SocraticGadfly: Election hot take: A ripple, not a wave, but a fairly big one

November 07, 2018

Election hot take: A ripple, not a wave, but a fairly big one

Ignoring the seven House vacancies, it looks like Republicans will lose, and Democrats gain, 29 House seats.

Wikipedia says that's about average for midterm elections. And, in first-term-presidency midterms, from Taft on, there have been far worse losses.

Dear Leader's Democrats lost 56 seats just eight years ago, in fact. And, yes, the GOP had a favorable Senate alignment, but, they appear to have gained at least two seats.

Ian Millheiser notes that the overall Democratic vote edge may be bigger than the 2010 and 2014 elections, though. That does show gerrymandering, but ... go down three paragraphs, too. And, it also reflects that small states are guaranteed one representative. Purplish Delaware is as close as it gets to a 1-Representative blue state.

Two states passed, and a third may pass, nonpartisan redistricting commission laws.

Democrats did flip some governorships, and reports say they've regained about one-third of the state legislative seat losses that happened under Obama, but that shows again that a wave and a ripple aren't the same thing. Democrats did gain seven governorships, which is fairly big. (Five legislative chambers flipped, compared to 24 in 2010, per the NCSL.)

Plus, many of the new House Dems are ConservaDems with connections to the military-industrial complex or else the spying-snooping complex, as shown in places like Michigan's Eighth Congressional District.

So, while it might have been a fair-sized ripple for Democrats, for left-liberals within and outside of the party, it is only a moderate ripple. I agree with many other pundits that many Democrats could and did offer little more than an "I'm not Trump" vision. Per the Atlantic, quoting an anonymous Dem strategerist, that includes Beto O'Rourke. (Remember, I called him a ConservaDem long ago.) Or some, like losing Indiana Senate Dem Joe Donnelly, actually jumped on Trump's call to gut the 14th Amendment. Good-bye and good riddance.

Democrats have not had a true wave election for Congress since 1974 and the Watergate midterms.  Republicans have had two since then — 1994 as well as 2010.

Nope, the 2006 returns weren't a wave, either. Per Wiki, the GOP lost 30 House seats and six Senate seats then.

Democrats will say "but gerrymandering" or something.

None will tackle even mild Constitutional reform, let alone something big like Daniel Lazare mentions in "The Frozen Republic." I mean, the party has lost two Electoral College elections this century and no Democrat has yet to propose a Constitutional amendment abolishing it.

Why? Because the Electoral College helps uphold a shabby duopoly-based election system.

Don't expect that to change any time soon.

A few more states did adopt initiatives for non-partisan redistricting commissions Tuesday. That's a step forward.

Much bigger step forward is Maine's first use of ranked-choice voting and Fargo, North Dakota, OKing approval voting.

Voting options like these or proportional representation are key to breaking the duopoly-driven system.

Here in Texas, Democrats did some gap-narrowing in the state House, and a little bit of that in the state Senate. A "Joe Straus Republican" like Dennis Bonnen may be tempted to throw his hat in the Speaker's race now. Dan Patrick and most other statewide Repugs will probably ignore the narrowness of their victories, though, and go about business as usual.

A few other notes.

Will you see a website URL like "" pop up soon? Odds are ... 50-50.

With his fourth loss in an election, maybe we'll finally get to say goodbye for good to #Fauxgressive Randy Bryce, aka Iron Stache. Maybe the Down with Tyranny folks will eat crow and admit that he was one of those DCCC "anointed" candidates that Howie and the gang claim to generally despise.

With a Pelosi returning as Speaker, and geriatric Dems like Betty Crocker, I mean Dianne Feinstein, still holding many top House and Senate spots, the ripple of 2018 doesn't hold a lot of promise for 2020 for left-liberals and beyond.

Greens have their work cut out. And need to start cutting. State Green parties have work ahead.

Besides candidate based votes, some other issues were interesting. Californians fought off an attempt by Big Oil to gut new gas taxes in the state. Colorado voters split, rejecting a proposition to increase property setbacks for oil and gas drilling, but also rejecting an amendment to allow suits over "takings" related to oil and gas regulation. Three states OKed Obamacare-related Medicaid expansion, among a raft of other state ballot initiatives. Michigan OKed pot and Missouri OKed medical marijuana. Missouri and Arkansas passed state minimum wage hikes, though I'm sure both did so without COLAs, something I've long called for.


Here in Texas, the one big takeaway?

Not Beto's near win.

Rather, Abbott's margin of victory.

Most top statewide Republican candidates had a margin of victory closer to that of Ted Cruz over Beto O'Rourke than that of Greg Abbott over Lupe Valdez. Why?

Abbott is "locked down," for one thing. He's almost as nutbar on policy positions as Patrick, but manages to hide it. Other than his big lawsuit settlement then pulling up the tort reform ladder, he's nowhere near the grifter that Paxton is. And, he's not an open racist, unlike Sid Miller.

The one other person that is none of these things among top GOPers is Comptroller Glenn Hegar. His office has the potential to be less politicized, tis true. But also, other than pushing the envelope on budget numbers, Hegar, even if he is as much a social conservative nutbar as Patrick, is as locked down as Abbott.

Pee Bush did more poorly than Abbott for two other reasons — he's playing with Alamo fire and he's a Bush.

Also, Abbott drew the long straw in weak opponents, versus Patrick, Miller and Paxton.

Second biggest take? Either Beto's semi-success or else Ed Emmett being unable to survive the blue wave as Harris County Judge.

Third take? Per David Bruce Collins' comment, see his blog post about the increased ballot access hurdle for Greens.

1 comment:

Unknown said...

Re Greens: The enormously increased turnout in Texas this year brings with it an enormous increase in the number of petition signatures needed to get back on the ballot.

8,300,000 million votes = 83,000 valid signatures required.

For those unaware, "Valid" = from voters registered in Texas who didn't vote in the primary or sign any other parties petition.

When GPTX was successful in the 2000 and 2010 petition drives, the number was closer to 50,000, plus 20-25,000 extra to be on the safe side. The general rule is go for 50% above the minimum. So that means finding over 120,000 voters pissed off enough to sign.

Unless GPTX finds about a thousand volunteers for the effort, or enough cash under the couch cushions to pay petitioners, Game Over before it's begun. The Greens will need to retool and devote their time to community organizing, which over the long term could spark a comeback.