Complete Gueses on Election 2018

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What I am writing is a complete guess.


It is not based on unfiltered data.  I have not developed any algorithm nor have I done any kind of regression analysis.  This is based on gut impressions of material available to the general public and not inside information.


In general, I think Red States will get redder and Blue States will become bluer, with a few exceptions.


The exception, which will probably cost Trump and the GOP the House, is that I think family farmers have been hurt by the tariffs (possibly permanently, supply chains were disrupted badly in some commodities and will take time to recover) and they will likely stay home.


I think the GOP will lose House seats in the farm belt over this and this may be enough to save the seats of Democrats Clare McCaskell in Missouri and Heidi Heitkamp in North Dakota.


The GOP reached an uncommon level of control of statehouses and state capitals between 2009 and 2016 and that control will recede, at least to a degree. 


That seems a natural outcome; that kind of progress at the polls is unlikely to be sustained as a general rule.  Further, in contrast to 2009 (where the GOP took both the NJ and VA governorships in what proved to be a bellwether event for Obama Years), the GOP lost in both VA and NJ in 2017. 


In the Florida governor's race, I think Andrew Gillum will win.


I base this on the fact that Gillum has had at least a slight lead over his GOP rival, Ron De Santis, by most polls---which now seems to be broadening.  I think this is significant because there have been allegations of corruption against Gillum as mayor of Tallahassee, which seem at least facially plausible.  The trends in the polls imply that this information has been "baked in" and is not dissuading people from voting for Gillum.


Further, I think there is a consensus that De Santis has "played the race card" and that has had a damaging effect on him.  Gillum's "A hit dog will holler" comment at the last debate seemed to hit home. 


To some degree, that is probably unfair.  De Santis's "monkey around" comment, for example, was probably not racially motivated. 


De Santis is a fine man.  He is a Harvard Law Graduate who volunteered to serve in Operation Iraqi Freedom("OIF") as a Navy Judge Advocate General ("JAG") Officer and was awarded a Bronze Star for his service, an unusually high award for a JAG officer in that Service.  He has served in the US House of Representatives.


However, it seems like some Political Action Committees ("PACs") have tried to play the race card (for example, by describing a Rhodes Scholar and Harvard Law graduate as an "LA Rapper"), perhaps based on the belief that this type of attitude was rewarded in 2016.  However, the polls indicate this approach may have had dire results for the candidates involved.


This is similar to the situation presented in the race for the House in the New York 19th Congressional District, alluded to above, where the "LA Rapper" ad aired.  The incumbent, Rep. John Faso, was NOT behind the ad, it was aired by a PAC, but it has moved Faso from a comfortable lead to "to close to call" to slightly trailing his challenger, Antonio Delgado.


I think it is possible that Ted Cruz will lose in Texas.


Texas is a very Red State, where no Democrat has been elected state-wide since 1994.  Ted Cruz, in my opinion, is a principled Constitutional Conservative who believes in the power of the things that built America: free men; free markets; and free pulpits.  He is the epitome of the kind of leader Texas . . . and the US . . . really need.  I hope he wins.    


But here is why I think he might not.


In general, taller, better looking candidates tend to win.  O'Rourke is more imposing and charismatic than Sen. Cruz.


Sen. Cruz, a national debate champion at Princeton, is an able and polished speaker.  However, O'Rourke puts me in mind of George Burn's quip, "“The key to success is sincerity. If you can fake that you've got it made.”


Sen. Cruz spent 2015 and 2016 running for President.  Sen. Cruz is an ambitious man; it would not be fitting if a man of Sen. Cruz's ability were not.  However, some may harbor a grudge against Sen. Cruz for running for President as a first term Senator, which may seem overweening ambition.  Further, Sen. Cruz, as an able and principled man, has probably made enemies even in the Texas GOP, potentially, enemies with long memories.


It is easy (and, probably, correct) to consider a judge's son named Robert Francis O'Rourke a phony for running for US Senate from Texas as "Beto" O'Rourke.  However, O'Rourke is from El Paso, a place, in my experience, where it is hard to get around if you are not bilingual.  O'Rourke's mother is from an old Texas family, the Korths.  Her father, a lawyer, bank president and former Secretary of the Navy, was an associate of the Suite 8F group of Right Wing Texas Democrats in the 1950s and 1960s. 


