Opinion

Expect the Unexpected in Midterms

unexpected-midtermsAs election night 2016 grew “long in the tooth,” my phone battery quit.  Talking with campaign friends, I was eager to recharge it.  I was watching returns at a local Washington DC restaurant.   An employee kindly offered to recharge the phone.  As he did, another patron blurted “Well, looks like she’s going to win!”  The night was yet early.  Clearing my throat, I said simply:  “I voted for Trump.”  After a pause, the other patron edged over, looked around him, then told me quietly, “me too.”  Boom tick.

Exhibit One.  Unexpected results attend a public so divided that people feel compelled to tell others they are voting one way, when in fact they have voted the other.  Does that tell you anything about the accuracy of polls?  Which happened to be inaccurate right up to the end of election night?  Maybe so.

Does it tell you anything about Midterms?  Maybe so.  Could it be that polling on House and Senate races, which the Democratic Party have turned into bold referenda on President Trump, his policy agenda, his Supreme Court pick, and his economy – could be wrong?  People fudging a bit?  Could be.

Exhibit Two.  Think about this:  Two years ago, Candidate Trump had zero experience serving in government, nothing but ideas and a life in business, along with a trail of allegations, insinuations, and gesticulations to match his daring aspirations.

Today, President Trump points to a stunning four-percent growth rate, lowest unemployment numbers on record in many key demographics, reduced federal regulation, a massive national tax cut, end of Obamacare penalties, rebalancing of international trade (especially with China), nuclear disarmament talks with North Korea, renewed respect in the Middle East, increased partner funding by NATO countries, and the near end of ISIS.  To that, add a Supreme Court justice, and a large basket of promises delivered on – with others yet to be real, awaiting a more cooperative Congress, such as the much-discussed “wall.”

In short, he now has a record to run on – and among his many pledges, promises and positions, he has made more real than any president since Ronald Reagan.  If those indicia of achievement do not impress all Americans (and apparently they do not), they do objectively give Americans data points to evaluate.

Most will find his policy agenda is helping them, as individuals.  It is also reshaping national policy, again in ways closer to Ronald Reagan (and Harry Truman) than Senator Schumer and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi.  Which way will that understanding cut, now that his record is clear?  We will see.

Exhibit Three.   The Democratic response to Trump policy shifts has grown increasingly shrill.  Calls for direct confrontation, with phrases like “cannot be civil,” “kick them,” “get in their face,” have come from leading Democratic figures, including a former presidential candidate, former attorney general and current congresswoman.

The turn – an appearance of spoken and unspoken consent to something akin to physical engagement, if not outright street violence, is inherently jarring.  Most Americans – members of both parties – are not comfortable with calls to move from protected free speech to either prior restraint, or something worse – incitement.

No one is saying how many Americans find this unsettling, but reason exists to think that this is not how most Americans view their own participation in the political process, even if extremes on both sides may default to such an unreasoned, untethered and historically dangerous course.  Most Americans likely see any call to physical confrontation anathema to their view of our best traditions – and more importantly the law. Will this cause hesitation among those who might otherwise turn out to support opposition?  Will it cause those who favor rule of law to think twice?  We will have to see.

Exhibit Four:  Finally, recent acts of heinous public violence tend to be – in modern America – swiftly turned into political fodder.  Frankly, this turns off most Americans, whatever the political objective, and whoever is seeking to turn hurt to political advantage.

As a group, Americans empathize – or always have – with our fellow Americans.  We are not eager to see politicians trade blame for acts of obviously deranged, unthinking individuals.  That cuts both ways.

But look closer.  What leaders – and what parts of the modern media establishment – shout loudest in the aftermath of events attributable to obviously deranged persons?  Which party has recently turned somber, tragic events into instant advocacy for restrictions on free speech, gun ownership, religious liberty, and association on college campuses?  I will leave the answer to you, could affect turnout.

In the end, Midterm elections are historically bad news for a sitting president.  That is a matter of record, not opinion.  In the US Senate, if there is roughly even turnout, the likely outcome would be Republican control – and perhaps even a seat or two of gain.  In the House, with every seat up, control will surely be determined, in large measure, by turnout.

But there are other factors to consider. And the four above are not inconsequential, even if impact is unclear.  Americans think more than political leaders give them credit for.

