5 Post(s) tagged with 'midterms' - rss feed
I read this tweet earlier today. Early voting has not only been dominated by Democrats, as it typically is, but is quite measurably moreso than in previous midterms.
The numbers we're seeing are not a result report. They're simply the party affiliation of the people who've cast their ballots so far. But they are very encouraging. With 15-16% greater quantity of ballots cast by this time in 2020, we're also seeing a trend even more into the favor of Democratic candidates and issues. That's encouraging, but I think another statistic is hiding in plain sight.
The House of Representatives, according to the Cook Political Report's "Partisan Voting Index," or PVI
, states that after the decennial census-based redrawing of Congressional districts in 2022, the GOP enjoys a one-point advantage nationwide, producing a forecast Republican takeover of the House by 11 seats in the upcoming election. By this time in early voting in 2020, the Republicans were down by 15 points. Obviously they made that difference up with in-person, absentee, provisional, and mail-in voting that was counted on and after election day. When the dust settled, the GOP's win/loss map pushed their share of House seats to within about ten seats of the Democrats, who managed to hang onto a slim majority, indicating that the GOP was underwater by about one point, an improvement over their standing in 2018.
With 15-16% more votes registered, the deficit the GOP faces in 2022 is 18 points. So not only do the Republicans have a greater deficit to overcome than they did in 2020, but they have fewer uncounted voters left to do it with. It occurs to me though that the tweet is talking about two previous elections: 2018 and 2020. The 2018 election ended with a Democratic lead in the House by 3-4 points, and that lead was reduced to about 1 point in 2020. Whether the GOP deficit at this stage of early voting was 15 points in 2018 or 2020, the fact that the GOP's lag is now 18 points(ie: 3 points worse than either of two losing years) does not bode well for their supposed "lock" on retaking the House.
This also does not take into account the votes of unaffiliated voters. 11% of votes cast by this time in 2020 were unaffiliated, compared to 10% as of now, in this election. The direction they will lean is a subject of great disagreement, but I personally think most unaffiliated voters are turning out to vote for the rights the GOP plans to take away if they take power again. This information is all very early, but the signs are nonetheless consistent with my blue-wave-adjacent predictions.
Too Petulant to Lose
The American far-right is objectively dangerous, and is now more powerful than it has been at any point in my lifetime-- and probably the lifetime of any living person. I have heard many times, as a counterpoint to the sentiment I just expressed, the argument that there is a "far-left" that poses an equivalent danger to democracy, economy, and freedom. Thing is, that just isn't the case. I will happily admit that there is a far-left fringe of American politics, but a glaring difference between it and the far-right is that it is not represented in mainstream media, popular policy, or any elected federal office. It's true that Ilhan Omar, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, and Pramila Jayapal sit resolutely to the left-of-center, but the policies they work to promote are supported by a majority of Americans, and more than a supermajority of their own constituents. That isn't extremism. That's majority rule. That's representative Democracy. That's a reflection of the fact that ours is a center-left country.
In 2020, Steve Bannon said that Trump would take advantage of the fact that mail-in, absentee, provisional ballots, and just slow-to-count districts produce a delay in knowing the election's outcome with certainty, and declare victory well before the votes had all been sufficiently counted. From signs I'm seeing this time around, this is going to be an increasingly important part of far-right strategy. This is a hard and resolute strategy now for the GOP: Leverage the natural mistrust MAGA voters have of poll workers who don't fit the mold of straight, white, and Christian. MAGA-adherent candidates, elected officials, and pundits are already calling into question the validity of votes in major cities, where votes are overwhelmingly to the left-of-center, before any are even counted or in many cases, cast.
On election night, I fully expect to see victory declarations by Doug Mastriano and Mehmet Oz in Pennsylvania, Brian Kemp and Herschel Walker in Georgia, Blake Masters and Kari Lake in Arizona(especially Kari Lake), Ron Johnson in Wisconsin, and Adam Laxalt in Nevada. There will be abundant press coverage, but no major networks will call the elections, except perhaps Fox News, as they will be terrified of losing extremist viewers to OAN and Newsmax's coverage, where they will absolutely be falling in line with GOP candidates' premature declarations of victory.
It's extremely likely that we will not have a good picture of the election's overall outcome when we go to bed on Tuesday night. Just like in 2020, counting will likely continue across the country for several days, as red mirages fade to blue in a way that seems to be just about the most effective way to outrage Republicans in existence. But I do guarantee one thing: if any of the candidates(and many others) lose, they will gather their supporters to claim it was rigged. Jonathan Last said on a recent podcast that Republicans are scared of fraud and election rigging, so certain are they of their majority that the only possible explanation for a loss is foul play. The Democrats are scared of losing to the Republicans.