Sen. Cruz's family came to Texas more recently and settled in Houston.


O'Rourke has probably wasted time campaigning in every county in the state of Texas.  However, O'Rourke may be correct in his theory that Texas is less a Red State than a Purple State with voter registration problems.  If his rather quixotic attempt to campaign everywhere does not derail the effort (one is reminded of Frederick the Great's dictum, "He who defends everything, defends nothing."), an attempt to increase voter registration and participation among the young, urban communities and in predominately Mexican-American South and West Texas could both have positive results and be difficult to properly account for in polling (something like the Trump campaign's getting inactive voters to become active in 2016).


If that is true, the fact that Sen. Cruz has had difficulty gaining a tremendous lead in the polls may be worse than it is generally believed.


"Blue Texas" is not a possibility in the short term.  But Texas may have always potentially have been "Purple Texas."  That may have had an impact even this year, where Sen. Cruz's unexpectedly stiff fight in a state containing some of the largest (and most expensive)  media markets in the US may have drawn money that might have gone to other Senate races.    




Eric Reports Added Nov 4, 2018 - 12:42pm
Interesting theory.  If Dems win House, Trump wins 2020.  He can blame them for everything that goes wrong.
John Minehan Added Nov 4, 2018 - 12:51pm
That was certainly true of Clinton in 1996, except where his polling indicated that the Class of '94 captured the zeitgeist (a scary good job of "Triangulating").
Less true of Obama in '12, I think. 
I think he got very lucky in opponents.  Romney is a polymath, whose formidable skill sets do NOT include "politics." 
opher goodwin Added Nov 4, 2018 - 1:30pm
Interesting predictions. Can't wait for Tuesday!
Dino Manalis Added Nov 4, 2018 - 1:32pm
 That means the political division will become fiercer!  Good guess!
John Minehan Added Nov 4, 2018 - 2:02pm
The potentially good part of more national division is more things will be done (potentially) at the local level.
Jeff Michka Added Nov 4, 2018 - 3:11pm
I can't speak for others here, or John M, but seems what we see here on WB is mirrored in the "real world far away."  I've volunteered to doorbell GOTV for progressive candidates on the ballot here locally.  The inane hatreds I've heard from some "voters" has been remarkable, as has the belief in lies we see here about those wily, young and strong latinos invading the US and taking jobs away from "good white people" or resources good white people think they can't get.  The fear mongering works, and questions like "why are you scared?" get slammed doors, the slammers realizing, I think how silly they sound and the amazing umbrage astounds me farther, given  how little these "fears" are based on.  "They said on Twitter the caravan is all MS13."  "Those spics are ARMED."  "The Invasion is a Hillary idea to get "those people" in to vote."  Based on?  "Facebook and Twitter posts."  Those MUST BE TRUE."  Based on?  No reply, because what they've read confirms any biases they have.  It's the same here.  One of the rightists here deleted comments, saying "How does it FEEL  to be treated like a conservative on Facebook and Twitter?"  Huh?  I  think you've missed the "sucker factor" where the suckers will fall for ANYTHING that feeds their personal biases, no matter how silly and stilted.  These folks are True Believers, and we got a pack of them on WB.  Fortunately, we've got a pretty good neighborhood here, the idiot factor has been fairly low.  But that is another story. *shrug*
John Minehan Added Nov 4, 2018 - 3:28pm
I'm a bit more conservative than Jeff Michka (hell, Jeff Michka might say I'm to the right of Attila the Hun), but I have been doing phone banking for Antonio Delgado and I have been pleasantly surprised to learn how many other people were alienated by the "LA Rapper" ad, too.
John Faso is a decent man with a lot of good experience in the NYS Assembly and that ad was NOT his idea . . . but he was ALSO not   quick to disavow that ad . . . and it may well cost him the election.
The Caravan is a problem.  Big population migrations cause problems for settled populations (ask the Emperor Valens).  BUT it is not the problem people are talking to Jeff Michka about and I think a lot of people get that and are worried about other things, like whether the tariffs mean we won't be able to sell as many apples to Israel.
I also think a lot of conservatives wonder if  the Trump phenomenon wasn't a distraction from trying to end excessive centralization and excessive debt and excessive regulation.  
John Minehan Added Nov 4, 2018 - 4:41pm
