After 18 months of the most chaotic and sad chapter in American presidential politics it comes as no surprise there is really only one thing that is a certainty. That being the election will end on November 8th. Since 1980 I have made predictions but never before have I been so troubled with the race for the White House. In so many ways what always made presidential races fun was removed this year. The dramatic upside will be when every young girl in the country can sit alongside her parents in living rooms coast-to-coast and watch history made as the first woman is elected president.
Every four years at this time one word dominates among those watching the campaigns, polls, and the states in play. It all comes down to momentum, and in some small ways both nationally and in a few swing states there has been a tightening of the contest between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. If it were anyone else as the GOP nominee I would place more emphasis on that element to this race. But given the deep problems that have been well reported about Trump and the ceiling to his support that he seemingly is never able to rise above in the general election–a ceiling that must be increased to actually win the race–means that any late momentum among white male voters is simply not enough. As I have said often there was no way Trump could garner 5x the number of primary voters he marshalled for the nomination–the amount he would need to truly compete for the White House. Without gaining significant numbers of women, Hispanics, and African-Americans there was no route to 270 Electoral votes.
On October 15th I placed an electoral map on Facebook that differs only slightly with the one which I think will be the final lay of the land come the conclusion of the counting of the ballots on Tueaday. While I had earlier predicted that North Carolina and Nevada would be won by Trump I now place both in the Clinton column.
I have followed the polls and the trends over the many months as we moved towards Election Day. But when determining where the state of the race is now takes me back to the place I started this election season when Trump announced. I thought then and firmly believe now that voters care more for the future of the country at large than anger they have with government. At the end of the day when it comes to actually casting a ballot I sincerely feel that a rational vote will be cast. I believe the better angels of our nature are as much an actual factor in this election as some measurable demographic. It may sound corny when using it as a way to gauge the outcome but if we do not believe that then all is lost.
Therefore, if the math is correct my prediction places Clinton with 321 Electoral College votes and Trump with 213.
There is no question House Republicans have some very obvious vulnerabilities and they will lose seats. But never once–not even in a deep-REM dream did I ever think the GOP would lose the 30 that Democrats need for a majority. I have over the course of the summer and fall followed a handful of House seats and comment on them below as they had something that piqued my interest. When it comes to the U.S. Senate it is clear the large gains once hoped for by Democrats will be not be attained. That does not mean a majority will not be won, however. Those races, along with other contests of interest, are in order of the alphabetical listing of states.
Senate Race–John McCain easily wins the senate race against Ann Kirkpatrick.
1st CD–This is not the first time Paul Babeu has been commented on in this blog. In February 2012 I posted that Babeu admitted to being gay, resigned from presidential hopeful Mitt Romney’s Arizona committee, and tried to downplay the scandal that he created concerning his love affair with a Mexican immigrant who he threatened with deportation if their past relationship was made public. Now that cad wants to be a Republican congressman. Tom O’Halleran, the Democratic candidate who served as a Republican in the state legislature–I only report the facts–thinks otherwise about Babeu’s future. I wonder how conservatives feel about a self-portrait of a smiling Babeu rubbing a man’s chest, or in his underwear in a bathroom posting on a gay dating website? (Who said my political predictions are boring!) In the end O’Halleran wins. Handily.
Joe Arpaio–I am looking forward to the populace sending a loud message that after 24 years in office over six terms, Arpaio, will be sent packing. No more ranting from him about the place President Obama was born or spewing hatred about Hispanics or Latinos. With ballot measures that would legalize marijuana and raise the minimum wage also on the ballot means a large bloc of liberal voters will turn out to vote and toss Arpaio out of office.
49th CD…Republican Congressman Darrell Issa has made his last snide remark to a Democratic president. He will be defeated. When he falls–and yes I will still be up–I plan to clap about the one who lost the district that includes the home of the former president who lived in San Clemente. (Did anyone seriously think I would make predictions without a RN reference?) Democrat Doug Applegate wins.
All eyes on Proposition 63, proposed by California lieutenant governor Gavin Newson, calls for background checks when purchasing ammunition and magazines. Those selling ammunition would also have to register for a license to do so. In other words, ammunition and magazine sales would operate the same as gun sales. If passed, California would be the first state to have such a law. Let us hope this passes and another layer of sanity is on the books!
6th CD–Over and over I have stressed the lack of far-sightedness Republicans acted with in regard to the Hispanic vote. All have heard the degree to which Democrats have courted this demographic. The test of that might be best seen in this swing state and this congressional district. Republican Congressman Mike Coffman showed his disdain for Hispanics by being a co-sponsor of a bill to make English the nation’s official language. Now his old district has been redistricted and the National Journal reports this is the most diverse district in Colorado. Karma can be a sweet thing to see play out. Democrat Morgan Carroll will have a sizable immigrant population in her camp. She wins and bigotry loses.