The Case for Pieces of Shit
J.D. Vance famously said he doesn't care about Ukraine, because "Mexican Fentanyl" is entering the country and killing Americans. Let's leave aside that he's probably courting or placating the GOP faction that's loyal to Putin, or perhaps Putin himself. Let's also leave aside the disgusting inhumanity of dismissing the genocidal suffering of literal millions of people as being subordinate to Vance's own political concerns.
Let's talk about Fentanyl. It's a opioid painkiller that is extremely potent. A slight miscalculation in measuring doses can be fatal to the patient. This is how we lost Michael Jackson, Tom Petty, and Prince. Fentanyl overdoses account for a large number of other high-profile untimely celebrity deaths. One complicating factor is that the body's natural processes make the drug less effective on each use, meaning that people often step up the dosage when they're in pain, to their intense peril. In addition, it's exceptionally addictive, and withdrawal symptoms are universally miserable and agonizing.
A clip has recently surfaced:
The man with the mic makes a really good point when he says that drug dealers want to sell their drugs, and not give them away to children for free. The woman he's interviewing defends her position, saying, "just watch an episode of Fox News!" On the surface, it sounds ignorant, as Fox News isn't a show. But it occurs to me that the sentiment that illegal immigrants from Mexico are actively trying to destroy the US through the use of narcotics disguised as candy, delivered to unwitting children on Halloween, is pretty well in-line with the overall tone of just about any persuasion show on that network.
If you can convince your viewers of this, then you can pretty reliably count on them to vote for pieces of shit like J.D. Vance, despite the fact that he is a miserable, bootlicking, worthless piece of shit.
Fentanyl is expensive. If you're out from under the blanket of insurance and prescription, it can be purchased through illicit channels, the internet reports, for a minimum of about $60 for a gram, but more likely well over $100 and well into the hundreds. In short, it is to the 2010s and 2020s as cocaine was to the US in the 1980s. Expensive, potent, dangerous, and widely trafficked for enormous profit. But there is no profit in handing thousands of dollars worth of this to children. Illicit Fentanyl, sold on the black market from Mexican and Chinese sources, is responsible for, or at least involved in, roughly 70% of all overdoses in the US. But roughly 99.99% of those overdoses happened because people consciously decided to use Fentanyl.
Nevertheless, there is a large population in this country, apparently residing almost entirely within the MAGA movement, in which the common belief is that Joe Biden wants to destroy the country by keeping the Mexican border "wide open"(note: it's not), so "illegals" can bring Fentanyl into the US to trick people into taking too much of it and dying. Jerry Bruckheimer couldn't concoct a more embarrassingly bad plot.
Guide to the Great Election Spreadsheet
For the last few months, I've been working on a spreadsheet
-- first in LibreOffice, then on google docs --that shows what I consider to be the top elections happening next week in the US. It includes(or at least intends to include) details about all the elections for the US House of Representatives, the US Senate, and all state Governors.
The sheet currently has four sub-sheets: House Swing View, Senate, Governor, and Polls Close. I'll explain these below.
House Swing View:
First some background. Skip to the TLDR paragraph if you don't feel like reading all this. The Partisan Voting Index
, compiled in July by the Cook Political Report, is widely regarded as a reliable source for the political leaning of any given Congressional district. My district for example, Colorado's 1st, has a rating of D+29, meaning that it is believed that an election in my district would most likely end with the Democratic candidate winning by 29 percentage points over the Republican candidate. Most districts are not nearly that one-sided though. As this sheet details, over 100 are +/- 10 points. After every national census, every Congressional district is evaluated, and often redrawn, based(ideally) on population change since the previous redrawing. This process was completed in 2022, following the 2020 census. When it was completed, or at least when it looked much like it does today, the Cook Political Report predicted the Republican Party would retake the House of Representatives simply by virtue of the redrawing that had taken place. The PVI was released in July, substantiating the claim that 220 districts lean toward the GOP, while only 208 lean toward the Democratic party, with the remaining 7 districts in a statistical tie.
