Dailly Politics Update

Dailly Politics Update

Base irrelevant, swing voters will decide the election

Olsen, 8-6, 18, New York times, Mr. Olsen, the editor of the “Flyover Country” section at UnHerd.com, is the director and a co-founder of the Voter Study Group., https://www.nytimes.com/2018/08/06/opinion/midterms-republican-democratic-voters.html New York times Why the Midterms Won’t Be Won by Playing to the Base
Most strategists and analysts say this November’s midterms will be determined by turnout. According to this view, whichever party more fully energizes its partisans will come out on top. New data, though, shows this common wisdom has it exactly backward. It’s the voters who sit between the two parties, not the party bases, who will choose which party wins. That’s a surprising finding from the most recent Democracy Fund Voter Study Group poll. This biannual poll, which asks thousands of Americans their views on issues, personalities and voting intentions, has been querying the same people their views going back to 2011 (in the polling world, this is known as a longitudinal survey). That means it is large enough and has the right sort of questions to do what most polls can’t: report accurately on small groups within the overall electorate. Two of these groups are of vital import: “Romney-Clinton” voters and “Obama-Trump” voters. Each consists of people who changed which party’s nominee they voted for from 2012 to 2016. Where they go will determine who wins because they are strategically placed in most of the target House and Senate races up for grabs this fall. “Romney-Clinton” voters are generally the sort of highly educated, affluent, more moderate voters who disapprove of Donald Trump. The most recent Voter Survey shows Mr. Trump had less than a 20 percent job approval rating among them; nearly 70 percent of these formerly Republican voters disapprove of his job performance. And they are taking this dislike with them to the voting booth. Forty-three percent say they will vote for Democrats this fall; only about 20 percent intend to back Republicans. ADVERTISEMENT These voters are very important for the battle for the House. Democrats need to pick up 24 House seats to get a majority, and Republicans hold 25 seats in areas that Hillary Clinton carried. Mitt Romney won the districts of 13 of those seats in 2012, and his margin of defeat was smaller than Mr. Trump’s in another nine. Democrats simply cannot retake the House unless they get a lot of these voters to stick with them when Mr. Trump isn’t personally on the ballot. “Obama-Trump” voters are the people you’ve heard a lot about recently: largely white, less educated and middle or working class. By and large the latest Voter Survey shows that they still like Trump: 76 percent approve of his performance. But like Romney-Clinton voters, they aren’t yet completely sold on their new party’s congressional candidates. While 41 percent say they will vote Republican in the fall, 44 percent say they are either unsure whom they will back or plan to vote for a third-party candidate. That’s a lot of Trump backers who haven’t yet made the leap to the G.O.P. You have 4 free articles remaining. Subscribe to The Times These voters are also important to the House battle. Republicans hold 12 House seats that flipped from Obama to Trump. They are also seriously contesting five other open seats currently held by Democrats that also flipped. Hold onto some of these and make a few pickups and Republicans can offset some losses and minimize Democratic gains. Both types of voters are also in play in the key Senate races. Democrats represent five seats under attack this fall where Mr. Trump won by 18 percent or more. In each state Mr. Trump’s margin exceeded Mr. Romney’s by between 6 and 16 points. That’s the Obama-Trump voter at work, and Democratic incumbents need to win the bulk of these voters back to have a shot. But in three other key states — Nevada, Florida and Arizona — the balance between the two types of swing voters is more even. Lesser-educated white areas swung to Mr. Trump, while more educated areas swung to Mrs. Clinton

Mueller report will blow up the midterms, plan irrelevant

Budowsky,8-3, 18 Brent Budowsky was an aide to former Sen. Lloyd Bentsen (D-Texas) and former Rep. Bill Alexander (D-Ark.), who was chief deputy majority whip of the U.S. House of Representatives. He holds an LLM in international financial law from the London School of Economics The Hill, Obstruction of justice bombshell will explode before midterms
Why is President Trump escalating his attacks against special counsel counsel Robert Mueller, Attorney General Jeff Sessions, the Department of Justice, the FBI and the free press to a fever pitch in recent days? The reason is that the odds are very high that Mueller will offer a declarative public statement before the midterm elections, and very likely before Labor Day, that the president is guilty of obstruction of justice. The Mueller declaration of obstruction of justice could be issued in the form of a letter to Congress and may or may not ultimately be issued in the form of an indictment if he believes that the Trump situation creates extraordinary circumstances that warrant his seeking approval for a formal indictment. It is impossible to know exactly what Mueller will do. We do not know the evidence he has that has not yet been made public. We do not know his private thinking on great matters of state and law that will govern his actions. In April, there were public reports that Mueller would ultimately release his findings in two stages, the first being obstruction of justice, which could be released in whatever form it takes this summer. When public reports indicated that Mueller is looking at Trump tweets, among other factors, in the obstruction investigation, some of his handful of legal defenders suggested that Trump tweets are not relevant evidence of obstruction. They are wrong, though the tweets are far from the most important evidence. Consider the obstruction of justice provisions in the articles of impeachment against Richard Nixon that were passed by the House Judiciary Committee before Nixon resigned. Article 1, Section 8 of the articles of impeachment included this: “making or causing to be made false or misleading public statements for the purpose of deceiving the people of the United States into believing that a thorough and complete investigation had been conducted with respect to allegations of misconduct on the part of personnel of the executive branch of the United States and personnel of the Committee for the Re-election of the President, and that there was no involvement of such personnel in such misconduct.” In other words, repeatedly making false statements intended to deceive the public about matters under investigation constitute acts in furtherance of obstruction of justice in violation of American law. Now consider this. Literally in real time, Trump is virtually at war over facts with leading members of his Cabinet about whether Russia has attacked American elections in the 2016 campaign and continues to attack American elections in the 2018 midterms. On Thursday, leading members of his administration joined together in an extraordinary public session warning the nation about the continuing Russian attack against our elections. His national security adviser, director of National Intelligence, FBI director and secretary of Homeland Security stood united before the nation, warning of the continuing Russian attack in clear and powerful terms. Trump could have joined them in person to offer his support. He did not. Instead, only hours later, he publicly claimed, again, that the Russia investigation was a hoax and that his recent meeting with Russian strongman Vladimir Putin was a huge success. If charges that Trump obstructed justice by making false statements are considered in court or congressional hearings, it would be powerful testimony for his Cabinet members to be called to testify about whether Trump’s statements that the Russia investigations are a hoax are true or false. Similarly, Trump’s fevered and escalating attacks against the free press, which even his daughter Ivanka had the good sense to rebut, provide more powerful and compelling evidence of intent to mislead the public about matters under intense investigation. While Trump is in dramatic conflict with Cabinet members who warn about the Russian attack, which he falsely claims is a hoax, he attacks the free press for reporting about the Russian attack, which he falsely claims is fake news. Mueller could argue that Trump is seeking to execute the first televised obstruction of justice, in plain view before the nation every day. With a high probability that the obstruction issue reaches a crescendo before the midterm elections, there is now a growing likelihood that an anti-Trump wave will doom Republicans to a disastrous defeat in November. In Texas, Rep. Beto O’Rourke (D) has surged to within a few points of defeating Sen. Ted Cruz (R). In Tennessee, former Democratic Gov. Phil Bredesen has a strong chance of winning the election to replace Sen. Bob Corker (R). Democratic Senate candidates have a strong chance to take Republican Senate seats in Arizona and Nevada. It is now probable that Democrats regain control of the House of Representatives with a real possibility that Democrats win a larger than expected majority. For Republicans, it is the worst possible time for the coming obstruction of justice bombshell to explode. It is political suicide for Republicans when the president escalates his attacks against the free press to such extreme levels that even his daughter distances herself from these attacks. His attacks against Mueller have reached such extreme levels that he puts the fear of God into Republicans running in 2018.

A – No government shut-down now

Watkins, 7-30, 18, CNN, https://www.cnn.com/2018/07/30/politics/marc-short-government-shutdown-cnntv/index.html Former WH aide predicts no shutdown before midterms

Marc Short, the former White House legislative affairs director and recently hired CNN contributor, predicted on Monday there would not be a government shutdown ahead of the midterm elections. “There are two different timetables here,” Short said on CNN’s “The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer.” He continued, “One is September 30, which I fully expect you’ll have a continuing resolution that gets us till December. I think the time frame we’re talking about is if Congress hasn’t provided the funding by the end of the year in December.” Short left the White House earlier this month after announcing the news to staff in June. Short’s comments came after President Donald Trump tweeted on Sunday that he would be willing to force the government into a shutdown if Congress did not appropriate money for his proposed border wall, which he promised Mexico would pay for, and change the nation’s immigration laws. In comments on Monday, Trump repeated his threat, saying he would “leave room for negotiation” but insisting Congress pass new border security and immigration measures. “If we don’t get border security after many, many years of talk within the United States, I would have no problem doing a shutdown,” Trump said Monday. Trump signed a spending agreement in March that funded the government through September, but he did so after threatening to veto it and declaring he would “never sign another bill like this again.” Short said “we should” take the shutdown threat from Trump seriously, but that he thought the threat of a shutdown was “really toward December more so than in September.” Short also pointed to part of the Senate’s August recess being canceled as evidence there could be significant progress on appropriations in the coming weeks as congressional negotiators continue to hammer out a series of agreements on spending.

B. Link — Liberal border policies mean Trump will shut-down the government

Eli Watkins, 8-2, 18, https://www.click2houston.com/news/politics/trump-would-prefer-shutdown-fight-before-midterms Trump would prefer shutdown fight before midterms

President Donald Trump said on Thursday that he would rather have a government shutdown fight over his immigration and border security demands before the midterm elections this November than afterward. “I would personally prefer before, but whether it’s before or after, we’re either getting it or we’re closing down government,” Trump said. “We need border security. We need border security.” RELATED CONTENT Former White House aide predicts showdown over border wall in December McConnell: Wall funding would ‘probably’ have to wait until after midterms Trump threatens shutdown over wall, immigration The President said “a lot of great Republicans” had pointed to the strength of the economy and did not want to “complicate” that as voters prepare to head to the polls in elections that will decide control of Congress. “I understand it,” he said. “I’m a little torn myself.” Trump, who was speaking at a rally in Pennsylvania on Thursday evening, said prominent conservative commentators Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity thought the shutdown fight should come before the elections. “You know who thinks it should be before? Rush Limbaugh thinks it should be before,” Trump said. “You know who else? Sean Hannity. A lot of ’em.” Trump tweeted last weekend that he would be willing to shut down the government if Democrats in Congress did not agree to impose his preferred immigration laws and to fund his border security measures, including the wall that he promised Mexico would pay for. He reiterated the threat in person on Monday, although he said he would “leave room for negotiation.” On Monday, some top Republicans in Congress declined to sign on to the shutdown threat before the September spending deadline.


B – Link – Interjecting controversial immigration policies before September 30th means Congresss won’t have time to pass legislation to avoid a shut-down

Catherine Juckey, Chicago Daily Herald, Trump indicates pre-election shutdown unlikely, https://apnews.com/5c016dfff53a438c83c162d98d29d7bf

President Donald Trump has indicated to staff that he won’t try to shut down the federal government before the midterm elections to try to win more money for a wall at the U.S.-Mexico border, administration officials said Tuesday. Despite Trump’s recent public threats that he saw “no problem” in shutting down the government to secure backing for one of his key campaign promises, two officials said Trump recognized the political cost of a shutdown before the November elections and had assured staff he wouldn’t provoke a fiscal crisis until after Election Day. A congressional aide said the White House had sent a similar message to Capitol Hill amid widespread anxiety about a potential shutdown as Republicans face tough re-election fights. The two officials and the congressional aide spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to publicly discuss internal deliberations. Trump on Monday threatened a shutdown for the second time in two days, seeming to put himself further at odds with Republicans in Congress. The threats came days after GOP leaders believed they had secured a pledge of Trump’s patience on the budget. A shutdown when government funding expires at the end of September, just weeks before the midterm elections, would be the second under unified Republican control of Washington, following a weekend stoppage in January. The president is eager to stress immigration during the fall election, believing it will fire up his base. Republican leaders disagree, hoping they can avoid a high-profile display of dysfunction and focus their message on the GOP tax cuts and the strong economy. Trump has proven to be an inconsistent negotiating partner with Capitol Hill, as evidenced by his most recent mixed messages on a potential shutdown. Earlier this year he publicly weighed vetoing a government spending bill he had backed just days earlier, facing criticism from conservative allies that it didn’t address his immigration priorities. The president has made no secret of his belief that his hard-line immigration policies boosted him to the Oval Office, and he launched an aggressive push for additional border security measures early this year. They include $25 billion toward construction of a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border, but Trump acknowledged on Monday his demands are a starting point. Republican leaders believed they had an understanding with Trump last week when they met at the White House to discuss strategy ahead of the budget year that starts Oct.1. After the meeting, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell told a radio interviewer that a shutdown so close to the Nov. 6 midterm elections wouldn’t happen. He said the border funding issue in particular would probably have to wait until after the elections. But on Sunday, Trump reversed course in a surprise tweet: “I would be willing to ‘shut down’ government if the Democrats do not give us the votes for Border Security, which includes the Wall!” “Must get rid of Lottery, Catch & Release etc. and finally go to system of Immigration based on MERIT!” he tweeted. With time short, lawmakers appear most likely to approve a short-term funding measure to keep the government open through Election Day. That would set up another fiscal showdown during a lame duck session. Trump campaigned on a promise of building a wall to deter illegal immigration and to make Mexico pay for it. Mexico has refused, leading Trump to look to U.S. taxpayers to fund the endeavor instead, at least for now. Trump has gotten some wall money from Congress, and likely will get more, though the total is well short of the $25 billion he has requested. He also wants changes to legal immigration, including scrapping a visa lottery program. In addition, Trump wants to end the practice of releasing immigrants caught entering the country illegally on the condition that they show up for court hearings. And he wants to shift the U.S. immigration system to one based more on individual merit and less on family ties. Democrats and some Republicans have objected to those proposals. Both chambers will have a short window to act before government funding expires at midnight Sept. 30. The House is in recess and won’t return until after Labor Day. The Senate will stay in session for most of August, except for a weeklong break scheduled to begin Aug. 6. McConnell canceled most of his chamber’s recess to give senators time to work on the annual spending bills. House Republicans released a spending bill this month that would provide $5 billion next year to build Trump’s wall, a plan Trump supports.

Historical trends favor Democratic control of the House

Amy Walter, 8-2, 18, Cook Political Report, https://www.cookpolitical.com/analysis/house/house-overview/what-august-ratings-can-tell-us-about-november-results What August Ratings Can Tell Us About November Results

In July of 2006, The Cook Political Report rated just 14 GOP-held seats as highly vulnerable. By November, the number of GOP-held seats in danger had tripled to 43. We saw a similar pattern in 2010. In August of that year, we listed 36 Democratic-held seats as highly vulnerable. By November, the number of vulnerable Democratic-held seats had more than doubled to 78. On Election Day of 2006, Republicans lost 30 seats; Democrats lost 63 seats in 2010. So, what happened between the summer and November of those years that caused such a dramatic shift in ratings? There wasn’t a point where the bottom just dropped out for one party. The approval rating for President George W. Bush was 40 percent in mid-July of 2006 and 38 percent in early November. President Obama was sitting at 44 percent in mid-August of 2010 and 45 percent in early November. Nor was it that a bunch of ‘new’ districts came into play between the summer and fall of those years. By the summer of 2006 and 2010, the Cook Political Report had already identified as shaky or potentially weak all but a handful of the seats that ultimately fell that fall. Instead, as summer turned to fall it became more and more clear that things weren’t going to get any better for the party in the White House. And, as such, races that we listed as potentially vulnerable in the summer were moved into the more highly vulnerable category by fall. For example, between July 2006 and November 2006, we moved 24-GOP held seats from Lean/Likely Republican to Toss-Up (or worse). Between August and November of 2010, we moved 35 Democratic-held seats from Lean/Likely Democratic to Toss-Up (or worse). In fact, of the 30 seats that Democrats won in 2006, 21 of them (or 70 percent), weren’t classified as the most vulnerable GOP-held seats in July. Almost half of the Democratic seats Republicans won in 2010 were classified as Lean or Likely Democrat in August. Ratings Changes in Competitive Seats Changes in Presidential Approval This year, Republicans already have more seats in the highly vulnerable category than they had at this point in 2006 or than Democrats had in August of 2010. If 2018 follows a similar pattern to 2006 and 2010 — where less vulnerable seats move into more vulnerable territory in the fall — the GOP is almost certain to lose their majority. There are currently another 53 GOP-held seats in Lean/Likely Republican. Of course, there are other important variables to remember when comparing past elections and the ratings process to this election. First, to win control of the House, Democrats need to pick up more seats this year than they did in 2006 (23 to 17 in 2006). There’s also the fact that the House Editors have changed between 2006 — when I was doing this — and 2010 and 2018 with David Wasserman in charge. We have different styles and philosophies. A race I may have waited to move into a different category, David may have moved earlier — or vice-versa. That said, the overall pattern in 2006 and 2010 is similar. The president’s weak approval ratings don’t improve between the summer and November, and seats held by the party of the White House that looked somewhat secure over the summer, are much more vulnerable by the fall. Pay close attention to how big the GOP Toss-Up column gets between now and November.

