One Month out from the Election: Give Your Analysis and Make Your Predictions

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I know we had a prediction thread back at the beginning of June, but that was 4 or 5 years ago.

We are now down to 28 days before the November Election which means that we are somewhere between 30 and 50ish news cycles before votes are cast. I remember watching one of the Sunday Morning talking heads television shows back in the 90s and George Will said something to the effect of “people don’t care about the election until after the World Series”. According to my quick search on the Google, Game 7 is scheduled for October 31st. That’s a Wednesday. The following Tuesday is November 6th. Election Day.

I’ve made noises before about how the Democrats have lost 1000 seats over the last 4 elections. This is the election that will tell us whether that’s nothing more than the pendulum swinging back and forth.

Well, one of the things that we need to do is measure how big/important that 1000 seat swing actually was.

Brother Jesse points out that the party who wins big tends to lose big over the next few years:

One Month out from the Election: Give Your Analysis and Make Your Predictions

One Month out from the Election: Give Your Analysis and Make Your Predictions

Looking at those two charts, the main thing that I notice is that, yeah, a party does tend to lose power when in the White House.

I also notice that Obama’s numbers are the biggest out of everybody’s. Bigger than Bush’s. Bigger than Clinton’s. Bigger than Reagan’s. I don’t know how to read that. Maybe we should just assume that that’s because the gains made in both 2006 and 2008 were so very big. Okay. Let’s run with that. On top of that, there’s gerrymandering (and it’s gerrymandering that uses computer models which are, of course, better than any gerrymandering done to this point… predictive gerrymandering that not only gave wins immediately after in the 2012 election, but rewarded the forecasted people moving/dying right before the 2014 and 2016 elections as well).

So from that, I pull two numbers out of my butt. Both based on 20%. 20% of the gains made by Republicans after Obama’s historic win were due to little more than regression to the mean after such a huge pendulum swing. After that, another 20% is due to the tricky gerrymandering.

So the question for this election is whether the pendulum of Obama’s big win has stopped swinging.

I’m going to define “stopped swinging” as taking the number of seats the Democrats/Republicans have today, both state-wide and nationally, and say that the pendulum will have stopped swinging if the Democrats have the same number or more seats after the election than they do right now.

Looking at that 1000 number, I’d say that that number is so huge that the question isn’t whether the pendulum has stopped swinging but that we should assume that it has and we should, instead, try to measure the difference between “the democrats only doing well because of regression to the mean” and “the democrats actually doing better than regression to the mean” and “blue wave”.

So assuming regression to the mean and the razor-thin margin that Trump won a number of states by, just regression to the mean will give a number of state-level house and senate seats back to the Democrats, a couple of governorships, and enough house seats to make winning the House of Representatives back really feasible. The Senate has a weird election structure that gives the Republicans an advantage this election but, back in June, I thought that the Dems were likely to net +1 Senate seat and take the Senate back to 50/50.

But given the assumption that there will be regression to the mean? What does regression to the mean look like? I assumed that 10% was the baseline regression to the mean (number pulled from my nethers) and a 10% regression to the mean would look like this back in January 2017:

So, for me, the question is “how many of those numbers have to flop back by what point for us to say okay… Trump is doing to the Republican party what Obama did to his own party?”

I’d say that, at the end of 2018, those numbers would look like this:

3 governorships, 3 U.S. Senate seats, 10 House seats, and 100 state legislative seats and 4 or 5 state legislative chambers.

(At that point in time, I don’t believe I had yet looked at what the Senate election map would look like in 2018. I was just looking at the numbers and that was a mistake.)

And so here’s my new adjusted analysis. A simple regression to the mean will give Democrats 1 or 2 governorships, 1 U.S. Senate seat, 10 House seats, and 75ish state legislative seats and 3 or 4 state legislative chambers. If the democrats don’t even accomplish that much, then I’d say that the discussion shouldn’t be over whether the pendulum is swinging back, but whether Trump is successfully slowing the swing back (or worse, moving the anchor point).

Luckily, it seems like the Democrats are poised to do a *LOT* better than that in the House (where the debate is over whether they’ll flip it) but I don’t know about the rest of those numbers.

I do know that if gerrymandering is responsible for 20% of Republican wins since 2010 and regression to the mean is responsible for another 20%, then there are about 600 seats that are legitimately up for grabs.

And, so far, it looks like Democrats have won 39 seats away from Republicans in the various special elections since Trump got elected.

To win 25% of those 600 seats would take winning 150 seats and the Democrats have already won 39 of them so…

I’m saying that the line between “regression to the mean” and “democrats are right on track for doing well” is somewhere between a grand total of 120 pickups come November (and they’ve already got 39 of those, so 81 more pickups) and 150 pickups come November (111 more!) and the line for “right on track for doing well” and “holy crap, Trump is hollowing out the party the way Obama did!) is somewhere between 150 (111!) and 180 (141!).

So that’s my analysis for how to tell the difference between performing, underperforming, and over-delivering.

As for my guess… hell. I don’t know. I think that the Republicans will pick up at least one Senate seat and might pick up two. The Democrats might win the House but they might not and, six months ago, it was a dead certainty that they would win it and win it decisively. Which tells me that they’ll win the House… but precariously. The Democrats will pick up 4 or 5 governorships. But they won’t hit 150 when it comes to all of the State House/Senate seats and everything added up.

But, again, we’re somewhere between 30 and 50 news cycles before the election. And we don’t even know who will be in the World Series yet.

But *MY* thoughts aren’t half as interesting as *YOUR* thoughts.

