2018 U.S. Mid-term Elections

A nation holds its breath.

Will Democrats vote in record numbers today? Vote for Our Lives rally in D.C. (photo: Vince Reinhart)

Democrats are angry; but are they angry enough to overcome the traditional apathy that seems to whisk away young voters just when Democrats need them most? Polls seem to predict that Democrats will take control of the House of Representatives and pick up a few Governorships across the nation; but polls have certainly misled Democrats before.

Republicans are feeling confident about the strength of the economy; unemployemt is at its lowest in decades, consumer confidence is up, job creation is booming, even the manufacturing jobs report is looking up for once in decades. Wages are up and the stock market is healthy. But there is no denying that President Trump is an unwieldy figurehead, unpolished, with a seemingly hard line on immigration that may alienate many moderate voters. Will it cost Republicans the house?

Stop Brett Kavanaugh Rally. Chicago, August 2018 (Photo: Charles Edward Miller)

Will Democrats Rage All the Way to the Polls?

Seemingly dominant in the U.S. news cycle since 2016, is fresh outrage from the left. The confirmation of Brett Kavanaugh to the U.S. Supreme Court on October 6, 2018, in spite of serious allegations of sexual misconduct levied against him, was met with widespread condemnation and anger.

However, some anger might be tempered by the recently released 414 page report from the Senate Judiciary Committee that seems to, at least partially, vindicate Kavanaugh, who has always vehemently denied the allegations. In it, we learn that one of the accusers is being referred to the Department of Justice for making false statements. The woman, who told her fabricated story by way of a letter sent to the office of Sen. Kamala Harris, painted a particualry harrowing picture of Kavanaugh and undoubtedly helped ratchet up sentiment surrounding the hearing.

“The revelation of last minute allegations tested the committee in many ways. But these investigative efforts rose to the occasion and were critical to helping us obtain the truth. This was a serious and thorough investigation that left no stone unturned in our pursuit of the facts. In the end, there was no credible evidence to support the allegations against the nominee.” -Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley, Nov. 3, 2018

Judge Brett Kavanaugh and Vice President Mike Pence (source: office of the VP)

For many Democrats, the Kavanaugh hearing brought up some probelms within the Democratic party, too. The spectre of Bill Clinton in the post #metoo era, looms; “Where is Bill Clinton’s #meToo Reckoning”- L.A. Times, Nov. 4, 2018. Hillary Clinton has been sharply criticized for her role in covering up accusations against her husband over the years. The view that she isn’t a true champion of women may have even cost her the election.

Even the recent release of “Chappaquiddick” reminds Democrats, uncomfortably, while they brand Republicans anti-woman and Republican women brainwashed, that sitting U.S. Senator Ted Kennedy (D.-Mass.) once killed a lady and the worst thing that happened to him was that he didnt get to be President.

‘Stop Separating Immigrant Families’ press conference and rally. Chicago June 5, 2018 (Source: Charles Miller)

Will the Kavanaugh confirmation fury, Stormy Daniels and the furor surrounding children seperated from their families at the U.S. border be enough to energize the democratic base in today’s mid-term election?

Or has a kind of rage fatigue set in?

On the other hand, we have Republicans and their own million-dollar question.

Will Trump Supporters Elect Republicans?

President Trump speaks to supporters October 19, 2018 at a Make America Great Again campaign rally in Phoenix, Arizona. (photo: Gage Skidmore)

President Trump isn’t on the ballot today, but the outcome of today’s election will determine the course of his presidency for the remainder of his term in office. If Democrats take control of the House or the Senate, or both, they could severely limit what he is able to accomplish in office, his agenda and his legacy. A Democrat-led House or Senate might even open investigations into issues liberals have long been anxious to address, including impeachment.

Some voters who turned out to support Trump in 2016 have never voted in a mid-term election before. Do they understand what is on the line?

Early voting in Texas seems to suggest they do, with Texas approaching a Presidential election-level turnout. Voting early has become easier in places like Texas, Arizona, Nevada and Florida; significant increases in early voting might prove good news for Republicans.

On the ground, as people cast their votes, even some who don’t love Trump aren’t willing to vote Democrat- I Hate Him, But I Hate Democrats More reports the New York Times. Trump has often been considered the whisper candidate; they said it in 2016, and some are saying it again now.

Some in the press are even daring to report on positive things the Trump Administration has accomplished; Trump Improves Healthcare for people with pre-existing conditions and major health issues reports the NY Post, and this column’s recent examination of improvements to Medicare, for example.

The golden age of polling may be over, but if the crowds at Make America Great Again rallies across the country are any metric, Republicans might have reason to hope they keep their seats, and their majority, today.

Trump Rally in Evansville, Indiana on 8/30/18 (Photo:raschau)

Too Close to Call

All day today, political oddsmakers and news pundits will be weighing in periodically regarding exit polls, breaking down results as they come in and otherwise attempting to be the first to call this mid-term election season a win for Republicans or Democrats.

Everything points to a really close election and a record-high voter turnout: Senate seats, the House majority, and Governorships at stake; relentless media coverage; the political polarity in a nation so evenly divided; both parties energized.

Signs also point to a rollercoaster of a day, so hang for the ride of your life.

(contributing writer, Brooke Bell)

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