Democratic victory in the midterms critical to prevent Trump’s unchecked consolidation of power

George Packer, 8-6, 13, The New Yorker, https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2018/08/06/all-thats-left-is-the-vote All that’s left IS the vote,

In the haze of summer, with books still to be read, weeds pulled, kids retrieved from camp, it’s a little hard to fathom that, three months from now, American democracy will be on the line. The midterm elections in November are the last remaining obstacle to President Trump’s consolidation of power. None of the other forces that might have checked the rise of a corrupt homegrown oligarchy can stop or even slow it. The institutional clout that ended the Presidency of Richard Nixon no longer exists. The honest press, for all its success in exposing daily scandals, won’t persuade the unpersuadable or shame the shameless, while the dishonest press is Trump’s personal amplifier. The federal courts, including the Supreme Court, are rapidly becoming instruments of partisan advocacy, as reliably conservative as elected legislatures. It’s impossible to imagine the Roberts Court voting unanimously against the President, as the Burger Court, including five Republican appointees, did in forcing Nixon to turn over his tapes. (Brett Kavanaugh, Trump’s nominee to succeed Anthony Kennedy, has even suggested that the decision was wrong.) Congress has readily submitted to the President’s will, as if legislation and oversight were burdens to be relinquished. And, when the independent counsel finally releases his report, it will have only the potency that the guardians of the law and the Constitution give it. Behind these institutions lies public opinion, and we are quickly learning that it matters more than laws, more than the Constitution, more than the country’s supposedly inviolable founding principles. “If large numbers of people are interested in freedom of speech, there will be freedom of speech, even if the law forbids it,” George Orwell wrote, in “Freedom of the Park.” “If public opinion is sluggish, inconvenient minorities will be persecuted, even if laws exist to protect them.” During 1973, the year Watergate became a national scandal, facts changed the political views of millions of Americans, Nixon’s approval rating fell from sixty-seven per cent to less than thirty per cent, and his fate was sealed. In our time, large blocs of public opinion are barely movable: Trump’s performance in Helsinki—declaring himself on the side of Russia, against his own intelligence agencies and the integrity of American elections—received favorable reviews from eighty per cent of Republicans. Yet public opinion still plays a central role in safeguarding democracy, and it becomes decisive through voting. Demonstrations can capture attention and build solidarity, books can provide arguments, social media can organize resistance. But if the Republicans don’t suffer a serious defeat in November, Trump will go into 2020 with every structural advantage. Democrats have a habit of forgetting to vote between Presidential elections. Republican turnout has exceeded or equalled Democratic turnout in every midterm since 1978, no matter which party held the Presidency, with an average margin of three per cent—more than enough to decide control of Congress in a closely divided election. The demographic groups that are least likely to vote—young people, Latinos, and those with a high-school education or less—tend to be Democratic constituencies. This tendency has been especially stark in the past two midterm cycles: in 2014, the turnout among eligible voters aged eighteen to twenty-nine was seventeen per cent—one in six. The disappearing Democratic voter also had an effect on the latest Presidential election, when, for example, African-American turnout dropped almost five per cent from 2012—a crucial difference in the three key states that gave Trump the Electoral College. Sign up for The New Yorker’s Midterms 2018 newsletter Making sense of the midterms, every week in your in-box. Republicans, for their part, don’t always entrust their hold on power to democratic methods. Since 2010, nearly half of the states have passed laws that make it harder to vote—from restrictions on early voting to I.D. requirements, mandatory proof of citizenship, and purges of voting rolls. The purpose of these laws is not to fight a mythical epidemic of fraud but to depress turnout of normally Democratic constituencies. They show incremental signs of success: a government study found that new laws reduced turnout in 2012 in Kansas and Tennessee by two or three per cent, notably among young and black voters. Other states have expanded the franchise, particularly to former felons, but Republican control of two-thirds of state legislatures and the shift of courts to the right give the momentum to efforts to curtail voting. Gerrymandering is another effective tool for staying in power. The Brennan Center for Justice recently released a report on the effects of redistricting in states like Michigan, North Carolina, Ohio, and Texas. Algorithmic mapping has grown so precise that Republican legislatures have created a sixteen-seat advantage in the House of Representatives that remains impervious to standard electoral pressures. In November, just to achieve a bare majority, Democrats will have to win the national congressional vote by nearly eleven per cent. (Other studies put the number at around seven per cent.) And legislatures elected this year will redraw state and federal districts after the 2020 census. There’s a thick seawall standing in the way of a blue wave. But it’s self-defeating to exaggerate the external obstacles: in 2016, Democratic turnout declined in states with and without new voter restrictions. Gerrymandering is a time-honored practice of both parties—look at Maryland’s House delegation. Unfettered money in politics doesn’t always favor Republicans, let alone guarantee victory—Hillary Clinton raised twice as much as Trump did. The greatest obstacle to voting is the feeling that it won’t matter, and that feeling seems to be more prevalent among Democrats. In some cases, that sense may be based on overconfidence and insularity—a presumption that the other party’s outrages will automatically disqualify it in voters’ eyes. More often, it comes from a belief that politics doesn’t change anything in people’s lives. For two generations, the Republican Party has been an expression of grassroots conservatism, most recently the fever that’s ceded the Party to Trump. Meanwhile, the Democratic Party has grown less connected to its voters. It’s like a neglected building, perennially on the edge of collapse, which left-leaning Americans occasionally use for some purpose and then abandon. This year, something seems to be changing. The new faces among Democratic candidates, the new energy behind them, suggest a party of members, not squatters. But, come November, they will have to vote. It’s the only thing left. ♦

Momentum favors Democrats gaining control of the House now

Chris Czilla, 7-30, 18, CNN, https://www.cnn.com/2018/07/30/politics/house-races-democrats-election-99-days-analysis/index.html   House Democrats are riding high with 99 days until the midterms

The House playing field just keeps tilting toward Democrats as the November midterm election creeps ever closer. With just 99 days left in the 2018 cycle, Democrats appear poised to retake the House majority they lost in the 2010 election, according to a new analysis by CNN’s own Terence Burlij. The math goes like this: Democrats need to net 23 Republican-controlled seats to win the majority. At the moment, CNN rates 11 Republican-held seats as “leaning Democratic” or worse for the GOP. Let’s assume those 11 seats go for Democrats. Now, we are down to only 12 additional pickups for Democrats to win the majority. Take a gander at the “toss-up” ratings in the chart above. Of the 27 seats currently rated as “toss-ups” by CNN, Republicans control 25 of them. If Democrats win just under half — 12 — of those GOP seats, they are back in the majority. (Traditionally, one party tends to win the vast majority of the “toss-up” races because House contests — particularly very close ones — tend to be heavily affected by the national mood. And the national mood typically favors one side at the end of an election.) The other math problem for Republicans — aside from the large amount of vulnerability they carry in seats they currently hold — is how few opportunities they have of picking off Democratic seats. CNN rates only 13 Democratic seats as competitive at all — with just two “toss-ups” and four that lean in Democrats’ favor. There are zero Democratic-held seats where Republicans are currently favored. CNN’s Chris Cillizza cuts through the political spin and tells you what you need to know. By subscribing, you agree to our privacy policy. Enter email address Add it up and you see just how much trouble Republicans are in right now. (Periodic reminder: This is politics in the age of Trump so a) things can change quickly and b) history is not always indicative of future results.) The Point: Democrats have to be very happy with where they are 99 days out from the midterms. If the election were held today, they would almost certainly take back the House. Of course, the election isn’t today, so…. House Democrats are riding high with 99 days until the midterms LENGTH: 360 words House Democrats are riding high with 99 days until the midterms WASHINGTON (CNN) – The House playing field just keeps tilting toward Democrats as the November midterm election creeps ever closer….

Democratic control of the House means impeachment proceedings

Associated Press, 8-2, 18, apan Times, http://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2018/08/02/world/politics-diplomacy-world/trump-lawyer-rudy-giuliani-midterm-polls-will-answer-impeachment-question/

Donald Trump’s lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, said Wednesday the upcoming midterm elections will be a referendum on impeaching the president. “I say this not in my role as a lawyer but as a concerned citizen and Republican,” he said. “This election is going to be about impeachment or no impeachment.” Giuliani made the comment while endorsing Eddie Edwards, who is seeking the Republican nomination in New Hampshire’s 1st Congressional District. The seat is currently held by Democrat Carol Shea-Porter, who isn’t seeking re-election in November. “If Democrats get control of the House, do you think they’re going to treat President Trump fairly?” Giuliani asked the crowd, some of whom shouted “No!” in response. “I don’t think they will either,” he said. The House overwhelmingly blocked two impeachment efforts last winter brought by Rep. Al Green, D-Texas. In December, he based his resolution on claims that Trump had associated his presidency with causes rooted in bigotry and racism, including Trump’s blaming both sides for deadly violence at a white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia. He tried again in January, saying Trump had incited “hate and hostility” by reportedly using a vulgarity to describe African countries. Democrats opposing the effort said then it was premature to act before special counsel Robert Mueller completes an investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election. But Giuliani said if Democrats hold the majority in the House, there won’t be enough votes to prevent impeachment proceedings. “When you look at some of them on television — ‘Traitor. He’s a traitor, he’s this, he’s that.’ — You get the sense that there isn’t a fair-minded, large enough group of people there that we can trust not to take this country down this terrible road.”

Dems more energized to vote than Republicans

The North Haven Citizen (Connecticut), August 3, 2018, Dems energized for midterms, p. A10

In non-presidential election years, Americans lose a bit of their zeal to make their voice heard at the polls. Historically, voter turnout in midterm elections reaches only about 40 percent, while turnout jumps to 50-60 percent when we select presidents. There are signs, however, that the 2018 midterm may generate presidential election-type numbers. And it looks like Democrats –fueled by their opposition to President Trump –are most eager to cast their ballots. According to a recent Washington Post-Schar School poll, 58 percent of Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents say that it is “extremely ” imp ortant to vote in November’s midterm elections, while just 38 percent of Republicanleaners feel the same. Meanwhile, a pair of polls (Quinnipiac University, Kaiser Family Foundation) released Wednesday found that respondents favor turning control of Congress over to Democrats by a 12-point margin. And in yet another troubling sign for the GOP, here in Connecticut, and throughout the country, Democrats are out-pacing Republicans in voter registration. Data from the Connecticut Secretary of State’s office shows that from the 2016 election through June of this year, 81,908 new voters registered as Democrats in our state, compared to 43,390 who registered as Republicans. Clearly, the Democrats are energize d. Gary Rose, head of the political science department at Sacred Heart University, said the rise in Democratic voters is an indication of “a Democratic Party fired up over Tr ump.” Ron Schurin, a political science professor at the University of Connecticut, echoed that assessment. “People are more intensely politically involved in this off year,” Schurin said, adding that the increased voter rolls are “clearly related to a reaction to Donald Trump.” November is still a ways off, and the political winds can change in an instant, but right now it looks like a blue wave may be on the horizon. This editorial was originally published in the Record-Journal.

Election momentum can shift

Debra Saunders, Creators Syndicate, 7-30, 2018 , There’s a Long Way to Go Before Midterms, https://spectator.org/theres-a-long-way-to-go-before-midterms/

Debra Saunders is off this week. The following is by

A few things to keep in mind as the midterms heat up. One: Take with a grain of salt pontifications from pollsters, especially those who have misunderstood recent elections. Two: Don’t believe pundits’ predictions more than three months out, especially when they say that the races are basically done. Three: Remember that, as a result of social media, election momentum changes faster than it used to. Finally: Bear in mind that candidates and messages matter in election outcomes.

Pollsters often wrong

Debra Saunders, Creators Syndicate, 7-30, 2018 , There’s a Long Way to Go Before Midterms, https://spectator.org/theres-a-long-way-to-go-before-midterms/

This Tuesday, Sabato’s Crystal Ball released its latest prediction, “The House Tilts Toward the Democrats.” The takeaway: “Democrats are now a little better than 50-50 to win the House. This is the first time this cycle we’ve gone beyond 50-50 odds on a House turnover. We’re making 17 House ratings changes this week, all in favor of the Democrats.” Reminder: On Nov. 9, after Donald Trump’s presidential win, the same group released “Mea Culpa, Mea Culpa, Mea Maxima Culpa.” Here’s what it said: “We wrongly insisted for months that Clinton was always leading the race,” they noted, “and never put her below 270 electoral votes.” Trump ended with 306 votes versus 232 for Hillary Clinton. They blew their 2016 House projections, too. “We overshot on a Democratic gain of 13 seats.”

Women will vote Democrat in droves

Jennifer, Rubin, 7-30, 18, Washington Post Blog, A shutdown before the midterms? Democrats should be so lucky.

This is hardly Republicans’ only problem, but it is likely to aggravate some existing ones. Each day brings more evidence that female voters will pummel Republicans. The Kaiser Family Foundation’s latest poll follows other surveys’ findings of deep animosity among women toward Trump:

Expected to be a key voting group in the upcoming 2018 midterms, the poll finds twice as many women voters ages 18-44 saying they are Democrats as saying they are Republicans (43 percent compared to 21 percent). In addition, younger women voters (18-44 years old) are more likely to say they are “more enthusiastic” about voting this year than in previous midterm elections. Four in ten (39 percent) women voters, ages 18-44, say they are “more enthusiastic” about voting in this Congressional Election compared to previous years. In 2014, the last midterm election cycle, 14 percent of women voters ages 18-44 said they were “more enthusiastic” about voting. … Two-thirds (68 percent) of women voters, ages 18-44, disapprove (either “strongly” or “somewhat”) of the job President Trump is doing, as do 58 percent of women voters, overall.

Trump’s popularity will decide the election

Voice of America News, July 29, 2018, With 100 Days Until the Midterms, Trump is the Top Issue, https://www.voanews.com/a/trump-midterms-coming-up/4504518.html

One hundred days from now, we should be better able to answer the following question: What does the country really think about the presidency of Donald J. Trump? Midterm congressional elections are on November 6th and party control of both the Senate and House of Representatives is at stake, not to mention the fate of the Trump presidency for the next two years. Opposition Democrats enjoy some key advantages three months out. When voters are asked which party they will support in the November elections, Democrats hold a seven point edge over Republicans in the latest polling average calculated by the non-partisan website Real Clear Politics. In a recent Quinnipiac poll, Democrats held a 51 to 39 percent generic ballot lead over Republicans, and other surveys have shown the Democratic advantage widening in recent weeks. Referendum on Trump Democrats and Republicans don’t agree on much but they do see eye-to-eye on one thing, and that is that President Trump will be the defining issue in this year’s midterms. With that in mind, Trump has been busy rallying his base and urging them to get out and support Republican candidates in November. “We won’t back down, we won’t give in, and we will never, ever, surrender,” Trump told supporters at a recent campaign rally in Great Falls, Montana. “We will never, ever, quit. We go forward to victory.” The president touted some good economic news on Friday when the Commerce Department reported that the U.S. economy surged last quarter to an annual growth rate of 4.1 percent, the fastest pace since 2014. “We have accomplished an economic turnaround of historic proportions,” Trump told reporters at the White House. Energized Democrats But the good economic news seems to be doing little to blunt enthusiasm for the upcoming midterms among opposition Democrats. Democrats have undertaken an intensive grassroots organizing campaign for November to get out the vote, and that includes high-profile names like Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, who ran for president in 2016. “This fight about who controls the House is unbelievably important and it could literally come down to one or two elections,” Sanders told an enthusiastic crowd in Kansas recently. “If you guys can do what I know you can. This will be an election heard not only all over this country but all over the world.” Democrats need to pick up about two dozen seats to retake the majority in the House, and gain two seats to have a majority in the Senate. In addition to being energized, analysts predict that Democrats also have history on their side. “The midterms generally are good for the out party, the party out of the White House, and in this case Donald Trump is a particularly unpopular president among Democrats,” said John Fortier with the Bipartisan Policy Center in Washington. “They are motivated, they don’t like him and they want to come out to vote.” Trump’s polls And then there is the issue of the president’s poll numbers, which appear to have slipped slightly since his controversial summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin. The Real Clear average has Trump’s approval at 43 percent, with 53 percent disapproving. But in two polls last week, Trump dropped below 40 percent approval, a reversal after improving his poll numbers in the last few months. The latest Quinnipiac survey had the president’s approval at 38 percent, with 58 percent disapproving. And the Marist Poll found Trump’s approval at 39 percent with 51 percent disapproving. Marist also had the president under 40 percent approval in three key Midwestern states: Michigan, Minnesota and Wisconsin. Trump narrowly won Michigan and Wisconsin as part of his Electoral College triumph in the 2016 presidential election. Rallying the base As Trump campaigns around the country on behalf of Republicans, he is urging supporters to defy history and turn out in strong numbers to show support for his agenda. It is clear that both parties now see the midterms as a referendum on the president. “We have rarely had a president who was so centered on an election and so essential to it,” said University of Virginia analyst Larry Sabato via Skype. “He is the Sun. Everything else revolving around the Sun is a planet or a moon.” While Trump will be center-stage in the campaign, recent polls show Americans concerned with a range of issues including the economy, immigration, health care, guns and taxes. Optimistic Democrats Given Trump’s low approval rating and the historical trend of presidents suffering losses in midterm elections, many experts predict that Democrats should make gains.

