2018 Mid-term Preview

On November 6th we’ll find out for the first time if what we believe about ourselves is true. If we really are better than Donald Trump, if we deserve better, if we are the country we want to be. I’ve walked a couple dozen miles, made a couple cross state trips, and attended a handful of dreadful meetings about data and campaigning. I’ll save my comments about those things for our post-election piece. I’ve put in the work and I feel good about what I’ve done. I’ve met people that understand the problems and want to fix them, people that could care less about the problems, and people that are themselves part of the problem. Throughout all of this I feel like I’ve gotten a real sense of my part of America.

Needless to say this is likely to be the most important midterm election in our lifetime and if it’s not, boy are we fucked. The country seems so tilted, so twisted up and confused, so full of rage and sadness, so fucked up. We think that these elections will fix that, they won’t. Our problems aren’t something that can be fixed in one night, one election cycle or one presidency. It’s not because of the drag of the political machine either, it’s because our problems are deeply engrained into us. We have a real cultural disconnect in many parts of this country, the young and old, the left and right, the rural farmer and urban cube jockey.

I’ve never been spectacular at much, but one thing that I know is politics. Anyone who knows me knows that. Two days before the election in 2016 I texted a friend of mine, sent him a picture of a map with Trump winning. I’m not trying to say that I’m some sort of fucking psychic here, I’m just saying that I could see it happening then. It wasn’t much of a surprise to me, but it was a grand disappointment, it was soul shattering to be honest, it made me think a lot about how I was living my life and what I was doing with my time, what I wanted to do with the rest of my life. It motivated me to make this website and to write things like this, it motivated me to work on a political campaign, it motivated me to stop sitting silently while someone else spewed right-wing horseshit rather at work or a dinner table.

Our democracy has never been more fragile, at least in its current state, than it is now. Russian meddling, voter suppression, and government corruption fill up the 24/7 news cycle. All of those things have a core of truth in them, but in order to make money and draw attention it’s become common place for everything to be slanted one way or the other. The problem is that Republicans are significantly better at slanting the news than Democrats, because we believe in morality.

The key to this election, in fact the only thing that matters at all, is turnout. Strangely it’s a different kind of turnout than we’re used to talking about though. I believe that turnout for this election will be about 20% higher than the average midterm, which can be good for democrats. The more interesting and more important thing is who actually turns out. It’s tradition in most parts of the country for Republicans to win low turnout elections. This election can be a low turnout election and still see Republicans suffer immensely. It’s my opinion that while turnout will be up, seeing a bump for the Democrats, that Republican turnout in general will also be down in large swaths of the country.

The first races we’ll look at will focus on the Senate and what I think will happen there. I’ve picked out 10 races to focus in on and talk about for various reasons.

United States Senate

Florida- Nelson* (D) vs. Scott (R): Of fucking course Florida is going to play a pivotal part in this year’s election much like they always do. Being a Democrat I have a very deep burning hate for the state of Florida, they’ve really fucked us good over the past 18 years and this year might not be any different. In this race we have the incumbent Democrat Bill Nelson squaring off against the current Governor of the state Rick Scott. Nelson isn’t a particularly flashy Senator, he keeps a low profile and isn’t in the national spectrum. In fact, I would say that he is the third most important person in his own race.

The most important and crucial person for Bill Nelson’s re-election is Andrew Gillum, the mayor of Tallahassee that is running for Governor. He won the primary in astonishing fashion through a very traditional groundwork and turnout powered strategy. You have to think that if Gillum can get people to show and vote for him, they’ll be inclined to vote for Nelson too. We’ll get to this later, but I think Gillum should have a pretty easy road to the Governor’s Mansion, considering he’s under FBI investigation he might not stay there very long, but that’s neither here nor there.

Rick Scott freaks me out. Is it because he looks like someone was trying to grow a penis on the back of a naked mole rat, but it grew to powerful and escaped the laboratory? Maybe. But what freaks me out even more is how this fuck-o has gotten elected twice. He’s one of the most obviously corrupt politicians in the country. He’s given out government hand out contracts to his supporters and former business partners throughout his tenure as governor. He was forced to resign from the business he founded due to their practices and Medicare billing in 1997. He also spent $75 million dollars of his own money to elect himself Governor in 2010. If Florida has ever deserved a politician, it’s Rick Scott.

Even with Scott’s endless pockets and his popularity among *cough, white people* Republicans, it’s hard for me to think that Nelson will lose. I’m not saying that it’s not a possibility, it is Florida after all. Some good news though, even if Nelson does lose that doesn’t spell doom for Democrats. Scott is popular, he’s well known, and he’s been the governor for eight years, he’s a sharp politician, so there’s a way Scott wins. I think that Gillum puts Nelson over the top though.  Nelson

West Virginia- Machin* (D) vs. Morrisey (R): I do not like Joe Manchin. It’s my opinion that he votes on what keeps him employed and not what is better for the people of West Virginia. However, and this is something that I can not repeat enough, there is no purity test to be a Democrat. I don’t like Joe Manchin because I don’t believe he has the people’s best interest at heart, not because of his political views.

