The Many Storylines Of The Upcoming Midterms

Luis A. Mendez

A Latino So Addicted To The Storytelling Power Of Film, He Writes About Movies And Hosts A Podcast On Them

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82 Responses

  1. Marchmaine says:

    Curious what you mean by “structural midterm advantages” for Republicans in the House Elections (excluding Gerrymandering which you mention separately). The entire House is up for re-election and, while not structural, the incumbent party faces the historical uphill fight… so I’m drawing a blank on what you mean there.Report

    • PD Shaw in reply to Marchmaine says:

      Perhaps he means that historically, Republicans have had better turnout than Democrats in midterms. From 538: “Yes, Republicans have a midterm turnout advantage. It’s just tempered by the penalty voters tend to levy against the party holding the White House.”Report

      • Marchmaine in reply to PD Shaw says:

        That would be a generous and plausible read… but it is still hard to see how that would be considered a Structural or even an Historical advantage unless we want to elevate the singular 2002 midterms as the only Republican midterm in a 100-yr cycle to ever generate positive gains as “structural/historical” advantage. Which, I’m pretty sure we wouldn’t; so I carry on, perplexed.Report

        • Marchmaine in reply to Marchmaine says:

          edit: I’m mostly assuming its an editorial oversight where the House and Senate races were originally included – where structural would apply to the Senate and not House races… but, I don’t want to exclude the possibility that there’s a “structural House” factor that I’m not aware of.Report

          • Jesse in reply to Marchmaine says:

            The structural midterm advantage the GOP has in modern times (ie. post-1994) is that their base of voters is the type of voters that turn out more effectively – older, whiter, more wealthy, etc.

            Now, this doesn’t mean that isn’t the only reason – in 1998, people were upset over the Lewinsky thing, in 2002 they got an extra boost because of 9/11, in 2006 even some Republicans voted for Democrats because of Iraq and such.

            Also, there is the small matter of the Democrats needing a 7 point win to get a majority at all.Report

    • Mike Schilling in reply to Marchmaine says:

      The largest structural advantages for the GOP is Gerrymandering, Gerrymandering and voter suppression. The two largest structural advantages for the GOP are Gerrymandering, voter suppression. And voting machine tampering. Among the largest …Report

      • Not intending to step on @mike_schilling’s joke here, but here’s how I rank the structural advantages the GOP has at the federal level.

        1. The Electoral College grants, collectively, greater power in selecting Presidents to rural states than to urban ones. Whether by chance or design, rural voters polarize to the GOP. Because we vest so much effective power in the Presidency, this is the GOP’s greatest advantage such that in two of the last five elections, a GOP President was picked despite not having even a plurality of the vote. (In 2000 with an assist from the Supreme Court, see no. 3).

        2. The Senate grants equal representation to all states. Consequently GOP voters in rural states have, collectively, disproportionate power over one of the two non-equal chambers of Congress. The House has slightly more power in the realm of taxation as that it is where taxation bills must originate, but the Senate has effectively more power because it confirms significant Presidential appointments, both executive and judicial. It is also a significant farm team for Presidential candidates and Cabinet positions due to its prominence. Congress’ work product will necessarily skew in favor of these states. (One may argue without fear of risibility that this pro-rural cant to the Senate is precisely as the Framers intended, though there are other valid takes on what role the Framers sought the Senate to play as well, and there’s some truth to them, too.)

        3. After the accumulation of years of Presidential and Senatorial power, the courts have been packed in favor of Republicans since the Reagan era, complaints about the Ninth Circuit and the myth of Anthony Kennedy’s moderation notwithstanding. Because the courts are places where the really tough decisions get made and places where someone can play goalie to acts of Congress, there’s a lot of power here over both the business end of turning political will into practical reality, and over nullifying acts of Congress. This is a power that can be used for good, and has been, but we’ve just seen what appears to be the final act of the partisanization of the highest levels of the judiciary.

        4. A conscious effort was made in the late 1980’s and early 1990’s by Republicans to capture control of state legislatures, with the intent to thereafter control gerrymandering. Democrats gerrymander when given the power to do so as well, of course, but Republicans made that push to capture the mechanisms of gerrymandering much earlier and more overtly, and they’ve been successful at it. The result is the drawing of districts at all legislative levels produces a net advantage to Republican politicians, in some cases (Wisconsin comes to mind) resulting in minority Republican voters electing majority Republican legislatures and delegates to Congress.

        5. As our man @mike_schilling in particular frequently notes, Republicans are also using their power in state legislatures to change the rules about who can vote in the first place, seeking and sometimes finding ways to create facially-neutral rules that in practice filter out votes from the electorate that would likely have gone to Democrats. It’s particularly obnoxious because these initiatives are premises on outright lies of ballot-box stuffing and fraud, but the fundamental problem is the use of the law to create barriers between citizens and the exercise of their franchise.

