Frayed Nerves Friday Reads: Vote Updates still Coming inPosted: November 11, 2022
Good Day Sky Dancers!
Biting nails is probably a national pastime for those still following the election. This is a nail-biter of an election! It looks like the Democratic Party will hold on to the Senate. The House is still in play. This is from Politico. “The path to 218: Why Democrats aren’t out of the race for the House yet. A district-by-district look at which party is favored in the uncalled races.” Some of the California House races are still out and quite close.
Republicans still have a wider path to the House majority than Democrats — but it’s narrowed a lot over the past 24 hours.
As the vote count continues, particularly in mail-heavy Western states, Democrats continue to win most of the contested races, keeping them in the hunt and meaning news organizations won’t declare a winner in the overall fight for the chamber.
Not all of the 32House districts that remain uncalled are truly in doubt: In some of them, one party is clearly favored, and Democrats are likely to win more of them than Republicans, according to a POLITICO analysis.
But that alone wouldn’t be enough for Democrats to snatch the House majority, with the GOP only seven seats away. Democrats would still need to win the vast majority of the nearly-a-dozen races that are truly in doubt.
It’s not impossible, but it’s not likely, either.
If the Republicans do get control of the House, there is no guarantee that Kevin McCarthy will be the next Speaker of the House. This is from CNN. “Kevin McCarthy faces rocky road to speakership as hardliners emboldened by GOP’s election showing.”
Members of the pro-Trump House Freedom Caucus are withholding their support for House GOP leader Kevin McCarthy’s speakership bid and have begun to lay out their list of demands, putting the California Republican’s path to securing 218 votes in peril if the party ultimately takes the House with a slim majority.
McCarthy and his team are confident he will ultimately get the votes to be speaker. But the conservative hardliners are emboldened by the likelihood of a narrow House GOP majority and are threatening to withhold their support – something that could imperil his bid or force him to make deals to weaken the speakership, something he has long resisted.
Rep. Chip Roy of Texas told reporters that “no one currently has 218” votes for speaker, which is the magic number McCarthy would need to secure the speaker’s gavel on the House floor in January, and said he wants McCarthy to list in greater detail his plans for a wide array of investigations into the Biden administration. And Rep. Andy Biggs of Arizona complained that McCarthy seemed to backpedal on whether he’d be willing to launch impeachment proceedings into President Joe Biden or members of his Cabinet.
“I’ve heard from multiple of my constituents who question the wisdom of proceeding forward with that leadership,” Biggs said, adding that there needs to be a “frank conversation” about who they elect for the top job.
Members of the group are also pushing to make it easier for lawmakers to call for floor votes on ousting a sitting speaker. That is something that McCarthy is adamantly against and was wielded over former Speaker John Boehner before he eventually resigned.
Rep. Lauren Boebert of Colorado said it was a “red line” for her, but not everyone in the Freedom Caucus is united on whether to make that a hard line.
The race may head to a recount according to the Denver Post. “A thin-enough margin will trigger an automatic recount, but candidates can also request their own.”
Few votes separate Colorado’s congressional race between U.S. Rep. Lauren Boebert and Adam Frisch, meaning whoever wins the heated election could still suffer through a recount.
Eyes across the country are watching the race, which could swing either way as counties continue to count straggling ballots.
If neither candidate gains a wide enough margin, election officials might not declare an official winner in the race for weeks, depending on how the process plays out. Not only would a slim margin of victory trigger an automatic recount but either candidate can also request a recount so long as they’re willing to pay for it.
The process could then extend into December.
Axios has good news at the state level, where many of the worst election deniers will not be in control of future elections. Also, a woman’s right to choose is a winning issue. “Democrats make quiet history with state-level gains.”
Overlooked amid frantic punditry about the “red ripple” in Congress: Democrats quietly won and defended majorities in state legislatures across the country, weakening GOP power on issues at the heart of the national political debate.
Why it matters: State legislative races are on pace to be the highlight of the Democratic ballot. If Democrats hold on to Nevada, this will be the first time the party in power hasn’t lost a single chamber in a midterms year since 1934, according to the Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee.
The big picture: The partisan battles over democracy and abortion rights — the two issues that dominated Democratic messaging this cycle — are shaped at the state level.
- Republicans have controlled more state legislative seats than Democrats for more than a decade straight, thanks in large part to a deliberate strategy the GOP hatched in 2010 to dominate the redistricting process.
- Even after Democrats’ stunning gains, Republicans still control more states and will have more total legislative seats. But this election shows Democrats are committed to playing the long game, says Daniel Squadron, founder of The States Project.
State of play: Democrats defended their state-level majorities in Massachusetts and Maryland and won governor seats left open after Republican retirements, securing a “trifecta” in both states. Helmed by a historic $50M investment from the DLCC, they also kept the Maine legislature, the New Mexico and Colorado state Houses, and secured a supermajority in both chambers in Vermont (which has a GOP governor).
- In Michigan, Democrats flipped the House and Senate to take complete control of the state government for the first time in 40 years. Gov. Gretchen Whitmer won re-election by double-digits, vaulting the rising Democratic star into the national spotlight.
- In Minnesota, Democrats also secured a trifecta after taking the state Senate.
- In Wisconsin, Democrats denied Republicans a supermajority that would have allowed them to override Gov. Tony Evers’ veto — the only thing standing in the way of a statewide abortion ban.
What we’re watching: Arizona, where Republicans have a narrow two-seat majority in both chambers, was another top target for Democrats. It’s still early in the state’s vote-counting process, but Democrats told Axios they’re hopeful their winning streak will continue there.
- In Pennsylvania, Democrats are just one seat away from flipping the state House.
