UPDATE NOVEMBER 13, 2022
THE RED WAVE THAT WASN’T AND WHY
Late night comedians are having a field day with the Republican red wave that turned out to be a disappointing little puddle. And MAGA Republicans including Lindsay Graham are busy inventing conspiracies about how elections they lost fair and square must have been stolen. Long story short, the Democrats maintained their control of the Senate in a midterm when historically they should have lost big. As of this update we do not know the final count in the House, but the Republicans are not getting the 30 or 40 members they expected, and Democrats could still get to 218, the number they need to maintain control, although that is a longshot.
Why was the predicted red wave just a trickle? Here is the answer.
- There was never going to be a red wave. Junk polling by Republicans was intentionally fed into the aggregator systems used by Real Clear Politics, Five Thirty-Eight and other polling groups. These groups take all of the polls, pool them together, and then report the average. This system was gamed by the Republicans who fed a lot of unreliable conservative leaning polls into the soup, causing the averages to favor the GOP. In other words, mainstream and conservative media wrongly predicted a red wave without a basis in reliable data. (Political expert tells media to stop ‘getting played’ by Republican polling averages ‘flooding the zone’ – Raw Story ) The Republicans allegedly did this on purpose to try to 1) suppress the Democratic vote (Dems would feel hopeless and not show up to vote), and 2) to set it up that if they lost it must have been a rigged election because the polls foretold a big win for them (continuing the Big Lie jump started by Trump).
- Gen Z voters came out in droves to vote to make sure they had abortion rights enshrined in their state constitutions and elected governors who would veto abortion bans. An estimated 27% of people ages 18-29 turned out to vote in the 2022 election. It’s the second-highest turnout of youth in the past 30 years, after the 28% who turned out for the 2018 midterms. That age group voted 63% for Democrats. This demographic voted for the Dems because they support climate change legislation, student loan debt relief, a multicultural democracy, and reproductive rights. They voted against GOP conspiracy theories, January 6th crazies trying to destroy democracy, divisive MAGA culture war issues like trans people using bathrooms, critical race theory in schools and books being banned including Anne Frank’s Diary, as well as GOP intransigence on gun control. The Republicans may have lost the next generation of voters thanks to their policy positions and Trump’s crazy MAGA cult. The next generation is going to move this country in a more progressive direction. This is just the beginning.
- Abortion is a right that both Republicans and Democrats want. The Supreme Court’s Decision in Dobbs helped to kill the red wave even with Republican voters. Many Americans do not like the idea of abortion, but they also don’t go for forced births or government interference in their personal medical decisions. Personal freedom is one of the hallmarks of America and that’s true of Republicans as well as Democrats. We like our freedoms and when they are taken away, we get mad, and we get even. Losing the freedom of self-determination over your own body is a big deal. Republicans underestimated the backlash. People also don’t like to talk about issues they think are private. That may be one reason why abortion as a voting issue did not seem to be top of mind when polling was done prior to the election. I think people did not want to say the “a” word out loud, but, given the opportunity, they voted for their personal freedom to choose.
- Many of the Republican candidates did not address the concerns of voters who wanted realistic solutions. For example. while inflation might have been a concern, the Republicans offered no solutions to that concern. The same was true for crime and the border issues. Raising the issue and saying you will fix it but without any ideas about how you will fix it is not convincing. Instead of addressing the real concerns of voters, Republicans were all about critical race theory, transgender bathroom culture wars, and banning books that made children feel guilty about slavery not to mention the Republican solution for gun violence in America was arming every man, woman and teacher with an AR-15.
- Most Americans are not having terrible lives right now. Yes, their milk costs more and their gas prices are not low enough. But Americans are doing better than people in any other country given global inflation resulting from the Russian war on Ukraine and China’s no tolerance Covid policy that has damaged the supply chain. Americans might give Biden a low rating (around 44%), but Biden passed more legislation to help Americans than any other president in recent history. Anyone who wants a job can get one with the jobless rate this low, and numerous other bipartisan bills passed by Congress with Biden’s support have helped Americans and will continue to help them in Biden’s second two years of his first term in office. Most indicators support a healthy growing economy in America. Biden has been amazingly successful at passing legislation to help Americans and done so with bipartisan support during a time of almost unprecedented division in our country. History will remember Biden for his remarkable successes even if he is not fully appreciated in America today.