Where do you draw the line between performing, underperforming, and over-delivering?
And which of those do you think the Democrats will do?

(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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234 thoughts on “One Month out from the Election: Give Your Analysis and Make Your Predictions

  1. Dems take the House and do quite well on the state level. I’m dubious they can overcome the high obstacles that the current Senate map presents to actually seize the majority there but they’ll hold GOP gains to very little which will be very very bad news for the GOP in 2020.

    Which would put us in 2019 with Trump still in the Whitehouse but with no GOP house to cover for him. All the downsides the Republicans currently have minus a lot of their power. Not a good position to be in but they did get the court and a tax cut.

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  2. House: whoever gets the majority has less than 10 seat advantage. GOP retaining control is undervalued.

    Senate: Plausible options go from GOP even to GOP +5, I think the most likely scenario is GOP +5, but they could easily fall one or two short. GOP has closed the book on North Dakota, Tennessee, and Texas. Indiana and Missouri are next. Montana, Nevada, and Florida will stay very tight until the end, when GOP gets across the finish line first.

    Underreported story of the entire election cycle: GOP is getting crushed in the Great Lakes/Big 10 when they shouldn’t be.

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  3. House goes Democratic by between +10 and +15 – and several of the races aren’t called beforehand because their safety is “assumed” by the press and candidates.

    Senate – GOP is lucky to retain current numbers, but might end up +1 Democrats – which sets up an interesting series of showdowns where the remaining Blue Dogs could vote with the GOP and Mike Pence breaks ties in the GOP’s favor.

    Koz missed one under reported story – Mississippi might split its delegation or go full Democratic – Roger Wicker is not really campaigning for his seat against David Baria (Who is campaigning heavily), and Cindy Hyde-Smith and Chris McDaniel will split the GOP vote against a solidly Democratic Mike Espy in the three way open general election for Thad Cochran’s seat.

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  4. Oh, and the reason that I think it’s important to say not only what you think will happen but the vague outline of what disappointing looks like, what decent looks like, and what good/great looks like is because there is a tendency to say “oh, well, I didn’t get a direct bullseye but nobody did. My predictions were well in line with everybody else’s and the outcomes confirmed my priors just as I knew they would.”

    I mean, if we all know that Democrats would be winning big come November no matter who was in office… even if it was someone that we totally respect and wish the Republicans would get back to running like Rand Paul or Mitt Romney… then it’s not really that surprising that Democrats would be winning big with Trump in office. Do we know how to compare Trump’s outcomes with what we know that Romney or Paul would be getting in the same situation? If Trump does better than Hyporomney, what does that mean? If he does worse than Hypopaul, what does *THAT* mean?

    Well, the only way to avoid the false but comforting “This is exactly in line with what I knew was going to happen” is to write down what you know is going to happen.

    Then, come November, you have reason to say “holy cow, I was looking at things the wrong way!” and can change how you look at things if you were wrong outside of, oh, 10-15%.

    Of course, in a worse case scenario, you can always fall back on “I made that prediction in October and I had no idea that the October Surprise would have been *THAT* and, if I did know that, I would have made the right prediction. So I was right to have gotten the wrong numbers.”

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  5. I’m standing by my prediction from 4 or 5 years ago.

    On top of that, I will say my longshot bet is for Devin Nunes to lose his seat. I’d give it maybe a 20 percent chance. A true Blue Wave will topple him.

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  6. I’ll stand with my previous game and predictions* for the national picture. If Koz is right about the Great Lakes, I’ll lose. As usual for local things, the referendums and initiatives are more interesting. The state blue book arrived yesterday — 13 state-wide items this time. From the legislature, some tidying up of constitutional language plus creation of a redistricting commission for Congressional districts. Two conflicting statutory initiatives for road projects — one that authorizes a small sales tax for 20 years to fund projects; and one that requires the legislature to issue road bonds and cut $260M per year from other spending to pay for them. Rural interests are funding an amendment that would require the state and local governments to immediately reimburse property owners for any actions that reduced the value of the property in any way whatsoever. Good times.

    Under-anticipated story: the Latinx vote finally shows up in Arizona and Nevada.

    * Split the country in three: (a) the Census Bureau 13-state West; (b) the 12-state northeast urban corridor; and (c) the other 25 states. Score +1 for the party gaining a Congressional seat, governor’s office, or state legislative chamber (-1 for losing one of those). Prediction: Dems gain in (a) and (b), enough to win the House but not the Senate; the two sides break even in (c).

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  7. Apocalypse: Democrats win but Trump arrests them all and fills the seats with cronies. Martial law declared.

    Depressing: Democrats gain seats but not enough for a majority.

    Acceptable: Democrats gain the House but not the Senate.

    Great: Democrats win both the House and Senate. Trump reduced to ranting on Twitter for two years, everyone calls McConnel pathetic. Stephen Miller is forced to sit in detention by Congress.

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    • Endorsed. I would be depressed if we don’t take the House, but satisfied if we take it but not the Senate (given how tough a map that is this year).

      Acceptable turns to “happy” if we win the GA/OH governor races. Honestly, I haven’t carefully tracked what we need to do with respect to heading off 2020 gerrymandering efforts, but that’s the most important thing other than taking the House.

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  8. Saul Degraw: Mississippi is a little too red for that to happen

    You’d think, but in the Cochran race Sen. Hyde Smith is a switched Democrat, which means most establishment Republicans don’t trust her. Her Republican opponent is Chris McDaniel who is a Tea Party Republican state senator who lost to Cochran last time after he sneaked photos of Cochran’s bedridden wife out of a nursing home. Since Mike Espy is the Democrat, and he was previously endorsed by Haley Barbour, he has more then a fair chance.