Israel is where a lot of Hudson Valley apples get sold, hence the comment. 
Jeff Michka Added Nov 4, 2018 - 5:54pm
I've never considered you an ERW, John.  Good show on the phonebanking.  And I 'll recommend a book I suggested to Katherine Otto, Ben Sasse's "Them."  you might enjoy the read, I have.  It's well written and on point.  May your candidate win.
Marty Koval Added Nov 4, 2018 - 7:07pm
Over the last few decades, Florida has become a purple state because of the influx of people from the Democratic states of the Northeast and the Latinos from Cubs, Puerto Rico, Mexican, Central American and Colombia. The governorship is up for grabs, and I believe it will be a close race between Gillum and De Santis's. Most likely this race will not be called until late into the evening on Tuesday.
Like Florida, Texas is in the process of becoming a purple state because of the influx of Hispanics from Mexico and Central America and many Democrats from liberal leaning states like California, Washington, Illinois and the Northeast states  that are escaping these high tax states. This will be a close election, but I believe that Cruz will triumph over O'Rourke.
My crystal ball is no better than all the so called expert pollster. Most likely there will be some surprises that no one anticipated.
John Minehan Added Nov 4, 2018 - 8:04pm
I think Texas has been a Purple State with a Voter Registration problem for some time.  This year it might make a difference.  In any case, Sen. Cruz's problems have siphoned money out of other races, so it has had an impact  nationally already.
Even A Broken Clock Added Nov 4, 2018 - 11:56pm
I personally don't think the Cruz will lose this election, but it will be close. But if he does lose, he will be able to get a new job with a real income (nut that measly  $174,000 per year for being a Senator), so that his wife Heidi can finally afford that second house they've been longing for.
goldminor Added Nov 5, 2018 - 12:23am
I think that the Rs will do well in this election. Independent voters will be the reason for this, imo. Most of the nation does not want open borders. That will be a key driver for getting people out to vote for R candidates.
People are angry at the thought of the caravan heading this way of thousands of men, mainly younger men. I am listening to Chris Farrell giving an interview after coming back from his trip down to Guatemala where he went with a few others to do some real journalism.  Most of those in the caravan are coming here for jobs, and have stated such clearly. yet the lefty media lies about all of that on a daily basis to Americans.
Bill Kamps Added Nov 5, 2018 - 6:45am
John, a lot states are purple, in that their cities are blue and the rest of the state is red.  I grew up in Illinois, and it was split this way going back to WWII.   Chicago was blue, the rest of the state red.
This is what complicates politics, especially statewide elections.  As we always asked in Illinois, what will the turn out be and where?
I have lived in Texas now for quite a while.
In Texas, yes I give the advantage to Cruz.  However, he has not campaigned well, and Beto has.  Beto also has a lot more money behind him.  Cruz ruffled a lot of feathers with his Presidential bid.  In an effort to stand out in the Primary he positioned himself well to the right.  This has hurt him in a statewide bid, where getting the Hispanic vote is necessary and useful.  He has done a poor job of emphasizing his own Hispanic roots, and connecting with that community.  Therefore his race is closer than it should be.
Beto, his claims to the contrary, is pretty far to the left.  Probably too much so for Texas.  He said he would vote to impeach Trump, without even knowing what crime is alleged.  People from El Paso are also not in the mainstream of Texas.  Polling tends to over sample in the cities, just because of convenience and population density.  My guess is that Cruz will win, but it will be closer than normal for this kind of race.
George N Romey Added Nov 5, 2018 - 7:42am
It probably won't be the runaway that the Dems keep predicting.  Remember winning is about turnout, which is why Clinton lost in 2016.  At this point there doesn't seem to be much to bring Democrats out to the polls in mass.  The Bernie supporters have been cast aside for Russia, Russia, Russia.  Most Americans do not want a bunch of undocumented, unknowns coming across our borders.  
Ken Added Nov 5, 2018 - 2:06pm
Ted Cruz will win by 15-20% when it is over.  You aren't going to be successful in texas as an open borders wildly leftist democrat.  I have family in TX and have spent a bunch of time there.  As much as Robert Francis has spent, it isn't going to be close.