        6. Liberals are starting to play catch-up here, but FOX News is a hugely powerful institution, harmonizing the voices of right-wing politics and embedding opinions to the point of immutability. Please note that I consider the rise of more overtly liberal media emulating FOX’s model to be a deterioration rather than a necessary counterweight; the ideal solution would be to return to the right-wing coalition of the 1980’s — conservatives are going to be conservative, but the various flavors and wings of the coalition should be able to maneuver and coalesce around different sorts of issues for the sake of finding compromises within the larger mosaic of American politics.

        None of these things have much to do with the effects of majoritarian democracy, in my opinion. Majoritarian democracy in Republicans’ favor looks like Democratic candidates going out into the field with little of interest to offer rural voters, and rural voters consequently electing Republicans. That lack of platform is on the Democrats, and that’s voters deciding what looks good and what looks bad to them, and that’s real too.

        But someone not being able to vote at all, and when that someone does vote the power of that vote is diminished compared to other voters elsewhere, that’s very much not consistent with the notion of majoritarian democracy. We see that in the disproportionate power of rural states to pick Presidents, to pick Senators, to exclude voters, to gerrymander their votes.

        The judiciary is intentionally, normatively, and overtly non-democratic. Voters aren’t supposed to have a direct voice in the theoretically neutral application of laws because sometimes that produces a legally correct result that is unpopular.

        And someone not getting the panoply of arguments and ideas to even consider is not likely consistent with majoritarian democracy but entirely consistent with a relatively small control group wielding power over what inputs are fed into the political system and thereby influencing its output.

        A lot of this will probably require a Constitutional amendment to correct, and that won’t happen until and unless Democrats regain a measure of political power in rural states. And if they can do that (from where we stand it takes a significant exercise of imagination to get to a theoretical place where Democrats are competitive in ruralia like they were a century ago), then they may also lose sight of the necessity of this sort of reform in the first place.

        TL/DR: we’re doomed.Report

        • LeeEsq in reply to Burt Likko says:

          The Republicans and other center-right parties in other countries have also adopted the stance of a revolutionary vanguard party. They simply believe the opposition party and their electorate are illegitimate. They use this a reason to maintain control in flatly anti-democratic manners like voter suppression and wielding the courts as a political tool.Report

        • LeeEsq in reply to Burt Likko says:

          Another Republican advantage is that Democratic voters aren’t reliable in local, state, or Federal mid-term elections for a variety of reasons. There also seem to be many Americans that at least nominally agree with the Democratic platform but can’t abide by the Democratic Party.Report

        • Mike Schilling in reply to Burt Likko says:

          George Orwell:

          One rapid but fairly sure guide to the social atmosphere of a country is the parade-step of its army. A military parade is really a kind of ritual dance, something like a ballet, expressing a certain philosophy of life. The goose-step, for instance, is one of the most horrible sights in the world, far more terrifying than a dive-bomber. It is simply an affirmation of naked power; contained in it, quite consciously and intentionally, is the vision of a boot crashing down on a face. Its ugliness is part of its essence, for what it is saying is ‘Yes, I am ugly, and you daren’t laugh at me’, like the bully who makes faces at his victim.

          The modern US equivalent: “We will elect Donald Fucking Trump”.Report

        • Road Scholar in reply to Burt Likko says:

          Burt Likko,

          The Electoral College grants, collectively, greater power in selecting Presidents to rural states than to urban ones.

          Is this really true, though? Both the Senate and by extension, the EC, grant greater relative power to voters in states with low population. That low population can be because they’re large but mostly empty like Wyoming, or just small, like Rhode Island. Is Rhode Island rural? And the small states by population are anything but uniformly Republican-leaning; Vermont, Delaware, Rhode Island. And as Mr. Cain has pointed out several times, the “big empty” western states are surprising urban demographically. Something like 85% of the population of Nevada resides in either Las Vegas or Reno. Ditto Arizona, New Mexico, etc. On the other hand, blue Vermont is very rural. And even your big blue powerhouses like CA, NY, and IL are mostly rural but with a honking huge city or two dominating the overall demographics.

          I’ve been conducting amateur research on decennial censuses and House apportionment (history, methods, controversy, etc.) and what really stands out is how the big disparities in voting strength in the House isn’t between large vs small states but really between small states. The states with either the best population/rep ratios or the worst are all either small states that just barely made or barely missed the cutoff for their second House seat. The current “winner” is Rhode Island with a bit over 500,000 residents per Rep and the “loser:” is Montana with just about a million.

          I’m not a fan of the EC either. It doesn’t really function anything like the Founders intended and hasn’t for a very long time. It was originally intended to be a sort of ad hoc temporary legislature for the sole purpose of choosing a President and now it’s just a weird way to tabulate votes that magnifies small victories into supposedly huge mandates. That is, when it isn’t essentially overturning the expressed will of the people.Report

      • Marchmaine in reply to Mike Schilling says:

        Heh, while nobody ever *really* expects a structural inquisition, let the record reflect that I was (for once) referring to the original post which alleges structural *midterm* advantages *in addition to* gerrymandering and specific to the *House*.

