Why this is going to be good election for Republicans, and not Democrats

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Midterm years are all about two things: Referendum on the president (negative or positive) and voter enthusiasm. These two things are not unconnected.

There is a direct relationship between the president’s approval rating, which is normally low in the midterm year, and how badly the president’s party is shellacked at the voting booth.

There is a direct relationship between how enthusiastic voters are by party and how well a party does in the congressional races.

Right now, President Trump’s approval rating is rising. Going up. Improving. That means that his party’s candidates will not do too badly.

More importantly, though, is the enthusiasm numbers for voters. In a year in which there is a “wave” of one party’s or the others, that party’s voters have a relatively higher enthusiasm measure in polling. The absolute amount of enthusiasm is not the problem. The problem is the relative enthusiasm rate.

Right now, both parties have a high enthusiasm rate, and more importantly, they are the same. There is not statistical difference between how enthusiastic Republicans are vs. Democrats. They are both a) very enthusiastic and b) the same.

This pretty much cancels out any hope of an actual “blue wave.”

Consider earlier years. According to NBC/Wall Street Journal polling, voter enthusiasm for earlier years, and the outcome in congressional house races, break down as follows.

The larger difference in enthusiasm levels seem to have had an effect, and the absolute amount of enthusiasm of the winning party seems to have had an effect. Larger turnovers happened when both effects were strong.

This year, both parties have high enthusiasm, but the level of enthusiasm in both parties is high.

The only way that there could possibly be a blue wave this year, the only way for Democrats to take control of either house in Congress, or to produce any sort of anti-Trump mandate, is to have a large number of people who normally don’t vote show up and vote, or for a large percentage of people who normally vote for Republicans somehow change their minds. Young voters, suburban white women, somebody. Martians. Anybody.

And since those things never actually happen, people who normally don’t vote never actually vote, and people who normally vote one way only vote the other way in support of conservatives or Republicans and never progressives or Democrats, this election will be a disappointment.

We will have a midterm election during the first term of the demonstrably worse president in the 20th or 21st century in which Republicans gain seats in the Senate and Democrats pick up a few seats in the house, but not enough to matter.

Unless Democratic turnout rises to levels that have not been seen since the mid to late 19th century, when turnout was generally high in this country, this is what will happen: The Republicans will add between 1 and 3 seats to their majority in the Senate, and the Democrats will close the gap with the republicans by up to but not more than 20 seats, with the Republicans retaining the majority. And Trump and McConnell will be handed a mandate.

Then we are going to have to start asking ourselves what we are doing wrong.


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34 thoughts on “Why this is going to be good election for Republicans, and not Democrats

  1. Its good to see that the rePUKEian voters (mostly lower income) are going to help destroy the lower mid-income people, increase pollution, decrease welfare they will need in a few years. Its just too bad they will not be the only ones suffering.
    Maybe next year the rePUKEian voters will find themselves under the thumb of royalty when the trumpkin is crowd grand dictator!

  2. Well, IMO the Dems (and the press) have been asleep at the switch for decades. Even if they win a good margin in congress, this over-heated situation will be very hard to calm down.

    The Repubs well are on the way toward their goal of establishing a permanent right-wing America and a populace cowed by FUD. Their twisted base of culture warriors, and the alt-right goons who are itching for a race war, and the militarized enforcers of American might who have taken sole possession of the American flag, could well end up being the foot soldiers for a tin-pot, authoritarian oligarchy; maybe. IMO.

    Hope for the best, but prepare for the worst, because I’m sure not seeing any good answers at this point.

    1. Underneath that oh-so-gentle snark, do I detect a bit of a sneer and a challenge to ‘bring it on’, Rick? Care to walk that back?

    2. oa:

      I think you might be projecting.

      Not sure what you are referring to.

      I am simply reacting to what you said.