- Democracy was on the ballot as Biden predicted. Biden was pooh-poohed for giving speeches about the danger to democracy from MAGA Republicans after the January 6th select committee hearings and he also correctly predicted women would rise up after the national right to abortion was removed by the Republicanized Supreme Court. Turns out Biden was right. Again.
- Democratic canvassers were knocking on doors in person this time instead of trying to connect with voters remotely. The pandemic kept Democrats from getting out the vote as effectively in 2020 but by 2022 the pandemic is no longer an issue that prevents them from interacting in person if they have gotten vaccinated and boosted. That meant the Democrats felt safe talking with voters on their doorsteps, hearing their concerns and explaining how Democrats would address their concerns.
- Trump inserted himself into the midterms by choosing loser candidates and teasing his return to power. Trump imposed himself on this election. He strongly endorsed and pushed many of the candidates for governor who lost. Here is the Trump endorsed loser list: Tim Michels in Wisconsin, Tudor Dixon in Michigan, Doug Mastriano in PA, Darren Bailey in Illinois, Lee Zeldin in NY and Dan Cox in Maryland, Kari Lake in Arizona. Governors who stood up to Trump won: Brian Kemp in Georgia, Mike De Wine in Ohio. Trump also chose some bad candidates to run for the Senate: Hershel Walker and Dr. Oz come to mind. The fact that Trump weighed in heavily on many candidates helped the Democrats to win, because Trump’s picks were too extreme and too inexperienced for most general election voters. Extremists appeal to the MAGA base, so they win in the primary, but that base is not big enough to get them over the top in general elections. As long as Trump continues to lead the GOP with the MAGA base fawning over him as their cult leader, the Republicans will continue to lose key races in general elections. Trump currently has a 54 percent negative approval rating, with a 34 percent positive approval. In short, Trump is the gift that keeps on giving…to the Democrats.
What This Election Proved
American people chose sane over crazy this midterm election. Some broke with their tribal affiliation to the Republican Party to give the Democrats unprecedented wins. Americans understood our country was on the brink of losing our democracy and wanted to pull us back from the abyss. The majority of Americans are not extremists. They believe Biden was fairly elected. They rejected Republican denialists and MAGA extremists. Every single Republican election denialist running for secretary of state jobs lost their elections. Given the choice of voting for an extremist or a reasonable person who would at least try to make their lives better, preserve freedoms they care about, and return our country to a more collaborative less divisive place, they chose Democrats in races that should have gone to Republicans had the GOP been more moderate.
UPDATE FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 11TH
The Senate and House still hang in the balance as of this update. Some of the remaining House races favor the Republicans but others favor the Democrats. The big red wave not only did not materialize, the Democrats still have a path to retain the House currently, but that is less likely than their path to retain the Senate. The House races that will probably be the most consequential in terms of the ultimate power in the House are in California where a dozen races have yet to be determined. The Supreme Court’s decisions when it came to allowing partisan gerrymandering are turning out to be very consequential in Florida and New York where gerrymandered maps approved by the Court gave the Republicans an advantage by creating more districts that Republicans would win.
Fairer maps in Michigan helped the Democrats to win a trifecta in that state: the governorship, Secretary of State, attorney general, and in addition. both state house chambers flipped red to blue. The biggest issues for Americans that are reflected in the exit poll interviews were that even though inflation was a concern for Americans, they saw a Republican Party that was caught up in name calling, culture wars, and had no solutions to offer. Across the board Americans who voted in large numbers for Democrats were concerned about the loss of their freedom to keep control over decisions about their own bodies and concerns about what the Republicans were doing to our democracy. In other words, Biden’s insistent focus on abortion rights and the preservation of democracy resonated with the midterm electorate.
