A Wacky Off-Year Time Capsule Thread.

Normally we only do this sort of thing as prep for presidential election years… but this is the most important election of our lifetimes.

So here’s what I need from you: I need you to look at the upcoming 2018 elections. Both the ones in the House where every representative is up for re-election and the ones in the Senate where only one third of them are (you can see the states/senators here).

Currently, the House of Representatives has 235 Republicans and 193 Democrats (and 7 vacancies). The Senate has 51 Republicans and 47 Democrats and 2 Independents (but the independents are both caucusing with the Dems).

Your predictions need only cover what the House and Senate will look like after the elections shake out. I mean, if you really want to, you can explain which State Houses and State Senates will also flip… but you don’t *HAVE* to. (Are there any interesting ballot initiatives out there? Throw down your predictions for your favorites of those too!)

Now, of course, we’ve got 153 days until November 6th, 2018 and that means that we’ve got somewhere between 100 and 300 news cycles and any one of those news cycles could change everything so this isn’t an attempt to get you to say something that will have other people point and laugh at you if you get it wrong. It’s more that I think that there is benefit to making measurable predictions about a measurable output of a system and if one’s predictions are particularly far off, one can say “huh, I’m thinking about this incorrectly” and change how one thinks about it.

Or, I suppose, one can say “well, you ought to understand… I was right to be wrong and the people who made the technically accurate predictions were using flawed thinking to make their predictions and because it was mostly luck that got them there so they were wrong to be right.”

Lay down your markers!

(Picture is The Crystal Ball by John William Waterhouse. Picture is in the public domain.)


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Jaybird is Birdmojo on Xbox Live and Jaybirdmojo on Playstation's network. He's been playing consoles since the Atari 2600 and it was Zork that taught him how to touch-type. If you've got a song for Wednesday, a commercial for Saturday, a recommendation for Tuesday, an essay for Monday, or, heck, just a handful a questions, fire off an email to AskJaybird-at-gmail.com

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33 thoughts on “A Wacky Off-Year Time Capsule Thread.

  1. Here’s mine:

    Democrats win the House narrowly – less than 10 in the majority.
    Pelosi is ousted as speaker in favor of a minority candidate.
    GOP maintains its 51/47+2 majority.
    We all lose our minds in November and require extreme medication.

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  2. 2018 will surpass 1994 as “Year of the Women”. Female candidates will do very well. This will favor Dems. I’ve never seen women so angry, and willing to channel that into politics.

    #metoo will be a big factor, but so will basic policy things like “tax cuts for the rich”.

    Dems take House by maybe 15 seats, Pelosi becomes Speaker again.

    Dems take all “contested” Senate seats plus Orrin Hatch’s, Ted Cruz wins in a squeaker. This gives Dems 53 seats.

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  3. Fools rush in…

    First, the Senate… Current 51/49:

    D – AZ: Open (R)
    D – FL: Nelson (D)
    R – IN: Donnelly (D)
    R – MO: McCaskill (D)
    D – NV: Heller (R)
    D – ND: Heitkamp (D)
    D – WV: Manchin (D)
    D – TN: Open (R)

    +1 D… so 50/50 tie.

    Not really a Blue Wave when you confine it to State-level breaker waters… but enough to keep Blue Blue and prevent wild Red upsets. That said, I don’t think McCaskill survives a credible challenge from a winsome Attorney General, nor Donnelly a credible Republican option (though the R challenger is a bit of a darkhorse).

    It could be worse for the Dems… I could see AZ and TN staying R, but AZ is going to go the way the tea-party spoiled things in the past and the R-TN challenger didn’t impress me at a gut level when facing an aged but seasoned D former governor… but perhaps denizens of TN could convince me otherwise.

    FL struck me as a pick-em… so I gave that one to the Blue Wave… but part of me wonders about a Red Tide among the 55+ population.

    Bellweather… If Heller wins in Nevada… then Red Tide it is.

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  4. I’ll go: I’m seeing a lot of little weird dynamics that don’t indicate to me that there is going to be a blue wave.

    First off, there are a kabillion senate seats up for re-election and most of them are blue. Let’s systematize this. Here are all of the Republican senate seats up for re-election:

    Arizona, Mississippi, Nebraska, Nevada, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Wyoming.

    Here are all of the Democratic (and Independent) senate seats up for re-election:
    California, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Hawaii, Indiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Dakota, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin.

    Whew! Just looking at those numbers, Republicans have 8 seats up for re-election. Democrats have 25.

