June 8, 2018
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Over the past few days, four building blocks have fallen into place which strengthen the case for a red wave in 2018 instead of a blue wave.
Three of these building blocks are Republican-favoring political developments in what would normally be considered safe, blue states.
First, New Jersey’s Senator Bob Menendez is a Democrat who has been deeply weakened by charges of corruption. He was tried in a long, highly-publicized trial that ended in mistrial. The government decided not to prosecute again, but the news reports about the case had already shed light on some of Senator Menendez’s actions, which were pretty indefensible. Then, the Senate Ethics Committee admonished him in April for serious corruption allegations. The result is that on Tuesday, a relatively unknown Democrat – who did not raise enough money to meet the $5,000 threshold for reporting campaign funds –earned 37.84 percent in the Democratic Primary as a protest against Menendez.
Bob Hugin, a former pharmaceutical executive, is the Republican nominee and will run a well-funded campaign. At a minimum, this puts New Jersey in play for Republicans and will draw millions of Democratic dollars away from other races to defend Menendez. At a maximum, the Democrats will lose the seat. If they lose New Jersey, there is no possibility they can win control of the Senate.
Second, the California Primary put Republican John Cox in the general election with Democratic Lieutenant Governor (and former Mayor of San Francisco) Gavin Newsom. The difference in statewide Republican turnout with a GOP candidate on the ballot for governor has been estimated at 23 percent. This turnout will make the governor’s race competitive and could be the difference between winning and losing a number of House seats. In addition, the disaster of a massive gas tax increase, the state’s sanctuary policies that protect MS-13 gang members, Newsom’s promise to raise both income and property taxes and his proposal to have government take over all healthcare combine to make California Democrats more vulnerable than they have been in a quarter century.
Third, the Minnesota Democrats went crazy last Saturday, and their state convention was taken over by the hard Left (yes, there are Minnesota activists to the left of the already liberal state’s Democratic Party). The result was that the repudiated Attorney General decided to run for governor in the primary. That created a vacuum that ultra-left-wing Congressman Keith Ellison decided he would try to fill.
This combination of personality-driven bitterness and ideological extremism has suddenly made Minnesota Democrats vulnerable. Long time Minnesota analyst Barry Casselman has written shrewdly that former Governor Tim Pawlenty is now likely to be the next governor, that two Democratic House seats are now likely to go Republican (making the possibility of a Democratic House this fall more unlikely), and if the chaos continues and the Democratic Party becomes both more radical and more splintered, even Senator Tina Smith – who was appointed to replace Al Franken – could suddenly be in trouble. All of this chaos will help Republicans and drain even more Democratic resources into a state they thought would be easy to keep.
The fourth building block that strengthens the case for a red wave in 2018 is the growing and undeniable strength of the economy. As I explain in my new book, Trump’s America, which was released this week, the real achievements of the Trump administration have been masked by the hostility and bitterness of the elite media who insist on focusing on trivial matters and ignoring big stories. However, after the most recent jobs numbers were released last Friday, even the liberal New York Times was compelled to write an article with the headline, “We Ran Out of Words to Describe How Good the Jobs Numbers Are.”
When we have the lowest Black unemployment on record in America, something big is happening.
When there are more job openings than job seekers in America, something big is happening.
When the Federal Reserve is estimating second quarter American economic growth at well over 4 percent (a Reagan era number and more than twice the growth rate of the economy under Obama) something big is happening.
Americans are beginning to conclude that their lives are getting better, and that President Trump and Republican leadership are a part of that phenomenon.
The result has been a collapse of the Democratic advantage in the generic ballot from a double-digit lead in December to some polls now showing Republicans on top. This is an enormous shift.
I will keep reporting on election patterns as they unfold, but as of now, I feel pretty good about my assertion that we are more likely to see a red wave than a blue wave in 2018.
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