Two years into President Barack Obama’s term, in 2010, the GOP gained more than 600 legislative seats and unleashed a torrent of right-wing laws that undercut unions and restricted voting rights. In 2014, they gained roughly 250 seats, according to data compiled by Ballotpedia. Democrats returned the favor in 2018 by gaining more than 300 legislative seats, powered by President Donald Trump’s widespread unpopularity.
No such wave occurred in 2022. Republicans gained only 22 legislative seats this fall out of more than 6,000 that were on the ballot, according to Bolts’s review of the latest available results. (Bolts has identified roughly a dozen seats across the country whose results are pending potential recounts and will adjust its calculations as the final results are known. One legislative race in New Hampshire has ended in an exact tie after a recount.)
And it gets worse for Republicans. While they managed to net a few seats overall, their biggest gains came in chambers that they already massively control, such as the West Virginia or South Carolina houses, or else in New York, where they are deeply in the minority.
By contrast, Democrats soared in closely-divided legislatures and seized four previously GOP-held chambers: Michigan’s House and Senate, Minnesota’s Senate, and Pennsylvania’s House. In addition, the GOP seems to have lost control of Alaska’s Senate; a group made up of centrist Republicans and Democratic senators announced on Friday that they would form a coalition to run the chamber. We may not know until 2023 if a similar coalition emerges in the Alaska House, or if the GOP can coalesce to win control of that chamber.
This blog continues the discussion that we began with Epic Journey: The 2008 Elections and American Politics (Rowman and Littlefield, 2009).The latest book in this series is Divided We Stand: The 2020 Elections and American Politics.
Wednesday, November 30, 2022
State Legislatures: Red Bupkes
Tuesday, November 29, 2022
Fuentes, Ye,Trump: Continued
Our new book is titled Divided We Stand: The 2020 Elections and American Politics. Among other things, it discusses the state of the parties. The state of the GOP is not good.
Emily Brooks at The Hill:
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) condemned white nationalist figure Nick Fuentes after former President Trump dined with Fuentes and rapper Ye at his Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida last week.
But McCarthy did not place blame on Trump.
“I don’t think anybody should be spending any time with Nick Fuentes,” McCarthy told reporters outside the White House on Tuesday after a meeting with other top congressional leaders and President Biden. “He has no place in this Republican Party.”
“I think President Trump came out four times and condemned him and didn’t know who he was,” McCarthy said.
A reporter noted Trump did not condemn Fuentes’s ideology.
“The Jews had better start being nice to people like us, because what comes out of this is going to get a lot uglier for them…”— Jaime Kirzner-Roberts (@jaimekr) November 25, 2022
Meet neo-Nazi Nick Fuentes. Fuentes was President Trump’s dinner guest at Mar-a-Lago this week along with Kanye West. pic.twitter.com/2n2Dgmjo9J
Sunday, November 27, 2022
This month, armed protesters appeared outside an elections center in Phoenix, hurling baseless accusations that the election for governor had been stolen from the Republican, Kari Lake. In October, Proud Boys with guns joined a rally in Nashville where conservative lawmakers spoke against transgender medical treatments for minors.
In June, armed demonstrations around the United States amounted to nearly one a day. A group led by a former Republican state legislator protested a gay pride event in a public park in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho. Men with guns interrupted a Juneteenth festival in Franklin, Tenn., handing out fliers claiming that white people were being replaced. Among the others were rallies in support of gun rights in Delaware and abortion rights in Georgia.
Whether at the local library, in a park or on Main Street, most of these incidents happen where Republicans have fought to expand the ability to bear arms in public, a movement bolstered by a recent Supreme Court ruling on the right to carry firearms outside the home. The loosening of limits has occurred as violent political rhetoric rises and the police in some places fear bloodshed among an armed populace on a hair trigger.
But the effects of more guns in public spaces have not been evenly felt. A partisan divide — with Democrats largely eschewing firearms and Republicans embracing them — has warped civic discourse. Deploying the Second Amendment in service of the First has become a way to buttress a policy argument, a sort of silent, if intimidating, bullhorn.
A New York Times analysis of more than 700 armed demonstrations found that, at about 77 percent of them, people openly carrying guns represented right-wing views, such as opposition to L.G.B.T.Q. rights and abortion access, hostility to racial justice rallies and support for former President Donald J. Trump’s lie of winning the 2020 election.