        The leading theory is that the Republican demographic has a higher liklihood to vote in Mid-terms… which is fine to say, but that’s not structural in the way that gerrymandering is. Nor would I cite the overwhelming historical evidence that the party in power suffers losses in the Mid-terms as “structural” because its not structural.

        Will Democrats Choke Away The House?

        Not to mention, the fact remains that gerrymandered district lines and structural midterm advantages will give Republicans some room to make Democrats have to work for it


  2. Saul Degraw says:

    Some thoughts:

    1. The number of true Independents is something very close to zero. Study after study shows that most self-described “Independent” voters are often solid party voters but prefer to call themselves independent for what can only be described as aesthetic reasons usually.

    2. My big fear as a proudly partisan Democrat and liberal is that this becomes the “Close but not quite” election for Democrats. I.e. we gain seats but come up short of a minority in the House and/or the Senate. There is a firm possibility of this. The Senate was always tough for Democrats this year and all things considered, we are polling pretty well in what should be some very tough races. I’m more confident about the House but there is still a plausible way for Democrats to win seats but not enough seats for a majority.

    3. The billion dollar question is how much does Kavanaugh help or hurt Republicans. He does seem to be firing up the Republican base but Silver thinks the data is questionable. Maybe it helps in some Senate seats (but ones that were tough for Democrats anyway). I saw an article on the Chronicle that Kavanaugh is not helping the GOP in California among women. California is a prime area where the Democrats can take House seats from the GOP and probably will. The same in some other purple or blue states too.Report

  3. Saul Degraw says:

    It looks like Trump is tweeting about Soros now in the way that the Malaysian Prime Minister does or Victor Orban does.Report

    • Mr.JoeM in reply to Saul Degraw says:

      He goes where the crowd cheers. Standing up to the Soros boogie man plays well with the fired up base.Report

      • Saul Degraw in reply to Mr.JoeM says:

        From what I saw, Maria Bartolo lobbed a “question” about Soros paying for protestors to Chuck Grassley on Fox News and Grassley said he heard something and believes it to be true. Trump repeated it.

        I guess we were eventually going to be targeted by the new Right-wing.Report

        • Mr.JoeM in reply to Saul Degraw says:

          I am honestly surprised that this may be first time Trump has brought out the Soros boogie man. The idea that there is no real progressive people and that all the protests, online activity, etc. are either rubes or protesters paid by Soros is not new. I’ve been hearing it broadly since at least the 2012 election. I have two hypotheses on why it continues to gain traction. First, maybe that is how it works on the right side (Koch Bros.) and folks assume it works the same way on the left. Second, it would not surprise me to find out Soros is a favorite target of the GRU online operations. Stirring up controversy here about him does double duty for Putin.Report

      • Burt Likko in reply to Mr.JoeM says:

        In a sane world most people would not have to concern themselves with either George Soros or Charles Koch.Report

    • Chip Daniels in reply to Saul Degraw says:

      In one sense our history of the word fascism inhibits us from seeing how real this can be.
      Instead of mass formations of goosestepping soldiers, I’m thinking American fascism will resemble Putin’s Russia, or Xi’s China.

      Where there are the outward trappings of democracy, and freedom of thought and individualist consumer culture.

      Like easy access to porn, music and art that shakes a defiant fist at power, but ultimately power is held closely by a tiny clique and the muscle is provided by a sufficiently dominant ethnic group to maintain the system.Report

      • Saul Degraw in reply to Chip Daniels says:

        If the United States succumbs to fascism and authoritarian, you are almost certainly correct that it is not going to be of a dystopia movie kind.

        Probably. We already have ICE wrecking terror on brown people and local cops willing to do the same among brown people that can’t be deported. ICE is very dystopian in my view. But plenty of left-leaning Americans will continue to live in cities and states which act as a kind of bubble in the way you describe in the last paragraphs.

        But Trump tweeting anti-Semitic conspiracy theories is a turn for the darker and probably one of the reasons why the adamant #NeverTrump conservatives happened to all be Jewish.

        I think this is the logical conclusion of “elite” bashing where “elite” in America means anyone with kind of highbrow tastes.Report

        • Chip Daniels in reply to Saul Degraw says:

          I may have shared that story about my friend who was a Mormon missionary in Argentina in the 70s, during the dirty war.
          I asked him if he wasn’t afraid what with all the violence and disappearances taking place. He laughed and said he had no idea any of it was even going on.

          As a white middle class American non-political tourist, he floated in a safe little protective bubble among the upper middle class families and of course never came face to face with any of it.

          I think it was always this way to some degree in every repressive regime. Every regime has its core of supporters who are kept safe and comfortable and all the ugliness is tucked away out of sight.

          I mean, only a few years ago there were fevered conspiracies about “FEMA camps” and yet here we are today, with a massive gulag of children’s camps, and the teevee sitcoms keep right on playing, like everything is normal.Report

          • R in reply to Chip Daniels says:

            Mormon float so effortlessly amongst the people with their Kiva loans and acquisitively appropriate all the credit of Do Gooders only doing good for the poor, disenfranchised, imprisoned and dispossessed when the dirty secret is they did no such thing, well, at least in Argentina. Their 40 days in the desert so to speak.

