2:00PM Water Cooler 11/7/2018

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.

Readers, I’ll devote today’s Water Cooler to some hot takes on yesterday’s fascinating results, sufficient at least to serve as conversation starters. We can’t do detailed analysis without doing serious work at the district level, and we also have to understand the exit polls, and especially the money flows, which are so complex and convoluted it takes experts like Thomas Ferguson and his team months and years to figure them out. So herewith, the following seven quick and verysketchy points:

(1) The hype that failed

Russia, Russia, Russia. For two solid years, that’s what we heard, every day, every medium, every orifice. Come the midterms, the Democrats fall silent. “Exit Polls: Majority Say Russia Probe ‘Politically Motivated’.” You don’t say!

Blue Wave. Nope. Even if you can gin up some numerical justification, a wave election reconfigures power; at the best, 2018 simply provided a check on Trump, not that there’s anything wrong with that. There’s also a good deal of work to be done:

Rising Stars. CNN: “Quick, name the three Democrats running for statewide office that Democrats who didn’t live in their states knew and/or cared about: Andrew Gillum, Stacey Abrams and Beto O’Rourke, right? Well, Gillum lost narrowly. Abrams is losing less narrowly. And O’Rourke overperformed past Democrats in Texas but still lost.”

(2) 2018 continued Cllinton’s 2016 suburban strategy

Chuck Schumer famously said;

For every blue-collar Democrat we lose in western Pennsylvania, we will pick up two moderate Republicans in the suburbs in Philadelphia, and you can repeat that in Ohio and Illinois and Wisconsin.

And in 2018, Democrats did what Schumer said. Politico:

The suburbs, which formed the bedrock of the Republican Party for half a century, are increasingly Democratic ground. The slow suburban exodus from the GOP has accelerated and even expanded beyond the Midwest and Northeast to the South and across the Sunbelt. Name the big metro – Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas, Houston, Minneapolis, Philadelphia – and chances are there’s a Republican incumbent who lost Tuesday night or barely escaped.

(Most of the coverage treats suburban voters, women voters, highly educated voters, and wealth voters as non-overlapping categories, but surely they overlap, especially in suburban districts.) Heaven forfend that the Democrats should expand their base! No, they’l just go after Republicans!

(3) “Events, my dear boy, events.”

Yves flagged this in links. Politico:

Most voters said that their ballot in the U.S. midterm election was about President Donald Trump and that they had recent extremist violence on their minds as they headed to the polls, according to early exit polls… More than three-in-four voters said that recent extremist violence was either the most important or an important factor in their vote today, the CNN poll found.

Frustratingly, the poll doesn’t say which direction voters were pushed, though the implication is that voters blamed Trump for encouraging extremists with his rhetoric. (This would obviously be an attractive thesis to the symbol manipulators in the Democrat’s professional base, especially in the press; but I’m not sure how the causality plays out in individual cases. For example, Republican shooter Steve Scalise was shot by a Sanders supporter. Does anything differentiate that case from others?) In how many close districts did this issue give the Democrats their margin?

(4) Enough with the polarization trope

There’s an enormous amount of whinging about poltical polarization, both before and after the election. A sampling: “The Roots of Political Polarization” [Wall Street Journal], “Facebook Tamped Down on Hoax Sites, But Polarization Thrives” [Bloomberg], “Polarization: 5 Ways to Make Things Better” [Psychology Today], “If you want to fix the polarization crisis, use your vote to shift the political climate” [USA Today], and “To fight polarization, give yourself some breathing room” [Columbia Journalism Review]. (A synonym for “polarization” is “division”; see Pelosi’s usage below.)

My difficulty with “polarization” is that it assumes a binary world where there are only Democrats (liberals) and Republicans (conservatives). Leaving aside my view that liberals and the left are not the same, “polarization” simply leaves out the enormous number of people who don’t participate in the binary system at all (and how come people get to be gender fluid, but not party fluid). Of course there are independents, but how about non-voters? Vox:

The New York Times is currently estimating that some 114 million ballots were cast this year, well above the 83 million votes cast in 2014 and 91 million ballots cast in 2010. That doesn’t quite rival a presidential year — in 2016, for example, about 138 million people voted — but it’s a pretty big deal. Voter turnout in midterm elections is generally lower than in presidential years, though the 2018 election is on track to surpass turnout in both 2010 and 2014. According to the United States Elections Project, voter turnout in the 2010 midterms was 41.8 percent. In 2014, it was 36.7 percent — the lowest in 72 years.

We don’t have the full numbers yet, but assume 2018 broke 50% participation. So half the country is wearing a D or R jersey, and half isn’t wearing a jersey at all, and probably isn’t even following the game. Polarization there may be, but not as the political class conceives of it (and even as they moan about it, they do everything they can to increase it; there’s money in that).

(5) Enough with the “first” tropes

WaPo has a fine example:

I don’t want to be churlish about this; of course it’s a good thing that electeds “look like America.” But how good, exactly? Adolph Reed:

It’s entirely possible to resolve disparities without challenging the fundamental structures that reproduce inequalities more broadly. …[B]y the standard of disparity as the norm or the ideal of social justice, a society in which 1% of the population controls more than 90% of the resources would be just, so long as the 1% is made up non-whites, non-straight people, women, and so on in proportions that roughly match their representation in the general population.

Bernie Sanders:

“It’s not good enough for somebody to say ‘hey I’m a Latina vote for me’ that is not good enough. I have to know whether that Latina is going to stand up with the working class of this country and is going to take on big money interests,” Sanders said.

“It is not good enough for somebody to say, ‘I’m a woman, vote for me.’ No That is not good enough,” the Vermont senator continued. “What we need is a woman who has the guts to stand up to Wall Street, to the insurance companies, to the drug companies, to the fossil fuel industries.”

I don’t like AOC because she’s a “young woman” (or for the color of her lipstick, for that matter). I like her for her views on policy, which she’s not shy about expressing. Is that so wrong?

(6) Enough with squishy health care policy

Health care was a big issue according to the exit polls:

Health care: Voters by 58-34 percent pick the Democratic Party over the Republicans as more likely to protect health care for people with pre-existing conditions, another central focus of the 2018 campaign.

Further, given a choice of four issues, 41 percent pick health care as the top issue facing the country, compared with 21 percent for the economy, 23 percent immigration and 11 percent gun policy.

So what does the mainstream give us:

500K people… That’s just not a major achievement. It shows the peculiar genius of Democrats for making creating issues, and then delivering absolutely miserable solutions to them. On the bright side, the Democrats have managed to contain the #MedicareForAll threat for at least another election cycle.

(7) Expect continued political volatility

On the bright side, a bunch of Senate Blue Dogs got heaved over the side. That’s good, because we don’t have to pander to them any more:

But then we get Pelosi rallying the troops. Here’s the hill we’re going to die on:

We will strive for bipartisanship, with fairness on all sides. We have a responsibility to find our common ground where we can, stand our ground where we can’t, but we must try. We’ll have a bipartisan marketplace of ideas that makes our democracy strong. A Democratic congress will work for solutions that bring us together, because we have all had enough of division. The American people want peace. They want results. They want us to work for positive results for their lives.

(And when liberal Democrats say “our democracy,” they mean, they really mean, their democracy). In other words, 2018 resolved none of the issues that 2016 raised. Not a one.


I have to eat a bit of crow. My call: “Republicans keep the Senate; Democrats win the House, with a margin closer to 23 than 30.” Right on the Senate, but that was easy. Since the Democrats currently have 27 (+4), I’m kinda right as of today, but by my manual count of the House results, 19 districts are currently not decided (both seats in Georgia!) and the Democrats will surely win some of them. If youth and Latinos turned out above historical norms, and suburban women could bring themselves to vote for the liberal, that would account for my error. Mr. Counter-Suggestible guessed they wouldn’t; it looks like they did. (Since that’s an identity politics paradigm, I don’t accept it, but it’s a useful shorthand.) And the data really was terrible.

