I took a look at the Senate awhile back. Now I will examine the House races.
There are fifty-three seats that the experts consider to be close. Republicans hold forty-five and Democrats hold seven (one is a new district). To take the House, the odds have to be in favor of the Democrats. In most cases incumbents will be running for reelection. That certainly puts the odds on the Republican side.
Next, we need to look at issues that could swing the election. Many Democrats talk about a “blue wave” because of President Trump’s unpopularity. Most people made up their mind about him in 2016 so that shouldn’t be a factor. Economic issues definitely favor the GOP. Immigration will hurt them in some places and help them in others. I see Democrats’ anger and leftward movement hurting them.
So, there you have it. Republicans have the odds and the issues. I would expect them to hang on to the House if the election were held today. We still have over three months to go and a lot can happen.
President Trump and his fellow Republicans are jubilant over the 4.1% growth in GDP last quarter. It is certainly good news but I suggest they hold the Champaign. These numbers bounce around quite a bit and are subject to revision. President Obama had several quarters that were even higher. It will take time to see what is really happening with the economy.
Any president would take credit for a good quarter. Last quarter saw an anemic 2.2% growth. Was he responsible for that too?
I do think we are in a period of higher growth. Certainly, the tax cut and regulatory reform will have some impact. His trade war will help some industries and hurt others. The biggest factor is a renewed sense of optimism. He can certainly take some credit for it. We no longer have an administration that demonizes business, emphasizes social issues over economic issues and doesn’t speak for the average family just trying to get by.
Let’s see where things are in a year and then pop the cork.
As a centrist, I often attack one side or another. Today I get to go after both sides.
President Trump’s diplomatic style leaves a lot to be desired. He publicly attacks some of our closest friends and is deferential to Putin. We need to understand that Russia is not our friend. Trying to tamper with our elections is sufficient proof of that. Our democracy and the freedom and prosperity it gives us should be cherished. We all should be outraged over what Russia did. To say it didn’t happen is inexcusable. I don’t believe it was a slip of the tongue. President Obama should also be criticized. He knew what they were doing yet said or did nothing until after the election.
The reaction by the Left and their allies in the media has been absolutely ridiculous. A Google search on “Trump treason” turned up 17.5 million results. The Constitution says that treason “shall consist only in levying war against them, or in adhering to their enemies, giving them aid and comfort”. Clearly his actions don’t even begin to reach that level.
The Left is so full of hate that they seemed to have lost the ability to think rationally. If you don’t like someone in office, you have two choices: overthrow the government or get someone else elected. The second choice is definitely more practical. Condemning Trump won’t get them any votes. Everyone has already decided on him pro or con. Neither will moving far to the left.
There are many fine men and women in government who are working hard for a better America. Unfortunately, they are in the minority. Both parties are doing us a disservice.
Today I will take a look at the ten seats the Democrats are defending from states in which President Trump won.
They can be confident about Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. Two-term senators from Montana and Ohio are likely to keep their seats. Things get more complicated with the other five seats.
Florida is a battle of heavyweights. Incumbent Bill Nelson is seeking a fourth term. Rick Scott, the current governor, is challenging him. Both candidates have good approval ratings. It should be a very close election. Hopefully we won’t hear more about hanging chad.
In Indiana, Joe Donnelly is running for a second term. He is one of the most conservative Democrats in the Senate. Mike Braun, a businessman and a former state legislator is challenging him.
Missouri hasn’t held their primary yet. Both parties have a number of candidates. Incumbent Claire McCaskill should easily get the nomination. She is a true centrist who votes with the Republicans about as often as she votes with the Democrats. Her likely opponent is Josh Hawley, Missouri’s Attorney General.
In North Dakota incumbent Heidi Heitkamp is running for a second term. She is also a moderate. She is running against Kevin Cramer, a Donald Trump conservative.
Joe Manchin of West Virginia, another moderate, is seeking another term. He is very popular and had an overwhelming victory in 2012. His opponent is Attorney General Patrick Morrisey.
All five races are considered to be to tossups so I won’t try to make any state by state predictions. The incumbents have the advantage of being well-known and generally well liked. Many people vote for the person rather than the party in statewide elections. They also have some serious disadvantages. Moderates are becoming an endangered species. They can find themselves unacceptable to both parties. It looks like the Democrats don’t have an effective strategy once again.
My best guess is that Republicans will get three more seats. That would give them a 52-48 advantage. Barring something unexpected, Democrats have a very small chance to reclaim the Senate. It is possible that Republicans could pick up 3-5 seats.