Democratic control inevitable, it’s a question of whether or not it’s a wave or a tsunami

Voice of America News, July 29, 2018, With 100 Days Until the Midterms, Trump is the Top Issue, https://www.voanews.com/a/trump-midterms-coming-up/4504518.html

“I think the question is, is there a Democratic wave or is it a Democratic tsunami?” said Brookings Institution scholar Elaine Kamarck. “Do Democrats take the House with a margin of five (seats) or do they take the House with a margin of 30? That I don’t think anybody can tell yet.” But given the president’s loyal base and his apparent interest in campaigning, some Trump supporters caution that Republicans could do better than expected. “I think the Democrats will gain some seats. But right now, if the election were held today, the Republicans may hold the House by one or two,” said former Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski. He spoke with VOA’s Georgian Service. All 435 House seats and about a third of the 100 Senate seats are at stake in November, and the outcome will have a major impact on the next two years of Trump’s presidency. Jim Malone (http://www.voanews.com/author/4345.html) Jim Malone has served as VOA’s National correspondent covering U.S. elections and politics since 1995. Prior to that he was a VOA congressional correspondent and served as VOA’s East Africa Correspondent from 1986 to 1990. Jim began his VOA career with the English to Africa Service in 1983.

Trump tying himself to midterm races and he’s dragging down candidates now

Juie Hirschfeld Davis, July 28, 2018, President Says He’ll Stump for Vulnerable Republicans ‘Six or Seven Days a Week’, New York Times, , URL: https://www.nytimes.com/2018/07/27/us/politics/donald-trump-campaign-midterms.html

President Trump said Friday that he plans to spends almost all of his time this fall campaigning for the most vulnerable Republican congressional candidates in the midterm elections, a strategy that would have him in many districts where endangered lawmakers in his own party regard him as a liability. In a friendly radio interview with Sean Hannity, the conservative Fox News host with whom he shares a close relationship, Mr. Trump said he was confident the strength of the economy and the demise of the Islamic State would boost the fortunes of Republicans in this fall’s contests, and that he would personally work to pull lawmakers facing tough re-election challenges to victory. ”I am going to work very hard,” Mr. Trump said during the interview. ”I’ll go six or seven days a week when we’re 60 days out, and I will be campaigning for all of these great people that do have a difficult race, and we think we’re going to bring them over the line.” Mr. Trump said he had instructed John F. Kelly, his chief of staff, and others on his team to compile a list of about two dozen of the most hotly contested races in the country so he could use the bully pulpit to promote the Republicans running in them. ”Give me the top 25 congresspeople that are, you know, could go either way, and I want to go out and campaign for those people,” Mr. Trump said. But many if not most of the most competitive races are in districts where Mr. Trump is unpopular and more centrist Republican incumbents are toiling to distance themselves from him, as well as where Democrats are most motivated to turn out to vote against the president’s party. Mr. Hannity seemed to allude to the phenomenon in a question, in which he asked what the president would say to motivate supporters of his ”who may not like their RINO congressman,” using the derisive shorthand that conservatives use for ”Republican in name only.” Mr. Trump has confined his campaigning in recent months almost entirely to red states he won handily in 2016 that have competitive Senate races, including Tennessee, North Dakota and Montana. His strategy, according to advisers, has been to capitalize on his outsize popularity among core Republican supporters to try to motivate them to turn out to help oust or defeat vulnerable Democrats. He has mostly steered clear of competitive races where he is a polarizing presence and could turn out Democrats, independents and moderate Republicans who consider him toxic. Next week, though, the president will hold rallies in Florida and Pennsylvania, a sign he is beginning to aim for battleground states. Mr. Trump said he was undaunted by the decades of history that has shown that a president’s party typically loses seats in midterm congressional elections. He insisted he would buck the trend. ”The economy may be the strongest it’s ever been in the history of our country,” Mr. Trump said, harkening back to a phrase Bill Clinton’s aides used to capture a pivotal issue of his campaign: ”It’s the economy, stupid.” ”If it’s the economy, then we should do very well,” he said in the Hannity interview, which was broadcast hours after Mr. Trump made a hastily arranged appearance on the South Lawn of the White House to claim credit for newly released data showing a 4.1 percent growth rate in the last quarter, the strongest since 2014. ”I just don’t know any reason why we shouldn’t do well.” But he also previewed a negative message against Democrats, asserting to Mr. Hannity that they ”want to raise people’s taxes, they want to open up borders, they want to get rid of ICE — I mean, the things they’re doing are so destructive, we won’t have a country.” Mr. Trump was referring to Immigration and Customs Enforcement, which has become a symbol of efforts to round up undocumented workers and migrant family separations at the border with Mexico. Some Democratic candidates say it should be abolished. And taking a cue from Mr. Hannity, who said Democrats would shut down investigations into ”deep corruption” if they took power on Capitol Hill, Mr. Trump — facing new questions about whether his campaign colluded with Russia in the 2016 race — declared that his political rivals were guilty of doing just that. ”If you talk about collusion, the collusion is there — there’s no question about it, but it’s with the Democrats and Russia,” Mr. Trump said, offering no evidence. ”All you have to do is look at what they did and how they participated with Russia. It’s a disgraceful situation.” The interview was broadcast after Mr. Trump led a National Security Council meeting at the White House about election security. His spokeswoman said that the president and his national security team discussed ”threats posed to our elections from malign foreign actors” and attempts to thwart and punish interference. Mr. Trump posted this week on Twitter that the idea that Russia interfered in the election was ”all a big hoax,” although the White House later said he was only referring to the charge that his campaign colluded with Russia.

Dems will win control of the House, it’s a question of how large of a victory

Ed Smith, National Conference of State Legislatures:, States News Service, August 2, 2018 , THE BLUE WAVE IS COMING, But Pollsters Can’t Say How High, http://www.ncsl.org/blog/2018/08/02/the-blue-wave-is-coming-but-pollsters-cant-say-how-high.aspx

Strange and surprising. That’s about as good a summary of this year’s midterm election landscape as you’ll get, in the view of pollsters Kristen Soltis Anderson and Margie Omero, who made the final General Session presentation at NCSL’s Legislative Summit. “People on both sides of the aisle feel something is off,” said Omero, a Democratic pollster who hosts the popular blog “The Pollsters” with Soltis Anderson. “It’s harder for people to socialize and feel connected with people of a different party.” “People are more likely to unfriend and fight with each other on social media … and not talk to relatives,” she said. “There’s a real sense that its harder to connect. That I think is new and worse this cycle.” President Donald Trump, of course, is the X factor this time around. “It’s difficult to have any other conversation,” Omero said. Soltis Anderson, borrowing from another political analyst, said the nation increasingly is divided by those who see themselves on the side of restoration or reformation. This is not a religious movement, but really a way of describing how people have sorted themselves into camps. Those leaning toward restoration see themselves as reclaiming “something the country used to have … that they are going to get that back.” Those who lean to the transformative side see the nation’s changesdemographic and technological primarilyas good things that are improving the country. A key issue this year will be young voters, she said, people who typically turn out in much smaller numbers in the midterms. “Younger voters are part of this transformation group and increasingly feel Trump is not on their side.” One of the most surprising poll numbers she’s seen relate to millennial women, who are leaning 50 plus points toward Democrats. “This is not normal,” Soltis Anderson said. “The question of whether you support President Trump or oppose him is the dominant theme,” and that makes it harder for the local message to come through. Omero noted not everything this midterm is new. People are still concerned about health care, female voters remain a critical constituency, and retail politics with an emphasis on authenticity is still the best way to connect with voters in local and statehouse races. Soltis Anderson argued that despite the nature of the national political scene, Trump’s approval ratings are remarkably stable. “For as chaotic as the national political environment feels,” she said, “when you look at the president’s job approval it’s been pretty stable.” But when it comes to the $64,000 question (younger readers should brush up on their 1950s television shows) of whether a blue tsunami is heading our way, the pollsters were a little gun shy. “I think you’re likely to see a wave of enthusiasm from the Democratic side and the question is do the Republicans have a big enough wall to prevent it,” Soltis Anderson said. Omero took a similar tack: “On the House side it seems hard to see how they don’t win. … It’s really just how big.” Given how bloodied and bruised political prognosticators were after the 2016 election, it’s hard to blame them. Ed Smith is the director of content for NCSL.

Delay counterplans are real world,

David Nakamura, Washingtonpost.com, August 2, 2018 , Trump mulls pre-midterm fight over border wall

That was the same argument some liberals made in summer 2014 after the collapse of a comprehensive immigration bill in the GOP-controlled House. Obama vowed to act unilaterally by summer’s end to expand deportation protections for millions of undocumented immigrants. But in September, Obama announced he would hold off until after the midterm elections, amid fears from Senate Democrats that a polarizing immigration announcement would harm incumbents on the ballot in North Carolina, Louisiana, Colorado and Arkansas. Obama and his aides argued that the new policy would be more “sustainable” if it were separated from the heat of the political season. They accused Republicans of politicizing a crisis that summer in which tens of thousands of unaccompanied minors from Central America had crossed the U.S.-Mexico border without authorization. In the wake of a decisive GOP victory that fall, however, some Democrats suggested that Obama’s immigration action – which he ultimately announced two weeks after the election – would have rallied Latinos and other liberal groups at the polls. A former campaign aide to Democrat Mark Udall, who lost his Senate reelection bid in Colorado, recalled in an interview Wednesday that Democrats were facing head winds because of perceived national security threats, including the rise of the Islamic State and an Ebola scare in Africa, as well as the border crisis. “Anything that would have encouraged likely Democratic voters to be excited about anything would have been good,” said the former aide, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because he was not authorized by his employer to comment on the record. “If it was a political calculation that delayed that announcement, it was misguided, or at least obviously it didn’t work.” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and House Speaker Paul D. Ryan (R-Wis.) have presented Trump with a plan to move several piecemeal spending bills ahead of the Sept. 30 deadline to fund most governmental functions, but to postpone a vote on the Department of Homeland Security’s budget, and a potential fight over the wall, until after the midterms. Dale Jackson, a conservative talk radio host in Huntsville, Ala., said the GOP leadership is right to worry about the political harm of a shutdown, and he blamed Trump for not acting sooner to secure wall funding. But Jackson acknowledged that Trump’s supporters “would love to see progress toward a wall – they don’t care too much about a government shutdown.” Others suggested that the benefits for Trump in confronting Democrats would extend even beyond his base. “If the president is seen as weak on a signature issue, that doesn’t just hurt with the base but with lots of people,” said Mark Krikorian, executive director of the Center for Immigration Studies, which advocates reducing immigration levels. “Even people who aren’t fired up about it are at least going to be able to say they know what he thinks about immigration. If he starts wimping out, he loses credibility even among people who aren’t in his base.”

Continued Republican control will gut the ACA, undermining health care and increasing state spending, risking state fiscal crises

Stephanie Innes, 7-30, 18, Midterm elections could determine health care’s future, UA expert says, https://tucson.com/news/local/university-of-arizona-expert-midterm-elections-could-determine-u-s/article_2f01bd57-f894-5762-a3f5-cde51a594a79.html, Arizona Daily Star (Tucson)

The Affordable Care Act remains law, but its future will be uncertain until after the upcoming elections, University of Arizona health policy expert Dr. Daniel Derksen says. “Depending on what happens in the midterms, we could certainly go back to some tough times” for health economics in this state, said Derksen, who is a professor of public health policy and director of the Center for Rural Health at the University of Arizona. “The midterms make an extraordinary difference in what happens in the subsequent two years. Surely if it stays as-is, we’ll see similar bills to what went on before.” Last year, the Republican-led Congress attempted to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA, also known as Obamacare) in proposed legislation that would have cut billions of dollars from the country’s Medicaid program, a government health insurance program for low-income people. When the government-run Children’s Health Insurance Program is included in the count, Medicaid in the U.S. covers about 75 million Americans. Cuts to Medicaid would lead to more uncompensated care, Derksen and other experts have predicted. “We continue in Arizona to see some of the best rates we’ve seen for hospitals — operating margins are going up, uncompensated care has really gone down. That has really fueled the strong growth we’ve seen in the health sector,” Derksen said. “We don’t really want to regress. We don’t want to go back to the days of 1.2 to 1.5 million uninsured Arizonans.” The Star talked to Derksen by phone last week while he was in Flagstaff for the 45th annual Arizona Rural Health Conference, hosted by the Arizona Center for Rural Health in collaboration with the Arizona Rural Health Association. Here are excerpts from the interview: The Affordable Care Act is still the law of the land. But in 2019 there will no longer be an individual mandate that all Americans have health insurance. What’s going to happen with that? You can’t make insurance work if people only get coverage and pay into it when they get sick. Or if you only have people with chronic diseases — if those are the only people signing up for coverage, it makes it hard for the insurance model to work. If there’s no mandate, insurers are worried that all they’ll get are people who have a reason to have health insurance. There are waiting periods and other ways insurers will have to mitigate that risk, based on the pool they have. But the individual market — the non-group, non-employer — has always been in the last 10 years the most vulnerable to these types of changes, the most volatile. Most Americans do not buy their health insurance on the marketplace. Those who do are such a small group — 155,000 Arizonans, for instance. So why do we talk about the marketplace so much? Even though the individual market may represent a small percentage, if for some reason you undermine that and it becomes unstable and goes away, the uninsured, uncompensated care gets shifted to private insurance and to some degree to public payers. You are not really saving money, you are just shifting the costs to hospitals and health providers and insurers. … And you get back to where we were before the Affordable Care Act, with 50 million (Americans) uninsured. If there is an increase in uncompensated and charity care, it also makes it harder for rural and critical-access hospitals to provide care, stay in a good fiscal position and make their margins work. What do you predict will happen to the ACA moving forward? We are one of the top states in reducing our numbers of uninsured. But depending on what happens in the midterms, we could certainly see that go back to some tough times for our health sector and state economics. A lot of consumer protections (contained in the ACA) are at risk, and it’s hard to tell which ones will continue and which ones won’t. One of the most popular is not being denied or charged more for having a pre-existing condition. That is an extremely popular provision that came about because of the ACA. What we need is more stability … in the individual market. If we don’t stabilize the individual, non-group health insurance market, it will leach into employer-sponsored insurance, too. We’ve already seen that. This is a trend that has been going on well before ACA. More and more companies that provide employer-sponsored insurance are shifting costs to individuals, and more of the risk. That shifting of cost and risk to individuals has not been covered by increases in peoples’ compensation. If you further destabilize the individual market, more costs will shift to employer-sponsored insurance and get into a spiral that makes it hard to predict what will happen. Why are you so concerned about Medicaid? One-quarter of Arizonans get their coverage from Medicaid. Only one-quarter of people on Medicaid are in the eligibility category of disabled and the frail elderly, but they generate 62 or 63 percent of the Medicaid costs. So when you talk about cutting Medicaid, as these various (congressional) bills did, $800 billion or $900 billion from U.S. Medicaid over 10 years, that is going to shift to those really vulnerable populations. That’s what states should be anxious about. We have some special challenges in Arizona because we’ve been one of the states with a lot of growth in our low-income elderly — a lot of these issues disproportionately affect Arizona when you talk about Medicaid funding. Two, possibly three companies could be selling marketplace insurance to Pima County residents on the Arizona marketplace for 2019. There was only one company in 2018. How did that happen? When this started, if you remember, we had seven different insurance companies offering about 70 different plans on the marketplace in Arizona. As a result, we had the second-lowest silver premiums in the country. Some people (companies) didn’t get enough enrollment to mitigate the risks and they withdrew. That is basic market principles. There are a lot of covered lives potentially to be had. Most folks would like to see more than one choice, and competition does keep the prices down a bit. But they (insurance companies) are going to have to pay close attention to how many enrollees they get and how they spread the risk. They will have to be very careful in how they price and what they do to encourage enrollment. What about the Trump administration’s cuts to navigator grants that help people find health insurance? The reduction in Arizona has been 82 percent since 2016. At a time when there are lots of questions — there are people who don’t understand that this (ACA) is still in place — I think it’s helpful to people to have non-biased assistance. If you have a complicated situation, having someone with a background and a couple of years of training really helps. Despite these things, in the last couple of years enrollment has been relatively stable. The people who have enrolled and re-enrolled certainly understand it. That’s good, because when we see a decrease, there can be a related increase in uncompensated care. It’s no different than Medicare. Medicare is not an easy system to understand when you first get into it. A lot of people get their information from friends or family members. You are also talking about opioids at this week’s conference. What are the public health issues with opioid misuse in rural Arizona? The resources can be quite thin for people with opioid use disorder. The data is showing that people are seen two, three or four times in hospital emergency rooms for opioid overdoses before that tragic event of an overdose death. We have to keep trying to get people into treatment programs to address the underlying disorder. Sometimes they aren’t ready. I think we are going to see from CDC (the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) a series of funding opportunities, especially directed at rural areas. We are looking for ways to really enhance the resources we have on this issue. It is truly a public health emergency.