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  9. I’ll stand by my earlier prediction of status quo ante.

    Trump has a full month to hold his little Nuremberg rallies, and from what I’ve seen the heartland is eating it up. He’s milking the Kavanaugh thing for all it’s worth, and voter enthusiasm polls seem to be indicating it’s having an effect.

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  10. The revision I need to make to my prior prediction is that I don’t think Heitkamp will be able to hold on anymore in North Dakota, and the Senate will be 50-50 (which of course keeps control for the Republicans)

    I still think enough Clinton district Republicans will get flushed out this time around to give the Dems a narrow lead in the House. Narrow enough that it will be between 220-225 seats.

    I think things are going to get economically ugly next year (job losses are always much faster than job recovery)

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    • I’m almost coming around to the sine qua non of hot takes that its better for the Dems to *not* gain majorities in each chamber of Congress so that they catch no flak for a downturned economy in 2020. Otherwise timing could bite them in the butt *again* going into a census cycle.

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      • Remember Dan Scotto’s Value Over Replacement-Level Republican President essay?

        It seemed to me that one of the conclusions was that, in that sliver of time, it’d be better for the Republicans to have lost the election.

        Which strikes me as non-obvious. I mean, was it good for the Republicans that Obama got elected?

        I mean… kinda? I guess? But it’s non-obvious. So, too, the democrats stalling out in 2018. Maybe it’d be good for the dems to lose because of the coming downturn?

        But I’m pretty sure that the market can stay irrational longer than the dems can stay solvent.

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        • The counter to my hot take is that it probably doesn’t matter who has control of Congress during a recession, just who is President. And both 1992 and 2008 show that it’s a much easier sales job to say “we have a Congress, now give us the Presidency to Get Things Done” than it is to say “Hey, guys, can give our President a Congress pretty please?”

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          • Counter-counter any half decent Politician/President can blame a downturn on a congress… “Congress is the reason all this economic legislation I’d totally pass is not passing.” Whom the electorate believes/blames? That’s dependent on… stuff.

            I don’t really think there’s a “tanking” strategy in politics… unless/until the losing party gets some sort of perq for losing. Like picking which Senate Seats are up for re-election in the next cycle… or drawing the congressional districts… or maybe playing in the Jr. League for a cycle and promoting the best Third Party into the Majors (oh, wait, that last one isn’t a perq).

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  11. Apocalypse: Democrats fail to take either the House and lose ground in the Senate and lose the only two Governor’s races I’m paying any attention to: Kansas and Colorado
    Depressing: Same as the “Apocalypse” setting, only Democrats win the House and then waste the next two years trying desperately to ram Articles of Impeachment against Trump through the House
    Good: Democrats take the House, gain ground in the Senate, Polis wins Colorado but Kobach wins Kansas
    Great: Democrats take the House (including Spaulding unseating Lamborn in Colorado’s 5th) and the Senate, Polis wins Colorado, Kelly wins Kansas, I win the lottery and can immediately engage in a life of leisure, and an unknown benefactor gifts me a unicorn.

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  12. I’ve been one of the “bears” on Trump for a while, and I’ll stick by my guns. Thanks to Jaybird for bringing up my piece from earlier this year. The basic argument is something like the following:

    1. Trump’s electoral strategy in 2016 traded certain high-propensity voters for lower-propensity voters. Those high-propensity voters are deeply frustrated with Trump’s style, even if many agree with him on policy. Some of them will vote for Democrats; others will stay home. The lower-propensity voters are less likely to vote by definition.
    2. Democrats are as enthusiastic as ever and are going to vote in droves, as they did in Virginia’s gubernatorial election.

    I’ve *started* to waver on this a bit in the aftermath of the Kavanaugh stuff, which did seem to consolidate the Republican base (nothing unifies Republicans like judges). But I’ve gone too far to turn back now. So, with that said:

    – I think the Democrats win 55-60 seats in the House, including a couple of stunners not on anyone’s radar.
    – I think Republicans thread the needle and hang onto the Senate, which stays status quo. (North Dakota and Nevada switch places, everything else holds.)

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  13. I’ll stick with my original estimate… mostly.

    It looks like I’m going to miss on ND and IN… but they cancel each other out. Senate still looks clean for Republicans, maybe even 0 or +1 to my original estimate of -1. So I’ll waffle and say -1 to +1, but no change in ownership.

    I still think the House will be a bloodbath for R’s… not really a deep analysis, more of a gut feel based on 2017 VA (as Dan notes above). The basic premise that districts are mostly designed to support the incumbent is true based on likely voters… the D’s will see likely plus unlikely voters. I’m not feeling the same fervor out here in Redville – not for congressional seats… if VA hadn’t nominated Corey Stewart I’d be curious to see what that might have looked like… but they did and even out here no one’s motivated by Stewart… so Kaine (Senate) in a cakewalk.

    The unanswerable question is what I would call “good” results. Since I’d like to speed-up realignment and the breaking down of the current political parties its hard to say what outcome would help that along. I suspect the current trajectory will just see more trench warfare… so, booo. A surprise Red Tide? That might do the trick… so then that would have to be my qualified “good” option.

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  14. I guess I’m sticking with my June prediction:

    Democrats gain 9 seat majority in the House;
    Republicans net 2 additional seats in the Senate

    I guess my starting point on the House seems different than others; I see House Republicans having gotten more total votes than Trump in 2016, so I don’t see Trump as having much in terms of coattails, plain or reverse.