    Out of the Republican’s 8, Mississippi, Utah, and Wyoming ain’t gonna flip. That just ain’t gonna happen. Leaving 5 that *MIGHT* flip. Out of the 5 that might, there are the unlikely but possibles and the likelies. The former include Tennessee, Texas, and Nebraska. The latter include Arizona and Nevada. So let’s say 50% of the former flip and all of the latter flip. That’s 4 states. (Rounding up.)

    Meanwhile, playing the same game with the Blue ones gives us California, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Missouri, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, and Washington as the ones we can confidently say ain’t gonna change. That’s 18.

    But the 7 remaining ones are: Florida, Indiana, Michigan, Montana, North Dakota, West Virginia, and Wisconsin

    It strikes me that Indiana is likely to flip to Republicans. The senator was elected in 2012 (Obama’s coattails?) and isn’t someone who has been there since 1988 or something like that. Indiana was also pretty danged red in 2016. North Dakota also strikes me as likely to flip. Their senator was also freshly elected in 2012. North Dakota was also pretty danged red in 2016.

    That’s two right there.

    As for the rest, West Virginia, and Wisconsin both have senators that have only been there for one term. Florida’s senator has been there since 2006. Michigan’s has been there since 2000. Montana’s has been there since 2006.

    Wisconsin and Michigan probably aren’t going to flip… it’s an off year election… and I wouldn’t even have Michigan on here at all except for the amount of blood in the water that there seemed to be when Kid Rock was teasing running… so out of West Virginia, Wisconsin, Florida, and Montana, only one has to lose to get the senate down to 50/50 with Pence as tie-breaker.

    So put me down for the Senate going 50/50. And that’s OPTIMISTIC. Cynic has Republicans holding steady. Pessimistic has the Republicans picking up a seat.

    As for the House… I used to think that it was obvious that it would flip. Now there are a lot of dynamics that make me wonder if everything that could have flipped already has and the energy that the Democrats had following 2016’s elections have sort of evaporated and only are maintained in areas that already have Democratic congresspeople.

    So the Republicans *WILL* lose seats in the house… but if all 7 vacancies go to the democrats, that’s 235 to 200. Leaving room for the Republicans to lose up to 17 seats without losing the house. So the questions are between… will Republicans lose 17 seats or fewer? Will Republicans lose 18 seats or more?

    I’m guessing that the Republicans will lose around 20ish seats (not including the 7 vacancies that I just gave to the Dems). So that’ll flip the House… but that’s a *LOT* closer to not flipping it than I was sure would happen even a short year ago.

    So my numbers are:
    House: Democrats 220. Republicans 215.
    Senate: 50/50.

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    • On the other hand: there are stories like this one:

      Multiple Iowa voter turnout records were bested Tuesday.

      Iowans busted the voter turnout record for a June primary with 279,124 ballots cast across the state, according to the Iowa Secretary of State’s website Wednesday morning. That means about 13.1 percent of Iowans voted in the primary.

      The previous record was 233,090 votes, set in 2014.

      Primary engagement is an indicator of voter turnout later on in the year.

      This is an indicator that, indeed, there will be a blue wave.

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      • Vox explains it all.

        They interview 11 experts who carefully make various points about the upcoming elections that, to my mind, sound like John Madden explaining a football game. “The wide receiver and the quarterback have to work together so the wide receiver can get to where the quarterback is throwing the ball… but the quarterback has to throw the ball to where the wide receiver can get it!”

        On one level… absolutely. It’s almost Zen.

        On another… I was hoping that the experts could provide better than “If there is going to be any kind of wave, it’s going to require a strong turnout from Democratic voters.”

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    • Perhaps an indicator that things might be better for democrats than I thought

      I assumed that Indiana had a very vulnerable Democratic Senator up for re-election. But the GOP recently had a poll that has some indicators in it:

      Former state Rep. Mike Braun, the GOP nominee, led Donnelly, 50-42 percent in the 3rd Congressional District, according to a survey of 401 likely voters conducted May 29-31 by WPAi for GOP Rep. Jim Banks.

      While that might not sound like good news for the senator, it’s remarkably similar to his marks in 2012, when he lost the 3rd District to state Treasurer Richard Mourdock 53-40 percent (according to Daily Kos Elections) but won statewide 50-44 percent. In 2008, President Barack Obama received 43 percent in the Fort Wayne-anchored seat and won narrowly statewide.

      If Indiana doesn’t flip senators, then the democrats have a real shot at flipping the House *AND* the Senate.

      200ish news cycles to go…

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  5. I’m predicting that Ontario gets an NDP government. Secondary prediction, it will be a narrow majority government. Tertiary prediction, the Liberals will get fewer than four seats.

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        • I have only bad memories of Bob Rae (and plenty of those), my surprise was more that anyone would elect Doug Ford to do anything, and I’d heard the NDP was showing strong. Plus is usually right about things, in general.