Young voters won’t impact the midterms

Emily Guskin, 8-1, 18, Washington Post, https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-fix/wp/2018/08/01/are-young-voters-going-to-sway-the-midterms-new-data-show-thats-not-very-likely/?utm_term=.31d4160a1e50 Are young voters going to sway the midterms? New data shows that’s not very likely.

But a Washington Post analysis of voter registration data tracked by Aristotle Inc. finds hardly any change in the overall share of registered voters ages 18 to 29 since the Parkland shootings. That, coupled with low enthusiasm from the youngest voters and the group’s history of anemic turnout in midterm elections, does not point to under-30 voters having a huge impact in November. The new analysis compared the share of all registered voters ages 18 to 29 in eight battleground Senate states before and after the Feb. 14 Parkland shooting. In Florida, where the Parkland shooting occurred, Aristotle data shows 16.2 percent of registered voters before the shooting were between 18 and 29. That is almost identical to the percent in mid-April, the last time we got new data from that state. In Ohio, where Aristotle’s data was updated more recently, young adults made up 17.4 percent of registered voters before Parkland and 18.2 percent in June. Looking across the battleground states for which data is available, the share of registered voters ages 18 to 29 increased by an average of 0.6 points from before the Parkland shooting, a bump unlikely to exert a significant impact on this fall’s elections.

Share of registered voters who are 18-29 years old

State Before Parkland Most recent*
Florida 16.2% 16.3%
Ohio 17.4% 18.2%
Nevada 17.9% 18.3%
Arizona 16.1% 16.1%
North Carolina 18.5% 18.9%
Virginia 17.9% 18.0%
Missouri 16.7% 17.1%
West Virginia 16.7% 17.2%

*Most recent for each state is: Florida (April 16), Ohio (June 27), Nevada (May 1), Arizona (May 1), North Carolina (June 1), Virginia (March 14), Missouri (May 22), West Virginia (June 1).

The other states examined included West Virginia, where the share of voters ages 18 to 29 was up 0.5 percentage points since before the Parkland shootings, to 17.2 percent of voters, according to the latest numbers; Nevada (up 0.4 points since Parkland); North Carolina (also up 0.4 points); Missouri (up 0.3 points); Virginia (up 0.1 points); and Arizona (unchanged). Many people who register to vote do not show up on Election Day, and young people are by far the least likely age group to cast ballots, especially in midterm elections. The United States Elections Project analyzed U.S. Census Bureau data tracking turnout in midterm elections since 1986 and found that 16 percent of eligible voters ages 18 to 29 turned out to vote in the 2014 midterms. It was the lowest for any election since 1986, though turnout among this age group was never higher than 21 percent in midterms over this period. Age gaps in midterm turnout are stark. In 2014, compared with 18-to-29-year-olds, the turnout rate was 14 points higher among eligible voters ages 30 to 44 (30 percent), 27 points higher among those ages 45 to 59 (43 percent) and 39 points higher among people 60 and older (55 percent). The trend is not new, with younger adults turning out at rates of roughly 17 points lower than the next-oldest age group in midterms since 1986. Looking ahead to November, the latest polling shows that younger registered voters see voting as less important than those older. According to a July Post-Schar School poll, a third (33 percent) of registered voters ages 18 to 29 said voting in this year’s midterms was “extremely important,” a smaller share than those 30 to 49 (46 percent), 50 to 64 (48 percent) and 65 and older (57 percent). While the question above was asked for the first time this year, national Post-ABC polling provides a comparison of young adults’ interest in voting this year with the 2014 midterm elections. Averaging across polls in January and April of this year, 46 percent of registered voters younger than 30 said they are “absolutely certain to vote.” That compares with 54 percent of 18-to-29-year-olds who were certain to vote in April and June of 2014, a difference that is not statistically significant. In both years, older voters were more likely to say they were certain to vote. At least one poll shows signs that young Americans are more engaged in this year’s midterm elections. A Pew Research Center survey looked at a broader swath of millennials ages 22 to 38, finding 62 percent said they are “looking forward” to midterm elections, up from 46 percent in 2014 and 39 percent in 2010. We’ll have to wait until November to know whether such optimism will translate to higher turnout. So far, voter registration data does not point to a shift that could swing more than the tightest of elections.

Democrats can get control of the Senate, control blocks conservative judges

Scher, 7-30, 18, Real Clear Politics, Bill Scher is a contributing editor to Politico Magazine, co-host of the Bloggingheads.tv show “The DMZ,” and host of the podcast “New Books in Politics.” https://www.realclearpolitics.com/articles/2018/07/30/democrats_dont_forget_the_senate_137660.html

The conventional wisdom about the 2018 midterm elections is that the Democrats have a far better chance of winning a majority of the House than the Senate, and I have no reason to question it. The Senate election map is soaked in red, with 10 incumbent Democrats running for re-election in states that Donald Trump won two years prior. Only one incumbent Republican is in the reverse position. This is partly why we see much more Democratic energy invested in House races; it’s the lower-hanging fruit. Yet Democrats would be foolish to write off the Senate. They only need to net two seats to gain a majority, and the community of professional handicappers has classified just enough races as tossups to make that dream possible. Moreover, while control of the House would blunt Trump’s legislative agenda and rev up congressional oversight, control of the Senate gives Democrats the power to slow, if not stall, Trump’s quest to stack the judicial branch with conservatives. Not only would Democrats be able to block lower court nominations, but any retirement thoughts from Clarence Thomas would probably get shelved. With rank-and-file Democrats increasingly panicked about the judiciary drifting rightward, you might expect them to empty their pockets to seize the Senate. But the House is where Democrats are spending most of their money. Case in point: The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, the party’s official House campaign arm, has raised double the amount of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee. (The DCCC typically raises more than the DSCC, but not that much more.) This is not to say the Senate Democratic candidates are starved for cash. Most of the vulnerable ones have outraised their Republican opponents, and three have broken records in their states. (A notable exception: Florida incumbent Sen. Bill Nelson, who is facing free-spending, independently wealthy Republican Gov. Rick Scott.) But considering how uphill the Senate battle is for Democrats, they are going to need every last dollar, as well as every last volunteer. Yet it may be hard for Democratic small donors and activists to generate the same level of enthusiasm for their Senate field as their House field. Why? The House lineup is teeming with fresh faces, including a huge influx of women and military veterans with sterling resumes. And the contingent of “Berniecrats” organizing to push the party leftward are excited for candidates who could prove the potency of their platform, such as Nebraska’s Kara Eastman and New York’s incumbent-slayer Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. But the Senate? The first order of business is to defend a bunch of weathered incumbents—exactly the kind of moderates whom Ocasio-Cortez and her allies are trying to purge from the party. Senators like Montana’s Jon Tester and Missouri’s Claire McCaskill aren’t running as card-carrying members of the Resistance. They are running as bipartisan, independent-minded problem-solvers. Some tout (perhaps even exaggerate) their working relationships with Trump. And the few Democrats mounting credible campaigns for Republican-held seats are largely running in a similar bipartisan mold, particularly Arizona’s Kyrsten Sinema and Tennessee’s Phil Bredesen. Any attempt to drum up excitement for the slate of Senate moderates will likely soon be doused by the Supreme Court nomination of Brett Kavanuagh. Chances are many of the red staters will end up voting “aye,” especially if no Republican breaks ranks, making his confirmation a certainty anyway. Such a vote will be politically necessary for vulnerable Democrats to square with their own bipartisan campaign rhetoric, but will anger Democratic base voters, and further incentivize them to steer their energies towards the House. But progressive voters should not assume that just because these red state Democrats take a strategic—and in all likelihood, non-determinative—Supreme Court vote, they can never be relied upon and therefore aren’t worth saving. If Democrats are to have any hope of throttling the Republican march on the judiciary, they need the Joe Manchins and Doug Joneses of this nation to occupy Republican territory, as well as get additional reinforcements. That’s going to require swallowing the occasional annoying vote. One Senate Democratic challenger who is firing up the progressive base is Texas Rep. Beto O’Rourke. While his bid is considered a long shot by professional prognosticators, and he has banned political action committee donations, in the last three months he has raised more than twice as much the incumbent, Ted Cruz, thanks to a huge network of small-dollar donors. How is that possible? O’Rourke is charismatic. His represents generational change, exemplified by his penchant for live-streaming his many cross-state campaign car trips. He is running a decidedly liberal campaign (albeit with bipartisan flourishes), offering the chance to prove that authentic ideological conviction can turn a red state blue. And he is running against a perfect villain in the caustic conservative Cruz. An O’Rourke upset would taste far sweeter to the left than protecting the bland Joe Donnelly of Indiana, Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota or Bill Nelson of Florida. Democrats need not treat the midterms as a zero-sum game. They can and should invest in both the House and the Senate, shore up vulnerable incumbents and place bets on long shots, and support candidates of the left and candidates of the middle.

Democrats will win the House and the Senate now

Stefan Zalkin, 7-26, 18, The Week, http://theweek.com/articles/786738/here-comes-that-blue-wave Here comes the blue wave

Democrats have seen their odds of a massive blue wave return over the past month to about where they were at the end of 2017, when President Trump was about as popular as drinking alone in Minnesota. But as with their polling nosedive earlier this year, which caused so much anguish on the left, it’s not at all clear what is causing this uptick in the party’s fortunes. No matter where you look, the numbers are better for Democrats than they were two months ago. The blue wave faces its most challenging journey through the Senate, where Democrats must flip at least two Republican-held seats and protect vulnerable incumbents in Trump landslide states like North Dakota, Indiana, Missouri, and West Virginia. Yet if recent polling is to be believed, that might be exactly what would happen if the election were held today. Democrats Kyrsten Sinema (Arizona) and Jacky Rosen (Nevada) have led every public poll of their races in seats now held by Republicans. ADVERTISEMENT Another poll had Democrat Phil Bredesen, a popular former governor, leading Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R) by 6 points for the open Tennessee seat vacated by Sen. Bob Corker (R). Corker, like retiring Arizona Sen. Jeff Flake (R), made the courageous decision to flee from Trumpism rather than to confront it in a primary, opening up winnable seats for Democrats. If Democrats win all three of those contests, they can afford to lose one of the races in deep-red territory. While Indiana and North Dakota haven’t been surveyed recently, an early July poll had incumbent Sen. Claire McCaskill (D) trailing her Republican opponent, Josh Hawley, by 2 in Missouri. Elsewhere on the Senate map, things are looking even worse for the GOP. One Republican pollster had conservative Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin up 10 points over his challenger Patrick Morrisey in West Virginia, a state Trump won by 41 points. That’s in line with the last three polls of the race, all of which have Manchin leading big. And in Florida, incumbent Sen. Bill Nelson (D) leads Republican Gov. Rick Scott, who has already burned through millions. Democratic Senate incumbents in states more narrowly captured by Trump in 2016, like Michigan, Wisconsin, and Pennsylvania, appear out of reach for a GOP that had once hoped to expand its Senate majority by way of a friendly map and a strong economy this year. The standard caveats apply for all of these Senate races — this is relatively sparse polling, in the middle of the summer, and most of it has yet to be confirmed by multiple pollsters. But the denser, more frequent generic ballot polling has also returned to the kind of substantial lead Democrats need to overcome the GOP’s post-2010 gerrymandering and take back the House of Representatives. As of today, Democrats have to be considered at least narrow favorites to win the House, possibly by a comfortable margin. That isn’t just an extrapolation of the generic polling but also based on close observations of individual House races by groups like Sabato’s Crystal Ball and the Cook Political Report, both of which recently adjusted their forecasts for a number of seats. And recent gubernatorial polling has looked bad for the GOP too, with Democrats closing in on Republican-held seats in states like Michigan, Tennessee, Georgia, Maine, and Florida in addition to expected flips in Illinois and New Mexico. That will soften the blow as Democrats seem condemned to watch popular Republican governors re-elected in deep-blue Maryland and Massachusetts. What’s going on here? Just a couple of months ago, observers were declaring the Democrats’ pursuit of the Senate and the House dead in the water or at least far from assured. The swings in the polling average are difficult to pin to particular events. In 2013, for instance, Republicans reversed a Democratic advantage on the generic ballot after the Obama administration’s botched rollout of its health-care website on Oct. 1. By the end of that month, a 5-point Democratic advantage had been turned into a 2-point Republican lead. The GOP would ultimately win the national House vote the following year by almost 6 points. Cause and effect. But the narrowing of the polls in favor of Republicans between January and June of this year made little sense. The GOP’s tax cut — the only significant piece of national legislation the party has managed to pass despite total control of Congress and the presidency — was radioactive when it passed and only slightly less unpopular today. As Americans discover that corporations have no intention of sharing their tax windfalls with workers by raising wages, the law is likely to fall even further in public esteem. The improvement in Democratic fortunes likewise has no clear policy cause. The New York Times published its blockbuster story about the White House’s cruel policy of family separations at the U.S.-Mexico border on April 20, but the GOP continued to narrow its deficit in polling through the end of May. Most interestingly, the president’s approval ratings have barely budged at all this summer, even through the tempest of the family separation scandal, the escalating tariff war, and Trump’s bizarre, toadyish embrace of Russian dictator Vladimir Putin in Helsinki. One possibility that might not be terribly satisfying for polling junkies is that these numbers have never really moved very much at all. Democrats led by 8 points on the first post-inauguration poll of the generic congressional ballot, and that’s close to what their average advantage is now. The swing to the GOP earlier this year may simply have represented a short-term disengagement from politics from the Democratic base, which is becoming activated again as Election Day draws near. The meta-story here is actually very simple: An unpopular, unstable president has pursued unpopular, unnecessary policies in tandem with an unpopular, craven congressional majority, resulting in a consistent polling deficit for the party in power. If President Trump and his allies continue on this disastrous course through Election Day, which they show every sign of doing, they will almost certainly be punished by the voters. The only question is the scale of the retribution and whether it will be enough to give Democrats control of one or both houses of Congress. None of this is even particularly surprising at a historical level, as the president’s party almost always loses seats in the midterm elections. This Republican Party wouldn’t even be the first to manage the seemingly impossible feat of bleeding out seats as the economy booms. But to its pursuit of toxic policies and its difficulty fighting against the inevitable partisan headwinds, the GOP has added an additional handicap: the president himself. Donald Trump is an extraordinarily tiresome person whose constant mewling, bottomless self-pitying, grandiose conspiracy-mongering, and unpresidential grandstanding repulse a solid and consistent majority of people who encounter it. America is a country that in many ways yearns for a return to normalcy, and is probably willing to let it happen even under Trump’s misrule. But the president himself simply won’t allow it. President Trump has also deliberately forsaken every single opportunity he has been given to speak or govern in ways that might mollify his opponents or build a broader coalition. Worse, he has spent much of this year on a self-destructive quest to light the embers of a global trade conflagration, which now threatens the health of the economy and the party’s fortunes in key swing districts. With his every raving Twitterance, he redoubles the determination of millions of people to crawl over fields of broken glass to vote against the GOP. What must be most galling for Republican leaders is that with unemployment at 4 percent, they could probably hold both chambers of Congress if their demented field marshal could just button up his pie-hole for three minutes at a time about Russia and the Mueller investigation, or if they could convince him to occasionally go on TV and act even remotely presidential instead of jetting off to another one of his meandering, hate-filled rallies. Worst of all for Republicans, if there is an explanation for polling swings, it’s this: Democrats have been at their strongest over the past two years when they have come together to fight the Trump administration with fiery unity. That was true during the health-care fight in the summer of 2017, and it was true during the tax-cut battle that December. When that unity has dissipated, or when Democrats in Congress have lost their fighting spirit, they have watched their polling numbers decline. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is pondering a plan to jam Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh through the Senate on the eve of the midterms, believing his inevitable confirmation will demoralize the left. But he has it exactly backwards. As long as Minority Leader Chuck Schumer can keep most of his vulnerable caucus members in united opposition to Kavanaugh, his confirmation will give Democrats and their voters a fresh reason to turn out and deprive Republicans of their congressional majorities. As of today, it seems as likely as not that these dynamics may deliver the House and the Senate to the Democrats.

Strong need for skilled immigrants and a larger tax base

Noah Smith is a Bloomberg Opinion columnist. He was an assistant professor of finance at Stony Brook University, and he blogs at Noah, 7-25, 18, Tyler Cowen is a Bloomberg Opinion columnist. He is a professor of economics at George Mason University and writes for the blog Marginal Revolution. His books include “The Complacent Class: The Self-Defeating Quest for the American Dream.”, https://www.bloomberg.com/view/articles/2018-07-25/why-the-u-s-is-stuck-with-a-fight-over-immigration Bloomberg Opinion, Why the U.S. Is Stuck With a Fight Over Immigration: A Debate

But that doesn’t mean America’s need for immigrants will go away. With an aging population and falling fertility, the country needs the tax dollars that skilled immigrants provide, in order to support pensions and local government budgets. U.S. companies also need skilled immigrants in order to maintain technological dominance. And shrinking, declining cities need immigrants to keep them from becoming ghost towns. Those needs aren’t going to go away any time soon. So I think that there will be demand for continued inflows of immigrants, unlike during the mid-20th-century baby boom when fertility was high.

