How Democratic Candidates Predict and Predict the 2018 and 2020 Senate Elections: How Demographic, Genographic, and Geographical Alignments Could Distract Electorate Alignment
An historic decision by the Supreme Court to overturn the 50 year old constitutional right to abortion, or a once-in-a-Lifetime Pandemic are just a few of the momentous events that could distract voters from demographic, generational and geographic alignments within the electorate. Lynn Vavreck, UCLA political scientist, says that the election may indicate that America is in for a long stay on the edge of political coalitions.
A Senate divided exactly 50% between the parties is something that has never been done in two consecutive elections, something that many analysts in both parties think will happen next month. Even if Republicans take the House, it now appears likely they will hold a smaller, and more fractious, majority than seemed probable earlier this year; if Democrats defy the odds to defend their already-slim majority, their margin almost certainly will be historically tiny.
The major data sources studying how Americans vote – including the Edison Research exit polls conducted for a media consortium that includes CNN, the Pew Research Center’s Validated Voters study and the projections by Catalist, a Democratic voter targeting firm – generally agree that in the 2018 House elections and the 2016 and 2020 presidential campaigns, Democrats won most women and lost most men (Pew had the two sides splitting men evenly in 2018.) Overall, these sources determined Democrats ran about 13 percentage points better among women than men in 2016 (when Democrat Hillary Rodham Clinton was the first female major party presidential nominee) and around 8-12 points better in 2018 and 2020.
AARP, the giant lobby for seniors, has contracted with the firms headed by the lead pollsters in 2020 for Trump (Fabrizio Ward) and Biden (Impact Research) to conduct surveys across the major Senate and governor races – an ambitious project that has produced the most comprehensive set of publicly available surveys conducted with the same methodology. In the seven major competitive Senate races the two firms have polled, Republicans led among men in every state, and Democrats led among women in every state except Wisconsin. The Democrats had a very narrow lead with women.
The Democrats hold an eleven point lead in statewide polls in some states, as well as many more than that, including in the Senate races of Colorado, Pennsylvania, Ohio and Georgia. Except for Arizona, where the Democratic Sen. Mark Kelly is a former astronaut, all the other contests were won by Republicans. The latest CNN polls in Arizona and Nevada showed Kelly and Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto, respectively, holding double digit leads among women, but trailing among men – Kelly narrowly and Masto by a crushing twenty-point margin. The CNN poll found that the two genders were split in the Arizona and Nevada gubernatorial races.
Powerful forces this year are driving apart the preferences of men and women. Most surveys show that the decision by the Republican-appointed majority on the Supreme Court to revoke the nearly 50-year constitutional right to the procedure is more important as a voting issue to women than men. Inflation is more concern for men than any other issue, according to a recent national NPR/Marist poll.
The generation gap is another thread through these polls. With only occasional exceptions, Democrats consistently run better with younger than older voters. The advantage is greatest among the youngest voters, 18 to 29 years old.Voters in their early 40s have the advantage. Democrats have been consistently weakest among voters in the later stages of their working careers – roughly from 45-65 – before recovering in several states to post more competitive numbers among seniors aged 65 or older, who are sensitive to Democratic appeals on Social Security, Medicare and reducing prescription drug costs, as the AARP surveys show.
The most important part this year is education. The education gap is ten points bigger than the gender gap when you combine nine different polls in battleground states and I believe that this will be a significant predictor in these races.
These effects have a compound effect. The GOP has been strongest in recent years among white men without a college degree, and the party appears to be in a good position to match or even exceed that in the congressional vote this year. Democratic nominees have rarely reached even 35% of the vote with these men in the polls.
“Younger women are very engaged and very fearful and angry about the court’s decision: they are the most Democratic- voting group bar none,” says Katherine Spillar, executive director of the Feminist Majority Foundation, a liberal group that on Monday released an extensive study about the gender gap.
It is more difficult for older White women without a college degree to see the larger picture, which is why Lake conducted the polling. They also tend to support abortion rights, she says, but they are less likely than younger and college-educated women to prioritize it above inflation in their vote. “You are not going to get non-college educated women if you don’t have both an economic conversation with them and a Roe v. Wade conversation, particularly with the older end of them,” Lake said.