In 2018, Joanne Freeman wrote of the antebellum Congress:
More often than not, such bullies were Southerners or Southern-born Westerners. So-called fighting men promoted their interests and silenced their foes with insults, fists, canes, knives, pistols and the occasional brick, giving them a literal fighting advantage over “noncombatants,” who were usually Northerners. Sumner’s brutal caning was far from the only violent incident in Congress.
Saturday, November 26, 2022
Fuentes, Ye, Trump
Former President Donald Trump distanced himself Friday from a pre-Thanksgiving dinner at his Mar-a-Lago club in Florida with Ye, formerly known as Kanye West, and white supremacist Nick Fuentes, claiming he didn’t know the identity of the far-right activist who was unexpectedly brought along with the rapper.
“This past week, Kanye West called me to have dinner at Mar-a-Lago. Shortly thereafter, he unexpectedly showed up with three of his friends, whom I knew nothing about,” Trump said Friday in a statement on his Truth Social platform.
“We had dinner on Tuesday evening with many members present on the back patio. The dinner was quick and uneventful,” Trump said. “They then left for the airport.”
A person familiar with the dinner conversation who is not involved in Trump's presidential campaign and two Trump advisers briefed on the dinner corroborated Trump's claim that he didn't know Fuentes' identity when they dined together. The three sources spoke on condition on anonymity given the nature of the controversy.
But despite Trump suggesting that the event was “uneventful,” the fallout over his dinner with Fuentes appears to have thrown Trump’s campaign into damage control mode. The former president took hours to respond publicly after multiple media outlets reported that Fuentes was present at the dinner.
Even the two Trump advisers winced at how a Holocaust denier like Fuentes was able to wind up with Trump at dinner — even if it was by mistake — along with the rapper, who had just had his Twitter account restored but lost major endorsement deals for making antisemitic remarks.
Friday, November 25, 2022
“That will help frame up the 2024 race, when I hope and I think President Trump is going to run again. And we need to make sure that he wins,” Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), who’s set to chair the Judiciary Committee under a 2023 GOP majority, said at a CPAC conference in Texas late last week.
The Congressional Integrity Project, which already has focus groups underway, promises to be as much about offense as defense. It plans to investigate the lawmakers investigating Biden, many of whom hail from the safe congressional districts and have never faced a tough election and the kind of opposition research and media scrutiny it brings.
Herrig’s group is working with another, Courage for America, which just launched. While the Congressional Integrity Project is focused on the investigations, Courage for America is focused on the legislation and personalities of the entire House GOP caucus.
With a seven-figure budget and support from the Hub Project, a giant Democratic dark money network, the group plans a robust operation including polling, paid advertising and social media campaigns, along with traditional opposition research and communications.
The third group, Facts First, was started by David Brock, the former self-described “right-wing hit man” who then had a political conversion and used his fundraising talent to start a series of groups that have become key parts of Democratic infrastructure. Those include Media Matters and American Bridge, both of which he stepped away from to start Facts First.
Brock said an American Bridge donor has already pledged six-figures to support Facts First, which he said would likely have a $10 million budget over two years. Co-founders include former Republican Rep. David Jolly, a Trump critic who has since left the party, and longtime Democratic strategist Maria Cardona.
Thursday, November 24, 2022
Diploma Divide 2022
In Defying the Odds, we talk about the social and economic divides that enabled Trump to enter the White House. In Divided We Stand, we discuss how these divides played out in 2020. The diploma divide has become increasingly evident.Theodoric Meyer and Leigh Ann Caldwell at WP:
The midterms offered fresh evidence that voters with bachelor's degrees and those without them are diverging.
In the 2018 midterms, 56 percent of voters with college degrees and 51 percent of voters without them voted for Democrats, according to the Associated Press’s VoteCast survey — a gap of five percentage points.
This year, the gap widened to 10 points: 52 percent of voters with college degrees supported Democrats while 42 percent of voters without degrees did so. The split echoed the gap between college-educated and non-college-educated voters’ support for Biden in 2020.
