Lead-up to 2018 mid-terms

Written by  //  May 17, 2018  //  Politics, U.S.  //  No comments

`What IS a Caucus-race?’ said Alice; not that she wanted much to know, but the Dodo had paused as if it thought that SOMEBODY ought to speak, and no one else seemed inclined to say anything.
`Why,’ said the Dodo, `the best way to explain it is to do it.’ (And, as you might like to try the thing yourself, some winter day, I will tell you how the Dodo managed it.)
First it marked out a race-course, in a sort of circle, (`the exact shape doesn’t matter,’ it said,) and then all the party were placed along the course, here and there. There was no `One, two, three, and away,’ but they began running when they liked, and left off when they liked, so that it was not easy to know when the race was over. However, when they had been running half an hour or so, and were quite dry again, the Dodo suddenly called out `The race is over!’ and they all crowded round it, panting, and asking, `But who has won?’
This question the Dodo could not answer without a great deal of thought, and it sat for a long time with one finger pressed upon its forehead (the position in which you usually see Shakespeare, in the pictures of him), while the rest waited in silence. At last the Dodo said, `EVERYBODY has won, and all must have prizes.’  – Alice in Wonderland

17 May
The Democratic Wave May Depend on Millennials Becoming Unusually Motivated to Vote
(New York Magazine) Close observers of political trends are familiar with a phenomenon usually called the “midterm falloff.” Voters generally participate less in midterms than in presidential elections. But there are categories of voters — notably young and minority (especially Latino and Asian-American, and to a lesser extent African-American) voters — who regularly become a smaller percentage of the electorate in midterms. This “falloff” has become a big Democratic Party problem lately as young and minority voters have assumed a more central role in the party’s base. At the same time, Republicans have benefited in recent midterms from their strong position among the voters most likely to participate in midterms: older white voters. This disparate turnout pattern was a significant contributing factor to the GOP midterm wins in 2010 and 2014. The last time Democrats had a midterm “wave,” in 2006, they were performing much better among older voters (actually winning half the senior vote).

15 May
POLITICO’s guide to Tuesday’s primary elections
Idaho, Nebraska, Oregon and Pennsylvania head to the polls Tuesday, with major ramifications for the battle for the House.

10-11 May
Trump uses rallies to tell his supporters to vote for him — even if other names are on the ballot
The rally provided a snapshot look at the role that the president hopes to play in the midterm elections this fall. He has cast this election as a referendum on his presidency and stressed that a vote for a Republican, any Republican, is a vote for Trump.

Opinion: Tuesday’s Senate primaries put Republicans in a good position for the midterms
By Boris Epshteyn*
Here is the bottom line: Tuesday night was a good night for the Republican Party. Republicans didn’t hurt themselves with any of the candidates who won the primaries. Instead, the GOP positioned themselves to widen the very slim, 51-49, majority the party currently holds in the Senate.
(Sinclair Broadcast Group) – The most watched race was the West Virginia Republican primary for the U.S. Senate. State Attorney General Patrick Morrissey won the contest with controversial candidate Don Blankenship coming in third. With Blankenship out of the picture, Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.V.) appears to be very vulnerable. He received about 10 points less in Tuesday’s Democrat primary than he did in the primary for his seat in 2012.
In Indiana, Republican businessman Mike Braun won the primary and will take on the current Democrat Sen. Joe Donnelly. President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence are heading to Indiana on Thursday to back Braun. That is a sign of things to come in terms of active support from the White House for Mike Braun.
In Ohio, Republican Congressman Jim Renacci will now take on current Democrat Sen. Sherrod Brown in November. Brown has moved hard to the left in his time in the Senate and is now widely seen as more progressive than his state of Ohio, which Trump won by over 8 percent in 2016.
* Boris Epshteyn formerly served as a Senior Advisor to the Trump Campaign and served in the White House as Special Assistant to The President and Assistant Communications Director for Surrogate Operations.

9 May
Primary Concerns: The outsider candidate Don Blankenship’s loss in West Virginia’s Republican Senate primary is, on the one hand, good news for the party’s establishment. On the other hand, three sitting Republican House members were also defeated in Tuesday night’s elections, which could be a warning sign for the GOP. The mainstream candidates who succeeded in West Virginia and Ohio had embraced some of the president’s harsh rhetoric on immigration, illustrating how the center-right has been influenced by Trump.

7 May
President Trump waded into West Virginia’s Republican primary race for the Senate.
(NYT evening brief) At the urging of Senator Mitch McConnell, Mr. Trump implored voters to oppose the former coal executive Don Blankenship, who was convicted of conspiring to violate mine safety rules after a 2010 explosion that killed 29 people.
A number of states are holding primary elections on Tuesday that carry big implications for this fall’s midterms, which could see Republicans lose control of Congress.
The president signaled that anxiety on Twitter, lashing out at prosecutors leading the Russia inquiry and asking if “this Phony Witch Hunt” would affect the elections.
(The Atlantic) Political Connections: As West Virginians and Indianans prepare to vote in their states’ Republican Senate primaries on Tuesday, candidates with footholds in the Washington, D.C., establishment are facing strong challenges from political outsiders—yet those outsiders could hurt the party’s chances in the midterms this fall.

6 May
Cordray-Kucinich primary serves as Democrats’ first Midwest test of 2018
(Politico) Cordray has led in sparse public polling, but Kucinich has lurked within striking distance in the Ohio gubernatorial primary.
Democrats are looking to November for an opportunity to re-stake their claim to the Midwest after President Donald Trump painted it red in 2016. But first, they need to figure out who — and what — they want to put forward.
Ohio’s primary on Tuesday is the party’s first test along that road, with former Consumer Financial Protection Bureau head Richard Cordray and former Rep. Dennis Kucinich brandishing different brands of populism before Democratic voters, as well as different theories about how to win the swing state, where GOP Gov. John Kasich is term-limited.
Cordray has plenty of establishment backing, but his consumer-watchdog brand and support from Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) appeals to the party’s progressive wing. But Kucinich, backed by the Bernie Sanders-aligned nonprofit Our Revolution and several key 2016 allies of Sanders (though not Sanders himself), is betting his longtime support for single-payer health care and other progressive priorities can galvanize not only primary voters but an unsettled general electorate featuring a swath of Democratic-turned-Trump voters.

5 May
At His Ranch, John McCain Shares Memories and Regrets With Friends
(NYT) some of his associates, though not his family, have started to quietly put out word that they want a “McCain person” eventually appointed to fill his Senate seat, a roster that includes his wife, Cindy.
Mr. McCain, 81, is still in the fight, struggling with the grim diagnosis he received last summer … But his health has become a matter of immediate political interest. Mr. McCain’s future may determine whether Republicans retain their single-seat Senate majority: Should the senator die or resign before the end of May, there will most likely be a special election for the seat this fall. But under Arizona law, if he remains in office into June, there will probably not be an election for the seat until 2020, which Republicans would prefer given Democratic enthusiasm this year.
Blankenship surging on eve of West Virginia Senate primary
Establishment Republicans are fretting about a late surge by the convicted coal baron.
(Politico) Blankenship’s rivals and other Republicans are alarmed. Many are convinced that a Blankenship win, coming just months after the disastrous Alabama Senate race, would destroy the party’s prospects of defeating Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin in November.

19 March
California’s free-for-all primary election rules could surprise everyone in 2018 … again
(LA Times) For the third consecutive election cycle, state and congressional races on California’s primary ballot will feature large pools of candidates no longer subdivided by partisan labels. Only the two contenders with the most votes in each race advance to a showdown in November, even those from the same party. The rest go home.

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