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There Is No Blue Wave

There Is No Blue Wave

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer confer during a news conference at the U.S. Capitol June 28, 2018, in Washington, D.C. (Aaron P. Bernstein/Getty Images)

By Wednesday, 24 October 2018 10:47 AM Current | Bio | Archive

For loyal readers, here is my final prediction.

There is no “wave” (red or blue). This election is a turn-out battle, not a nationalized referendum on anything. Kavanaugh, the migrant caravans, Antifa, Mueller, Trump, and Pelosi all matter a little in their own way but not enough to distract from the more compelling issues of personal economy, direction of the country, and locally important matters unique in each district.

In assessing these central issues, there is no table set for an inordinate, generally blue advantage. There hasn’t been any such advantage all year. There never was a blue wave and it does not exist now. It was not evident earlier in the year and just recently disappeared — it never existed at all outside of the fevered imagination of extreme Ds, the press helping the Ds, and #NeverTrumpers wishing the Ds well. All these groups lost two years ago and they will lose again in two weeks.

A “wave” election exists out of (1) an epic issue failure (Obamacare, Iraq War), (2) general discontent about the economy and direction of the nation, and (3) a cogent alternative presented. There is no issue failure, no discontent from the economy, the right direction/wrong direction numbers are trending up and the Ds have not offered anything at all in the alternative. In fact, all the Ds have is Trump-hate aimed at an increasingly popular president. Even NBC(!) polling this week has Trump in the high 40s — above Obama at this point in his presidency.

All this Trump-hate will do is to energize the extreme Ds in the same way that Obama energized the extreme Rs but it will not be enough without the other factors.

With the help of the hapless D leadership, the Rs are primed for growing the Senate majority and keeping the House.

But what about all the money the Ds have (I hear you ask)?

The Ds have blown almost a billion dollar war chest to create the “air of inevitability” — a strategy that they use every election for turnout. This year it worked until recently and the Ds will absolutely benefit from a larger than usual turnout — but, unusually, so will the Rs. Driven by Trump cheerleading and fear of the extreme left being in power again, the Rs are running to the polls. In early voting, the Rs are ahead. This is too weird. The Rs often turnout better than the Ds in midterms but it is an Election Day phenomena. For the Rs to be ahead in early voting could spell disaster for D hopes in the pro-D polling being accurate.

Conversely to the D inevitability strategy, the Rs spend but also conserve money for the final push. Thus, they almost always have a resultant fundraising advantage coming into the last few weeks. They are outspending the Ds now and will continue to do so for the next two weeks. That is the R strategy; to take all the blows early money delivers, hope it is not fatal and then spend spend spend when it counts most. The Rs are doing that now — as planned — and it will work (this time).

But what about the D intensity (I hear you ask further)?

There is yuuuuge D intensity among the extreme left driven almost exclusively by Trump-hate. These partisans were voting anyway. The intensity has not been shared by the middle or even mainstream Ds. Pelosi and Schumer are not inspiring figures and Trump-hate alone carries the Ds only so far. After that, the ordinary D vote will require some R policy to condemn, some other D policies to support, and a belief in that voter’s own leadership. Conversely, the Rs always do a little better than the Ds in midterms because their vote is older and more traditional. More Rs vote regularly and these voters don’t usually need a special reason to come out other than the fact that there is an election.

Also, the Rs have intensity too. Trump has committed his voters to the general R cause. This is a key point that is generally not being observed. There is no longer a #NeverTrump/Trumplican split. The #NeverTrumpers have come home or just gone away (dozens of house retirements and Flake, Corcoran, and others in the Senate). Also, Trump has led by example that it is all about “team” and even soft Rs must be strongly supported to make a majority. The Rs have come together now and will be voting for Congress in two weeks with unification and strength. That is more than can be said for the Ds who continue to struggle with a burgeoning extreme left wing that alienates many of the more traditional/even conservative Ds.

Thus, here are my predictions:

Senate: R +5 (or more). D +2 makes a D majority. At least: one seat in ND; three more from MO, MT, IN, FL, and WV; and, probably one from MN, WI, MI, and NJ — all with no R losses. Watch Michigan. I have no solid reason to say so but I just feel that there will be something there to see in two weeks.

House: D +10-15 (or a few more). D +23 makes a D majority. The R majority is in danger to be sure. If the election were held today it would be too close to call. However, the polling is trending as predicted — toward the Rs; the D challengers are new and, as the Rs use their money advantage now, many of these new Ds are being exposed as problematic candidates — as new candidates will be (remember the Tea Party candidates?); and, the Trump road show is having a positive advantage on the R chances. Also, there are D pick-ups that were not in play for the Rs even as late as last month. Barring some huge, intervening “October Surprise” over the next two weeks, on Election Day the Rs will certainly post net losses in the House but will maintain the majority.

Michael Patrick Flanagan represented the 5th District of Illinois in the historic 104th Congress. Prior to his Congressional Service, Michael was commissioned in the United States Army Field Artillery. Michael and his firm, Flanagan Consulting LLC, have represented both large and small corporations, organizations, and associations. In 2009, Michael entered public service again with the United States Department of State in Iraq as the Senior Rule of Law Advisor on the Maysan Provincial Reconstruction Team (PRT) in Maysan, Iraq. For more of his reports — Click Here Now.

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There is no “wave” (red or blue). This election is a turn-out battle, not a nationalized referendum on anything.
blue wave, midterms, elections, polling, senate
Wednesday, 24 October 2018 10:47 AM
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