Friday Talking Points -- Whew!

[ Posted Friday, November 11th, 2022 – 19:13 UTC ]

Well, that was a better week than we expected, we have to say.

The 2022 midterm elections are now over (although the counting still isn't) and the one big takeaway is that either Republicans dropped the ball or Democrats ran excellent campaigns all over the country. Or maybe some combination of the two. The red wave simply did not appear as predicted. A "blue breakwater" turned it back.

This is downright historic. As of this writing, the outcome is still in doubt -- control of both chambers of Congress is still up in the air. But no matter how the remaining races turn out, Democrats managed an expectations-defying performance.

The last president, Donald Trump, lost 42 House seats in his midterm election. Barack Obama, in his first midterm in 2010, lost a whopping 63 House seats. George W. Bush rode a "rally 'round the president" wave of good feeling (due to 9/11 still being fresh in people's minds) and actually picked up eight House seats. But Bill Clinton saw the loss of 54 seats in 1994. Stacked up against those precedents, no matter what the final tally in the House, Democrats did spectacularly well at beating the odds.

If you go back even further, in fact, it gets even more impressive. Since 1934 we have had 22 midterm elections. The president's party lost, on average, 28 House seats and four Senate seats over this time period. Joe Biden's Democrats may wind up picking up a Senate seat and holding House losses to single digits.

This happened even though Biden's approval rating is below 45 percent -- usually seen as a pretty disastrous place for any president to be -- and inflation is running higher than it has in decades. Americans are not happy about the prices they pay for gas, for food, for rent, and for everything else they need to buy in life. But even with all this economic discontent, the electorate refused to "throw the bums out."

The media completely blew it, in their prognostications of what this election would be like. They were snookered by a wave of partisan Republican polls released in the final weeks of the campaign, and they had all convinced themselves that abortion wasn't really that big of a political issue for voters. Neither tidbit of inside-the-Beltway cocktail-party conventional wisdom panned out.

Here is how Washington Post columnist Dana Milbank summed things up:

I'm sorry to say that my colleagues in the political press blew it.

The headlines coming into Tuesday's elections almost uniformly predicted a Democratic wipeout. Here's just a small sampling:

"The bottom is dropping out of the 2022 election for Democrats"

"Democrats, on Defense in Blue States, Brace for a Red Wave in the House"

"Red tsunami watch"

"The Republican wave is building fast"

"Democrats fear midterm drubbing as party leaders rush to defend blue seats"

"Why the midterms are going to be great for Donald Trump"

"Breaking down the GOP's midterm momentum"

"Democrats confront their nightmare scenario on election eve as economic concerns overshadow abortion and democracy worries"

I pulled those from The [Washington] Post, the New York Times, CNN, Axios and Politico -- but the rest of the news media called it much the same.

. . .

So what happened? Political journalists were suckered by a wave of Republican junk polls in the closing weeks of the campaign. They were also swayed by some reputable polling organizations that, burned by past failures to capture MAGA voters, overweighted their polls to account for that in ways that simply didn't make sense. And reporters fell for Republican feints and misdirection, as Republican operatives successfully created an artificial sense of momentum by talking about how they were spending money in reliably blue areas.

An extraordinary profusion of bad partisan polling flooded the media late in the campaign, coming from GOP outfits such as Trafalgar (which had Blake Masters over Mark Kelly in the Arizona Senate race, Don Bolduc over Maggie Hassan in the New Hampshire Senate race, among others) and Rasmussen (which gave Republicans a five point edge in the generic ballot).

In other words, the Republican Party did an excellent job of gaslighting the media, but fell short of gaslighting the public. Michelle Goldberg of the New York Times began her take on things a lot more succinctly:

I'll admit it: I let the right, and political analysts who were listening to the right, psych me out.

We have to admit that even though this blog was started in large part to point out the ridiculousness of how the mainstream media sees things, we were also snookered. We absolutely dreaded sitting down on the night of the election to watch the returns come in. But as it turned out, the red wave never appeared on the horizon. Early on, Democrats won some key races that were seen as bellwethers of the electorate's mood. This continued, as the vote-counting moved slowly westward (as the polls closed in each state). Somewhere along the way, perhaps halfway through the night, a tiny spark of optimism began to grow. Maybe things weren't going to be disastrous? Maybe we weren't about to enter a very dark time in American politics?

This proved to be the case. The voters proved all the pundits wrong. In a big way. Thankfully....

