Thursday, January 26, 2017

Who Thinks Trump Will Have An Impact On The 2018 Midterms?


During the campaign Trump fared poorly when he tried interfering with Republican primaries. His crackpot candidates all lost. He endorsed and cut radio spots for Renee Ellmers (R-NC), the first woman in Congress to endorse him. Despite his help-- possibly because of it-- she barely managed to come in second in her three-way primary.
George Holding- 16,999 (53.4%)
Renee Ellmers- 7,527 (23.6%)
Greg Brannon- 7,320 (23.0%)
Don't forget, Republican voters in the suburbs east, south and North of Raleigh, in Wake Forest, in Rocky Mount and way down in Dunn and Smithfield all heard this ad over and over and over:

Most votes cast in the 2nd district come from Wake County. In the general election, Clinton won the county massively-- 293,353 to 193,607 for Trump, who seriously under-performed Senator Richard Burr and barely kept up by the much-hated, now former Governor Pat McCrory. Ellmers would probably have done better without Trump's interference.

Yesterday, writing for Politico, Alex Isenstadt, warned that Trumpists are on the move, looking to win in primaries across the country. "Some of Donald Trump’s most loyal aides and outspoken supporters," he wrote, "are looking to ride his revolution into elected office themselves." One Trump crackpot, Alan Cobb is running for Mike Pompeo's now empty congressional seat in south-central Kansas. Sedgwick County (Wichita) decided elections there and that's Trump country. He beat Clinton there 101,319 to 66,716. (It is worth noting, though, that in the Kansas caucuses, the 4th district went overwhelmingly for Cruz, who took 58.3% to Trump's 22.0%). Isenstadt reports that Trump will be "front and center. Cobb, who turned down a White House job to run in the upcoming special election, plans to cast himself as a Trump loyalist-- a candidate with close ties to the new administration who embraces its outsider approach. 'I would wholeheartedly support the Trump agenda,' said Cobb, who spent Tuesday morning meeting with Republicans in Medicine Lodge, a town in the south-central part of the state. 'It’s all consistent with what’s best for the 4th District.' As Trump takes up residence in the White House, his disciples hope his success can be replicated far and wide... Trump has already demonstrated a willingness to endorse in Republican-on-Republican skirmishes, raising the specter that he could play hardball in races where his political allies are running."
Cobb isn’t the only former Trump aide about to announce a bid for Congress. Bruce LeVell, who was Trump’s diversity coordinator and a frequent surrogate on TV, is poised to launch a bid for a suburban Atlanta congressional seat.

What distinguishes him from the large group of other Republicans interested in running, he said, is simple: His unwavering support for the president.

“I’d like to see someone in that seat who’s a champion of Trump’s policies,” said LeVell, who recently wrapped up a trip to Washington, where he was meeting with operatives could staff his campaign. “I’d like to be that champion.”

LeVell said he planned to model his campaign after the new president, presenting himself as a political outsider. That means no donations from lobbyists, he said, among other things.

Virginia Republican Corey Stewart, who was Trump’s state chairman, has already begun to campaign for governor. Last week, he began airing a TV ad that borrowed heavily from Trump’s campaign playbook. It describes Stewart as an “outspoken blue-county conservative who keeps beating liberals again and again,” and says he has the “experience to win.” It highlights his “zero tolerance” for undocumented immigrants. And it promises to “take back Virginia” from Democratic Gov. Terry McAuliffe’s “crooked liberal gang.” (Using a word Trump often used to describe Hillary Clinton.)

Even Stewart’s mannerisms-- there’s lots of hand gesturing-- are Trump-like.

“The fact that Trump won the White House means that other aspiring politicians will follow, and they will follow in terms of his policy positions, and in terms of his style,” he said.

In California, Peter Thiel, the PayPal co-founder and billionaire entrepreneur who served on Trump’s transition team, is considering a campaign for governor, according to several people privy to his thinking. Most Republicans are skeptical that Thiel will run-- he's a fiercely private person-- though they say his ability to self-fund would make him an attractive candidate.

Perhaps the most intense speculation surrounding an ex-Trump hand is in Arizona. Jeff DeWit, the Trump campaign’s chief operating officer, has spent weeks deliberating whether to launch a primary campaign against GOP Sen. Jeff Flake, who frequently criticized Trump during the 2016 race.

One person familiar with DeWit’s thinking said he is leaning against running and is more likely to take a job in the administration. If that were to occur, attention could turn to the state party chairman, Robert Graham, as a potential Flake foe. While many party leaders shied away from supporting Trump during the campaign, Graham distinguished himself as a loyal and outspoken surrogate-- which did not go unnoticed in Trump Tower.