Voters with and without college degrees were more likely to support Republicans this year than in 2018 — a stronger year for Democrats. But voters without college degrees shifted more sharply toward the GOP than college-educated ones across racial and gender lines:
Non-college-educated voters’ increasing willingness to back Republicans didn’t prevent Democrats from holding the Senate or limiting Republicans’ gains in the House, but Republicans are hopeful they’ll have a bigger impact in future elections.
- White voters without degrees moved seven points toward Republicans this year, while college-educated ones moved three points
- Black voters without degrees moved eight points toward Republicans this year, while college-educated ones moved four points
- Latino voters without degrees moved 10 points toward Republicans this year, while college-educated ones moved five points
- Men without degrees moved seven points toward Republicans this year, while college-educated men moved one point
- Women without degrees moved eight points toward Republicans this year, while college-educated women moved seven points
Monday, November 21, 2022
Opposing Tides in 2022
The results by state only add to the uncommon picture. In our era of increasingly nationalized elections, trends in one part of the country tend to play out in others as well. Instead, this year we saw a split: Republicans fared exceptionally well in some states, including Florida and New York. In others, like Michigan or Pennsylvania, Democrats excelled.
How can we make sense of it? The results seem unusual because of two unusual issues: democracy and abortion.
Unlike in the typical midterm election, these issues were driven by the actions of the party out of power. Indeed, the party out of power achieved the most important policy success of the last two years: the overturning of Roe v. Wade. It’s nothing like the typical midterm, which might be dominated by a backlash over a first-term president’s effort to reform the health system, as with Obamacare in 2010 or Mr. Clinton’s health care initiative in 1994.
These issues were unusual in another respect: Their importance diverged by state or by candidate. Abortion rights might not be seen as under immediate threat in many blue states. The possibility that a Republican governor might overturn a Democratic presidential victory in New York might not seem especially realistic, either.
But the two matters were directly relevant in other states, whether through referendums on abortion rights or candidates on the ballot who had taken antidemocratic stances in the very places where Mr. Trump tried to overturn the last presidential election. In those places, Democrats tended to defy political gravity. In states where democracy and abortion were less directly at issue, the typical midterm dynamics often took hold and Republicans excelled.
Of course, Trump is widely disliked. Only 39 percent of exit poll respondents had a favorable view of Trump, while 58 percent offered unfavorable evaluations.
Putting a guy with 58 percent unfavorables in every voter’s face, every day, during the final run-up to the election is going to limit your gains. Almost as many Americans said their ballot was a vote against Trump as said it was a vote against Biden.
In the National Eleciton Pool exit poll, 32 percent said their House vote was a vote against Biden, but 28 percent said it was a vote against Trump.
Sunday, November 20, 2022
If he was watching from the White House, President Biden might have winced last week when Speaker Nancy Pelosi declared in her speech on the House floor that “the hour has come for a new generation to lead.” Fortunately for him, she made sure to then add “the Democratic Caucus,” a caveat he no doubt appreciated.
Although Mr. Biden turns 80 years old on Sunday, he has made no plans to call attention to the milestone, much less to step down, celebrating only with a private family brunch. But the confluence of his milestone birthday with the 82-year-old Ms. Pelosi’s passing of the torch has inevitably renewed attention on the gerontocracy that has led both the Democratic and Republican parties for years and raised questions about when a new generation will come forth.
Over the last couple of years, the United States has been under the stewardship of the oldest leadership class in its history, with a president, House speaker, House majority leader, House majority whip, Senate president pro tempore, Senate majority leader, Senate majority whip and Senate minority leader all in their 70s or 80s. The 117th Congress that will complete its term in January is the oldest the country has ever seen, with nearly one in four members over the age of 70.
Mr. Biden, America’s oldest president and the first octogenarian in the Oval Office, has said he will officially announce his plans early next year, but he has indicated that he “intends” to run for re-election, which would make him 86 at the end of a second term if he were to win. Former President Donald J. Trump, who kicked off a campaign last week to oust his successor, became the oldest man to assume the presidency when he was sworn in in 2017, until Mr. Biden beat his record last year. Now 76, Mr. Trump would be 82 at the end of his second term should he recapture the White House.
