Democrats are suffering from 2016 trauma heading into the midterms. Yes, the the 2018 midterms have arrived, and the Left is wary not to exhibit the same suffocating overconfidence as they did during the 2016 election; a contest that ended with one of the biggest meltdowns in recent memory. It was delicious. Could that happen again? It’s a toss-up for the House races. The generic ballot advantage favors Democrats, but it means little to the 40+ competitive districts that will decide who will control the lower chamber. For the Senate, it’s pretty much a GOP lock, with Republicans either maintaining their current majority or adding to it. Still, the ghosts of 2016 have made Democrats a nervous wreck (via Politico):
Haunted by memories of 2016, liberals around the country are riven with anxiety in the campaign’s homestretch. They’re suspicious of favorable polls and making election night contingency plans in case their worst fears come true. Some report literal nightmares about a Democratic wipeout.
“We're kind of just in the bed-wetting phase now," said Democratic pollster John Anzalone, a Hillary Clinton campaign alumnus who spent election night 2016 in Clinton’s Manhattan war room.
Two years later, even thinking about the prospect of a repeat of that night’s letdown is still too much for many Democrats to bear.
“Stop it!” shouted Nadeam Elshami, a former chief of staff to House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, when asked about that possibility. To be fair, the possibility has literally haunted his dreams.
Elshami, who is now a Washington lobbyist, said that after staying up late reading campaign coverage and polls one recent night, he dreamed about watching tense House election results. His dream concluded with a Democratic House, but he doesn’t consider that a prophecy, and he said the pre-election knot in his stomach is tighter this year than ever before.
Anzalone said the shock of Donald Trump’s upset victory, which was missed by most forecasts, still hangs over many in the party. “There’s some PTSD,” he said.
That is not an exaggeration. A study published last month in the Journal of American College Health found that one-quarter of college students experienced “clinically significant” symptoms of trauma from the 2016 election results.
A September AP/MTV poll found that 61 percent of Democrats ages 15 to 34 reported feeling anxious over the midterms, up 22 percentage points from July.
But pre-midterm stress syndrome isn’t afflicting only young people: A YouGov survey released Friday found that Democrats are 50 percent more likely than Republicans to report that they are “eating their feelings” ahead of the midterms.
What a bunch of weak, pathetic people. It’s an election; it’s not the apocalypse.
Moreover, Democrats, this is a natural occurrence. Often times, you’re going to lose elections and you’re going to have to act like big boys and girls. That obviously hasn’t been your demeanor for the past two years, as you’ve acted like spoiled, deranged babies who deserve to be hit with a belt buckle, but that’s for another time. In those key House races, only a point separates the GOP and Democrats. It’s a dead heat.
A lot of current analyses are a headache: ‘the Democrats lead in the generic ballot advantage, but the booming economy, border security could buoy Republicans.’ So, what is it then? The elite media is trying to have it both ways, penance for the sins of calling the race weeks before Election Day. The projections blew up in their faces but gave the Left a false sense of security that all was well. It was not. There is no doubt that the economy is booming. Unemployment is at 3.7 percent, U.S. worker wages have risen to their highest level in ten years, over three million jobs created, small business and consumer confidence have reached 18-year highs, and the Trump tax cuts—which formed the foundation for this growth—has allowed three million working-class families to receive bonus checks of $1,000 or more. Companies are reinvesting in America. And yes, Democrats will ruin this, which is something voters also seem to know (via AP):
A healthy economy has at least complicated their decision and blurred the outcome of the midterm elections. On Friday, the government reported that employers added a robust 250,000 jobs in October. And the unemployment rate stayed at a five-decade low of 3.7 percent.
“I’m not a fan of Donald Trump,” said 85-year-old Ross Kershey. “He doesn’t respect checks and balances. But he’s certainly done well for the economy.”
A retired high school history teacher, Kershey is teaching a course on the Supreme Court at Immaculata University in Malvern, a suburb of Philadelphia. Those court cases were fresh in his mind as he sipped tea and ate pancakes at an IHOP on a recent afternoon. He objects to Trump’s recent threat to unilaterally suspend the constitutional protection of birthright citizenship as a way to control undocumented immigration.