Are polls we read accurate?  They were not in 2016.  Is the President more popular than he was as a candidate, election about him?  Hard to say, but data is pouring in – and his leadership is making a difference.  Are Americans comfortable with the turn toward physical confrontation, away from words as the tool of democratic governance?  Hard to say, but most are averse to street violence.  Are Americans content to see tragic events politicized?  Generally, I think not.

Where does this all lead?  Hard to say, and no one can predict.  But there is a ground rule worth remembering:  Expect the Unexpected in Midterms.  This may be the exception that proves the rule.

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Gloria P. Sterling
3 years ago

When asked the question “are polls accurate or inaccurate”, I can’t help but think how the polls were against Pres. Truman and he was elected. Ha, ha, ha! Such much for polls’ “accuracy”; also, think of the polls in this last presidential election. They all had Hillary winning; another ha, ha, ha!!! I never pay attention to polls; I just vote the way I think best. When an incumbent is running I try to search for his/her voting record; that tells plenty and much more than what their mouths are spieling. (by the way, I did not vote for Truman, but I admire the man; he very much took responsibility for his actions; remember “The buck stops here”?

CAG
3 years ago

It is true that many who like/vote for Trump will not share with anyone. In my neighborhood, there are signs galore for the Dems, but none for the GOP. Why is that? Because we don’t want to be verbally abused in speaking our choice, and we don’t want the very possible consequences of vandalism to our properties. Never in my 47 years of voting have I felt I couldn’t speak my choice and have a healthy friendly debate with one of a different opinion. I was lunching with my sister who started to berate Trump, I tried to reason with her in gentle tones, but she got more animated as she dominated the conversation, interrupting me at every turn. [the Left does that, won’t let you speak, talk over you, gets louder] Folks at the table next to us started agreeing with my sister and goodness, I thought I was going to be run out of the restaurant, and that was two years ago. It was truly a very disturbing experience for me. Think of how much worse it is now. My father used to say “Don’t talk about religion, politics or sex with people.” and he is so right. I have a voice and I choose to whom and when I speak. I have had to stay away from the family and friends who are of the toxic Left. because with some, no matter how hard you try, you cannot avoid adversarial conversations. It causes me great grief that those I love have fallen so deeply into the liberal camp [both politically & spiritually] that it silences my voice and had made a relationship with them impossible. The Left has done that.

Steve
3 years ago

I was happy with Ronald Reagan as president. But Donald Trump has me ecstatic, joyous, proud. Finally we have a chief executive doing something about immigration and speaking up on subjects previously ignored. Trump 2020.

Centurion
3 years ago

There is going to be election fraud. Millennials might vote in the states where they attend college and then send absentee ballots to the state where they came from and there’s no way to trace who is voting twice. Please go out and vote ( Tuesday Nov. 6, 2018 ). May God help our Republican Candidates to win this midterm elections and God Bless our President Donald J. Trump.

Allen
3 years ago

I personally cannot change peoples minds I have to leave that up to God. The minds which Satan’s hatred controls I cant even assume to be able to change.

Rex
3 years ago

I can”t wait to vote I believe there are a lot more people now than there were before the 2016 election that feel the same as I do. The former president was taking our country in the wrong direction. We experienced what socialism was like these past 8 years under Obama . I truly believe a rrreeeddd wave is coming.

Dominic
3 years ago

We reap what we sow! Everything that’s been sown against this President and those trying to serve this country with integrity, all of the lies, slander, acts of violence and corruption, will be reaped by the liberal media and the democratic party! There’ll be many more tears that they’ll shed in the upcoming days! Not only after the mid-terms on Tuesday, but in 2020 when President Trump will be re-elected by a landslide! Not only are the people of this country able to think for themselves, unlike the opposing party, but after the Brett Kavanaugh debacle, the citizens of this great nation are livid and they’re actions will show at the polls! There’ll be a red wave, compared to a blue trickle! The border wall will be built and NoBama health care will be replaced! Four more years will result in many more tears! “Expect the unexpected!”

Centurion
3 years ago

There is going to be election fraud. Millennials might vote in the states where they attend college and then send absentee ballots to the state where they came from and there’s no way to trace who is voting twice.