            I’m more amazed nobody makes this easily seen observation. It’s more than hypocrisy. The Psychs have a label for it, Acquisitive Projective Identification. It’s an ugly part of an ugly psychological impairment called Borderline Personality Disorder.Report

      • Kolohe in reply to Chip Daniels says:

        Chip Daniels:

        Where there are the outward trappings of democracy, and freedom of thought and individualist consumer culture.

        Like easy access to porn, music and art that shakes a defiant fist at power, but ultimately power is held closely by a tiny clique and the muscle is provided by a sufficiently dominant ethnic group to maintain the system.

        I would argue that this is not fascism, per se, because words have meanings – but a critique of the system and system potential shared by Aldous Huxley and some old school Marxists.

        And a somewhat valid critique, depending on where and with what emphasis one places the modifiers and caveats.Report

        • Chip Daniels in reply to Kolohe says:

          Its entirely possible that historians will need to coin a new word or revamp an old one to properly define this.

          “Fascism” and “Totalitarianism” didn’t really have their current meanings prior to the 1930s.Report

          • Kolohe in reply to Chip Daniels says:

            It is more likely (and has occured more frequently) that an illiberal system with establishment an equilibrium at some authoritarian level, one that is substantial, but not totalitarian (nor entirely fascist)

            Totalitarianism takes a lot of work, and who has time for that?Report

            • George Turner in reply to Kolohe says:

              Mobs of black shirts in yoga pants threatening senators is nothing like fascism. Nosiree Bob.Report

              • greginak in reply to George Turner says:

                They should wear tri corner hats and bring guns if they want to be considered good americans. We should have some sort of police for the capitol or something like that to protect the senators.Report

            • Chip Daniels in reply to Kolohe says:

              Was the regime of King George III fascist?
              Whatever it was, we fought a bloody revolution to get rid of it.

              Was the antebellum South fascist?
              Maybe maybe not, but we fought a civil war to defeat it.

              I think its a quirk of 20th century upbringing to imagine that whatever can’t be called fascist is somehow okay.Report

              • George Turner in reply to Chip Daniels says:

                But folks on the left are okay with Fascism, which favors rule by educated elites, fair wages, worker representation, etc., and a strident opposition to capitalism. French socialists helped fund the Fascists so they could beat back the Italian socialists, of which Mussolini was a former leader. The Fascists finally kicked Mussolini out, so he went north to found the Italian Socialist Republic.Report

              • Kolohe in reply to Chip Daniels says:

                The King George III regime was ok! Half the guys who fought against King George *became* the antebellum South.

                The antebellum South was as close to fascism as a pre-industrial society can get. And possibly even more fascist than the fascists, in the sense that it was more closely modelled on ancient Rome in politics and economics than 20th century Italy was.

                Plus the post-bellum South was no picnic either for a hundred years.Report

              • George Turner in reply to Kolohe says:

                You mean the antebellum South was third-way socialist with a guaranteed minimum wage, paid vacations, and worker representation on all plantation decisions?

                The South had nothing to do with Ancient Rome. They came from southern England, and their difference from the Northerners was that they had been on the losing side of the English Civil War.

                Fascism wasn’t modeled on Ancient Rome. It was one of the many post 1890 revisions to Marxism that combined socialism, syndicalism (which was to the left of communism), futurism, and nationalism. Mussolini broke with the Italian socialists (where he was a noted leader, editor, writer, and thinker) because they thought workers shouldn’t fight in the Great War (it’s a scam to benefit the weapons companies, etc), whereas Mussolini thought a great struggle was required to raise the consciousness of the proletariate and lead to the socialist revolution. So he got funding from French socialists who wanted the Italians to take some pressure off the French lines.

                On of Mussolini’s brilliant insights was that the conventional Marxist class warfare was a non-starter in Italy because most people worked for their parents or grandparents, so rising up to overthrow their masters would make for very uncomfortable Christmas dinners.

                Shortly after the Great War, Mussolini took over Italy, made nice with the king, and ran the place for decades without much complaint from the left in Europe or the US, even gaining praise and admiration from FDR, since Fascism was the Italian version of the New Deal. But Mussolini thought Fascism and Nazism were the wave of the future, threw in with Hitler to gain some cheap real-estate around the Med, and then it all went badly for him. Even the Fascists kicked him out.Report

  4. Stillwater says:

    However, Democrats do have the polling, the forecasting, the history, the environment, the candidate quality, and voter enthusiasm on their side. If they manage to let this one slip away on election night, as if 2016 returned to haunt them again, it could dampen Democratic hopes for 2020 and give Republicans a much needed morale boost half-way through Trump’s stormy term in office and into his anticipated to be tough re-election campaign.

