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The most important races of 2018: Part 2



The most important races of 2018 Part 2

This article on the 2018 election will largely focus on which races impact political parties and movements the most. In Part 1, the races that were deemed most important were determined on their ability to put fourth strong candidates whether conservative or liberal. And so we saw a lot of Senate races such as the Missouri Senate race that has has the chance to send the next Rand Paul to DC. This is a more difficult metric to explain. Part 2 has a greater focus on races that will impact elections to come. Consequentially, we will see fewer Senate races than in Part 1 and more gubernatorial races. Part 2 focuses more on local control and state party ambitions that ultimately effect national party politics.

Governor – Maryland

While Maryland is a deep blue state, this race is a rare must-win for Democrats. The consequences of losing are great, potentially lasting decades. Confusing? Every ten years the US conducts a census. After 2010, Governor Martin O’Malley gerrymandered Maryland even more. And Marylanders, being uninformed, voted in favor of the redistricting in 2012. Democrats used gerrymandering to acquire a stranglehold on Maryland politics. The bicameral state legislature are two glorified houses, as the Maryland Senate isn’t actually a Senate. Maryland, I would argue, is the most gerrymandered state in the country.

No, Maryland is not the most gerrymandered state. There is ...

Maryland congressional districts however are designed to maintain this stranglehold mixing different regions into the same district just to limit Republicans to D-1 which they made more Republican. Governor Hogan won the governorship in 2014 on a limited issues campaign. Marylanders didn’t want to knowingly vote for continued increase in taxes. Larry Hogan wanted to redraw the district lines but the legislature refused him, so he needs to get reelected to have a chance at redrawing the lines or wait for the SCOTUS to act in his favor on the issue. In redrawing the lines he could not only, ungerrymander Maryland from a congressional standpoint but also from a legislative standpoint. As previously stated, the Maryland Senate is a second House of Delegates. The democrats masterfully hold a super majority in Annapolis and can override a veto. Hogan could redraw the district lines to take away this supermajority thus making Maryland a more fairly represented state. Republicans can expect at very least one Congressmen if Hogan succeeds.

In opposition, Democrats have various candidates in a slow but soon to heat up primary battle. It’s a tough race for them as Hogan is well-liked.

US Senate – West Virginia

West Virginia is a very blue collar state. Once upon a time, Democrats championed the blue collar working class. As noted by Glenn Beck, Democrats have abandoned this in favor of identity politics, a strategy that has lost them several seats. Still Virginia in 2012 reelected their likable Joe Manchin. West Virginia elected Manchin and Capito with over 60% of the vote on election day. Likability and authenticity matter in West Virginia more than other places. That being said, they love Trump there, and Manchin’s opposition to Trump puts his seat at risk.

The two most serious contenders are Evan Jenkins and Patrick Morrisey. Morrisey was Bannon-backed and has been called on by Jenkins to disavow the his support. This should be a heated primary battle but the steaks are high for both parties in this race. If the Democrats lose, it could be because their brand is so tainted on a national level. This could cost them a Senate seat for decades to come. If the Republicans win, they can more easily hold on to for decades. All it takes is authenticity and a seriously tainted Democrat brand. Democrats losing this race would signal their loss of support among regular working class people, something, if they are smart, would not want to lose.

Governor – New Hampshire

On a state level, New Hampshire is a battleground between Republicans and Democrats. During a presidential election, it narrowly votes Democratic. This battle is a test of party strength and organization. The blue patch that is the north east could see a red fungus emerge and spread to Maine and Vermont. That fungus could be New Hampshire. This race leans in favor of Chris Sununu being reelected. If successful, New Hampshire could become a red state in years to come, especially as Democrats revert to a more identity politics strategy. I would argue that identity politics is not a winning strategy in a state that is 93% white. It’s an ambitious task to make New Hampshire red but well worth it to break the Democrat monotony in the north, especially as these states are sending some of the most liberal candidates to DC.

Statewide – Texas

The Census is just around the corner and it looks like Texas stands to gain the most representation in Congress. Texas could see two or even three new representatives for the 2022 elections. In Texas, the state legislature is tasked with drawing district lines. Republicans hold firm grip on Texas, and that is unlikely to change. Governor Abbott will likely be reelected, but will Democrats make enough gains in the state legislature to disrupt the redistricting? Likely not. Still, the possibility of three new districts should make Texas a priority for Republican/ Conservative. The “Blue Wave” will likely be shortlived, if it even exists, partially due to reapportionment among states.