  3. Greg:

    Interesting analysis. I found the difference in seats 63 vs 13 in 2010 and 2014 interesting, even though the enthusiasm gap was pretty much the same. I wonder what explains that? Local factors? Location of the races?

    I don’t put much stock in polls these days – so we will have to just wait until Nov. 6th and see what happens.

    I am voting straight Republican this year. Why? Because of Kavanaugh. So that is one single data point.

    I hope the blue wave does fizzle – so I hope you are right.

    I am sick of the holier than though attitude of the progressives, and their rudeness (hassling people at restaurants). So I am angry and will vote accordingly. But I am just one voter.

    If the blue wave does fizzle, it may be because the economy is still strong and may even be better. The – its the economy stupid factor.

    It may be because Trump, although rude and saying whatever comes into his head, actually is delivering on his campaign promises (or at least trying to).

    Maybe people who favor legal immigration, but want zero illegal immigration are not so far out of the mainstream.

    Maybe people who think a person cannot change sex with surgery and clothing, but are male if XY and female if XX are not so far out of the mainstream.

    Maybe people who think you are innocent until proven guilty are not so far out of the mainstream.

    Maybe people who don’t think all the warming since 1750 (or 1880) has been caused by humans are not so far out of the mainstream.

    Or maybe not.

    We will have to wait and see.

    One thing is for sure – I still enjoy reading your blog.

    Keep up the good work.

    1. I am sick of the holier than though(sic) attitude of the progressives

      – What you are really tired of is the attitude that people who are neither rich nor white men deserve respect and rights
      – You enjoy the “might makes right” attitude currently in vogue, as it suits your asinine libertarian choice

      It isn’t holier than thow attitude that bothers rickA, it’s the idea that decency, honesty, and integrity are things to embrace rather than (as he chooses) to be free of.

      … actually is delivering on his campaign promises

      That would be astoundingly funny if it weren’t likely that you’re stupid enough to believe it.

    2. I think the difference between those years was a difference in opportunity, but I’m not sure. I’d have to look more closely.

    3. I am sick of the holier than though attitude of the progressives, and their rudeness (hassling people at restaurants). So I am angry and will vote accordingly.

      Meanwhile, rightwing lunatics send bombs to Soros, Clintons, Obama…

      And back in restaurants…

      A white woman accosted a family speaking Spanish at a Virginia restaurant, demanding they show their passports and shouting vulgarities in the latest incident of anti-immigrant sentiment to go viral on video.

      The incident, which comes as Donald Trump has injected a stream of invective against immigrants into the midterm election campaign, happened at Andy’s restaurant in Lovettsville, Virginia, on Friday.

      The video, obtained by Telemundo 44, shows a sunglasses-wearing white woman wagging her finger and shouting at the family to “show your passport” and “go back to your fucking country.”

      So you can roll up the whining, partisan, victim-playing hypocrisy and fuck off.

    4. Maybe people who don’t think all the warming since 1750 (or 1880) has been caused by humans are not so far out of the mainstream.

      Funny how the New Denial looks just like your tired old bollocks. Trumkin & Co. have started spouting this crap.

      And no, people claiming that most, all or more than all observed warming since preindustrial was *not* caused by humans are way out of the mainstream. They deny the validity of the scientific consensus on this issue which makes them deniers. Just like you.

    5. I don’t put much stock in polls these days

      The fact that you don’t understand statistics is not an argument against polls.

  4. Yup, doesn’t look good, and when you consider the Republican push to enact strong voter repression actions (began in 2000 after the Florida results), with the support for removing the right to vote from the most conservative supreme court we’ve had in a long time, the prospect for the future doesn’t look good. Lots of support on the right for moving back to a time when women and non-whites “knew their place” and weren’t afforded rights.

  5. “I am sick of the holier than though attitude of the progressives, and their rudeness (hassling people at restaurants). So I am angry and will vote accordingly.”

    “It may be because Trump, although rude and saying whatever comes into his head, actually is delivering on his campaign promises (or at least trying to).”

    etc., etc.