UPDATE WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 9TH
The big red wave that Trump supporters just knew was coming… never materialized (as I predicted, by-the-way). The polls were way off–favoring Republicans because the Republicans flooded the zone with polls that were not accurate). Instead, the Democrats did remarkably well especially for a midterm election with inflation as high as it is and Biden’s approval at 44%. There were big wins for Democrats in PA with John Fetterman beating Dr. Oz and Josh Shapiro running an outstanding race and winning the governorship against a Trump election denialist. Gretchen Whitmer (the incumbent) won the governorship again in Michigan and the Democrats won the Michigan House and Senate. Tony Evers will be governor again in Wisconsin. Ron Johnson will return to the Senate.
The House was predicted to be a tsunami win for the GOP with estimates of 57 seats or 40 seats for Republicans, but at this point control of the House is still up for grabs. Estimates are that the Republicans will lead the House but only with maybe 5 to 8 seats. Kevin McCarthy will not have as much power as he had dreamed of. Senate control is not yet determined either, but it looking like it could actually be controlled again by the Democrats who might gain one more seat which would relieve Joe Manchin of his role as “unofficial president-at-large who gets to wreck Biden’s agenda” and give the Democrats the ability to break the filibuster if they want to do it. We will see as more of the races get decided.
The big winner of the night for Republicans was Ron DeSantis. He resoundingly won in Florida. He was the choice of Hispanics in Miami-Dade which used to be a Democratic stronghold. DeSantis is likely to challenge a weakened Trump in the presidential primary especially since Trump chose many of the losing candidates and insisted on election denialism which was mainly rejected by the voters. DeSantis could have a good chance to win the Republican primary and finally break Trump’s stranglehold on the party. My prediction is that if DeSantis hopes to win he will pivot to the center and become more moderate (which is what he used to be politically before Trump took over the GOP.) That development would help the Republican Party become more reasonable again and therefore more likely to appeal to general election voters.
Voters, especially women, turned out to support abortion rights, as 5 states including Kentucky, a very red state, voted to enshrine the right to an abortion in their constitutions. If Republicans continue to insist on forcing an abortion ban down the throats of Americans if they get control of Congress and the executive branch, they will lose future elections because they will be going against the strong will of the voters – both Republicans and Democrats. Only 9% of the electorate wants an abortion ban. The GOP will need to soften its approach to abortion if they hope to win back the White House and both chambers of Congress.
Young voters turned out in higher numbers than anticipated and helped the Democrats to win in tight races. These voters will continue to vote and their numbers will grow as a voting coalition over time while the Trump voters who are older (many white Evangelicals in their 50s or older) who generally live in more rural areas, will not live forever. This means the trendline in our country should favor Democrats and democracy in the future.
Former President Trump is facing waves of blame after key Republican candidates lost in midterms.
- There was no red wave. As of this morning, control of the Senate is undetermined, but appears to be leaning toward Democrats. The House is headed for a very narrow GOP majority, but is also uncalled.
Why it matters: Regardless of the reality with GOP primary voters, Republican elites — and other anti-Trump Republicans — sense blood in the water. There’s an increased likelihood of a larger, more boisterous primary field competing against Trump in 2024, Jonathan Swan reports.
- The chances Trump can clear the field are vastly diminished.
What happened: Many of former President Trump’s handpicked candidates were defeated or struggled in otherwise winnable races — a lineup of underachievers, Axios’ Josh Kraushaar reports.
- In Pennsylvania, Dr. Mehmet Oz lost his Senate race to Democrat John Fetterman by 2+ points. In Michigan, Tudor Dixon lost her challenge to Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D) by 8 points.
- Trump-backed candidates who are trailing: Herschel Walker for Senate in Georgia … Blake Masters for Senate in Arizona … and Kari Lake for governor in Arizona.
- On top of all that, he stoked a massive distraction by promoting speculation about his own 2024 campaign in the midterms’ final hours.
The intrigue: Trump’s planned rally at Mar-a-Lago next Tuesday, where he’s expected to announce a 2024 presidential campaign, now won’t come after a GOP landslide.
- Instead, it will follow an election where Democrats have a solid chance to hold or even expand their hold on the Senate — and where Republicans fell way short of their expectations for a sizable red wave.