* * *

Readers, feel free to contact me at lambert [UNDERSCORE] strether [DOT] corrente [AT] yahoo [DOT] com, with (a) links, and even better (b) sources I should curate regularly, (c) how to send me a check if you are allergic to PayPal, and (d) to find out how to send me images of plants. Vegetables are fine! Fungi are deemed to be honorary plants! If you want your handle to appear as a credit, please place it at the start of your mail in parentheses: (thus). Otherwise, I will anonymize by using your initials. See the previous Water Cooler (with plant) here. Today’s plant (David Pearce):

David Pearce writes: “Starting to see some color. Tree stuck at Fourth Falls dam, Royal River, Yarmouth.” Lovely!

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About Lambert Strether

Readers, I have had a correspondent characterize my views as realistic cynical. Let me briefly explain them. I believe in universal programs that provide concrete material benefits, especially to the working class. Medicare for All is the prime example, but tuition-free college and a Post Office Bank also fall under this heading. So do a Jobs Guarantee and a Debt Jubilee. Clearly, neither liberal Democrats nor conservative Republicans can deliver on such programs, because the two are different flavors of neoliberalism (“Because markets”). I don’t much care about the “ism” that delivers the benefits, although whichever one does have to put common humanity first, as opposed to markets. Could be a second FDR saving capitalism, democratic socialism leashing and collaring it, or communism razing it. I don’t much care, as long as the benefits are delivered. To me, the key issue — and this is why Medicare for All is always first with me — is the tens of thousands of excess “deaths from despair,” as described by the Case-Deaton study, and other recent studies. That enormous body count makes Medicare for All, at the very least, a moral and strategic imperative. And that level of suffering and organic damage makes the concerns of identity politics — even the worthy fight to help the refugees Bush, Obama, and Clinton’s wars created — bright shiny objects by comparison. Hence my frustration with the news flow — currently in my view the swirling intersection of two, separate Shock Doctrine campaigns, one by the Administration, and the other by out-of-power liberals and their allies in the State and in the press — a news flow that constantly forces me to focus on matters that I regard as of secondary importance to the excess deaths. What kind of political economy is it that halts or even reverses the increases in life expectancy that civilized societies have achieved? I am also very hopeful that the continuing destruction of both party establishments will open the space for voices supporting programs similar to those I have listed; let’s call such voices “the left.” Volatility creates opportunity, especially if the Democrat establishment, which puts markets first and opposes all such programs, isn’t allowed to get back into the saddle. Eyes on the prize! I love the tactical level, and secretly love even the horse race, since I’ve been blogging about it daily for fourteen years, but everything I write has this perspective at the back of it.


  1. Wukchumni

    I had a nightmare last night involving Livia Soprano & Nancy Pelosi, and in my delirium I couldn’t tell them apart.

    1. GF

      I like that sound better than the Paul Ryan clone who would have been screeching more of the same Trump vileness if the Rs had won the house.

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        True enough. However, if what is needed to arrest the rightward slide of the country — let alone deal with “climate change” — is a Democrat Party that functions for some interest other than its professional base + Wall Street, we haven’t moved very far forward, have we? “Think happy thoughts on the way down” isn’t my motto….

        1. sierra7

          Dems always “fight” for something; never able to deliver a knockout punch….pathetic. Platform for winning a fight:
          Medicare for All (or equivalent single payer etc)
          Work to overturn Citizens United
          Restore “Public Education” with taxpayer funded upper education and eradication of the crippling debt levied by financial US.
          Bring back Glass-Steagal
          Reinstate the draft.
          Dismantle the CIA and the other 19 intelligence agencies buried in the Pentagon.
          There are many others but that would be a start.

          1. redleg

            They’re fighting for their special interest money and future cushy consulting gigs. Nothing more.
            That platform would be a pyrrhic victory for them- win the election and lose the money/consulting gigs.

      2. drumlin woodchuckles

        A Ryan Trumpatrumpa clone would keep ecosystem reality-basers focused and alert and hopefully gaining effectiveness in their oppositiontude.

        Whereas Pelosi is immediately saying . . . ” You can go back to sleep now, Mr. and Mrs. America. We got this. Its cool”. And ” bipartisanshipful bipartisanicity”. Just like Obama. It is the soothing purr of the Catfood Democrat.

    2. RUKidding

      We will strive for bipartisanship, with fairness on all sides. We have a responsibility to find our common ground where we can, stand our ground where we can’t, but we must try. We’ll have a bipartisan marketplace of ideas that makes our democracy strong. A Democratic congress will work for solutions that bring us together, because we have all had enough of division. The American people want peace. They want results. They want us to work for positive results for their lives.

      So effen SICK of this same old, same old worthless tired b.s. nonsense. Pelosi might as well have said to D voters: ha ha sucks to be you!!!!

      I’d say more but: family blog.


      1. nippersmom

        “The American people want peace.” And yet, Nancy, you and the rest of the establishment power brokers in your party keep voting for and pursuing war. Please just shut your lying, hypocritical mouth and go away.

        1. polecat

          “The American people (will) want (a) piece of our hides .. if we lose the football and don’t quickly tamp down the vigor of these newly elected hippies.”

      2. In the Land of Farmers

        How much of a down payment do I need to have my voice heard in that “market place” of ideas?

        Neoliberals till the day they die! Everything has a price and they are more than happy to charge you!

      3. Partyless Poster

        They spend the last 2 years going on about Trump being a dangerous fascist, a Russian pawn, etc then the first chance they get its right back to “reaching across the aisle” bipartisanship and so on.
        Do they really think people voting for democrats want them to work with Trump?
        And they wonder why they have no credibility

        1. RUKidding


          OMG. IF Trump & the RTeam are such “pawns” of Putin, then why are singing Kumbayah and reaching across the aisle to make “nice” with our bounden enemy?

          Super infuriating. What crap.

          PS I don’t credit the Putin/Russia hype that much, but that’s their big rally cry. SHEESH.

          1. The Rev Kev

            Ex-ambassador – and neocon – Michael McFaul tweeted in Russian that the results of the midterms was a defeat for Putin so Russia! Russia! Russia is still on the board for the establishment. Even that Bill Browder tweeted ‘Putin loses proxy war in Orange County as his minion Dana Rohrabacher is defeated by Harley Rouda.’
            Little do they realize that Putin’s plan worked and that the American political system is now gridlocked into chaos for at least the next two years as the House and Senate fight each other. Bwahahahahahah!

            1. Duck1

              So is this some kind of meta meddle, we meddle in their meddle of –someone rid me of this meddlesome ex-ambassador

        2. jrs

          it might be because the Dems that got elected were DINO although still better than the current 100% insane edition of the GOP. So working with the R’s is almost all that’s possible when your candidates are so not even liberals. It’s not what the motivated anti-Trump voter wanted, but the states that were up for grabs and they carried may not have been carried on such a mandate.

          1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

            Convince me that Maxine Waters and Adam Schiff are not 100% insane. And Pelosi ventures into the realm of the unwell herself: it’s that look in her eyes (or not in her eyes when she talks with her eyes closed). Then there’s DiFi, the octogenarian who should just take her tens of millions and go lay out in a pasture somewhere instead of fighting her daily battles to make sure American health care sucks as much as possible.

            And how dare Queen Nancy P use the word “Peace” in her blathering.

          1. Lambert Strether Post author

            Dem leaders embrace pay-go The Hill

            Not only a Grand Bargain, but a firewall against any proposals for universal concrete material benefits, especially for the working class (although there’s always plenty of money for expensive weaponry that doesn’t work, and war).

            It would be helpful if Sanders saw the light on this, or figured out a way to express that he’s seen the light. It does seem that “government is not a like a household” is the Third Rail of Politics.

          2. Big Tap

            More likely than you know. Pelosi was for the last ‘grand bargain’ by Obama and Boehner. Only the Freedom caucus killed it because it didn’t cut off more benefits. As the Speaker and a Republican Senate and president the sharp knifes are out for cutting. Pelosi is not on the left but a true neoliberal. Watch out!