Statewide – Florida

In keeping with the theme discussed in Texas, Florida also stands to be the benefactor of reapportionment among states. They stand to gain one or two. In Florida, the legislature draws both the Congressional and state legislative districts. Only the Congressional lines are subject to Governor veto. Now this isn’t an argument in favor of gerrymandering. In fact, as noted by MCIMaps, Florida’s current map is more fair than the prior. But with an extra district, the question arises as to how to divide Florida’s population as evenly as possible.


While redistricting may not result in a GOP gain, the GOP should be invested in maintaining a swing state that Trump won especially as Democrats alienate themselves with middle America. The Democratic hold on minorities, specifically hispanics isn’t nearly as strong ballot-down as evident in D-26 and D-27. Republicans hold a key advantage and should seek invest heavily in turning this swing state red.

US Senate – Tennessee

The Washington Post published an article entitled “The Democratic Party is basically on life support in these 10 states” where it explains that the GOP dominates ten states on an extreme level. Tennessee is one of those states. The Democrats may, however, have a savior in Tennessee. As noted by NOQ’s Paige Rogers, this race is winnable for Democrats:

How popular is Phil Bredesen? He secured his second term as governor winning 100% of the counties in Tennessee. So, then, what might his odds of be at winning a Senate seat? Consider a 2011 Nashville poll. Bob Corker was currently running for re-election (2012 election cycle) to the Senate. The poll sought to weigh the odds of a hypothetical contest between the then-outgoing governor (Phil Bredesen) and the current Senator Bob Corker for Corker’s own Senate seat. The poll’s sampled voters chose Phil Bredesen over Bob Corker by 46 to 41 percent. Given voters’ overall distrust of career Republicans, a distrust to which Bob Corker undoubtedly contributed, coupled with Bredesen’s authenticity and conservative record, he may very well be the golden ticket.

Although this race also fits the metric used in Part 1, the distress the Democrats face in Tennessee makes this race important on both metrics. Democrats ought to skip the primary and throw all their chips in with Bredesen.

US Senate – North Dakota

This seat is held by Democrat Heidi Heitkamp in a state where, like Tennessee, the Democrats are also on life support. For Democrats, this seat is sort of a must win, if they want to keep a foothold in middle America and North Dakota. The GOP on the other hand would like to stick a fork in their opposition and this seat presents the best way to accomplish that in North Dakota. Heitkamp is well funded going into this race signalling that her supporters see the dire situation as well. States that voted Trump are somewhat hostile territory for liberal Senators. The GOP is much more organized and dominant on a local and state level which goes to show just how bad 2012 was for them. To Conservatives, this is one of several races to correct the Romney-Republican errors. To Democrats, it’s about not being pushed into New York and California. Heitkamp is one of their most winnable contests in Trump states come 2018 election. They really cannot afford to lose especially as the Senate is priming for Conservatives. For Democrats, this is a must win.


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Republicans can avert a shutdown if they turn the narrative



Republicans can avert a shutdown if they turn the narrative

Democrats are giving every reason they can muster to push a government shutdown. The primary tool is DACA. If the government shuts down, it will be because they’re convinced the GOP will get the blame for it. If sentiment turns and the Democrats get fingered for prompting the shutdown, they won’t let it happen.

There are several dynamic situations involved with the shutdown. DACA is only a small part of it. They’re trying to position this as a win-win for them and the Republicans seem to be unable to get the right message out about the shutdown. This isn’t new for them. If the GOP initiates the shutdown as they did during the Obama era, it’s their fault. If they can’t stop the Democrats from initiating a shutdown as is the situation today, it’s their fault as well.

Mainstream media’s desire to promote the Democrats’ message is a big part of the reason the GOP always takes the blame, but it’s not an insurmountable advantage. They need to paint the situation in its proper colors. The GOP has the truth on their side, so they need to say it. Instead, they seem to be cowering as usual:

Nervous Republicans fear they’ll pay if government shuts down — President Donald Trump is confident that Democrats will take the blame if the government shuts down this weekend or Congress fails to find a fix to prevent DACA recipients from being deported. But Republicans on Capitol Hill aren’t so sure.

Many of them fear that voters will fault the GOP after looking at Trump’s decision to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, his past flirtation with letting federal funding expire and the fact that Republicans are in control of the White House, the Senate and the House.

First, they need to attack DACA by framing it as what it is. The President has done his part in saying he wants to protect Dreamers but wants a wall to keep more of them from coming in. That’s a reasonable trade-off in the eyes of most voters.

Second, the GOP needs to unify with the message that they’re going to protect Dreamers the right way through standalone legislative action. Executive orders can’t cut it. Attaching it to other bills isn’t right. They want a DACA plan in place and they can do it if the Democrats would focus on helping Dreamers rather than trying to be the ones who get the credit for it.