This election is a lot different than the one in Florida. If the Democrats lose here it’s time to pack it in early or start putting down the bourbon shots. Manchin has a comfortable lead in the few polls that have been conducted and is relatively popular in West Virginia, so everything should go fine. Morrisey wasn’t even Trump’s choice for the seat, although he’s since endorsed him. The same reason I don’t like Joe Manchin is the reason I think he’ll win. Manchin               

Indiana- Donnelly* (D) vs. Braun (R): Living in the Louisville viewing area I’ve gotten plenty of the ads coming out of this race. They fucking suck. Joe Donnelly has one where he’s chopping down a tree or some shit. Frankly, Mike Braun’s aren’t much better, in fact I would say they’re worse because they’re really the same old recycled Koch funded shit throwing that’s become a staple of elections.

This race is being covered marginally in the national coverage, mainly because it’s a very important seat for the Democrats to keep. Braun wasn’t Trump’s boy, in fact in the Republican primary he ran the most centered campaign. Which is why it’s so hilarious that both Braun and Donnelly, the fucking incumbent Democrat, are running ads touting their support for the Trump agenda.

This is another Senate race that I’m tore on. On one hand you have an essentially guaranteed vote for Trump’s policies. On the other hand you have a Democrat that is “Open” to ending birthright citizenship either because he thinks that’s a relevant issue in America or he’s a coward afraid to lose his job. After some reflective thought, I’ve decided that I think Mike Braun actually wins here. Indiana has become a very red state and despite the massive amounts of money being spent here it’s hard to imagine people showing up to vote for Joe Donnelly that weren’t otherwise going to vote. I feel like he’s actually limiting himself and his campaign by running so close to Trump and yelling at moderates to choose between him and Braun instead of trying to bring people out to the polls. Braun.

Tennessee- Bredesen (D) vs. Blackburn (R): This race is extremely important for Democrats if we want to take back the Senate. Bredesen is the former Governor, independently wealthy, and a solid Democrat. Marsha Blackburn is a congresswoman that is running essentially a Trump platform. This race will be one of the early ones that will really tell us something about messaging and all that other shit we’ve been barking at each other about for two years.

538 has this race as the number one tipping point in the country, which means if we win this seat it’s very likely the Senate will change hands. That being said it’s an uphill battle and one that I’m not sure is remotely winnable. I’ve been out and about this year in rural Kentucky and I can’t imagine it’s a lot different than rural Tennessee. I can’t see that Bredesen makes up the votes he needs to in order to pull this one out. There just isn’t enough attention, or vigor surrounding the race to draw people out to the polls. So if he does win, that means that Republicans didn’t show up in Tennessee which is a very good sign. If he loses, it’s not the end of the world. Blackburn

Missouri- McCaskill* (D) vs. Hawley (R): This race much like the 2016 Senate race between Jason Kander and Roy Blunt seems like it’s going to be a very close one. I think it’s fair to say that Claire McCaskill at this point is an embattled incumbent facing a rising star that currently holds a statewide position in the government. Sound familiar?

The difference between this race and 2016 is that Josh Hawley has a track record as being at least a mediocre Attorney General and at worst criminally negligent. His office has undergone massive turnover leading to the state not being able to properly investigate most of the case asked. Hawley reminds me much more of the former-Governor, soon-to-be-Inmate of the state Eric Grietens.

The real difference in this race probably comes down to Trump’s tariff’s and his farm bill. A lot of farmer’s are real pissed off about the tariff’s cutting into their wallet, and equally irked about having to live off the government if they want to make up that income. The thing that Trump doesn’t seem to understand about hard working American’s is that they want to work hard so they can make their own way in the world and not have to rely on the government to keep their head about water. At the end of the day I imagine most farmers putting together that they were better off three years ago under a president they might not have liked than under this one. McCaskill

Texas- Cruz* (R) vs. O’Rourke (D): First off, fuck Ted Cruz. Fuck Ted Cruz for being a spineless coward that sucks up to the man that insulted half of his family. Fuck Ted Cruz for his crazy ass stance on guns and personal liberties. And finally, fuck Ted Cruz for ruining the Zodiac joke.

In a race between a white guy going by “Beto” and a Hispanic guy going by “Ted”, I’m wasn’t quite sure that there could be a winner. That was until I researched old Beto a little more. He’s a solid progressive and even more impressively is running like that. Beto understands that voters want to see a human standing in front of them and not some conjured up party cut-out.

