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2018 Midterm Elections Analysis

I didn’t even try to predict what would happen last night. After 2016, I have no confidence in my ability to determine what the American people will do but that just makes following it all that much more enjoyable. We popped the popcorn and made the Kool-Aid and I stayed up way too late.

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But it is the morning after, and that makes analysis the name of the game.

First, let’s start with rating the coverage. That is always fun.

Every time I turned to FOX they were running a commercial.

Did anyone else have a hard time with CNN’s map? The blue looked so much like the gray that I had a hard time differentiating. Also, I love John King’s analysis, but he seemed to be trying to ‘willpower’ more votes from Miami.

NBC had the best set up–both the parent company and MSNBC.

What the deuce was going on at ABC? Did they have 172 people on the screen at the same time? Seriously. Seriously.

Steve Kornacki needs to slow down on the Red Bull. He was yelling and waving his hands like, ‘PEOPLE ARE VOTING !!!!! LOOK AT THE MAP !!!!!!’


Now we can talk about the actual results.

  1. For me, last night was a win all around. I like divided government, and I love that so many more people voted this year. Well done, America. Well done.
  2. If the Dems had taken the Senate as well, which was always a long shot, then I think then we would be seeing impeachment hearings next year, and I am on the record as decidedly against any attempt to impeach The President. It would be horrible for the country. Just horrible.
  3. But, with the Dems in control of the House, they have the power to provide a solid check on The President, which is what we desperately need.
  4. There was no blue wave. No blue tsunami. What we saw was a correction where things balanced out. I think we forget just how much Hillary Clinton tainted the electorate both Red and Blue.
  5. Florida.
  6. Remember boys and girls, never trust exit polls. Never. When a Republican votes, he or she doesn’t want to talk to anyone about it. Democrats, by contrast, want to tell everyone, and will even tell people twice. It skews the numbers.
  7. From what I can gather, the real story is not Blue or Red, but how many women won, and how many veterans won. I made it a priority where I could to vote for people who had military service, and I think other people did as well.
  8. I like how everyone is claiming victory. The best quote I saw on it was a tweet by Jon Acuff–he compared it church church league basketball–everybody won, and the score doesn’t really matter. However, we all know, Trump lost, because his cover in the House, specifically that thrown by Nunes, is now gone.
  9. Beto O’Rourke outperformed, but there was just too much East Texas for him to win. However, him dropping the strongest vulgarity in his concession speech was . . . special . . . and simultaneously showed why he lost.
  10. The upper midwest turned decidedly bluish. The one exception is Ohio–but Kansas was a real shocker as was Iowa. Something is happening there. It could be the mean and debasing rhetoric of the GOP is rubbing the naturally nice and kind people who live in the heartland the wrong way.
  11. I’m not a Nancy Pelosi fan, not by any stretch, but her speech was very nice. If she means it, then maybe things will get better. We will see how the Dems play their hand, but if she is serious about ‘peace’ then I have another reason to be optimistic.

 

ELECTION NIGHT WINNERS

Wow–what a ride last night was. There is nothing like election night returns. I loved every minute of it. Turns out I was very wrong about the nation’s taste for Donald Trump–or as I should say, President-Elect Trump.

Someone took a picture of their TV.
Someone took a picture of their TV.

But this post is not about analysis of the election. I might do that later today or tomorrow. This post is about my analysis of the news coverage last night of election night.

MAP AWARD–CNN

CNN had the best maps last night. They were big, clear, and the different color schemes worked better. FOX really made a mess of their maps, IMHO, and NBC was kind of boring.

BEST RESULTS DISPLAY AWARD–FOX

Only FOX had what I wanted–real time numbers at the bottom of the screen, constantly updating the state returns along with important senate and house elections. When I was watching the other networks, it was often hard to tell what was going on.

MOST BIASED MOMENT AWARD–MSNBC

I saw several bias moments, in all actuality. As the returns stated going red, FOX people became downright giddy. I think I heard John King say, when CNN called Virginia for Clinton, “Finally, some good news.” But the most glaring moment of bias for me was Brian Williams at MSNBC. He was rattling off several states that were just called for Trump, and then he paused and audibly moaned in pain.