The House Speaker’s View on Latino Elections: How Democratic Candidates Can Benefit from the Breaking of the Glass-Closing Clumpy
With inflation there is no doubt that it is possible. But large-sample surveys of Latino voters by The Washington Post/Ipsos and the Pew Research Center have not yet found evidence of big Republican inroads: each survey found Democrats holding more than three-fifths of the two party vote among Latino voters, less than earlier in this century but almost exactly their level in 2020. Nor did the Post/Ipsos poll find evidence of GOP improvement with male or non-college Latinos. Still even small Latino shifts could threaten Democrats in closely contested states. Nevada, where many Latinos have been squeezed first by the COVID shutdowns in gambling and then by inflation, may be the state where economic unhappiness is most threatening to Democratic prospects.
“I want all people to feel like they can have a place in government,” the Democrat told CNN in November, prior to winning an open-seat race in Vermont. If my breaking of the glass ceilings allows people to see themselves as part of those roles, that is very exciting to me.
Along with being Vermont’s first female member of Congress, Balint is also the first out LGBTQ person elected to Washington from the Green Mountain State.
After Mississippi Republican Cindy Hyde- Smith was appointed to the US Senate, Vermont never sent a woman to Congress. But rather than attributing that unwelcome distinction to any anti-female bias, Garrison Nelson, a professor emeritus of political science at the University of Vermont, told CNN last year, “It’s a case of longevity that has prevented women from getting opportunities to serve in the Congress.”
The at-large House seat became vacant after Democrat Peter Fitzgibbon decided to run for Senate in order to replace Sen. Patrick Leahy who was himself first elected in 1974.
Balint has joined the House Progressive Caucus, where she will serve as vice chair for new members. She recently told CNN that her congressional priority will be finding more resources for mental health in her home state and addressing the housing crisis. The health of our democracy is the first thing on her list.
The First Lady: Nikki Haley, the First Woman Electoral Candidate in South Carolina, During the 2016 Democratic Primary
There were a record number of women elected in the November congressional elections, and both the democrats and the Republicans made strides to make their congressional ranks more diverse.
I remember the first time I saw Nikki Haley. It was in a high school gym before the 2012 South Carolina Republican presidential primary. Tim Scott, who was then a congressman, was holding a raucous town hall, and Ms. Haley was there to cheer him on. The first Indian American ever elected to statewide office in South Carolina, she is the youngest governor in the country. Ms. Haley’s talent is that of a talented politician. She seemed to like people and people liked her. She made routine conversations feel important by not talking to you. She seemed like she had unlimited potential.
The politician who saw herself as a role model for women and immigrants transformed herself into everything she claimed to oppose: By 2021, Ms. Haley was openly embracing her inner MAGA with comments like, “Thank goodness for Donald Trump or we never would have gotten Kamala Harris to the border.” In one sentence, she managed to attack women and immigrants while praising the man she had vowed never to stop fighting. She had gone from saying “I have to tell you, Donald Trump is everything I taught my children not to do in kindergarten” to “I don’t want us to go back to the days before Trump.”
People who have failed in their bid for president are included in the listings of prospective running mates. It’s likely that in two decades, Republicans will look to other women as well as those with national reputations for past political exploits.
But she is not the only woman from the ranks of well-known current and former officials who will matter in the next GOP nominating process — the first voting events of which are now just a year away.
Like Haley, Noem has said in the past she would support Trump if he sought the party’s nomination a third time. She declined to support him when he declared formally in November. Noem told The New York Times that Trump didn’t offer the best chance to win the party’s nomination in a few years.
Former Rep. Liz Cheney of Wyoming, once a name in the conversation for speaker of the House or the national ticket, fell from grace when she defied her Republican colleagues and co-chaired the House Select Committee on the January 6th Attack on the Capitol. Cheney was on the same panel that condemned Trump and declared she would do whatever was necessary to prevent his return to office.
That was taken as the beginning of a challenge to the former president. But after Cheney lost her own primary in August, her future prospects seemed all but extinguished in the party she had long served (as had her father, former Vice President Richard Cheney).
Ranging beyond the realm of Republican officeholders, there are other women with conservative credentials or points of view who have shown interest in the nation’s highest office as well. This past week when a congressional panel had a hearing on how the Biden administration was “weaponizing” federal agencies against citizens, one witness getting a lot of attention was Tulsi Gabbard.
She has not declared any new party allegiance, but has remained in the public eye as the host of a podcast and YouTube channel and as a speaker at the Conservative Political Action Conference. Newsweek reported last fall that a British bookmaker believed that Gabbard had a better chance of being on the next Republican ticket than Mike Pence.