Immigrants commit crimes at lower levels than non-immigrants

Los Angeles Times, 7-24, 18, http://www.latimes.com/opinion/editorials/la-ed-immigrants-crime-white-house-20180724-story.html   Fear-mongering hides the obvious truth: America thrives as a nation because of immigration

To suggest that these men reflect the threat posed by people living in this country illegally, however, is just as ridiculous as suggesting that Timothy McVeigh illustrates the threat posed by Army veterans. A number of studies have found that immigrants — whether here legally or not — commit crimes at lower rates than do native-born Americans. In fact, one study of people living in Texas found that immigrants who are undocumented commit fewer crimes than legal immigrants.

Skilled immigrants critical to supporting the tax base

Noan Smith, 7-24, 18, Noah Smith is a Bloomberg Opinion columnist. He was an assistant professor of finance at Stony Brook University, and he blogs at Noahpinion https://www.bloomberg.com/view/articles/2018-07-24/making-life-awful-for-skilled-immigrants-is-a-mistake The U.S. can hire talented foreigners here, or they’ll end up working overseas.

In other words, Trump and his administration seem to be trying to harass skilled foreign workers out of the country. This is a terrible policy for the U.S. to be following, at a time when those workers are needed more than ever. Across the country, states and cities are struggling with a pension crisis. With the baby boomers exiting the workforce and the national fertility rate below replacement level, governments are going to need much more tax revenue to continue to support the rapidly growing number of retirees: In addition, governments are going to need more tax revenue to pay for the police, infrastructure, education, sanitation and other services that their citizens demand. Immigrants, especially skilled ones, are key to providing those revenues. Declining regions especially need immigrants to shore up their populations as they lose people to the lure of superstar cities like New York and Los Angeles.

Skilled immigrants critical to innovation

Noan Smith, 7-24, 18, Noah Smith is a Bloomberg Opinion columnist. He was an assistant professor of finance at Stony Brook University, and he blogs at Noahpinion https://www.bloomberg.com/view/articles/2018-07-24/making-life-awful-for-skilled-immigrants-is-a-mistake The U.S. can hire talented foreigners here, or they’ll end up working overseas.

But the U.S. needs immigrants for reasons that go beyond tax revenue and population support. Foreign workers are crucial to maintaining American technological and industrial dominance. Without a continued inflow of skilled workers, the U.S. risks losing its edge to China and other rivals. Recent research underscores this point. A paper by economists Gaurav Khanna and Munseob Lee takes an innovative new approach to measuring H-1B workers’ contributions. Using detailed data on which products companies sell, they found that the more H-1B workers a company hires, the more new products it sold — a sign of innovation. Additionally, they found that H-1B workers are associated with greater revenue growth. This research comes on top of earlier findings showing that when the U.S. admits more H-1B workers, patenting activity — a rough proxy for research effort — increased. In other words, skilled foreigners are continuing the tradition of immigrants boosting U.S. science and technology.

High skilled immigrants increase economic activity and push up local wages

Noan Smith, 7-24, 18, Noah Smith is a Bloomberg Opinion columnist. He was an assistant professor of finance at Stony Brook University, and he blogs at Noahpinion https://www.bloomberg.com/view/articles/2018-07-24/making-life-awful-for-skilled-immigrants-is-a-mistake The U.S. can hire talented foreigners here, or they’ll end up working overseas.

But in fact, the contributions of skilled immigrants to the U.S. economy probably go beyond their direct benefits to American companies. By doing their high-value work in the U.S. rather than in other countries, immigrants contribute to what economists call clustering and agglomeration effects. When an Indian engineer works in Mumbai, he spends his salary at restaurants and doctors and electricians in Mumbai — but when he lives in Pittsburgh, his dollars flow to restaurants and doctors and electricians in Pittsburgh. And the more such engineers live in Pittsburgh, the more companies find it attractive to locate their research and development operations there instead of in Mumbai. That concentration of companies raises the salaries of native-born Americans working in Pittsburgh.


Swing voters exist and determine the outcome of elections, including in critical House races that decide whether the Democrats get to a majority

Matthew Iglesias, 7-23, 18, Vox.com, Swing Voters are Extremely Real, https://www.vox.com/2018/7/23/17575768/swing-voters-exist

With Democrats out of office and the party establishment discredited in the eyes of a significant swath of the rank and file, progressives are pushing their policy agenda with a new vigor and slamming skeptics who worry that the real focus should be on persuading moderate swing voters who backed Donald Trump to come back to the fold. “Forget Swing Voters,” Michael Kinnucan wrote in a February 2017 article in the newly hot left-wing journal Current Affairs. More recently, the rhetorical hostility to swing voters has punched up, with Slate’s Jamelle Bouie defending calls to “Abolish ICE” with the claim that Democrats should “stop worrying about mythical swing voters” and some on social media reacting to concerns that candidates in the style of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez could alienate swing voters by declaring that such voters literally do not exist. This is, however, not true. Swing voters have gotten rarer over time, but there are definitely swing voters, and their decision to swing one way or the other makes a difference in politics. That’s not to say Bouie is wrong that there are benefits to clear, gripping, imaginative slogans over fussy wonkery or stuff that plays well in a focus group but gets tuned out in the hurly-burly of real life. There’s a reason the cliché says politicians campaign in poetry even when they govern in prose. But that’s just to say that effective appeals to swing voters may look different from cautious “centrist” positioning as defined by political elites. Donald Trump, for example, hardly ran the kind of campaign celebrated by moderate pundits. But he really did win over a bunch of swing voters to his cause, and those swing voters put him in the White House. Millions of people switched their presidential votes in 2016 Let’s begin with the basics. The 2016 Cooperative Congressional Election Study conducted a large sample poll and found that 6.7 million Trump voters said they voted for Barack Obama in 2012 and 2.7 million Clinton voters said they voted for Mitt Romney in 2016. In other words, about 11 percent of Trump voters say they were Obama voters four years earlier and about 4 percent of Clinton voters say they were Romney voters four years earlier. Geoffrey Skelley of the University of Virginia’s Center for Politics has this useful table: Geoffrey Skelly It’s important to be clear about this — these are small minorities of the public. Speaking loosely, if only 11 percent of fans of a movie enjoyed the sequel, a normal person might say “nobody liked the sequel.” By the same token, if you’re trying to understand the psychology of the typical Trump voter, then that person is a committed partisan Republican who also voted for Mitt Romney. But it’s not literally true that 10 percent is “nobody.” Indeed, in an era of close elections, it’s the difference between winning and losing. The geography of swing voting is important The switchers are also important because they are not evenly distributed around the country. Obama lost whites with no college degree by a very large margin in 2012, but Clinton did even worse — especially losing the support of the kind of Northern, relatively secular noncollege whites who had not already defected from the GOP. This kind of vote is disproportionately common in the three crucial swing states that delivered Trump his Electoral College victory. Equally important is who the Romney-Clinton voters were. Even though this was not as large a group of people as the switchers in the other direction, it did include millions of voters. And if every single one of the Romney-Clinton switchers had been a Latino living in Florida or Arizona and repulsed by Trump’s racism, then Clinton would have carried those states and won the Electoral College. But they didn’t. Instead, Romney-Clinton voters appear to have been concentrated in upscale suburbs of the nation’s largest cities, and a quirk of history is that at the moment, all of the country’s largest cities are in states that are either solidly blue (California, New York, Illinois) or solidly red (Texas). These voters are relevant in many 2018 House races, because in addition to swing voters being real, ticket-splitting voters are very real. Ticket splitting has declined, but it’s real and important Ticket splitting, the practice of voting for some Democratic candidates and some Republican candidates at the same time, has declined dramatically over the past couple of generations. That’s a fairly straightforward consequence of partisan polarization. Democrats in 2018 are all more similar to each other than were Democrats in 1978, and the same is true of Republicans, so there’s less reason for voters to split their tickets. Nonetheless, it does happen. There were 25 House Republicans who won reelection in 2016 despite Clinton carrying their district, plus 12 Democrats who won races in districts that voted for Trump. These 27 seats are a minority of all the races, and obviously, most of the individual voters in those ticket-splitting races are not themselves ticket splitters (conversely, there are ticket-splitting voters in the hundreds of other districts), but 27 is not zero. Indeed, with Democrats needing to pick up 23 House seats to obtain a majority in the US House of Representatives, these ticket-splitting seats are a crucial battleground of American politics. Evidence of ticket splitters is also available in other races. Jason Kander and Evan Bayh lost their Senate races in Missouri and Indiana, respectively, but both came much closer to winning than Clinton did. Alternatively, Sen. Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) performed slightly worse in her successful challenge to Mark Kirk than Clinton did in Illinois, largely because she ran weaker in the suburbs of Chicago. But Duckworth did carry five downstate counties — Alexander, Pulaski, Gallatin, Madison, and Calhoun — that also voted for Trump. It’s of course theoretically possible that election outcomes like Doug Jones winning a Senate race in Alabama or Republicans holding the governor’s mansions in Vermont, Massachusetts, and Maryland reflect pure differential turnout between elections that were held on different days. But the fact that there were both Clinton-Kirk and Trump-Duckworth voters in Illinois gives us reason to believe that part of how Jones won was by getting people who normally vote Republican to vote for him. And it’s very hard to see how Republican Gov. Larry Hogan could have a 68 percent approval rating in Maryland unless some fairly loyal Democrats regard him as a useful check on Democratic majorities in the legislature. And, of course, Hogan — like the Republican governors of Vermont and Maryland and the Democratic governors of Louisiana and Montana — is seen as more moderate than the average Republican, a quality that remains useful in winning tough elections. Donald Trump was seen as moderate Trump’s success in 2016 after running what was in many respects the most extreme and outlandish presidential campaign in generations has likely played a key role in turning people off the whole idea of swing voters. This, however, likely reflects the media’s somewhat disproportionate tendency to focus on culture war issues versus economic ones. Trump campaigned on protectionist rhetoric that voters are more accustomed to hearing from Democrats, promised a large increase in infrastructure spending, abandoned traditional Republican commitments to cut Social Security and Medicare expenditures, and even made ambiguous promises to create a universal health care system. Consequently, according to an October 2016 Gallup poll, Trump was seen by voters as considerably less conservative than Mitt Romney or George W. Bush. Gallup Even more specifically, 49 percent of voters described Hillary Clinton as more liberal than they themselves were, whereas only 35 percent said Trump was more conservative than they were. Gallup The upshot is that rather than being an unusually strong performer for such an extreme candidate, Trump was an unusually weak performer — likely because of scandals and questions about his temperament and fitness for office — for a moderate one. A Trump who ran on a Romney-esque platform of Medicare privatization likely would have lost, and one reason for Trump’s weak poll numbers is likely that voters no longer see him as moderate. Trump’s electoral success was certainly surprising on a number of levels, in other words, but nothing about it should cause us to lose faith in the basic idea that having popular positions on the issues helps win elections. To the extent that there’s a problem, it’s simply that elites’ definition of what moderate politics looks like is pretty different from the views of the preponderance of potential swing voters. Swing voters are different from take-mongers Among the class of people who write and talk about politics for a living, Democrats are in broad agreement on cultural issues but divided on economics. Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders both embraced the Black Lives Matter movement and largely endorsed the demands of immigrant rights groups, for example, but argued vigorously about breaking up large banks or shifting the entire population to a government-run health insurance system. Republican elites, conversely, fight about immigration but agree on tax cuts. Yet as an excellent paper by Vanderbilt political scientist Larry Bartels argued earlier this year, among the mass public, it’s largely the opposite. Ninety percent of Democrats agree that “government should make sure that everyone has access to good health care,” and 80 percent agree that “government should reduce differences in income between rich and poor people,” but questions about respect for the flag, the role of the English language, reverse discrimination against whites, and even abortion generate considerably less consensus. Larry Bartels What’s more, swing voters — unlike centrist political elites — are not temperamental moderates. In the US Senate, the exact same cast of characters — Susan Collins (R-ME), Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND), and Joe Manchin (D-WV) — are the swing votes on basically every issue from environmental regulation to abortion rights to health care because they are the moderates and they have moderate views on all the topics under discussion. A more common situation for a swing voter is to simply have views that cross-cut the partisan divide — to strongly believe in universal health care and in deporting all undocumented immigrants, or to favor free college and jail time for flag burners, or to live minimum wage regulations but dislike climate change regulations. The upshot is that positions coded as “extreme” in Washington can also be quite popular nationally and potentially even very helpful in appealing to swing voters. At the same time, the swing voters themselves are very real, concern about alienating them with unpopular positions is valid, and nothing about Trump’s election win should be seen as debunking the basic conventional wisdom about all of this. Even more importantly, there’s relatively little reason to believe that chasing swing voters requires sharp trade-offs with other electoral strategies. There’s no clear trade-off with mobilization Probably the biggest fallacy in the dialogue about swing voters is the widely stated — but rarely examined — notion that a political party could try to focus on “mobilizing the base” instead of persuading swing voters. This is, however, both a conceptual and empirical confusion. For starters, the actual base of a political party is almost by definition the people you don’t need to work on mobilizing — the party regulars who are habituated to voting and loyal to the party as an institution. The people you would want to mobilize are people you have reason to believe would vote for you if forced to vote, but who for one reason or other are disinclined to actually show up. If you spend a lot of time consuming online political commentary, you’ll find that most of the people who clearly prefer Democrats to Republicans but are nonetheless persistently dyspeptic about the Democratic Party leadership and skeptical of the Democratic Party as an institution are very far to the left ideologically. Among the actual electorate, however, things look different. Sean McElwee of Data for Progress is a major proponent of mobilizing Obama voters who didn’t vote in 2016 rather than chasing Obama-Trump switchers. And his numbers show, very clearly, that these drop-off voters are more progressive than Obama-Trump voters or Romney-Clinton voters. But, critically, Obama voters who either voted third party or stayed home in 2016 are less progressive than consistent Democrats. Sean McElwee In other words, there’s no reason to see a real tension between chasing swing voters and mobilizing nonvoters in terms of issue positions. Now, none of this is to deny Dylan Matthews’s point that policy issues overall do not appear to be particularly important factors in American politics. And, of course, all real-world candidates tend to run on a mix of popular and unpopular issues. There’s nothing wrong with taking a stand on something you think is important, even if it’s unpopular — though a wise candidate might prefer to emphasize her popular views and reduce the salience of her less popular ones. But whatever it is that causes people to vote, the important point is that swing voters really do exist. A small but incredibly important group of Americans regularly switch their partisan allegiances, and many people are willing to vote differently down-ballot from how they vote in presidential races. Appealing to these swing voters isn’t the only way to win elections, but it’s a pretty good strategy, and there’s no reason to believe that using it involves a hard trade-off with trying to mobilize marginal voters or anything else.