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  15. My bet: Democrats win the “popular vote” overwhelmingly – let’s say by 5,000,000 total votes – but gain no new power, owing to the catastrophic clusterf-ck that is American democracy.

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  16. Two weeks away from the election.

    Kavanaugh appears to have disappeared entirely.
    Stormy Daniels appears to have disappeared entirely.
    I keep thinking that Elizabeth Warren has disappeared entirely, but then she gives an interview talking about how principled she was being with her DNA test or something like that and it extends the story for a day.

    The two main storylines now are:
    The Caravan coming up from Central America.
    Saudi Arabia being complicit in the grisly murder of Jamal Khashoggi.

    Two weeks remains an eternity and we’re very likely to have at least one more major story break between now and Election Day.

    The main thing I’ve noticed is that talk of a “blue wave” seems to have receded. I’ve even seen a “Who was saying that there would be a ‘blue wave’?” question asked (defensively).

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      • Might be wrong, but Khashoggi isn’t nearly the story to general population as it is with media/FoPo folks. It’s over-amplified do to his WaPo connections, plus the competing troll networks of the Saudi’s and the Turks with their Russian friends help cranks the volume up far more than it reality. I don’t think average voters are that invested in it. This is the second time we’ve done the “caravan” story so we know how that plays out, and to who. See where this goes, if connected and a serious threat it just might.

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        • The Khashoggi story does seem to suffer from the whole “media covers story about the media” phenomenon. As for the Caravan… well, it seems likely to result in arguments about whether we should have open borders, whether we should abolish ICE, and whether it’s fair to ask democratic politicians about this because nobody is arguing for open borders/abolishing ICE.

          As arguments go, it strikes me as an argument that I would *NOT* want to be having 13 days before an election were I a politician who supported liberalizing immigration laws.

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        • Checking back on the news a couple hours later, today’s stories do seem to be getting the Breaking. Update. Update. Update. treatment on main news sites and blogs.

          So this in imo is going to be ‘sticky’ in people’s minds. Normie people’s, too.

          (and to be clear, I’m not saying that this is nothing but absolutely real – though if I had to bet, I’m going to predict it falls into that ‘terrorist, but crazy’ niche that James Hodgkinson fell into)

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            • Next clue: Twitter has been talking about this for a while but I was waiting for a reputable news source to report on it:

              Some Suspected Mail Bombs Were Not Capable of Exploding, Others Yet to Be Analyzed, Officials Say

              Some of the 10 suspected mail bombs addressed to high-profile Democrats and others over the last few days were flawed and not capable of exploding, while others have yet to be fully analyzed, several investigators said Thursday.

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              • I was wondering the same… were they really bombs? why didn’t *any* explode? [not that we want any to explode, but surely one might/ought have] The press was calling them pipe bombs, but the police seemed to be calling them dangerous devices… like a Note7 on an airplane.

                Could just be poor bomb making skills? Perhaps search for people whose internet was down?

                Either way, a whole lot of priors are going to be confirmed for one team or the other. I confess I could go either way on this one… but I really haven’t been following closely. And, full disclosure, I’m not on twitter.

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                • If the point was to create terror (but not hurt anybody), a device that looks like a bomb but cannot explode would do that. “Hoax devices”, I guess they’re called.

                  Still officially a terror attack… but the point of the devices was that they be seen by their recipients (and reported upon?) rather than that they explode and harm people.

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                • Join me in the corner for “unless it proves to be at minimum a dozen organized people (and even that might not be enough of a conspiracy to mean anything), all this proves is that dangerously out of whack people will dangerously out of whack” with a side bet on “holy crap stuff is wound up right now,” why don’t you?

                  It’s a very roomy spot. And the other upside is, I don’t think I’ll have to move after the facts come out.

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                    • That might be the phrase you’re looking for, but I was looking for the ones I used.

                      But if you would like me to use that phrase, I’ll use it to assert that the best way to combat stochastic terrorism (as opposed to the systemic and organized kind – maybe – by my way of looking at history, systemic/organized terrorism actually is best combated by multiple and contradictory responses, including what I’m about to say among them) :

                      One must strive to one’s best to be as placid, kind, and stoic as is humanly possible given that one also must live immersed in that same climate. And to not allow the fearmongers to redefine placid, kind, and stoic as weak or indecisive. And when one fails at that very difficult task (as one inevitably does), to go back to it with a will, and with complete firmness about the evils that one is truly confronting in the world.

                      Anything less will contribute to, rather than gain dominance over, that fearful, hateful climate.

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                    • and thus I would not consider that conspiracy systematic, though it certainly was of its time.

                      Did you think I was saying dangerous whackjobs acting unsystematically might *not* kill someone important? I wasn’t, merely that I don’t find it confirming any priors about “the other side”. I mean, other than about Trump and the lickspittles who vote with him and speechify in his favor (ie leading congresspeople and senators, not individual voters or even every congresscritter and senator who votes with him sometimes) being a pox on the country, stirring up the danger levels for everybody on every side, but it’s not actually possible to confirm *those* priors of mine because they’re already unshakeable.

                      And whomever this particular set of whackjobs turns out to be will say nothing further about “the sides”, broadly drawn.

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    • Yesterday I thought I knew what the two big storylines heading into November would be.

      Today I think I know what the big storyline heading into November will be.

      I am trying to remember but I keep forgetting: 7 days is an eternity. And that only gets us to the other side of Halloween.

