Friday, October 05, 2018

Kavanaugh and the Midterms


My general prediction for the midterm elections has been:

  • No "blue wave." That is, the Democrats are unlikely to seize majorities of both houses of Congress.
  • If they win a House majority, it won't be a majority of more than a couple of seats.
  • There's even a significant chance of a net Democratic loss of seats in the Senate, simply because the Republicans have fewer seats to defend (nine of 34, IIRC) than the Democrats, and there are several distinctly un-safe Democratic incumbents (McCaskill in Missouri, Donnelly in Indiana, Nelson in Florida, Heitkamp in North Dakota, Tester in Montana).
I made those predictions before Brett Kavanaugh's nomination to the Supreme Court became a much uglier thing than I expected. So here's an update on my predictions:

  • They remain pretty much the same. Not completely, but pretty much.
  • I'd say that Heitkamp, whose re-election was doubtful anyway, is toast now. That's going to be a GOP pickup.
  • Whichever party wins on Kavanaugh will do worse in the midterms than it would have otherwise -- the other side will have it as a king-hell Mobilize the Base/Get Out The Vote tool. That might swing some of the otherwise "too close to call" races.
In fact, on that last point, I think some Republican pols may be hoping like hell that Kavanaugh goes down by a vote or two. Not badly enough to vote against him themselves, but badly enough to hope that e.g. Collins falls on her sword and votes no on confirmation (after which they will promptly blame the Democrats, not e.g. Collins).

That outcome probably wouldn't produce a "red wave," but most of them would trade one SCOTUS pick's misfortune for a likely Senate seat gain seven days a week and twice on Sunday.

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