans are demoralized by Trump – all except the Trumpist hard core.
The big question is what the Dems will achieve while in office. If they don’t achieve much, they’ll be voted out again like after the 2006 blue wave.
Peter K., without labor unions we have a very distorted, warped version of an economy as well as politics. No other modern country has become one big company town like we are. Do you think advocating re-establishment of labor union density might be just the trick for Democrats to get in and stay in (see how above)?
Denis Drew, without question yes. Have you been following the wildcat strikes by teachers in red states?
It is interesting that the occupations with the most militancy – nurses and teachers – are ones that can’t be shipped overseas. If Democrats want to win and stay in office they will enact legislation that helps increase labor union density.