    Bold added for emphasis, cuz, I mean, let’s get real here. If the Dems actually do have all the structural, contextual and candidate/political advantages you mention and do not reclaim the House, that result wil be a lot worse than merely dampening Democratic hopes in the next Presidential election. It will be like an earthquake tearing apart the foundations upon which the contemporary Dem party is constructed.Report

    • InMD in reply to Stillwater says:

      Agreed. To me the test is can the Democrats take the House. If they do, even narrowly, I think we are still within the realm of American politics as usual. If not, I’ll be a lot more open to arguments that a major realignment is in progress.Report

      • Jesse in reply to InMD says:

        What if the Dem’s win the popular House vote by six points, but the GOP still holds the house? To most of my liberal friends, that would only further the argument that the Republican’s are basically illegitimate, holding power through undemocratic means. At least the GOP has usually won the House vote to take or keep control of it.Report

        • Stillwater in reply to Jesse says:

          To most of my liberal friends, that would only further the argument that the Republican’s are basically illegitimate

          Not being snarky, but what would complaining about GOP illegitimacy accomplish? They would still hold all the power, yes?Report

        • InMD in reply to Jesse says:

          It would mean nothing. Gerrymandering is BS but at the end of the day losers blame the ref. Winners go home, document affirmative consent, and fuck the prom queen, king, gender non-binary what-have-you.Report

          • Stillwater in reply to InMD says:

            Gerrymandering is BS

            Well, then let’s not call it “gerrymandering”. From what I’ve read the Dems need to vote at about +7 nationally to retake the House. Which suggests to me there there’s something wrong with districtng regardless of whether we pin it on Republican gerrymanders. Whatever *it* is, it’s an issue.Report

            • InMD in reply to Stillwater says:

              There’s definitely something wrong with it. The challenge is that fixing it through the normal process has become a prisoner’s dilemma. Doing something about it is going to need to come from the people via referendums or something similar. My guess is that activists who are smart enough to understand it are mostly committed partisans themselves. I have no viable solution.Report

              • Jaybird in reply to InMD says:

                Yes, exactly. Fixing it means losing power.

                Losing power wouldn’t be so bad if you could trust the opposition… but can you trust the opposition? If you can’t, you’re stuck.Report

              • Stillwater in reply to Jaybird says:

                There are ways to fix it that don’t rely on sitting state CCers voting against their interests. In fact, that’s the only way to fix it.Report

            • Which suggests to me there there’s something wrong with districtng…

              You literally have to make that “wrong with voters”. Consider the urban/suburban/rural split in a state of medium population. Essentially no one wants to be in a mixed district. They want a Congress critter that will look out for the interests of a particular type of district. In Colorado, the rural parts of the state want a Congress critter who is on their side — favoring agricultural subsidies, preserving historical rural water rights against growing cities, etc. Denver voters want a Congress critter who is on the side of urban interests.

              In the 2011 redistricting, serious consideration was given to a map that would have put the red SE rural counties in with red Colorado Springs. The rural areas screamed because they believed — probably correctly — that the Congress critter from such a district would need to side with the Springs on water rights and expansion of the Piñon Canyon Maneuver Site in order to get elected.Report

              • Stillwater in reply to Michael Cain says:

                Colorado is a great example of what I’m talking about. CO votes blue at the presidential level, is split on Senators, but is 5-2 GOP in the House. Seems effing crazy to me. Where’s all the noise from the “that’s unfair!” community. 🙂Report

              • Well, currently 4-3 GOP in the House, predicted to go 3-4 in November with Coffman finally losing to the steady blue shift in his district.

                Consider things since the 7th Congressional district was added. The House delegation has been as far as 5-2 GOP and 5-2 Democrats. The Senate lineups have included all of two Republicans, two Democrats, and one of each. Electoral votes have gone to both a Republican and Democrats. At the state level, both parties have held the trifecta at different times. Earlier this year active registered voters were 31.7% Dem, 31.5% Republican, and 36.8% unaffiliated (ignoring the minor parties). Given occasional “wave” elections, nothing there strikes me as being unfair or out-of-line.Report

              • Stillwater in reply to Michael Cain says:

                That’s a refreshing correction. I view CO politics as being pretty pragmatically based, very functionally centrist. What you wrote re-establishes that view. 🙂Report

      • Marchmaine in reply to InMD says:

        My non-scientific gut tells me that if Kavanaugh is confirmed prior to the election… the Dems will have a good mid-term (not sure if that includes flipping the Senate, but that’s probably their best shot). If the Kavanaugh situation lingers (absent a breakthrough with any of the accusations) polling seems to show some surprising surges on the right (and among women on the right) which might make the mid-term very… interesting?

        From a purely political point of view, I suspect a Justice Kavanaugh will make for Democratic political gains in 2018 and probably 2020 (though a lot of things could happen between now and then).

        I’d be curious if anyone has done the analysis of what happens after the election to the Republican Kavanaugh votes even assuming worst case scenario where they lose the Senate, but vote on Kavanaugh on, say, Nov 13? Its not like McConnel is going to care about opprobrium for calling a vote during the lame-duck session before Jan. And, if they hold the Senate, then they have the advantage of taking as much time as they want (well, 2-yrs anyway) to decide if there’s a less boozy alternative with a really boring yearbook and a much nerdier calendar… and hopefully no accusations springing out of his/her past.