    I think we know who is “holier than though [sic],” and who is using the world’s most powerful position to sow division (hassling and provoking on a grand scale) Rick. With great authority goes great responsibility.

    1. Meanwhile, rightwing lunatics send bombs to Soros, Clintons, Obama…

      Waiting for rickA (or mikeN, or locus) to explain that the Obamas deserve this because they’re black, Soros deserves it because (fill in any of their conspiracies here), and Clintons deserve it because of who they are. Oh — and more so because none of them are Republican racists like the president.

      So you can roll up the whining, partisan, victim-playing hypocrisy and fuck off.

      But, but, but, rickA is a lawyer, so all of his comments have to be well thought out and fact based, right?

  6. Once again, your mind reading is just off.

    Not at all. If you can throw yourself in with a man who admits a history of abusing women, supporting nazis, failing to pay contractors who worked for his companies, spouting racist shouts at his campaign stops, encourages people at those stops to assault “radicals and protesters”, enacted tariffs for reasons that weren’t supported by facts, fails to tell the truth about issues from miniscule to serious, as you do, there is no reason at all to believe you have any decency in you. (Of course, we’ve known what a low life you are from your previous history of lying about everything, so this is simply more proof.)

  7. No real comment about the pipe bomb news by the president — not a surprise, nor is it a surprise he didn’t mention CNN as being a target.

    The right wing shit has certainly floated to the top of the Republican Party.

  8. Since we don’t know who really sent these pipe bombs, all we can do is speculate as to the motive of the bomber. While a crazed right winger certainly could be responsible, it could also be any one of a number of foreign actors trying to create more chaos in the US ( Russia comes to mind) , or a crazed Bernie supporter, or a false flag op, or a double false flag op ( Republicans trying to look like a Democratic false flag op ). These days, I kind of constantly expect to be surprised.

    Will the bombs have any effect on the election? I suspect not.

    Does Trump’s uncivil, politically insensitive, inflammatory, perverse, untrue rhetoric have a part to play in this? Almost undoubtedly.

    If the bomb sender did a reasonably thorough job of covering his tracks, he will be hard to find. It looks to me like the bombs were engineered to scare rather than to go off.

    Somebody wanted to express real or imagined near-lethal contempt for a bunch of Democrats and liberals. It will probably be a lot harder for them to execute the second phase of their operation. Let’s hope they get caught before they can.

    As to the Republican response thus far: it is luke warm, just adequate. They are at least paying lip service to civility; they haven’t gone full ahead Nationalist yet. If they had, they would be taking credit for the bombs. It is not 1930’s Germany …..yet.

    1. And by the time it is, it will be too damn late to do anything about it.

      It didn’t take very long for the Nazis to create a German police state, including using everyone’s neighbors and even their children as informers. Not much chance there for effective internal resistance (armed or unarmed).

      If Hitler hadn’t been crazy enough to attack the Soviet Union and declare war on the U. S. Germany had a good chance of really entrenching itself in western Europe and all that would entail and making full use of its resources while the U. S. sat out the European part of the war, emulating Sweden and Switzerland.

    2. “Since we don’t know who really sent these pipe bombs”

      No we don’t, and I didn’t imply that we did (I know you most likely realize this, but some posters here have a habit of misrepresenting what others write.

      If the bomb sender did a reasonably thorough job of covering his tracks, he will be hard to find. It looks to me like the bombs were engineered to scare rather than to go off.

      Given the near unanimous opinion by police and former FBI that these things were crappily made, and other errors, either
      * the person(s) behind them are very sloppy and there is a good chance of finding them, or
      * the poor work was intentional to sow confusion

      My money is on the first, simply because I’m not a fan of conspiracy theories. But we’ll have to see.

      The real question is how Trump will behave at tonight’s rally: if he’s back to his old self then his “strong statement” from this afternoon can rightfully be seen as bull crap.