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    • Nate and crew’s big struggle seems to be what to do about the Democrats outraising the Republicans by 2:1 in local money in a lot of places. Their model says that should translate into huge Democratic gains, but that’s not what’s showing up in the polling data. I’ll stick with my geographic take — the fundraising will matter in places where the Dems already do reasonably well, and won’t in places where they haven’t been doing well.

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      • I can see how certain fundraising levels can lead to diminishing returns at some point.

        Democrats seemed posed to pick up seats in blue or bluish strongholds. States that went for Democrats generally in the past but a few switched for Trump in 2016 like Iowa. But some blue state Republican congress critters are going to go home.

        I think Democrats will gain seats in the House. The question is whether they will gain enough.

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          • I think the issue with fundraising is that it has been nationalized. I get ads from Democratic candidates all the time asking for cash. Most of these are candidates that I cannot vote for. So Beto is pulling in lots of cash, great!! Where does that cash come from? It helps but all the enthused Democrats might just be living in safe blue areas.

            The same thing happened in a few special elections like GA-6. Great fundraising but maybe most of it was from outside the District vs. people who could actually vote and in the end, the district remained in Republican hands.

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        • I am coming around to the belief that the House will turn on something Koz suggested a couple of weeks ago. If the Dems do well in the Rust Belt parts of the Midwest — IA, IL, IN, MN, MI, OH, and WI — they’ll win the House comfortably. If not, it will be a close thing. If the Dems do well there and win the House, the next question is whether those new Dems will vote for Californian Nancy Pelosi.

          Looking ahead to 2020, I somehow ended up at the PredictIt market for the 2020 Dem candidate for President. Kamala Harris leads the field at 21¢. Elizabeth Warren is at 15¢, and Kirsten Gillibrand at 7¢.

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        • Right. This election is unprecedented in a lot of ways (way more DEM candidates, way more of which are serious), but does that mean a lot of 5-10 point losses in R+20 territory, or does it mean actually winning some seats.

          Is this the year that Lucy forgets to yank the football in Texas?

          Hard for me not to be pessimistic.

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          • I hate the horserace coverage, mostly because it just fixates on each election to the exclusion of the trend.

            Whether Beto wins or loses, Texas is now purple. Whether Stacy Abrams wins or loses, Georgia is now purple.

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            • I hope both of those things are true, but if Ted Cruz can comfortably beat a strong democratic candidate, I don’t think I’d call that purple. An ordinary republican would probably beat an ordinary democrat there by 10+

              That said, you’re right that trends matter, and it’s sure exciting to see Virginia turning reliably blue in a lot of ways, and I hope that trend continues to trickle down the east coast.

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            • The Dems have to win some stuff before you can label a state purple. Consider Texas, using the things I use to measure — the governor’s red; two of two state legislative chambers are red; two of two US Senators are red; and 25 of 36 US House seats are red. Where are the Dems going to improve on that next month? “We came closer but we still lost everything again,” is not purple. (Especially if the DOJ and the SCOTUS are inclined to allow the state to raise barriers that make things harder for the Dems.)

              Colorado is purple: the US Senate seats split; the legislature split; the US House seats 4-3 for the Republicans; the governor a Democrat.

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        • I was just texting with my brother in Mannheim about this. He said it’s being taken as inevitable by the people and press. Also says there’s a broad ‘silent majority’ feeling that she fucked Germany and Europe with the migrant crisis. He said ignore American news reporting on lack of real enthusiasm for outsider parties, that its wishful thinking on their part, and that they don’t understand the level of cynicism towards the mainstream parties/Grand Coalition.

          My money is that the next coalition will be CDU/CSU and include AfD as a junior partner.

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        • She’s stepping down as party lead before that. The proximate cause was poor local elections where CDU (and all the establishment parties) continue to lose support to both the further Left and Right.

          This will help test my theory that multi-party electoral systems can adapt to moribund and entrenched policies better than two party systems. It isn’t simply that AfD or the Greens will become the dominant parties (though they might), its that seeing the actual governing seats go to other parties the coalitions will adapt and co-opt.

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      • They seem to be leaning on an “Original Intent” interpretive theory as opposed to the “Strict Textualism” the right usually champions. And the libertarians are pointing at liberals and blaming “living constitutionalism” but that’s just jumping on a target of opportunity.

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          • Just a snap personal opinion, but I don’t see either Thomas or Roberts going along. Thomas for the obvious reason. Roberts because of his adopted Irish kids and because the giant corporations are going to oppose this. Roberts may be many things, but first he looks out for the big corporate interests.

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        • Strict textualism also applies to all the legal background that’s grandfathered in with the 14th Amendment, such as the noted exceptions for children of diplomats. The Supreme Court has long cited such exceptions in rulings on citizenship cases. I think I’ve read most of those rulings while arguing with conservatives about whether Ted Cruz is a natural born citizen (He is, but of Canada, not the US).

          I also think the government is in part mistaken about children born on US bases overseas, and once suggested a set of theoretical questions a court could ask to determine if someone was born under full US sovereignty, no matter where that place might be.

          My test was that a woman in labor, while overseas, calls for an ambulance to take her to the hospital, where she has a child. She takes the child home, then gets upset at her hubby about a 3:00 AM feeding and throws a baby bottle at him. He call the cops and they haul her off to jail for the night. The next day she appears before a judge to argue her case.

          The multipart test is this:
          1) When the ambulance came, which country’s flag was on the shoulder patches of the ambulance crew?
          2) What flag flew outside the hospital where she gave birth?
          3) When the local police or law enforcement came to her home, what flag was on their shoulders?
          4) When she was taken to jail, what flag flew outside it?
          5) When she went before a judge, what flag was behind him?

