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Any thoughts on the US mid-terms? November 6, 2018

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.
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If this is, as RTÉ suggests, a test of the Trump Presidency, how do people think it will go? Is it truly a referendum on Trump?

The shape of the battleground is clear:

At stake are all 435 seats in the House of Representatives, 35 seats in the 100-member Senate, 36 governors’ posts and seats in state legislatures across the country.

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1. EWI - November 6, 2018

The Dems are facing an uphill battle against blatant gerrymandering by the GOP across the country; it’s possible for them to convincingly win the popular vote there and still not win the House back.

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2. CL - November 6, 2018

‘ People can mentally “round up” high probabilities to certainties. An 86 percent chance might seem like a sure thing, but it isn’t — would you board a plane that had a 14 percent chance of crashing?’
https://fivethirtyeight.com/features/final-election-update-democrats-arent-certain-to-take-the-house-but-theyre-pretty-clear-favorites/

“Trump has made a point of running a strongly racialized campaign in the past few weeks.”
https://fivethirtyeight.com/live-blog/2018-election-results-coverage/?ex_cid=extra_banner

“Trump’s path was eased by a half-century-long process in which the Republican Party purposefully remade itself as the white men’s party…
You have people engaging in a classic form of race-baiting…
“Racism is a weapon of the rich that’s being used against all of us.”
https://www.salon.com/2018/11/06/race-class-and-justice-after-the-midterms-a-new-way-forward-for-democrats/

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WorldbyStorm - November 6, 2018

That last point is spot on. Class politics all the way.

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3. 6to5against - November 6, 2018

With respect to whether or not its a referendum on Trump, the oddity seems to be that he wants it to be just that. In my memory, most US presidents have downplayed their personal involvement in mid-terms. If nothing else, it allows to respond to results by either declaring victory or shrugging their shoulders and claim that it was others that lost it.

Trump will no doubt do a little bit of both tomorrow, but he’s made it very hard for himself to convincing blame others for any losses, given the extent to which he has spent the last month running rally after rally.

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WorldbyStorm - November 6, 2018

It does fit with a certain narcissism about the guy. I figure he’s no fixed ideology, but that the win is largely the thing. He’s been kind of vaguely liberal, kind of vaguely conservative and even the hard right stuff is ill fitting in a way, it’s just a means of spreading the brand. He’s certainly attempted to energise what he sees as his base.

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4. 6to5against - November 6, 2018

Another question is to what extent losing the House (presumably) will bother him. He’ll certainly be irked by the increased scrutiny of his affairs and possible impeachment. But I wonder will he really care about his policies being blocked or voted down by an invigorated Congress. He has already pushed through the enormous tax cut for his friends and family and the slow dismantling of government departments will continue as before. What else really matters to him?

Immigration bills will be amended or defeated. Healthcare issues will be unresolved. But they will provide him with an endlessly colourful battle ground, and I think he will quite like that.

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WorldbyStorm - November 6, 2018

That’s almost exactly what I’d think too, he’s very good at positioning and tactics, not so good at strategy, but if he doesn’t really care about strategy then it can all be tactics. And after all, he’s President. He’s not going higher up a food chain, so for him this is something he can engage with at little or no cost (from his perspective).

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5. Tomboktu - November 7, 2018

Cartoon: Irregulartities in US Elections, Serb Observers Arrive

Liked by 1 person

6. CL - November 7, 2018

As expected, Dems take House, Republicans retain Senate.

‘A pair of districts in the Midwest will add Muslim women to the ranks of the US Congress for the first time’
https://www.cnn.com/2018/11/06/politics/first-muslim-women-congress/index.html

“Florida voters took a massive step in restoring voting rights to former felons…
The change to the state constitution will affect an estimated 1.5 million Floridians, according to The Sentencing Project and the Brennan Center for Justice.”
https://www.cnbc.com/2018/11/06/florida-restores-voting-rights-to-more-than-1-million-former-felons.html

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7. Lamentreat - November 7, 2018

Rampantly crooked, the cheating and gerrymandering and the billion-dollar corruption. But the lines are so much clearer now than they were even ten or twenty years ago. Where there were slightly more democratic channels – i.e. in the House (nationwide, hundreds of races) not the Senate (the original gerrymander) – then there was some genuine popular political movement, a lot of it coming from the young, and long-fucked-over and marginalized populations, and immigrants and the children of immigrants. Beto is kind of absurd, this comical, cartoon American liberal politician, but the south Texas base he is coming from is a progressive one.

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GW - November 7, 2018
8. Noel Gregan - November 7, 2018

“If Trump is the problem, the Democrats are not the answer”.

Discuss in less than 200 words.

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yourcousin - November 7, 2018

One might phrase it like this,

“If Capitalism is the problem. Politicians are not the answer”.

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9. GW - November 7, 2018

Gary Younge is fairly downbeat:

With a few exceptions, Democrats did not present a positive, more hopeful alternative to his dystopian world view either. In that respect they continue to be a poor conduit for all the energy that has emerged from the huge demonstrations and general anxiety sparked by Trump’s ascent. Electorally, that energy has nowhere else to go; politically, the Democrats are doing precious little with it.