Attack on Iran will destroy the global economy, cause war throughout the Middle East, and fail to curb the nuclear program

Zach Beauchamp, 7-23, 18, Vox, https://www.vox.com/world/2018/7/23/17602480/trump-tweet-iran-threat-war What Trumps’ Threatened War with Iran would actually look like

What this means is that, as scary as it sounds, we have to take the possibility of war with Iran seriously. We need to understand just what such a war would entail and what the consequences would be if it happened. The best estimates we have suggest it would be a disaster. Surgical strikes on Iran’s nuclear facilities would only set back the program temporarily, but destroying the country’s nuclear capacity entirely would require a massive military effort. That would kill thousands of people, destroy whatever vestiges of political stability remain in the Middle East, and potentially wreak havoc on the global economy — all while likely failing to permanently end Iran’s nuclear ambitions. Given that the Iran deal has, so far, successfully rolled back the nuclear program, it’s hard to see why this would be worth it. But here we are. Why bombing Iran would be ineffective — and potentially catastrophic Generally, advocates of military action against Iran propose a limited air campaign targeting the heart of Iran’s nuclear program. “An attack need not destroy all of Iran’s nuclear infrastructure,” Bolton wrote in a 2015 New York Times op-ed. “By breaking key links in the nuclear-fuel cycle, it could set back its program.” The key targets in such proposals are the nuclear facilities at Fordow, Natanz, and Arak (the uranium conversion facility at Isfahan is also often referenced). Activity at these facilities has been slowed or suspended entirely under the nuclear deal, but the buildings have not been demolished. If Iran were to restart its push toward a bomb, then those would be the places it would start — and thus would be the first target in any US attack. Some of these, Fordow in particular, are fortified, but the US has bunker-buster bombs that are capable of doing real damage to them. But even such “limited” strikes would be a massive military operation. The first issue is that the US would need to destroy Iran’s air defenses, including fighters and surface-to-air missiles, in order to ensure the bombs hit their targets and to prevent Iran from doing serious damage in response. According to Robert Farley, a professor at the University of Kentucky and an expert on air power, this “would involve long-range bombers, drones, electronic warfare, land-based fighter-bombers, carrier aircraft, and submarine-launched cruise missiles.” Even the strikes against the nuclear program would need to hit a broad range of targets. Contrary to the assumptions of Iran hawks, the strikes couldn’t be limited to Iran’s big nuclear production facilities. The real problem, according to a RAND Corporation brief by Robert J. Reardon, would be Iran’s centrifuge production facilities. Simply destroying Iranian enrichment plants would not be enough to end the nuclear weapons program if Iran could just build centrifuges for new ones quickly. It’s not actually clear how many such facilities there are. “Sites that have been identified, or ones that were known in the past, have typically been small, easily concealed from reconnaissance satellites, and located in densely populated urban areas,” Reardon writes. “Failure to destroy these sites would allow the Iranians to rebuild their enrichment program, because the machines could be manufactured relatively quickly.” If the first round of strikes didn’t destroy every target, the US might need to return again and again. It would require the US to “continue a sustained campaign over a period of time and re-strike after an initial battle damage assessment [if] it is found that further strike sorties are required,” defense analysts Anthony Cordesman and Abdullah Toukan write in a comprehensive 2012 Center for Strategic and International Studies report. And even that probably wouldn’t demolish the program. “Depending on the forces allocated and duration of air strikes, it is unlikely that an air campaign alone could … terminate Iran’s program,” Cordesman and Toukan argue. They’re not the only ones who have come to this conclusion. A panel at the nonpartisan Wilson Center reviewed the military studies on the issue and concluded that even if extended military strikes were carried out “to near perfection,” the best-case scenario is still only a four-year delay in Iran’s progress toward a nuclear weapon. Ultimately, the only way military force could stop Iran from going nuclear is if the US committed to a more or less indefinite war. “To fulfill the stated objective of ensuring that Iran never acquires a nuclear bomb,” the Wilson Center report finds, “the U.S. would need to conduct a significantly expanded air and sea war over a prolonged period of time, likely several years.” The consequences of such a prolonged war, especially in today’s Middle East, would be disastrous. Iran has the power to make an unstable Middle East even worse: It could directly target and kill Americans in the region, exacerbate a number of the region’s festering conflicts, and potentially threaten the global oil supply — and thus the global economy. Iranian proxy militias could also decide to attack American troops in Iraq if talks fall apart. While the US is particularly exposed in Iraq, it has people and assets across much of the region; Iran, too, has proxies across the Middle East. It’s difficult to imagine Iran staying its hand in the event of an outright US attack. Iran could also attack oil infrastructure or blockade the Strait of Hormuz, a critical oil shipping route, all of which would have tremendous effects. ”Iran can use a mix of mines, submarines, submersibles, drones, anti‐ship missiles, small craft, and assault forces anywhere in the Gulf region to threaten the flow of oil exports,Cordesman and Toukan write. “Any major disruption affects the entire economy of Asia and all world oil prices — regardless of where oil is produced. It can lead to panic and hoarding on a global basis.” In the long run, the deal would work better than strikes Airstrikes would destroy what has been a key constraint on Iran’s nuclear program: the system of international inspections and sanctions that brought Iran to the negotiating table in the first place. European and Asian countries have given the US strategy much of its force by helping to isolate and sanction Iran; that is what compelled Iran to negotiate and agree to make concessions in the first place. These countries are already angry at Trump for withdrawing from the deal, and seem totally uninterested in reimposing sanctions to try to get “a better deal.” If the US attacked Iran, the international community would likely be appalled and abandon its support for sanctioning and isolating Iran altogether, leaving the country wealthier and in a stronger diplomatic position. That would, in turn, cripple any serious attempt to prevent Iran from rebuilding its nuclear program. ”In the absence of clear evidence that Iran was dashing for a bomb,” Georgetown University’s Colin Kahl told Congress in 2012, “a US strike risks shattering international consensus, making postwar containment more difficult to implement. And with inspectors gone, it would be much harder to detect and prevent Iran’s clandestine rebuilding efforts.” Striking Iran, then, wouldn’t be a “several-day” endeavor, as Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR), a congressional uberhawk who reportedly has Trump’s ear on national security issues, once suggested. It wouldn’t stop Iran’s nuclear program unless the United States committed to more or less permanent war with Iran — and may not work even then. And it would likely have devastating consequences for the US and its allies. What’s ironic here is that the nuclear deal is working reasonably well to constrain Iran’s nuclear ambitions. The International Atomic Energy Agency, the organization tasked with implementing the deal, has repeatedly certified that Iran is in compliance with its terms. Given the deal’s strict inspection provisions, it would be very hard for Iran to bamboozle International Atomic Energy Agency inspectors — meaning that so long as it is in place, there’s very little risk that Iran becomes a North Korea-style nuclear threat anytime soon. So far, the deal is holding even after US withdrawal. But Iran’s compliance is tenuous, and further belligerence from the US could give Tehran a reason to stop abiding by the deal’s limitations. The logic of threatening a painful, pointless war under these circumstances escapes me. But the president of the United States, and several of his top national security advisers, seems to disagree.


Trump will never lose significant electoral support regardless of what he does


John Podhertz, 7-22, 18, VOX, https://nypost.com/2018/07/22/why-a-blue-wave-in-the-midterms-is-no-sure-thing/ Why a blue wave in the midterms is no sure thing

Every time Trump creates a controversy — from the separation of children from their parents at the border to the NATO-Putin horror show of the past two weeks — everyone waits to see whether Republican voters will lower the boom on Trump and push his numbers down back to Charlottesville levels. It hasn’t happened all year and it’s unlikely to happen in the wake of the past week, because Republican poll respondents are onto the game and — whatever they might feel about Trump playing footsie with Russia — they’re not here to provide comfort to Democrats and liberals that November will deliver them from Republican control of the House.


Health care, not immigration, key to midterms


Sarah Jones, 7-20, 18, New Republic, https://newrepublic.com/article/150074/2018-midterms-health-care The 2018 Midterms Are All About Health Care

“Across the country, the details vary but the story is the same. The Trump administration has been rolling back sections of the Obama-era health law piece by piece,” The Wall Street Journal reported on Wednesday. “The result is that the country is increasingly returning to a pre-ACA landscape, where the coverage you get, especially for people without employer-provided insurance, is largely determined by where you live.” As for a “really great plan that’s going to cost much less,” Trump has been less successful. Last month, he rolled out a rule allowing small businesses to band together to provide cheaper health care to employees—without all of Obamacare’s coverage protections. But on Thursday, Politico reported that the National Federation of Independent Business, a business group that has advocated for so-called association health plans for two decades, won’t be creating such a plan because Trump’s rule is unworkable. Other trade groups are reportedly tepid, too. In short, the health care system in America, after modest improvements under Obama, is becoming a chaotic mess under Trump—and his political opponents are poised to capitalize on it. On Thursday morning, 70 Democrats in the House of Representatives launched a Medicare for All caucus. The roll includes a few expected names—Representative Keith Ellison of Minnesota—but also more recent converts to the cause, proving the policy no longer belongs to the fringe. In 2017, 122 House Democrats co-sponsored Representative John Conyers’s Medicare for All bill before he resigned amid a sexual harassment scandal. As Trump’s attacks on the ACA increase, so has Democratic support for a sweeping alternative. Since Trump took office in 2017, the administration has repealed the Affordable Care Act’s individual mandate and expanded access to short-term, limited-duration health plans, which can’t be renewed and offer limited coverage to beneficiaries. Without the individual mandate, SLDI plans can look like sensible, affordable options for consumers—and that means fewer Americans will have health insurance that covers their basic needs. It also influences premiums. As Axios reported in May, ACA premiums have increased by 34 percent since 2017, and the Congressional Budget Office estimates that they’ll increase by another 15 percent next year. Meanwhile, the administration cut spending for ACA outreach. If people don’t know how to enroll in the ACA, they’re less likely to do so at all. For Republicans concerned about their electoral prospects, Obamacare is no longer such a reliable foe. In 2017, roughly 350,000 Virginians faced the prospect of losing their ACA plans when Optima Health followed the examples of Aetna and Anthem and threatened to pull out of the exchange market. The move would have left nearly half of all Virginia counties without an ACA insurer, with the losses concentrated in Virginia’s western counties—among the poorest in the state. At the time, insurance companies cited market instability for their decisions, and they blamed the Trump administration for causing it. Trump has repeatedly threatened to cut subsidies for the ACA, and insurers worried that would put their profit margins at risk. Anthem eventually agreed to cover Virginia’s so-called bare counties. But the crisis may have pushed state Republicans away from Trump, at least on the issue of health care. The General Assembly passed Medicaid expansion in 2018. “When you lost all the coal jobs, a lot of people lost their healthcare,” Republican State Representative Terry Kilgore told Belt magazine last month. “People were working but were going to jobs paying $8 to $15 per hour with no healthcare benefits. We need more healthcare options and a healthier workforce.” Kilgore voted for Medicaid expansion. Medicare for All’s popularity with Democrats can be traced back to Senator Bernie Sanders’s bid for the Democratic nomination in 2016, which brought national attention to the policy. Its appeal has only grown since then, as Democrats have seen how easily a Republican president can weaken the signature achievement of the Obama presidency. Single-payer health care, whether it’s Medicare for All or some other approach, hasn’t proven to be the campaign-killer that some moderates have warned of. Insurgent candidates like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Ben Jealous have embraced the policy, and so have some Democrats running in red states. This opening for Democrats may crack even wider as the material consequences of gutting the ACA become clear. As the Journal reported in March, “Health-insurance premiums are likely to jump right before the November elections, a result of Congress’s omission of federal money to shore up insurance exchanges from its new spending package.” Fearful of the political damage, Republicans are now scrambling to fix the problem. On Thursday, The Hill reported that the GOP House “is planning to vote next week on several GOP-backed health-care measures that supporters say will lower premiums.” Whether or not Republicans succeed there, they have handed Democrats an opening ahead of the midterms, one that may crack even wider as the material consequences of gutting the ACA become clear. That awakening is already underway, if polling is any indication. Health care topped all issues, even the economy and immigration, in a YouGov/Huffington Post survey in April of registered voters’ priorities ahead of the midterm elections; it consistently ranks in the top three. That’s perhaps less surprising in light of a Navigator Research poll this week that found half of Americans say health care is main cost concern. In an ominous sign for the GOP, independent voters said they trusted Democrats more than Republicans, by an 18-point margin, to bring those costs down.

Democrats retaking the House does not mean a return to a liberal internationalist foreign policy

Nikolas K. Gvosdev is a contributing editor at the National Interest, 7-20, 18, National Interest, https://nationalinterest.org/feature/democratic-blue-wave-really-coming-26326   Is a Democratic ‘Blue Wave’ Really Coming?

Democrats are counting on a “Blue Wave” in the fall 2018 elections to return them to the majority, at least in the House of Representatives, and to pave the way for retaking control of the Executive Branch in the 2020 presidential election. For many card-carrying members of the Democratic foreign policy establishment in Washington, this offers the opportunity not only to reverse the steps taken by the Trump administration to dismantle the U.S. commitments to international agreements, regional organizations and specific allies and partners, but to return to a foreign policy grounded in the tenets of liberal internationalism. Yet trends within the Democratic Party itself could take the Washington-based establishment by surprise, just as the Republican national security community found itself out of sync with the broad base of GOP voters as demonstrated in the 2016 election. The muscular interventionism championed by almost all of the Republican party’s standard-bearers was rejected in favor of an “America First” message which resonated with primary and general election voters. Similarly, the rise and growing prominence of a more unabashedly progressive wing of the Democratic Party has similar implications, because the activists’ critique of the status quo does not end at the water’s edge. The Democratic foreign policy establishment may find it difficult to forge a stable marriage with a mobilized voter base and the candidates it is putting forward. If Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez represents the face of this movement , with Sen. Bernie Sanders acting as its godfather, and if candidates from this wing gain ascendancy, then the other half of the so-called “bipartisan foreign policy” consensus will be challenged in the same way as Trump’s movement has done for the GOP. After all, during the 2016 campaign, Senator Sanders, much like Trump, offered a critique of U.S. foreign policy that had resonance among primary voters. As part of the U.S. global engagement project for the Carnegie Council for Ethics and International Affairs, I have been studying the impact of the “narrative collapse” among U.S. voters about the role and efficacy of U.S. foreign policy that I began to chart in these pages two years ago . The narrative among Republican voters has centered on the lack of return for U.S. involvement; that the United States has expended blood and treasure for allies and partners who have not “paid” the United States for this investment in their security and instead used U.S. support to enhance their own internal prosperity at the expense of Americans. It has been a more transactional view of how the United States should conduct itself in international affairs. It is compounded by a sense that the foreign policy establishment has wasted American lives and resources pursuing ill-conceived interventions that drain vitality without generating clear successes. There is a parallel but distinct narrative emerging among progressives. If the Trump critique is a Jacksonian one (to the victors should go the spoils), the argument among the “Sanderites” starts from the premise that U.S. interventions around the world, for the most part, have been counterproductive from the perspective of advancing human rights. Washington, and certainly the U.S. military, is not the go-to instrument for advancing social justice. If, among Trump voters, the interventions in Iraq, Libya and Afghanistan are viewed negatively as failures because of a perceived lack of victory, the parallel critique from the leftist side of the aisle is that these interventions did not succeed in making these countries freer or better governed—while also diverting resources that could be used to improve the lives of ordinary Americans. This perspective is not isolationist from the perspective that Americans should not be concerned with what happens in other countries, but shares a skepticism about the efficacy of the U.S. national security establishment in advancing values. There is a “come home” America sentiment that less defense spending and involvement in military matters around the world could free up resources for domestic development and spending. The argument that we are spending money to build bases around the world while we are closing schools and clinics at home is one which Ocasio-Cortez and others have echoed. Instead, there appears to be more of a throwback to a venerable nineteenth-century tradition of individual Americans as “missionaries” working overseas—Americans, rather than the U.S. government, involved in trying to make the world a better place. This approach would place a greater emphasis on American “soft power” as opposed to hard security tools as a way to project influence. The “Sanderites” view the current international system, especially in economic matters, as weighted towards the interests of large multinational corporation and financial interests at the expense of average citizens. The argument that the United States needs to maintain a large defense establishment to police the global commons and to keep open the arteries of global commerce is evaluated through this lens. The critique of neoliberal free trade was in fact a point of commonality between Trump and Sanders supporters in 2016, and Democratic foreign policy advisers who believe that every rising Democratic candidate for 2020 will enthusiastically re-endorse the Trans-Pacific Partnership and the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership out of loyalty to the legacies of Bill Clinton and Barack Obama will find that this is not necessarily a winning message among Democratic primary voters. It certainly forced candidate Hillary Clinton to dial back her support for broad-based free trade agreements in the 2016 campaign, and this sentiment may resurface again in 2020. Protectionism still carries weight among a number of key labor constituencies—so this may be one area where assuming that taking an opposing tack to Trump is an automatic winning stance for Democrats could be risky. Of course, much depends on which candidates win in 2018 and 2020, and, more importantly, what advisers and staff they select. Ocasio-Cortez, who has frankly admitted her lack of expertise on matters geopolitical, will, assuming her win is a foregone conclusion in November, have to select policy personnel for her Congressional office. If her, and other progressives end up being supplied with national security and foreign policy staff from the existing establishment, then we may see the tempering of these initial instincts to curtail U.S. activism in the international system in favor of accepting tutorials in the precepts of liberal internationalism. But we need to consider whether the Sanders movement will be the second of the “one-two” punch that Trump’s election and subsequent “ disruption” of the U.S. role in the world delivered in 2016. If so, then the contours of U.S. foreign policy could be irrevocably changed.

Those for whom immigration is a critical issue support Trump and hardline approaches

Justin Gest & Tyler Reny, 7-20, 18, Los Angeles Times, http://www.latimes.com/opinion/op-ed/la-oe-gest-reny-immigration-policy-democrats-20180720-story.html

Two conflicting trends emerge from a new poll conducted by the Washington Post and the Schar School of Policy and Government at George Mason University. Americans are largely unsupportive of President Trump’s approach to managing immigration. At the same time, they trust him to handle many aspects of the issue as much as, or more than, they trust congressional Democrats on the issue. The poll results, released last week, should send a message to Democrats: Opposing Trump’s policies without offering a clear alternative will not be enough to win over public opinion on immigration. According to the poll, a majority of Americans disapproves of each of Trump’s signature immigration positions: 62% of respondents said they were against the construction of a border wall; 66% said they disagreed with proposed cuts to legal family migration; 72% said they disliked the separation of families at the border; and 94% said they didn’t believe the president’s contention that many migrants who come to the United States are gang members or drug traffickers. And yet, when asked whether they trust the president or congressional Democrats to protect American jobs and secure the border, most respondents selected Trump. Independent voters, especially those in swing districts, said they trusted the president more to manage undocumented migration, attract the best and brightest immigrants and handle immigration policy overall. Democrats offer little beyond a condemnation of Trump’s policies. Share quote & link For Republicans, this is the reward for crafting a clear, if punitive, approach. Trump’s actions and rhetoric have communicated his concern about immigration, which, according to a recent Pew poll, one in four Americans believes is the most pressing political issue of the day. In the Washington Post-Schar School survey, those who considered immigration the most important issue also had relatively extreme preferences. They were more likely to support building a wall, more likely to want to reduce legal immigration levels, and almost twice as likely to support Trump’s policy of separating families at the border. And despite some of the lowest levels of undocumented migration in decades, two-thirds of respondents supported more funding for border security, and a majority said they would rather keep asylum seekers in detention facilities than release them on parole. Many blamed immigrants, not the Trump administration, for the separation of families.