Gillum is not only the one playing the race card in Florida, regularly, but is under FBI investigation for massive corruption.
He wants to raise business taxes 40% and other wildly left programs.  I just don't see it coming his way.
John Minehan Added Nov 5, 2018 - 4:12pm
Cruz is probably a great man.  However, this year he has a potential problem.  
A MAJ in the Texas National Guard once told me something that makes me think the Dems stumbled on to someone who has a chance of winning.
What may save Ted Cruz is O'Rourke trying to campaign everywhere, rather than the cities and South and West Texas, concentrating on registering people.
Gillum is probably a lock.  DeSantis made some errors out the gate and it does not seem to be getting better
The Burghal Hidage Added Nov 5, 2018 - 4:45pm
I'll hazard a prediction of my own. If I'm wrong, well it wont matter, but if it turns out I'm right I'll explain why at the end of the week. Here it is:
Republicans retain the house with 222
                     gain in senate to 55
Donnelly, McKaskill, Nelson, Tester and Heitkamp all go down in flames. Senate races in MN, WI and OH will go the dems way, but each of these will prove to be quite a bit closer than polls have indicated
Cliff M. Added Nov 5, 2018 - 5:36pm
I believe the women and younger voters are going to make a large sheer numbers the Dems are gaining numbers while the repubs are close to their ceiling. The independent's will also have a large say in the outcome.I foresee large democratic gains if it is anything close to a large turnout.
George N Romey Added Nov 5, 2018 - 6:12pm
The millennials will be home drinking their craft beer streaming a movie. I’ll be with them sans craft beer. Craft beers like politicians all suck.
Jeff Michka Added Nov 5, 2018 - 8:29pm
Someone give Geeho a beer he'll appreciate...a Budweiser.   You think the "Red Wave" will get you into the elites, Geeho?  How about getting you into The Deep State?
Jim Stoner Added Nov 5, 2018 - 10:47pm
I hope you're right about states like ND, MO, TX.  My expectations are not quite so positive, though I do think Gillum will win; that, and the saga of Stacey Abrams in GA will be the top stories of the night as they wait for more returns to come in to say anything. 
I just re-posted here something I wrote Sun. night for my blog with my own predictions, including some numerical ones; I used a very simple approach.  Then Larry Sabato came out 24 hours later with exactly the same numbers.  Shocking, and scary!  The Secretary disavows all knowledge.... 
Ken Added Nov 5, 2018 - 10:52pm
Gillum is probably a lock.  DeSantis made some errors out the gate and it does not seem to be getting better
That is just silly.  You clearly know little about Gillum's platform or background.  One non-racist statement that DeSantis made being played over and over by the propaganda arm of the left wing party (MSM) isn't going to sink this.  Florida isn't going to vote with a bunch of seniors that Gillum wants to take medicare away from.  Not to mention all the ethics violations and the FBI investigation.  Oh and the 40% business tax.
Robert Francis has potentially committed federal violation by transferring funds to the caravan.  The guy tried to run away from a drunk driving accident.  He is for open borders and impeaching Trump - IN TEXAS!  It goes on and on.  he loses by double digits when the dust clears, even after spending close to 100 million dollars (mostly of Steyer and Soros funding).
You are going to be way off on those predictions, I predict...we will see in 24 hrs
Flying Junior Added Nov 6, 2018 - 3:33am
Again, I always appreciate a report from the great state of Texas. Texas liberals have a great sense of humor.  Hell everybody in Texas knows how to laugh.  Good blues.  Good music programs.  Good jazz.  Good people.
In San Diego County we are all watching two races for House seats held by Republicans.  Duncan Hunter Jr. is facing charges and probable jail time.  His comfortable lead over his democratic challenger, Ammar Campa-Najjar has all but vanished.  As the son of an immigrant family his story of the American dream is powerful.  But Hunter's support is firm among conservatives who tend to be more prominent in the East County.
Meanwhile in North County the republicans failed to put up a strong candidate against extremely popular democrat, Mike Levin.  He has raised five times as much as his opponent.  She seems to plagued with scandals relating to the family business which is accused of victimizing senior citizens in a Ponzi scheme and even guilty of elder abuse.  It is surprising because democrats have been lusting for this kill for many years.  It will quite easily fall to Mike Levin.
Keep your fingers crossed children of the Goddess.  And get out there and vote.

