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The Senate? Kavanaugh. The House? No Kavanaugh

 

Simon Templar and I were talking, and this is the simplest explanation. The Senate got to have the Big Vote — the Republicans actually had to stand for something. Even the RINOs. And the Senate swung right.

House RINO squishes did not have their Kavanaugh. They acted just like normal useless politicians. So they were punished at the polls.

This elections was not, after all was said and done, entirely about Donald Trump. The House was judged on its own merits, and came up short.

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There are 47 comments.

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  1. Member

    Isn’t the better explanation that Republicans won the Senate because they had the structural advantage of challenging Democrats in highly Red states? And likewise Dems took back the he House because Republicans had to defend too many seats in blueish districts? What happened last night is what you would have expected just given the setup.

    • #1
    • November 7, 2018 at 5:34 am
    • 8 likes
  2. Member

    Valiuth (View Comment):

    Isn’t the better explanation that Republicans won the Senate because they had the structural advantage of challenging Democrats in highly Red states? And likewise Dems took back the he House because Republicans had to defend too many seats in blueish districts? What happened last night is what you would have expected just given the setup.

    That’s part of it. Democrats also did a very good job recruiting candidates – a much better job than Republicans. That’s partly because Democrats thought there really was going to be a huge wave. Republicans thought the same thing – hence the retirements. And then there was the money.

    • #2
    • November 7, 2018 at 5:41 am
    • 8 likes
  3. Member

    • #3
    • November 7, 2018 at 5:42 am
    • 9 likes
  4. Member

    Good point. Another point as Valiuth shared is that incumbency has its advantages. Senate was built for the R’s and the House for the D’s in this cycle. 

    • #4
    • November 7, 2018 at 5:44 am
    • 3 likes
  5. Member

    My thought is the converse of the OP. 

    The Kavanaugh hearings revealed the Senate Democrats as corrupt, deceptive, power-mad, sexist, and racist. This tilted the electorate against them. The story wasn’t that the electorate rewarded any Republican who voted for Kavanaugh. It was that the electorate punished many Democrats who voted against him.

    There was no such major event that would reveal the nature of the House Democratic candidates. In fact, they had the advantage of running apparently moderate blue-dog Democrats in swing districts, and prevailed. I think that the voters in these districts will learn — again — that apparently moderate Democrats will vote in virtual lock-step with Nancy Pelosi and Maxine Waters, and will turn back to the Republicans in 2020.

    • #5
    • November 7, 2018 at 6:00 am
    • 20 likes
  6. Member

    RyanFalcone (View Comment):

    Good point. Another point as Valiuth shared is that incumbency has its advantages. Senate was built for the R’s and the House for the D’s in this cycle.

    This doesn’t seem supported by the facts. I agree that incumbency has some advantage, which explains the Democrats Senate wins in Michigan, Wisconsin, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia.

    But this was not the big story of the night. The big story was Democratic Senate incumbents losing in Florida, Indiana, Missouri, and North Dakota. Maybe Montana too. 

    • #6
    • November 7, 2018 at 6:03 am
    • 8 likes
  7. Member

    Not sure how much difference it made. As Valiuth said, this outcome was expected based on the setup. I think people were predicting this right after the 2016 election.

    Ann Coulter was complaining on the latest Whiskey Politics podcast that the Republicans had no other plan for the senate campaign and lucked into the Kavanaugh trial energizing the base. The Senate’s work on judges in general was a great point to run on.

    • #7
    • November 7, 2018 at 6:12 am
    • 2 likes
  8. Member

    Arizona Patriot (View Comment):

    RyanFalcone (View Comment):

    Good point. Another point as Valiuth shared is that incumbency has its advantages. Senate was built for the R’s and the House for the D’s in this cycle.

    This doesn’t seem supported by the facts. I agree that incumbency has some advantage, which explains the Democrats Senate wins in Michigan, Wisconsin, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia.

    But this was not the big story of the night. The big story was Democratic Senate incumbents losing in Florida, Indiana, Missouri, and North Dakota. Maybe Montana too.

    If Trump hadn’t won all those states, most of them with ease, I’d agree. Incumbency has its advantages not its invincibility. 

