Wednesday, June 27, 2018

A Virtuous Cycle: Trump Toxicity And Anti-Trump Turnout


Digby's tweet was so strong and to the point yesterday; every word completely precise-- like a Joni Mitchell song. "God he's dumb. Malevolent too. And psychologically unfit. But really, really dumb. I can't think of anyone in history with this particular combination. We just don't have a roadmap to deal with a very stupid, dishonest, narcissistic demagogue. It's a lethal combination."

Lethal-- and for Republican candidates TOXIC. Let's look at a couple of polls that were released today in Virginia. First, the new Monmouth poll in VA10. Mediocre establishment Democrat Jennifer Wexton is already killing GOP incumbent Barbara Comstock, 49% to 39%, among likely voters voters. At the same time Quinnipiac released a poll showing incumbent Tim Kaine (D) eviscerating Trump's neo-Nazi Republican Corey Stewart 54% to 36%. Furthermore, with Trump as the titular head of the GOP, just 32% of Virginia voters have a favorable opinion of the party, while 59% have an unfavorable opinion. Pollster Peter Brown: "Virginia, which was once a solidly red state, has made the full transition to a blue bastion. Voters in the Old Dominion are happy with the way things are going in their state and they give their statewide Democratic office-holders good approval ratings."

The more desperate Trump gets-- he hates being labeled "a loser"-- the more he alienates independent voters and discourages mainstream Republicans. He was quick to endorse the neo-Nazi Virginia Senate candidate, even as McConnell's NRSC said that Stewart is on his own and not going to get any help from the party establishment.

And, as Alex Burns reported in the New York Times yesterday Democratic turn out is through the roof, especially in the most competitive primary races. "In more than 20 of the most competitive House races of 2018," he wrote, "the share of Democrats voting in primaries notably increased, compared with 2014, the last midterm election cycle. Democrats have appeared to be more enthusiastic than Republicans about the 2018 elections, showing up in huge numbers to protest" ugly neo-fascist Señor Trump.
Democratic turnout has risen more sharply than Republican turnout has in at least 123 congressional districts, including districts in states like California and New Jersey, where Republican incumbents are most vulnerable.

That turnout pattern is highly encouraging to Democrats who hope to flood the polls in November and unseat Republicans, even in districts that typically lean to the right. Midterm campaigns often hinge on voter enthusiasm: Without a presidential race to draw casual voters to the polls, the party out of power tends to benefit from disproportionate turnout among Americans who feel angry or aggrieved about politics in Washington.

That’s exactly what happened in the first midterm election of Barack Obama’s presidency, when Republicans and disaffected independent voters showed up in powerful numbers and pro-Obama voters did not. Democrats lost 63 House seats as a result, handing Republicans control of the House.

The turnout pattern in the primary season that year looks a lot like 2018 so far, except with Republicans displaying far greater enthusiasm then. In 186 congressional primaries in 2010, the share of Republicans voting was higher than in the prior midterm election. Democrats improved upon their 2006 numbers in just 35 primaries in 2010-- a convincing indication, months before the general election, that the president’s party was in a slump.

There have been important exceptions to the trend of powerful Democratic enthusiasm this year, and Republicans have been encouraged by robust turnout among Republican voters in a number of statewide primaries, in places like Ohio and Texas.
Goal Thermometer And there are exceptions to the exception. Burns explained that Democratic voting surged in some parts of Texas, like in the massive south Texas district, swingy TX-23, where Republican Will Hurd is largely seen as a dead man walking. In far redder districts like TX-36 and TX-10, both entirely  ignored by the DCCC, Dayna Steele and Mike Siegel did very well on primary day, both winning unexpectedly big victories. "We are," Dayna told me today, "in the fight of our lives here in southeast Texas. However, far from being discouraged, we are highly encouraged by the thousands of good people who are stepping up to say, 'Enough!' and joining our fight. I've said it all along and I will say it again-- this is not a Democratic or Republican thing, this is an American thing, and we are all going to have to fight, speak up, and donate together to win back our beloved country."

Siegel is running in TX-10, which includes a substantial portion of Austin as well as well as improving Democratic terrain in western Harris County. "This district was drawn to strongly favor a Republican," Siegel says, "but as Austin and Houston expand outwards, it has become much more diverse. And as McCaul attacks our healthcare, separates immigrant children from their parents, and cuts government programs to pay for his tax cuts, he becomes increasingly vulnerable to replacement."

Siegel’s campaign and others will benefit from strong statewide candidates, including Lieutenant Governor candidate Mike Collier, Attorney General candidate Justin Nelson, and Beto O'Rourke for Senate. The latest Texas Tribune poll suggests that Nelson is within the margin of error, running against an indicted incumbent, and that Collier and O'Rourke are within striking distance. Strong statewide candidates are key in Texas, because voters can choose to vote "straight ticket" and thus avoid making race-by-race decisions. If enough Republicans avoid that button because they like Beto or Collier, then Siegel and Steele and other down-ticket candidates will have a stronger chance at pulling an upset.

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At 1:21 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

That voters come out more for Presidential races than non-presidential races is telling in that voters focus on a single office in our widespread power sharing democracy. In reality a voter has more likely influence on their local elected officials to effect change i.e. your letter or comment will be read by your local rep. Based on a voters power, turn-outs should be the opposite. Big donors, the media & the voters have made a king out of the office the founders were trying to prevent.

At 5:43 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I want these proposed outcomes, but we need to remember that the majority of vote-counting hardware belongs to Republicans. They decide who really wins elections, and the "democrats" will do nothing about this.

At 5:52 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

it's a cycle alright, but it isn't virtuous.

the Nazis are toxic and their turnout is suppressed (2000 - 2008; 2016 - ??).
the democraps benefit from the windfall, but refuse to do anything with it except repay their donors, thus suppressing their own turnout (2006 - 2010; 2018? - ??).
the Nazis prevail again.. until they do something or promote someone particularly toxic.
yada, yada, yada

then elections are ended and the ruling Nazis become dictators.


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