Thursday, May 31, 2018

The Blue Wave is turning into a Blue Ripple

Republicans are getting comfortable with Trump. 

Don't count on a Blue Wave. Democrats lead shrinks to 4. Trump is making the 2018 election a referendum on Democrats, not him.

The Congressional Generic Poll previously showed Democrats ahead by 15. Now they are ahead by 4. This is the difference between a Wave and ho-hum. The trend is moving the wrong way for Democrats.   

Here is the Real Clear Politics average of polls: 
Notice that Democratic support has been in a minor decline from the 48% range down to about 46% of people saying they prefer a Democrat. Meanwhile, people who say they want a Republican Congressman has moved from danger range of the mid 30's back up to 40%.

Because of gerrymandering and Democratic concentration of votes in cities which "waste" Democratic votes, it takes a 6 point margin to change the House to Democratic. This suggest a Blue Ripple.

Trump understands that if this is a referendum on Trump then Trump loses. If the election is a referendum on Democrats he comes out pretty well. It is smart strategy. It is the way elected officials in Oregon succeed in defeating a recall election. They attack the motives and credibility of the recall petitioner. Make it about them.

Trump is making Democrats the issue. His speech in Nashville was an attack on Schumer and Pelosi and on the media. If you vote for the Democrat candidate for Senator, you will be voting for a stooge for the Democrats, he said.

Trump understands a mood.  People are frustrated with government, all government. Trump is helping cause the dysfunction, so people will be angry with Trump, right?  

Not necessarily.  

People will be angry with whoever the Salesman in Chief directs their anger toward, and Trump is an accuser and a master salesman. He is interesting and he dominates the media. Trump makes Democrats the villain.  He is still attacking Hillary.

Fox: Liberals linken all Trump supporters to Rosanne
It took Trump and the White House 16 hours to let the left criticize the Roseanne Barr tweet. There was a short period of shock and Roseanne saying "don't defend me." Then Trump and the White House weighed in with an attack against Democrats, Disney, and the media. You are hypocrites, he said. Cancel Roseanne?  Roseanne and Trump are the victims of nasty criticism. You are the bad guys.

Besides, this is an attack on Trump supporters. Liberals are saying Trump voters are racist!  How dare they?

This is working for Trump. 

Republican voters may be unsure how they feel about Trump but they know exactly how they feel about Hillary Clinton and Nancy Pelosi and people who kneel for the national anthem and MS-13 and Trump says that Nancy Pelosi loves MS-13. They may dislike the changing face and color of America, and they may be happy with a blanket ban on Muslims visiting America, but they know they don't like being accused of racism. 

The generic poll shows Republicans are bunkering in as Republicans.

Meanwhile, Democratic activists are motivated. Jamie McLeod-Skinner had a general election kickoff event in Medford and the campaign scheduled the meeting in a room far too small at the Medford Library building. I arrived early and could not get in, and people were streaming in behind me to join me outside the doors.

Political pros say that Republicans vote for Republicans, and Democrats vote for Democrats, and there are very few "swing voters" in the middle. If that is true, then Jamie McLeod-Skinner has no chance. There are far more Republicans than Democrats in this District. 

Not necessarily.

The McLeod-Skinner campaign notes there are a huge number of non-affiliated voters in the District, who are maybe up for grabs. Maybe they are in the middle. Or maybe they call themselves non-affiliated because they don't want to join a team because they are generally distrustful of government and politics. For them, who better to vote against than an incumbent who has been in office for twenty years? They are anti-Walden voters, even if they don't know it just yet.  Maybe.  

Democrats can figure that Jamie McLeod-Skinner is an exciting, unconventional alternative, while Greg Walden is stuck defending a dysfunctional House of Representatives and Donald Trump. He has a tough complicated sell, while Jamie McLeod-Skinner is new and different and an outsider who seems confident and knowledgeable. Democrats are the party of hope and change, and it is time for a change. Maybe Republicans will stay home while Democrats show up.  Elections are won by differential turnout, especially in non- presidential elections, and 2018 is one. 