...Earlier this month, Trump-- in a highly unusual step for a president-elect-- personally phoned members of the Ohio Republican Party to advocate for his favored candidate for state GOP chair, Jane Timken, who raised money for his campaign. Timken went on to dislodge the incumbent chairman, Matt Borges, who had been a vocal Trump critic.

Then, last week, on the eve of Inauguration Day, two of Trump’s top aides, Reince Priebus and Steve Bannon, sent a letter announcing their endorsement of Ron Weiser, a major party donor, in the race for Michigan GOP chair. Both Weiser and his opponent, Scott Hagerstrom, had worked for Trump-- Weiser as a fundraiser, and Hagerstrom as his state director. Over the weekend, just after the letter was released, Hagerstrom withdrew.
Goal Thermometer Whether they're full-blown Trump-Like fascists or just garden variety GOP proto-fascists, it's essential for Democrats to win the House in 2018. With the execrable pair of congenital losers, Steve Israel and Kelly Ward, finally gone from the DCCC things are even starting to look a little less gloomy there! At Blue America we devote a minimum of a couple hours a day talking with prospective candidates from around the country. And, as you probably know, we have two great candidates who have already tossed their hats into the ring, both here in California. Click the thermometer on the right if you'd like to contribute to their elections which is, in both cases, contributing to the Resistance.

Whether you think Sabato's crystal ball functions well or not before election, his shop is definitely good at analyzing results after them. And a couple weeks after the last one, they came up with 16 observations from 2016, some of which-- ones relevant to our work going forward-- I want to run by you. Let's start with observations 5, 6 and 7, which need to be out there in light of conventional wisdom that implies Hillary lost because minority voters didn't bother coming out for her on election day.
5. Michigan: Poor urban turnout tells the tale

Despite doing significantly worse outside of Wayne County (Detroit) than Barack Obama, if Hillary Clinton had replicated the margin the county provided any of the last three Democratic presidential nominees (342,000, 441,000, and 382,000 in 2004, 2008, and 2012, respectively), she would have carried the state. As of the most recent count, Clinton is losing Michigan by about 13,000 votes, with only about a 289,000-vote margin in Wayne, about 53,000 votes worse than John Kerry’s.

6. But not necessarily in Pennsylvania

A vital part of the Democratic formula in Pennsylvania is getting a huge margin out of Philadelphia County, particularly in recent years when some typically reliable Democratic counties in Appalachian western Pennsylvania have deserted the party. Unlike in Detroit, where Clinton’s sagging margin was likely decisive, Clinton did acceptably in Philadelphia. Her margin in Philadelphia was about 457,000 votes, down from Obama’s 479,000 and 492,000 in 2008 and 2012, respectively, but a decent win, and markedly better than John Kerry’s 412,000-vote margin in 2004 (Kerry won Pennsylvania).

Clinton also outperformed Obama in Allegheny County (Pittsburgh), adding about 15,000 votes to Obama’s 2012 margin. So why did she lose the state by about 66,000 votes? Because outside of Greater Philadelphia and Pittsburgh and its closest suburbs, she lost by huge margins.

Leaving aside Allegheny and Philadelphia counties, Barack Obama lost the rest of Pennsylvania by about 273,000 votes. Clinton lost the rest of the state by…wait for it…629,000.

A great example of Clinton’s struggles outside of Pittsburgh and Philadelphia is Lackawanna County, a white, working class enclave that contains Scranton. Obama won the county by slightly more than 25 points in each of his elections, but Clinton won it by only three percentage points. Clinton also lost Erie County in the northwestern corner of the state-- it swung from Obama +16 to Trump +2. There are similar eye-popping swings across the state. Brandon Finnigan of the election results-reporting site Decision Desk HQ has argued for years that Republicans had a path in Pennsylvania, and he was proven correct thanks to the giant shift that the Trump candidacy effected in the Keystone State.

7. Or Wisconsin

The Wisconsin story is similar. Clinton lost the state by about 24,000 votes, but her combined margins from the state’s two Democratic powerhouse counties-- Milwaukee and Dane (Madison) counties-- were almost identical to Obama’s margins in 2012. Clinton’s margin dipped a bit in Milwaukee from Obama but she did better in Dane than Obama, and she only lost about 800 net votes from Obama in those two counties combined, effectively a wash. Outside Milwaukee and Dane, Obama lost Wisconsin by 97,000 votes. Clinton lost outside of Milwaukee and Dane by 333,000 votes.

To win Pennsylvania and Wisconsin in 2020, Democrats are going to have to work to reverse some of the transformation outside of Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Milwaukee, and Madison. Both states have what should be highly competitive Senate and gubernatorial races in 2018, and the performance of the small cities and rural counties that swung hard from Obama to Trump will be interesting: Will they stay Republican without Trump on the ballot, or will they revert to their Democratic roots?