Yet for all his antipathy toward the president, the strength of the economy is at least giving Kershey pause: “I’ll probably vote Democratic, but I’m not sure yet.”
Workers have been increasingly benefiting from the economy’s strength. Average pay growth for over the past 12 months has reached 3.1 percent, its best year-over-year increase since 2009, the government said Friday. Those gains have been concentrated among affluent Americans, though higher minimum wages have also helped raise the pay of many lower-income workers.
Among people earning at least $100,000, 60 percent approve of how Trump has handled the economy, according to a survey by The Associated Press and NORC Center for Public Affairs Research. That is a relative advantage for a president whose tax cuts for corporations and individuals are credited with helping boost growth this year.
Jean Hoffman, a 53-year-old real estate agent in Chester County, is pondering the college costs ahead for her two teenage daughters. She said she thinks voting Republican might help extend the economy’s hot streak.
“I’m going to have two kids in college, and these are my earning years,” she said. “So for me, the economy is the No. 1 priority.”
Yet, one byproduct of the Trump presidency and the reason why some of these races are competitive is that the GOP may be dealing with some suburban voter defections (via McClatchy):
For nearly two years, Republicans have worried that Donald Trump’s polarizing presidency would alienate moderate suburban voters in the midterm elections, putting dozens of onetime Republican strongholds within Democratic reach.
And in the final days of the campaign, there is mounting evidence that their fears are justified.
In 2016, the Ninth District backed Trump by nearly 12 percentage points and the outgoing GOP congressman, Robert Pittenger, by around 17 points. It is a more conservative district, and a tougher race for Democrats, than many of the House battlegrounds in play.
But the latest New York Times Upshot/Siena College poll, from Tuesday, has the contest in a virtual tie, and there is palpable anti-Trump energy on display in populous corners of this district, including in neighborhoods within the Charlotte city limits that are demographically similar to affluent suburbs elsewhere. It’s proof of just how deep into traditional red territory the GOP challenge is cutting at a time when actual votes are being cast.
“I’m going to vote McCready, I’m just frustrated with Republicans,” said Suzanne DiOrio, 46, a personal trainer. Asked at an early-voting site in southeast Charlotte to name the last Republican she voted for, she replied, “That would be Trump.”
She saw the 2016 campaign as a choice between the lesser of two evils, and was “tired of the Clintons.” But now, she said, “I’m not happy at all,” pointing to Trump’s “tone, rhetoric.”
Asked if she regrets her vote for the president, she replied, “A little, yes. But that’s why I’m here.”
Indeed, in nearly 40 interviews across early voting sites in south Mecklenburg County—the vote-rich, Charlotte-area region of the district—many voters pointed to Trump as a key motivator in turning out to vote early, whether because they supported or opposed him. But in this more moderate part of an otherwise-conservative district, many of those voters also expressed hope that their next member of Congress would be a check on the president.
Wayne Bobo, 67, said that with the exception of George McGovern in 1972, he voted for every Republican president until Trump, writing in another Republican instead in 2016, though he didn’t recall the name. He still voted Republican downballot that year, he said, but “not anymore.”
It’s clichéd, but the only poll that matters is the one on Election Day. I don’t know what will happen, but if I had to take a swing—I’d say the GOP ends the night with an eight-seat majority in the House, very slim, and a 54 seat majority in the Senate. President Trump spent the last two days focusing on boosting those GOP chances in the Senate. I’m betting McCaskill, Heitkamp, and Nelson go down in Missouri, North Dakota, and Florida respectively. The GOP has dominated early voting totals nationally, outpacing the Democrats based on 2016 numbers. The solid economy and national security issues, like the horde of illegal aliens approaching our southern border, could boost GOP chances, but there could be a defection among moderate suburban voters might muddy those odds. It could be a very long night, but we’ll be here offering all the results.