Do Wisconsin Democrats want to remind voters
of the 2011 Capitol takeover?
All we know here at the Stately Manor is what we read in the Boys Weekly Reader, delivered to our marbled doorstep in a plain brown wrapper. But results from Tuesday’s primary elections across the country (but not here in Wisconsin) would seem to indicate (weasel words if ever there were) something of a draw.
Seven California House seats held by Republicans in district the Hildabeast carried in 2016 are seen as bellwethers (whatever that is). Number cruncher Nate Cohn had predicted that if Democrats closed in on 50% in those districts, they would be on pace to take control of the House. Below 45%, fuhgeddaboudit. The numbers from Tuesday in those seven districts look like this: 49, 37, 47, 44, 44, 46, 48.
“That looks like a gray zone to me,” Ross Douthat writes in today’s New York Times, “with the House very much in play, but the Democrats’ chances of taking it by no means as great as they would like.”
The respected Michael Barone finds the California results suggesting “the blue wave has crested and ebbed.” To take the majority, Democrats need to flip 23 seats in the House and 2 in the Senate.
Barone cites the RealClearPolitics average of recent polls that has the generic Democrats’ lead over Republicans declining from 13 points last December to a mere 3 this week. “Given Democrats’ disadvantage of having so many of their voters clustered in heavily Democratic seats, that suggests a statistical tie.” Then there’s Donald Trump’s improving job approval numbers.
It’s the economy, stupid
In the Wall Street Journal, Karl Rove notes hopes “the strong economy, the president’s rising approval numbers, and the decline of the Democrats’ generic-ballot advantage are great signs for the GOP. If Republican candidates don’t let up, they should hold most of these seats, dealing a major blow to Democrats’ hopes of taking back the House.”
Rove takes as a good sign that a Republican survived California’s jungle primary in the governor’s race; that will help down-ticket races in November. Jerry Brown’s bizarre California would seem to be be rich in targets. Barone notes that voters recalled a Democratic state senator (by an 18-point margin) who had voted for a gas tax increase, and installed a Republican in his place.
“A Strong Economy Presents Democrats with a Challenge in the Midterms,” The New Yorker (of all sources) concedes. Unemployment nationally fell to 3.8% in May.
More remarkably, there are more job openings in the U.S. than unemployed workers, the first time that has ever been recorded. Wisconsin’s 2.8% unemployment is leagues better that the national average. If Gov. Scott Walker has an achilles heel, it might be roads — although Democrats’ first love is mass transit. (High-speed rail, anyone?) The infusion of $227 million in federal highway funds, announced Wednesday, will help.
Act 10 is working
The crowded Democratic primary for Wisconsin governor hurts, not helps. In the last two races (including the 2012 recall) the field was pretty much cleared for Tom Barrett and Mary Burke. In this year’s Calgary stampede, candidates are out-doing themselves in trashing Act 10. Those curbs on government employee labor unions have survived voter scrutiny twice before. Teachers are still teaching; government continues to function. Taxpayers saved something like $5 billion in the first five years as a result.
Republicans will wave the bloody flag; they’ll replay footage of the Capitol Takeover, Thistle, Segway Boy, Crying Man, the Bullhorn Guy, and Hippie Bongstocking.
Blaska’s Bottom Line: Some politics IS local. Voters may hate Trump but not his results.