    • #8
    • November 7, 2018 at 6:16 am
    • 1 like
  9. Lincoln

    I think Henry Olsen’s pre-election analysis over at National Review was pretty much correct about the vote being the “Revenge of the RINOs”, the irony being that those who either voted Democrat or sat out voting for Republicans over their animosity to Trump in large part took out the more moderate House Republicans, since their protest votes or non-votes turned the districts those moderates were most likely to represent. GOP reps who were stronger in their support for Trump and who were in deeper Red districts may in some cases have seen their margins decline from 2016, but for the most part survived.

    Olson may have slightly overstated the effect as far as being a net positive for Democrats — the “Kavanaugh Effect” may have saved a few Republican positions, and we still have to see how Arizona and Montana come out in the Senate races. But the results last night were least good for the more moderate GOP members, and looking towards 2020, it will be interesting to see how the people who switched or didn’t vote on Tuesday view the almost certain battles between Trump and Pelosi (and for the hardest of the hard-core #NeverTrumpers, they’ll now be faced with the dilemma of trying to maintain their credibility while at the same time trying to convince their readers that Speaker Pelosi is suddenly some font of wisdom compared to the guy in the White House. Your move, Max Boot and Jen Rubin….)

    • #9
    • November 7, 2018 at 6:21 am
    • 3 likes
  10. Member

    Good question. I had been wondering, too, if that’s how it worked. Maybe House Republicans needed to give House Democrats more of an opportunity to show what they were. But that would have been dangerous, too. 

    • #10
    • November 7, 2018 at 6:36 am
    • 2 likes
  11. Member

    Yes, there was a structural hill to climb for Republicans this time around. No doubt about it. However, hills can be climbed. The house Republicans chose to dicker at tbe bottom of the hill instead of mounting up and charging up the hill guns blazing. Prevent defense, run out the clock, bend but don’t break rarely ever works. Offense is the best defense.

    There was.no offense from Paul Ryan’s house. Why aren’t they making the Dems pay a price for their Russia Collusion hysteria instead of letting the whole thing slip meekly away? Look to Grassleye in the Senate for the example, referring bad actors in the Kavanaugh mess for criminal prosecution. 

    Perhaps the Senate would have chosen the same lump on a log approach as the house were it not for Kavanaugh. Aside from judges, I see two wasted years where we could have been passing bills and putting people in record on real votes. 

    • #11
    • November 7, 2018 at 7:03 am
    • 14 likes
  12. Thatcher

    Valiuth (View Comment):

    Isn’t the better explanation that Republicans won the Senate because they had the structural advantage of challenging Democrats in highly Red states? And likewise Dems took back the he House because Republicans had to defend too many seats in blueish districts? What happened last night is what you would have expected just given the setup.

    Val,

    I absolutely agree that you have described the lay of the land correctly. However, it wasn’t until Kavanaugh that mainstream Republicans finally realized that it wasn’t because you were MAGA that you were getting viciously attacked it was because you were a conservative period.

    Imagine if the Party had managed to recognize the reality of the situation 6 months before and was fully energized even in the hard House races. When you waste a year smacking into each other rather than blocking and tackling the other guys it really doesn’t say victory.

    Regards,

    Jim

    • #12
    • November 7, 2018 at 7:46 am
    • 8 likes
  13. Member

    iWe: House RINO squishes did not have their Kavanaugh. They acted just like normal useless politicians. So they were punished at the polls.

    They accomplished nothing more than the minor tax reform that occurs under any Republican House. Their power was so inconsequential that losing it barely seems to matter. 

    • #13
    • November 7, 2018 at 8:01 am
    • 4 likes
  14. Member

    James Gawron (View Comment):
    Imagine if the Party had managed to recognize the reality of the situation 6 months before and was fully energized even in the hard House races. When you waste a year smacking into each other rather than blocking and tackling the other guys it really doesn’t say victory.

