Three weeks from today is the mid term election, and don’t it make my blue eyes brown? (See what I did there?)
Anyway, we are going to present two takes from two of our favorite email thingies to compare and contrast, you know carrot-and-stick style. Generally speaking, MPS much prefers the carrot to the stick, but we know different people are motivated differently. I’m told some people like to have the merde scared right out of them, go figure.
Our objective is to present whatever motivates you to get your friends and family to vote. Scissorheads being upright citizens of the highest calibre are of course already in it to win it.
First, from the Pod Save Whatevs boys’ email thingie, we present the stick:
New polling shows that as we reach the home stretch before midterms, Republicans have a slim but distinct edge to take back power in Washington. The economy and inflation have jumped back to the top of voter concerns, which typically foretells losses for the incumbent party. Precisely what likely voters think Republicans will do better is unclear (hint, they will threaten to destroy the economy unless congressional Democrats and President Biden agree to gut Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid). Nevertheless, voters most concerned with the economy favored Republicans overwhelmingly, in excess of a two-to-one margin.
Speaking of the Republican plan for the economy…would you believe me if I said it also included tax cuts for the rich? You know, the number-one cause of national deficits (and, thus, inflation)? Well, you should. Republicans are already preparing to advance legislation that would make the $1.8 trillion Trump tax cut for the super rich permanent, even scrapping some of the law’s increases on corporations that were designed to offset the enormous overall cut to the corporate tax rate. Of course, doing this would run directly counter to their promises to “fight” inflation and decrease the federal deficit, but when has hypocrisy and outright lying ever stopped them before?
- Despite all this, the poll, conducted by the New York Times and Siena College, suggests Republicans have cleared a 10-point lead among crucial independent voters, a turnaround from September, when Democrats held a three-point edge. This may be in part because Democrats have not forced Republican candidates to answer for disgraced former president Donald Trump, the leader of the Republican Party, the way Republicans try to force Democrats up and down the ballot to personally disavow The Squad (progressive House Democrats who are not, coincidentally, anti-democratic bigots). National Democratic strategists, please learn how to do politics, thanks!
And now from our pals at Electoral-Vote, we present the carrot:
In the last few cycles, particularly 2018 and 2020, Democratic donors spent a lot of their money on wild goose chases, lavishing cash on candidates who had little hope of winning, like Amy McGrath in Kentucky or Jaime Harrison in South Carolina.
There is considerable evidence this cycle that Democratic donors are not making the same mistake, and instead are sending the money to where it will do the most good. Consider, for example, a new analysis from Politico, based on the 65 most competitive House races this cycle. The Democrats have the fundraising lead in 50 of them (77%).
And it is not just that the Democrats are outraising their opponents in most races, it’s also that, in many cases, the members of the blue team are utterly swamping members of the red team. Rep. Elissa Slotkin (D-MI), for example, has $3.7 million in the bank as compared to just over $100,000 for her opponent. Rep. Angie Craig (DFL-MN) has $3 million, compared to just under $500,000 for her opponent. There are many other similar disparities, most of them in swing states or districts. Politico found a total of 27 districts where the Democrat’s haul has at least doubled that of the Republican.
The saving grace for the Republican candidates, such as it is, is that the national committees and PACs are doing what they can to make up the difference. However, non-candidates pay much more for advertising than candidates to, so the money of the National Republican Congressional Committee and other such groups can only go so far. At the moment, the GOP PACs are trying to stretch their dollars with ads that tout multiple candidates at the same time.
In the end, this year’s race for control of the House is a riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma. As all readers know, “most money spent” does not necessarily correlate to “victory.” However, money has more effect in local races than it does in statewide or national races. Further, money donated is most certainly a proxy for voter enthusiasm. By all indications, the enthusiasm is on the side of the Democrats right now.
And these next paragraphs are really the important part, but the context (above) needed to be presented, too.
That brings us to a second point. That Kansas election, where voters shocked the nation by voting overwhelmingly for abortion rights, was way back at the start of August. As we all know, a week is a lifetime in politics, which means that was about ten lifetimes ago. Since then, there have been no bright, red blinking reminders about how angry voters are about Dobbs.
Imagine, though, that some other Midwestern state—say, Iowa—was holding a similar sort of election today. Don’t you think it would turn out similarly? And if and when it did, don’t you think all the punditry pieces would be about how Dobbs is going to be the key to this election? As opposed to pieces like this one CNN ran this weekend, headlined “A Republican wave in the House is still quite possible.” We just wonder if maybe Michael Moore might have the right of it, and the pundit class might be allowing distance to cause them to forget how eye-opening that Kansas result was.
And a third, and final point. It is implausible to poll 435 separate elections, or even 50-65 separate elections, in a meaningful way. So, projections for control of the House are primarily based on national measures (e.g., how Democrats do vs. Republicans on a generic ballot) and on past experience (e.g., the president’s party usually loses seats in that president’s first midterm election). But these things are very crude predictive tools, and may not be adequate for an election with so many X factors (abortion, the economy, Donald Trump, etc.).
This is not to say that we’re predicting a Democratic hold when it comes to the House. What we are saying is that there are so many known unknowns, not to mention a few unknown unknowns, that we wouldn’t want to bet any money on any possibility. Any outcome, from Democrats gain 5-15 seats to Republicans gain 15-25 seats, is entirely plausible. And nobody can know or predict what it’s going to be until the votes are actually counted.
I tend to fall on the E-V side of the ledger, much preferring a lovely carrot to a beating with a stick. Eric Greitens S&M Dungeon this is not, you lowly worm!
The polls have been so consistently wrong for the past decade (or so it seems), that it is impossible to believe them without skepticism, let alone consider them as some sort of oracle. And as the pollsters themselves say, polls are only a snapshot in time. This means that by the time you read them, the numbers will already be out of date.
Reporting on poll numbers, which Politico, the WaPo and the NYTimes specialize in, is reporting on a horse race, and polls means nothing until one bob-tailed nag crosses the finish line. The media has a lot of space to fill and they want eyeballs glued to their stories. Poll numbers are catnip to pundits.
The bottom line is that no one can predict what is going to happen, but letting our fears and emotions ride the various waves of the polling is not going to help us. Stay focused on what you can do to get out the vote.Your friend down the street might not think that their vote counts or matters, but recall those stories in 2020 local elections of races that had to be called with a coin flip.
Every vote counts.
UPDATE 1: Our pal Annie at the essential blog Annie Asks You says we need to fight harder. She right, of course.