There has been a massive amount of money poured into this race. Unfortunately, Beto says he isn’t sharing his, which leads me to believe that – spoiler alert- he’s going to be running for something n 2020 regardless of the outcome of this race. Either way, Democrats and Republicans have thrown massive amounts of money at a race that should have been an easy win for Texas. Now, you could say that’s good because it diverts funds from other Republican races, I would argue from the almost daily mailers I’ve been getting from my current state rep. paid for by the KYGOP that probably isn’t the case.

Look, I hate to be the bearer of bad news, here, but there’s simply too many obstacles in the way of Beto winning this race. Texas has ludicrous voter ID laws. People have to drive for miles to vote in some counties. The election machines are changing votes. I’d love to tell you that Beto is going to win, but he just isn’t. That doesn’t mean that he can’t *coughing fit* run for president. Cruz

North Dakota- Heitkamp* (D) vs. Cramer (R): More bad news folks. In North Dakota it seems almost inevitable that Heidi Heitkamp is going to take an L, to a guy named Cramer none the less. She bravely chose to do what cowards like Joe Manchin was unwilling to do and stand up for her ideas and the ideas of her party. She’ll pay for that.

Trump is too polarizing. North Dakota is too small. North Dakota is too white. It would take a legitimate miracle for her too pull out a victory here, which something that we’ll be able to pay attention too. If she wins here than things out west look very good and the count in North Dakota should be much faster than out west. Theoretically by the time the polls close in Arizona and Nevada we should know who won this race. Cramer

Arizona- Sienma (D) vs. McSally (R): This race is one of the more covered nationally because it’s for Jeff Flake’s open Senate seat. Arizona’s population has been booming of late and that’s definitely a positive sign for Democrats. It’s certainly a big plus that Krysten Sienma isn’t running against an incumbent too.

What may help most of all though is that Martha McSally seems to be a generally unpleasant person. She accused John McCain of dying in order to detract attention from a campaign rally she was holding, apparently not thinking the decent thing to do would be to reschedule.

It’s been said for the last ten or so years, but I think this is finally the year that completes the great swing in the powers of the Democratic party from rust belt to sun belt. I see this one not even being close by election day with Trump ramped up radically anti-latino speeches. Sienma

Nevada- Heller* (R) vs. Rosen (D): Hopefully the sixth is the day that Dirty Dean Heller finally gets to reap what he’s sown. This guy has flip-flopped more than a fish out of water trying to find a base of people to vote for him. It should have been apparent from 2016, were a Democrat won and open Senate seat in convincing fashion, where he’s base was. Perhaps, Heller isn’t one of those men that I’ve been bashing like the pair of Jo(k)e’s. Maybe he’s just standing up for what he believes in, or maybe he’s a hack.

It doesn’t much matter either way. He votes with Trump almost every time, which makes him a Trump supporter, which means he supports his policies. Clinton won Nevada by 2%, which is about what she won the popular vote by, so it should reason that Rosen will do equal or better than that. Rosen

Recap: 49-51 Republican

The House: I’m aware this is a long read. Just stick it out. In the house the result seems to be already set, the question has really become, how many seats are the Democrats going to win?

I’ve had my team cracking the numbers all month and came up with 236.

Some races to watch: The first one that springs to mind for me, is KY-6. Amy McGrath has gotten a swell of support from the likes of Jennifer Lawrence, George Clooney, and even Joe Biden. Meanwhile, her opponent Andy Barr is a balding middle-aged fuck. Illinois and North Carolina have a pair of races each that should be good barometers, not really even sure what they measure, for how the night will play out.

The next group to watch are races in Texas and Minnesota. Texas will gain several blue seats depending on how many people Beto brings to the polls. While Minnesota will be interesting to watch in determining how far-reaching the Democrats message is in states they currently do well in.

The final group to watch will be California and Washington. California Republicans may lose all but a few of their seats, especially if Ducan Hunter, Jr. and Devin Nunes can be brought down. Washington is a completely different story than all the other ones and is very intriguing to me. It will be a true test of how far-left the state is willing to go and bears watching for the sanity of the party.

In closing, it can’t be repeated how important this election is. And I will tell you now that we’ll all be disappointed with the outcome of it. Even though this is a referendum on Trump’s policy, his actions and the legitimacy of his election it doesn’t change anything. There’s some who think that a Democratic house for the next two years strengthens Trump’s position, which I don’t necessarily disagree with. Without winning the Senate it will be hard to make anything better, sure we can select committees and things like that by winning the house, but the dog and pony show of the Trump investigations that follow aren’t the right play in my opinion. As you’ll see later this week in the piece that follows this, it’s time to stop trying to dig up the dead and let them rest. 2016 is over forever, the Democratic party has to move on, if not it’s capping its political reach.

Election Recap