Between the lines: Trump constrained his party’s coalition in states where he showed up. In Pennsylvania, Senate victor John Fetterman won independents with 57% of the vote, Hispanics with 67% of the vote and women with 57% of the vote, according to exit polling.
- In Georgia, where the Senate race is too close to call, Trump-championed Herschel Walker won only 8% of the Black vote, 42% of independents and 39% of Hispanics, exit polls show. His numbers in all three categories lagged Gov. Brian Kemp (R), who won re-election.
By contrast, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’ resounding re-election was one of the few bright spots for Republicans.
- DeSantis’ 20-point victory — carrying some big, largely Hispanic counties, including Miami-Dade and Osceola — will provide rocket fuel for a possible presidential campaign.
What to watch: DeSantis wants to run badly, and will argue he has similar beliefs to Trump — but can deliver much bigger, broader wins.
The bottom line: Trump’s promotion of candidates outside the political mainstream — or celebrities without political experience — proved to be costly for Republicans. DeSantis’ Florida model offers Republicans an alternative path. But Trump won’t let the party move on without a fight. (Politico)
UPDATE SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 5TH
The Democrats might do better than expected. Michael Moore just came out with an interesting post in which he predicts a big midterm win for Democrats unlike what we are hearing from doomsday pollsters and mainstream media. According to Moore, there is a huge amount of anger driving voters to the polls early and that anger has to do with the Dobbs decision – the idea that government can force a woman to carry a pregnancy to term against her will- and climate change- the idea that the world we are leaving to the next generation is dying and has to be saved, and FAST. Moore says this is driving early turn out with women and young voters. He also predicts they will vote on Tuesday in record numbers as well.
But what about all the scary emails and mainstream media speculating on the defeat of Democrats? What about all those polls showing a red wave?
The polls “are bullshit” according to Michael Moore. Here’s why. Many polls funded by corporate lobbying groups and others with Republican backing skew their results to favor Republicans. The way pollsters work these days is to put ALL the polls out there into a big “soup” which includes a very large number of these biased polls that favor the Republicans. The pollsters we have come to rely on then use the aggregate from this “soup”. When they do this, Republican candidates tend to look like they are stronger than they are in reality. The Republicans are running this playbook intentionally for two reasons:
1) To depress the vote of the Democrats. Because if Democrats feel hopeless, they won’t bother to turn out to vote. And
2) Republicans are building up their case for a red wave so that when they lose they will be able to claim there was voter fraud–that there was no way they could have lost that election–just look at the polls!
FiveThirtyEight, Real Clear Politics and Cook Political are all poll aggregators that average the results of multiple polls to come up with their widely reported “predictions”. If the Republicans are gaming the system by flooding the zone with conservative leaning polls that inflate GOP chances to win, then these predictions are going to be unfairly skewed to favor the Republicans. Let’s just think about this.
If the GOP is consciously skewing the poll aggregates to depress Democratic votes and to make the case that they had a win sewn up so losing means there must have been fraud, that would be cheating! So, what do you think? Do you think Republicans would go so low as to cheat to win midterm elections?
FACEBOOK BLACKOUT PERIOD is HERE – This Post Will Be Updated During This Period.
Facebook (Meta) imposes a blackout period prior to and after November 8th, Election Day. They are trying to keep disinformation and fake news from affecting the outcome of the election. Please check back on this post throughout November for election updates. New posts are at the top of the page.
CONGRESSIONAL POWER IS AT STAKE
As the midterm election approaches, the country’s current economic situation favors a Republican take over of the House. The power of the Senate will depend on six key Senate races in Ohio, Pennsylvania, Georgia, Nevada, Arizona and Wisconsin. Those races are neck and neck right now. The Senate power hangs in the balance depending on whether voters choose
Tim Ryan(D) or JD Vance (R) in Ohio;
John Fetterman (D) or Dr. Oz (R) in Pennsylvania;
Raphael Warnock (D) or Hershel Walker(R) in Georgia;
Catherine Cortez Masto (D) or Adam Laxalt (R) or in Nevada;
Mark Kelly (D) or Blake Masters (R) in Arizona;
Mandela Barnes (D) or Ron Johnson (R) in Wisconsin.