ICYMI, I have included it here for your listening pleasure.

WEIRDEST SET AWARD–ABC

I confess I didn’t watch a lot of ABC’s coverage because every single time I flipped over there they were at commercial. But when I did see some of their coverage, I noticed that their whole set had a distinct purple hue to it. I kept thinking the whole thing was an homage to Prince.

WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR AWARD–NPR

So we were watching the coverage on television, but my brother-in-law had his phone out and was telling us that NPR was calling states much faster than the networks. NBC seemed to be the slowest of the television networks, but they all lagged behind NPR. And while I’m at it, why did it take them so long to call Georgia and Florida? It was evident to everyone one at my viewing party that those could have been called much, much earlier.

DREAM TEAM AWARD

This is my “All-Star” crew. If I could ditch the network system, I’d like to watch the returns being filtered through Brit Hume, Chuck Todd, Tom Brokaw, Rachel Maddow, and John King. Those are the voices that I think mattered the most in the analysis. I don’t agree with all of them on stuff, but they seem to have the best non-partisan analysis of what is actually going down. Hume’s cynical conservatism balances Maddows bubbling liberalism, Todd and King are just wonkish numbers nerds, and Brokaw, well, Brokaw is just a stud.

GO AWAY AND NEVER DO THIS AGAIN AWARD

I’m sick of Karl Rover (and yes, I remember his meltdown on screen on election night 2012). I am sick of Chris Matthews (no thrill down his thigh last night, huh?). Goodbye Wolf Blitzer. Seriously, Blitzer is just annoying. I hope that by 2020 you are all safely somewhere else watching the election results from your own living room.

DEMOCRACY IN ACTION AWARD–THE AMERICAN PEOPLE

Whether your candidate won or lost, America did her thing last light and proved that actually voting is the only poll that matters. I love my country. I love election day.

BETTING ON THE REPUBLICAN DEBATE–OVER AND UNDER

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“I’m huge!  Someone wake him up.”

When I was in fifth grade I lost a bet of fifty cents to Bryan Owens.  I bet him that the Dallas Cowboys would beat the San Francisco 49ers in the 1981 NFC championship game.  Of course, Joe Montana and Dwight Clark had different ideas.  I learned a valuable lesson, though.  Don’t bet on things, especially if you have absolutely no control over the outcome.  You can count on one hand and have fingers left over the number of times since then that I have gambled on events.

But if I were to gamble, I think it would be fun to wager on the over/under for certain aspects for Wednesday’s Republican Debate.  Usually over/under is about stats–will the Patriots score over or under 29 points, will Lebron James have over or under 12 assists.  Things like that.  With that in mind, what is the over/under for certain things being mentioned or happening during the debate?  Keep in mind I am only referencing the main debate, not the cocktail hour debate.  The bold O or U in parenthesis is my guess as to over or under the number.

  • Email Server  O/U 4 (O)
  • Benghazi O/U 2 (O)
  • Bernie Sanders O/U 1 (U)
  • Rick Perry O/U 2 (U)
  • Chris Christie/Rand Paul argument O/U 1 (O)
  • Megyn Kelly O/U 5  (U)
  • Donald Trump says something racist/offensive O/U 3 (O)
  • Ben Carson makes a joke about surgery O/U 2 (U)
  • John Kasich says “Mailman” O/U 4 (O)
  • Scripture is quoted O/U 5 (U)
  • Donald Trump quotes scripture O/U 1 (O)
  • Kim Davis O/U 2 (O)
  • Planned Parenthood is referenced O/U 8 (U)
  • Carly Fiorina takes on Trump on an issue O/U 3 (O)
  • The word Florida is said O/U 15 (O)
  • The Iran Nuclear “Deal” is talked about (7) (U)
  • Audience “Boos” O/U 7 (O)
  • Huge O/U 21 (O)

