Washington Post: Democrats in prime position to take House, but polls show wild cards remain
Democrats maintain a strong position to retake the U.S. House, but the party’s base of less-frequent voters and concerns about illegal immigration stand out as wild cards in the final days before Tuesday’s midterm elections, according to a new Washington Post-Schar School poll of likely voters in battleground congressional districts.
Overwhelming majorities of both Democrats and Republicans are confident that their party will prevail, with both nearly as confident as Democrats were — erroneously, as it turned out — ahead of President Trump’s surprise victory two years ago. Voters also perceive high stakes in the event of a loss: At least two-thirds of Democrats and Republicans alike say a losing outcome for their party would be “very bad” for the country.
Across 69 congressional districts identified by the Cook Political Report and The Post as competitive in late August, the Post-Schar School poll finds 50 percent of likely voters support the Democratic candidate, while 46 percent support the Republican.
The Democrats’ four-point edge represents a superficial advantage with Republicans, given the poll’s 3.5-point margin of error. Still, the finding marks a sharp turn from 2016, when voters in these districts backed Republicans by a margin of 15 percentage points. With 63 of the battleground districts held by Republicans, that kind of shift in sentiment would be sufficient for Democrats to take control of the House. The party needs a net gain of 23 seats to win the majority.
Los Angeles Times: Asian Americans hold the key to this Orange County district, and Democrat Gil Cisneros knows it
For decades, Asian Americans in this district, a tri-county slice of suburbia built on the immigrant American dream, have supported their Republican congressman, a loyalty born from years of attendance at Buddhist temple ribbon-cuttings and Lunar New Year celebrations.
Now Democrat Gil Cisneros is hoping to win a large share of their votes despite the fact that his opponent, Republican Young Kim, is a Korean American immigrant and former longtime liaison to the Asian community for the retiring Rep. Ed Royce.
“Just because I may be Latino and my opponent may be Asian, we’re not going to cede certain demographics for that reason,” said Cisneros, 47. “They want the same thing everybody else does — they want healthcare, they want immigration reform, they want to make sure their kids are safe when they’re in school.”
Cisneros has built a formidable operation in his bid for the Asian American votes that are up for grabs in the 39th Congressional District for the first time in years.
The seat is one of four in Orange County that Democrats hope to take from Republicans. They need to net 23 seats nationally to win control of the House.
Politico: White House prepares to spin defeat as victory
President Donald Trump and his allies have crafted a face-saving plan if Democrats trounce their way to a House majority — tout Trump as the savior of Republicans in the Senate.
In public and private, Trump and advisers are pointing to the president’s surge of campaigning on behalf of Republican Senate candidates — 19 rallies alone since Labor Day — as evidence that nobody else could have had a bigger impact in the states. The argument is classic Trump, who despite making the midterms a referendum on his own presidency, has a history of personalizing and then dwelling on his victories while distancing himself and diverting attention from his losses.
Should Republicans pick up Senate seats, “that’s all they’ll talk about,” said Barry Bennett, a presidential adviser on Trump’s 2016 campaign. “That’s where the math is in our favor.”
Even in the House, where Republicans are laboring to sustain their 23-seat majority, the White House is already dismissing any notion of a Democratic wave election on par with the Republican midterm pickups under former presidents Barack Obama or Bill Clinton.
Los Angeles Times: A blue wave could crest in state legislatures
Even as voters fixate on the fight for control of Congress, that other battle going on this election cycle — the one for power in the states — could prove most dramatic for the direction of the nation.
Democrats anticipate significant wins, retaking majority control of as many as a dozen state legislative chambers. If that happens, it would shake up the political order from coast to coast.
Since the early years of the Obama administration, Democrats suffered historic losses at the state level. That enabled the GOP to transform many state capitals into incubators for conservative ideology and policies. The legislative chambers have deeply cut spending, weakened organized labor and loosened gun safety laws. They have resisted action on climate change, curbed abortion rights and worked to unravel Obamacare, with many refusing federal money to expand Medicaid.
If election forecasts hold, those conservative efforts will be stymied in many places when the next class of state lawmakers assume their seats.
Moreover, Democrats appear to be positioned to gain full control over the governments of a few key states, including Colorado and New York, where power is currently split. Those states could join places like California in advancing liberal policies and more robustly challenging the Trump administration.
Henry Olsen: The Midterms Won't End The Mad Melodrama of U.S. Politics
Politics in America over the past month has been sounding much like an outlandish plot in a TV series. A Supreme Court Justice nominee faces last-minute accusations of sexual assault, gang rape, and habitual drunkenness; leading Republican politicians are frequently accosted in restaurants by angry mobs; Democrats and liberal media personalities receive homemade bombs in the mail, leading to a national manhunt and the arrest of an unhinged superfan of the President.
But the synagogue massacre, blamed by many on the Left on Trump’s purportedly racist rhetoric despite the fact the suspect hated Trump, has upped the intensity to an entirely new level. Real life is making House of Cards seem tame.
The emotions engendered by TV drama fade quickly because we know it is fiction. The emotions these developments have inflamed feed off each other because they are real. Rather than pulling together as a country in mourning, instead partisans blame and assign malign motives to the other side. The Wall Street Journal columnist Peggy Noonan’s column last week appealing for calm in both sides’ rhetoric already seems quaint and naive.
With the midterms less than a week away, you might think that these explosive events might move voters. In fact, many pundits surmised that the Kavanaugh accusations would hurt Republicans among women and swing voters. Instead, the polls show roughly what they did before those three weeks captivated the country. Partisan intensity is so great that each side views facts through their own set of highly coloured spectacles.
This means we are likely to see a split verdict at the polls. Democrats have been energised by their rage ever since Trump’s election and remain united in their zeal to unseat him. The party has also won over millions of former Republicans, mainly in the country’s educated and well-off suburbs. This strong combination means most of the 25 Republicans who currently hold seats carried by Hillary Clinton in 2016 will lose. Other Republicans holding seats in similar regions which Trump narrowly carried are also in danger. Together, this means Democrats should pick up the 23 seats they need to take control of the House – and perhaps quite a few more.