Happy Haloween. Blogger hopes your day is going frightfully well. It may be Halloween but it is also Wednesday and The Candidate Forum is back in the blogosphere, indulging in the good courtesy of the Fairfax Branch of the Los Angeles Public Library.
First some news: Apparently Mr. Donald Trump thinks he can end birthright citizenship with an executive order. No, he cannot. Birthright citizenship is embedded in the first section of the 14th Amendment. Originally, the 14th Amendment was intended to settle the question of the citizenship of newly freed African Americans. Birthright citizenship is settled law, affirmed by the 1898 Supreme Court ruling Ark v. The United States. It is generally accepted by most legal scholars, on either side of the aisle, that a person born to immigrant parents is a considered an American citizen and entitled to all the benefits, thereof. Truthfully, this just seems like a cheap pre-midterm election stunt by Mr. Trump to energize the electorate. Speaking of the Midterms, let us continue our look at Congressional elections with a preview of the House of Representives elections.
With less than a week to go, the Republican Party seems to have written off the House. They are resigned to the fact that the control of the House will go to the Democrats. Depending on what side of the aisle, that is either a good or bad thing. However, is a return to Democratic control a sure thing? If it is a sure thing, how firm is that control? Let us have a look.
The big question on the minds of voters, cheap political stunts aside, is who will win the day. FiveThirtyEight forecasts that the Democrats have a 6 in 7 chance (85.5%) to retake the House and the Republicans have a 1 in 7 chance (14.5%) of retaining control (projects.fivethirtyeight.com; dat accessed Oct. 31, 2018). FiveThirtyEight tracker for a generic ballot--a straight forward Democrat versus Republican question--Democrats polled between 50.3 percent to 41.9 percent on average (newsweek.com; Oct. 29, 2018; date accessed Oct. 31, 2018). Politico posted similar results. As of Monday, the online digest predicted that the House leans favorably in the direction of the Democrats, while the Republicans retain control of the Senate (politico.com; date accessed Oct. 31, 2018). What would happen if the all the predictions come true and the Democrats win the House?
For one, it would mean the return of Speaker Nancy Pelosi. However, Reprentative Pelosi (D-CA) has already indicated that she plans to be the Speaker of the House until someone comes up through the ranks. First on the agenda would be ethics reforms. As of today, policy is being drafted, "A Declaration for American Democracy, that incorporates proposals for campaign finance reform, voting rights, ethics, and accountability. One key provision is the president must release his tax returns (timeinc.net; Oct. 30, 2018; date accessed Oct. 31, 2018). What about the I-word? The Candidate Forum offers this piece of advice, wait until Special Counsel Robert Mueller submits his report to the Attorney General's office. Until then keep it off the table. Before any of this can take place, the Democrats need to flip 23 seats. Can they do it?
Right now the Democrats hold 193 seats to the Republicans 237 seats with five vacancies. Momentum is on the Democrats' side thanks to the president's low approval ratings and heightened enthusiasm threatening the Republicans' advantages, including incumbency. Another factor driving the momentum are the record number of vacanies and the redrawn electoral map in Pennsylvania. This created new congressional districts, further weakening Republican control. Therefore, in order to keep control of the House, Republican candidates are trying to redefine their Democratic challengers as an unacceptable option. Thus, out the 435 seats, the Democrats would need 218 to regain control. Cook Political Report breaks it down: 12 seats are rated Likely Democrat, 15 seats are considered Lean Democrat, 1 seat is a Democratic Toss Up, 28 seats are rated Republican Toss Up, 28 seats Lean Republican, and another 28 are Likely Republican (cookpolitical.com; Oct. 30, 2018; date accessed Oct. 31, 2018). What House races should you pay attention to?
In order to generate the fabled blue wave, a gain of 35 to 40 seats, the Democrats will have score victories in Republican held districts that have not elected a Democrat in recent memory. The toughest races are in: Maine's second district, New York's 22 district, Illinois, 12th district, West Virginia's third district, Kansas' second (this includes the university town of Lawrence but otherwise rural), and Washington's fifth district (bloomberg.com; Oct. 14, 2018; date accessed Oct. 31, 2018). The common thread is that they are mostly rural parts of their state--West Virginia's third district is in the heart of coal country. Two of these districts have open seats and the others are defended by incumbents. Except for the Ilinois 12th, they are predominantly Caucasian. Education and income levels are below the national average. The president won these districts by double digits. (Ibid).
Voter lethargy had been a concern but Republicans insist that the contentious Kavanaugh hearing
God energized the base. Perhaps Mr. Trump's "Hail Mary" plays in the final week of the rancorous campaign season will have some effect, at least that what Republicans hope. The Kavanaugh effect is mostly being felt in the senate races but the president is affecting the House races. The affect cuts both ways depending on how the president is being used (Ibid). In general, it is advantage Democrat.
Where does that leave us? The Candidate Forum predicts that the Democrats will regain control of the House of Representatives but it will not be in epic numbers. Depending on how they spend their new found political capital, they will either cement their control in 2020 or the lose seats. The Republicans will retain control of the Senate but watch out. Senators Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and Lindsay Graham's (R-SC) seats come in 2020 and you can be certain that Democrats will challenge them