...9. Why Colorado, Nevada, and Virginia didn’t flip

While the Rust Belt largely abandoned the Democrats in 2016, albeit by very small margins in some of the aforementioned states, states with newer Democratic leans like Colorado, Nevada, and Virginia held fast for Clinton. There are two demographic factors that likely help explain why this occurred, particularly in comparison to the three Rust Belt States that crucially flipped for Trump: nonwhites, especially Latinos in Colorado and Nevada, and college-educated white voters. Helpfully for Trump, the exit polls found that white voters without a college degree made up pluralities of the electorates in Michigan and Wisconsin and were about even with white college-educated voters in Pennsylvania. Although Colorado had a smaller nonwhite share than Michigan, its electorate had a large plurality of white college-educated voters. Virginia also had a plurality of whites with college degrees and a sizable nonwhite share of the electorate. And Nevada had a plurality nonwhite electorate, the largest nonwhite share of the states in question, helping Clinton overcome the slightly larger share of voters who were white without a college degree in the Silver State.

As of the most recent count, Clinton won Colorado by a little under five points, Virginia by a little over five, and Nevada by about 2.5 points.

Table 2: Exit poll data for shares of electorates in Rust Belt trio and Sun Belt trio

10. The increasing urban-rural divide

The political split between more urban and more rural areas only grew in 2016. In 2012 Mitt Romney carried just four of today’s 50 most populous counties. Donald Trump carried the same number of localities, but with four changes. Romney carried Salt Lake County, UT-- not shocking given his Mormon faith-- and Orange County, CA. Trump lost both places-- notably, Orange County had not voted for a Democrat for president since Franklin Roosevelt in 1936. But unlike Romney, Trump carried battleground Pinellas County, FL along the important I-4 corridor in the Sunshine State, as well as Suffolk County, NY, at the eastern edge of Long Island.

Table 3: 2016 and 2012 presidential vote in the 50 most populous counties as of July 1, 2015

Among the largest localities in the country, Trump did worse overall than Romney while making up ground in places with smaller populations. Clinton performed about 0.5 points better (California still has many votes left to be counted) in the 50 counties in Table 3 than Obama did in 2012, but Trump performed about four points worse that Romney in the same group. However, in counties around the country with populations below 200,000 people, Trump improved about 4.5 points on Romney’s 2012 performance while Clinton did 7.5 points worse than Obama.

...15. Do the Republicans have new targets in the House?

Before the election, we speculated about the possibility of some white, working-class House districts with Democratic incumbents potentially producing a massive House upset because of their swings to Trump. While there were no upsets, there were a few close calls. Reps. Tim Walz (D, MN-1) and Collin Peterson (D, MN-7) had closer-than-expected races as their districts swung hard to Trump, as did Rep. Matt Cartwright (D, PA-17). As the National Republican Congressional Committee plots its targets for 2018, some of these districts might get special attention. On the flip side, Democrats will be looking to 2018 as an opportunity to make gains in the House, and at this early date, as unlikely as it may seem today, we would not rule out the possibility of Democrats grabbing the roughly 25 net seats they would need to take control. Simply put, midterm elections are often a backlash vote against the president’s party, and with Trump in the White House, history suggests the opportunity is there for the Democrats, even on a national House map that has given them headaches in recent years thanks at least in part to Republican control of redistricting in many swing states following the 2010 census.

16. Democratic losses in the Age of Obama

As we pointed out after the 2014 midterm election, the Democratic bench has taken an unprecedented hit during President Obama’s time in office. The numbers have worsened slightly following Obama’s final election as a part of the political environment. With most 2016 results in (adding projections for some uncalled races based on who is ahead at this point), the damage is as follows: a net loss of 13 governorships, 11 Senate seats, 63 House seats, 949 seats in state legislatures, and 29 state legislative chambers. Some other modern presidents lost more governorships, Senate seats, and state legislative chambers, but none has lost more net House seats and-- especially-- state legislative seats. Having lost close to 1,000 (!) seats in legislatures around the country, the Democratic Party has a weak bench from which to groom future party stars for higher office. Table 5 lays out the comparable losses-- and in some cases victories-- of other modern presidents compared to the outgoing one.

Table 5: Down-ballot wins and losses for modern presidents

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At 2:30 PM, Anonymous Hone said...

The press and the Democrats need to keep hammering on and on that Trump is a delusional impulsive nutcase who is unfit for office. This is becoming more and blaring each day. His poor reality testing is a hallmark of mental instability and incompetence, just ask any psychiatrist! Who the hell knows where he will be at and where our government and country will be at in two years. Each day we are moving closer to the brink. More and more people are waking up to his horror show and over time, I for one do not think Trump support will be lasting very long. Only the true deplorables, with their own version of insanity and disregard of reality, will still be with him, and they are a minority, thank goodness.