Average age of House Dem leaders today: 82.3— Dave Levinthal (@davelevinthal) November 17, 2022
Average age of likely new House Dem leaders: 51.3https://t.co/jrj1PWUzKT
Friday, November 18, 2022
Some Christian Leaders Turn on Trump
A televangelist who served as a spiritual adviser to Donald Trump says the former president has the tendency to act “like a little elementary schoolchild” and suggests that Trump’s focus on minor spats was preventing progress on larger goals.
“If Mr. Trump can’t stop his little petty issues, how does he expect people to stop major issues?” James Robison, the president of the Christian group Life Outreach International, said Wednesday night at a meeting of the National Association of Christian Lawmakers (NACL), a conservative political group that focuses on social issues....
The televangelist then started criticizing Trump, prompting the crowd to grow quiet.
“Everything you wanted him to hear — every single thing you ever prayed for him to hear — came through these lips right straight into his face,” Robison told the crowd Wednesday, his voice growing lower and louder. “And with the same force you’ve heard me talking to you, I spoke it to him.”
By now, Robison was shouting, practically spitting his words out as he recalled what he said he told Trump.
“ ‘Sir, you act like a little elementary schoolchild and you shoot yourself in the foot every morning you get up and open your mouth! The more you keep your mouth closed, the more successful you’re gonna be!’ ” Robison said.
The sharp words from Robison, who after the 2016 election called Trump “a supernatural answer to prayer,” came just a day after Trump announced he would run for reelection in 2024. His campaign announcement has been met with a relatively muted response from Republicans and public figures who used to be his most fervent supporters, including from the evangelical church.
...In an essay sent to The Washington Post earlier this month, Mike Evans, a former member of the evangelical advisory board, said he would not vote for Trump again and recalled how he once left a Trump rally “in tears because I saw Bible believers glorifying Donald Trump like he was an idol.”
“All of us knew that Trump had character flaws, but we considered our relationship with him transactional,” wrote Evans, a Texas author and Christian Zionist who raises money for outreach and support in Israel. “We wanted Supreme Court justices to overturn Roe v. Wade. We wanted his support of our biblical values. We all wanted his support for the State of Israel. Donald Trump indeed kept and exceeded his promises to us.”
However, Evans said Trump had done damage by turning “the pulpit that we preach from” into a political platform.
“Donald Trump can’t save America. He can’t even save himself. He used us to win the White House. We had to close our mouths and eyes when he said things that horrified us,” Evans wrote. “I cannot do that anymore.”
Excess Death Rates by Party
Jacob Wallace, Paul Goldsmith-Pinkham & Jason L. Schwartz, "Excess Death Rates for Republicans and Democrats During the COVID-19 Pandemic," NBER Working Paper 30512 ttp://www.nber.org/papers/w30512
Political affiliation has emerged as a potential risk factor for COVID-19, amid evidence that Republican-leaning counties have had higher COVID-19 death rates than Democrat- leaning counties and evidence of a link between political party affiliation and vaccination views. This study constructs an individual-level dataset with political affiliation and excess death rates during the COVID-19 pandemic via a linkage of 2017 voter registration in Ohio and Florida to mortality data from 2018 to 2021. We estimate substantially higher excess death rates for registered Republicans when compared to registered Democrats, with almost all of the difference concentrated in the period after vaccines were widely available in our study states. Overall, the excess death rate for Republicans was 5.4 percentage points (pp), or 76%, higher than the excess death rate for Democrats. Post- vaccines, the excess death rate gap between Republicans and Democrats widened from 1.6 pp (22% of the Democrat excess death rate) to 10.4 pp (153% of the Democrat excess death rate). The gap in excess death rates between Republicans and Democrats is concentrated in counties with low vaccination rates and only materializes after vaccines became widely available.
Thursday, November 17, 2022
HIspanic Voters in 2022
In Defying the Odds, we talk about the social and economic divides that enabled Trump to enter the White House. In Divided We Stand, we discuss how these divides played out in 2020.
Ahead of the 2022 midterm elections, there was a great deal of speculation about how Hispanic citizens would vote. Some pre-election polls showed them swinging dramatically toward Republicans, perhaps even coming close to splitting their vote evenly between the two parties, which would have represented a seismic shift in American politics.