The midterm elections are less than four months away. Republicans currently have a 51-49 majority so Democrats need to pick up two seats. Today I will look at where they might find them.
They have an enormous task in front of them. Only nine of the thirty-three seats are currently held by Republicans. They need to defend ten seats in states Donald Trump won while the GOP has just one seat in a state Hillary Clinton won.
That state is Nevada. Dean Heller is seeking a second term. He is a solid conservative who was sharply criticized Donald Trump in 2016. President Trump said he would support a challenger unless Heller was more supportive. They made up and Trump endorsed him. Challenging him is Jacky Rosen. Her first foray into politics was a successful run for the House in 2016.
Republican Jeff Flake announced his retirement. Arizona hasn’t held their primary yet. The likely GOP winner is Martha McSally. She has served two terms in the House and has the distinction of being the first woman to command an Air Force fighter squadron. Running against her are former sheriff Joe Arpaio and Kelly Ward, right-wing nut job. She urged John McCain to resign due to his illness and offered herself up as a replacement. Kyrsten Sinema, a three term member of the House.
Bob Corker of Tennessee announced his retirement. Tennessee has also not held their primary election but neither frontrunner has a serious challenge. Marsha Blackburn, a long time House member, will try to keep the seat. Her challenger is former Governor Phil Bredesen.
The Nevada race is considered to be a tossup. Heller barely won last time. Nevada is growing in population, primary in Las Vegas and surrounding Clark County. That favors Democrats so I will give them a slight edge.
Martha McSally is a dream candidate. However, she is being pounded by her primary opponents and it is unlikely they will unite behind her. I think we can probably add Arizona to the list of states in which the Far Right handed over to the Democrats.
Tennessee is redder than the other two states. Bredesen is 74 and hasn’t been in an election since 2006. Blackburn should keep the seat for the Republicans.
If my predictions comes true, the Democrats will get their two seats. However, they have a Herculean task to hang on to their current seats.
President Trump nominated Brett Kavanaugh to fill the vacancy in the Supreme Court. It looks like a good pick. His record shows him to be a constitutionalist not an activist. He clerked under the departing Anthony Kennedy and is close to the Bush family. He has received criticism from hard-core conservatives, further evidence he isn’t one of them.
Democrats have gone absolutely berserk over his nomination. This will put the conservatives in a majority in the court. The idea that this means that far right social policies will become the law of the land is ridiculous. Roe v. Wade will not be overturned. The problem is that they believe their own propaganda. Senator Dick Durbin even suggested that Democrats in tight races be willing to give up their seats by voting against Kavanaugh. Even if this strategy works, Republicans could easily confirm someone else.
The Republicans currently have a 51 to 49 advantage in the Senate. It is doubtful that John McCain will be well enough to vote. I think all of the other Republicans will vote for Kavanaugh along with a few Democrats.
It is easy to assume that the history of our country was foreordained. Some rebels get together, declare independence, won their freedom and build the greatest nation in the world. Nice story isn’t it? The real story is much more complicated and far more interesting. The odds of it working out the way it did are unbelievably small. It is a true miracle.
Suppose the British hadn’t been so draconian after the Boston Tea Party? The whole protest movement would have been limited to a few Boston hotheads.
Few people wanted independence at the dawn of 1776. Then a former tax collector and recent immigrant, Thomas Paine, wrote the pamphlet Common Sense. A single colony could have vetoed independence. John Adams went to work and made it happen.
Forming the country was just the beginning. A few weeks after the Declaration of Independence, American troops were badly beaten in a battle on Long Island. A north wind kept the British navy from destroying them and a fog covered their escape. There were other close calls. It all could have ended in Valley Forge. Suppose the French navy wasn’t at Yorktown.
The new nation had an incredibly weak government. It could have collapsed or been taken over by European countries. Fortunately, men like James Madison were there to create a strong Constitution and Bill of Rights.
Young democracies often turn totalitarian. Washington stepped down from power. Adams accepted an election that put his bitter rival Thomas Jefferson in the White House.
There are many more times when things worked out so that we have the country we have today. Sadly, some demonize the US because Donald Trump is President. The occupant of the Oval Office has nothing to do with the greatness of America. We are far from perfect but have made tremendous strides in the last sixty years to ensure that everyone has basic civil rights and the opportunity to go as far as their abilities can take them.
I hope everyone takes a moment to think about the true meaning of Independence Day.