Rarely have midterm elections in the United States been so crucial to the overall economic and political direction of the country. The nation remains deeply divided, as the electorate becomes increasingly intolerant, of viewpoints outside their own political affiliation. Centrists on the left and the right, are being sidelined, by party purists.
This is the biggest voter turnout for a midterm election, since 1966. Already 34 million people have voted. Nationally, Republicans were leading by 2%. It is usually Democrats, who win the most voters before election day.
The election is also the most expensive mid-term on record, with a total of $5.2 billion USD (United States Dollars) already spent.
In the last Presidential election, Hillary Clinton spent $1.2 billion USD versus $600 million by Donald Trump. This was a record in the race for the presidency.
Pundits on both sides of the political spectrum continue to accuse the opposition, for the decline in civil discourse. The blame can easily be assigned to ideologues, in the Democratic Party as well as the Republican Party.
Part of the problem, is that many Democrats have not fully accepted, the election results of 2016. They still cannot understand why their presidential candidate did not win,when all the polls said she would.
In the political realm, the United States has entered an era that can be called blame game. Victims are created what soon follows is the feign outrage, among political pundits and the media.
Much of the controversy in the near toxic political environment, swirls around the American President Donald Trump. Comments made by the President are not viewed as hyperbole, by the American left. The leadership of the Democratic Party and their allies in the media, equate speech with action.
The initiates on the left, seem to prefer style over substance. Increasingly, they collectively view events subjectively, not objectively.
Many advocates on the right, continue to attack individuals within their own ranks, as not being true Republicans. Together they assign these moderate politicians, as being RINOS (Republican In Name Only). The ultimate objective of leading conservatives, is to drive these politicos out of government altogether.
The movement is showing success, in all levels of government. What is occurring in the United States Senate is a microcosm of that effort. For example, Republican Senators Tom Corker from Tennessee and Jeff Flake from Arizona, are both retiring. Re-election for these leaders was short circuited by their own party membership, not by the opposition.
The somewhat same phenomena, can be observed on the left. In a New York City party primary, the fourth ranking member of the Democrat House leadership Joe Crowley, was defeated by democrat socialist Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, in an upset victory.
Democratic Senators up for re-election this year, in most conservative states known as Red States, are on the whole, fighting an uphill battle. Regardless of what the present political polls indicate, a number of them will be knocked out, due to the changing electorate.
What were once known as Blue Dog Democrats (Conservative Democrats) are rapidly becoming extinct. They are many on the right who will claim, they are already nonexistent. The theory is that those who claim to be moderates, are actually just lying to the voters.
These politicians move to the center for elections and once they are returned to the Senate, they mostly vote the Democrat Party line. It seems to be all about retaining power.
There is evidence to support this thesis. Senator John Tester from Montana in 2017, voted with his party 87% of the time. Heidi Heitkamp from North Dakota, 69% of the time. Joe Manchin from West Virginia, 64% of the time, Joe Donnelly from Indiana 74%.
The same political situation exists with Democratic Senators in the purple states. Sherrod Brown from Ohio, voted 98% of the time with the Democrats. Senator Bill Nelson from Florida, voted 88% with the Democrat party leadership.
Overall, history is not on the side of the Republicans. The average loss of seats in the House of Representatives, for the party in control of the White House, in the first mid-term election is 28.
To regain control of the House, the lower chamber of Congress, the Democrats only need to pick up 23 seats. They lost control of the chamber in the 2010 election.
In the Senate, the opposing party to the President, typically gains either two or three new seats. This mid-term election will turn out to be an outlier. Part of the reason is that there has never been a Senate map as favorable to the current President, since direct elections began in 1914.
The Democrats lost control of the Senate in the 2014 election. They have little chance to retake the upper chamber, this go around. In fact, Republicans can expect to pick up a number of seats.
There were three times in history since World War II, that the party of the President did not lose seats. The last time was in 2002. However, many historians attribute that to the terrorist attacks, that occurred in 2001. President George W. Bush and his Republican Party were politically rewarded, for their strong response to the attack on the United States.
Although it has not been discussed much in the media, the control of the office of governor in the states is very important, as well. It will become crucial in the next presidential election scheduled for 2020.
