Tag: 2018 Senate Races

October Surprises Continue Breaking Republicans’ Way


One week ago, I wrote a summary of “October surprises,” that were truly surprising. It is axiomatic that, each October, the media will unveil embarrassing, negative, damaging things about Republican candidates. The timing is intended to hurt Republicans and help Democrats at the ballot box. If the media doesn’t do it, a Republican self-sabotages. October 2018 started differently and has continued against the popular historical norm.

Media Revelations:

The Florida Democratic gubernatorial candidate, Andrew Gillum, was reported by the Tampa Bay Times to have taken unreported gifts from lobbyists, then lied about it.

October Surprises Breaking Republicans’ Way?


It is axiomatic that, each October, the media will unveil embarrassing, negative, damaging things about Republican candidates. The timing is intended to hurt Republicans and help Democrats at the ballot box. If the media doesn’t do it, a Republican self-sabotages. 2018 is different.

Media Revelations 

In Texas, “Beto” O’Rourke, was hit with a bad DUI story, including him trying to flee the scene.

Member Post


In the afterglow of the Kavanaugh confirmation, with a month to go until midterm Senate elections that are stacked in Republicans’ favor, surely Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell must be pulling out all the stops to maximize the size of his caucus. After all, he must be frustrated with the inability to fulfill long term […]

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Senator Collins: Lioness of the Senate


Senator Susan Collins stood forth on the Senate floor; today she was our Deborah. Senator Lamar Alexander, following her, praised her speech as one for the ages, linked to Senator Margaret Smith. Majority Leader McConnell then said he had been a young staffer when Senator Margaret Smith was the first to denounce McCarthyism. Senator Collins’s speech is important, not only for guaranteeing Judge Kavanaugh’s confirmation, but also for marking off the bounds of decency — as her state’s first female Senator did over a generation ago.

Two weeks ago, I wrote “Senator Collins has been a true stateswoman in the Kavanaugh hearings.” A week ago, I observed:

Flake and the Great Big Ugly Man


As I was standing in the street,
As quiet as could be,
A great big ugly man came up,
And tied his horse to me.

As I watched Sen. Flake over the past two weeks, this bit of children’s nonsense verse kept coming to mind. Sen. Flake is the poor innocent fellow who was standing in the road back in 2016, when a Great Big Ugly Man came up and tied his horse to him. Since then, Flake just hasn’t been himself, or at least not his best self, or at least not the best self he would have us see.

Having declined to defend his seat, submitting himself to the judgment of his party’s voters, in his state, Sen. Flake needed a new purpose. His mentor, the man whose political career he had hoped to emulate, left public view in a blaze of hate-fueled spite. We all remember the gleeful thumbs up as Sen. McCain broke his own word and his party’s decade-old pledge to repeal Obamacare.

Who Will Be the American Margaret Thatcher? Who Will Be Our Deborah? [Updated]


Deborah portrayed in Gustave Doré’s illustrations for La Grande Bible de Tours (1865)

Too many Republican “men” of the Senate are passively complicit in the Kavanaugh smear (Clarence Thomas smear, part II), or cowering in vision-distorting fear. Senator Collins was praiseworthy early last week, as was Senator Grassley. Time, however, has exposed the danger of their failure to stand strongly for justice, and for protecting the seriousness of real cases of sexual violence. Senator Collins has it right, that women must lead in this matter. So let one or a group of the Republican Senators who are women, or a great, aspiring stateswoman, like Congresswoman Martha McSally, take inspiration from Deborah, and stand forth!

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Sadly, Senator Grassley is going all wobbly in public, tweeting half-apologies to Judge Kavanaugh, while pathetically tweeting that (by his own actions) he was being made to look “second trombone” to the Senate Minority Leader. It strikes me that this is all due to his and “Leader” McConnell’s, self-created, weak hand with the two abortion […]

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Yes, *And* — “Kavanaugh” from Knife Fight to Cold War?


Much has been written about the Kavanaugh brawl, some of it quite good. Reading these pieces, I keep coming to yes, and. It has been asserted that this has nothing to do with Kavanaugh. Dr. Bastiat writes:

My point is that this really is not about Mr. Kavanaugh – he’s just collateral damage. It’s a shame somebody had to be destroyed, but as long as he’s conservative, it’s not too much of a shame.

Chairman Grassley Slams Door on Further Delay Tactics in Kavanaugh Brawl


Chairman Grassley followed up his scorching letter to the Democrats, with a letter to Ranking Member Senator Feinstein, setting 10 AM, September 21, as the deadline for Dr. Ford to agree to be interviewed or testify on Monday. He was very flexible in how and where the appearance would take place. He was completely firm on not letting the process drag on any longer.

The letter setting the witness response deadline was published with another scathing press release, denouncing Feinstein’s continued concealment of the original, unredacted, letter that made the sexual assault allegations: “Ranking Member Refuses to Disclose Secret Allegations Even After Dr. Ford Goes Public.”

Arizona: Elections Keep Getting Tougher


Looking at Arizona’s 2018 primary election results, it is clear that the races for Governor and US Senate will be competitive. A not-so-deep dive into election data since 1998, focused on Senate and Presidential races, was not at all reassuring. Rather, it revealed a disturbing trend for Senate races, painting a picture that should rouse Republicans and MAGA voters to action.