So what really happened? At this point it's not entirely clear, but several storylines have emerged. The first: democracy won. President Joe Biden explicitly stated this in a post-election press conference, and he was not only right but his victory lap was entirely deserved. Biden gave two major speeches during the campaign, both on the same subject: the danger to American democracy of electing people who were firm believers in the Big Lie that the 2020 election was "stolen" from Donald Trump -- especially the danger of electing them to offices where they would oversee the next presidential election. The "election-deniers" lost pretty much across the board (a few races in Arizona and Nevada are still outstanding), in both races for governor and secretary of state. Democracy held firm.

The second: abortion rights is not some momentary impulse of a political issue that just "fades away" after a few weeks or a few months. People -- and not all of them women -- are still angry that the radical-right Supreme Court saw fit to toss a constitutional right out the window. And they turned out, and they voted accordingly. Standing up for abortion rights is a solid winner for Democrats -- so look for a whole wave of ballot initiatives in the 2024 election to guarantee the right to abortion in state after state. Not only did abortion rights sweep the board this Tuesday night, but it drove turnout. That is the gold standard of "wedge issues," and it's the first one favoring Democrats so heavily in a very long time. If Democrats don't exploit this for all it is worth in 2024, it will be nothing short of political malpractice.

Long after the polling organizations and the media collectively decided that the issue of abortion rights had faded into the background, the exit polling on Tuesday showed a radically different picture. While inflation was the number one issue people named as most important in deciding how to vote (at 31 percent), abortion was a close second (at 27 percent). But that was nationwide. In individual states it was even higher:

In Michigan, where a referendum to put abortion rights into the state constitution was approved by voters, 45 percent of the electorate said that issue was most important compared with 28 percent who named inflation. In Pennsylvania, 37 percent named abortion compared with 28 percent who cited inflation.

In New Hampshire, it was 36 percent naming inflation and 35 percent citing abortion. And in that state, even as Republican Gov. Chris Sununu rolled to reelection, Democratic Sen. Maggie Hassan held off a strong challenger to win by 10 percentage points, and two Democratic House members, Ann Kuster and Chris Pappas, easily defeated their GOP challengers. Republicans had thought any or all three of those contests could end up in their column.

In many places, this was the Dobbs election, plain and simple. It was Roevember. Three states had ballot initiatives which codified abortion rights into their state constitutions (California, Michigan, and Vermont). All three won handily. Two states tried to restrict abortion rights (Kentucky, Montana) by ballot measures. Both failed. Democratic candidates embraced the issue wholeheartedly, instead of just giving it passing mention, and ran thousands of ads on protecting women's health care, women's rights, and women's freedom. The Republicans were caught flatfooted, since the party had no cohesive position to rally around. Also since even if they had had some stock position on the issue, it would have been a very unpopular one. This basic dynamic isn't going to change in the next two years, unless Democrats pull off a miraculous upset and retain control of both the House and Senate (in which case, they could codify abortion rights at the federal level). It's going to be just as potent a motivator to get people to the polls in two years as it was this Tuesday.

Other takeaways from the election results: young people voted at impressive rates (for the third straight election), women voted at impressive rates, Democrats in general turned out in impressive numbers. The overall turnout for this midterm may not quite be as high as it was in 2018, but it will still likely be higher than any other midterm in decades. Voters are engaged, in the era of Trump.

Other Democratic issues did well as ballot referenda too. Legalizing recreational marijuana won in two states (Maryland and Missouri) while falling short in three others. Raising the minimum wage passed in a number of places. But it wasn't just ballot measures that saw strong support from the left -- Democrats might also pull off another historic feat:

Democrats are expected to hold on to their existing majorities in both the Nevada state Assembly and Senate when all votes are counted. If that happens, it would mark the first time since at least 1934 that the party in control of the White House retained all of its state legislative majorities in a midterm election, according to the Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee.

Democrats have already confirmed that they will retain majorities in Colorado and Maine, where Republicans had targeted both chambers of each state legislature. The DLCC claimed victory in Nevada on Thursday, although the results have not been officially confirmed.

They also flipped at least three chambers -- Michigan's House and Senate and the Minnesota Senate -- Tuesday night. A single additional victory in Pennsylvania, where ballots are still being counted in some races, would give them the majority in the state House.

And they may succeed in breaking the GOP's stranglehold on one or both chambers of the Arizona Legislature, where a single flipped seat in either body would result in a tie.

. . .

That helped secure a total Democratic victory in Michigan, where those in the party will now hold complete control of the state Legislature and the governor's mansion for the first time since 1984. The flip of the Minnesota Senate, meanwhile, completed the Democratic trifecta.