    3. “Germany had a good chance of really entrenching itself in western Europe ”
      I can’t disagree, but I wonder if that was Germany’s primary endeavor? If it was they sure didn’t focus resources on it like they could have. And there’s no need to ally with Japan for that outcome. Or to invade Poland.
      Not for the first time I note that USA wasn’t overly concerned with Nazism. Not enough to go to war over. Same with the English. And the Russians. War is for other reasons.
      Much in same way noone gave a fuck about Spain.

    4. The more I think about it the more I realise Germany was fucking nuts. I mean, of course they were nuts, but they were stupid nuts. If ya so nationalistic, why expand? That’s nuts.
      Carry out internal genocide, which noone else cares about, and set up ya country how ya want it, and, well, that’s it.
      Fucking nuts to expand and invade places when no one gives a shit what you do in the privacy of your own territory.
      Ain’t that right Belgium.

    5. “Since we don’t know who really sent these pipe bombs”

      No we don’t, and I didn’t imply that we did (I know you most likely realize this, but some posters here have a habit of misrepresenting what others write.

      You did not. It was me that said ‘rightwing lunatics’. Perhaps I got ahead of the facts, but as dear old RickA likes to say, we shall see. Of course I might be wrong and it was the Russians after all 🙂

  9. Trump has called the attempted attacks “despicable acts.” This is what Trump does. He encourages violence and then he feebly distances himself from it. It’s another manifestation of “deny, deny, deny.”

  10. Re: RickA: “Maybe the 2nd amendment isn’t such a bad thing after all?

    You know – just in case?”

    Why would you need it? Aren’t things going your way? Anyhow, I think it is only your kind who think that their homes can become fortresses because they’ve got a cellar full of guns. Opposing tyrants with the full apparatus of the state behind them is not all that easy. Those rebels who are effective generally have a powerful external ally. It’s usually the rebels and their friends and family members, though, that supply most of the dead and wounded.

    It wouldn’t surprise me if there were a lot of 2nd Amendment Ted Nugents who’d let others go into the military while they stayed behind to comfort the women left behind.

    1.  “their homes can become fortresses because they’ve got a cellar full of guns. ”
      Lol. It’s the most naive thinking.
      Get firehose and flood the loonies out.
      Slowly and safely over a few hours.
      People are so stupid in their fantasies.

  11. To get back to Greg’s post.

    Although there’s reason to be cautious, there’s no reason to despair. Nate Silver, who did a good job in 2016, gives Democrats a 5 out of 6 chance of taking the House. Trump’s approval ratings have gone up, but this doesn’t seem to have had any effect on the upcoming elections. Dems stand to gain several governors, and McCaskill is savvy enough to turn things around in Missouri. The Republican cash advantage could be temporary. There’s no way of telling how the pipe bombs will influence things, but my guess is that bombs directed against prominent Democrats and Trump critics won’t help Republicans.

  12. Everyone who got a bomb was recently and publically denounced by Trump. That is a serious and chilling aspect of all of this. Whoever did this wants to make it look like it is inspired by Trump. A rabid Trump supporter might do this, thinking that his devices were actually going to work; or he might have purposefully made bombs one step shy of functional; either way it is a pretty stupid thing to do, even for a Trump supporter, because it is unlikely to win Trump any votes. To some extent I am more concerned that someone is getting framed to make this look like a left wing false flag op. Both Sr. and Jr. have plenty of connections to the Russian mob to set that one up. And the payoff to Trump would be fantastic at the polls. Democrats would have their sails completely shredded. And a real false flag op by some Democrat is possible, but would not be worth the risk of getting caught, because Trump supporters have zero sympathy for the targets; nor would it do much to galvanize Democrats, because they are already highly electrified.

    So I really think that this may have been engineered by someone on the Trump team to be made to look like a Democrat designed false flag op. If that is the case, we should know who the bomber patsy is pretty quickly, and he will be set up to look like a Dem.