        Sorry, I diverged from Stillwater’s main point (with which I agree).Report

        • Stillwater in reply to Marchmaine says:

          From a purely political point of view, I suspect a Justice Kavanaugh will make for Democratic political gains in 2018 and probably 2020 (though a lot of things could happen between now and then).

          With nothing more to go on than my gut and conversations with lots of women … if Kavanaugh is confirmed I think Dems make gains for about a generation. They pick up women voters in the short term, but the identity of the Dem party changes as more (incredibly pissed off) women enter politics on the Dem side, reshaping the platform and politics in ways that I, obvs, cannot predict other than it becomes more female and will most likely diverge from the Schumer/Clinton model which has, frankly, been a disaster for the party.Report

          • Mr.JoeM in reply to Stillwater says:

            Looks like we will get an answer on Kavanaugh confirmation this weekend.

            I for one, will be glad that this horror show will be over one way or the other.Report

          • Marchmaine in reply to Stillwater says:

            Perhaps in the mid-/long-term, but interesting polling on the short-term (including Republican women)… which is the much shorter way to ask the question why – from a Republican point of view – confirm Kavanaugh before the election?

            “Heightening the contradiction” seems to increase Republican enthusiasm to match Democratic enthusiasm… once he’s confirmed… democratic enthusiasm is boosted yet again, while Republican enthusiasm should (theoretically) fade as the goal was met. That’s my question above.

            I assume there’s some good whip analysis on why it needs to happen now vs. a month from now, and I’d be curious to see what that might be.Report

            • Stillwater in reply to Marchmaine says:

              In a pretty important sense it doesn’t matter unless you think McConnell is willing to let Kav’s nom fail in the floor vote for purely electoral reasons. Doesn’t seem like he is. So then we’re left not with an interesting cynical question about electoral political strategery but the consequences of whether McConnell’s strategy to squeeze wafflers succeeds or not.Report

              • Marchmaine in reply to Stillwater says:

                No, not fail… he controls the agenda… all he has to do is slow-/fast-walk it to whatever date he wants the vote to happen – either before or after the election.

                Clearly, the signal right now is a vote before the election… I’m just wondering why. A bird in the hand? Restless troops? Another High School or College Scandal lurking?

                There are plenty of Conservative Jurists… there’s no particular reason to die on Kavanaugh Hill – especially if Republicans hold the Senate. It’s really the deadline of Jan 3 and the prospect of losing the Senate that forces McConnell’s hand… but until they lose the Senate (21.7% chance) or Jan 3 rolls around if they do… he theoretically has as many votes as he needs today as he will on Nov 7 (or does he?).Report

              • North in reply to Marchmaine says:

                9 out of 10 odds are it’s bird in the hand. McConnell probably doesn’t have faith that he can get his caucus to vote in a conservative jurist in a lame duck session if they lose the Senate. He’s a wily old vote counter and knows his Senators well. A conservative majority on the court is too important to him and his base to risk it for a possible electoral lift. Also the old fisher probably has mentally written the house off already.Report

              • Marchmaine in reply to North says:

                Yeah, that’s probably it… just take it down and move on.Report

              • Stillwater in reply to Marchmaine says:

                I think McConnell’s reasoning was (and is) that confirming Kav rather than leaving the seat open is better for GOP electoral prospects in the midterm. I believe that because I read reporting of him actually saying that.* Of course he *could* confirm a different nominee before the Senate flips (which is unlikely) but that won’t help him retain the Senate or retain the House. By his thinking anyway. In a demonstration of being a good soldier he rammed through a nominee he didn’t like for the good of the Party. So good on him (I guess).

                *More accurately, something to that effect. McConnell never clearly says his underlying thinking so explicitly.Report

              • Marchmaine in reply to Stillwater says:

                Just to clarify… there’s no scenario prior to the election where they get a different nominee… for now its Kavanaugh or nothing.

                If they keep the Senate in the mid-terms… the hard deadline goes away… they could stick with Kavanaugh or would have an option/luxury to explore a different nominee.

                I can tell by some of the comments here that folks are under-appreciating the importance of the deadline that was/is motivating a lot of the concerns (on the right) on the Kavanaugh confirmation.

                Remove the deadline and new options open up… lose the Senate and the deadline holds and Kavanaugh is the only option.

                In sales we have a saying to live by: He who has the deadline loses.Report

            • Mr.JoeM in reply to Marchmaine says:

              My guess: Right now, on the right, the worst thing you can be is weak/beta/cuck. Team R needs to drive this very aggressively to satisfy the base and keep them motivated. If Kavanaugh flounders about for another month, it looks weak and capitulating to Team D.

              IMHO, best case for Team R may be Kavanaugh fails and a shiny new nominee is put up in the week leading to the election. A shiny new candidate that hasn’t had a chance to be beat up much that the voters have to go to the polls to save from evil Team D. That would do wonders to get the team fired up.Report

            • DavidTC in reply to Marchmaine says:

              I assume there’s some good whip analysis on why it needs to happen now vs. a month from now, and I’d be curious to see what that might be.