7th CD–There are many defeats I wish to see on Election Night but at the top of the GOP list is Congressman John Mica. He has been elected for more than 20 years. This year there is a bright women with an amazing background as the Democratic challenger. Stephanie Murphy, is a business professor and former national security specialist whose family immigrated to the United States from a Vietnamese refugee camp when she was an infant–how much better can it get? By winning, of course and that is exactly what she will do!
Senate Race–This will sound about as mid-western as anything you will read here, but given the medical matters Republican Mark Kirk has had to deal with there is some part of me that wants to root for him. Not out of sympathy but I think it part of human nature to want to see someone who has hard times prevail. But then when Kirk opens his mouth and talks policy it all gets put into perspective again. Democratic Tammy Duckworth is going to win in a very impressive manner. HUGE to use someone else’s favorite word this cycle.
Senate Race–I had very high hopes for former Sen. Evan Bayh as noted on this blog. But he has to defend some rather stupid actions on his part–like time spent out of the state. Given the deep red of this state one has to paint this race over. Republican Todd Young wins–and the only one to blame is the other contender–who would have been a perfect fit for a pragmatic White House.
On the ballot is “Question 3” asking voters voters whether background checks should be required for private sales—sales between parties who are not licensed dealers. I think it passes–and should!
Senate Race–Republican Roy Blunt wins the senate race against Democrat Jason Kander. The thumping that Clinton gets in Missouri will make it impossible for Kander to make it, though he may have had the most memorable television ad this cycle with him wearing the blindfold.
Senate Race–All year long I have felt that the party which won this state for the White House would also pick up the senate seat. I know some polls show a tightening in the numbers for Clinton but in the end I have her winning this state. As such Democrat Maggie Hassan defeats Republican Sen. Kelly Ayotte.
5th CD–Why does this race make it on my blog for predictions? First off a harsh conservative in a deep blue state? Republican Representative Scott Garrett has stated he would not donate to his party’s campaign committee because it recruits and backs gay candidates. You betcha I followed this race this year! Democrat Josh Gottheimer by all accounts has raised the money, pressed the flesh, and made a lasting impression. Josh will win. Garrett has not been a team player in the GOP, has ideas that are not mainstream and now it is payback time.
24 CD–I throw this race in for the simple reason to see how much strength the anti-Trump voters have and if that power can move a congressional race. Republican Representative John Katko, a first-termer is trying to fend off Democrat Colleen Deacon. She is a former regional director for Senator Gillibrand. This is a relatively Democratic area (in part) and so I am just interested with a first termer and an anti-Trump mood how this race plays out. If my rules of the road theory applies then the incumbent has the advantage, even here. But if there is such a blow-back from those who find Trump deeply troubling than a race like this might demonstrate it.
Senate Race–This race is one we all will be staying up late for as this is the only place where Republicans have a chance to pick up a Democratic seat. Democratic Catherine Cortez Masto and Republican Congressman Joe Heck are battling it out. Why this race matters more than the pick-up aspect is due to the nature of what we have seen this year play out due to Trump. Masto is a granddaughter of a Mexican immigrant, and if she prevails would be the first Latina to enter the Senate. That would smack loud and clear from coast to coast as a firm and resolute repudiation of Trump’s vile anti-immigrant platform. Is her victory not the message that our nation needs to hear at this time? Will Hispanic and Latino voters come out and vote in a way that will send a clear message to the nation? I think they will–and early voting confirms that feeling. Their proportion of the electorate has grown to 17% from 10% in 2004. Once again the changing demographics in the country are something more Republicans should respect. Harry Reid will have the second biggest smile in Nevada on Election Night. The first Latina to enter the Senate will have the largest!
A ballot referendum “Question 1” asks if anyone buying a firearm should be required to pass a background check from a licensed dealer. Exemptions include transfers between family members and temporary transfers while hunting or sports shooting. This need to pass–and I suspect it does.
Senate Race–Richard Burr is one of those guys who just needs to be defeated due to the fact he rubs every sane person wrong if given the chance. He is simply on the opposite side of every issue that makes sense. He is too hawkish on defense matters when pragmatic solutions are required. When it was announced Burr was appointed to Trump’s national security advisory council it should have alerted every voter to the need for a change. But I do not see a change happening in this state. Democrat Deborah Ross has made this contest a nail biter but would need to have Clinton win by a wide margin to carry her to the finish line. Hillary wins NC but not enough for coattails.
Governor Race–In the races for governor across the nation there is no other sitting incumbent I want to see removed more than Pat McCrory. Democrat Ray Cooper has made this race extremely competitive and the poll numbers show something between a tie and a comfortable lead for the challenger. The problem that the very unpopular McCrory faces are all those educated voters in the suburbs and urban areas who think he is just dreadful. The transgender bathroom matter is pure bigotry. It has allowed the whole state to be stained as bigots as a result. The fine folks of North Carolina I suspect want to be viewed differently. There is no doubt in my mind that McCrory is going to be defeated–and soundly. No recount will be needed here!