    I see what you’re saying but I’m rather skeptical. The hard House races occurred in districts where the population makeup was not favorable to the current tilt of the Republican Party. One of the reasons the party in the House was so irresolute is because you had a large number of Congressmen (now excongressmen) who represented districts that were not down with the whole MAGA thing. Again structural issues. The problem I think is that the Party doesn’t and didn’t really have a positive message with broad appeal outside its base. The Republicans won the Senate because they had homefield advantage (a lot of it). They ran in races where turnout the base was a viable strategy because there was a lot of disengaged base to turnout in these places. But look at PA, MI, or WI. The Dems did really well there. Would Susan Colins have won in Maine if she were up for election? Pat Toomey? 

    In 2020 Republicans will be defending all of their Senate seats from Blue and Purple states… I guess we will see how they do then. 

    If all Senate seats had been up for election this year do we really think Republicans would have come out at 55 or 56 seat majority? They might still have the majority but more like 51 or 52. 

     

    • #14
    • November 7, 2018 at 8:09 am
    • Like
  15. Member

    Trump stopped stumping for House candidates, so they’d either given up when this happened, or something else. I suspect the HRCC told its candidates to distance themselves from Trump and the President likely said, “No problem.” As to the significance of this, I’ll let Rep. Matt Gaetz of Florida answer:

    “There were a million new Republican voters in 2016 who have never voted for governor and in every corner of this state, we need to turn them out. No one does that like the big man himself,” Gaetz said. “If we get the Trump voters out, we win. And if we don’t, we’re gonna get crushed.”

    He said that a month ago.

    A new base of support is magically unearthed two years ago and the HRCC dumps it. Nice. No matter what you think of the President, that is just not smart. There are many other possible and applicable explanations, and I’m sure the HRCC will cling to a few of them and no one will lose their job other than the people they were meant to get re-elected.

    • #15
    • November 7, 2018 at 8:15 am
    • 3 likes
  16. Thatcher

    Valiuth (View Comment):

    James Gawron (View Comment):
    Imagine if the Party had managed to recognize the reality of the situation 6 months before and was fully energized even in the hard House races. When you waste a year smacking into each other rather than blocking and tackling the other guys it really doesn’t say victory.

    I see what you’re saying but I’m rather skeptical. The hard House races occurred in districts where the population makeup was not favorable to the current tilt of the Republican Party. One of the reasons the party in the House was so irresolute is because you had a large number of Congressmen (now excongressmen) who represented districts that were not down with the whole MAGA thing. Again structural issues. The problem I think is that the Party doesn’t and didn’t really have a positive message with broad appeal outside its base. The Republicans won the Senate because they had homefield advantage (a lot of it). They ran in races where turnout the base was a viable strategy because there was a lot of disengaged base to turnout in these places. But look at PA, MI, or WI. The Dems did really well there. Would Susan Colins have won in Maine if she were up for election? Pat Toomey?

    In 2020 Republicans will be defending all of their Senate seats from Blue and Purple states… I guess we will see how they do then.

    If all Senate seats had been up for election this year do we really think Republicans would have come out at 55 or 56 seat majority? They might still have the majority but more like 51 or 52.

    Val,

    All valid points. Still, if we were really together, on the basis of 3% growth with 3% real wage growth, we could have pounded our way through and held the house. Too much listening to MSM propaganda. MAGA SHMAGA, it should have been about bread & butter.

     Regards,

    Jim

    • #16
    • November 7, 2018 at 8:26 am
    • 2 likes
  17. Member

    Valiuth (View Comment):

    Isn’t the better explanation that Republicans won the Senate because they had the structural advantage of challenging Democrats in highly Red states? And likewise Dems took back the he House because Republicans had to defend too many seats in blueish districts? What happened last night is what you would have expected just given the setup.

    Exactly. The Republicans who lost were those who could be linked to Trump in purple districts. My own former Congressman, Eric Paulsen in Minnesota’s 3rd (we have since moved out of Minnesota), was certainly not any kind of Trumpster- he was a solid conservative in every way- but his district was realigned to include some less friendly areas and became purple. He was then painted as a Trump person because he voted conservative in the House.

    The House districts lost were those that had center-right “movement conservatives” representing them. Trump can’t win without winning suburbs- and it is now a lot less likely that the GoP will win suburbs.

    There is no way that is a good thing.

