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.


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.



Parenting is hard enough, now this.

In case you missed it (ICYMI) click here for the link to the story making the news rounds today.  Here is the summary:  The ten year old and six year old children of Alexander and Danielle Meitiv were playing the park, alone, near their Maryland home when agents of Child Protective Services picked them up.  When the kids didn’t come home on time, the parents became worried and searched all evening for their children.  Eventually they found out their children were at CPS, and around 10:30 that evening were allowed to leave with their children, but only after they agreed to sing a “safety-plan” in which the promised to not leave their children unattended at all.


The juicy bit is that this happened back in January too, and it has sparked a big debate about the issue of child safety and unsupervised play.

I have some opinions about all of this, but that is not what is on my mind this morning.  What I am thinking about is how the nature of the debate on such issues has changed dramatically during my life time.  Here is what I am talking about:  If we had told this story back in the glorious 70s or 80s, it would have been assumed that it was Republican conservatives forcing values down the throat of culture by making those children go home because children loose on the roads and in the parks was dangerous, they might learn something to liberate their minds or something.  It would have been Democratic liberals who would have triumphed the cause of letting these children play–the kids are alright–they can have their own adventures to self-discovery and knowledge without the constant shadow of mom and dad and the totalitarian state breathing down their neck.

Today that those views have flipped completely.  It is the liberal agenda to let the government control families, education, and distill what is and is not acceptable knowledge, what is proper language, and how a person should think.  To the contrary, it is the conservative agenda to rail against the nanny state, the intrusion of big government, and to espouse the reliability of the family and the primacy of the individual even if there are obvious dangers in such a course of action.

If this news story had happened back in the 70s or 80s, liberals would have been up-in-arms over this kind of governmental abuse, while conservatives would have probably accused the family of being communist or something.

The change in perspective of this is probably a reflection of the change of direction that civil discourse has taken in the United States.  It is no longer about liberal or conservative, but about progressive and (little L) libertarian.  These are the cultural ideals that will shape the future.  Progressives generally believe that government should regulate every aspect of life to make certain that everyone gets the same.  Libertarians generally believe that people should govern themselves with as little intrusion from the government as possible.

Currently, progressives have landed in the Democratic party, while libertarians have settled into the Republican party.  Yet neither one is completely at home in either.  I think the next few years of elections could prove interesting, especially as technology makes libertarians more prevalent and the growth of government colors the imagination of new voters who don’t remember anything other than the officially sanctioned thought police.

image from http://www.wusa9.com


For a second there I thought I misheard President Obama.  Surely he was talking about summer safety, and what he said was, “Mandatory Boating,” or something like that.  So I went and checked, and, unbelievably, the President said, “Maybe its time for mandatory voting.”

Here is the clip if you haven’t seen it–i apologize if commercials run first.  Sometimes they do, sometimes they don’t.

POTUS said it would be, “Transformative.”  Yes, that it would.  Let me remind, however, that all transformations are not positive.  Why is change always viewed as a positive, when history tells us that most change is bad.  Seriously.

POTUS also said that such a move would eliminate the effects of money in political campaigns.  Actually, Mr. President, mandatory voting would increase the role of money in political campaigns.  As it stands now politicans raise money to target specific groups that are more likely to vote.  In order to reach the entire adult populace, all required to vote, even greater sums of money would be needed.  Campaign finance reform has been talked about for a long time, and the Citizens United case decision has been a catastrophic failure.  The only way to stop the grotesque expenditures for elections is to properly regulate spending.  Regulating voting will not help.

My favorite part of POTUS’ little off-the cuff moment is when he listed the groups that don’t usually vote, so they would get a greater voice by being made to vote.  The groups he listed were, and I’m not joking, the base of the Democratic Party.  Not so thinly veiled guise there, Mr. President.

I am all for people being free to vote unhindered and unmolested, which is why I’m not really in favor of voter identification laws.  The people who go vote tend to be people who pay their taxes, are involved in the community, care about the issues, and are informed.  If suddenly everyone is required to vote, that dynamic goes out the window and people will not be informed beyond cliche’s and party affiliations and blocks.  Voting is a privilege, but if people who don’t care about that privilege are force to vote, then it becomes a chore, a chore that likely will be done halfheartedly, quickly, and with no thought of the consequences.  Is that what we really want?