Third, they need to declare the Democrats are hurting Americans through a shutdown for the sake of getting credit for helping Dreamers. It’s not just  that they’re putting illegal immigrants over American citizens which is bad enough. They’re doing so in order to get credit from voters. That’s it. That’s the whole reason for the shutdown. They can’t imagine a situation in which the GOP puts forth Dreamer-protecting legislation and a Republican President signs it into law unless it’s the Democrats who somehow force the situation. Otherwise, they might be revealed as the charlatans they are.

If Republican leadership gets everyone on board and pushes out these three simple messages with everything they’ve got, they have a chance of both averting a shutdown and making the Democrats look foolish for threatening it. If they continue down the lukewarm road they’re on, there will be a shutdown and they’ll get the blame for it whether they deserve it or not.

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New Jersey’s new governor sees California as progressive model



New Jerseys new governor sees California as progressive model

The next great progressive Democratic hope in 2020 is Phil Murphy.

You’ll know him real soon. Tuesday, he gets sworn in as Governor of New Jersey.

But Murphy has the personal wealth (he’s a former Goldman Sachs executive), the street cred (as President Obama’s Ambassador to Germany) and the fertile ground (Hillary Clinton beat Donald Trump by 13 points) to use the Garden State as a launching pad for his sense of progressive nirvana.

That nirvana? California! Murphy wants to make New Jersey into the next California.

That’s right. The state with the highest poverty rate in the nation, according to the Census Bureau. (How does your state compare? Go to page 27 of this fascinating Census report.)

So when Murphy says he sees California as a “model” to emulate, New Jersey residents in the know say “Uh-oh.”

And if they’re really smart they’ll say “U-Haul.”

California’s generous safety-net programs appear to have made poverty worse, according to local, mainstream-media coverage of the lowlights there including:

  • 55% of immigrant families (but only 30% of “native” families) receive some sort of means-tested benefits;
  • A sanctuary state;
  • restrictive land-use (anti-development) policies driving up the cost of housing; and
  • a welfare bureaucracy employing nearly one million people, many of whom might lose their jobs if their “customers” were to graduate off the dependency trap.

Murphy says he will “pursue creative reactions” and possibly challenge in court policies like the Republican tax bill recently signed by President Trump. But he also claims the “only thing we’ve promised is a stronger and fairer economy in this state,”  and quickly adds “that includes for organized labor.”

Whoa! Wait, what’s that? Did I hear a “fairer economy”? (This is when the unnecessary adjective warning goes off, heralding the addition of an adjective acting as an antonym for the word it’s modifying.)

But if the solution is the California-model of social services, there appears to be no end to the downward spiral of higher taxes, more poverty . . . and the public-sector Gravy Train grows and grows, gets longer and longer.

For Murphy, that may not be a bug, but a feature. That’s because there’s a tipping point, where there are simply enough Gravy Train passengers and beneficiaries (recipients and government employees, sometimes they’re both) that if they all get out and vote, the tax-and-spend-more progressives will win, no matter what.

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Rich Lowry on Dick Durbin’s desire to make a DACA deal work



Rich Lowry on Dick Durbins desire to make a DACA deal work

Based upon Senator Dick Durbin’s actions the last few days regarding President Trump’s “s***hole” comments, one would think his intention was to derail talks and have a valid reason to blame Republicans in general and Trump in particular. If he really wanted a DACA deal, wouldn’t he have handled it differently?

JD Rucker had some thoughts on this:

Trump was wrong to say what he said. Durbin was wrong to reveal it. crossed that line. He took comments that paint the entire country through the President himself in a way that harms our ability to work with other nations. He wasn’t championing the nations Trump spoke out about. He had a single intention: harm.

Will this help with negotiations? Possibly, but at what cost?

National Review’s Rich Lowry wasn’t quite as accusatory, but he did question Durbin’s motives and whether or not he really wanted to make a DACA deal happen. Perhaps he was just greatly offended. Then again, perhaps he was just being a politician. Here’s Lowry’s quote:

“Everyone seems to think that Durbin really wants a deal, which makes it weird that he has gone out of his way to blow up the s***hole meeting.”

Read all of his comments:

Trump’s “Shithole” Comments, DACA & Political Fallout benefit of a merit-based system is that it would move us away from special ethnic pleading in immigration policy. The visa lottery began as affirmative action for Irish immigrants. My understanding is that Dick Durbin said in the meeting that he wanted to preserve the visa lottery in a slightly changed form because the Congressional Black Caucus wanted it. This is not how we should be making decisions about who comes here and who doesn’t.

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