Democrats also prevented Republicans from taking supermajority control of general assemblies in Wisconsin and North Carolina, outcomes that will preserve the veto power of the states' Democratic governors.

The most shocking result, however, may ultimately come from Pennsylvania, where Democrats entered Tuesday needing to flip 12 state House seats to win a majority. Even The States Project, which said it spent $11 million on Pennsylvania state House races alone, thought that was an unlikely outcome and considered it more plausible that Democrats could make enough gains to put the majority in play in 2024.

Instead, Democrats racked up wins across the state that could now give them the majority for the first time since 2010 if the results in a final race break their way.

Democrats defied historical norms up and down the ballot, in other words. This is heartening to see, since ever since Barack Obama got elected Democrats have been losing ground in the statehouses across the country. Which is where things like redistricting, election law, and abortion law are decided.

Things went so well for Democrats we actually read an article that used the term "blue wave" ("The GOP Thought It Could Make Gains In New England. A Blue Wave Hit Instead."). That's how good a night it was.

The Democratic Party really should consider sending a big bunch of flowers to Donald Trump, Lindsey Graham, and Rick Scott, just to thank them for their stellar work in torpedoing Republican chances this time around. Scott, early on, put forth his own "platform" document (since his party has been too chicken to admit to the American public what their agenda will be for the past four straight years), which prominently featured "sunsetting" all federal laws every five years. This would mean Congress would have to vote on things like Social Security and Medicare, over and over again. Graham, meanwhile, introduced his own federal abortion ban legislation with mere weeks left in the midterm campaigns -- which just drove the point home how much Republicans want to strip women's freedoms away nationwide (even in blue states). Trump, of course, was Trump. He made every rally about him and him alone, and harangued every Republican candidate to support his monomania about the 2020 election Big Lie. Much to their detriment, almost everywhere.

It may be short-lived, but we are now in an extraordinary period where the Republican right-wing echo chamber is actually turning on Trump. Rupert Murdoch's media empire seems to be done with Trump, as both the Wall Street Journal and the tabloid New York Post absolutely savaged Trump after the election by prominently calling him the thing he hates and fears the most -- a loser. Trump is an anchor on the party. A ball and chain. A millstone around their necks. This message was even publicly stated by a few Republican politicians, showing that discontent for Trump's antics seems to be growing. It's pretty easy to see why:

But in 2020, Trump became the first president since the Great Depression to lose the House, the Senate and the presidency in a single term. And you'd think ushering the party to a potential loss of a very winnable Senate majority and a subpar midterm election might cause certain people to decide maybe this isn't working for them.

It remains to be seen whether this will last or not, though. Trump seems to be ignoring all advice to lay low at least until the Georgia Senate runoff election happens (in early December) and is reportedly plowing ahead with his planned big announcement next Tuesday -- coincidentally the same day Mike Pence's book will be published. Trump wants to announce his 2024 bid for the presidency very badly and it looks like he's not going to wait any longer. He may be right -- if he jumps in and starts a bandwagon effect, he could send all those Republicans now complaining about his drag on the party back into cowardly silence.

But something feels different, at this point. Now Republicans actually have a proven winner to rally around instead. Florida Governor Ron DeSantis had an excellent night Tuesday and cruised to re-election. He is now seen by many Republicans as the savior of their party -- a way for them to be just as angry at "woke liberals," but without all the egomaniacal nonsense. Trump is afraid of DeSantis eclipsing his hold on the party and has already started attacking him. So this could be the main event in the GOP boxing ring for at least the next few months (unless leadership challenges appear for Kevin McCarthy and/or Mitch McConnell, both of which are distinct possibilities).

Has Trump truly lost his mojo? Time will tell. He could indeed continue to fade until he's no more than an angry voice crying in the political wilderness. But then again, plenty of people have been making that very prediction for roughly seven years now, and it's never actually happened yet. So who knows?

The best thing about the 2022 midterms is that they apparently went off without a hitch. There were no mobs of people storming the counting sites. There were no heavily-armed "elections observers" intimidating voters in Democratic areas. And even most of the election-deniers sheepishly conceded their races when they lost. There are a handful who are making loud noises, but nobody is paying much attention to them.

There could be one big exception to this, if gubernatorial candidate Kari Lake loses in Arizona. Not only is Lake aboard the MAGA Express in a big way, she is already spreading conspiracy theories about the vote-counting even though there are still reportedly hundreds of thousands of votes left to count (as of this writing). If she comes up short (she is currently losing by almost 30,000 votes), she could easily make a big stink. She's been a full-throated adherent of Trump's Big Lie, so it wouldn't be out of character at all for her to whine just as loudly as Trump's been whining for the last two years.