Senate Race–Incumbent Republican Pat Toomey will lose to Democratic challenger Katie McGinty. The problem with Toomey for the past 6 years is that he thinks he lives in a conservative state such as Idaho when in fact he lives in a blue state. This one was never in doubt for most of the summer and fall if one just considered my last sentence. Did Toomey not learn anything from Rick Santorum?
10th CD–This race is perfect to watch as it pits two women in a blue presidential state at a time when Trump is troubling to voters–and especially women voters. Incumbent Republican Barbara Comstock–and I note this was her first term and a perfect time to undermine someone in an election–faces Democrat LuAnn Bennett. Trying to run away from Trump is the goal of Comstock and trying to join them as the proverbial hip the hope of Bennett. (Would this not be the wonderful start for a Broadway play?) With a powerful Clinton presence in the state and a heightened awareness of what is important to Democratic women after the horror of Trump I place my bet that Bennett wins. Tight win–but a win.
“Initiative 1491” would create “Extreme Risk Protection Orders” (ERPO). The initiative would allow family and household members and police to go to a judge and seek an ERPO if they feel you are at a high risk of harming yourself or others. The order, if issued, would prevent aperson from “temporarily” purchasing a gun. However, the order can be renewed and or extended. The initiative also defines “family” and “household members” vaguely, allowing roommates from up to a year prior to seek an ERPO. I hope this measure passes–and think it will.
Senate Race–There is no way under the sun I subscribe to the polls which try to show Republican Senator Ron Johnson, the most vulnerable member of the body up for re-election, now with a winning hand. The fundamentals have not changed. Johnson is short on intellect, charisma, and came into this year with polls that showed he did not have the respect of the voters. Russ Feingold has proven himself as a campaigner and leader in the senate. I was very pleased when early in the race Russ spent untold days in the northern and western parts of the state talking with the average voter. Those long journeys will pay off. I only fault Russ for not having commercials that stood out. Perhaps I was ‘ruined’ by the charm of his ads used in his very first race (back when I had all my hair.) The mood of the Democratic and progressive base–after too much of Walker and Company–want to win a state race. There is not anything anywhere in my being that buys the idea that due to some slick advertising Johnson has remade himself into a legitimate contender for re-election. If Johnson prevails I know a German car company that needs a facelift, too. In the end Feingold wins. By several points.
8th Congressional District–There was never a real contest between Republican Mike Gallagher and Democrat Tom Nelson. Put the area’s conservative leanings with a former Marine running for office and there was not much more to say. Nelson is intelligent and progressive meaning he would have more depth at policy initiatives than Gallagher. But in this district to win one needs an R behind their name. Gallagher wins.
State Senate–There is just no way to overcome the huge advantage that redistricting has in this state. Therefore the state senate easily remains in GOP hands.
14th CD–If one was looking for the ideal candidate–the distinguished graying in the hair, small town mayor, capable speaker, and a person who seems very steady at the wheel–it would be Democrat Brain Smith. He has earned the good wishes of many as he is a determined man who truly has thought about the issues and the solutions that might be implemented to make for a better Wisconsin. But incumbent Luther Olsen is like a mighty tree anchored with deep roots. While Smith has loosened the soil considerably it would take a mighty wind from the voters to topple him. I just do not see it happening. Olsen wins.
18th–The only senate seat where there is a chance for victory as a pickup for the Democrats will be here when voters send Mark Harris to the statehouse with a win over Dan Feyen. Three words matter in the outcome. Oshkosh. Oshkosh. Oshkosh.
32nd–All eyes on Democrat Jennifer Schilling as she is not only an incumbent being challenged by the Republican she defeated last time at the polls, but also a leading light in her party. There will be no buyer’s remorse as she is once again elected and on her way to perhaps a much larger race in two years.
State Assembly—51st–When it comes to the assembly I have to say this with all the sincerity I can provide in mere words. I wish I had the opportunity to cast a ballot for Democrat Jeff Wright. He is smart and able to communicate in ways that resonates with professionals and the average voter alike. A background in education that needs to be heard under the dome and a voice for families who know the power of a classroom. Todd Novak is in a district that has the potential to jettison him and if there is a perfect storm for such to happen it will be now in a presidential year. One of the few wins for Democrats in the assembly takes place when Wright proves to be victorious.
School Referendum–In Madison a major referendum is facing voters for increased taxes for the schools. There is no doubt that Walker and Company have undercut and degraded state schools. There is no doubt more funds are required for Madison education efforts. But there is also no doubt that this matter has received–in light of all the other competing demands of the election–not as much attention as the gravity of the referendum demands. If this had been on the April ballot it would have been defeated due to it being a permanent taxing increase. With the matter on a presidential ballot it passes–but I suspect there will be a solid block of voters (30%) who vote against it.
There are countless other races in Wisconsin and around the nation that have gained my attention and will be followed on Election Night. But exactly 3,400 words have been used to get me to this point. I need to end it here. Though this campaign cycle has been harsh it was fun taking a couple hours to put my predictions together. It still proves to bring a smile. In the end that feeling is enough.