[Guest Contributor - Donald G. Mutersbaugh Sr.]
All of the pundits seem to feel that there is going to be a blue wave this November, and the Democrats are going to trounce the Republicans. Historically, in the off year of a presidential election, the Party in control of the White House loses seats in the Congress. This is not going to happen this November. I do not have any algorithms; I also do not have any computer models. However, what these psephologists and others who perform statistical analyses of elections and polls have not recognized is there has been a paradigm shift in the electorate. The old models are just not going to work anymore. I made this observation, “The Birth of the Electorate Paradigm Shift,” in Citizen Oversight’s August 2015 posting, “…why should we, the electorate, believe any of it? It is the ‘same old – same old’ because the majority of the candidates are calcified bureaucrats … who espouse non-winning strategies.” I wrote that there’s been “…a change in the direction and tone of conversations, interviews, and stump speeches concerning many topics which are of interest to most Americans (not so much politicians – except as it relates to their electability).”
Let’s look at some numbers. In the Senate 35 seats are up for reelection (includes MN and MS special elections); 26 of those seats are held by Democrats, and they need 2 seats to take control. All 435 House seats are up for reelection; probably 215 “favor” Republicans and 200 “favor” Democrats. That means approximately 20 to 25 seats are tossups. Here is where I diverge in my projections from everyone else because I believe the days of Party voting are on the wane. I believe that the electorate is going to be influenced by the people who vote based on the Zeitgeist (German Zeit or “time” and Geist or “Ghost”, specifically, the spirit or invisible force of that period). It will be this defining spirit or mood of the people that will determine the outcome of this election. Included in this assessment are economic issues such as taxation, regulation, employment/unemployment, immigration, terrorism, and social issues. Regardless of regional differences, all will be judged according to what’s happening in Washington.
I think that the midterm elections are going to be decided by those motivated voters who have had enough of the Democratic Party and RINOs and their continued refusal to accept the fact that Donald Trump won the election. Between them and the liberal press, voters have grown tired of only hearing the negatives about the President and our country. In a recent article reported in CNS News, “Today's strong economy is the result of President Donald Trump's policies, according to a recent poll by CBS News, which also showed that nearly half of Americans believe Trump is keeping a good number of his campaign promises. …. As for the 2018 congressional elections, 34% said they would prefer to vote for a ‘Republican who is more in line with Donald Trump.’ Only 22% said they would prefer to vote for ‘a progressive of [sic] liberal Democrat.’” The same poll reported that 72% (of Democrats and Independents) want a Democratic candidate who will promote a progressive agenda; 28% want a candidate who will oppose Trump’s agenda. https://www.cnsnews.com/news/article/michael-w-chapman/cbs-poll-68-credit-president-trump-current-economy
I have thought about this continued resistance to everything that is “Trump”, and I have finally concluded that the model to explain this is the Kübler-Ross model, otherwise known as the five stages of grief. The five stages are: anger, denial, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/K%C3%BCbler-Ross_model Let’s start with the first stage: anger. It would be hard to find anyone who is a Democrat (and some Republicans) who is not angry that Trump won; I have never seen so much anger and hatred after a national election. The second stage, denial, is evident in the fact that Democrats and Republicans (especially RINOs) are trying to completely ignore him by refusing to accept the fact he is the President (and leader of the Republican Party) by trying to circumvent or prevent his programs. The third stage of bargaining is beginning to creep into the National agenda; it appears that Congress and the Democrats sort of realize he is the President and are trying – in some cases – to find common ground. The fourth stage of depression will occur if the Republicans retain control of both the Senate and the House; I am pretty sure this will put the Democrats over the edge. The last stage, acceptance, will occur at some point between 2020 and 2022. In my opinion this might be the most dangerous stage because the Democrats will regroup and try to refocus an agenda that will resonate with the electorate – and not just be an anti-Trump campaign strategy.
I believe that the voters are going to go to the polls this November with the intent of voting out the incumbents – both Republicans and Democrats. I believe that this anger will be more directed at the Senate level; the numbers (presented previously) favor Republicans coming out on top because of the number of seats up for election/reelection. I believe that the house will be less chaotic because it is a more “personal environment (i.e., smaller jurisdictions). There will be some juggling within the incumbency, but overall I believe the Republicans will come close to keeping control of their existing numbers. The 20 or so House seats that are undecided will probably add to the Republican’s majority.
Obviously, a lot can happen between now and November. I’m going to believe that the positive direction present in Trump’s performance is going to continue. The Consumer Confidence Index is increasing, job openings are increasing, and unemployment is declining. Hopefully the positive things that he is doing will be reported on by the media, and people will realize that Trump is really Making America Great Again! And Americans prefer winners who play fairly. When a campaign ad starts off something like “I’m going to show Trump!” – well, you know that person is a loser who will probably not play fair. As far as the anger against incumbents, James Madison, referring to the House of Representatives, wrote in The Federalist Papers, No. 57: “. . . [T]hey can make no law which will not have its full operation on themselves and their friends, as well as on the great mass of the society. If it be asked, what is to restrain the House of Representatives from making legal discriminations in favor of themselves and a particular class of the society? … I answer: the genius of the whole system; the nature of just and constitutional laws; and above all, the vigilant and manly spirit which actuates the people of America -- a spirit which nourishes freedom, and in return is nourished by it.” While this particular comment is applicable to both parties, the point is that the electorate is upset – and this is just one more reason. Also, according to the latest Gallup Poll, 17% approve of the way Congress is doing their job, but 79% disapprove. Blue wave – I don’t think so, but I do think that somebody’s going to pay!
Donald G. Mutersbaugh, Sr. earned his Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Maryland and his Master of Business Administration degree from Mary Washington College. He is the former Associate Administrator of Information Resources for the U.S House of Representatives under Speaker Newt Gingrich.