All of these Republicans have kissed Trump’s ring and give lip service to the Big Lie whether or not they really believe the 2020 election was stolen.
There are other races that could be “sleeper” close races but those six are the ones that have the greatest likelihood of affecting the power of Democrats and Republicans in the Senate.
The stakes could not be higher. If the Senate and House flip from blue to red, our country will have a Congress that will
- Thwart Biden in every way possible in the remainder of his first term.
- Pass a national abortion ban if they can.
- Mire our government in endless gridlock.
- Waste time on retaliatory “got cha” investigations into Hunter Biden, Joe Biden, Kamala Harris, Dr. Anthony Fauci and others that the right wing want to attack and torture.
- End funding for Ukraine or severely limit it.
- Break down the social safety net: specifically, Social Security and Medicare, by refusing to increase the debt limit as a way to hold the Biden administration hostage to these goals which hurt average Americans.
- And the ultimate worst case scenario will be if Congress creates a glidepath for Trump to return to the presidency with the help of the Supreme Court decision that is coming in Harper v Moore.
GET READY FOR HARPER V MOORE
That highly anticipated decision is likely to adopt the Independent State Legislative Theory, an idea that was considered a crackpot theory until these most recent Supreme Court justices came onto the bench: Gorsuch, Kavanaugh and Barrett (joining Alito and Thomas who will want to impose this idea on our electoral system). ISLT is based on a calculated misreading of the constitution. Depending on how broad or narrow that decision is, the Court could pave the way for state legislatures to have unreviewable power to alter the way national elections are conducted.
In its most broad (worst) version it could allow states to send a slate of electors to the Electoral College that does not represent the will of the voters anymore but rather the will of the state legislatures. Because we have more Republican led state legislatures (thanks to gerrymandering and the way our country was set up by the Founding Fathers to favor rural areas instead of cities on the coasts with far more population: i.e. Wyoming residents get far greater representation in Congress than California residents), that single Supreme Court decision could result in Republican presidents being “legally elected” ad infinitum if those Republican-led state houses pass laws granting themselves that power once the Supreme Court says they have the right to do that. If that happens, our country would change from a representational democracy to an illiberal democracy. This would fulfill the dream of Christian Nationalists and fulfill the wishes of Trump supporters whose goal of Making America Great Again was really all about keeping the power of America in the hands of a White Christian patriarchy that is becoming a minority.
Stay tuned for that s–t show coming soon to a theater near you.
The Markin Report has a reach of about a quarter of a million with extremely high engagement depending on the topic. Some people tell me they read this blog rather than watch mainstream media or read the news. I always encourage everyone to read many newsfeeds and read more broadly but from only reliable sources which include New York Times, BBC, NPR, Washington Post, Vanity Fair, Mother Jones, The Guardian, Newsweek, The Independent, CNN, MSNBC and other newsfeeds that report accurate information so that you get a realistic idea about what is happening in this very fraught moment in our country and make up your own mind about how you view what is going on.
Because The Markin Report is an Op-Ed style blog and has political content, it will be prevented by Facebook from using ad buys to boost the posts I write during the blackout. You can always read the blog by going to markinreport.com even during the blackout. You can also sign up to receive the blog posts when they are published by entering your email address on the home page. I will continue to write blogs and will be updating this post.
There are some important recent developments in the investigations into Trump (Georgia, DOJ and January 6th) that I plan to write about in a separate posts as those investigations move forward more rapidly now especially in the House because the Committee knows their time is almost up.
This post will be updated as the election results come in.
It is very unlikely that we will know the full result of this midterm election on Election Day or possibly even in the days or weeks that follow. The reason is that this election has been deeply affected by election denialism thanks to Trump and the Republican Party that has become more of a cult that worships Trump and Trumpism with followers that believe in conspiracy theories instead of reality. There are likely to be post election challenges to the results especially in key districts and states where the balance of the House and Senate will be decided. If that happens, as I think it will, Facebook may keep the blackout period going longer. To get my take on the latest information about the election results simply refresh this post and read the updates.