At 3:36 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree with you and I think the Trump behavior in the past week has given a lot of people much to contemplate. Are they proud to call him their President? Haven't heard that from anyone. Are they secretly horrified at seeing who he really is? Yes. Hoping for something drastic to happen and save our country from him. Please!

At 4:19 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think the two above are delusional. Projecting maybe.

The run of the mill R voter (white, stupid, delusionally religious, xenophobic) LOVE him so far, to the point of orgasm. He's squeezing the gummint agencies they loathe (EPA, Education) plus has his boot on the throat of Roe. His veep is jesusland, inc.; His cabinet is several corporate wet dreams; his rhetoric is far more isolationist and xenophobic than anyone before; He's restarted the pipelines setting up a violent end to the first nations' valliant protests (which the white xenophobes will cream themselves over); He's uninvited the prez of Mexico over the wall.

So for the voting bloc that loves jeezis and hates blacks, meskins, muslims, women and the environment... who could possibly ask for more?

As for 2018, you forget he's going to investigate "voter fraud". And if ever there were an investigation that is destined to fabricate a "problem", this is it. After the findings, look for far more suppression and caging making voting all but impossible for latins and blacks nationwide.

So... yeah. He's going to have an effect on 2018 and beyond.

Because the craps won't do dick about it. The money really doesn't care for the latins and blacks to vote in big numbers. Therefore the craps don't either. If they did care, they'd have resisted Crosscheck which purged 7 million of them.

At 12:07 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'll concur with Anon @ 4:19 PM:

The magical thinking continues, I read somewhere that people were expecting Herr Hair to FINALLY act presidential after his inauguration.
One article said impeachment is inevitable since, even though he will do everything the GOP, and its supporters, want, eventually he will embarrass them with his unlawful behavior.

Well, that's half correct, Herr Hair is acting, "executively" just as any of the other GOP KKKlown KKKar KKKandidiates would have acted in their first week as president ... with 2 congressional majorities.

The other half of the analysis, again, ignores reality. By definition a Republican is a person who cannot feel embarrassment for even the worst of his/her actions. Neither can the congress full of such psychopaths (certainly not restricted to "R's") see Herr Hair's actions as embarrassing.

Even if they could ... why the eff would they get rid of a such a perfect distraction from their own continuous criminal activity?

John Puma

At 1:35 PM, Blogger samuel glover said...

Maybe it's a tangent, but I can't leave this alone:

His poor reality testing is a hallmark of mental instability and incompetence, just ask any psychiatrist! ... Only the true deplorables, with their own version of insanity and disregard of reality

I'll bet that there are already a dozen screeds out there from various shrinks, purporting to offer all kinds of "scientific" "diagnoses" of Trump, Republicans, etc. All this horseshit does is encourage liberals to feel smug. Never mind the screaming ethical problems of diagnosis at a distance.

Look, if they're really so out of touch with "reality", how come we're talking about a **Republican** Congress and a **Republican** president and 30+ **Republican** state governments?!?!? How come this new Republican cabal isn't talking about how much they **can't** do because of those uncooperative Dems?

It seems to me that, horrible as the results are, right-wingers have been responding to reality a helluva lot better than any self-professed liberal. After the unmitigated debacles of the Bush years, the Republican Party **should** have been extinct round about 2009. Dem "leaders" assured themselves and everybody else that they'd surf on demography to a future of endless, easy wins.

So who's delusional, here?

At 8:50 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well said Samuel.

As I see it there are basically 3 reasons that the Rs have "won" as much as they have.

1) they suppress minority and poor voters who usually vote D
2) The rest of the voters (who still participate) are evil and stupid.
3) Democraps are only microscopically better than Rs. This cycle, the D was arguably worse. The party is, top-down, utterly corrupt and has betrayed their voters for 36 years. Americans are slow, but even WE are figuring this out slowly.

Clinton got about 65M
der fuhrer got about 62M

not voting were over 100M eligibles.

If obamanation had been FDR instead of his useless self; if he'd put even 100 bankers in jail, closed g'itmo, had NOT snuffed thousands of innocents with drones, had NOT fomented the coup in Ukraine which forced Putin to recapture Crimea, had supported labor in WI, had insisted on a PO in ACA, had asked for 2.5trillion instead of .7T in his 'stim', had insisted in NO AUSTERITY, had raised taxes on the rich (a lot), had put 30 previous admin criminals in prison for torture and such, had implemented universal registration along with fair, verifiable and hackproof elections... instead of doing the opposite of nearly all of these and NOTHING on the others... maybe the Ds would have enjoyed a renaissance of sorts... maybe Bernie would have carried 48 states... maybe scummer, Pelosi, hoyer and 150 others would be shamed into retiring...

And maybe pigs will fly out of my ass. This is America. We don't roll like that. Electoral success isn't whether you win, it's whether you get more money.


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