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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

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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.

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.

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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.

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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.

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:

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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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Enjoy this piece?

… then let us make a small request. Like you, we here at Raw Story believe in the power of progressive journalism — and we’re investing in investigative reporting as other publications give it the ax. Raw Story readers power David Cay Johnston’s DCReport, which we've expanded to keep watch in Washington. We’ve exposed billionaire tax evasion and uncovered White House efforts to poison our water. We’ve revealed financial scams that prey on veterans, and efforts to harm workers exploited by abusive bosses. We’ve launched a weekly podcast, “We’ve Got Issues,” focused on issues, not tweets. Unlike other news sites, we’ve decided to make our original content free. But we need your support to do what we do.

Raw Story is independent. You won’t find mainstream media bias here. We’re not part of a conglomerate, or a project of venture capital bros. From unflinching coverage of racism, to revealing efforts to erode our rights, Raw Story will continue to expose hypocrisy and harm. Unhinged from corporate overlords, we fight to ensure no one is forgotten.

We need your support to keep producing quality journalism and deepen our investigative reporting. Every reader contribution, whatever the amount, makes a tremendous difference. Invest with us in the future. Make a one-time contribution to Raw Story Investigates, or click here to become a subscriber. Thank you.



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‘Mental midget’ Stephen Miller absolutely demolished in MSNBC blast at Trump’s ‘misfit’ advisers

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Given the opportunity to discuss two profiles on White House adviser Stephen Miller -- published by the Washington Post and the New York Times late Saturday -- Democratic consultant Don Calloway jumped in with both feet to trash the man he called a "mental midget"."

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"Stephen Miller is a mental midget, that's the best thing I can say," Calloway began to the sounds of laughter offscreen.

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A black woman revealed over the weekend how President Donald Trump and right-wing media are straining her marriage.

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Lawmaker Rashida Tlaib calls for boycott of Bill Maher’s ‘Real Time’ over Israel comments

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Rep. Rashida Tlaib, D-Mich., suggested a boycott against HBO host Bill Maher after he denounced the international movement to boycott Israel as a "bullshit purity test by people who want to appear woke but actually slept through history class."

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