Is Trump the midterm goat or hero?
“What’s your prediction?” Pundits pride themselves in answering that question. But it’s a fool’s errand.
Election forecasting was once performed with laser-like precision. But now, accurate predictions are going the way of the dodo, as traditional assumptions and historical precedents have gone out the window. The result is uncharted territory.
The reasons are many: a hyper-partisan society; 24/7 news coverage; unprecedented mobilization via social media; and the all-important “Trump” phenomenon – where certain candidates and issues (such as Brexit) under-poll but outperform.
Let’s be honest: Despite those who “knew” that Mr. Trump would win (a broken clock is right twice a day) virtually no one, including Trump himself, thought he would prevail. The lesson: Surprises are the new norm.
.Trite as it sounds, the sole factor in determining tight races is who’s better at turnout. Easy to plan, but much harder to execute.
Democrats often claim “voter suppression.” In some respects, they are correct. First, felons who served their time should have their voting rights restored. Once rehabilitated, they shouldn’t be denied that right.
More egregious is the voting disenfranchisement of some Native Americans because they lack traditional addresses on their reservations. Sorry, but that should not be reason enough to strip them of voting rights. We put a man on the moon 50 years ago, so it can’t be that hard to enact a system where identities and addresses can be verified.
Is it a coincidence that Republicans in North Dakota spearheaded this effort? That many Native Americans vote Democratic? And that Democratic incumbent Heidi Heitkamp’s victory in 2012 was only by 3,000 votes? This author would love to think yes, but experience says otherwise.
Our hallowed right to vote should never be politicized! If one side can’t win on the issues, shame on them. Regarding Voter ID, the claim that it disenfranchises people is ludicrous. In a society where people must show ID to enter office buildings, airplanes, trains and even buy antihistamine, it’s time to give the same importance to voting. Government-issued IDs are free of charge, so let’s cut the crap. No ID, no vote. End of story.
Early voting should be abolished. Not only does this practice add considerable expense to local governments, it is also unnecessary.
From a common-sense perspective, what happens when a citizen casts a vote weeks before election day, and subsequently learns something distressing about his candidate?
Same for straight-ticket voting. Americans have become far too complacent when it comes to voting and, as a result, are reaping the consequences of a corrupted system. Good policy should never come down to just a “Democrat” or “Republican” one-second level pull. Instead, making citizens vote for individuals over party may yet inspire them to take a more avid interest in who will represent them.
Both sides need a lesson in messaging. Democrats ran a campaign bereft of ideas save one: vote against Trump. It may have been enough to win the House, but as a long-term strategy, it’s a disaster. Just ask Republicans who did the same thing to Obama, thus ensuring his re-election.
On the Republican side, it’s clear the president understands campaign messaging, as everyone knows his platform: hardline on immigration; lower taxes; tough on China; fewer regulations. But he’s not running.
Instead, the GOP had Senate leader Mitch McConnell stating, mere weeks before the election, that Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid needed to be cut. That may be necessary, but who in their right mind says that before an election, especially one where your party is already facing difficult odds? Truly baffling.
And the GOP got the worst of both worlds when it voted to remove pre-existing condition protections from the Obamacare repeal bill – but never passed it. They ended up getting hammered for something that never saw the light of day. Brilliant.
The Republicans refused to run advocacy ads during the last year outlining their vision and what they’ve done. Instead, they chose the cookie-cutter approach of running mostly ineffective ads during the white noise of campaign season.
It just goes to prove that, Donald Trump notwithstanding, the more things change in Washington, the more they stay the same.
2020, here we come.