Bipartisan support for merit based immigration

Justin Gest & Tyler Reny, 7-20, 18, Los Angeles Times, http://www.latimes.com/opinion/op-ed/la-oe-gest-reny-immigration-policy-democrats-20180720-story.html

There are better solutions for Democrats to unite around. Merit-based immigration appears to draw popular support. Such a system need not be based only on education and professional skills. It could take into account a range of data, including previous visits to the U.S., proficiency in English, shortages in the labor market, the number of family members who are American citizens and underrepresented countries of origin.

Donor shift, Democrat ballot lead in House

John Bowden, 7-19, 18, http://thehill.com/homenews/campaign/397818-ex-gop-megadonor-backs-democrats-ahead-of-midterms   Ex-GOP megadonor backing Dems ahead of midterms

A former GOP megadonor is throwing his money behind Democrats hoping to help build a “Blue Wave” in the November midterms. Seth Klarman, a hedge fund manager, donated more than $2.9 million to Republicans in the 2016 election cycle. For 2018, he has shifted gears, donating hundreds of thousands of dollars to more than 80 Democratic candidates running in midterms, the Forward reports. Among those are at least 47 candidates running for House seats and 17 in the Senate as the Democrats seek to take back both chambers of Congress. Klarman, who is Jewish and has donated in the past to organizations dedicated to stopping the spread of Antisemitism, has lashed out against President Trump publicly and has drawn comparisons between him and Nazi Germany, according to the news outlet. According to the analysis, Klarman has donated to just one Republican this election cycle, moderate Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-N.Y.) whom he gave a maxed-out donation of $2,700. Klarman’s donations could boost Democrats chances in November. They need to pick up 23 seats in the House and two seats in the Senate. A recent poll showed Democrats with a 10-point advantage over Republicans on a generic House ballot for November. The Senate will be a tougher road as the Democrats need to pick up two seats while also defending seats in 10 states that Trump won in the 2016 election. The House Democratic campaign arm (DCCC) on Wednesday reported its best fundraising month of the cycle so far by bringing in $15.2 million in June. The NRCC, the Republican campaign arm, has not yet released its June numbers and has trailed the Democratic organization since the beginning of the year. “The DCCC’s historic fundraising and grassroots support combined with record candidate fundraising ensures that incredible Democratic candidates will have the resources to share their unique stories and records of service with the voters,” said DCCC Chairman Ben Ray Luján

Democrat registration way ahead of Republican registration

Julie Manchester, 7-18, 18, The Hil, http://thehill.com/hilltv/what-americas-thinking/397695-pollster-gop-base-is-shrinking

Pollster Lee Miringoff said on Wednesday that Republicans are in danger ahead of November’s midterm elections due to a shrinking base. “In addition to [President] Trump’s approval rating, it’s the damaged brand right now, and that’s the Republicans have to worry about,” Miringoff, who is the director of the Marist Institute for Public Opinion, told Hill.TV’s Joe Concha on “What America’s Thinking.” “The base is shrinking because there are fewer Republicans. So the base is more solid than it was, but there’s fewer of them,” he said. The University of Virginia Center for Politics detailed party registration last week, and found that there were nearly 12 million more registered Democrats than Republicans across 31 states and the District of Columbia. The analysis also found that 40 percent of all voters in party registration states are Democrats, while only 29 percent are Republicans. Gallup polling also shows more self-identifying Democrats than self-identifying Republicans in 2018, compared to earlier years when Republicans outnumbered Democrats. Republicans are preparing to defend the House, Senate, and various state houses from what could be large Democratic turnout in November.

Dems badly outraising Republicans now

Elenas Schneider, 7-17, 18, Politico.com, https://www.politico.com/story/2018/07/17/midterms-house-republicans-fundraising-728401 ‘These guys need to wake up’: House Republicans badly outraised in midterms

An unusually large number of House Republican incumbents were outraised by their Democratic opponents in the past three months, more stark evidence of GOP candidates’ money woes, which continue to expand the number of seats susceptible to Democratic takeover. Democrats in 56 House districts surpassed Republican incumbents in second-quarter fundraising, according to a POLITICO analysis of the latest Federal Election Commission filings. Sixteen of those House Republicans finished the quarter with less cash in their campaign accounts than Democratic opponents, while no Democratic members lag their Republican challengers in cash. It’s a financial trend line that has gotten worse for Republican candidates over the past year, even as megadonors pour millions into the House GOP super PAC — a reflection of Democratic intensity that has coursed through the party’s donors and voters since President Donald Trump’s election. The picture is even grimmer for Republicans in open, battleground districts, where a slew of retirements has put even more seats up for grabs. More than two dozen Democratic candidates in those districts also topped GOP opponents in fundraising, and 19 of those Democrats also led in cash on hand. Congressional Leadership Fund, the main super PAC backing House Republicans, raised a record $51 million in the second quarter, which some strategists believe will help tilt battleground races their way in the fall. But others see the district-by-district money race as a mirror-image replay of the summer of 2010, when strong Republican fundraising heralded the House GOP wave four months later. “If you allow yourself to be outraised, then you are inviting trouble,” said Chris LaCivita, a Republican consultant. “In a midterm election with your party in power, trouble generally equates to defeat.” “These guys need to wake up and take a look in the mirror and decide — do they want to be reelected?” LaCivita added. ADVERTISING Morning Score newsletter Your guide to the permanent campaign — weekday mornings, in your inbox. Email Your email… Sign Up By signing up you agree to receive email newsletters or alerts from POLITICO. You can unsubscribe at any time. The list of outraised incumbents includes some of the most vulnerable Republicans in the country — such as Reps. Jason Lewis in Minnesota, Rod Blum in Iowa, Dana Rohrabacher in California and Leonard Lance in New Jersey — as well as members like Reps. Dave Brat of Virginia and Steve Chabot of Ohio, whose Richmond- and Cincinnati-based seats have looked more and more competitive over the past year. Democratic challengers’ fundraising performance in suburban districts around the country “is definitely a tailwind that’s pushing them into play,” said Rob Stutzman, a Republican consultant based in California. Some Republican members running in perennial battleground districts posted impressive totals, including Reps. Erik Paulsen in Minnesota, Mia Love in Utah, Barbara Comstock in Virginia and Brian Mast in Florida — all of whom raised more than $1 million last quarter. Yet 22 Democrats running in GOP districts also broke $1 million raised in the second quarter, a rare feat for challengers. Those Democrats — such as Tom Malinowski in New Jersey and Gina Ortiz Jones in Texas — benefited from one-time cash infusions from progressive groups for winning Democratic primaries, a bump that Republicans say won’t repeat next quarter. Swing Left and Daily Kos have amassed more than $5 million to distribute to Democratic primary winners this year, some of which has yet to be disbursed. But the million-dollar Democrats also raised significant money online and around the country as well as from their districts, a trend that could continue through the fall elections. Only three of them crossed the seven-figure threshold thanks to self-funding. “From a money standpoint, it’s scary. From a turnout perspective and what all this money means for intensity [in November], that’s even scarier,” said Glen Bolger, a Republican pollster who works on House races. But Republicans also argued that cash-flush candidates benefiting from a deluge of online fundraising “doesn’t necessarily translate into votes in the district,” said Ashlee Stephenson, a Republican consultant. “There’s a big disconnect between the money raised out of district and turning into actual votes at the ballot box.”

We’ll move on from the Putin controversy because Trump will use his anti-immigrant stance to protect Republicans in the election

Paul Waldman, 7-17, 18, Washington Post, https://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/plum-line/wp/2018/07/17/the-november-elections-keep-getting-more-difficult-for-republicans/?utm_term=.fe94d260e93d   The November elections keep getting more difficult for Republicans

President Trump sure doesn’t make it easy for Republicans. We just witnessed a rather extraordinary moment in which even members of his own party couldn’t bring themselves to defend him, and some even went so far as to condemn his endorsement of Russia’s innocence in the matter of the 2016 election. But has the fundamental dynamic of GOP politics changed? Republicans have always faced a dilemma: Trump’s unique presidency is dragging down their party, potentially bringing them to a loss of one or both houses of Congress this November, but at the same time, the party has created a cult of personality around Trump in which every Republican politician will be measured by how impeccably loyal they are to the president. Consider Martha Roby, the Alabama congresswoman who faces a runoff today almost entirely because in 2016, she called for Trump to step aside after the release of the “Access Hollywood” tape in which Trump bragged of his ability to sexually assault women with impunity. Roby is favored to prevail, but the fact that she’s in a runoff at all — against a former Democrat who has reinvented himself as the staunchest of pro-Trump candidates — is a reminder to Republicans everywhere that their survival still depends on fealty to Trump. It’s tempting when something dramatic such as Trump’s news conference with Russian President Vladimir Putin occurs to believe that now everything is different. But the truth is that as unique a moment as that was, within a week or two we’ll probably settle back into the reality we’ve gotten used to, with a mere three or four appalling controversies per week — but more important, controversies in which the entire Republican Party is firmly behind the president. 1:44 Ryan: ‘Vladimir Putin does not share our values’ House Speaker Paul D. Ryan (R-Wis.) said it’s “really clear” that Russia interfered in the 2016 elections, and they’re trying to “undermine democracy itself.” (Reuters) You can bet that Trump is now thinking hard about how to make that happen. My guess is that he was surprised by the reaction to what happened in Helsinki, after which he even got criticized by some of the personalities on Fox News (though not, of course, Sean Hannity or Tucker Carlson). So now he’ll be looking for ways to reinforce his bond with the Republican base. That means creating and promoting controversies that unite Republicans and separate them from Democrats. How do you do that? You keep reminding your voters of where their loyalty must lie. Take, for instance, this tweet from former hearing-impaired wrestling coach and current hard-right Rep. Jim Jordan of Ohio: Rep. Jim Jordan ✔ @Jim_Jordan Russia meddled in the election and we can’t trust them. BUT can we trust Clapper, Comey, McCabe, and Strzok? 8:46 AM – Jul 17, 2018 26.8K 28.9K people are talking about this Twitter Ads info and privacy The point is: Forget about whatever Trump said about Putin and remember who your enemies are. And your enemies are anyone who criticizes Trump. When you’ve created a cult of personality around the president, you almost have no choice but to make that argument to your voters. We didn’t see a lot of competition in Republican primaries this year about who had the better tax plan or ideas about health care; those contests were much more likely to feature this argument: “I’m the most loyal to Trump.” “No, I’m the most loyal to Trump!” The danger for the GOP isn’t that an event like Helsinki — or the trade war that may be having a particularly damaging impact on many pro-Trump areas of the country — will raise enough doubts about Trump to make Republican voters choose the Democrat in their House or Senate race in November (though that might happen in a small number of cases). It’s that those controversies will chip away at the cult of personality. If Trump is just like other politicians from your party — most of the time you’re happy about him but sometimes you aren’t — and not someone who inspires fervid devotion, then that means you might not come out to vote in an off-year election such as this one, if it’s raining or if you have a bunch of errands to run that Tuesday. There are many things Trump doesn’t understand, but he understands the politics of division. He can talk about how the current economy is the greatest in the history of the galaxy, but what he really needs is for Republicans to be tightly bound to him and angry at Democrats, angry enough to get themselves to the polls come hell or high water. That’s why in very short order he’s going to stop talking about his great friendship with Putin and go back to his more reliable repertoire: Robert S. Mueller III’s investigation is a witch hunt, Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.) is a meanie, Democrats want open borders so immigrants can come kill you and your family, and so on. For both him and the Republicans whose fate depends on him in November, it’s much more comfortable ground.

Trump’s Helsinki disaster undermines the GOP in the midterms

Drucker 7-18 18, https://www.washingtonexaminer.com/news/campaigns/republicans-worry-about-impact-of-trumps-russia-comments-on-midterm-elections Republicans worry about impact of Trump’s Russia comments on midterm elections

President Trump on Monday dropped another bomb on the Republicans’ shaky midterm election prospects with a bizarre joint news conference with Russian President Vladimir Putin that followed private bilateral talks in Helsinki. Trump aligned himself with a defiant Putin and against U.S. intelligence agencies’ consensus assessment that Russia meddled in the 2016 presidential election — and largely blamed the U.S. for Washington’s long-strained relationship with Moscow. The president’s performance was roundly condemned by Republicans in Congress, and sparked fresh anxiety about November. Senior Republican strategists fretted that the event would cast a brighter spotlight on the federal investigation into Russian meddling, souring more voters on Trump and distracting attention from a thriving economy that the GOP is betting on to preserve their congressional majorities. 00:11 / 02:37 Countdown to 2018 Midterms: June Watch Full Screen to Skip Ads “The politics of this is a disaster. Any day that the president, and then the media, is talking about Russia, Putin or the investigation, is a bad day. So, it’s hard to imagine a worse event for the optics and message than the summit,” a Republican consultant said, requesting anonymity in order to criticize Trump. “Is there an independent, swing voter in the country who would say: ‘Yeah, I really think Putin is telling the truth and the U.S. Department of Justice is the real problem?’” added a top aide to a House Republican who is girding for a tough race this fall. Republicans, in an avalanche of critical statements, focused on the troubling national security and geopolitical implications of Trump’s remarks. The backlash, almost universal, came from party leaders in the House and Senate as well as several in the rank-and-file members, beyond those who are retiring, who tend to avoid scolding the president. They rebutted Trump’s claims that the policies and actions pursued by Russia and the U.S. are morally equivalent, a particularly galling comparison to draw with an autocratic adversary. Republicans also refuted Trump’s suggestion, made 72 hours after the Justice Department indicted a dozen Russian intelligence operatives, that Putin told the truth when he denied that Moscow meddled in 2016. Trump appeared to try and clean up the controversy with a tweet posted from Air Force One, as he was en route back to Washington from Helsinki: “

Democrats hold a massive registration advantage

Life Site News, 7-16, 18, https://www.lifesitenews.com/news/report-democrats-hold-massive-party-registration-lead-over-gop

uly 16, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) — As the midterm campaigns for control of Congress intensify, a new report warns Republicans that Democrats have 12 million more voters in the 31 states that require party registration to vote. 40 percent of the voters in those states are Democrats, as opposed to 29 percent Republicans and 28 percent independents, the Washington Examiner reports, including in states deemed to have “key battles” for control of the House of Representatives, such as California, Florida, New York, and Pennsylvania. These numbers could have disastrous ramifications for the GOP, Rhodes Cook of the University of Virginia’s Center for Politics explains, because the majority party correlated with the outcome in 24 of those 31 states in 2016. President Donald Trump won 11 out of 12 GOP states, while Hillary Clinton won 13 out of 19 Democrat states. The outcome of this fall’s congressional elections will have tremendous ramifications for pro-life and pro-family advocates. The GOP’s Senate majority is already too thinto withstand more than two defections on Supreme Court confirmation votes, the Democratic Party officially favors abortion-on-demand at taxpayers’ expense as well as federal nullification of state pro-life laws, and Democrats have fought to advance the LGBT agenda, from allowing transgender soldiers in the military to denying treatment for people struggling with unwanted same-sex attraction. However, analysts also suggested Republicans still had reasons to remain hopeful. States such as Kentucky, Louisiana, and West Virginia have backed GOP presidents despite having more registered Democrats for the past fifteen years, the Center’s Kyle Kondik explained. In addition, statewide findings do not necessarily reflect the party dynamics of the specific districts up for reelection. Even so, pro-life leaders encourage rank-and-file pro-lifers not to be complacent. “Contrary to what the media tells us, all respectable surveys of the past few years show that Americans are overwhelmingly pro-life today,” Fr. Frank Pavone of Priests for Life writes. “But too many pro-life voters are still not voting. We estimate that more than 10,000,000 pro-life adult Americans are not voting regularly in elections.”