            “Sure, the president tried to up the ante, but why didn’t Boehner make Obama eat the deal? A deal that had the grudging support of House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid? We’ve long known the answer to this. Boehner didn’t have the votes and had no hope of getting them.
            Pelosi clued me into what was to come during a meeting with columnists in March 2011. When I asked her if Boehner had the votes to lift the debt ceiling, she said, “You have to ask him. You know me; I’m a vote-counter. We never lost a vote. You understand. We never lost a vote. I never depended upon Republican votes, either.”

      4. TSD

        I would like you all to now imagine Newt Gingrich or Paul Ryan coming out with a crap statement like that the night their party took control of the House.

          1. Richard

            Hi! We’re the dems and win or lose, we plan to be worthless to you forever! Thanks for the votes! Bi Party Ship 4EVR!

          2. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

            It’s the only way not to blow their cover. There is only one side, one team shoves it in your face and the other team has to pretend they’re not on it

        1. Lambert Strether Post author

          Whatever Gingrich or Ryan served up would be horrid, but it least it wouldn’t be a big bowl of warmed-over mush.

          For old codgers like me who remember 2006 and 2008, this is like Groundhog Day.

          2006: Democrats unexpectedly win both the House and the Senate. Pelosi immediately takes impeachment off the table, for which there were ample grounds (warrantless surveillance; war powers), and buries a sex scandal involving abuse of Congressional pages in the ethics committee (Mark Foley)

          2008: Obama’s nominated, rewrites the preamble to the Democratic platform to include a paean to bipartisanship and a heartfelt plea for a sane Republican party as a reliable interlocutor and partner.

          Times passes…..

          1. fajensen

            abuse of Congressional pages in the ethics committee (Mark Foley)

            Ah, kinda like Saudi Arabia chairing the UN Human Rights council?

      5. Jeff W

        We have a responsibility to find our common ground where we can…

        The vast majority of Americans want “sensible” gun control, money out of politics; a Medicare-for-All system, net neutrality; easier, not harder, voting; Roe v. Wade upheld; the expansion, not cutting, of Social Security; and more federal protection of air and water, among a host of issues—and are even positive about whites becoming a minority by 2043. So, it seems like there is already a lot of common ground if our representatives cared about, um, representing the public interest.

        And the two parties agree, by and large, on the 80% of policy positions that the élites want but regular Americans do not. (See Gilens and Page.) Again, there’s common ground there.

        So it seems to me like all this chatter about polarization and the elusive quest for “common ground” and bipartisanship is pretextual, masking the vast majority of issues on which the two parties agree but that regular people don’t want and those that regular people want but that to which the two parties won’t accede.

        1. Lambert Strether Post author

          > all this chatter about polarization and the elusive quest for “common ground” and bipartisanship is pretextual

          “pretextual” as in “looking for a fight,” or “fighting words.” Perhaps one day political parties will become obsolete, as dueling has.

      6. wilroncanada

        Didn’t watch the returns. Watched Knowledge network (Canadian, BC), and listened to humorous folk songs on my computer . Turned on the TV to watch a bit of news just before bedtime only to see a couple of Washington State politicos (I don’t know who they are; didn’t stay with it) making the same mealy-mouth statements: now we can work with the Republican Senate; what we have needed all along is bipartisanship. A whole,lot of bullship.

    3. Brindle

      So, we got a Marketplace of Results or was it an Idea of Bipartisanship ?..maybe it was a Result of an Idea? ….anyone will do,,,they’re all interchangeable.

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        “Gentlemen, gentlemen! I won’t take any more credit for this victory than necessary. Lord Kitchener did not – nay, will not – die in vain, grid willing. [Applause] Gentlemen, gentlemen – I, as leader, will use power like a drum, and leadership like a violin. Take out any idea. Compare ideas, with the one idea left we are left you have no doubt and without a doubt we have enthusiasm! Gentlemen, gentlemen, please, gentlemen – to make life whole, it’s as easy as a bridge! Now, now, gentle- gentlemen, now that we have obtained control we must pull together as one – like a twin! Keeping the prophecy of power as enthusiasm! All for one!”

          1. you're soaking in it

            Ahh, but please don’t forget!

            “. . . Let me hear it for me!

            YOU’RE UNDER ARREST!!

            if only *sigh*

      2. tegnost

        Maybe it was just a subliminal kick at the medicare for all notion. Whatever anyway, if they govern like blue dogs there will be no turn in the presidential and it’s trump: the sequel.

        1. drumlin woodchuckles

          And if its President Ivanka after that, I hope Hillary and Chelsea both live to see it.

    4. from IA-01

      A few weeks ago, there was a survey of likely IA Dem caucus goers done for Focus on Rural America and reported by the Iowa Starting Line blog.

      When asked to describe their views, 31% of respondents identified as progressive, 38% identified as liberal, and 27% were moderate (so 69% total progressive or liberal). Yet, only 34% prefer “someone who sticks to their values and beliefs”, while 61% prefer “someone who compromises to get things done”.

      In the section on candidate qualities, 88% (99% including “somewhat important” in addition to critical and very important) want someone who will stand up for the middle class and address the high cost of living, 76% (95% including somewhat important) want someone with a record of taking on big corporations and lobbyists on behalf of the people, 85% (98% with somewhat) want someone who believes in science, evidence and investing in research and innovation, and 89% (98% with somewhat) want someone who will reestablish America’s leadership in the fight against climate change. 60% (90% including somewhat important) want someone who pledges to work with Republicans to get things done.

      I don’t understand what they are thinking. I believe in civility, politeness, and comportment with dignity, but I don’t want Dems who’ll cave in or start negotiating from the middle. With today’s Republican party, I don’t see how any of the goals and positions above can be met by working with Republicans rather than by standing firm and using every tool available to accomplish an agenda, as McConnell does. But those surveyed wanted compromise and bipartisanship, as if we were in a different time with a different Republican party. They probably like what they are hearing from Pelosi.

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        > as if we were in a different time with a different Republican party. They probably like what they are hearing from Pelosi.

        I (obviously) am baffled by this “can’t we all just get along?” mindset. Does anybody know of any historian or sociologist who’s done work on this? (The 1830s, ’40s, and 50s were full of compromises, too. Which worked, until it didn’t.)

        1. Jen

          Perhaps they are applying the framework of their own interpersonal relationships, similar to the erroneous notion that the federal budget is like a household budget. In my personal and professional life, I do appreciate people who are willing to make compromises, but in this context, those compromises lead to a result that helps us both. A have one colleague in particular who always chooses to die on the hill of his own self righteousness. Tedious does not begin to describe our interactions.

          What the “why can’t we all get along” crowd doesn’t seem to get is that while our beloved congresscritters may benefit from compromising with each other, we do not, because they are (almost) all on the same team, and that team opposes anything at all that will benefit us mopes. They suffer from the illusion that these people have any interest in the public good.

  2. George Phillies

    There is some evidence that the Republican party in Congress lost aprt of its antiTrump wing. That might eventually be significant.

      1. No One

        Lambert – see the comment lifted from Vox Days blog.

        “Trump is on the radio now, listing the names of all the Republican Representatives who lost, and specifically noting those who REFUSED Trump’s support of their re-election campaign (rallies, campaign ads, etc.).

        Nearly every one of the losers refused Trump’s “embrace” as he calls it. He particularly excoriated Mia Love for having called him frequently over some hostage situation in South America, and then turned up her nose at any campaign support from Trump. Trump sums it up as, “Too bad, Mia.””

        They are cheering the demise of the never trumpers, RINO’s and cucks.

        The R’s have been in transition and Trump is helping this along. The D’s have resisted transition and the changes are happening slowly – hence Clinton hanging around.

        The big question will be who gets stuck with the neo cons and perpetual wars in the middle east. The neo cons are deeply embedded in both parties, and in my opinion whomever gets rid of the neo cons first will have a big advantage as the other guys becomes the war party.

        1. WJ

          Neocon long game was always to infiltrate both parties, so as to depoliticize their foreign policy ambitions and render them as it were natural. Cf. Wall Street, Israel.

        2. Rhondda

          Thank you, No One and WJ. My brain is spinning hard. You have identified something important, I think.

        3. Lambert Strether Post author

          > see the comment lifted from Vox Days blog.

          Thank you for reading this so I don’t have to.

