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Where Will Mitt Romney Caucus in 2021?

Who will have the last laugh? (https://www.rawstory.com)

The Senate is in play. In the 2018 election the House was in play. The majority party predicted a Red Wave would sweep through the House and it was right. The vaunted Red Wave cleansed the country of hundreds of Republican officeholders at the local, state, and federal level. Congressional representatives who didn’t feel the love were history. All in all, it was a stupendous showing that resulted in a more purified Trumpican Party and a much better situation in the House of Representatives. Fox even crowed that the losses were less than Obama had in his first non-presidential year election.

The Senate, however, remained relatively unscathed by the Red Wave. Will that be true this time around?

As we enter the 2020 election year, the breakdown of the Senate is as follows:

52 Trumpicans
1 Republican
45 Democrats
1 Socialist
1 Independent.

The Socialist and the Independent caucus with the Democrats; the Republican caucuses with the Trumpicans. Estimates vary as to how many of the Trumpicans are really TINOs (Trumpicans in Name Only).  It is possible a Democrat or Socialist will be elected President or be on the winning ticket as a Vice Presidential candidate so perhaps there will only be 99 or 98 Senators after the inaugural until new state elections can be held.  Such developments could work to the advantage of the Trumpicans until a replacements are elected. Many different scenarios are possible. The situation remains very fluid

Life will not stand still between now and Election Day. Consider two recent developments regarding the Senate.

RESTRICTING KING GEORGE III

Recently the Senate attempted to place restrictions on what a President of the United States could do involving Iran. The attempt was laughable. This action followed almost immediately after that very same Senate had given the Impeached President carte blanche do what he wanted. There are no checks and balances. Suppose the bill had passed, been signed into law, and then violated, what would the Senate do? Call for an impeachment?  So even putting aside that the bill would not be signed by the Impeached President and that the Trumpicans would never override a veto just as they would not vote to remove him, what, in the real world, was the purpose of this proposed legislation? Why waste any time on it?

The only saving grace is that since there were some Trumpican defections in the Senate vote, it does identity possible TINOs who perhaps one day might become Republicans again.

THE MUNCHKIN VERSUS BONESPUR BOY

It is rare for a Senator to break with a party on an impeachment vote. So far in American history, there is only one instance of a Senator voting to remove a President of his own party. Apparently, the Impeached One thought there was a Democrat who might vote against his party. Joe Manchin, West Virginia Senator, has long been considered one of the more conservative members of the Democratic Party. He has voted more often against his Democratic caucus than with it. There seems to have been a genuine belief that this Senator (and perhaps Doug Jones of Alabama for different reasons) might defect. Obviously that did not happen. The Democratic Party remained united.

So how did the Impeached One respond to Manchin’s failure to be loyal to him over his party? Naturally, he did so with the usual tact and grace which have made him the exemplar of mature responsible adult conduct.  The Impeached One called this traitor who denied him a bipartisan acquittal a “munchkin.”  Here we may observe the seventh-grade-smart-aleck-dumb-aleck in his element. He always has a wisecrack. Sometimes his barbs are spot on and sometimes they are just silly if not stupid.

This insult fell flat. Munchkins are lovable. They also detest the Wicked Witch of the West Wing. Other than the vague similarity in sound, there was nothing really to connect Manchin and Munchkin. As the Senator quickly pointed out, the two of them are about the same height but Manchin has much less weight than TUBBY WUBBY. Manchin also went to college on a football scholarship while Bonespur Boy only enters the arena if it is scripted and rigged in his favor.

But then Manchin channeled his inner Susan Collins:

“Everybody can change. Maybe the president will change, you know? Maybe that uniter will come out, versus the divider.”

“I hope he changes. I’m looking for that person that has heart and soul and compassion.”

Exactly why after decades of being demeaning, nasty, and insulting, this person in the eighth decade of his life would change defies the laws of common sense. Yet here we have examples of at least two Senators expressing thoughts that have no basis in the real world. It calls into question their judgment on everything else.

