Tags: 2018 Midterm Elections | Latin America | dnc | navarro | will

Midterms Are Quickly Moving Into Toss-Up Territory

Midterms Are Quickly Moving Into Toss-Up Territory

By Monday, 21 May 2018 03:17 PM Current | Bio | Archive

As I promised in February, I will offer my quarterly installment of 2018 Midterm prognostications.

As I observed then, the necessary factors in any election are: voter intensity linking to turnout, candidate/party organization and campaign resources. 

Voter intensity seems to be the touchstone for the "blue wave" proponents.

Hard over progressives believe that their enduring and profound hate of President Trump will translate to all "thinking people" and spell huge defeats for all Republican candidates across the nation. It is obvious — right?

Sadly for them, the numbers do not support this and, increasingly, are turning the other way. Trump’s popularity is on the rise and has crested fifty percent on occasion in the polls that track this daily. The most recent scandal plagued Republican in Arizona was replaced with an average, Republican candidate running against a good, progressive candidate. Last, the generic congressional ballot is a miniscule D plus 4 percent according to the Real Clear Politics’ average.

Let me digress for just a minute about the generic ballot. The poll is based on party affiliation and is taken among registered voters (almost never likely voters) measuring which party the voters will support in the next election.

Therefore, because the Democratic Party enjoys a 3-5 percent advantage in national registration, one could fairly say that D plus 4 percent national number is not an intensity advantage at all but instead it is only par for the Democratic course. This number is down from D plus 17 at the end of last year.

In fact, the only occasions when the Republicans were ahead in this ballot in absolute numbers have been in landslide Republican congressional election years and even then it was only single digits. If you understand that par (or "even") in the poll is D+5 give-or-take, then R plus 7 is actually an intensity level of R plus 12 — a landslide.

While all of this may change over the next five and a half months, today, there are no real numbers supporting the "blue wave."

The hard left-wing is indeed energized and will absolutely show up in big numbers and vote Democratic. However, the broader voting blocs that consistently make-up Democratic victories are much less enthused.

African Americans, Latinos and other (generally) urban ethnic minorities are not nearly as energized as the hard left-wing, largely white voters are. In fact, there is some support for the view that the Republican Party might get a boost from a small move towards President Trump by African-American men.

I do not abide by the mythical "Kanye effect" but I have long ascribed to the belief that, like white men and women, African-American men and women should have different messages crafted for each of them. The Republican Party has never understood this (or urban African-Americans at all for that matter) but, being an urbanite himself, Donald Trump seems to get it. He talks to men more easily than women — African-American men included.

There is a moving demographic among African-American men and Donald Trump is the specific beneficiary. How big it is and what it means in not well-understood but there is universally observed movement in the polling and not towards Democrats but towards Donald Trump personally.

Whether that cache (small though it almost certainly is presently) can be lent to the generic Republican Party candidate is yet to be seen. Whatever that outcome, the African-American vote is not nearly as energized for the Democrats as they will need them to be to create the predicted "blue wave."

With the same scant information provided by the "tabs"in the generic polls, the Latino vote seems to be trending towards the middle from solid Democratic in most areas as well. This data is no more reliable for Latinos than it is for African-American men but the trend is identical — away from Democratic support in the next election.

The Democrats’ intensity crested way too early and while the party has tried regaining the initiative with the same old saws (race bating and guns), they have failed to make any enduring headway against their numbers edging lower for months now.

Among Republicans, President Trump continues to draw tens of thousands for his rallies across the country and thousands more who can’t get in wait and stand outside. There are no cracks in President Trump’s base support and that base will turn out for Republicans in November if the President works it. He will.

The Republicans have healed their internecine wounds (Anna Navarro, George Will and the National Review notwithstanding or in any way mattering at all anymore) and is unifying nicely.

Thus today, intensity is about even among the parties and there is no real advantage over par here for the Democratic candidates.

The other two measures, organization and resources, I will take on at a later date but let me just say here that Democratic organization continues to be a huge party advantage but it is cursed by being tied to resources which the Democratic National Committee (DNC) simply cannot produce yet.

The DNC continues to be broke and makes no headway in its cash on hand.

It is getting very late and I suspect that the Democratic congressional candidates across the land will be entirely on their own. Luckily for them, the individual Democratic candidate fundraising has been much better than new candidates could otherwise expect. However, it will not be enough without the organization lent (and paid for) by DNC.

So, what’s the bottom line? Intensity is even, organization is a Democrat advantage and money is a big Republican advantage. It is just not looking good for a "blue wave." Because of some structural advantages for Democratic seats in the redistricting outcomes in California and Pennsylvania and because courts continue to strike down ballot security measures in the purple states, the Democrats will have structural advantages in the election in November.

So, my net-net prediction remains unchanged: D plus 5-10 seats in the House, R plus 3 seats in the Senate and the Democrats will do very well locally in state elections.

If there will be a dramatic change in this, it will be after the August break. We’ll see then.

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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The necessary factors in any election are: voter intensity linking to turnout, candidate/party organization and campaign resources.
dnc, navarro, will
Monday, 21 May 2018 03:17 PM
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