Governors and state legislatures are quite involved in many states, when new voting precincts are created, following the next census in 2020. It can create a tremendous advantage for the party in power.
As it stands now there are 33 Republican governors, 16 Democrat governors and one independent. The problem for Republicans, is that many of their popular governors are term limited, and will be replaced in this election.
Republicans no doubt will lose a number of governorships, in this election cycle.
An interesting phenomena, is occurring this year among minority voters. They have traditionally been very supportive of the Democratic Party, at least since the mid 1960’s.
President Trump has seen support among Black Americans go from 10% in 2017 to 29% in 2018. Part of the answer may lie, with the strong American economy. Black support for handling of the economy by the President, grew 17% in 2017 to 40% in 2018.
Another dramatic change is black support on the Trump immigration policy. It stood at 15% in 2017 and has now grown to 29% in 2018.
The question asked by candidate Trump, on what did Black Americans lose by giving him support, has resonated. Some voters began asking,what exactly did former President Obama do for Black Americans? Wages remained flat during his presidency and jobs remained scarce in minority communities.
President Obama’s more open approach on immigration,he did little to protect black Americans from cheap illegal migrant labor. Under Trump, black unemployment is the lowest it has ever been, since the statistic has been followed.
The same can be said for other minority groups, including the rapidly expanding Hispanic population. Unemployment for this segment of the electorate, is also at the lowest it has ever been as well.
Democrats for two generations, have claimed they want to protect minority rights. Although this seems laudable, voters are becoming more discriminating. They would like to see tangible results. More jobs in their neighborhoods is an example.
The Republicans have the advantage of a roaring economy, with much of the mainstream media ignores. The good economic news has still permeated, throughout the country.
In January of 2017, a total of 51% of the populace viewed the economy in a positive stance. This has now grown to 65%, which is the highest percentage since 2001.
The news on the economy will save a number of House seats for Republicans. The question will be, if it is enough? Probably not.
The decision by President Trump to focus on illegal immigration and American sovereignty, instead of the economy, will help the Republicans in Senate races, but will definitely hurt the party in House races.
The Trump and Republican achievements on the economy are significant. Wages and salaries growing at 3.1%, the highest level in a decade. GDP (Gross Domestic Product) growth stands at 3.5%. Overall unemployment is 3.7%, a 48 year low. Near 7 million new jobs have been created during the Trump Presidency. There are now more jobs, than there are unemployed to fill them.
While President Obama presided over the loss of 200,000 manufacturing jobs, President Trump has seen the addition of near 500,000 such jobs. It has totally reversed, the United States decline in manufacturing. This statistic will help in the region called the Rust Belt of America.
Although, the Democrats are still expecting a Blue Wave, and have been helped by many Republican retirements in the House of Representatives, it is important to note that in nine out of ten Congressional midterms since 1974, 90% of incumbents were re-elected.
A positive for Democrats in this election, was the ability to promote and fund good candidates in some crucial voting districts for the House. This will help them retake the lower chamber. Their party decision to focus on healthcare, will prove to be quite beneficial. It is a leading concern among many Americans across party lines.
Although some candidates at the governors level, will likely prove to be too far to the left for their electorate. This is likely the case for races in both Florida and Georgia. The Democratic candidate Andrew Gillum is supporting Medicare and wants to raise taxes in Florida by 40%. Democratic candidate Stacey Abrams in Georgia, is talking about state control over drug pricing.
Much of the mainstream media have become strong advocates for the Democrat party. They are openly hostile towards President Trump. Many reporters and journalists seem to be party adjuncts of the left.
They are not used to being attacked by a sitting President.
The press would like Trump to just accept their criticisms and attacks, without fighting back as happened with George W. Bush. President Trump is not going to do that, regardless of what the media profess is acceptable presidential behavior.
A divided Congress, that will likely be the result from this mid-term election, will do little to reduce the venomous rhetoric or tone. A House under Democrat control, will lead to more investigations of President Trump and members of his cabinet. Some in the party, have already suggested a movement towards impeachment of the President.
This sets the stage for the 2020 presidential election.