Such a massive shift did not take place—and its failure to materialize is one of the reasons that Republicans are facing disappointingly small gains in the House. But we should nevertheless note that Republicans apparently had their best year with Hispanic voters since 2004. CNN exit polls indicate that what was a 40-point Democratic margin among Hispanic voters as recently as 2018 has now shrunk by almost half, to 60-39 in favor of Democrats. Put another way, one in 10 Hispanic voters has shifted their vote from Democrats to Republicans over the last four years.
...Whereas the 328 districts without high Hispanic population saw Republicans overperform expectations by an average of 0.5 points, in the 73 high-Hispanic-population districts Republicans overperformed expectations by an average of 5.3 points. That offers a nice confirmation of what the exit polls are telling us. High-Hispanic districts have become more Republican.
Wednesday, November 16, 2022
- Arizona: Kelly (D) 1.0% vs. 4.9%
- Georgia: Walker (R) 0.6% vs. -0.9%
- Nevada: Laxalt (R) 2.8% vs. -1.9%
- New Hampshire: Hassan (D) 1.0% vs. 9.1%
- Ohio: Vance (R) 7.5 % vs. 6.5%
- Pennsylvania: Fetterman (D) 0.1% vs. 4.5%
- Washington: Murray (D) 3.0% vs. 14.9%
- Wisconsin: Johnson (R) 2.8% vs. 1.0%
- People see the Supreme Court as a political branch: 63 percent say the Supreme Court is mainly motivated by politics
- And Dobbs was unpopular.
Prospects for 2023:
- In California, the political alignment is clear, but the economic outlook is cloudy. Inflation has already taken a toll, and a stock market downturn could severely affect state revenues.
- In Washington, divided government will hinder basic decisions such as passing spending bills and raising the debt ceiling. The GOP's narrow margin will not help.
- Expect lots of investigations. Some Republicans will push for Biden's impeachment.
Trump's Unwelcome Return
In Defying the Odds, we discuss Trump's dishonesty and his record of disregarding the rule of law. Our next book, Divided We Stand, looks at the 2020 election and the January 6 insurrection. He hurt the GOP in 2022 and now he is running for 2024.
The guy who spawned an insurrection in January 2021 is back. On Tuesday night, Donald Trump launched his bid for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination. In front of Mar-a-Lago’s fawning faithful, he attacked Joe Biden and lamented the state of the US in his own absence. “Embarrassed”, “humiliated” and “glory” emerged as the evening’s buzzwords.
The speech sounded like a rehash of his inaugural address. The US has been warned. Unless “45” goes to prison sometime soon, expect the coming months to be a constant pity-party, fueled by a bottomless pit of grievances. In his own words, he is “persecuted” and a “victim”. His son Eric is the unfair recipient of a passel of subpoenas.
Whether this witches’ brew is enough to get the one-term president to the finish line ahead of prospective rivals and the West Wing’s current occupant is debatable. Already, Ivanka Trump has announced that she will not be part of her father’s campaign: “This time around, I am choosing to prioritize my young children.”
Sarah Matthews, the former Trump aide who emerged as a hero at the House select committee’s hearing, took a swipe of her own. “This is one of the most low-energy, uninspiring speeches I’ve ever heard from Trump,” she tweeted. “Even the crowd seems bored. Not exactly what you want when announcing a presidential run.”
Heading into this midterm election cycle, most forecasters expected House Republicans to gain 20 or 30 seats, giving them a comfortable majority. Instead, they find themselves scrapping for every last seat in hopes of getting a bare majority of 218, with a cushion of a few seats beyond that if they are lucky. This disappointing performance can be attributed — at least in part — to Donald Trump’s influence on candidate selection. But just how much?
We can put a number on it by seeing how Trump-supported candidates did relative to those Republicans he did not endorse. If we look at all 401 contests in which a single Democrat faced a single Republican, there is not much difference. Relative to baseline expectations derived from their districts’ recent voting patterns (as calculated by the Cook Partisan Voting Index), 144 Trump-endorsed candidates exceeded their baselines by an average of 1.52 points. In 257 races where Trump did not endorse a general-election candidate, Republicans exceeded their baseline by 1.46 points.
But that similarity is driven mainly by Trump’s endorsements of many Republicans cruising to easy reelection in uncompetitive districts. If we focus exclusively on districts where the margin of victory was less than 15 points, such that the seat was conceivably in the balance, the picture that emerges is quite different.
