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"Grab 'em by the Midterms" - 2018 US Midterm Election Thread

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Oooh, it feels good to be back.


The first order of business here is to link your voter registration deadlines - some of you may have already missed them but extending circumstances such as Hurricane Michael in the southeast may allow you to register after the deadline so that you can vote in this year's midterm elections. You can find your state's registration date here:

Spoiler

 

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/10/06/us/politics/state-voter-registration-deadlines.html


 

The second order of business is to tell you what "midterm elections" are - Midterms, as they are in school when you take major tests, are the "major tests" faced by incumbent legislators in Congress two years after a Presidential Election, as well as their challengers. The difference between a midterm election and a presidential election is that the current President of the United States does not have to face voters this cycle, which leaves only affected Congress-folks. So....sorry if you are already chomping at the bit to knock off President Trump. You only have to keep that enthusiasm for two years... and as President Obama once said. Don't boo. Vote. Even this cycle.

 

If you have been living under a rock - here's what's really important on the ballot this November:

 

1. The Trump Referendum.

 

Basically, if you believe that President Trump's policies have been mostly helpful for America, that he has been true to his word about going after said policies, and you would like to see him continue to enact said policies - you will want to make sure to elect as many Republicans on your ballot as you can. Currently, the Presidency and Congress are both in Republican control. Don't like Trump or the GOP? Your goal would probably be to try and elect all of the Democrats on your ballot. Hate Trump but like your Republican congressmen? This bullet-point isn't going to be a major decision for you.

 

2. "It's the economy, Stupid." - James Carville

 

Currently, the stock market under the Trump Presidency has been two things. Disturbingly variable, and yet mostly very positive. Jobs reports have been promising. Your vote here depends on how you view these results, either as the result of the Trump administration's aggressive tariff wars and protectionism, or as a carry-over effect of the Obama administration. Pro-Trumpers should vote Republican, Pro-Obama voters will be voting Democratic to prevent what may be an inevitable major recession or out of the belief that 44 is getting his credit taken away by 45.

 

3. Republicans v. the Affordable Care Act

 

One of the biggest objective failures of the Trump administration and the Republican Party to date was having to eat the late John McCain's "No" vote on repealing and replacing "Obamacare", officially known as the "Affordable Care Act". However, they have been able to knock out the individual mandate that was the most disliked part of the legislation, which required citizens to pay a penalty if they did not own healthcare for themselves. If killing the individual mandate was enough for you - vote Republican. If too much of the bill remains alive in your opinion - you will probably need to vote for a Republican, especially if you have a moderate Republican or any Democrat on your ballot defending a seat. If you are afraid Republicans will continue to go after the bill and axe something like say... coverage for pre-existing conditions - you might want to consider voting Democratic. If protecting Obama's biggest legislative achievement matters to you as a voter, get out there and vote Democratic.

 

4. The Image of America

 

Vague title aside, this is the home for all of your identity-related politics. If you are a full-throated conservative, a religious person already in the United States, an entrepreneur, or an agricultural expert - you will probably want to consider voting Republican. If you are concerned with women's rights, rights for minorities, live in cities, college towns, or the suburbs, support worker's unions, or consider yourself a blue-blooded liberal, you will want to vote for Democrats.

 

5. The Future

 

What may finally become a ballot-box issue for liberals this year is the matter of the dominant ideas found throughout the American Judiciary. With Justice Brett Kavanaugh being successfully sworn in, The Supreme Court of the United States sits at a solid 5-4 conservative majority (the Chief Justice John Roberts, who previously votes reliably in the favor of conservatives, is now the center justice), with President Trump successfully confirming him and colleague Justice Neil Gorsuch before voters have had a chance to have their say on his nominations. Liberal Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg (otherwise known as the Notorious RBG) is 85 years old, and her liberal colleague Stephen Breyer is 80. A Trump Presidency with two more years of a Senate Majority in his favor could (not likely given how RBG can do more push ups than me at 85...) potentially give conservative voters a 7-2 majority on the court, almost certainly endangering decisions such as Roe v. Wade (abortion available in all 50 states) and Obergefell v. Hodges (homosexual right to marry in all 50 states) Liberals need to vote for Democratic Senate hopefuls in order to cause disruption with the "advice and consent" process and protect any liberal rulings from helpless minority defenses.