          The D’s have not only resisted “transition,” their strategy has been to pick up the R’s who refused Trump’s “embrace.” One reason for Pelosi’s mush, I suppose. Can’t offend the new recruits!

          1. ambrit

            That’s assuming a lot. Assuming that the disaffected Republicans will move on over to the Democrats, and not just sit it all out, ie. become Independents.

      2. NotTimothyGeithner

        Mittens wouldn’t have gone over as well with the GOP as he did in the general if Obama was white. Trump in his own way broke a glass ceiling on the appearance of Presidential and even required resumes. Mittens parody anchorman act won’t be tolerated outside of the pioneer areas who really like him.

      3. JohnnyGL

        Only way I can see that happening is if Romney runs as a Dem. Tell me the party leadership wouldn’t rally around him in a heartbeat!

        To the voters, a familiar refrain: vote for Romney and bring back civility or you’re against bi-partisanship and civility!!! And also….you have no place else to go!

        (I would expect Trump to win 45-50 states in this scenario for 2020).

          1. Geo

            They already hold RomneyCare as the greatest achievement in modern Democrat history. Why not put the man responsible for it in the ticket?

      4. Lee

        Romney can stage a comeback from his mountain redoubt in Utah

        As a moderate Democrat, perhaps.

        My ears pricked up at Trump’s threat to Dems: “You investigate me, we’ll investigate you.” I am looking forward to the possibility of dueling partisan investigations. The two parties might then completely disappear up each other’s recta.

        1. Mark Pontin

          The two parties might then completely disappear up each other’s recta.

          A consummation devoutly to be hoped for.

      5. The Rev Kev

        Re Romney’s mountain redoubt in Utah – isn’t that where Jet Jackson, the Flying Commando also has his secret base?

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      What anti-Trump wing? Except for Bush family loyalist who live in Washington and aren’t marketable to GOP donors because they lost access, the GOP was just fine with Trump.

  3. jo6pac

    cia and their operative friends did well.

    Winning seats (as of this writing) were at least nine such candidates, including two former CIA operatives, Abigail Spanberger in Virginia and Elissa Slotkin in Michigan; former military officers Max Rose in New York, Mikie Sherill in New Jersey, Chrissy Houlahan and Connor Lamb in Pennsylvania, Elaine Luria in Virginia, and Jason Crow in Colorado; and former State Department official Tom Malinowski in New Jersey, with several other races still to be decided

    Duck1, yep business as usual for the demodogs.

    1. Darthbobber

      Though lumping in everything from jag lawyers to spies as an undifferentiated “military-intelligence complex” is pretty imprecise, and overstated their case.

      1. Rhondda

        I don’t think that “lumping” seems like too much of an overstatement. Pat Lang often talks about how what matters with these, ahem, folks — sorry, couldn’t resist — is their shared worldview and a system of incentives from their employer (govt) and peers that rewards those worldviews.

      2. Lambert Strether Post author

        I don’t see why it’s imprecise at all. Spy Gina Haspel (who did the torture) and lawyer John Yoo (who wrote the memo justifying it) are part of the same vile system.

        1. Darthbobber

          But a captain in the jag corps is barely a soldier at all, (and both the Pennsylvanian were at that level.) The really amusing thing, to an infantryman, is watching such people actually run for office on such a service record.

          Duties would include dealing with all the abuse cases with which military families are rife, intervening between service people and various civilian economic predators, and pretending to provide a defense at a court martial.

          Not the stuff of a good war novel, but hardly the sort of thing wsws assumes, either. They’re about nine tenths of the way to saying that any service at all 8n the capacity of an officer should be a disqualifier.

  4. Summer

    Wait a minute…people said their ballot was about Trump? In the hopes that the Democrats could impeach Trump and poassibly Pence with Nancy Pelosi now the Speaker of the House?

    Peak delusion.

    Heard Pelosi’s bipartisanship speech. We couldn’y find the remote here at work to turn the channel someone left on.
    That means turning over alot of BD bills for the Republican Senate to spit shine.

  5. Summer

    And Thom Hartman was talking about how “we” (whoever that is) don’t need a circular firing squad.
    The only circular firing squad you will see is the one of Democrats and Republicans around anything remotely progressive.

    1. PKMKII

      The results out of the Maryland governor race proves that neoliberals see “just hold your nose and vote team blue!” as applying to thee and not to me.

  6. hemeantwell

    To try to put a rough number on “it’s the economy etc” I found this estimate from a paper by Greg Markus for presidential elections from 1956 – 88: “Sociotropic” effects (i.e., effects of national economic conditions on the presidential vote) remain substantial: each one-point change in real disposable income yields a 2.5 point net change in the incumbent’s vote share, noneconomic factors held constant.”

    True, that’s for presidential elections not midterms, but still quite strong. In the face of that the Dems did well. And conditions in 2020 will likely be very different. However, if the Dems hope to simply ride a sludge wave of bad economic news into office without coming up with credible policies and pols, they could blow it.

  7. Geo

    Nice rundown! Thank you.

    My home state of Cali overwhelmingly voted against rent control. Wouldn’t want poor people to have reliable housing would we? Nope. They must live nomadic lives as punishment for being poor.


    Gotta love Liberal Dems. Equality for identity politics but a caste system is preferred for economics.

    I’m lucky to have an awesome landlord that still offers rent control on the place I’m in. Otherwise I’d easily be priced out with current rates even in just the three years I’ve been here. He was a Bernie supporter too. Can’t imagine there are many like him around.

    1. RUKidding

      Yeah. Big disappointment but not surprising.

      So we get to have the poorz in Cali living in ever worsening conditions with nary a helping hand.

      The short-sightedness is gobsmacking. UGH.

      1. jrs

        we really have insufficient housing period in CA though, so it’s not an issue that can be solved purely through rent control if there just isn’t enough housing period. It’s a bandaid. The proposal wasn’t even to implement rent control but to allow it and leave it up to cities to decide on. But people voted not to allow it to be up to the cities but to keep the statewide restrictions.

        But yea the electorate being so liberal .. is overstated I think.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          The flip side is overpopulation.

          With droughts and water shortage, more housing, while addressing the housing supply side, could make the water problem more acute.

          Let’s how bursting the housing bubble will impact rents.

          1. anon in southern california

            Overpopulation and additional housing construction will turn Los Angeles (at least) into Delhi. Surface streets and freeways are typically gridlocked. It can take me two hours each way (26 miles each way) to commute from home to work.

            1. bones

              That’s right! It’s increasingly common to hear people say “build, build, build” even in the comments on a site like this, but it’s madness not to recognize the limitations on space. In a city you can’t just build upward — it still means more people, more traffic, more sewage, more use of social services, etc. It’s only in the last couple years that I have started to here the epithet “NIMBY” directed at people who oppose construction of luxury high-rises–as if that’s gonna bring the rent down. It used to just be hurled at people who oppose waste sites and the like.

              1. jrs

                Well what is your answer? Because there literally aren’t enough bedrooms for the population, even counting studio apartments as a bedroom (which it is) at this point. There is literally nowhere to live. Is your answer sleep 4 to a room on the floor? Maybe rent control can make that 4 on the floor to a bedroom at least affordable? Of course this is already happening in many parts of L.A. …

              2. Lambert Strether Post author

                > NIMBY

                At least for petroleum projects, NIMBY is the way to go. All such projects should be resisted where found, and the NIMBYs are the ones with the incentives.

                1. Annieb

                  We tried in CO with prop 112 (2500 ft oil and gas operations set backs for residential and schools) but no go. The oil and gas industry spent $30 million convincing 260,000 voters that setbacks would destroy jobs.

          2. HotFlash

            Well, yes, but what do you suggest at this point? When the Greeks had an unwanted child they ‘exposed’ it. We have a hard enough time getting functional birth control, let along abortion, both of which seem a bit more humane, but good old go-ahead Cali is exposing their adult citizens. And it’s all market-driven, therefore fair and just, right? Only those who do not currently meet the means test are out in the elements.

            Well, and some of their kids.

            1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

              Perhaps humans can delay having babies.

              Still have them (the same numbers planned), just later in life.