As such this election saw the normalization of white nationalism, as an open, mainstream ideology. Indeed there was one race fought explicitly on this issue. Iowa representative, Steve King, has compared undocumented migrants to livestock and recently endorsed a neo-Nazi sympathizer for Toronto mayor. King won by roughly 8,500 votes. Presidents generally do poorly in midterm elections. Both Obama and Clinton saw their parties fare worse during their first midterms. Trump is no different. Both Obama and Clinton then went on to win second terms. It is no longer unthinkable that Trump could too.

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Alibaba - November 7, 2018

Nicely spotted. It’s an insightful observation by Younge. There’s also the fact that the Republicans did best in those areas where Trump campaigned strongly. It’s worrisome, I think.

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10. Joe - November 7, 2018

“Both Obama and Clinton then went on to win second terms. It is no longer unthinkable that Trump could too.”

When was it ever unthinkable? He’ll win in a canter.

As for the question ‘Any thoughts on the US mid-terms?’. Answer is none really. It’s tweedle dum and tweedle dee. The actual difference if the Democrats win or indeed if a Democrat takes the White House is minimal.

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yourcousin - November 7, 2018

Jesus Joe, really!?!? You don’t see the difference between Obama and Trump?

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Joe - November 7, 2018

Well, yes, I do see differences. But you know, the great free market capitalist project rolls on under both. The military industrial complex rolls on. The permanent war rolls on. The Israeli state gets its billions in subsidies. The Saudis pay their billions for US arms. The Afghani wedding parties get targeted by drones. And so on.
There are differences of course. Obama brings in Obamacare, Trump tries and fails to scrap it (bully for US democracy); Trump tries a different tack with Nth Korea, which so far seems to work a bit; Trump tries a different tack with Iran, we’ll see how far he goes with that, hopefully not as far as another bloody war. And so on.

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WorldbyStorm - November 7, 2018

The problem with generalisations is that they’re well… generalisations… and then there’s immediate local issues in relation to US domestic, social and economic policy, there’s issues in relation to foreign policy and then there’s influence by dint of the simple fact of the tone of the US. I think there are qualitative differences in respect of all those that are distinctly different between say Obama and Trump, Democrat and Republican. In precisely the same way as the WP in the 1980s saw the distinction between say FF and FG and what those parties to a much lesser degree represented and their bases. This didn’t mean that FF couldn’t turn even more rightward, but saying ‘capitalism – eh?’ doesn’t strike me as sufficient, it’s almost an evasion of the complexities that actually face people in regard to political questions.

An example in respect of workers alone is how the SC is now packed with folk who will strike down the fragile protections won by unions and workers over the last century.

Re the int’l scene there’s this … site:cedarlounge.wordpress.com This new pacific (paste that into your browser)

Which of course leaves out Brazil – a contagion effect if ever I saw one with a candidate who came from nowhere to effect far right change there, and of course the near literal tearing up of climate change and Iran deals.

All of those were achieved despite capitalism. Just as every single right workers have here are achieved despite capitalism and remain utterly precious to retain despite capitalism.

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yourcousin - November 7, 2018

Joe,
So the logic is, “we’re not in a worker’s utopia so fuck it”?

The very people you claim to care about (the poor, the downtrodden, immigrants, the LGBTQ community) are being targeted and are suffering. That suffering, that fear, that explicit targeting of “the other” is happening. It’s real. I don’t like Democrats, I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. Fuck them. This is not about socialism through the ballot box, this is about expanding the cage floor that has been constricting rather rapidly under Trump.

And to act as if this very small and narrow push back through an extremely flawed grouping is literally the same as creeping fascism is so intellectually vapid that it genuinely makes me mad.

My coworker who became a citizen last year voted, his wife votes, his sister voted, his brother voted. In fact every single member of his family was able to voted because it gave them hope that their children would grow up in a better America. These are the “murderers and rapists” Trump is talking about. In the immigrant caravans they see their own story. They do not like being verbally attacked for speaking Spanish amongst themselves in public (it happened this summer) and do worry for their children being targeted.

Lazy, Joe. I would expect better from you.

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Joe - November 7, 2018

Thanks comrades. I will go away and reflect. Laziness is a fair charge. I’m tired.

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WorldbyStorm - November 7, 2018

You’re not alone. 🙂

I’m wrecked, was away last week and still not back to optimal levels. As well as which the clocks going back/forward(?) messes with my head. I’m an hour out even now.

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Joe - November 8, 2018

Just to clarify a little further. Yes, I’m physically tired, haven’t been getting my eight hours recently. But also, sadly, I’m getting cynical and tired of ‘the struggle’. Maybe the two tirednesses are related, I don’t know. Or maybe the cynicism is age-related. Socialist in your twenties and cynic in your fifties, that kind of thing.

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WorldbyStorm - November 8, 2018

And apologies that seemed a bit sharp on my part – not intentionally

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Joe - November 8, 2018

No bother. Truth be told, it didn’t feel sharp. You’ll have to sharpen your blade!