John Minehan Added Nov 6, 2018 - 11:20am
Two things Trump did will have bad effects today: 1) the tariffs will help Dems in MO; and 2) people from Puerto Rico and the USVI who relocated to FL after the Hurricane will vote against De Santis and Scott to vote against Trump.
"For want of a nail . . . ."  
James Added Nov 6, 2018 - 4:10pm
I think this is a pretty good analysis overall. A lot of good points that make sense. I could easily see the outcomes you suggest and for many of the reasons you detailed.
It's not my district, but personally I like some of what I've heard from Mayor Gillum and I agree, I don't think the "monkey around" remark by DeSantis was racially motivated. Often times these so-called 'dog whistles' are nothing more than a symptom of fevered imaginations & a phony culture war distraction.
Again, not my state, but I desperately hope Ted Cruz loses. I disagree with his stance on a wide range of issues, but I also don't detect a trace of sincerity from the man. I never have since he first came to my attention. I also happen to agree with some of what I've heard from Mr. O'Rourke. But that's just personal preference. I have no say in the matter.
Where I do have some say is in Missouri. I suspect you may be right predicting a McCaskill win but I'm not sure. I think it's going to be a close one. Recent polls indicate her and Hawley are dead even. From what I can see there's a lot of displeasure here with Sen. McCaskill, and except for St. Louis, Kansas City and a few enclaves in Columbia & Springfield, most of the state is pro-Trump, strongly so in more rural areas like mine. That said, as an anecdote most of the Republicans or pro-Trump independents I've spoken to both strongly dislike McCaskill & want the Democrats to lose but also cannot stand Josh Hawley & don't trust him one bit. I'm not so sure that hatred of Democrats is enough to give Hawley the edge he needs.
Personally, I don't want either of them to win. I'm also conflicted how I want the overall turnout of the midterms to go. While I didn't vote for Trump {or Hillary} and I find the man to be a con man, a demagogue and a national disgrace, I also have to acknowledge that he brings to the fore issues that have long been neglected. Effectively or not he is attempting to address them in spite of how much doing so irritates the Beltway political/media establishment. I also think divided government could do some good right now. If nothing else to remove the majority leader status from that hypocritical hack, Mitch McConnell.
One thing is for sure, I don't welcome a red wave nor a blue one. Neither partisan tribe should be given any vote of encouragement. The GOP has been filling the swamp and it seems clear to me Democrats have not learned their lessons. Maybe more defeat will concentrate their minds.
Ken Added Nov 6, 2018 - 11:29pm
As predicted, Heitkamp and McKaskill both lost.  DeSantis and Scott both won.
Republicans lost house by narrow margin but won more seats in senate.
About the only thing you were correct on was Cruz was closer than expected win over Robert Francis.  But then, O'Rourke had over 80 MILLION given to him to compete.
John Minehan Added Nov 7, 2018 - 11:06am
De Santis won 49.7% to 49%.  John Faso in the NY 19th CD lost because he mishandled the zeitgeist.
Rick Scott also won narrowly, but he was running against a popular incumbent.
(Scott is a great comeback story.  From CEO forced out over accusations of healthcare fraud on a massive scale to two term GOP governor of a Purple State to US Senator elected against an incumbent, it is a Nixon in '68 level comeback for the 21st Century.)
Cruz-O'Rourke really turned on who Cruz and O'Rourke are as men.  But, O'Rourke was right, TX is (and probably has been) a Purple State.  Part of what saved Ted Cruz was the Caravan and the Kavanough Hearings, but had O'Rourke concentrated his efforts in the Big Cities and in South and West Texas, that might have brought out an extra 3 or 4%.
I was very surprised by MO.  The tariffs have ht them hard and they are not a border state.
As a Libertarian (if a somewhat "Leftish" one or what I consider a "Communitarian Libertarian") the fact that FL and GA and AZ were so close is alarming.  I'm not a Trump guy, but if he does not carry those states he has a problem.    
Johnny Fever Added Nov 8, 2018 - 10:13am
“As a Libertarian (if a somewhat "Leftish" one or what I consider a "Communitarian Libertarian") the fact that FL and GA and AZ were so close is alarming.”