              I’m coming in a bit late here, but there is a possible reason. Google ‘Gamble v. United States’, which is a case that’s about to be decided _now_, like, at the start of this court session, about double jeopardy with regard to someone being charged for the same act at Federal and state level.

              Which, of course, has implications for Trump and his gang. If double jeopardy applies, Trump can pardon people for Federal crimes they’ve been convicted of, and they can no longer be charged for state crimes.

              Except this isn’t really workable, mostly because New York already has a law stopping such double-charging (Although they are considering putting in an exception for people pardoned.), so Federal prosecutors _deliberately_ left some crimes for state prosecutors to charge…and as Manafort discovered, the pardon power doesn’t apply to forfeiture either. Also, to actually trigger double jeopardy, Trump would have to let the trial play out and them getting found guilty, and then pardon them, which is…uh…problematic from a political standpoint. He could perhaps get away with pardoning cronies in advance, but…having the entire country sit through the trial, and see the evidence, and a guilty verdict reached, and _then_ a pardon? No.

              So, the obvious conclusion is ‘This is much too stupid to be the Trump administration’s reason to force through Kavanaugh right now ‘, to which I reply: Trump’s Razor.Report

          • Stillwater in reply to Stillwater says:

            Welp, Sen Collins is doing her best to mitigate the obviously impending damage to the GOP’s brand, but I don’t think it’s enough. GOP loses women voters across the board for at least a generation. By focusing on narrow procedural trees she’s lost her view of the forest. Nevertheless, and unfortunately for her given the old-white-guy composition of the GOP judiciary, she is presenting the best case for Kav’s confirmation. Like, she’s presenting a great case. But the case-for sucks, and that’s not her fault. It’s her misfortune.Report

        • InMD in reply to Marchmaine says:

          Here’s what I want to say:

          Getting down to the horserace I think delaying a Kavanaugh vote is becoming more advantageous to the GOP but only if they can successfully pin the delays on the Democrats. If they install him now on a partisan vote (which it will be anyway, now, lame duck session, whenever) they may dampen their own partisan energy and simultaneously give Democrats something to be so livid about they might even show up en masse for a midterm.

          Here’s what a weird stalking horse in the back of my mind cautions:

          Since at least 2016 we keep being blinded by short-term hot takes. All predictions like the above are just projections by political junkies and not based on anything substantive. If the Dems retake the house it will be because their coalition and the pendulum of post Reagan politics is still basically in tact, not due to whats in the headlines. If they don’t it means Obama held the coalition together with duck tape and gum and its finally coming apart.Report

      • Stillwater in reply to InMD says:

        Exactly. Taking the House but not the Senate would dampen enthusiasm going into 2020. (Dems won’t take the Senate.) Not taking the House would kill it. Something about a falcon and a falconer, then all hell breaks loose. 🙂Report

    • North in reply to Stillwater says:

      Yes, absolutely, forget popping the hood- if the Dems don’t take the House in November then it’s put it up on cinder blocks and strip it down to the frame rethinking time.Report

      • Saul Degraw in reply to North says:

        The most likely scenario seems to be Dems gain the House but Rs keep control of the Senate. Kind of like 2010 but in reverse.Report

        • North in reply to Saul Degraw says:

          Yes, and in that case the Dems will be fine and the GOP will be looking at 2 more years of Trump without a GOP congress covering his ass and a FAR less advantageous Senate map in 2020 (and likely little to no help in the house either).
          Basically 2006 and 2008 redux.
          If the GOP emerges from their period of total control with nothing to show for it but a massive tax cut that re-incinerated the ashes of their fiscal conservative claim, the ACA battered but extant and some judges they would have gotten from any Republican majority with a pulse that’s gonna be a pretty good cycle for the Dems/left wingers big picture wise.Report

          • Stillwater in reply to North says:

            Except … the GOP isn’t an ideologically-based policy-passing institution anymore. It’s a culture-war institution which appears to be fueled, given the absurdity of the policy proposals, by owning the libs. What’s the shelf life of that meme?Report

            • North in reply to Stillwater says:

              What’s the ambulatory life expectancy of their base? How much longer are they going to keep buying National Review Cruises, mega-preacher discount bulk salvation, gold and sleep number beds? The Fox News strain that’s devoured the GOP alive isn’t going to stop until the money runs out whatever happens to the GOP electorally.

              I mean the Dems and the left got walloped in the chops pretty hard over Obama’s term and in 2016 with HRC but their core desires are still generally intact, relevant and they still generally believe that their political party wants to try and address the things they want. Is the same true on the right? I don’t know, getting knocked back that hard could make the whole Republican edifice implode like a rotted out log. Or just contract the couple inches that keep them electorally viable.Report

  5. Jaybird says:

    I admit: I’ve never heard the term “Red Wall” before today.

    My assumption is that the Blue Wall would have held had it been Jeb! or Cruz (barring Ohio) or Rubio.