 

MY Predictions:

 

Democrats retake the House of Representatives

 

Republicans look very different depending on districts that are up for grabs. Suburban Republicans are typically college educated white people who are less likely to approve of President Trump - and this will hurt Republicans who have to lean on him in those districts. The House congressional map doesn't favor Republicans in large part due to a two-year-long "Resistance"-charged enthusiasm gap and because most of their fights will be in the suburbs while losing more seats the Democrats this cycle.

 

Republicans hold onto the Senate

 

Democrats have to play defense more than they would like here. With the Kavanaugh debacle closing the enthusiasm gap by awakening the Republican base, Democrats have to hope they can win something like both Tennessee and Texas as well as hold onto all of their current seats. I don't see that happening, especially now that Heidi Heitkamp voted "No" on Kavanaugh in deep red North Dakota...when she was already down somewhere between 8 and 12 points in her race.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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I like this. Very informative while gutting out the excess information that people tend to not understand about politics. Also doesn't step on the toes of those who are strongly affiliated with a party (imo).

 

Thanks for this!

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No problem PIM, I may have a personal preference one way or the other myself in some of those races, but I think people being aware of their options and their civic duties is more important than me getting what I want.

 

---

 

Couple of things to watch for.

 

The Second Year of the Woman?

 

Once upon a time, in 1991, Justice Clarence Thomas was accused of sexually assaulting professor Anita Hill during his confirmation process - after which he was successfully confirmed to the bench. Following that year, in the 1992 elections, many, many, many more women than ever before were elected into major offices across the country, including some of the major congresswomen that are still in Washington hard at work today.

 

That story should sound familiar - because the Justice Brett Kavanaugh hearings in the not very distant past featured what may be a similar omen. Justice Kavanaugh was accused - primarily - by another professor, Dr. Christine Blasey Ford - of a sexual assault that had happened years prior to the nomination. The result was the same, despite being nearly thirty years apart from the Thomas hearings. Judge Kavanaugh was sworn in as Justice Kavanaugh. The confirmation was just as brutal a moment for America as Thomas' hearing was, and with the backdrop of President Trump's low approval among women coupled with the #MeToo movement, many Democratic Senate and House hopefuls identify as women, as well as a few Republican women who are also testing the waters.

 

If Democrats make significant gains, it will most likely be because women spearheaded the takeover effort.

 

The "M" and "I" Words:

 

Republican candidates have a couple of issues that are not policy related that they can lean on to fire up their base.

 

  • "Mob rule" - Mainstream media has a tendency to lean leftward when it comes to American political spin - with the exception of Fox News. (the best way to tell, is to watch what was once not even a political messaging effort a majority of the time - late night television.) The MSM recently has tried to combat a conservative messaging angle the Republican Party and FNC have been labeling liberal candidates and voters as recently - Mobs. A Republican talking head would point to the recent Kavanaugh riots that led to banging on the doors of the Supreme Court as Kavanaugh was being sworn in, the Anti-Facism (Antifa) group that was in the streets attacking drivers in Portland, Oregon following a police shooting, ricin being sent to the Pentagon and the White House with the intent to harm Trump and his Cabinet members, and Senator Ted Cruz (Texas) and his wife being forced out of a restaurant by protestors who were upset about his eventual vote to confirm the newest Supreme Court Justice as examples of mob action - and then point to figures such as former Presidential Candidate Hillary Clinton, Former Attorney General Eric Holder, Senator Cory Booker (New Jersey),  and Congresswoman Maxine Waters (California) as Democratic leaders who have said things like "You can't be civil" with Republicans, or riffing on former First Lady Michelle Obama's "If they go low, we go high" doctrine with an alternative message (If they go low, we kick them.), or encouraging forming a crowd and telling members of the Trump Administration that they are not welcome when they are spotted in public. A Democratic strategist - or a MSM show host? They would respond with "That's the sound of democracy" if they were being open for discussion. If it seemed they were threatened by the suggestion that the protesting has gone too far, they would respond with "Don't call it a mob." - which plays into a Democratic tendency to be offended by something many Americans would not consider initially offensive and is really an example of too much political correctness.
  • "Impeachment" -  A slew of Democratic candidates/congressmen have been aloof when it comes to the prospect of impeaching President Trump - and more recently Justice Brett Kavanaugh - with many leaving the door open if the party can recapture a majority in one of/both the bodies of Congress. Trump has seized on this and used the threat of impeachment as a threat to his own voters - saying that if they win, the impeachment of himself and his justice would result in the undoing of everything the President has been able to accomplish so far. You haven't seen Democrats unify to come out for the prospect of impeaching either, but there are a few, such as liberal upstart Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (New York) who have been vocal about it as an issue to fire up their own bases.

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