When I first heard the president say this, after I realized he wasn’t talking about boating, I remembered that the Soviet Union used to make everyone vote.  Their turnout was always 100%.  Of course, there was only one candidate on the ballot.


Today I have another treat for you! My friend from church, Barbara Agnew, recently retired as the elections administrator in our county. She gave this speech at her retirement party at work. I thought it was great, So I asked her if I could share it with you on my blog, and she agreed. Barbara is one of the sweetest and gentlest souls in the whole wide world.

Moderation – What I Have Done and Who I Am
A Kind Soul
A Kind Soul

While I served as the Burnet County elections administrator I was required by law to be fair and politically unbiased – a “moderate”. I couldn’t contribute to a political party or campaign. I had a policy of “no political discussions” in our office. I required election workers and voters in the polling place to have the same policy – no political discussions. This was sometimes hard because we have interests and opinions on government, economics, social issues and the law.

We conducted elections with these goals during my tenure: fairness, accuracy, security and accessibility.

What I have become in these 8 years is a “moderate” – a person who listens to and values different sides of political issues. I value Democrats, Republicans, Libertarians, Independents and those who don’t want to be classified.

People of all persuasions are generous and kind and expect government officials to be careful with the resources under their purview – things like taxes, property, and policies. We want transparency in government. We want to be treated justly and we want others to be held accountable for their actions and receive the same justice.
I vote in Republican primary elections though many election administrators won’t vote in primaries because they don’t want others to know their party affiliation. For me, “the cat was already out of the bag” because I was a Republican precinct worker before coming to work in the elections office. My Republicanism stems mostly from an economic viewpoint that open markets benefit society and government involvement in business affairs can stifle economic growth.

Do I resent government? Not at all; government is necessary and desirable to provide safety, services and structure for society. Government shouldn’t be wasteful. Government shouldn’t be required to provide for all needs of citizens.  As Americans we have many privileges – a wonderful place to live with many resources, the right to vote, the right to worship how and if we choose, the right to bear arms, and many others. We have great public and private education options. I appreciate all of these.

I respect the sanctity of life and appreciate the choice that four birth mothers made which allows me to have two adopted nieces and two adopted nephews. From another perspective, I once accompanied a college friend to have an abortion and don’t know what choice I would have made if I faced the same decision.

I remember standing at the lunch table in public elementary school, singing “Oh the Lord is good to me and so I thank the Lord…” before sitting down to eat. I wish my grandchildren would be able to do the same. I am not so moderate in this area.

I have grown to know and care deeply for gay people. In the county election’s world we treat the transgender voter with the same respect as other voters. My job is to love and serve, not judge.

I understand we need integrity in our election process but I have seen that a strict photo ID law makes it difficult for some elderly voters and college students to vote at the polls.

I wish all people (of different races, political persuasions, ages, genders) were valued as God’s creations. I appreciate that my mother taught me not to show favoritism when working with children – my first job. Mom says no one of us is better than anyone else. I agree. I don’t know what it’s like to not be Caucasian, but I hope to get to the Texas border to help immigrants soon. Maybe I will gain some empathy.

Moderation may seem, at the least, unpopular. In the public policy arena it can be downright “wrong” not to have strong left or right opinions. But moderation is not just what I have done; it is what I am. Thank you for a well-rounded education Burnet County.

I welcome your feedback and comments.

Barbara Agnew – wife of Darrell Agnew for 32 years; mom to Trent (29), Brad (27), Todd (27), Kelsey (24); mother-in-law to Cori and to-be Elizabeth; and Mimi to Graham (2) and Bennett (5 months). Daughter of Glenn and Evelyn McVey. Sister to Laura and Chuck. Graduate of Georgetown, TX High School and University of Texas (Bachelor of Arts in Economics; class of 1982). Member of Fellowship Baptist Church in Marble Falls. Practice yoga and love to read, travel, garden and play.