    • #17
    • November 7, 2018 at 8:26 am
    • 1 like
  18. Thatcher

    Chris O. (View Comment):

    Trump stopped stumping for House candidates, so they’d either given up when this happened, or something else. I suspect the HRCC told its candidates to distance themselves from Trump and the President likely said, “No problem.” As to the significance of this, I’ll let Rep. Matt Gaetz of Florida answer:

    “There were a million new Republican voters in 2016 who have never voted for governor and in every corner of this state, we need to turn them out. No one does that like the big man himself,” Gaetz said. “If we get the Trump voters out, we win. And if we don’t, we’re gonna get crushed.”

    He said that a month ago.

    A new base of support is magically unearthed two years ago and the HRCC dumps it. Nice. No matter what you think of the President, that is just not smart. There are many other possible and applicable explanations, and I’m sure the HRCC will cling to a few of them and no one will lost their job other than the people they were meant to get re-elected.

    Chris,

    I agree 100%. This isn’t about swearing an oath to Trumpism. This is about winning. There is still much too much triangulating in the mainstream Republican mind. Find out who you need to get out to vote and get them out to vote!

    Regards,

    Jim

    • #18
    • November 7, 2018 at 8:37 am
    • 2 likes
  19. Member

    Valiuth (View Comment):

    Isn’t the better explanation that Republicans won the Senate because they had the structural advantage of challenging Democrats in highly Red states? And likewise Dems took back the he House because Republicans had to defend too many seats in blueish districts? What happened last night is what you would have expected just given the setup.

    Absolutely. Talking all the time about so-called squishes is so tiresome. Not everyone agrees about the kind of politics that the Freedom Caucus represents. And it would be smarter if we could begin to realize that.

    • #19
    • November 7, 2018 at 8:59 am
    • Like
  20. Member

    Ed G. (View Comment):

    Yes, there was a structural hill to climb for Republicans this time around. No doubt about it. However, hills can be climbed. The house Republicans chose to dicker at tbe bottom of the hill instead of mounting up and charging up the hill guns blazing. Prevent defense, run out the clock, bend but don’t break rarely ever works. Offense is the best defense.

    There was.no offense from Paul Ryan’s house. Why aren’t they making the Dems pay a price for their Russia Collusion hysteria instead of letting the whole thing slip meekly away? Look to Grassleye in the Senate for the example, referring bad actors in the Kavanaugh mess for criminal prosecution.

    Perhaps the Senate would have chosen the same lump on a log approach as the house were it not for Kavanaugh. Aside from judges, I see two wasted years where we could have been passing bills and putting people in record on real votes.

    Well, the House voted to repeal Obamacare. The Senate shut that down, by John McCain’s one treacherous vote.

    Strange, this brought to mind an image of McCain on the bridge of a burning Enterprise:

    You know, I didn’t realize that this quote was originally from Moby Dick, directed at a white whale.

    • #20
    • November 7, 2018 at 9:17 am
    • 4 likes
  21. Thatcher

    Duane Oyen (View Comment):

    Valiuth (View Comment):

    Isn’t the better explanation that Republicans won the Senate because they had the structural advantage of challenging Democrats in highly Red states? And likewise Dems took back the he House because Republicans had to defend too many seats in blueish districts? What happened last night is what you would have expected just given the setup.

    Exactly. The Republicans who lost were those who could be linked to Trump in purple districts. My own former Congressman, Eric Paulsen in Minnesota’s 3rd (we have since moved out of Minnesota), was certainly not any kind of Trumpster- he was a solid conservative in every way- but his district was realigned to include some less friendly areas and became purple. He was then painted as a Trump person because he voted conservative in the House.

    The House districts lost were those that had center-right “movement conservatives” representing them. Trump can’t win without winning suburbs- and it is now a lot less likely that the GoP will win suburbs.

    There is no way that is a good thing.

    I agree with this analysis. House districts are very different from Senate races. The suburban districts, which were critical to the R loss of the House, would not have swung the other way if Obamacare were repealed. In those districts it was about Trump. Those nice suburban R’s just can’t stand him and are embarrassed to vote for him.