In these 114 districts, candidates bearing Trump endorsements underperformed their baseline by a whopping five points, while Republicans who were without Trump’s blessing overperformed their baseline by 2.2 points — a remarkable difference of more than seven points.
Tuesday, November 15, 2022
Midterm & Abortion
Our most recent book is titled Divided We Stand: The 2020 Elections and American Politics. Among other things, it discusses state and congressional elections.
Ally Mutnick et al. at Politico:
A clear momentum shift built over the summer. Biden’s approval ticked up. Democrats were gaining in national generic ballot polls. And voter registration in numerous states shifted younger and more female.
Voters in Kansas overwhelmingly rejected an August referendum that would have opened the door to revoking access to abortion in the red state. Then New York Democrat Pat Ryan won a special election for a closely divided Hudson Valley district while campaigning heavily on abortion rights.
Meanwhile, Democratic candidates and outside groups began a TV ad campaign that would carry through the fall. Since July, Democrats have spent some $120 million on abortion-focused advertising, according to data from AdImpact, a media tracking firm.
Republicans’ internal surveys conducted before Dobbs showed a massive win in November brewing. One example: Slotkin was trailing by a high-single-digit margin in her opponent’s private polling in June. But by mid-September, Republican Tom Barrett was down in his polls, and Slotkin beat him by 5 points on Election Day.
“I don’t think that was all Dobbs, because he had a lot of negative spending going on at the same time,” said Jason Cabel Roe, Barrett’s consultant. “But I don’t think you can ignore the role Dobbs played in it.”
Overturning Roe motivated huge segments of the Democratic Party, especially younger voters — and especially in Michigan, where abortion was literally on the ballot in the form of a constitutional amendment to guarantee the right to the procedure.
Democrats still had to grapple with inflation and a looming recession, and their candidates aired numerous ads assuring voters they felt their pain. The DCCC’s strategy was for candidates to fight Republicans “to a draw” on the economy and then talk about abortion rights, extremism or guns to pull ahead. One of the closest midterms in history, instead of the usual party-in-power wipeout, was vindication.
Sunday, November 13, 2022
A Great Week for Democrats
Voters in the six major battlegrounds where Donald Trump tried to reverse his defeat in 2020 rejected election-denying candidates seeking to control their states’ election systems this year, a resounding signal that Americans have grown weary of the former president’s unfounded claims of widespread fraud.
Candidates for secretary of state in Michigan, Arizona and Nevada who had echoed Trump’s false accusations lost their contests on Tuesday, with the latter race called Saturday night. A fourth candidate never made it out of his May primary in Georgia. In Pennsylvania, one of the nation’s most prominent election deniers lost his bid for governor, a job that would have given him the power to appoint the secretary of state. And in Wisconsin, an election-denying contender’s loss in the governor’s race effectively blocked a move to put election administration under partisan control.
The first reverberations of the biggest political earthquake of the cycle were felt online. The Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, upending a half-century of federally guaranteed abortion rights. Almost immediately, money came pouring into ActBlue, the Democratic online donation site.
An analysis of federal records showed that since the fall of Roe, Democrats had raised $627.7 million through ActBlue — more than two and a half times the $239.3 million Republican haul on WinRed, the G.O.P. donation portal — expanding an existing money edge.
The cash disparity served as an early warning sign for Republican enthusiasm. In contrast to other midterms, the party in power was the one most energized by what was being taken away from it. From coast to coast, Democratic campaigns ran abortion ads over the summer, casting Republicans as extremists and then winning some key races, including an abortion-related referendum in Kansas and a special House election in New York.
Saturday, November 12, 2022
CA GOP: Still Dead
Does anyone else feel like the outcomes of California’s Tuesday election were largely predictable?
It’s true that county elections officials still have to tally more than 4.8 million ballots, according to Thursday estimates. And it’s true that some state legislative and U.S. House races are still too close to call, and could remain that way for days or even weeks.
But at the state level, results were almost instantaneously set in stone. Gov. Gavin Newsom’s victory over Republican state Sen. Brian Dahle was so assured that the Associated Press called the race one minute after polls closed. And every Democratic incumbent running for statewide office easily sailed to victory.