Karan Johnson
3 years ago

Great article. My husband and I believe that all the pollsters and commentators are tracking this midterm election by old models and as we all know Trump has blown up any old trajectories that existed. We sense the red wave that elected him is going to be a red tsunami on Tuesday that will leave the “authorities” speechless and trying to figure out where they got it wrong once again. We are just praying our victory doesn’t lead to open revolution in the streets by the crazy radicals who can’t handle defeat!

S H Anderson
3 years ago

I hope you’re right.

Dennis Selby
3 years ago

Excellent article. However I fear for our country right now. IMO, the average American voter (or citizen, for that matter) is almost totally ignorant of the workings of our government. I fear that they do not realize the significance or importance of mid-term elections. Most people think that they fulfill their civic duty by voting for president every four years, not realizing or knowing that it is the Congress, not the president who create the legislation that shapes the direction of the country. While President Trump has done more to promote the importance of the mid-term election than any other president in my lifetime, how many voters will see any coverage of these events at all, thanks to the bias of our “media?”

Stan d. Upnow
3 years ago

The term “Democrat Party” is merely an obsolete moniker today. It is now the “Progressive-Socialist Liberal” party.
If they were honest(LOL), they would rename it such.

DaveinMidMO
3 years ago

This is a truism in all things: You are only Liberal when you can afford to be, and by default become more Conservative as an adjustment to the costs/consequences of having been Liberal.

Forrest Gump
3 years ago

The poll guys called me a bunch of times, but I refused to answer any polls, so my vote is that of an ‘undecided’ voter. I, and millions of other rural citizens are the swing votes when all are counted, and I bet a lot of the ‘silent’ (secret ballot) voters are not liberals. The Republicans across the country should work to turn out as many as who voted Republican in the 2016 election. That would really be a blow to the DemonicRats.
That’s all I have to say about that.

Steve Fyten
3 years ago

Take it to the bank,,,Republicans hold the House and add 5 Senate seats.

Linda
3 years ago

Thank you

Bob L.
3 years ago

With the wide divide of political views (what government should represent) between so many Americans today, it clearly shows a failure of public education in the area of civics classes. I wonder how many school districts across America even still teach civics and if so, what they teach.

I think the Democrats have seen the writing about the coming election results on the wall for months already and given past history, I have no doubt there is going to be election fraud on a scale like we haven’t seen before. Fraudulent results should be thrown out and secondary elections should be held in those districts, fraudulent results should not be allowed to stand.

C. Jackson
3 years ago
Reply to  Bob L.

Bob, thank you for your comments, I share them and I too am very worried about voter fraud.
I have wondered if the President will handle fraud in the same way you have suggested, I pray he will.
Thank you for your thoughts.

Neal B
3 years ago
Reply to  Bob L.

The best part about the way the elections are done now, is that a LARGE percentage of the votes are done via the mail. The volume of early voting and vote by mail has increased MASSIVELY in every state I heard the statistics for. I cannot recall the state but it went from 200,000 in 2014 to over 1 MILLION this year! A five fold increase in (I think it was Illinois based on the chart I just saw) in the number of early ballots is huge in an “Off Year” election! This aint over by a long shot, and they have not posted the percentage of Democrat vs Republican votes in the early / vote by mail ballots so far that I could find. In Texas and Nevada, the EARLY voting ONLY has already EXCEEDED ALL Voting in those states in 2014! That’s a huge increase in participation as well. Yes a portion of the newly registered voters are young people, but they are NOT all automatically Democrats. Many young people are also Republicans / Conservatives. It will defintely not be over until it is finally over Tuesday evening. Right now there are way too many unknowns for anyone to claim victory in any race. The early ballots could surprise the Democrats big time like they were surprised with the outcome in the Trump/Hillary election in 2016! Have faith y’all, we still have an excellent shot at retaining the house and the senate as well as the White House and Supreme Court (for the first time in a very long time)…

Wendell Turner
3 years ago

One conservative reporter asked a “mainstream” reporter if they even knew a conservative before Trump was elected? Ahhh no??? No wonder the polls were so wrong. Most media still don’t believe there are real people out side their liberal bubble.

Marcia G. Pinkerton-Wolfe
3 years ago

Very good information! I agree that President Trump is doing an outstanding job. Thanks for the info!

Martiemae
3 years ago

Great article

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