          (I had not been paying much attention though.)

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          • Rae’s bad reputation is unearned I think. He preferred doing furlows to layoffs, and the public unions that formed is base deserted him assuming that they shouldn’t have to face any reductions in the face of severe revenue shortfalls. As a result they got Harris, who fired lots and lots of people.

            Otherwise, he mainly got the flack for being leader during a global recession that hit his jurisdiction hard, while his party didn’t have the track record with the voting public needed to give him the benefit of the doubt.

            It does go to show that a politician can’t survive alienating their core supporters though.

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  6. Stasis.

    R’s pick up a few Senate seats, hold the line in the house.

    The reasoning is that as we have gotten closer to the date, Dem poll numbers have been dropping. The November elections aren’t the pilot programs that allowed the D’s to drop all of their resources into a single candidate that we have seen so far since ’16. Couple that with the economy not crashing out under Trump, as was predicted, and an incredibly strong labor market. Also, as Trump’s numbers have been climbing, normalizing, as they say, it is clearer that there is nothing going on with the Collusion! investigation and that is the main thing the D’s have been offering.

    Oh, and I see Disney struggling with the StarWars franchise.

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  7. The House is a legit tossup. Whichever party wins has less than a 10 seat majority either way.

    The real drama is in the Senate. GOP wins WV, MO, IN likely, finishes +2 among the rest of the seats.

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  8. I was very, very bullish on Democratic prospects until a month or so ago. I thought they definitely had the House and probably the senate.Now I’m getting a bit skittish. I think they’ve got the house, but I give Republicans an advantage on the senate. Especially since McCain lived past the deadline.

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  9. I’m interested in a different story this year, so am playing my own game.

    Scoring: Plus-one for each Congressional seat, governor’s office, or state legislative chamber flipped. Minus-one for each such that the opponent flips.

    Playing field: Region 1 is the 13 states of the Census Bureau’s western region. Region 2 is the 12 states in the NE urban corridor (VA, MD, DE, PA, NJ, NY, CT, RI, MA, VT, NH, and ME). Region 3 is the remaining 25 states.

    Example: The Dems were +5 in Region 1 in 2016 (flipped three legislative chambers and two US House seats, lost nothing that they already held).

    Predictions for 2018: The Dems will have positive scores in Regions 1 and 2, and a net zero in Region 3. My over/under number for the Dems in Region 1 for 2018 is +10. Tying this loosely to JayBird’s game, if the Dems score less than +10 in the West, they won’t win the US Senate. If they score less than +5 in the West, they won’t win the US House either.

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  10. In polling less than a month before the CA Senate primary, avowed Nazi candidate Patrick Little was in second place with 15% of the vote.

    In the actual election, he got 1.4% of the vote.

    This is why I don’t trust polling at this point in the game. People haven’t thought very much about the election, and there are no likely voter screens.

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  11. Tangentially… It’s primary season in Colorado. My wife and I are registered Dems. The nomination for Governor is being hotly contested, with three well-funded candidates. So far this month, the glossy campaign ads in my mailbox have outnumbered the cold-call mailings offering to buy my house (we’re having a real-estate bubble). In the last couple of days, both the candidates and the house buyers have started sending me texts.

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  12. US Senate 51-49 Dem-GOP. Every incumbent Dem holds serve, Heller in Nevada gets defeated, Arizona’s open seat goes Dem, Tennessee’s stay GOP.

    House Dem 230 GOP 205

    Governors – Scott Walker and Bruce Rauner get upset, Hogan in Maryland hangs on for another term.

    Colorado redistricting commission initiative passes (both of them)
    The Utah one, though, does not.

    Florida gambling initiative passes. So does the restoration of voting rights one.

    Missouri gas tax increase measure fails. (oddly, bundled with an exemption on taxes for the prize money for Olympic winners)

    The South Carolina initiative to appoint, vice elect, their education chief passes.

    The South Dakota tobacco tax increase does not pass.

    this passes in West Virginia.

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    • The redistricting amendments on the Colorado ballot are referred from the legislature, not initiatives. I haven’t gone and looked at the exact language, so may or may not vote for them. The summaries say that districts have to be competitive. If that takes precedence over the various other metrics currently in the constitution — compact, minimize splitting cities/counties, maintain communities of interest — the districts could be nightmarish. Denver would almost certainly have to be chopped up into parts and paired against large rural areas to achieve the goal of competition. Colorado Springs might need a similar treatment, chopping it up and pairing the pieces with Boulder and some of the other Denver suburbs.

      How do you feel about the governors’ races in New Mexico, Arizona, and Nevada?

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