The one exception: the race for controller, the only statewide office without an incumbent seeking reelection. Democrat Malia Cohen has declared victory, but Republican Lanhee Chen — who as of Thursday was trailing her by about six percentage points — hasn’t conceded.
But it was futile for Chen to think that he could become the first Republican to win statewide office in California in nearly two decades, especially without widespread name recognition or a massive campaign warchest, Democratic political consultant Bill Wong said at a Thursday post-election event hosted by the Sacramento Press Club.
Another massive headwind for Republican candidates: the reluctance of GOP voters to cast their votes by mail, which experts largely attribute to former President Donald Trump’s unfounded claims of voter fraud and suppression. The California Republican Party has tried to counter this message, repeatedly telling residents this fall that mail voting is secure and urging them to vote early because it “benefits Republican candidates.”
- Wong: “It kills me because the Asian guy doesn’t know math. It’s like, 47% of the population is Democratic. Unless, you know, divine intervention is gonna occur, you’re not going to be able to do it.”
- Wong added: “He’s a great guy. He’s got a great profile. But you can’t communicate that when, the sad thing is, in a lot of ways demographics is your destiny.”
- Tim Rosales, a Republican political consultant and president and CEO of Rosales Johnson Agency: “As much as we want them to return ballots, as much as you want to make sure that you get those early votes, there is that belief out there amongst many that they don’t trust that their votes will be counted. Until we really get a credible national figure that will say something different, that will penetrate in the minds of Republican voters and flip that script again, I think we’re likely to see that same behavior continue in subsequent elections.”
Friday, November 11, 2022
My @BulwarkOnline piece from August is holding up pretty well. https://t.co/wBpoSeQOFe— Jack Pitney (@jpitney) November 11, 2022
Thursday, November 10, 2022
State Legislatures 2022
Democrats took control of the Michigan legislature this week, handing the party full power over the state government for the first time in nearly 40 years as Gov. Gretchen Whitmer beat back a Republican challenger Tuesday night.
In Michigan and elsewhere, Democrats not only held onto governorships in battlegrounds like Wisconsin and Kansas but also outperformed expectations in many key statehouse races, delivering a blow to Republicans who have dominated many of the chambers for a decade or more.
Democrats flipped the Republican stronghold in the Minnesota Senate, notching a trifecta as Democratic Gov. Tim Walz won reelection. The unified government in St. Paul opens the door for Walz and his allies in the statehouse to reach a deal on how to spend a $12 billion budget surplus. The Legislature adjourned earlier this year after gridlock stalled spending negotiations.
Democrats are also threatening the Republican majorities in the Pennsylvania House and Senate. And while results in Arizona — another top target for Democrats — remain unclear, Republicans just hold narrow two-seat majorities in both the Arizona House and Senate.
Wednesday, November 9, 2022
Abortion on the Ballot
Our most recent book is titled Divided We Stand: The 2020 Elections and American Politics. Among other things, it discusses state and congressional elections. Abortion was a big issue in the 2022 midterm.
Stephanie Perry and colleagues at NBC:
Americans named inflation and abortion as the most important issues driving their votes Tuesday, edging out crime despite Republicans' hammering the issue, according to the NBC News Exit Poll.
Democrats care most about abortion rights, while Republicans are most concerned about inflation, according to the poll. Independent voters also named inflation and abortion as the most important issues determining how they cast their ballots.
Asked which issue mattered most this year, nearly a third of voters nationwide (32%) said inflation, and just over a quarter (27%) said abortion.
...The poll found that a majority of voters nationwide are disappointed or angry about the Supreme Court decision overturning Roe v. Wade.
The poll found that 39% of voters are angry about the Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization decision in June and that 21% more voters feel dissatisfied with the ruling.That's compared to 21% of voters nationwide who said they are satisfied with the Dobbs decision and 16% more who said they feel enthusiastic about it.
The future of abortion access was on the ballot in several states. In the exit poll, more voters nationwide said abortion should be legal rather than illegal: 60% said it should be legal in all or most cases; 36% said it should be illegal in all cases.
Tuesday, November 8, 2022
Confidence in the Vote
Our recent book is titled Divided We Stand: The 2020 Elections and American Politics. Among other things, it discusses the state of the parties. The state of the GOP is not good. Trump and his minions falsely claimed that he won the election, and have kept repeating the Big Lie.