This could provide a real test for the rest of the Republican Party. If they truly do want to move on from Trump's egotism, they could all refuse to support Lake's wild "I wuz robbed!" conspiracy theories. They could, in a word, just ignore her. Or they could jump on board with Trump, who will doubtlessly enthusiastically back Lake's "Little Lie" (along with his own 2020 Big Lie), and give even more life to the issue of looking backwards rather than forwards. We could see it going either way, really.

No matter what happens in the final races, though -- no matter what the eventual makeup of Congress will be next year -- we have to close where we began: with relief. Because it could have been so much worse than whatever it turns out to be. Democrats prevented a big red wave of an election, and they have every reason to be proud of doing so. They impressively beat the odds and beat the conventional wisdom. And that made for a very good week all around.


Most Impressive Democrat Of The Week

It is hard to pick just one Democrat our for recognition in what was such an impressive week. It's hard also to resist the urge to give the award to a demographic group of American voters -- women who care about constitutional freedoms, or young voters who are becoming increasingly reliable for the Democratic coalition. Both showed impressive power at the ballot box and certainly deserve the thanks of every grateful Democrat in the country.

We have to at least give an Honorable Mention to President Joe Biden, for his two speeches on the importance of fighting for American democracy. Both were mostly sneered at in the political media, mostly for being "out of touch." "Why doesn't Biden give a speech on inflation and the economy?" was a common refrain.

Well, it turns out Biden was craftier than the pundits gave him credit for. He returned to an overarching theme from his own campaign, which might be stated as: "We as a country are better than this -- C'mon, people!"

And people listened. It turns out voters were very concerned with the future of American democracy, and they refused in almost every instance of electing an acolyte of Trump's Big Lie to a position where they would be in charge of or running the whole state's election system. The Republicans ran a slate of foxes to guard the henhouse, and the American people were not fooled. Biden merely fed into this sentiment, he didn't create it. But it was the media itself which was "out of touch," not Biden. For which he deserves some credit.

But there truly is only one choice for this week's award, because John Fetterman was the most impressive winner of all this week. Fetterman, of course, suffered a stroke just before the primary election (which he won). He has been in recovery ever since, which has included some issues with processing audio and choosing words (which is common for stroke survivors, it bears mentioning). But despite this, he insisted on holding a single debate with his opponent Mehmet "Dr." Oz, where he had some troubles and some stumbles.

After the debate, many pundits wrote off his chances entirely. He was declared dead in the water. Oz would surely triumph after such a performance.

Instead, the exact opposite happened. Fetterman's support didn't budge an inch in the polls, while Oz was the one who suffered the most damage from the debate -- for his answer on abortion law where he explained that the decision should be left up to: "a woman, her doctor, and local political leaders." The voters of Pennsylvania had a different opinion about that, to put it mildly.

Fetterman, before his stroke, was something new on the political stage, at least over on the Democratic side of the aisle. He was brash, he was a fighter, and he was about as blue-collar as you can imagine. He speaks the language that rural and small-town voters like to hear. He is a character with a whole lot of charisma.

So here's hoping he makes a full recovery and starts to become a go-to media presence as one of Pennsylvania's senators. He has the ability to cut through the nonsense and speak plainly about all kinds of issues Democrats care about, and he could prove to be a real rising star within the party. For this week, he was easily the Most Impressive Democrat Of The Week.

[Congratulate Senator-Elect John Fetterman on his campaign contact page (which we can provide a link to, now that the election is over), to let him know you appreciate his efforts.]


Most Disappointing Democrat Of The Week

Surprisingly, for such a good week, we have quite a few candidates for the Most Disappointing Democrat Of The Week award. It was tough to choose just one of them in fact. Although we will say that all of them (with the exception of one) qualified on the "disappointed many Democrats nationwide" interpretation of the award rather than the harsher "did or said something completely disappointing" side of things.

We start with the exception to that statement. Sean Patrick Maloney chaired the group in the House of Representatives who were tasked with getting Democrats elected. Now, arguably, he did a pretty good job of this in a very difficult environment. But he is a very establishment/centrist sort of Democrat and some progressives in the party have not exactly been happy with all his choices (to put it mildly). Ironically perhaps, Maloney did do a good job of building that "blue breakwater" against the red tide, but he failed in the most basic job he had: getting himself re-elected. It's always disappointing when someone in leadership loses their seat, of course, to party stalwarts.