              So, take the hypothetical extreme case of everyone pushing back one year.

              Then, population growth from birth for 2019 will be zero.

              In practice, it will be somewhere in between, and we have to push back longer than one year, and do that for more than one year.

    2. perpetualWAR

      And…..I heard LA voted down the public bank.
      AND……Feinstein voted in AGAIN???

      [family blog]

      1. jrs

        Feinstein over as somewhat (though hardly Sandernista) more liberal Democrat who ran to the left of her. I guess all the Rs in the state voted for her being there was no R candidate, and maybe a decent amount of Dems did. So I guess it means we are unable to elect even a slightly more progressive and less corrupt Senate candidate even in CA, even with no R boogiemen to fear.

        1. tegnost

          she should change her party affiliation to republican if it turns out she was elected with a republican majority. I think that should be a part of the top two format. It’s only fair after all.

          1. The Rev Kev

            2020’s top slogan – “Why vote for a Democrat when you can vote for a real Republican!”

      2. Summer

        I said last night that Cali is headed back to its original past…the one that gave you Nixons and Reagans.
        The period we are currently in will be considered an aberration from the norm…just like how people are now talking about the post WWII middle class.

    3. Partyless Poster

      Both rent control and the dialysis won because of overwhelming money and advertising advantage.
      The TV commercials have been in nonstop scare mode aimed specifically at seniors.
      The housing industry put in over 7 million just for this campaign.
      Its pretty hard to fight all the disinformation even in a blue state
      There really needs to be a law against these blatantly false fear ads aimed at seniors.
      People work there ass off to get something decent on the ballot only to have it shot down by big money.

      1. HotFlash

        Its pretty hard to fight all the disinformation even in a blue state
        There really needs to be a law against these blatantly false fear ads aimed at seniors.

        Time was, that was the function of a free press.

      2. Summer

        Don’t overlook this;
        Steady income or fairly well to do people are spending so much for their children’s “education” ( but really part code for safety from the poor people’s chlidren) that over inflated housing market prices are their only sense of security.

        1. Fiery Hunt

          Agree, Summer…but would say it has less to do with fear of “poor people’s children” than it has to do with knowing full well the advantage top private schools have for their kids wealth futures.
          Got a die hard Democrat as a student of mine… (she’s a banker, makes about a quarter mil between her and husband, “supports public education fully!” …while sending her kid to a $25,000 a year private elementary school!!) all paid for by 2 rentals in Berkeley.

          Have to…she says. I want what’s best for my kid.
          Bay Area Democrat for ya.

        1. jrs

          the opposition fell down on the job on that one, as entirely as anyone could. They didn’t even put an opposition in the voter guide because they missed the deadline. It SEEMED to have literally NO opposition, to be uncontroversial and unopposed. So being that’s how it seemed, people passed it. You had to seek opposition out on the internet and even then barely find ANY.

          You don’t know this because you aren’t in CA but blaming CA voters for this one makes very little sense. The opposition needs to pretend to make an argument for their case if they want to win.

    1. RUKidding

      No doubt there’s a lengthy list of even WORSE crooks to fill that position… as long as they’ll willingly break the law and kiss someone’s butt big time. Can’t wait for that replacement announcement. sigh.

    2. Pavel

      Good riddance. Odious person. Though the scuttlebutt apparently is that Lindsay Graham wants it and Nikki Haley will get his Senate seat. Hard to imagine a worse bunch of people in the world. (It would be, but McCain has thankfully passed.)

      1. Pat

        Oh, I can throw a few people in there. But it does make for a very interesting question.

        Based on their political leaders, which is the furthest circle of hell: South Carolina or Florida?

        1. Pat

          I should add that while I think they both beat my state, Cuomo, Schumer, Collins, King and Clinton do mean NY would stay in the contest a good long while.

          1. Inode_buddha

            I still don’t understand how the hell Collins got elected (he should be in jail instead) and nope he ain’t gonna represent me

    3. Spring Texan

      No one can be worse than Sessions, no one will have his detailed vendetta of cruelty to immigrants and I don’t care who replaces him (although I’m sure they’ll be terrible), this is occasion for a happy dance!!

      Improves my day!

      1. Unna

        Seems Pelosi is all upset about Sessions having been fired. So is the NYT. The Mueller investigation is under threat they say. I doubt that actually. Guessing, but I’d say if the Mueller investigation hasn’t found anything on Trump yet, it’s not going to now. A new more aggressive Atty Gen will not be firing Mueller, but he/she could initiate some investigations of the Dems and the FBI. And that’s what Pelosi doesn’t want, nor the NYT. Question: Will they – or how long will it take them to – descend into Sessions hagiography like they did with Nikki Haley?

        If Pelosi doesn’t like something, there’s a cognizable possibility that it might be a good thing….

        1. allan

          Trump’s acting attorney general was part of firm US accused of vast scam [Guardian]

          Donald Trump’s new acting attorney general was part of a company accused by the US government of running a multimillion-dollar scam.

          Matthew Whitaker was paid to sit on the advisory board of World Patent Marketing, which was ordered in May this year to pay a $26m settlement following legal action by federal authorities, which said it tricked aspiring inventors. …

          Thuggish email from Mr. Whitaker to such a victimized inventor here.

          So, there’s a cognizable possibility that it’s not a good thing.

          1. Unna

            So are you saying that Pelosi, in her capacity as public servant, is suddenly concerned that persons of questionable morality as pertains to business and money are involved in politics? Or are you saying that Whitaker is a worse actor than Sessions who never bothered anybody important and so really wasn’t so bad after all (let the hagiography begin), and that’s what’s made Pelosi’s so concerned? Or could it be that Whitaker, not having been tainted by having spoken to Russians on two occasions like Sessions did, will now exercise some oversight of the Mueller investigation?

            My thought is that Pelosi and the Dems were quite content with Sessions as Atty Gen who, having declawed himself with his recusal, presented absolutely no threat to them either legally or politically. He was reduced to being that funny guy who made guest appearances on Weekend TV eating chocolates.

            But now that Sessions is gone, Trump will get to appoint an Atty Gen who might actually go after the Dems with the same unholy ferocity and partisan bitterness that the Dems in the House are currently threatening to go after Trump.

            Of course none of this will be good for the American Republic. Perhaps a bipartisan stand down of reciprocal investigations based on the potential of mutually assured political destruction and a return to the practice of policy based political competition would be better.

            1. allan

              “Whitaker, not having been tainted by having spoken to Russians on two occasions”

              Sadly, the internet never forgets, and there seem to be a limitless number of videos, tweets and op-ed pieces Whitaker appeared in, wrote or approvingly linked to that make false statements about the facts of the Russia investigation. For example

              Kyle Griffin
              ‏Verified account @kylegriffin1

              Here’s the new acting Attorney General in July 2017 defending Don Jr.’s decision to take the Trump Tower meeting with Russians offering “dirt” on Hillary Clinton: “You would always take that meeting.”(via CNN)


              Matt Whitaker
              ‏Verified account @MattWhitaker46

              Worth a read. “Note to Trump’s lawyer: Do not cooperate with Mueller lynch mob” http://www.philly.com/philly/opinion/commentary/note-to-trumps-lawyer-do-not-cooperate-with-mueller-lynch-mob-20170804.html … via

              Also too:

              … If elected to the U.S. Senate, former U.S. Attorney Matt Whitaker says he would only support federal judges who have a Biblical view, and specifically a New Testament view, of justice. “If they have a secular world view, then I’m going to be very concerned about how they judge,” Whitaker said at an April 25, 2014, Family Leader debate. …

              There is also a very strong case that, by virtue of having been appointed by someone who is the possible subject of an investigation, DOJ guidelines require Whitaker to recuse himself. But that’s a secular view.

              1. Unna

                Whitaker is certainly not my ideal public servant. I would never have hired him. I think his views about the appointment of judges amount to a religious test for public office. But I don’t see where he colluded with the Russians. He has some pointed views about the Mueller investigation, but so do a lot of people. Whitaker sees no problem with Don Jr. meeting with a lawyer who said she had dirt on Clinton. This is what all political campaigns do. You say you have dirt on an opponent, somebody meets with you. If you don’t have dirt, they leave. Which, if I’m right is what Don Jr. did. Hillary spent huge sums of money hiring a “former?” MI6 agent to contact Russians to get dirt on Trump. Should she be prosecuted for that? If she had been elected should she have been impeached over it?