Public confidence in the electoral process has been a growing topic of concern. While a majority of Americans express some degree of confidence that, across the country, votes will be accurately cast and counted in today's elections, that masks a yawning partisan gap. Over eight in 10 Democrats are confident in the integrity of the process, while four in 10 Republicans are not. Here's the trend surprise: In 2008, there was less confidence in the integrity of elections among Americans overall, but NO partisan difference.
Monday, November 7, 2022
Top Russian Admits to Election Interference
Russian businessman Yevgeny Prigozhin said on Monday he had interfered in U.S. elections and would continue doing so in future, the first such admission from a figure who has been formally implicated by Washington in efforts to influence American politics.
In comments posted by the press service of his Concord catering firm on Russia's Facebook equivalent VKontakte, Prigozhin said: "We have interfered (in U.S. elections), we are interfering and we will continue to interfere. Carefully, accurately, surgically and in our own way, as we know how to do."
The remark was posted on the eve of the U.S. midterm elections in response to a request for comment from a Russian news site.
"During our pinpoint operations, we will remove both kidneys and the liver at once," Prigozhin said. He did not elaborate on the cryptic comment.
Prigozhin, who is often referred to as "Putin's chef" because his catering company operates Kremlin contracts, has been formally accused of sponsoring Russia-based "troll farms" that seek to influence U.S. politics.
Suspected Russian operatives have used far-right media platforms to denigrate Democratic candidates in Georgia, New York, Ohio and Pennsylvania in a renewed effort to influence voters in next week’s midterm elections, private researchers said Thursday.
The alleged Russian influence operation included six political cartoons spread in the last week on a pro-Donald Trump online forum, according to social media analysis firm Graphika, which discovered the activity.
The cartoons include a racist depiction of Sen. Raphael Warnock of Georgia and a cartoon suggesting Ohio Senate candidate Tim Ryan will release drug traffickers from prison.
Sunday, November 6, 2022
Russian Interference, Continued
Our latest book is titled Divided We Stand: The 2020 Elections and American Politics. Among other things, it discusses foreign influence and Trump's attack on democracy. Russia helped Trump through 2020.
The user on Gab who identifies as Nora Berka resurfaced in August after a yearlong silence on the social media platform, reposting a handful of messages with sharply conservative political themes before writing a stream of original vitriol.
The posts mostly denigrated President Biden and other prominent Democrats, sometimes obscenely. They also lamented the use of taxpayer dollars to support Ukraine in its war against invading Russian forces, depicting Ukraine’s president as a caricature straight out of Russian propaganda.
The fusion of political concerns was no coincidence.
The account was previously linked to the same secretive Russian agency that interfered in the 2016 presidential election and again in 2020, the Internet Research Agency in St. Petersburg, according to the cybersecurity group Recorded Future.
It is part of what the group and other researchers have identified as a new, though more narrowly targeted, Russian effort ahead of Tuesday’s midterm elections. The goal, as before, is to stoke anger among conservative voters and to undermine trust in the American electoral system. This time, it also appears intended to undermine the Biden administration’s extensive military assistance to Ukraine.
“It’s clear they are trying to get them to cut off aid and money to Ukraine,” said Alex Plitsas, a former Army soldier and Pentagon information operations official now with Providence Consulting Group, a business technology company.
The campaign — using accounts that pose as enraged Americans like Nora Berka — have added fuel to the most divisive political and cultural issues in the country today.
It has specifically targeted Democratic candidates in the most contested races, including the Senate seats up for grabs in Ohio, Arizona and Pennsylvania, calculating that a Republican majority in the Senate and the House of Representatives could help the Russian war effort.
And more on the history and motivation of collusion:
This is exactly what Putin wants. If we’d had Republicans like this in the 1980s, we would have lost the Cold War. pic.twitter.com/vPYmYuj6ME— Liz Cheney (@Liz_Cheney) November 4, 2022
Chilling and excellent piece about Russia, Ukraine, Manafort, Stone, and long term planning.— Captain Renault 🇺🇦 (@NotClaudeRains) November 3, 2022
You can read it through this gift link without a subscription. https://t.co/UQRcqIZwjy