Election matters

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Measuring the feeble heartbeat of the electorate

From a current NBC/Wall Street Journal Poll, regarding likely voters:


It looks to me that more mobilization is needed. Groups you would think have the highest stakes in this year’s election have low numbers.

Related to potential Kavanaugh effects, from the same poll:

Women are smarter than men, people with college degrees are smarter than those without, younger is smarter than older. Oddly, Independents dislike Kavanaugh to a greater degree than one would expect given the previously graph. (I’m suspicious of the category “Independent,” however.)

Regarding who should control congress, this:

The Republican Party is the party of whites, men, and to some degree older folks, while the Democratic Party is the party of people of color, women, younger folks, and the better educated.

Most critical may be the fact that 50% of likely voters prefer Democrats nation wide, while only 41% of likely voters prefer Republicans.

This will not, however, translate into more Republican members of congress. Local tradition, local campaigning, election rigging, and gerrymandering, determine who wins a given Congressional seat. Sadly. As I’ve suggested before, it is highly unlikely that a Democratic leaning American electorate will actually elect a Democratic majority Congress, in either house.

Expect Mud

This happened. I was sitting on the couch watching a football game (go Vikings!) and a political ad for our local Democratic candidate for Congress, Dean Phillips, came on. It was a positive, informative, up beat ad. Nice. Then, a political ad for the Republican incumbent, the Trump Lapdog Erik Paulsen, came up. It was negative, disgusting, and full of lies.

So the person watching the game with me, asked about why that ad was so horrible and why do the Democrats have such different ads. I said, “The Democrats used to use negative ads too, both parties did. ”


“Because experts told all the campaigns that they worked, and they did seem to work, so everybody did them. But this year, Democrats, at least here, decided to do no negative ads. So you see Republican negative ads, no Democratic negative ads.”

“I think,” he said, “If you have negative ads, some people learn to hate the other candidate so you win, but more people hate the whole idea and just stay home and don’t vote, and that matters more.”‘

“Hmm,” I replied. “Pretty smart for an eight year old, since that is exactly how we lost this race two years ago!”

Here’s the thing. Right now, Republicans are going to double down on negative ads, and they are going to work. Or, just ads that lie. For example, Representative Sarah Anderson, of the Minnesota house, is famous for a) reducing funding for education and b) opposing heath care reform. Her opponent, Ginny Klevorn, is famous for a) being very pro education and also, knowing a lot about how the school systems in her district are run, and b) wanting to link the health care plans state legislators have to the average cost and availability of health plans for all the citizens of the state, so they know exactly what everyone is experiencing (currently, Sarah Anderson and her Republican buddies in the MN Legislature have really great heath care plans!)

The people who live in this district have made it clear that they want more attention paid to, and more money spent on, education, and they want health care reform. So, naturally, anti-education and anti-health care reform Republican Sarah Anderson has put out lies in all her lit and other ads, painting herself as the savior of the education system and the savior of health care. Erik Paulsen is putting out negative, lie-filled, hate ads against Dean Phillips, in the US Congressional race here. The Republican dweeb running for Governor, Jeff Johnson, has been putting out hateful, dishonest ads, in his effort to catch up with Democratic Gubernatorial candidate Time Walz. And so on.

That’s all expected. What concerns me right now is the fact, just reported by the New York Times, that while Democrats have been out raising Republicans in recent weeks, Republicans have way more money to spend on elections, starting now.

Republicans entered the final month of the campaign with more money in the bank than the Democrats, providing them with vital ammunition as they wage a furious effort to hold on to control of Congress.

The most recent round of campaign finance disclosures, filed Saturday, showed that Republican national party committees, candidates in key House and Senate races and their top unlimited-money outside groups, or “super PACs,” had $337 million on hand as of Sept. 30. Their Democratic counterparts had $285 million in the bank on the same date.

What I don’t know is if this is simply more false balance reporting by the New York Times, or good analysis. Democratic superpacs have raised piles of money, a few million more than Republicans, and the superpacs represent more than half of the total campaign budget. But, it could be that Republicans are going to play their usual trick, swamping media markets where they are about to lose with lies, negative campaigning, and fear, and so in the end pull out and win. I would like to hope, but I dare not think, the post 2016 American electorate is not quite so easily manipulated.

Here’s the data from that report:

Send money to a Democrat!

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7 thoughts on “Election matters

  1. Nobody ever lost money underestimating the American public. That may be appropriate here. Most of the same people who voted for Don-the-Con & his political remoras are still around. If you don’t play to people’s fantasies and prejudices you have to work way harder to have your message register in a positive way.

    1. I made a comment below about some of our ads here in MI. I neglected to point out that the ads that are the most shrill and hyperbolic (my democratic opponent will enact policies that will cost over 1 million automobile jobs, and so on) are completely lacking in any information you could look at to judge the validity of the assertion — and the candidates’ web sites are also lacking that information. It’s almost as though they were just making things up from nothing, as hard as it is to believe.

  2. Greg:

    You must be in a bubble not to have seen any negative democratic ads.

    The one I see the features Erik Paulsen sitting in a canoe with Donald Trump.

    Have you seen that one?

    I have seen negative ads run against Jason Lewis also.

    Don’t kid yourself, democrats run negative ads also.

  3. RickA’s stupid statement of equivalence aside (really, can his comments ever be taken seriously? He expects people to think the two sides are equally bad? What a maroon.) it’s been an odd campaign season here.

    – We had one Republican candidate for state office attacking a fellow Republican opponent because the opponent had a degree from Harvard, “where only elites go”
    – We have attack ads against a Democratic state candidate for referring to himself as a doctor “when he isn’t”. The candidate is an MD, and ran health care for some state based organizations, but “He isn’t a doctor because he doesn’t work in an office or have patients”

    And, of course, my state representative, who voted against expanding Medicare, and has voted to make it more difficult for people to have access to state aid and voting sites, is slamming his Democratic opponent because she will “decrease access to health care and take away your rights”

    We also have the usual (from the right) attacks on the poor and minorities, calls to repeal the right to same sex marriage, and wrapping the candidate in the flag/military career and/or Right to Life (a horrible organization) backing.

  4. [sniff, sniff]. Is it just me or did I just catch a whiff of false equivalence–or maybe it was what-aboutism…

    Here it’s been Repubs on attack with Dems lagging in response. I will say there’s been a doozy of a Republican add on TV funded by some group I haven’t been able to track down. Basically it’s like the Dana Loesch NRA spot with raised fist and liberals rioting in the street, only worse. The thin veil separating the rhetoric from an actual call to violence is starting to fray.

    Maybe you’ve seen it; it ends with the message that if you vote for even one Democrat there will be a socialist mob apocalypse. (“Mob,” “mob,” “mob”…apparently the irony challenged manage to ignore the actual incitements at Trump rallies.)

    Anyway it’s got Nancy Pelosi looking like a crazed serial killer with a hammer, rioting in the streets, etc. Then there’s the American flag engulfed in a shocking firenado, like the glory of Rome going up in smoke. Leni Riefenstahl would have been proud of that last image.

    Sick; and not in a good way.

  5. Lies repeated often enough become truth for all too many people. If more people used their their cognitive faculties more that first sentence wouldn’t be so apt.

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