    I assume that the Blue Wall will be back the second Trump isn’t on the ballot.Report

    • North in reply to Jaybird says:

      Sounds like a plausible assumption to me. Also I’ve never heard of the Red Wall either. I submit you probably need your barrier to hold for more than a single fluke election before you can call it a wall. Maybe the red leaning line of sticks with a piece of string?Report

      • Marchmaine in reply to North says:

        I thought 2018 was themed nautical (naughtical?)… so red sand castle? Unless it holds, then red break water?Report

      • Koz in reply to North says:

        Sounds like a plausible assumption to me. Also I’ve never heard of the Red Wall either. I submit you probably need your barrier to hold for more than a single fluke election before you can call it a wall. Maybe the red leaning line of sticks with a piece of string?

        Yeah, there is no red wall. In kind of a weird overtone from 2016, there’s a blue wall, and it’s holding. Our Senate gains are capped at +6 if the blue wall holds, and realistically that means +5 since I think Manchin is safe at this point, and if I had to guess the single most likely outcome, that would be it.

        But, there are a number of secondary seats which I expected to be somewhat competitive, and the best you can say for them is that expectation has not materialized yet: Jersey, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan, Wisconsin, and Minnesota. That’s where the GOP needs to make hay to have a legit good year.Report

        • North in reply to Koz says:

          Well sure but if they’re winning those it’s a red wave.
          But on the upside if the blue wave comes to the Senate you might finally be rid of Ted Cruz so there’s a silver lining there.Report

          • Koz in reply to North says:

            Well sure but if they’re winning those it’s a red wave.

            No, there is no red wave. I think what we’re going to see is a “permanent” GOP majority in the Senate though, permanent in the sense of our current demographic/cultural conflict. There’s been a lot of politicos and professor types who have been famously wrong predicting permanent majorities.

            As far as the “New Blue Wall” goes, we’re not going to get close to getting all of them, or even most of them. I was hoping for one or two, but if I had to bet we won’t even get that. We’ll need at least a little movement in the polls in the next three weeks, and a bit of luck on election day.

            But on the upside if the blue wave comes to the Senate you might finally be rid of Ted Cruz so there’s a silver lining there.

            Cruz is safe. He wasn’t for a while, but I think he is now. I do think he is finished as a national political figure, but he does have at least six more years in the Senate.Report

  6. George Turner says:

    There are reports that Republicans are suddenly more motivated to vote than they have ever been in their lives, and that this is the first election in history where the Supreme Court is at the top of the voter’s concerns.

    Normally you’d guess that when Kavanaugh is confirmed this massive Republican uplift would subside, but perhaps not, as Democrats are vowing to keep trying to burn him as a witch.

    From the New York Times:

    House Democrats will open an investigation into accusations of sexual misconduct and perjury against Judge Brett M. Kavanaugh if they win control of the House in November, Representative Jerrold Nadler, the New York Democrat in line to be the chairman of the Judiciary Committee, said on Friday.

    Speaking on the eve of Judge Kavanaugh’s confirmation vote this weekend, Mr. Nadler said that there was evidence that Senate Republicans and the F.B.I. had overseen a “whitewash” investigation of the allegations and that the legitimacy of the Supreme Court was at stake. He sidestepped the issue of impeachment.

    Perjury over what, saying that Renate Alumnius wasn’t a sexual slur? Just because you can find some teen who remembers it as a sexual slur doesn’t mean anything, because you can find some teens who say everything was a sexual slur, including “and” and “or”. Saying that Devil’s Triangle wasn’t a reference to a Satanic three-way? Well, Devil’s Triangle is a version of quarters using three glasses and four players. The person closest to the glass that the shooter hits has to drink.

    But threats like this will keep Republicans more fired up than they were in 2010 or 2014.Report

  7. Jesse says:

    For a pushback against “OMG the Kavanaugh bump”

    A new Congressional poll came out today with the Democrats leading by 13 points, with women voting 63-33 for the Democrat’s.

    So, for every loud “independent” women scared that her son might get accused of being a rapist in college, there’s two or three women who are far more scared their daughter may be a victim of that son getting drunk and “making a mistake.”

    Women’s views of each major party via @CNN poll:

    Democratic Party:
    51% favorable
    38% unfavorable

    Republican Party:
    34% favorable
    57% unfavorable

    CNN’s new generic ballot poll has women opting for the Democratic candidate 63% to 33%. Gender gap is a net 35%.Report

    • Chip Daniels in reply to Jesse says:

      Pushback to the pushback-

      One of the tactics of bullies and abusers is to make good on their threats to make resistance painful.
      It is entirely possible that resistance to Trump infuriates and activates previously apolitical types.

      So be it. We can’t let it stop us from saying what we believe to be true, or acting on it.

      As the good Ms. Pelosi said, we came here to do a job, not keep one.Report

    • Michael Cain in reply to Jesse says:

      As with real estate, location, location, location. Are the changes in states where that makes a difference? In districts where that makes a difference? The winner of the Senate race in California will be a Democrat — a million California women more or less has no effect on that outcome.Report