However, something happened between redistricting and the release of the 2022 PVI. Something big. Something seismic. The Supreme Court overturned the Roe v. Wade, eliminating the federal protection of abortion rights in the US. The PVI did not reflect this at all in the July report-- or possibly just assumed it would have no effect on the landscape. I think that was a critical oversight, and it is my strong belief that the Dobbs decision(the case that overturned the aforementioned precedent) changed everything in the political landscape, and that the numbers reported in the PVI, and composed before the Dobbs ruling(and before the leaked draft a month earlier) should be about 7-8 points bluer, on average. For the sake of conservatism though, I am holding to an aggregate move of 5 points.
TLDR, for the skippers: The first sheet shows every district's PVI rating, with D being positive and R being negative(for purposes of being able to give the cells a color scale from red to blue), 0 indicating it doesn't lean D or R. Each column from there shows the districts' standing in the event of a swing by the number at the column header, from 1 to 5, then 10 and 15, for some crazy wishcasting. In the frozen rows at the top, totals are computed for how the House outlook is affected by these swings. In addition, there is a small ranking near the top-right that shows the number of districts each party has by margin.
Senate and Governor:
These are fairly straightforward, with related links for applicable campaign and analysis information. There are also some artifacts in them from when I built the next sheet.
This sheet shows, in chronological order, the individual elections by the time the polls close and when results can start to be counted and reported. This, along with the House Swing View, is where the lion's share of the effort of building this spreadsheet went. I've labeled, where possible, which candidates are incumbents and party-incumbents. Pursuant to my aforementioned prediction, I have highlighted the candidates in all the races I think the Democrats will win-- which is to say I have highlighted all the races with a PVI of "-5"(R+5) or better. I put totals of all districts with PVI ratings of greater than 15 points for either party in the frozen rows, to give some deference to the more-or-less established districts. The remaining 249 districts are less predictable. As of the moment of writing this blog post, no major news websites have links accessible yet to state-based results, except NBC News, so that link is in there now. More will be added on the day of the election, as link structures become available.
I will be tracking results from ballotpedia, the Washington Post, the New York Times, the AP, CNN, NBC, CBS, ABC, and any other sources that might have something distinctive and reliable, and I am open to reasonable suggestions. Just to be clear, and upfront, I will not be checking any far-right sources, except for novelty purposes, as they have worked very hard to give the false impression of what Americans really care about this cycle by spamming the information space with sham polls.
I will add a column to the Polls Close
sheet to show actual results in the same format as the PVI listing, and I'll find some way to indicate whether a particular race has been called and confirmed. I will be making these updates, god-willing,m in realtime on election night, and probably for the duration of the counting, which is expected to last for several days.
A Softer, More Sensitive GOP
While it's possible the Democrats will hold one or both chambers of Congress, the lack of a red wave in this election still sent some important messages to the GOP.
First: America is not interested in MAGA extremism. Across the country, election deniers, anti-semites, and opponents of bodily autonomy either won by razor-thin margins, or lost. This is especially true at the state level, with secretaries of state and attorneys-general who the GOP had counted on replacing to make a 2024 election easier for them. All four ballot questions that concerned abortion came out in support of abortion rights, including in Kentucky and Montana. That indicates that the GOP has been under the false impression that the electorate is on their side, regarding abortion.
Second: The GOP is sending signals this morning that they are coming back to the center. VA Governor Glenn Youngkin apologized to Nancy Pelosi for his comments about the attack on her husband. Mehmet Oz and many other defeated GOP candidates gracefully conceded. Kevin McCarthy said in his speech last night that he was committed to working with "whoever we can" to accomplish GOP goals, indicating an intent to reach across the aisle that hasn't been seen in the Trump era. None of these things would have happened in the event of a red wave. If there had been a red wave, no Republican would be compelled to apologize or cooperate with Democrats in any way. They would have taken a red wave as a signal that America wants a take-no-prisoners bully party. But the voters have clearly stated that they would rather have two parties that work together. The GOP will have to take this to heart.
Third: If the GOP takes the House, it will be by a number you can count on your hand. A margin so thin that the chamber's control could potentially change hands before the next election. As such, the Republican House leadership has an exceedingly difficult job ahead, building a coalition. There are still many MAGA representatives, and regardless of the winds of change they will not be willing at all to work with a new center-right GOP. This means the selection of a new Speaker of the House will be a long and contentious process, with great damage done to the legitimacy and unity of the GOP.
Fourth: This election, more than any other event in the last two years, shows Donald Trump to be irrelevant and powerless. He said he was going to make a big announcement next week, but at this point, for him to do that is like someone doing the Macarena on a competitive dance show. It's just too late for him.
The 2022 election was not a blue wave or a red wave. It was a mandate though. America demands sanity and moderation. Let's hope the GOP listens.