But the reason why Maloney qualified on both interpretations of the MDDOTW award was that he had to settle a score on his way off the political stage, and took a few potshots at Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez before his exit. She smacked him back (naturally), but his sour grapes left a bad taste in many mouths. So he's our first winner of a (Dis-)Honorable Mention award, this week.

Our next two are rather sad, because both politicians seemed so destined for higher things. And either one of them could actually make it happen some day, we will still admit. But Beto O'Rourke and Stacey Abrams both (once again) lost their big races, in Texas and Georgia. They have now moved into not just "perennial candidate" territory (by one count, Beto has been campaigning for multiple offices for 1,175 of the past 2,048 days), but -- alas -- "perennial loser" status. Again, it pains us to say this, but it seems to be true. Perhaps it's time to move on to "politician emeritus" status, and morph into political commentary on a cable channel? Just an idea....

And our final two winners of the (Dis-)Honorable Mention award both ran for the Senate and were both pretty easily defeated. Val Demings challenged Marco Rubio in Florida and lost rather resoundingly. Tim Ryan was an excellent candidate, by all accounts ran an excellent campaign for a Senate seat from Ohio against a Trump-selected candidate who ran a terrible campaign, and yet he still lost. Much to the disappointment of Democrats across the country (Ryan, especially).

But our Most Disappointing Democrat Of The Week was Mandela Barnes in Wisconsin, who failed to defeat one of the least-popular senators around. Ron Johnson was considered extremely vulnerable, due to his extreme positions against vaccinations and COVID precautions (which veered off into conspiracy theory more than once) and due to the fact that he demonstrably participated in the effort to overturn the Electoral College's decision on January 6th. Plus, he's not a very likeable guy and is one of the dumbest Republicans in the Senate (which, as we have noted before, is really saying something, these days).

Barnes failed to seal the deal, even with all those tailwinds. He came close -- Johnson only won by a single percentage point -- but he failed to knock off what had been considered one of the easiest pickups in the whole country. If Barnes had won the day, then right now Democrats would only need one of the remaining three races where the outcome is in doubt politically to retain control of the Senate. Even more importantly, if Democrats run the tables on those remaining three, they would have wound up with 52 senators -- enough to finally and completely ignore Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema and get some important things done.

But that's simply not possible now. Which is beyond disappointing. Which is why Mandela Barnes is our Most Disappointing Democrat Of The Week this week.

[Contact Wisconsin Lieutenant Governor Mandela Barnes down at the bottom of his campaign website (which we can provide a link to, now that the election is over), to let him know what you think of his actions.]


Friday Talking Points

Volume 685 (11/11/22)

It's hard to call this week's talking points anything more than a victory lap, unless you prefer seasonal sports metaphors and would rather call it "spiking the football in the endzone" instead.

It was a good week for Democrats, obviously.

So we just decided to exalt in that feeling, for our talking points this week. Enjoy!


   Democracy matters

Biden was right.

"You know, I listened to the media go on and on about what voters were supposedly thinking while they decided who to vote for and I listened to all their horserace reporting and I have to conclude that they missed a very important fact -- one that President Biden spoke to while the media types sneered. Democracy matters. It matters a great deal to a great many Americans. More than fluctuations in the economy, more than the price of gas, more than all the scare tactics in all the apocalyptic Republican campaign ads. Democracy means a great deal. In state after state the voters looked at candidates who were essentially promising them that if they were elected they could guarantee Republican victories in all subsequent elections. And the voters wound up agreeing with Biden -- such a concept is un-American and downright dangerous. When faced with the choice of democracy versus one-party rule no matter what the voters thought, people chose democracy. Maybe the media could do some reporting on that?"


   Freedoms matter

Another one the media blew.

"Seeing tens of millions of American women lose basic constitutional freedoms because the Republicans finally got their dream of packing the Supreme Court with ideological radicals was a much bigger deal than many pundits predicted. But freedoms matter. Freedom matters to women of prime childbearing age, it matters to women old enough to remember what life was like pre-Roe, and it matters to all women in between as well. And you know what? Women's freedoms matter to a whole bunch of men, too. I'd like to personally thank Senator Lindsey Graham for showing America exactly what the Republican Party really wants -- a federal law which restricts women's rights. He could have kept quiet until after the election and all the Republican candidates might have successfully downplayed their extreme positions, but because Graham introduced his bill they were all forced to answer whether they would support it or not. So thank you Lindsey Graham for helping to prove how important women's rights truly are as an issue for American voters. The Democratic Party will be using your bill for at least another couple of election cycles to come -- right up to where we get enough power to turn the clock forward again and restore women's rights back to where they were before the Supreme Court's wrongheaded decision was handed down. Because freedoms matter."