Immigration #1 issue for voters

The Hill, 7-10, 18, http://thehill.com/hilltv/what-americas-thinking/396336-economy-immigration-top-voters-priority-lists-poll Economy, immigration top voters’ priority lists: poll

Voters listed the state of the economy and immigration as the two most important issues in the 2018 midterm elections, according to a recent Reuters/Ipsos poll seen on Hill.TV’s “What America’s Thinking.” The survey found that 14.8 percent of registered voters polled listed immigration as the top issue for the midterms, followed by 13.9 percent who picked the economy. The poll also found that 26 percent of registered voters who identified as Republicans cited immigration as the most important issue, while 15.6 percent of registered voters who identified as Democrats said health care was their top issue. Immigration has dominated the news cycle, as migrant children remain separated from their parents as a result of the Trump administration’s “zero tolerance” policy on illegal immigration. Economic growth has also been in the news recently, with U.S. employers adding 213,000 jobs last month, according to the Labor Department. The unemployment rate ticked up to 4 percent from 3.8 percent during June. President Trump and Republicans have made the U.S. economy and tax cuts part of their campaign message heading into the November midterm elections. The U.S. economy has added jobs for 92 straight months, beginning in October 2010.

Trump’s base supports hardline immigration policies

Joel Rose, 7-16 18, NPR, Immigration Poll finds deep divide over Trump’s agenda, https://www.npr.org/2018/07/16/628849355/immigration-poll-finds-deep-divide-over-trumps-agenda

Many of President Trump’s immigration policies are deeply unpopular, including recent efforts to deter illegal immigration by separating migrant families at the border, according to a new NPR-Ipsos poll. But Americans are polarized in their attitudes about immigrants and the U.S. system for admitting them, the polls shows, with Republicans much more likely to support the president’s policies, including the travel ban, the border wall, and changes to legal immigration. “There’s such stark differences between Democrats and Republicans on these issues, just worlds apart,” said pollster Chris Jackson, a vice president with Ipsos Public Affairs, which conducted the poll. And Trump’s base remains on the president’s side. They are “very much behind him, which gives some of the strength to what he’s doing,” Jackson said.

Election systems more secure – no hacking threat

Associated Press, 7-15, 18, Washington Post, https://www.washingtonpost.com/national/the-latest-nielsen-downplays-2018-russia-election-threat/2018/07/15/0402801a-87f7-11e8-9e06-4db52ac42e05_story.html?utm_term=.485f3c4f2c86   The Latest: Nielsen downplays 2018 Russia election threat

PHILADELPHIA — The Latest on U.S. election officials meeting (all times local): 1:10 p.m. The U.S. homeland security secretary says there are no signs Russia is targeting the 2018 midterm elections for cyberattacks with the “scale and scope” it used in 2016. Kirstjen (KEER’-sten) Nielsen spoke Saturday at a Philadelphia conference of U.S. state secretaries of state from across the country. Nielsen’s boss, President Donald Trump, has not said Russia tried to influence the 2016 elections, and Russia has denied interfering. Trump is scheduled to meet Monday with Russian President Vladimir Putin. But Nielsen said Friday’s indictments of 12 Russian intelligence officers on charges of election-related hacking show the federal government won’t tolerate incursions. Nielsen says there’s intelligence Russia is using social media to foster “divisiveness” among the American people. She says local election officials should reach out for help if they need it. ___ This item has been corrected to show the 1st name is spelled is Kirstjen, not Kristjen. ___ 12:40 p.m. Some state election officials say the federal government is doing a better job of communicating about cyber-risks as the nation prepares for 2018 midterm elections. State secretaries of state and other top election officials are meeting in Philadelphia amid fresh allegations of Russia’s interference in the 2016 presidential elections. Missouri Republican Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft says he now is able to reach the Department of Homeland Security about threats to election systems. He says previously the federal authorities would say they talked to the states but not always say whom they reached. Washington GOP Secretary of State Kim Wyman says she’s seen improvements in the last six months. Authorities have said Russian agents tried to get into voter registration systems in 21 states before the 2016 elections, breaching one. Russia has denied interfering in the U.S. election. ___ 3. The top state election officials from throughout the U.S. are gathering this weekend in Philadelphia amid fresh revelations of Russia’s interference in the 2016 presidential election. The annual gathering has typically been a low-key affair highlighting such things as voter registration and balloting devices.

Enthusiasm and generic ballot favor Republicans

Matthew Rosza, 7-14, 18, Alternet.org, A new Fox News Poll Should Scare the Hell out of Republicans as 2018 Approaches, https://www.alternet.org/new-fox-news-poll-should-scare-hell-out-republicans-2018-midterms-loom

Fox News may be a network that is overwhelmingly sympathetic to President Donald Trump, but even their latest poll can’t conceal the ominous news that exists for the Republican Party among the general voting public. While 54 percent of Democrats describe themselves as being “extremely interested” in voting in the 2018 midterm elections, the same is true for only 47 percent of Republicans, according to the Fox News poll. Just as notably, although only 42 percent of Republicans said they were more enthusiastic about the election than usual, 51 percent of Democrats were willing to say the same thing about themselves. This story first appeared in Salon. Report Advertisement Don’t let big tech control what news you see. Get more stories like this in your inbox, every day. email address Overall the survey found that voters asked about their preferences on a generic ballot preferred the Democratic candidate over the Republican candidate by a margin of 48 percent to 40 percent, which is roughly the same as the margin of 48 percent to 39 percent discovered by that same poll in June. That said, when the survey results only include voters who are extremely interested in the upcoming election, the Democratic margin over Republicans on the generic ballot rises to 54 percent to 41 percent. Of particular interest is the gender gap, considering that female candidates have been doing disproportionately well in the recent election cycle. Among Democrats, 54 percent of men and 53 percent of women are extremely interested in the upcoming elections, which is effectively a statistical tie. Among Republicans, however, the Fox News poll found that only 39 percent of Republican women are extremely interested compared to 53 percent of Republican men — an interest gap of 14 points. “Democrats usually have been leading the House generic ballot polling by mid-to-high single digits across polling averages for almost the entire cycle, and polling also has shown Democrats are generally more excited about voting, a trend that I think is backed up by the bulk of the elections that have happened since President Trump was elected,” Kyle Kondik, managing editor of Sabato’s Crystal Ball, explained. “So yes, the poll is in line with what we’ve seen. Democrats are probably 50-50 or even a bit better to take the House, although Republicans remain favored in the Senate thanks to favorable (for them) group of Senate seats being contested this cycle.” Of course, the big question is whether a Democratic sweep in November could imperil Trump’s presidency. While there is little question that a Democratic takeover of either chamber would stymie Trump’s legislative agenda, the prospects of forcibly removing Trump from office are much bleaker for Democrats. “Democrats could start impeachment proceedings with a simple majority vote in the House. That’s what the Republican-controlled House did to Bill Clinton,” Kondik told Salon. “However, it would take a two-thirds vote in the Senate to actually remove Trump from office, and there’s no way the Democrats will have the requisite number of Senate seats to do that by themselves in 2019-2020. So it would the votes of a substantial number of Senate Republicans along with all the Senate Democrats to actually remove Trump from office in the event of impeachment.” Report Advertisement More midterm election statistics came from a poll taken by Washington Post-Schar School, according to The Washington Post. It found that 58 percent of Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents felt it was “extremely” important for them to vote in the upcoming midterm elections, compared to 38 percent among Republican leaners (the overall number was 46 percent of registered voters feeling that it was “extremely” important to vote). That said, the Post reported that “the partisan gap shrinks a bit across the 58 congressional districts defined as ‘toss up’ or ‘leaning’ toward one party’s candidate or another, according to the Cook Political Report (as of June 20). Among Democratic leaners in battlegrounds, 59 percent say that it’s extremely important to vote in midterms, and 46 percent of Republican leaners in battlegrounds say the same.” One wild card in the 2018 midterm elections, however, is the possibility that the results could be altered due to Russian cyber meddling, as Clare Malone of Fivethirtyeight.com explained in April: While Americans are well-acquainted with Russian online trolls’ 2016 disinformation campaign, there’s a more insidious threat of Russian interference in the coming midterms. The Russians could hack our very election infrastructure, disenfranchising Americans and even altering the vote outcome in key states or districts. Election security experts have warned of it, but state election officials have largely played it down for fear of spooking the public. We still might not know the extent to which state election infrastructure was compromised in 2016, nor how compromised it will be in 2018. Another wild card in the 2018 midterm elections is the recent announcement by Trump that he is nominating Judge Brett Kavanaugh to the United States Supreme Court. As a recent report by CNN indicated, this could be instrumental in the Republican Party’s midterm election plans: The Republican National Committee is launching an effort to turn President Donald Trump’s Supreme Court appointment into a dominant issue in 10 key states ahead of November’s midterm elections, CNN has learned. Report Advertisement The GOP’s effort — which includes an extensive field program, digital ads and op-eds — targets Democratic senators up for re-election in states Trump won in 2016 and illustrates how crucial Republicans believe the issue will be for their base in the midterm elections. The RNC plans to make Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination the focus of phone calls and door-to-door visits with flyers and petitions, as well as Facebook and Twitter ad buys, email campaigns, volunteer training efforts and op-eds in key areas. The RNC has committed $250 million toward the midterms, a staffer said.


Turnout likely to be high – voters interest in the midterms is high, Democrats have a marginal lead


Grace Sparks, 6-13, 18, CNN, https://www.cnn.com/2018/07/13/politics/2018-midterms-fox-poll/index.html Voters are extremely interested in 2018 midterms

Seven-in-10 registered voters say they’re extremely or very interested in the November elections, a record high in Fox News polling for their midterm election tracking since 2010. More Democrats, 77%, say they’re interested in the elections, compared with 74% of Republicans and 44% of independents. The 70% figure for extremely or very interested is a new high. Interest in previous years has come close to that, but only right before Election Day. In late October polls in 2014 and 2010, 68% said they were interested. It’s now just the start of July, and already voters have surpassed usual levels of interest. In a follow-up question, Fox asked if, compared with previous congressional elections, voters thought they were more enthusiastic about casting ballots than usual, less enthusiastic or about the same as usual. Forty-four percent said they were more enthusiastic, 43% said they were about the same as usual and only 10% said they were less enthusiastic. Republicans were more likely to say they were about the same as usual in terms of excitement, while Democrats believed they’re more enthusiastic. Forty-eight percent of voters said they would support the Democratic candidate in the upcoming election and 40% reported they preferred the Republican. However, the fact that they would support that party member in their congressional election didn’t mean they believe in the party as a whole. When asked if the Democratic Party has a clear plan for the country, fewer people agreed with that statement than those who said the Republican Party has a plan. Especially interesting, significantly more Republicans thought their own party had a plan for the country (65%) than Democrats who felt that way about the Democratic Party, with about half of saying so. This could be attributed to the fact that Republicans are in power and their plan can be seen in action, but it should be a troubling figure for Democratic leaders. Not everyone is as excited about talking about their political views as they are about voting on them, however. Fox asked whether voters in the last year have intentionally avoided talking with friends and family who have different political views. Respondents were exactly split, with 48% saying yes and the same amount saying no. Key Races 2018 link 2018 Key Races tracker Among the most likely to say they had avoided talking about differing political beliefs were those who lived in union households (63%), women (56%) and whites with college degrees (56%). Men (55%), nonwhite voters (55%) and Trump voters (52%) were the least likely to avoid discussing those matters. The Fox News Poll is conducted under the joint direction of Anderson Robbins Research (D) and Shaw & Company Research (R). The poll was conducted by telephone with live interviewers July 9-11, 2018, among a random national sample of 1,007 registered voters (RV). Results based on the full sample have a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 3 percentage points.

Russians will hack and steal the election

Clare Maline, 4-9, 18, FiveThirtyEight.com, The Moscow Midterms: How Russia Could Steal our Next Election, https://fivethirtyeight.com/features/how-russia-could-steal-the-midterms/

The first Americans to line up to vote on Nov. 6, 2018, will be the East Coast’s earliest risers. As early as 5 a.m. EST, rubbing the sleep from their eyes and clutching travel thermoses of coffee, they will start the procession of perhaps 90 million Americans to vote that day. The last to cast ballots will be Hawaiians, who will do so until 11 p.m. East Coast time. When all is said and done, the federal election will unfold something like an 18-hour-long ballet of democracy: 50 states, dozens of different kinds of voting machines and an expectation that everything should be counted up in time for TV networks to broadcast the results before Americans head to bed. Election Day 2018 is expected to unfold no differently than it has in years past. Except it might. While Americans are well-acquainted with Russian online trolls’ 2016 disinformation campaign, there’s a more insidious threat of Russian interference in the coming midterms. The Russians could hack our very election infrastructure, disenfranchising Americans and even altering the vote outcome in key states or districts. Election security experts have warned of it, but state election officials have largely played it down for fear of spooking the public. We still might not know the extent to which state election infrastructure was compromised in 2016, nor how compromised it will be in 2018. ADVERTISEMENT Most of us can’t really ….. John Bresnehan knows all too well that there are hundreds of Bonnies around the country, running elections. And intelligence officials like John know that the Russians aren’t just targeting local officials but voting service providers as well — the vendors who make voting machines and software and who sometimes help municipalities or counties draw up their ballots. One attack on a such a provider was already public — on VR Systems, which provides services like online voter registration platforms and electronic poll books to eight states — but there were more that they hadn’t revealed yet to the public, at least two. These days, John was perpetually pissed at the Founding Fathers for giving so much power to the states. They just didn’t have the resources to make their systems secure and state-of-the-art. ….. J. Alex Halderman, a professor of computer science at the University of Michigan and an expert in cybersecurity and voting systems, has cautioned that hacker probes into online voter registration systems in 2016 looked in many ways like the preparatory stages of another attack. “The first thing any advanced or persistent attacker will do is basically case the joint — you figure out what computer systems are exposed online, what data do they contain, what kind of beachhead do they give me for committing a more serious attack later,” Halderman said. Matt Eble, a former CIA cyberthreat analyst, agreed. He pointed out that states could very well be missing current incursions into their systems, even with the awareness raised after attempts in 2016. “You have well-resourced Fortune 500 companies, and they’re still being breached regularly,” he said. “That’s the case for organizations that are disciplined and well-resourced and have dedicated staff.” That description often does not apply to state electoral commissions. The Department of Homeland Security can provide states with security scans of their election systems free of charge — a DHS official told FiveThirtyEight that 32 states are receiving ongoing cyber hygiene scans. More comprehensive onsite assessments of states’ risks are also available from DHS, something that 15 states have requested. (Eight have already had the assessment, and seven more will have been completed by “mid-April,” according to the official.) But some states are wary of DHS help. In December 2016, Georgia’s secretary of state said DHS had tried to hack the state’s system, and Indiana and Idaho secretaries of state said the same in 2017. Marian Schneider, Pennsylvania’s former deputy secretary for elections and the current president of Verified Voting, a nonprofit dedicated to safeguarding election integrity, acknowledged that there can be tension when it comes to protecting local control over elections. “I do know some secretaries of states don’t want the federal government involved in elections in their state, period — regardless of whether it’s helpful or not,” she said. And because elections are administered by states, preparedness standards can vary. Some states test and certify voting machines according to their own standards, while others rely on standards set by the Election Assistance Commission. But the EAC, and by proxy the federal government, has no power to tell states what standards their voting machines or voting software must live up to, security-wise. “We run a conformity assessment program,” said Brian Hancock, head of the EAC’s testing and certification. “The machines either meet the standards or they don’t. We don’t make any value judgments on whether one type of technology is better than another.” Some states are making moves to improve their voting infrastructure in the post-2016 landscape. Virginia decertified its direct-recording electronic machines in the lead-up to its gubernatorial election in 2017, and Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf recently ordered that new machines purchased by counties provide a vote paper trail. Security experts also advocate for the implementation of something called a risk-limiting audit in the aftermath of an election. Its purpose? To prevent the most catastrophic election tampering scenario of them all: that a person who wasn’t actually elected be placed into office. This audit is a statistical sample of paper ballots after an election and is used to mitigate the risk that votes have been changed on the electronic tally. Along with voting solely on paper ballots, experts agree that these audits are the best, most efficient way to double-check the veracity of an election. Colorado has begun auditing races in this manner, and Rhode Island has passed legislation saying such audits must be initiated this year. These efforts aren’t just a way to stop vote hacking; they’re also intended to shore up Americans’ faith in their voting system. Regardless of whether a hack is successful at changing vote counts, the Russians are engaging in the cheapest sort of warfare: the psychological variety. Plant a seed of doubt, and it grows like a weed. Matt Dietrich of the Illinois Board of Elections is all too aware of the consequences a hack can have, given Illinois’s 2016 experience. “You’re always vigilant, but this idea of creating doubt, creating chaos, that to me is a much more real scenario (than voting machine hacks) because we’ve already seen it on the ground level,” he said. “The worst-case scenario to us would be that regular voters fear or doubt the integrity of the system so much that they just totally opt out, they become disengaged.” But for security experts like Halderman, the notion of trust is more complicated. He believes that the public’s awareness of potential problems is actually crucial to fixing the system. “Our primary goal isn’t for people to blindly trust the election system. Our goal is for them to have a basis to trust the election system, to have a rational level of trust,” he said. “If anything, people having unfounded confidence in the election system just assures that problems will not be fixed.” And that, Halderman said, could be disastrous. “If we do nothing, it’s only a matter of time until a major election is stolen in a cyberattack.”



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