The following table paints the picture, showing the vote differential between Republican and Democratic candidates, rounded to thousands. An “X” means there was no race for that position that year. In 2000, Senator Jon Kyl ran unopposed by any Democrat. All information is based on the Arizona Secretary of State’s General Election Information 1998-2016.

Year President Senate Seat 1 Senate Seat 2
2018 X McSally/Sinema X
2016 91 Trump X 328 McCain
2014 X X X
2012 208 Romney 68 Flake X
2010 X X 413 McCain
2008 196 McCain X X
2006 X 150 Kyl X
2004 211 Bush X 1,101 McCain
2002 X X X
2000 96 Bush 1,108 Kyl (No Dem) X
1998 X X 421 McCain

As you can see, the Senate races have gotten tighter, regardless of candidate personality. Indeed, Senator McCain’s supposed incumbency advantage was sharply declining. Likewise, Senator Kyl, when facing a Democrat, had less than half McCain’s smallest margin. Jeff Flake barely got elected, while his Democratic opponent, Dr. Richard Carmona, got about 11,000 more votes than President Obama, who was at the top of the ticket.

Arizona, Florida, and Oklahoma Primary Update: Trump Wins


First Primary Election Results | Blog for ArizonaPresident Trump, and the Republican Party, had another good primary election day on Tuesday, August 28. He selectively weighed in with endorsement tweets the day before the official voting day, an act that still matters in states that have not made the terrible decision to go all mail-in ballot. What follows are observations made Monday, followed by comments on the results.


President Trump weighed in, and did not weigh in, on the Arizona primary elections. He urged support for Governor Ducey. He also kept silent on the Senate race, not picking sides between Martha McSally and Kelly Ward. I expect he will send a congratulatory tweet no matter which woman wins, and will also be complimentary of the loser, urging unity in the general election.

Make Arizona Great Again! Senate Primary: Three Candidates Enter, One Leaves!


Arizona has a critical Senate primary this month. Democrats are working to Cali-fornicate the state. Republicans are internally divided, between a majority who voted for President Trump, and a majority who keep electing senators like Jeff Flake and John McCain. This year, those two preferences are in sharp conflict. How can MAGA voters discern who will most likely fully keep campaign promises and work with, rather than actively or passive-aggressively subverting the 2016 GOP party platform? The answers matter for both Arizonans and for voters across the country who must choose senators, representatives, and state officers. How does the campaign situation in Arizona compare to your state?

Arizona Republican and Independent voters will choose the Republican candidate for US Senate in a primary on August 28. The seat is open because one of the candidates scared Jeff Flake out of the race this time last year. That is, the first-term Senator polled so poorly, that he declined to run to avoid damaging his brand even worse with a primary defeat. While he continued, for a while, to vote in a way that would support his claim of being a true conservative, his behavior this August is a thumb in the eye to the voters who dared defy him, the Senate party that failed to fully join his open contempt for the President of their party, and a President who is actually fulfilling conservative promises. The race has unfolded in this context.

Trumping the Court: A Look at the Hand the President Must Play


With Justice Anthony Kennedy’s retirement announcement, the battle is on, supposedly,* for the future course of the Supreme Court. There has already been plenty of heated, and some reasoned, video and written commentary on possible nominees. Some are campaigning for particular candidates, while others are leveraging the occasion to score political points for their position or party.

I fell into some of that myself late last week, raising my voice to a dear friend when we were really just differing on the level of analysis. Realizing I was too tactically focused, I had to think and research a bit more, leading to this piece. Beyond the kabuki theater run by Senators and pundits for multiple audiences, President Trump must play for both the short-term win and medium-term win.

The short-term win is getting his first choice confirmed before the 2018 midterms, with possible second-order benefits in House and Senate races. The medium-term win is a series of decisions by 2020, confirming President Trump’s ability to deliver on his promises, and distinguishing him from past Republican presidents, whose picks’ judicial records have been uneven to downright dismaying. The long-term, beyond his presidency, is unknowable, subject to future presidents’ Court nominees. The short- and medium-term campaign will be fought with a nominee from President Trump’s list of 25 possible Supreme Court candidates.

What a Real Secret Agent Looks Like? Gina Haspel.


Seeing Gina Haspel’s photograph for the first time the day of her confirmation hearing, the first thing that came to mind was George Smiley. The George Smiley of John Le Carré’s books, not Alec Guinness, was the opposite of Fleming’s Bond.

Smiley is an unobtrusive secret agent who leads an unglamorous life. A deceptively bland middle-aged man, he is trusted and respected by his subordinates and colleagues.

#NeuterTrump Budget: What Is to Be Done?


The omnibus spending bill is a clear rejection of President Trump and of the Deplorable, populist, “hobbit” sort of voters. It was jammed through the House and Senate, and signed by President Trump in the name of national defense. Speaker Ryan and Senate Majority Leader McConnell crafted a bill that shows maximum contempt for immigration enforcement, for repeal of Obamacare, and for almost every issue driving Republican primary voters and “Reagan Democrats.”

Hillary’s latest outburst was downright respectful next to the congressional majority leadership’s big, fat “forget you” to the forgotten Americans. The same establishment leadership opposed, mocked and subverted the Tea Party movement. So, we are left with the question: what is to be done?

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Stephen Bannon has announced that he will be trying to find primary candidates to challenge all incumbent Republican Senators running in 2018 with the exception of Texas’ Ted Cruz. Cruz has previously received significant financial support from Bannon’s primary financial supporters Robert and Rebekah Mercer. He will require candidates he supports to agree to three […]

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