          If the answer in all cases is the US flag, then the baby was born under US sovereignty on what, for all legal purposes regarding citizenship, should be considered US soil. The purpose of the jail and judge part of the test is to distinguish between foreigners whose babies are delivered on US bases (because our hospitals are spiffy and sometimes the only modern facility in the area) and US persons who are under the US legal system, not the local legal system. That prevents an extension of natural born citizenship by which non US people wouldn’t even need to come to the US, but just swing by a US military base, to give their children anchor baby citizenship.

          However, that is not the way the current law works. Children born to US persons stationed overseas are not natural born citizens unless their parents have status as US diplomats, so many military brats have to be naturalized at birth.

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      • Well, the point of this was not to legislate the 14th Amendment but if I had to guess at the legal theory, I think it would rely heavily on yelling “and subject to the jurisdiction thereof” as loudly as possible over and over and over and over and over as if it changes the rest of the Amendment.

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    • It’s an interesting approach. Under British and US common law, a person was a natural born subject or citizen because they were born within the domain of a liege, and thus were under his protection while babies, and thus owed him lifelong allegiance. Those born on US soil that was under British occupation during the War of 1812 were not natural born citizens because they were born under British protection. Indians who were born under tribal government were not natural born citizens until Congress took action, under a bill sponsored by Charles Curtis, who as a child fought on the Indian side of Indian wars because he was an Indian (and later Vice President of the US).

      It could easily be argued that those who are here illegally are not under US sovereignty, and thus their children are no more natural born citizens that would be children born to an invading British general and his wife while occupying upstate New York.

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      • It could easily be argued that those who are here illegally are not under US sovereignty, and thus their children are no more natural born citizens that would be children born to an invading British general and his wife while occupying upstate New York.

        If you argue that illegal immigrants (as well as legal visitors and non-permanent residents, such as tourists and H1B Visa holders) are not subject to USA laws, the corollary is that, should they commit a crime in the USA, they cannot be tried and punished under U.S. Law. Your only recourse, like in the case of diplomats, who are NOT under the jurisdiction of the USA, would be expulsion from the country.

        I don’t think that the Attorney General will want to make that argument.

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        • Tourists and Visa holders are under US law. The government gave them specific permission to be here. If an illegal was under US law they’d logically be deported, because they’re here illegally and without the consent or knowledge of the US government. The fact that they’re not deported indicates that they might not be under US federal law at all.

          But further, the sanctuary cities movement is to specificially protect illegals from US law, making sure they’re not subject to it, and thus filling in the rest of Trump’s argument.

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          • Tourists and Visa holders are under US law. The government gave them specific permission to be here.

            Then the children of tourists and visa holders will be automatically citizens at birth.

            If an illegal was under US law they’d logically be deported, because they’re here illegally and without the consent or knowledge of the US government.

            Being here illegally is not the same as not being under the jurisdiction of. An illegal alien who kills someone and is captured will be tried, and, if found guilty, sent to prison or death row. The US law applies to him. A diplomat who kills someone cannot be tried in US courts. He can only be expelled. In this respect, US law does not apply to him. On a less exterm e case, diplomats in NYC don’t pay their parking tickets, because neither them nor their cars are subject to US or NY or NYC laws.

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  17. There is also, apparently, a really crazy story brewing but I can’t tell if it’s a real story or a twitter drama story.

    Someone has announced that they’re representing the sexual assault victims of Robert Mueller.
    This someone is, apparently, tied to Jacob Wohl.

    Popehat can talk about it better than I.

    We’re (FINALLY) one week away from the election so we might actually be approaching having a single-digit number of news cycles left.

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  18. Mafia boss James ‘Whitey’ Bulger was killed in prison hours after being transferred to a new one.

    This is something that would have been a major story in the 80’s. Maybe a hot one for a couple of days from the 90’s through whenever the Sopranos went off the air.

    Now? Feh. We won’t even remember this story by Thursday.

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  19. I admit, on October 16th or 17th, I thought that the Democrats had once again shot themselves in the foot.

    The momentum seems to have shifted, though.

    We’ve still got six looooooooooong days between here and there. God only knows what the news story tomorrow will be.

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    • It’s soooper speculative. Really just a wild guess. Mueller is not going to drop an Oct/Nov surprise. He has been keeping a highly buttoned down team. We’re not going to know squat until his report comes out and it, completely appropriately, wont’ happen until after the mid-terms.

      It took a failure by Comey, pressure by R’s in congress and a screwy situation for the last Nov surprise. But on the positive side, if i’m wrong about Mueller, we know that Oct and Nov surprises are meaningless and have no effects on elections.

      PS There actually was a recent lawsuit using the RICO statute filed against Trump and family. It hasn’t got much press since we are being invaded so hard it makes the war of 1812 and Red Dawn combined look a 5th grade band concert.

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  20. The first caravan thing ended when the Mexican government intervened.

    There is a second caravan in the news now. Trump has ordered troops to the border.

    Employment numbers are out. Unemployment is 3.7%.

    Rasmussen Reports daily tracking poll shows Trump has 51% approval with likely voters and 47% disapproval.

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    • I thought the plane crashing story would have legs and the “Guy on Saturday Night Live makes fun of veteran who lost his eye” would be a dead story by lunchtime.

      Golly, was *I* wrong.

      Anyway, Pete Davidson was in a News Update segment and made fun of a Republican running for office who happens to wear an eyepatch after losing an eye while serving in Afghanistan.

      Here’s the setup: Pete Davidson gave his first impressions of various candidates running in various races. A picture of Dan Crenshaw came up.

