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Republicans should be very nervous about the midterms elections after this week — here’s why

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- Commentary

Tuesday provided another series of electoral outcomes that bode well for the Democratic Party and are very ominous for their Republican counterparts.

This article was originally published at Salon

The most notable election Tuesday was the race for an Arizona congressional seat that had been recently vacated by Republican Rep. Trent Franks after a scandal in which he was reported to have repeatedly asked two female staffers working for him to serve as child surrogates. At the most recent count, Republican candidate Debbie Lesko was ahead of Democratic candidate Dr. Hiral Tipirneni, according to CNN.

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As CNN pointed out, however, the fact that Lesko is still expected to win doesn’t bode well for the Republican Party, considering that she significantly underperformed in that district compared to how GOP candidates normally do:

In a neutral environment, the margin should be much wider. President Donald Trump won the district by 21 percentage points in 2016 and Mitt Romney won it by 25 percentage points in 2012. Combining those outcomes and controlling for how well Democrats did nationally in each of those contests, we can say that Arizona 8 is 25 points more Republican than the nation. Lesko looks like she’s going to do about 20 percentage points worse than that.

The result in Arizona 8 fits a pattern so far in special congressional elections this cycle. In every one of the nine so far, Democrats have outperformed the partisan baseline based on the prior two presidential elections.

Trump, of course, took to Twitter to crow about the Republican candidate’s victory in that district — and to take a shot at the media.

In a special election race for the New York State Assembly, Democratic nominee Steve Stern managed to defeat his Republican counterpart in a seat that had gone to the Republican candidate in every election since 1978, according to Vox. Perhaps even more ominous for Trump, Stern significantly outperformed the last two Democratic presidential candidates within that district — surpassing Hillary Clinton’s 2016 showing by 11 points and Barack Obama’s 2012 margin by 15 points.

The outcome of this state legislative race has significant implications for the Republican Party’s fortunes in the Donald Trump era. On the one hand, it won’t alter the partisan makeup of the New York State Assembly, which is already controlled by the Democratic Party. The bigger election in terms of New York gubernatorial politics was the one for a State Senate race in Winchester County, New York, where Democratic candidate Shelley B. Mayer won an election that — combined with a victory in a special election for a State Senate seat in the Bronx — gave the Democrats a 1-vote majority in the State Senate, according to The New York Times. Though because Democratic State Senator Simcha Felder of Brooklyn continues to caucus with Republicans, the GOP will continue to have a majority in that chamber.

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That said, Stern’s victory reinforces a trend that has been pervasive since Trump took office in January 2017. As Daily Kos explained in a spreadsheet, Democratic special election candidates surpassed Hillary Clinton’s 2016 numbers by an average of 10 points and Barack Obama’s 2012 numbers by 7 points in the 70 special elections that were held in 2017. By 2018, those margins had increased to 21 points ahead of Clinton’s 2016 numbers and 10 points ahead of Barack Obama’s 2012 numbers.

The New York Times elaborated on the long-term electoral implications of this trend:

Multiple forces are behind the swing: Republican voters appear demoralized while Democrats are fired up, and some voters who typically lean Republican have been shifting away from the party.

So far, Republicans have benefited greatly from being able to choose most of the spots they have been forced to compete in. Five of the eight special elections arose because Mr. Trump selected the sitting Republican lawmaker there for a position in his cabinet. (In the other three cases, Republicans resigned from Congress amid scandal or to join the private sector.)

But Mr. Trump’s party will have to compete in dozens of more closely divided districts in November. If Democrats enjoy the same enthusiasm gap in those races, Republicans’ control of the House and Senate could be in jeopardy.

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Matt Gaetz forgot which network he was on: Surprised CNN anchor said ‘I’ve never been called Sean Hannity’

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Rep. Matt Gaetz seemed to confuse cable news networks during a Thursday appearance

Gaetz was interviewed by CNN's Chris Cuomo, who aggressively challenged Gaetz on the facts as the Florida Republican attempted to defend President Donald Trump.

Despite the fact Cuomo's interview was nothing like the puff segments Gaetz is used to on Fox, the congressman seemed confused by the end.

"Congressman, you are always welcome, wherever I am, at nine or eleven, whenever," Cuomo said.

"Thanks Sean," Gaetz replied.

"Did you just call me Sean?" Cuomo asked. "Did you just call me Sean?"

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California lawmaker who chaired Republican Assembly caucus leaving GOP — to become an independent: report

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On Thursday, the Sacramento Bee reported that California Assemblyman Chad Mayes, the former Assembly Minority Leader, is leaving the Republican Party and registering as No Party Preference.

"Instead of focusing on solutions for the big problems that we've got, we focused on winning elections," said Mayes in his announcement. "For me, I'm at the point in my life where I'm done with gamesmanship."

Mayes, a controversial figure who was implicated in an affair with a fellow public official, represents Yucca Valley. He is the second Republican Assemblyman this year to leave the party, after Brian Maienschein of San Diego, who Maienschein of San Diego.

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‘Quantum physics generator’ incident in Ohio results in evacuation — hazmat found no radiation

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Authorities in Columbus, Ohio evacuated dozens of homes after a man called 911 to report being burned by a

"Firefighters say nothing threatening was found in a northwest Columbus garage," WCMH-TV reported. "According to firefighters, a man called and reported that he received ‘RF burns’ while building some sort of ‘quantum physics generator’ in a garage. The man used words like ‘particle accelerator,’ ‘alpha rays,’ and ‘radiation’ while describing how he was burned."

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