    Trump won in 2016 because of small margins in non-suburban districts in WI, MI, and PA. If suburbs trend more against him in those states (and PA is particularly worrisome) can he replicate that victory?

    The Democrats also have their own dilemma. This reminds me of 2006 when they took the House by running moderate sounding candidates in suburban districts. Those “moderates” were then wiped out in 2010 in reaction to the first two years of Obama. How do the D’s play it this time around?

     

    • #21
    • November 7, 2018 at 9:24 am
    • 1 like
  22. Coolidge

    I go through various phases of translating Trump, and today’s press conference was no exception.

    I at first think “this is stupid” then I ask “but is he right?”

    It’s not that the GOP needs to be “more Trumpy” it’s that they need to be less wimpy. To use a poor analogy, no quarterback on earth in the game fires up the team or the crowd by going “our gameplan is sound” during the game. You have to lead and execute the plan, and what happened on healthcare wasn’t leadership, it was trying to make something where media wouldn’t get angry at them in a way where they could save face.

    You have a two year cycle to get things done and non-gridlock is so rare. When they said “Tom Price has been working on this since the day it was passed” I believed them. People don’t gravitate towards your principles until you show them you can lead. The GOP knows how to use the process but they don’t know how to build a narrative.

    • #22
    • November 7, 2018 at 9:42 am
    • 8 likes
  23. Member

    Arizona Patriot (View Comment):

    Ed G. (View Comment):

    Yes, there was a structural hill to climb for Republicans this time around. No doubt about it. However, hills can be climbed. The house Republicans chose to dicker at tbe bottom of the hill instead of mounting up and charging up the hill guns blazing. Prevent defense, run out the clock, bend but don’t break rarely ever works. Offense is the best defense.

    There was.no offense from Paul Ryan’s house. Why aren’t they making the Dems pay a price for their Russia Collusion hysteria instead of letting the whole thing slip meekly away? Look to Grassleye in the Senate for the example, referring bad actors in the Kavanaugh mess for criminal prosecution.

    Perhaps the Senate would have chosen the same lump on a log approach as the house were it not for Kavanaugh. Aside from judges, I see two wasted years where we could have been passing bills and putting people in record on real votes.

    Well, the House voted to repeal Obamacare. The Senate shut that down, by John McCain’s one treacherous vote.

    Strange, this brought to mind an image of McCain on the bridge of a burning Enterprise:

     

    True. However, in retrospect I don’t believe anyone really believed in that repeal plan. Sure I would have welcomed the repeal bill as a move in the right direction, but the failure happened before and during that episode. I think that overall the characterization of the house as feckless is more apt than not, even acknowledging that there were some moves attempted. 

    • #23
    • November 7, 2018 at 9:51 am
    • Like
  24. Member

    Gumby Mark (View Comment):
    I agree with this analysis. House districts are very different from Senate races. The suburban districts, which were critical to the R loss of the House, would not have swung the other way if Obamacare were repealed. In those districts it was about Trump. Those nice suburban R’s just can’t stand him and are embarrassed to vote for him.

    I think those voters have been increasingly embarrassed and unwilling to vote Republican regardless. The Chicago suburbs are a great example. We’ve been losing ground in those suburban strongholds for at least twenty years now. Perhaps President Trump exacerbated the trend, but he didn’t cause it. They were embarrassed of W. Bush too. 

    • #24
    • November 7, 2018 at 9:54 am
    • 3 likes
  25. Member

    Jeff Hawkins (View Comment):
    It’s not that the GOP needs to be “more Trumpy” it’s that they need to be less wimpy. To use a poor analogy, no quarterback on earth in the game fires up the team or the crowd by going “our gameplan is sound” during the game. You have to lead and execute the plan, and what happened on healthcare wasn’t leadership, it was trying to make something where media wouldn’t get angry at them in a way where they could save face.

    Amen amen. Amen. Wimpy is the problem. There are more ways than New York brash to achieve the opposite of wimpy. Let’s also not forget the other two issues with Republicans over the last decade or so: timid, incompetent, duplicitous. Fixing any one of those would go a long way, and Trump’s path is certainly not the only way to get there. 