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yourcousin - November 8, 2018

Joe,
You’re a good guy and I like you. Cynicism is a luxury you have because you live somewhere else. I’m muddling through my late thirties right now, I’ve been an active unionist since I was 17. Ideology doesn’t motivate now. But the very real threat of people I care about being targeted and singled out does very much motivate me in a very real way that ideology never could.

Saying, “same, same” legitimizes white nationalism in a very explicit way. All the talk of hegemony and empire is all very abstract. Neo Nazis murdering people is not. The emboldened anti-intellectualism and bigotry is not abstract. Especially for those on the receiving end.

That was my beef.

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Joe - November 9, 2018

Go maire tú, yourcousin. Live long and prosper, yc. Thanks. No pasaran.

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11. CL - November 7, 2018

“Democrats seized control of the New York State Senate for just the third time in 50 years on Tuesday, a victory that could fundamentally alter the state’s economic and political fabric next year and beyond.”

‘New York City’s Last Congressional Republican Goes Down’
https://slate.com/business/2018/11/dan-donovan-nycs-last-congressional-republican-loses.html

“The Democrats made substantial gains at the gubernatorial level, as we expected. They won control of the governor’s offices from Republicans in Illinois, Kansas, Maine, Michigan, Nevada, New Mexico and Wisconsin…
The majority of Americans are likely to have a Democratic governor when the results are finalized.”
https://fivethirtyeight.com/features/democrats-had-a-big-night-in-governors-races-but-it-could-have-been-bigger/

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12. CL - November 7, 2018

“Three red states approved Medicaid expansion in Tuesday’s midterm elections, changes that will potentially cover hundreds of thousands more low-income Americans..
Voters in Utah, Nebraska and Idaho were all expected to pass ballot measures to broaden the federal and state health insurance program”
https://www.cnbc.com/2018/11/07/utah-idaho-and-nebraska-approve-medicaid-expansion-ballot-measures.html

“Missouri voters just hiked the minimum wage by 53 percent…
In neighboring Arkansas, voters approved a similar measure Tuesday to raise the minimum wage to $11 an hour.”
https://www.vox.com/2018/11/6/18064506/missouri-proposition-b-minimum-wage-results

“In the first statewide referendum on transgender rights, Massachusetts voters on Tuesday beat back a repeal attempt and reaffirmed a 2016 law extending nondiscrimination protections to transgender people, including their use of public bathrooms and locker rooms…
Michigan voters made their state the first in the Midwest to legalize recreational marijuana by passing a ballot measure that will allow people 21 or older to buy and use the drug…

Civil-rights activists also scored a major victory in Florida, where voters approved a ballot measure that will enable more than 1 million ex-felons to regain their voting rights. That could alter the future election landscape in the nation’s most populous swing state.

Floridians also approved a measure aimed at phasing out greyhound racing in the state, the last stronghold of the sport in the U.S.
Floridians also approved a measure aimed at phasing out greyhound racing in the state, the last stronghold of the sport in the U.S.”
https://www.pbs.org/newshour/politics/michigan-legalizes-pot-massachusetts-keeps-transgender-rights-and-other-big-ballot-measure-moments

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CL - November 7, 2018

And ..” Voters in San Francisco backed a plan to tax rich companies to help the homeless.
The city-wide ballot measure called Proposition C passed by a wide margin: 60% to 40%. It will be the largest tax increase in San Francisco’s history, doubling its current budget to fight homelessness.”
https://www.cnn.com/2018/11/07/tech/prop-c-results/index.html

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Fergal - November 7, 2018

Anybody know what turnout was like.. read earlier I the week that it was 37% in 2014.. must have been higher yesterday.. how much higher? . 37 % is abysmal isn’t, it??

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yourcousin - November 7, 2018

Well they’re still counting votes but Colorado estimates around 65%ish.

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CL - November 7, 2018

I thin it was about 49% nationally. We won’t know officially for a few days. I don’ t know if the percentage includes the dead or not.

‘A Nevada brothel owner and reality TV star who died last month after fashioning himself as a Donald Trump-style Republican candidate has won a heavily GOP state legislative district.’
https://www.nbcnews.com/politics/elections/dennis-hof-brothel-owner-who-died-last-month-wins-election-n933366

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13. EWI - November 8, 2018

Trump has fired Sessions, and installed an ‘acting’ AG who has made a career out of intimating that the Mueller investigation is a witch-hunt. Meanwhile, a white nationalist leader tweeted a photo of himself as a guest at the White House today.

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WorldbyStorm - November 8, 2018

😦

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14. WorldbyStorm - November 8, 2018

Anyone else think Trump’s behaviours overnight seemed far from those of a man who’d won a famous political victory. One of the things that truly mystifies me is how the whiney petulance is continually ignored by those who claim to support him or vote for him. It seems to me that he is utterly unable to stand up to any sustained face to face criticism, however mild…

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15. CL - November 8, 2018

” Democrats look to have gained around 35 seats in the House, seven governorships and over 330 state legislators…
Republicans should not have found themselves in this position amid a vibrant economy. It is quite unusual to have a result this bad in a time of peace and prosperity ”
https://www.realclearpolitics.com/articles/2018/11/08/six_takeaways_from_the_midterms_138590.html

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