MAINE

With that observation, let’s segue into actual Senate races. If Susan Collins was in deep trouble even before the impeachment vote, her wishful thinking about the Impeached One having learned from this case is exactly right but not in the way she means. He has not learned to behave more responsibly. He has learned that he really can murder someone on broad daylight on 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue and not pay a price. The events since he was acquitted are exactly what one should have predicted. The day after Mueller’s abysmal showing on television, Little Donee Waney was back at it with the perfect phone call to his target in extortion. As the past week has shown, the Impeached One is in full force now that he knows he can’t be touched by Congress. Whatever wishful thinking Collins had in mind, she is likely to be lambasted on the campaign trail for the absurdity of her comment especially every time the Impeached One proves her wrong.

Although there are no guarantees, Maine, like Colorado, seems like a pick up for the Democrats.

Consider the other examples where the Red Wave might strike.

Kansas – Trumpican loser of a statewide election in 2018 now going for a repeat loss in 2020 much to the dismay of the Senate Majority leadership.

Arizona – Trumpican loser of a statewide election in 2018 now consistently trailing for a repeat loss in 2020.

Georgia – Trumpican Congressional Representative threatening the election of a Romney-supporter appointed to fill a vacancy.

One additional wild card in any calculations of who will control the Senate is who will win the presidential election and therefore provide the vice presidential vote in case of a tie.

And then there is Mitt Romney. Suppose when all is said and done, the Trumpicans have 50 Senate seats. If they have the additional vice president vote, then Romney can’t change the balance of power. But suppose the Democrats win the presidency. Then Romney’s vote could make the difference. In this case, the Democrats only need a net gain of two to put Romney in the driver’s seat.

In the meantime, the Trumpicans are doing everything they can to excommunicate Romney. The father-son duo insults him constantly. Fox insults him constantly. The Trumpican organizations insult him constantly. Along with Abraham Lincoln and John McCain, Mitt Romney is persona non grata in the Trumpican Party. Lots of scenarios are possible this election year. After all, Manchin might defect himself. But one scenario to keep in mind is the possibility that Republican-and-not-Trumpican Mitt Romney may have the final choice of which party controls the Senate.

Republican Party versus the Trumpican Party: The 2020 Elections

"Thank you Istanbul": A victory poster shows Mr Erdogan (R) and mayoral candidate Binali Yildirim (BBC.com)

When did you first know that Individual #1 would not honor the 2020 election results if he lost?

DEMOCRATIC PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE WINS POPULAR VOTE

Technically, that headline is not really a news item. In the baby-boomer era of the American presidency, the Democratic candidate routinely wins the popular vote. The lone exception is the post-9/11 election in 2004. Otherwise the Democratic victory in this facet of the electoral process can almost be taken for granted. Obviously winning the popular vote is not enough to win the presidency.

Nonetheless, the Democratic popular vote victory in 2016 while expected also should generate questions. Consider two commonly asserted claims that combined should have undermined the Democratic popular vote margin:

1. The turnout of black voters in support of the Democratic candidate declined from 2012
2. White Obama voters switched parties especially non-college educated ones.

One might think therefore the chances of a Democratic candidate prevailing in the popular vote would be correspondingly reduced. So if the margin was still nearly 3 million votes, then imagine what it would have been if Democrats had been able to retain these 2012 voters in 2016.

But there is a piece missing. It is not one that has garnered a lot of attention. It is not one that I recall hearing on the talk shows or reading about on blogs or in newspapers or magazines. I am not saying it has not been discussed, only that it seems to have done so minimally at best.

To begin with, although Trump is president whereas Mitt Romney lost in 2012, look at the vote totals.  Trump actually received a slightly smaller share of the vote than Romney did — 45.95 percent for Trump versus 47.15 percent for Romney.

Let’s look at Wisconsin as an example to determine what was going on. This is the state that one candidate famously never visited while it is alleged the Russian violation of the United States may have made a difference. The vote totals tell a more complete story.

In 2012 the Democratic candidate received 1,620,985 votes. In 2016 that number declined substantially to 1,382,536. One might think a 238,000 drop would result in big gain for the other side. Think again.

In 2012 the losing Republican candidate received 1,407,966 votes while in 2016 the winning candidate received 1,405,284, also a decline but of only 2700. However this roughly comparable total to 2012 was enough to win the state in 2016 due to the precipitous Democratic drop-off.