                Personally I don’t see any problem with the meeting, ethical, legal, or otherwise, except that the lawyer was Russian and that fits into the Hillary narrative that she lost because of Russians.

                The Philly article seems to have been written by a George Parry, but Whitaker agrees with it. The article says essentially that Trump would be a fool to talk one on one with Mueller because of the so called “Perjury Trap”, meaning they would find some inconsistency between what Trump might say after hours of interrogation and a known fact, and prosecute Trump on that rather than on anything substantive. Like they did with Flynn. Nothing here, in my opinion, disqualifies Whitaker from being acting Atty Gen or from supervising the Mueller investigation.

                Personally I’ll be surprised if Mueller is dismissed. It would be politically stupid to do so, especially if Mueller doesn’t have anything, and even if he does. We’ll see. Whitaker might ask some pointed questions about when Mueller will be done, and if he is making any attempt to confine his investigation to Russian interference in the election. Or do you think it’s healthy for the Republic that Mueller investigates forever, Trump’s family, friends, business associates for activities decades in the past?

                Mueller is reportedly at the end of his investigation. If he has anything, it’s time to show. If not, he should wrap things up. And like Cincinnatus, having served the Republic, he should lay down his power and return to his farm, content with the honour given to him by a grateful nation. But, I’m not holding my breath.

    4. ProNewerDeal

      any impact on the status quo for cannab1s policy? My understanding is that S3ssions was a hardcore drug warrior & emphasized it, whereas Trump is a drug warrior but doesn’t care much about the issue (as opposed to say the Border Wall or oligarch tax cuts)

      1. Pavel

        Good point. Sessions was as mean and nasty as they come regarding drug decriminalisation/legalisation. Another reason to be thankful he is gone.

        1. drumlin woodchuckles

          I remember reading or hearing recently ( though I can’t find any link or other evidence) that Sessions semi-recently said that marijuana isn’t really all that death-dealing, necessarily. It sounded almost as though someone jerked Sessions’s choke-chain real sharp and hard.

          And if this Whitaker is a real marijuana-hater he may inspire new wellsprings of hatred among people who were not necessarily predisposed to hate Trump just on general principles.

    5. Llewelyn Moss

      Session resigned at Trump’s request. Timing seems designed to distract attention from Trump’s “Captain Queeg” performance at his press conference today. Or am I too cynical?

    1. Jonathan Holland Becnel

      Rich Elite Lawyers and Bankers who couldnt quite solve the Depression of 1837.

      They said all these wonderful things and ‘Def had a Plan.’


      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        The Whigs couldn’t come to a principled position on slavery and were destroyed as a party as a result, resulting in the rise of the Republicans and the ultimate destruction of the Slave Power.

  8. RUKidding

    In part, I feel, some of the votes reflect now massive & right out there in the open & in your face voter suppression tactics routinely implemented by the GOP in various states. That, plus gerrymandering.

    And what has BigD done about either????? Buehler? Buehler??

    It’s a wonder BigD did as “well” as it did. Gee whiz: now they have to make some pretense at “governing.” But of course, it’s all about being super bipartisiany and similar worthless crap.

    All together now: let the Dissing of Bernie Sanders begin!

    1. lambert strether

      Same as Jebbie’s voter role purge in Florida 2000. Nothing serious done for 18 years. And here we are!

      1. drumlin woodchuckles

        Here in Michigan, a majority of voting voters voted to create a NonPartisan Commission to draw the Districts every ten years instead of permitting the State House Majority draw those Districts.

        Also, a majority of voting voters voted to State-Legalize personal recreational marijuana, including personal freedom to personally grow a tiny number of one’s own personal plants.

    2. Big River Bandido

      And what has BigD done about either?????

      Democrats have no moral standing when it comes to voter suppression. Even if they were inclined to say or do something about it, their donors probably wouldn’t support it.

  9. Eureka Springs

    So half a million more insured people after two years of campaigning and say two more years of gettin’ her done. At four years per half million with at least thirty million without insurance… Dems should have us all insured (not to be mistaken with cared for) in a couple hundred years if they rush things.

    Marketplace of ideas, is just three Pelosi words for Pay Go. Pay Go is two Pelosi words for bipartisanship.

    1. Quentin

      On the marketplace people buy and sell what—ideas? Right. Bought and sold, they are, for no more than ideas, not products or results. I find her eminently postmodern in the classic sense.

    2. polecat

      I’d much prefer real care over the cruel joke of extortionate insurance that doesn’t do sh!t … but that’s just me.

  10. Hameloose Cannon

    It’s going to be hard to deny the news media the “first trope”…First….by language, news are events that are novel, stuff that happens that is new and different. Journalism gives itself the ethical obligation to identify “first” events as timely, prominent, proximate, and interesting [to humans]. If you’re not reporting the first __, as change, and identifying who or what changed, you are doing it wrong. Or you’re trying to do something else. Second, saying “first ___” is not a figurative statement. It is literal and therefore it cannot be a trope, a device, or a metaphor. It is reality, a falsifiable and verifiable proposition. True, not false. This is not flippant, there is a cultural crisis going on where people, including a Head of State, acts as if they are unable to differentiate between what is real and what is not.

    1. WJ

      I think Lambert’s point is (1) what counts as a “first” worth mentioning is not only arguable but often manipulative and (2) counting such “firsts” as though they were, in themselves and unambiguously, victories for Team Justice is as predictable as it is likely to be self-defeating.

    2. Lambert Strether Post author

      > It is literal and therefore it cannot be a trope, a device, or a metaphor.

      Hmm. From my OED:

      A. noun.
      1. Rhetoric. A figure of speech consisting in the use of a word or phrase in a sense other than that which is proper to it; gen. a figurative use of a word; figurative or metaphorical language. m16…

      As you point out, “first” would not seem to be improper, if it is simply reporting the literal truth. From my American Heritage dictionary:

      1. A figure of speech using words in nonliteral ways, such as a metaphor….

      3.a. A theme, motif, plot, or literary device that commonly recurs within a genre or work of fiction, especially when considered clichéd: “Finding the corrosion under the waxed-and-polished chassis of small-town America is itself an old trope” (James Poniewozik).

      b. An often recurring idea or image: “In our conversations, there was a running theme, a trope, of economic havoc, of drowned cities, of time running out” (Jon Gertner).

      I suppose I could claim I’m using “trope” in the AHD’s sense 3.a., a “literary device that commonly recurs,” or 3.b., “an often recurring theme or image.” What gives me pause is the etymology; from the AHD’s wonderful Indo-European roots feature, “trope” is descended from “trep”:

      trep- To turn.
      1. -tropous; apotropaic, Atropos, treponema from Greek trepein, to turn, with o-grade derivative tropos, turning.
      2. O-grade form *trop-.
      a. Suffixed form *trop-o-. trope, troubadour, trover; contrive, retrieve from Greek tropos, a turn, way, manner
      b. suffixed form *trop-ā-. trophy, tropic, tropo-; entropy from Greek tropē, a turning, change

      So, careful parsing aside, what is “turned” in “first ____”, if only the literal truth is conveyed? Where’s the twist?

      More precisely, “first____” is syntactically a snowclone, a phrasal template (like “It’s ___ all the way down”, or “____? We don’t need no stinkin’ ____”). Raising the question of whether snowclones can be said to be tropes. Confusingly, they can be. From TV Tropes:

      A “Snowclone” is a form of trope title that relies on imitating an older title’s form with only a small modification. Usually this modification amounts to replacing a word or making a pun.

      (The limitation to titles is appropriate to the site, which concerns TV shows.) Whether filling in the blank with a modification is enough of a twist or a turn to create a snowclone semantically is one for the judges (“First left-tentacled Martian Representative would clearly be).

