Good Monday Morning, Fellow Seekers.
In an op-ed submitted to news organizations around the state, including this one, veteran seers Terry Madonna and Michael Young, offer their take on the midterms. And they offer up five reasons for Republicans to be worried as Election Day draws ever nearer.
“The GOP’s problem is that it doesn’t confront a single problem, but a daunting multiplicity of them. Each of the problems is individually troubling; collectively, they threaten continued Republican rule in Washington,” they write.
And with that as preamble, here we go, the topography, according to Madonna and Young:
History of midterms: ”Democrats need to win just 23 seats to take control of the lower chamber – and political history suggests they will do it. The party holding the White House almost always loses House seats in a midterm election. Since the Civil War, the president’s party has been consistently on the losing end of midterm elections with the losses in the House often exceeding 30 seats. Even more relevant are the recent first midterms following a president’s election. From Richard Nixon to Barack Obama, every president but one has lost seats in the House. Reagan lost 26 seats, Clinton 54 and Obama led the way with a stunning 63 seat loss. The only exception occurred in 2002 after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. George W. Bush’s Republican Party gained eight House seats and two Senate seats.”
Referendum on Trump: ”All elections are referenda on incumbents; a midterm election is a referendum on the incumbent president. Typically, if a president’s job performance is below 50 percent approval rating, House losses will occur – and they will be substantial. Ominously, President Trump’s job performance ratings have been flashing red for some time. His current positives stand at 43.4 percent on the Real Clear Politics average. Moreover, these approval ratings have been consistent for months, something not seen before in presidential politics. If Trump’s approval ratings do not improve, Republicans in competitive races will continue to be vulnerable.”
Enthusiasm among Democrats: ”Voting turnout in midterms tends to be relatively low -around 40 percent of eligible voters. Consequently, midterm outcomes are heavily influenced by the degree of enthusiasm that exists among voters. This year, Democrats are enjoying an “enthusiasm gap” over Republicans. In the congressional special elections that have occurred in 2018, the Democrats have overperformed by 12 to 16 points. In the most recent congressional special election, in Ohio’s 12th congressional district, the Democratic candidate trails by less than a single point in a district Trump carried by 11 points in 2016. Similar Democratic enthusiasm has manifested itself in several contested 2018 Democratic primaries. Importantly, Democrats have filed for state legislative and congressional races in record numbers. Likewise, polls measuring interest in the elections show Democrats leading Republicans by substantial margins. Finally, Democratic candidates are raising far more money than their Republican opponents in many cases and three times more then they did in the last midterm in 2014.”
The influence of women voters: ”2018 will make the so-called “Year of the Women” (1992) pale by comparison. This year, more female candidates are seeking office than in any previous election cycle. So far, 185 women have been nominated for the House, according to the Center for Women and Politics at Rutgers University. The large majority of these female candidates are Democrats, 143 of them. Women are also contributing money to campaigns in unusually high numbers. While the paucity of females in state legislatures and Congress is a motivating factor, strong opposition to President Trump among Democratic women clearly explains much of the current female mobilization. In 2016, there was a 24-point “gender gap,” with women voting Democratic by a 13-point margin, while men favored Republicans by 11 points. Polls indicate a similar or larger gap in 2018 as women increasingly support Democratic candidates.”
A shifting midterm coalition: ”Midterm voters differ from presidential election voters in many ways. A “propensity to vote” is one of them, with midterm voters much more likely to vote at all. Demographics trending to higher incomes and more education is another key difference. Midterm voters tend to be more affluent and better educated. In 2018, these differences are likely to benefit Democrats since Trump’s 2016 supporters came disproportionately from among white working-class voters without a college degree – precisely the group less likely to show up at the polls on Nov. 6. Moreover, in 2018, college-educated voters have been showing up in large numbers in special elections and among Democratic primary voters. This worrisome pattern for Republicans means the Trump coalition from 2016 is likely to be considerably smaller in 2018.”
Of course, the above “[does] not guarantee a Democratic wave in 2018,” they wrote Plenty can – and possibly will – go wrong before Election Day.
“True, some of these are near unalterable features of American politics. The history of midterms and their referendum nature are examples. But other factors can be mitigated by Republicans, particularly closing the ‘enthusiasm gap,’ a broader appeal to women, and ensuring they are not outspent,” Madonna and Young wrote.
The rest of the day’s news starts now.
The bishop of Allentown asked the Catholic faithful over the weekend for ‘another opportunity’ to regain their trust, The Morning Call reports. Bishops are opposing most of the recommendations of the grand jury. We can think of one way to start.
Pope Francis says the church ‘showed no care for the little ones,‘ in the Pa. clergy scandal, The Inquirer reports, in what may be the understatement of the century.
While a national program stumbles, private flood insurance is flourishing, The Post-Gazette reports.
After one of their colleagues was murdered, staffers on Philly City Council are focusing on fighting domestic violence, BillyPenn reports.
Wondering where you can make the ultimate in homemade pierogies in Pittsburgh? The Incline has you covered.
Here’s a seriously moody #Harrisburg Instagram of the Day:
WHYY-FM profiles a ‘confident’ GOP congressional candidate in Montgomery County.
Donald Trump won Pennsylvania – Democrats would like it back, please (via The New York Times).
Pittsburgh’s bishop has denied that he helped cover up abuse, The Associated Press reports (via WITF-FM).
A FiveThirtyEight analysis predicts a Democratic and Republican split in the state’s congressional delegation (via PoliticsPA).
The Senate is set to vote on funding for four cabinet agencies, Roll Call reports.
What Goes On (Nakedly Political Edition).Sen. Jim Brewster, D-Beaver, holds his annual golf classic today at Youghiogheny Country Club. Admission runs $50 to … wait for it … $5,000.
You Say It’s Your Birthday Dept.Rendell administration spokeswoman and Erie-based PR exec, Kate Phillips, who celebrates today. Congrats and enjoy the day.
Monday’s Gratuitous Soccer Link.The Guardian has 10 takeaways from this weekend’s Premier League action.
And now you’re up to date.
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