As it turns out, there is more to the story than the presidential election alone. In the Senate election, the Republican candidate won with over 50% and over 3% margin compared to the miniscule presidential margin of .7%. This winning candidate had 1,479,471 votes, over 74,000 more than the presidential tally. That means 74,000 people went to the polls voted for the Republican senatorial candidate but did not vote for the Republican presidential candidate. By contrast the Democratic presidential candidate had about 2000 more votes than the Democratic senate candidate.  When the Democrats went to the polls they voted for both the Democratic presidential and senate candidates; when Republicans went to the polls they did not. Where did the missing Republican presidential votes go?

The issue of the missing Republican voters was addressed in an article entitled “Trump Is Driving Out Precious Voters” (NYT 2/17/19 printed edition). The authors are:

Sean McElwee, Data for Progress
Brian F. Schaffer, Tufts University, political scientist
Jesse H. Rhodes, University of Massachusetts, Amherst, political scientist
Bernard L. Fraga, Indiana University, political scientist.

The article opens with the well-known commonly accepted truths noted above: the Democratic problem with the Obama-to-Trump voters and the loss of popular vote by the Republicans in six of the last seven elections.  The authors then state a caution:

It has flown under the radar a bit [EXACTLY!!!], masked perhaps by the switch of millions of Barack Obama voters into Mr. Trump’s column, but in 2016 Mr. Trump did not receive support from a large segment of voters who pulled the lever for Mitt Romney in 2012.

In fact, the Wisconsin example reported above shows even people who went to the polls and voted for a Republican senator did not vote for the Republican presidential candidate.

The authors suggest based on their data that 5 percent of the Romney vote in 2012 stayed home in 2016. Another 5 percent voted Democratic. They provide no figures for people who voted Republican for some offices but abstained from voting for a presidential candidate. The implication of the numbers the authors provided is the 10% drop-off in Republican voters from 2012 to 2016 was compensated for by the better-known Obama-to-Trump shift by uneducated whites.

Are these shifts temporary or do they reflect the beginning of a permanent realignment. The congressional elections of 2018 witnessed a nearly 9% difference between the total house vote of the two parties. That is a huge amount if extended to the presidential election in 2020. According to the analysis, the authors hypothesize that based on the 2016 and 2018 elections, the Republican Party may have lost more than 40% of the Romney voters born after 1976. Ironically given the front runner status of Joe Biden and the continuing popularity of Bernie Sanders, it is the Republican Party that increasingly becoming the party of old white males!

The authors then ask: “Can Republicans solve their demographic problem?”

They express some doubt. They do so by comparing the political positions of the lost Romney voters with the 2016 and 2018 voters and detect a gap that probably cannot be bridged. Such people might still vote for Republicans at the local level as indicated in the Wisconsin Senate vote but even that becomes problematic when at the federal level all, or almost all, Republicans have abandoned being Republican.

Which of the following actions since the 2018 elections seem likely to win back the missing Republican voters in 2020?

Trump’s shut down of the government.
Trump’s obstruction of justice at least 10 times according to the Mueller report.
Trump’s nullification of checks and balances and assertion of rule above the law.
Trump’s exposure as the biggest financial loser in American history.
Trump’s North Korean lover building more bombs and firing more missiles.
Trump’s claim that winning trade wars is easy is exposed as fraudulent.
Trump’s thriving in insulting and demeaning people.
Trump’s laughter at the “joke” of shooting illegal immigrants.

The Panhandle has replaced Peoria. The old claim of as goes Peoria so goes nation has become as goes Panhandle so goes just enough of the nation to win in the Electoral College without winning the popular vote. In 2000 and 2016, it was not the intention of the Electoral College winners to lose the popular vote. In fact, in 2016 the winning candidate was just in it for narcissistic marketing reasons and did not expect to win at all. The circumstances have changed. Now for the first time in American history, a candidate in a two-major-party election is not even seeking to win a majority of the popular vote or even a plurality. Instead the focus is on the Electoral College. Individual #1 has no interest in winning back the lost Republican voters. That’s because at the federal level, there is no Republican Party, just the Trumpicans.