Many political observers have long believed the first woman president would achieve that office after first being vice president. Harris knows that it could happen at any time.
The conversation regarding women on the ticket was carried on after Harris was elected. The culture has continued to change. Gender balance has gone from a novelty to a natural assumption. The pressure on the party to resist that nature will come from the public.
When women got the right to vote in 1920, it wasn’t a big deal, since women already had the right to protest for the White House in 1872. The first woman to receive votes in primaries and at the national convention was Margaret Chase Smith, a senator from Maine, in 1964.
The Republican and the Democrat have both nominated women for vice president. Both were able to disrupt the convention and the media coverage for a period of weeks.
Neither could change the underlying dynamics of those races or supply the missing pieces that may have been lacking in their parties’ presidential nominees. Supporters who thought these gender breakthroughs might galvanize women voters across party lines were disappointed.
A key complicating factor for women contemplating 2024 is the role of Trump. Haley is the first official opponent, but no one expects her to be the last. His failure to “clear the field” as a two-time nominee and former president has been widely noted.
DeSantis is regarded as the likeliest challenger to match Trump in polls and fundraising. But New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu has been “testing the waters” as well, and there could be others such as Maryland’s popular former Gov. Larry Hogan, who just retired due to term limits.
Pence, too, for his part, has been showing up in the early primary states, but not showing well in the polls. Trump’s true believers see him as disloyal, yet Pence seems part of the Trump legacy to those who want the party to move on.
Would opposing him in the primaries automatically kill any chance of being his running mate? Taking on Biden in the early Democratic debates did not kill Harris’ chances. On the other hand, Harris did drop out before the primaries actually began and endorsed Biden early in March.
A Tale of Two Pseudosophics: Sarah Huckabee’s Posturing and the Role of a Resurgent Trump
There is an awkwardness in all this posturing, some of which may have been at work when Arkansas Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders gave the official Republican response to Biden’s State of the Union on Feb. 7. It has been seen as an opportunity for statewide politicians to prove their worth. Sanders used it to deliver a strong message of condemnation against the Biden administration and against Democrats in general, especially on social issues.
She also included considerable personal information and referred to her role as the White House press secretary going to Iraq to visit troops with the president and first lady — all without ever without mentioning the name of the president she served. She was criticized by both conservatives and Trump supporters.
Sanders has remained friendly with Trump. Her dad, Mike Huckabee, the former Arkansas’ governor, wanted a safe distance from her. Huckabee ran for president twice in the past decade, but he didn’t work for the Trump administration while he was pursuing a talk show and speaking engagements.
Some Republican women who are recognizable may find themselves torn between their gratitude for Trump’s help and a desire to be part of a new generation of Republican leaders.
Some such as the Georgia lawmaker, who is closely associated with Trump, might not have options if they’re not close to him. But someone such as Elise Stefanik, the New York congresswoman who replaced Cheney as the House GOP’s third-ranking leader, might have maneuvering room in either direction.
There also exists the possibility that a resurgent Trump might look beyond current officeholders for an outsider with no second thoughts as his running mate, someone with mediagenic appeal who is willing to embrace his “stolen election” obsession about 2020 with fervor to match his own.
The former Phoenix TV anchor devoted herself to the idea that she would be elected governor of Arizona in 2022, despite losing the race. Lake has been mentioned as a Senate candidate next year, but this weekend she will be visiting Iowa, the site of the first Republican caucuses a year from now.
And Palin is still politically active and still telling Alaskans she would be their elected member of Congress right now if it were not for a “weird” voting system voters adopted there by referendum the year before her defeat in 2022.
The campaign declined to comment on some of the attacks she has faced, including from Mr. Trump, but she has made clear she is wary of anything that could be seen as claiming victimhood.
Ms. Haley wrote in her book, if you want something done: leadership lessons from bold women, that we are not victims unless we choose to be. There is a danger that we end up thinking that a woman’s road to empowerment is with someone else.
While it may be difficult for Republican women to accuse another Republican of sexism, perceived derogatory comments from Democrats or the news media are another matter. On Thursday, Ms. Haley was unambiguous in her criticism of Don Lemon of CNN, calling him a “sexist middle-aged” anchor after he suggested she was past her “prime.” He expressed regrets for his comment.
Steven Cheung, a spokesman for Mr. Trump, said that the former president had advocated for the advancement of women throughout his life.