      “This guy is kind of cool, Dan Crenshaw. You may be surprised to hear he’s a congressional candidate from Texas and not a hit man in a porno movie. I’m sorry, I know he lost his eye in war, or whatever. Whatever.”

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  21. Last little indicators coming in. Ezra Klein tweeted:

    I don't think people are ready for the crisis that will follow if Democrats win the House popular vote but not the majority. After Kavanaugh, Trump, Garland, Citizens United, Bush v. Gore, etc, the party is on the edge of losing faith in the system (and reasonably so).— Ezra Klein (@ezraklein) November 5, 2018

    Politico published an article called “Did Beto Blow It?

    There seem to be pre-mortems.

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      • I basically understand the sentiment, but it’s silly to talk about a national popular vote in relation to the House — the voters aren’t voting just for “Generic R” vs “Generic D”, they’re voting for different specific individuals in different contexts. One candidate might be running unopposed, another might be in a tight 3-way race — it doesn’t make sense to just add up the votes overall and consider that total meaningful.

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        • I disagree. Total vote count does show something. Each race does have it’s own peculiarities but over 538 districts those effects should disappear. Total vote gives a sense of what the majority wants. Same as looking at total in the prez election. It very much shows what most of the people want. That seems like data we should want to see. That doesn’t override the structure of our elections, but its still good to know.

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          • over 538 districts those effects should disappear

            Why? It’s not like this is a random distribution — there’s no a priori reason why the effects should average out.

            Not to mention that candidates in the same party are very different (as are their voters) from one state to the next. The sacrificial Republican candidate in my district here in CT has a platform that would look like a Dem platform in a typical Texas district, and no doubt there are examples of the reverse, mutatis mutandis. What sense does it make to combine the R votes in my district and the R votes in said Texas district as if they represented a consistent message from that portion of the electorate?

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            • Every place has weird local politics or an odd candidate. That is exactly the kind of stuff that evens out over a large sample. That is the point of large samples; one odd case here or there doesn’t matter.

              Why? It’s a bit of data. It’s not everything but it shows who large numbers of people are voting for. How can that not be something worth looking at. The parties are national. There are certainly local and state effects but there is just as certainly national level politics. (Trump is an issue, immigration, health care, etc)

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        • In the Wisconsin gerrymander case, the Wisconsin Democrats concede that districts drawn to reflect some criteria favored by large majorities of both parties — preserve communities of interest, minimize splitting cities and counties — will give the Republicans a seven-percentage point advantage. That is, the Dems there will, on average, have to win 53.5-46.5 in order to win 50 of the 100 seats in the state’s lower chamber. Wisconsin’s urban/suburban/rural split is close to the national average, so it is unsurprising that Republicans enjoy a similar advantage in US House districts.

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          • It makes sense — my point was just that you have to show your work rather than pointing to the overall number and leaving it at that.

            FWIW, I found an article by Sean Trende from five years ago that makes some of the points I did, and also shows that the Democrats were on the plus side of the comparison for many years; but he does point to the urban/rural divide as a driver of the GOP advantage over the last decade or two. But his take on it is basically that everyone knows the rules of the game and the Democrats are just playing it poorly.

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  22. LAST CHANCE TO GET IN YOUR PREDICTIONS!

    (And, if you don’t want to put yourself down for that, I’d like to see your current definitions of what a disappointing outcome would look like and what a really good outcome would look like. If your definition of a good outcome would be “Democrats pick up 33 seats” and the Democrats pick up 38 (or if they pick up 28), I find that before-the-election statement of good/disappointing a lot more interesting than statements of spiking the football/damage control after the fact).

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      • For what it’s worth, my over/under bandwidth is 10%. So if I predict, for example, 30 seats, I get to think “yeah, I nailed it” if I get 27 or 33. If I get 26 or 34, though, I think “I didn’t see that coming.”

        (For a handful of reasons, I’m more interested in state-level seat pickup and losses than national ones.)

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    • I don’t go changing to try to please trendlines, but for future personal reference, when I predicted a nine-seat majority for Ds, that’s a 31 seat gain. Future self will appreciate this.

      As far as disappointment, nobody should be disappointed that this election is over. Everyone should celebrate. I will be opening a few bottles of the 2018 Celebration Ale.

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      • Oh, jeez. My back has been in knots for weeks.

        This last month has been interminable. Just scrolling up and re-reading the news stories of the day was exhausting.

        The main takeaway that I want future historians digging through these comments to know: These last 30 days were nuts and exhausting.

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    • I’m not afraid that my favorite team will fail to beat the spread, or that I won’t get that foam finger of Boo-ya.

      My nation is walking down a very dark and terrible path to some uncertain but awful place. No matter what tomorrow brings, we will still be on that path, only perhaps with a checked stride, and maybe the beginnings of a turnaround.

      Almost half of my fellow citizens are deeply wedding to white supremacy. It is going to take at least a decade of sustained electoral losses before their party reforms itself.

      So really, tomorrow is one battle in a very long war.

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      • It’s not a beat the spread nor a foam finger of Boo-ya.

        It’s the “well, of course the democrats did well in the 2018 elections. Everybody knew they would do well” response following an outcome that would have been described as “pessimistic” during peak “blue wave”. (Or the flipside of there being a for real exceeds expectations blue wave and having the blue wave be dismissed by conservatives who said that everybody knew that the democrats would do well and historically the party out of party does well in the first election after a heavily contested presidential election during the new president’s first term.)

        It’s about writing down expectations beforehand so you aren’t lying to yourself after we open the box and find out whether the cat is alive or dead.