      Then again, I’m not doing that; I’m drawing attention to the snowclone nature of the phrase by quoting it and adding the “_____.” Is that enough of a twist to make my usage a trope? I think it is. Can I manage, by drawing attention to the process by which “the literal” is chosen and centered, to convert a cliché to a trope for future, sensitized readers? After all, in context the literal truth is tendentiously framed using a literary device. One for the judges again.

      * * *

      At least one reader will be interested in this snowclone, which TV Tropes regards as a failure:

      Schrödinger’s X: Based on the famous thought experiment, these are about cases where one choice can retroactively change whether something was true or false all along, so until then, it is both true and false at the same time. These can only happen in interactive fiction (or in passive media, if it is based on the writer’s choices caused by audience reaction). DO NOT use it for “until something happens, it might turn out either ways”. That’s just plain, old, obviously logical uncertainity.

      1. Steve H.

        + AHD etymology ++

        You might want to check out the “Children’s Writer’s Word Book.” Great for factor analysis and implication structures, plus the kindergarten words are true seeds.

  11. Polar Donkey

    Down here in Tennessee, Bredesen won Shelby county (Memphis) by 36 points, Davidson county (Nashville) by 40 points. Blackburn still won by 11 points. I don’t think anyone outside those two counties voted for him. He ran an awful campaign. He was kind of lazy and followed safe playbook. Focused on Blackburn being corrupt and contributing to opiod crisis. Both are true, yet he never said what he was going to do except be bipartisan. He came out for Kavanaugh’s appointment back in September to prove it. Just got him smoked by Blackburn. Even republicans in Tennessee hate Blackburn. Truly poor showing by Bredesen.

  12. Mark Gisleson

    Still angry over the feckless way D’s pushed the world towards war with their disingenuous lies about Russian interference.

    Today would be a good time to donate to a red state org working to organize in rural areas. These are battles that cannot be won with advertising, only with boots on the ground and in a committed ongoing effort that doesn’t get unfunded in odd-numbered years. The closer you get to election time, the more your money gets thrown away on media buys.

  13. Ranger Rick

    At this point I’m simply resigned to seeing “first [insert identity]” all over the place. I honestly don’t believe that this is even about the precedent, at least, not in the way that people think: where else do you see stats like these?


    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      In many professional sports today, teams buy championships with money.

      And without money, it’s hard to win even an Olympic event.

      1. Wukchumni

        …in professional sports versus politics

        Every contest in the former comes with verifiable numbers, that are seldom if ever contested, and cheating or poor manners are often penalized.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          In basketball, for example, being able to fake a foul (committed against you) is greatly treasured (not penalized).

          Not so in soccer. You have to be a really good actor to be able to profit from it.

          And if you can steal signs in baseball, as long as you’re not caught, it’s all good.

    2. Duke of Prunes

      In Chicago, one of the local stations had to correct itself because it said, repeatedly, that the newly elected AD was the ‘first black AD”… short memory as we had a black AD about 25 years ago… seems like a long time, but it is really just 2 ADs ago… I guess that was before IdPol was in full swing so it doesn’t count.

  14. Samesame not different

    Is this another election that can be best described as the choice between Pepsi and Cola?
    A meaningless choice because the products are in its essence the same.

    1. polecat

      Can’t we have a choice of Sprite, Dr. Pepper too ?? Hell, I’d even settle for an electoral double-shot of whiskey … just so I could spit in the eyes of both the Ass, and the Pachyderm !

  15. PKMKII

    Observations from NY-11: Rose’s victory over Donovan was a huge upset. I thought Donovan had it easily in the bag, and I’m curious to see how it’s parsed out that Rose pulled it off. While the district and candidate plays right into the DCCC playbook (functionally suburban, typically Republican district, squishy centrist candidate with both military and elite prep school background), the ads that I saw did not play into either the “Russia! Russia! Russia!” trope nor making it all about Trump. Rather, Rose hammered Donovan on shutting down the narcotics unit while DA and said that helped bring the opioid epidemic to Staten Island, and Rose made a lot of noise about not taking “corporate” money. Now, the former is suspect in how much it really had to do with the opioid epidemic (and implies moar police state as the solution, which is even more suspect), and the latter I’m sure is based off an incredibly narrow notion of rejecting corporate money. But it at least suggests that someone in the Democratic establishment got wind of the idea that these would be good things to run on in such districts, and it appears to have worked to some extent.

    Good news on the state front: Mathlyde Frontus, a progressive activist who narrowly beat out a machine Democrat in the primary, won the 46th Assembly district, and Andrew Gounardes appears to have ousted grifter Marty Golden, whose staff has a penchant for anti-semitism and befriending the Proud Boys, from the 22nd Senate seat, who has held it since 2002.

  16. flora

    re: Enough with the polarization trope.

    I agree. In Kansas Kobach lost. Polarization lost to getting the schools back up to standard and the roads rebuilt. Go figure…

    From The Topeka Capital-Journal:

    “Democrat Laura Kelly convincingly won election Tuesday night as Kansas’ governor against the aggressive conservatism of Republican Kris Kobach in a campaign that revealed voters in red-state Kansas wanted to shift executive branch power back to the center.
    “Today, Kansans voted for change,” Kelly told supporters during her victory speech in Topeka. “A change not only in the direction of our state, but a change in tone. We chose to put people before politics.”
    “Kelly, elected on a ticket with Wichita Sen. Lynn Rogers, said the outcome wasn’t part of a blue wave but a current of common sense. She said that as governor, she would be open to the best ideas, regardless of party label, and work to throttle hyper-partisanship of the past eight years.

    “Kelly, a soft-spoken Topeka state senator, pledged to deliver centrist leadership, a sensibility illustrated by endorsements from former Democratic Govs. Kathleen Sebelius and John Carlin and Republican Govs. Mike Hayden and Bill Graves.”

  17. knowbuddhau

    Thanks for the election news. I avoided it while out of town so I could read it here first.

    I did look at the ABC & CBS “coverage.” Could hardly make sense of ABC’s. The only natural forms were the faces of the talking heads. Looked like a patriotic kaleidoscope.

    1. ChiGal in Carolina

      Thanks to Yves for last night posting the link to the Democracy Now/Intercept election night coverage. It was fabulous to hear intelligent analysis instead of repetitive horse race stuff. AND you didn’t have to go on Fbook to watch.

  18. nippersmom

    Per the latest update I saw, Kemp’s margin is now down to 63,225. Imagine what those results would look like without all the purges and other shenanigans.

    1. nippersmom

      Georgia Secretary of State race looks like it may be headed to a runoff, with only about 24,000 separating Raffensperger (R) and Barrow (D) and neither at over 50%.

      And that 63,225 edge Kemp has over Abrams is out of 3,919,758 votes. When you blatantly try to fix the election in a deep red state and that’s the best you can do, you clearly aren’t a popular candidate.

  19. from IA-01

    Although Democrats took 3 of 4 house races, I would say that Iowa is more red than purple. Loebsack held his seat, which includes Iowa City (University of Iowa); Finkenauer (for whom I voted, despite my complaints) took Blum’s seat; Axne squeaked through in a district that includes Des Moines; and King prevailed. I think Finkenauer was a fluke because Blum was such a weak candidate, and I would not assume that her seat is now blue. Axne only won by a little over a point, so it’s hard to call that much of a blue wave.

    Disappointingly, the Republicans held the state house and senate, and Reynolds won the governorship. I was struck this morning by how many more votes there were for Democrats for Congress than for governor. I wondered if Steve King was just too repugnant even for solid Republican voters, who would vote for Reynolds, and used the NYT numbers to compare votes for governor to the votes for the house seat in IA-04 (county by county with a yellow pad and pen). In King’s district, there were significantly more votes for governor than for the house seat, and a much bigger divide between R and D for governor than for the house seat. Finally, one of the blogs, Iowa Starting Line, put online a post about the discrepancy between Dem votes for governor and Congress and took a look at Finkenauer’s district, where there was less of a difference in the number of total votes cast for governor and the house seat than in IA-04, but the Dem for governor (Hubbell) similarly did not perform as well by percent as the Dem for Congress.
    Bleeding Heartland (https://www.bleedingheartland.com/2018/11/07/lessons-of-2018-high-turnout-doesnt-only-help-democrats/) looked at turnout and found that Hubbell outpolled most people who have been elected governor of IA, but Republican turnout was better.

