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Tipsheet

WaPo Still Seems to Believe Democrats Looking 'Much Better' for Midterms, This Time Over Trump Raid

AP Photo/Terry Renna

Dana Milbank has had some pretty bad takes, usually concerning former President Donald Trump and Republicans. He's really ramped that up as a result of the FBI raid on Mar-a-Lago last Monday, just in time for the upcoming November midterms, now less than three months away. 

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In his latest column on Monday, Milbank claims, "That red wave is looking more like a ripple. Here's why." We've gone over how Republicans are still favored to win the midterms, but Milbank's column is particularly worth responding to. 

He begins by claiming, "Suddenly, the 2022 midterms are looking much better for Democrats, and there’s a simple explanation: Donald Trump is back on the ballot, metaphorically speaking." 

When it comes to the "why," Milbank references small gains that Democrats have supposedly made in generic polling, though it hasn't been enough to change the predictions that Republicans are favored to at least win control back of the U.S. House of Representatives and potentially the U.S. Senate. Milbank also points to enthusiasm levels. 

Even Milbank admits that Republicans are still likely to win. "Let's pause for the usual caveats here. This is just a snapshot in time, and things could change. Democrats are still likely to lose the House; their four-seat advantage is nearly impossible to defend. A GOP spending barrage is coming," he writes. 

In mentioning FiveThirtyEight's Nate Silver, Milbank fails to note that even Silver doesn't believe one predicted model, that Democrats may even keep control of the House, is likely to stand. 

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"Handicapper Nate Silver of FiveThirtyEight, noting the rising possibility that Democrats could defy historical patterns, asks: 'Will this be an asterisk election?' But it's also possible that exceptions to the historical pattern are now the rule," is all he said about Silver. 

To be fair, Silver himself did bury such an acknowledgment late into his Twitter thread from last Friday. 

Milbank then goes off the deep end about Trump, with rambling paragraphs that are very much reminiscent of another column of his:

But, 84 days from the election, the big red wave looks to be more of a ripple. This is because voters are receiving repeated reminders of what made them so unhappy about the Trump era.

Republican lawmakers and candidates, and their Fox News echo chamber, have again wrapped themselves around the former president with their hysterical reaction to the court-ordered search of Mar-a-Lago. Their violent talk (followed by threats and actual violence), their attacks on the rule of law (“destroy the FBI”), their conspiracy theories (the FBI planted evidence?) and their reckless defense of the indefensible (possibly pilfering nuclear secrets) are all reruns of the Trump presidency. Republican officials did much the same when faced with the damning revelations of the Jan. 6 committee.

Extremist candidates — some with ties to QAnon, the Oath Keepers or the events of Jan. 6 — are dominating Republican primaries. Scores of election deniers have become GOP nominees for governor, secretaries of state and other positions. The few truth-tellers have been banished; with Tuesday’s likely defeat of Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.), eight of 10 Republicans who voted to impeach Trump will be leaving Congress.

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Richard Baris, the director of Big Poll Data, spoke to Townhall about Milbank's column and the midterm elections. "Republicans are averaging a turnout advantage ranging from a low of 4 points to a high of 9 points in the most contested primary states," Baris mentioned, which he added "has changed little based on events whether it’s been the decision on Roe or the raid on Trump. Fundamentals decide elections, not news cycles, and the fundamentals are historically negative for Democrats." 

It's worth pointing out that even fellow leftists think that the FBI raid will backfire and actually help Trump, who appears to be even more emboldened to run in 2024. An "ICYMI" press release from Trump's Save America PAC on Wednesday afternoon shared Joe Silverstein's August 11 piece from Fox News that highlighted an op-ed published by The New York Times that same day, asking, "Did the F.B.I. Just Re-elect Donald Trump?

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