    1. I hope they find this person quickly.

      We don’t know if the person is a right winger, a left winger, a left winger pretending to be a right winger or a right winger pretending to be a left winger pretending to be a right winger. I sure hope I got that last one right – I was getting confused as I was typing it.

      Anyway – once we find out who sent these bombs we will know which of the many possibilities is actually the true one.

      Until then we will just have to wait and see (that was for BBD).

    2. You are still a victim-playing hypocrite Rick.

      What was it again? Oh yes:

      “go back to your fucking country.”

      That’s rightwing racism enabled by Trumpian rhetoric in action at a restaurant. What where you whining about again? Oh yes, people expressing revulsion at rightwingers in restaurants. You can’t really blame them for their disgust, you know. Especially as they were trying to eat.

  13. Trump’s not an aberration, he’s a symptom of a fatal flaw in the US American psyche. He’s also the capitalist who sold Russia the rope with which that country is hanging the States, just as Vladimir Ilich Lenin pressaged.

    I’ve been commenting on the demise of the US American empire for two years. It seems that Putin himself has now felt that his job has been done, via the agency of his useful puppet Trump, and has just publicly declared the same thing:

    https://www.yahoo.com/news/putin-trumpets-end-us-world-212054291.html

    The US experiment was nice whilst it lasted.

  14. Re Li D: “If it was they [Germany] sure didn’t focus resources on it [entrenching themselves in Western Europe] like they could have. And there’s no need to ally with Japan for that outcome. Or to invade Poland.”

    They were only in Western Europe for a couple of years, not long enough to do a proper job. Hitler rushed the war with Soviet Union because he was inspired by the early fall of France and withdrawal of the British to go after the room and resources of the USSR. He’s signed a non-aggression pact with Stalin but planned to break it because he considered Germany’s destiny to be in expanding its population and industry into Eastern Europe and using what slavic peoples left alive as slaves. (They were subhumans fit only for slavery in his ideology.) After the fall of France, Hitler thought that a surprise attack against the inferior people of the USSR would be even easier.

    Hitler’s pact with Stalin meant they could divide Poland between them — but it wasn’t meant to be permanent pact (on Hitler’s part) and the alliance with Japan was an attempt to get the USSR into a two-front war with Japan on the east and Germany on the west, when Germany was ready. Like Germany, Japan was racist and expansionist, and had been fighting with the USSR off and on since the 1905 war. It didn’t work out because the Japanese Army was trying to subdue China and had enough experience with the Soviet military to avoid a full-scale war with them.

    Re: “I note that USA wasn’t overly concerned with Nazism. Not enough to go to war over.”

    True that. In fact, there was a vociferous group of Nazi supporters that held large rallys in some parts of the U. S. before the war. The U. S. population was more likely to be averse to the communists. The Russian Revolution had only been a bit over 30 years previously and Germany was anti-communist and masquerading as a normal but revitalized country. It fooled a lot of people. There were also a lot of people in the U. S. with roots in Germany (and others in Italy) and at the time, the U. S. as a whole was against getting embroiled in another European war so soon after WWI (or ever again).

    Then, the Japanese decided to knock out the U. S. Navy fleet at Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941 (Dec. 8, Australian time). Being racists, they thought the U. S. would negotiate a peace that would free the Japanese to establish its own version of an Asian and Oceanic empire. But, reality is what actually happens while you are busy making other plans.

    1. In fact, there was a vociferous group of Nazi supporters that held large rallys in some parts of the U. S. before the war.

      Indeed. Vincent Price was “brownlisted” by the government before WWII because he took part in several fundraisers organized to raise funds for the Spanish Nationalists and later for anti-Nazi movements before the Nazis were deemed bad by the US government.

      Given the affection for right-wing authoritarian actions and the support of nazis Trump and many supporters (including some who post here) display, the idea of being considered a threat because you oppose hatred should no longer be considered a thing of years gone by.

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