    • #25
    • November 7, 2018 at 9:57 am
    • 2 likes
  26. Member

    I realize that the personal is not always political. Still, from my own experience I agree with @arizonapatriot; I was motivated to vote against my senator (whom I actually like, personally) by the Kavanaugh hearings. And had Susan Collins been on the ballot, I would’ve voted for her because of her defense of Kavanaugh. 

    What I found difficult about voting <R> was disregarding my personal impressions of the individual candidates, some of whom are neighbors and friendly acquaintances. This is probably more of a factor in house races even in states more populous and impersonal than mine, and senators are almost by definition going to seem more remote. Does that make sense?

     

    • #26
    • November 7, 2018 at 10:31 am
    • 1 like
  27. Coolidge

    GrannyDude (View Comment):

    I realize that the personal is not always political. Still, from my own experience I agree with @arizonapatriot; I was motivated to vote against my senator (whom I actually like, personally) by the Kavanaugh hearings. And had Susan Collins been on the ballot, I would’ve voted for her because of her defense of Kavanaugh.

    What I found difficult about voting <R> was disregarding my personal impressions of the individual candidates, some of whom are neighbors and friendly acquaintances. This is probably more of a factor in house races even in states more populous and impersonal than mine, and senators are almost by definition going to seem more remote. Does that make sense?

    If government were more decentralized and it wasn’t about national party politics, this would be the ideal. But I also think we should eliminate the 17th Amendment to undercut national party power. You should have a different kind of Democrat from a California than a Missouri. Pro life Democrats. Pro mililtary Democrats.

    The Senate is no longer a body arguing for what’s best for their state but control of the Federal.

    I get your dilema. Especially if they’re relatively new or have a moderate bonafide like military service or business experience

    But then they vote monolith. They run on moderate and vote purity.

    Republicans tend to have the opposite problem: run on the purity and vote moderate. 

     

     

    • #27
    • November 7, 2018 at 10:47 am
    • 3 likes
  28. Member

    James Gawron (View Comment):

    Val,

    All valid points. Still, if we were really together, on the basis of 3% growth with 3% real wage growth, we could have pounded our way through and held the house. Too much listening to MSM propaganda. MAGA SHMAGA, it should have been about bread & butter.

     Regards,

    Jim

    Okay.. maybe. But Trump was in charge of the party and he was all Caravan and Enemy of the People all the time. 

    • #28
    • November 7, 2018 at 11:36 am
    • Like
  29. Member

    Counter-factual question – would anything have turned out differently if not for the mail bomber and Pittsburgh shooting?

     

    Exit Poll data via CNN.com:

     

    In your vote today, was recent extremist violence:

     DemocratRepublicanNo Answer
    The most important factor23% 62% 37% 1%
    An important factor51% 51% 48% 1%
    A minor factor9% 38% 60% 2%
    Not a factor at all9% 36% 61% 3%

    18778 Respondents

    Was recent extremist violence important to vote?

     DemocratRepublicanNo Answer
    Yes74% 54% 44% 2%
    No18% 37% 61% 2%

    18778 Respondents

    Was recent extremist violence a factor in vote?

     DemocratRepublicanNo Answer
    Yes83% 53% 46% 1%
    No9% 36% 61% 3%

    18778 Respondents

    • #29
    • November 7, 2018 at 11:45 am
    • 1 like
  30. Member

    Gumby Mark (View Comment):

    Trump won in 2016 because of small margins in non-suburban districts in WI, MI, and PA. If suburbs trend more against him in those states (and PA is particularly worrisome) can he replicate that victory?

    The Democrats also have their own dilemma. This reminds me of 2006 when they took the House by running moderate sounding candidates in suburban districts. Those “moderates” were then wiped out in 2010 in reaction to the first two years of Obama. How do the D’s play it this time around?

     

    The D’s saving grace this time is that they don’t have to Govern. In 2008 they held all three branches. They then passed momentous legislation and had to defend it. Now they won’t. Maybe if they sweep in 2020 and take the White House and Senate then in 2022 those Democrats are in trouble again. But if Trump wins in 2020 then they can keep just being anti-Trump and safe until he is gone. 

     

    • #30
    • November 7, 2018 at 11:53 am
    • 1 like
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