    Our schools are in decline, our universities stressed for funds, our water polluted, our Medicaid program a mess, our Apple deal ridiculed nationwide – I’m so disappointed that Reynolds won and the Reps kept control of the state legislature. I feel like Hillary – “What Happened?”

    1. flora

      If it’s any comfort (cold comfort, at best), I think what has happened/is happening in Iowa is what happened in Colorado 15+ years ago, then in Kansas 10 years ago, and has now moved into Iowa.

      Colorado finally kicked out the Americans For Prosperity anti-tax zealots and privatizers destroying their state’s schools and infrastructure. In the beginning, it sounded so goood in the brochures sent to the voters, so plausible. Kansas fell for the same sales pitch about a decade ago, then started kicking out anti-tax crowd 2 years ago and continued with this election round. I predict Iowans will, like states before them, come to their senses and kick out the anti-taxers and privatizers in a few more election cycles, after the stuff really hits the fan on schools, roads, and services. Yes, its going to get worse, until enough people see the undeniable destruction it causes.

      Seems like its the same outfit behind most of this bait-and-switch, too. But it takes a while for people to realize they voted for something that doesn’t work for them.

      1. from IA-01

        It’s a very right wing district with the exception of ISU in Ames. Yesterday’s NYT had 157,221 votes for King and 146,698 for Scholten, but Reynolds got 192.389 votes in that district to Hubbell’s 122,920.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      Amazing stuff.

      It’s clear that in Reed, Sanders had a genius for an advisor who saw the problem correctly. The politics of it didn’t work out; let’s hope 2020 is better.

  20. Summer

    Re: Enough with the polarization tropes

    The duopoly creates polariztion. It’s a nonsensical trope in this political system. Noting more binary than D or R. Which leads me to understand the overall complaint.
    To the establisment, polarization is any view or person that doesn’t conform to their belief in the binary system. They have a – BIG FAT IDEOLOGY (they alwaus claim to be operating from reason and not ideology so it gets all caps) and anything not going along with the program is considered polarizing

  21. Lynne

    Speaking of firsts, South Dakota elected its first female governor yesterday. Of course, that’s not going to get much press because: first… well, it is SD and who pays attention to them; and second, she’s so conservative that Trump and Mike Pence both made campaign stops for her. Trump in Sioux Falls and Pence in Rapid City (right before the election when it looked like maybe Trump’s earlier stop hadn’t been enough). Frankly, I thought it was newsworthy that in a deep red state, both Trump and Pence campaigned in person for a very conservative Republican running against a small-town Democrat who said he liked Bernie’s policies.

  22. ewmayer

    “Frustratingly, the [CNN] poll doesn’t say which direction voters were pushed, though the implication is that voters blamed Trump for encouraging extremists with his rhetoric.” —

    I was interested to what extent Trump’s mastery of political jiu-jitsu, in form of turning an apparent negative into a positive by using it to fire up his base, would figure in this election. Specifically, his emerging fro the Kavanaugh nomination circus with his pugnacity rewarded via a SCOTUS seat, and his use of the migrant caravan to get out the vote. This Reuters Piece, Factbox: Seven takeaways from the U.S. congressional elections, helpfully addresses the question:

    6) Wedge issues raised late in the campaign helped Republicans. The party was struggling to find ways to engage its base until Senate Democrats rose up against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh. All three of the Democratic senators who voted for Trump’s first high court nominee, Neil Gorsuch, and then turned around and voted against Kavanaugh lost their seats. Trump’s continuing focus on the migrant caravan in Mexico turned out to be an issue that helped power some surprise wins in the Senate, but may have contributed to defeats in the House.

    Note also the howler in Takeaway #1: “The [Dem] party still is struggling to connect with blue-collar, white voters” — Uh, no it’s not. Nor with blue-collar folks of color, either. Unless by “struggling to connect”, Reuters means in the “there is no problem that cannot be solved via better PR and messaging” sense.

    1. Summer

      In 2020, the Democrats are going to have trouble carrying the cities – and not only because of voters thrown off roles and election hijinks. That’s another reason why they are looking far and wide for disaffected Republicans instead of expanding for new voters.

  23. audrey jr

    “Marketplace of ideas.” Yep, that saying is my personal favorite. How much more out of touch can these congresscritters be?
    Sorry about the call I made for John O’Rourke last night in Texas.
    I’m blaming my millennial son for that because, well, he’s a millennial.
    He came into the room and stated O’Rourke’s win as fact. Because my television is set to self destruct if CNN or any lamestream news channel is turned to I deferred to his statement as he was actually watching CNN.
    After posting the missive here on NC regarding Beto’s “win” I realized I had been played.
    Damn millennials.
    I apologize for any confusion(s) that my misstatement may have rendered.
    And I throw myself on the mercy of the court!

  24. Matt

    Regarding Florida. On the election thread, one person claimed the DeSantis win was nothing but the result of racist, old white people in Florida who didn’t want a black governor. Another commenter pointed out that, while Gillum lost, the measure to restore voting rights won handily.

    I checked incarceration rates for Florida and found that they surge ahead of the U.S. overall (833 per 100,000).


    While black incarceration rates are over four times white rates, the white incarceration rate (626 per 100,000) still shoots ahead of the overall incarceration rate of nearly every other developed country and comes close to the U.S. rate.

    If DeSantis really did win because of racism, it seems to provide more vindication for the “Bernie would have won” crowd. Perhaps racist voters knew a white family member or friend who lost voting rights over what they perceived as a small offense and voted for a ballot initiative that disproportionately helps African-Americans. It seems a left-wing populist could appeal to these voters with other universal programs like a job guarantee or universal healthcare that would also disproportionately help people of color.

    1. RopeADope

      Actually going through the vote numbers there is an underperformance in Districts 25 26 and 27, so that would be either racist hispanics or vote suppressed hispanics.

      Even with that underperformance it looks like the GOP stole the election from the Dems in Florida. They are hiding the theft in Districts 10, 14, 20, 21 and 24 and hoping that the election day narrative can carry them long enough until MSM loses interest.

  25. BDBlue

    Although I agree that policy matters a lot more than identity, I did want to point out that there are some areas where identity appears to affect policy. For example, women Democratic members of Congress are more likely to support overturning the Hyde amendment. So while it still sucks that we don’t have more people good across the board on policy, a more diverse group of representatives isn’t entirely policy neutral.

    Also, if you haven’t checked out Data for Progress, the group that ran the numbers here, I’d recommend that you do. Like the People’s Policy Project, they do some really interesting work.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      But it’s not possible to vote a straight ticket by identity. All one can do is vote for the candidate. And if the candidate supports your policy, why not just vote on policy and not identity?

  26. Chip

    NM 2 flips to Dem after Republican Herrell claimied victory. Sec of State calls race for Xochitl Torres Small

  27. Mark Ó Dochartaigh

    Local democrats have been asked to come in to Collier County hq to contact voters of rejected mail-in ballots for Bill Nelson’s Senate race. It’s good to see Nelson holding out for a full recount, especially in symbolic Florida.

  28. Richard

    Has anybody looked into the wasserman ugh-canova election? There was such outright fraud in the past, and polling I thought indicated a pretty close race, and she totally wiped him out. I’m just wondering if anyone has read anything?

  29. Unna

    Taking a break from the stress of the elections, the Guardian can now reveal His Royal Highness Prince Charles speaking Pidgin in Nigeria:


    “As they say, ‘God don butta my bread’ (God has blessed me),” [Charles] said, praising the city for its dynamism and energy.” Well god sure done buttered his.

    O god, Sun Bright Lord of the Silver Bow, if ever I have offered sacrifice to you, and poured out libations of wine dark and sweet, and scattered to your glory scented petals of rose and lilac, do make this Charles king now so that He may bring delight and honeyed fascination to all peoples in these troubled times, and permit Our Gracious Queen Elizabeth a long and joyful retirement, contented with her numerous great grand children as well as with all those yet to come!

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