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      • Almost half of my fellow citizens are deeply wedd[ed] to white supremacy.

        It’s a curious thing — you, along with many liberals of my acquaintance, are so very determined to believe this bit of irrational partisan over-generalization and will defend your belief vigorously, even while being genuinely depressed and discouraged by it.

        If you want to be less discouraged, all you have to do is just recognize your biases and stop thinking the worst about the people in your outgroup. But for many, that’s apparently too high a price to pay.

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        • Why?

          My “outgroup” are the people who watched Trump mock that disabled reporter, and laughed.
          The ones who nodded as he described Mexican immigrants as rapists;
          Who snickered as he bragged about harassing women;
          Who see a caravan of terrified refugees and urge us all to turn our backs on them and abandon them to whatever awful fate happens to them;

          These aren’t my biased opinions about these people, they are facts, facts that they themselves boast of.

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            • Of course, there are varying degrees of things.

              Some people eagerly commit awful acts; Some people assist; Some people witness and applaud; Some people turn a blind eye; Some people resist, but half heartedly; Some people resist but surrender when it gets unpleasant; Some resist with vigor.

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            • What is it that I should be questioning?

              That he, and they, said and did all these things?
              Those are just objective facts.

              That I should find those facts deplorable?

              I’m honestly unsure of what your objection here is.

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              • That I should find those facts deplorable?

                Yes. You should find those things to be largely irrelevant and immaterial, and frankly detrimental to your solidarity and citizenship in America, which has a federal government whose legislative and executive branches are controlled, at least nominally, by the Republican Party. Therefore, in furtherance of your interest in the success of America, you should invest yourself toward the success of the various Republicans in those roles.

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                  • Nothing, in fact that was a specific point of emphasis in our correspondence during that period, wherein like some other liberals, you were upset that Sen Mitch McConnell was quoted as understanding his role was to ensure that Mr Obama was a one-term President.

                    It is entirely consistent with the respect of Americans toward the Presidency that we can oppose the _actions_ of the President, and oppose the _reelection_ of the President. On the other hand, for anybody somehow associated with the Right in America who is inclined to say something like “Obama isn’t my President” (during his term of office), of which there were a few, those people can fuck right off, and I can promise you I made that known whenever I heard it.

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                    • Ah so it basically boils down to saying that you can oppose the President, their party and everything they do so long as you don’t claim they aren’t President or something? That’s a big climb down but I’m happy to accept it. Did you think Trump should have fished off when he was on his Obama birther kick?

                      Anyhow I don’t see how that’s germane to the Dems since they haven’t generally claimed Trump isn’t President or any of the like nor do most liberals do so either.

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                      • I don’t think this is a climbdown at all, certainly it wasn’t meant to be on my part. I think your examples were trying to conflate apples and oranges from the get-go.

                        The things Chip is talking about upthread that I’m criticizing him for aren’t about governance at all, they are about holding on to stupid grievances over random crap regarding his political adversaries among Americans at large.

                        Ie, the Americans are so racist, white supremacist, blah blah, whatever, that the regular back-and-forth of politics somehow doesn’t apply. That’s what I’m calling bullshit on.

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                  • Well yeah, except that the things you were talking about are not the same thing as the assassination of Lincoln. And the fact that you tend to rhetorically retreat towards ridiculous bullshit, in spite of the fact that other commenters make legitimate attempts to clarify the difference, should be giving you occasion to question your own judgment or your antagonism toward your fellow Americans, or both.

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        • If you want to be less discouraged, all you have to do is just recognize your biases and stop thinking the worst about the people in your outgroup.

          Good advice. Henceforth, I’ll refrain from viewing members of my outgroup as the type of folks who’d snatch infants from their mothers and place them in foster care without any record keeping to ensure that the separation is permanent.

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      • At some low moments I’ve believed some bad things about half of the voters on the basis of some presidential election results. But the people aren’t bimodal. There are people who vote differently than me for reasons I wouldn’t have thought of. The other guy isn’t my exact opposite; we may have voted for some of the same candidates. We’ve almost certainly voted the same way at some point. Remember, each person has different criteria, and weights those criteria differently.

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  23. Since Jaybird likes poetry, I’ve been thinking about Auden’s September 1, 1939 a lot over the past year:

    https://www.poets.org/poetsorg/poem/september-1-1939

    September 1, 1939
    W. H. Auden, 1907 – 1973
    I sit in one of the dives
    On Fifty-second Street
    Uncertain and afraid
    As the clever hopes expire
    Of a low dishonest decade:
    Waves of anger and fear
    Circulate over the bright
    And darkened lands of the earth,
    Obsessing our private lives;
    The unmentionable odour of death
    Offends the September night

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    • Obviously the historical circumstances are different between 1939 and now, but maybe like some of you I am disheartened by the cacophony and antagonism among Americans. There’s going to be some things where because of their nature any sort of accommodation or compromise is difficult. But not everything is like that. I can think of a few things, at least a half dozen or so, where there are some ideological priors involved not necessarily very strong ones, and we could come to an accommodation between us if we were talking with each other, but we’re not. So the deep state just runs things on autopilot according to what it wants, or one or two particular deep staters want, etc, but that’s not necessarily helping us.

      To that end, and with the understanding that I have no special knowledge of what’s going to happen today, I would sincerely encourage all the Americans here to go out and support the Republicans today. It is through the Republican party that we can create dial down the resistance and aggravation and actually have the chance to heal ourselves in towards what we can hope to be the best interest of all of us.

      Be a good person. Be an American. Vote Republican.

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