The backdrop: Outside Dem groups — fueled by Republican threats to abortion rights and fair election processes — made unprecedented investments in state legislative races this cycle.
- Two groups, The States Project and the National Democratic Redistricting Committee (NDRC), poured millions into state races in the final four weeks of the election. They targeted races with thin margins in Arizona, Colorado, New Hampshire, Michigan and Pennsylvania.
- Forward Majority, a Democratic super PAC focused on the states, invested over $20 million this cycle targeting 25 seats in Michigan, Pennsylvania and Arizona.
- “We’re clawing our way back to power after 50 years of investment for Republicans and so much neglect for so long by the Democratic Party,” said Forward Majority’s president Vicky Hausman.
This analysis of our election comes from The Economist. “A Republican victory will be much smaller than Democrats feared. Several sorts of extremism may have prevented the party from securing a more convincing victory.”
Imagine if Noah’s prognostications about a world-ending flood had ended in a light shower. That is roughly the situation faced by Republicans who had been expecting a biblical sort of rebuke of President Joe Biden in the midterm elections. Despite clear voter discontent with Mr Biden and the pace of inflation, Republicans managed only a limp showing. As final results were being tallied, they looked on track to barely pick up the five seats needed for a majority in the House of Representatives (a typical loss for a president’s party in the modern era is 30 seats). That will be sufficient for Kevin McCarthy, the Republican leader in the House, to wrest the speaker’s gavel from Nancy Pelosi, the Democratic leader, and ensure divided government in Washington for the next two years. But it is hardly a spectacular showing.
The same is true of the contest to control the Senate, which may take weeks to decide, due to the need for a run-off election in Georgia in December. Taking the Senate would have required netting only a single additional seat—but it now looks likelier than not that even this low bar will not be met (see chart 1). Democrats never met the attacks that Republicans launched at them on crime, inflation, indoctrination of schoolchildren and immigration with a convincing or cohesive rejoinder. And yet the morning after the election there was, surprisingly, more need for Republican soul-searching than for Democratic recriminations.
Several sorts of extremism may have robbed Republicans of the marginal seats they needed to secure a more convincing victory. The first was over abortion, which became an immediate rallying cry for Democrats when the Supreme Court overturned Roe v Wade, the case that had established a right to terminate a pregnancy up until the point of fetal viability, in June. Although most Americans supported some limitations on the procedure, they also found bans pitched by many Republicans too extreme. In the suburban battlegrounds for the House, abortion proved a potent battering-ram for Democrats, who improved their margins in districts with lots of white, college-educated voters—previously a reliable constituency for the Republicans (see chart 2).
You may see the charts and read more analysis at the link.
I’ve been telling people for most of the year that I consider Ron DeSantis to be the odds-on favorite — not a guarantee, not a prohibitive favorite, but the favorite — to win the Republican presidential nomination. Usually, they nod and then add something like, “But not if Trump runs, right?” “Yes,” I reply, “even if Trump runs.” Then they look at me like I’m crazy.
Tuesday night, my view began to look a little less crazy. The Murdoch-owned media, very much including Fox News, unleashed an undisguised propaganda blitz to convince its audience that Trump is the source of the party’s struggles and DeSantis represents its future. Trump’s angry response is a measure of how seriously he takes the threat to steer the base away from him. Many journalists registered surprise at the bluntness of the chorus blaming Trump. Yet the prospects for a DeSantis nomination, and the changes beneath the surface that have made it relatively likely, have not been fully appreciated outside the Republican world.
For one thing, the Murdoch-owned media, and many other legacy conservative-media outlets, like National Review, have never fully supported Trump. They defended him against Democrats while wishing the party would nominate somebody else. This has meant, in other words, that they would criticize some of his excesses, even while insisting the Democrats were worse. During moments when Republicans had the opportunity to wrest leadership of the party from his hands, like during the 2016 primary campaign and in the days after January 6, they would even savage him. But when his leadership of the party went unchallenged, they would mute their criticism and fall dutifully in line.
This pattern has led to an easy assumption that whatever misgivings Republicans express now will come to nothing. “We have heard this tune many times before,” Dan Drezner says, sighing. “It’s nice to hope that this time it’ll take,” writes the Bulwark, “But we’ve all seen this movie before. Many, many, many times before.”
This ignores a crucial difference. In both 2016, and the aftermath of the insurrection, there was no unified Republican alternative. The non-Trump candidates in 2016 infamously failed to coordinate, and even devoted most of their energy to attacking each other in the belief that the last non-Trump standing would automatically prevail. “Jeb, Rubio, Christie, Kasich, Walker… every one of these guys was as hyped as DeSantis is now. Trump beat them all,” argues Adam Jentleson. But that is the point – beating them all was easier than beating a single opponent with unified conservative movement support.
After the insurrection, a brief window opened to move on, but the party lacked any obvious figure to rally around. (DeSantis had yet to make the key moves consolidating his support on the right.) And in between these events, Trump was president.
I wish I could get over my premonition that the next two years will be stressful and will still be dominated by MAGA Republicans in Congress. I just do not want to go back to where turning on the TV means enduring crazy Gym Jordan, Sleazy Steve Scalise who could potentially be Speaker of the House to my dismay, Marjorie Three Names in a Committee Hearing, and Trump flying around the country with his HateFest events as he runs for president. Trump may find more time to roast DeSantis than “Sleepy Joe”, but it will still be that anxiety-inducing, stomach-clenching shit show. We’ll just have to see what nickname he gives DeSantis.
Happy Veterans Day to everyone that served!!!
So, what’s on your reading and blogging list today?
“Baby, I see this world has made you sadSome people can be bad The things they do, the things they say.”