That doesn’t make any sense.  If you lean Left you should be ecstatic that the right only won by a narrow margin.  It means you likely will win those states one day.  As Libertarian, I find what happened in those states very alarming.  You see Libertarians are further right than typical Republicans.  We believe in even lower taxes and less government intrusion into our lives.  The Democrats don’t align with our views in the slightest.  The Republicans obviously do, so we hold our noses and vote Republican.  It doesn’t make any sense to waste our vote on a Libertarian that loses.      
John Minehan Added Nov 8, 2018 - 1:59pm
Usually true.  Sometimes, the other choices are unacceptable, though (Trump and HRC).
I think the idea of an electoral map that excludes anyone who doesn't belong to one party should alarm everyone.  
John Minehan Added Nov 8, 2018 - 2:04pm
Let me illustrate my point of view. 
I think everyone should have access to healthcare.  I also think using the government to provide it is like trying to drive nails with the handle of a screw driver.  It is possible, but it is the wrong tool.
We ought to be able to use the private sector to do it (using both for-profit and not-for-profit entities) and the courts to adjudicate (and, hopefully, deter)  fraud. 
Johnny Fever Added Nov 9, 2018 - 8:53am
Trump and Hillary were only unacceptable to those that prefer their neighbors decide the presidency over oneself.  The reason the electoral map excludes everyone else, is because everyone else didn’t get enough vote to be relevant. 
Everyone does have access to healthcare.  If it wasn’t for the government’s generosity, how would the poor pay for their healthcare?  As a Libertarian, you should want Obamacare, Medicare and Medicaid to all be abolished. Instead, with the passing of Obamacare, the government extended it’s reach even further.  That is one example of why Libertarians and Democrats agree on almost nothing. 
John Minehan Added Nov 9, 2018 - 3:20pm
I dislike these programs on two counts: 1) because they are intrusive; and 2) because they keep groups of people from putting something together that would work better. 
goldminor Added Nov 10, 2018 - 7:06pm
@ Johnny Fever ...I can attest to the fact that everyone does have access to health care when needed. I went for 5 years not being able to see out of my right eye before I finally asked for help from the state as my left eye also started to degrade. Within a year my cataracts were removed and for the first time in my life I had 20/20 vision. I was heavily near sighted all of my life. When cataracts are removed the doctor has to add a lenses in to fill the space. So my corrective lenses are now on the inside. It was quite an experience for me when it was all finished. They also checked me out from head to toe during all of that.
TreeParty Added Nov 28, 2018 - 10:41pm
John, In retrospect, pretty bad job of handicapping the election. Remind me not to trust your predictions next time....
Jim Stoner Added Nov 29, 2018 - 12:20pm
Now that it's over:
I had it  fairly close in a post on my blog (one I meant to post here but forgot--honestly!)--I had Democrats at 229 for the House, 48 Senators (it is now 235, and 47).   The late returns from CA explain a lot of the difference on the House margin. 
I never expected Beto to win--we've been down this road too many times--but his 48% share was somewhat impressive (I'm hoping he can do about 3% better vs. Cornyn in 2020, but it seems he's looking at throwing his hat in the ring for President).  No surprise that Donnelly, McCaskill, and Heidkamp lost; nice that Sinema won in AZ.  The biggest disappointments of the night were the two statewide races in Florida (especially the win by that odious snake, Rick Scott) and the nature of the GA governor's race loss by Stacey Adams.  Now, that would have been something. 
I had some more general predictions (and early endorsements for 2020!) on this post .  I was right that there would be a lot of elections not determined on Election Night, but the networks did better than I expected in giving updates on the House, using the "number of races leading" measure--not races called, but it gave a sense in real time to viewers.  It turned out to be a somewhat misleading sense, the idea that the House race was closer than it ended up. 
Some of the other predictions will just have to wait and see how the new Congress pans out.   Of course, I was right that Trump would immediately claim victory, one he has now wisely decided to shut up about.   Another that I was right about:  Sherrod Brown's re-election victory in Ohio has put him on the charts for the Presidential nomination.  I still think he is the best choice to win in 2020.  
Thanks for reviving this one, TP--it saves my doing my own back-patting article.