I don’t think any of them want to mention Bernie Sanders because they want him to be the Democratic nominee.  Trump will mention Rick Perry as a “sleeps with the fishes” kind of warning for people who attack him, and I expect one of the questions might be about Perry dropping out.  As to Christie/Paul, I think there is at least a thirty percent chance that those two will arm wrestle, or at the least have some kind of physical contact.  Watch for it.  Fiorina will be feisty, particularly against Trump.  The Rubio/Bush/Florida connection might get a little nauseating.  Trump will quote scripture, probably more than once, because he realizes he needs to continue his ruse on the Evangelical vote.  Watch the quotations though, I suspect they will be out of context or weirdly applied to justify his own wealth and arrogance or his absurd immigration stance.

In terms of other trends, I think CNN will come at this with a different bent than FOX did.  I expect questions about #Blacklivesmatter, particularly to Carson and Trump.  I suspect there will be questions about the Migrant-Refugee crisis in Europe as well as more foreign policy issues regarding ISIS and Russia.  I also think that at some point a CNN questioner will say something like “Now that unemployment has dropped down to 5.1%, do you still think that President Obama’s policies are not working.”  I also think we’ll get more broad reaching questions about immigration, and that might be when Christie and Paul arm wrestle, because of Christie’s desire to build a wall between the U.S. and Canada.

image from ibtimes.com

POST ELECTION ANALYSIS

FOUR MORE YEARS

 

The only thing more fun (politically speaking) than making election predictions is analyzing them after they happen.  It also gives those of us who love this kind of stuff the opportunity to explain why we were so wrong.  In fact, the subtitle for this blog could be “WHY I WAS WRONG BUT TRUST ME I KNOW WHAT I’M TALKING ABOUT NOW”.

Let me start by congratulating the President.  Not that he is waiting for my approval or words of affirmation, but I think he would be safe in assuming the election safely gives him ‘legacy’ and puts him in the double dipper category of Bush (43) and Clinton and Nixon.  Bush was bogged down in the Iraq war in his second term and Clinton had the Lewinsky scandal and Nixon, well, we all know about that.  I hope and pray the President avoids scandal and quagmires in his second term.  It would not be good for him or the country.

Now, for some analysis.

1.  Whatya know, the Polls were pretty much right on the money!  I have always viewed polls as primarily skewing Democratic, which is why I thought Romney would win.  But they didn’t.  Instead what we saw was consistent correlation between the actual vote and the polling predictions.

2.  This is still a deeply divided nation.  The electoral map looks more overwhelming than the vote.  Obama only won Ohio and Virginia by the slimmest of margins and as I write Florida is still too close to call.  This divide is  sociological, not political.  The geographic regions of the northeast, the west coast, and the upper midwest are separated by culture and values with the heartland areas and the deep south. 

STUD?

3.  FOXNEWS and MSNBC lost all credibility with me, possibly forever, in their election coverage.  I was flipping between those two and CNN and what I saw was cheerleading at MSNBC and a complete meltdown by some of the personalities at FOXNEWS.  CNN had far better numbers (John King is a demographics stud) and analysis overall of what was taking place.  It was so bad at MSNBC that I thought Rachel Maddow was going to cry for joy as she listed all the wonderful policies that will stay in place because Obama won.

4.  I don’t think the election was about values or policies.  It was about trust.  Mitt Romney was never able to overcome the public image he had of being a mean-spirited evil Wall Street fat cat.  This was coupled with the distrust about his religious leanings and his apparent willingness to say anything, kept him from gaining the trust fact.  People voted for Obama because, in the end, they simply trust him and his ‘gut” more than Romney’s strategic machine. 

Okay that is some baseline analysis.  I still believe that our nation is a “center-right” nation in general so I wouldn’t jump to the grand conclusion that this election spells doom for conservatives and conservative causes.  It does mean, however, that Barack Obama has beaten the Republicans twice, and they will never get the chance to beat him again.  America likes the President.  Sometimes it is that simple.

Okay, so I’ve made my analysis.  Now here is what I want to see.

I want the President and Congress to work together and tackle immigration, the national debt, and tax reform.  Okay–that’s what needs to happen now get to work.