There is hope. There is a reason to think a Democrat can win.

The pros say the people crowded into the room are dead wrong, but there are a lot of them crowded into the room, which is a signal of something. They think they have a shot.

Jamie McLeod-Skinner addressing group


  1. Jamie McLeod-Skinner is spending time organizing and inspiring volunteers to make phone calls, knock on doors, organize events. She stays late to answer volunteers questions and listens to their concerns and advice. The room was fulled with ordinary folks who are willing to give "sweat equity" to Jamie's campaign. Meanwhile, Greg Walden has still not held a town hall in Jackson County in more than a year. However, he is scheduled to appear with Donald Trump at a PAC fundraiser for $100,000 a plate. Luckily, you don't need extra $100,000 to get up close and personal with Jamie! This promises to be an historic race in our large and diverse Congressional district.

  2. As I've said things may not be bad enough yet to move the needle, unbelievably, but it was pointed out to me that Democrats don't necessarily have to win. Forcing the Regressives to spend more and perhaps even make concessions on some issues could be seen as a victory.

    As far as this race goes, I doubt we'll see much of Walden. Probably just on TV. And I suspect that GOP candidates nationally will avoid any contact with opponents and let surrogates run amok. Democrats will have to spend a lot of time debunking lies and false characterizations. I hope they are ready!


  3. "Nationalizing Local Toss Up Elections"

    Not to put too fine a point on it, but as your Real Clear Politics screen shot shows, Democrats are down to +3.7 on the generic poll preference. We have now fallen into the margin of error. The Democratic Party is trending toward continued long-term decline. FiveThirtyEight said today that Rasmussen was the most accurate poll in 2016, which in 2015-16 liberal media trashed as being "an outlier". Now in 2018, Rasmussen has consistently gauged Trump's popularity as 7-10 points higher than preferred averages.

    Trump has just started what the White House says will be a non-stop rally schedule in toss-up states Democrats were hoping to flip in order to win Congress back. As we all know, the data shows that Walden is safe, there is no contest for his seat, there are no "toss-up" seats in Oregon. This is consistent with a national picture that in fact almost all incumbent seats are safe. There are only a couple dozen Congressional districts and six states in the "competitive" or "toss up" category according to Cook Political Report. These are the places where Trump is going, and he intends to beat back the Resistance with a single core issue: Democratic complicit in a southern border invasion, complete with MS-13 "animals", sanctuary cities and children being trafficked to support fraudulent asylum claims.

    Will Trump's strategy of "nationalizing" every toss-up race be successful? Almost certainly in this political climate it will be. Why does he want to nationalize these competitive races? Because Democratic candidates district-by-district are disavowing sanctuary cities, disavowing impeachment, and saying nothing about RussiaGate. Trump is telling voters not to fall for it, that once in DC these candidates will join the Chuck and Nancy illegal immigrant/impeachment/Russiagate party that is wrecking America. In other words, Trump is determined to not allow local races to be seen as local, but as part of the national tribal bloodletting.

    That nationalizing of congressional district elections is why the generic preference poll decline for Democrats down into the margin of error is so important. The president's party is supposed to lose the midterms, the Democrats are supposed to retake Congress in 2018, that is almost a historical electoral birth right. But that is very much in doubt now. Unless the Democratic Party pushes a strong national message against illegal immigration, sanctuary cities, and impeachment, Trump's strategy of nationalizing local elections will probably work.

    In the age of Trump, there is no "local".

  4. Thanks for your coverage of the event and as always great analysis. It will be worth the effort the current (650+ and counting) volunteers are willing to exert to help Jamie win. Meetings like Medfords were held all over the district - Hood River, Descutes, Lakeview, etc and were equally well attended. It will take the good energy and efforts and commitment found in that room to keep the momentum alive and we volunteers are willing to do that to replace Walden and show what community organizing is all about. Yes we can - Si se puede.


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