   More thanks...

Democrats need to realize this wasn't a one-time thing.

"I'd also like to thank young voters across America for turning out and participating in our democratic system. This is in fact the third election in a row that the youth of American has proven to be decisive in the election, and that now includes two midterm elections. These two elections, in 2018 and this year, saw the highest overall turnout of any midterms in decades. People are newly engaged, ever since the Republican Party went completely bonkers, it seems. Young people aren't the apathetic slackers that Republicans think they all are. And the Democrats should start listening to both young voters' groups and younger Democratic politicians a lot more often, because if young people are going to be a major player in the Democratic coalition, they need to be at the table a lot more."



The schadenfreude is so tasty, at times....

"Republicans, realizing that young voters are treating their party like the plague, flailed around for some way of counteracting the power of young voters. Many started calling for the voting age to be raised -- which is thankfully not even an option since the right for 18-year-olds to vote is enshrined in the Constitution itself, in the Twenty-Sixth Amendment. Others went even more bonkers, like the Fox News personality who had an easy solution to the problem of young voters not buying in to the Republicans' nonsense. After noting that married women voted for Republicans a lot more than single women, he concluded: 'Single women and voters under 40 have been "captured" by Democrats. We need these ladies to get married. It's time to fall in love and just settle down. Guys, go put a ring on it.' No, seriously, that was his answer to the problem of Republicans offering not a single solution to the problems young voters take the most seriously, and of the Republican Party actively fighting in court to prevent college students from getting up to $20,000 of their student loan debt forgiven. Young voters vote Democratic for a reason, folks, and it isn't because Mr. Right hasn't come along yet."


   We keep telling you...

Just some friendly advice, right?

"Democrats keep telling their Republican counterparts that their party would be much better off if they left Donald Trump sitting by the side of the road and moved on. I mean, it's rather obvious to us. He is a loser, plain and simple. He was the biggest loser as president since the Great Depression. He helped lose what could have been a 'red wave' midterm election for the Republicans. He is about to announce his third bid for the presidency, which may wind up losing the Senate runoff race in Georgia. Maybe he'll even go there and campaign for his chosen candidate! Ask any Republican right now if they think that's a good idea or not. Trump is toxic -- even the New York Post and Fox News are now saying so. He's got the Midas touch in reverse -- everyone he touches loses. We've really got your own best interests at heart when we Democrats say to Republicans: 'Move on... dump Trump.' Because that really would be the smart move right now."


   It's possible to win big without Trump

Speaking of Georgia....

"Republican politicians are all terrified that if they cross Trump in any way that he'll unleash such voter fury on them that they won't ever be able to get elected again. But that's becoming less and less true. Just look at Georgia -- where two Republican politicians who earned Trump's wrath just handily won re-election: Governor Brian Kemp and Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger. These two stood firm and refused to 'find 11,780 votes' for Trump in 2020, and Trump has been on the warpath against them ever since. But both easily won their Republican primary elections and both just won re-election. They should stand as shining examples to the rest of the GOP: you can win even after enraging Trump. You can survive it. If more and more Republicans make this choice, it'll dilute Trump's power even more, since he simply won't be able to focus on all his perceived 'enemies' within his own party. Crossing Trump is not political suicide anymore."


   Don't trust partisan polls

This is the biggest lesson of all, for the media. Will they learn it? Tough to tell, at this point....

"Some polling aggregators are better than others at weeding out junk polling. Unfortunately, one of the biggest sites around has a decided rightward lean. So they included a lot of midterm polling in the final weeks of the campaign that came straight from the Republican Party. They skewed these polls very favorably to all their candidates and downplayed the strength of the Democrats. Because there were a lot of these polls and not very many independent polls from the same time period, this caused the poll-of-polls average to show a big rightward swing, right before the election. And the media went along for this ride and told us all the Democrats were toast. The non-partisan polling wasn't actually all that bad for Democrats, and it proved to be rather accurate. So let's all make a post-election promise for next time, shall we? Don't trust partisan polls."

-- Chris Weigant


Follow Chris on Twitter: @ChrisWeigant

Cross-posted at: Democratic Underground


22 Comments on “Friday Talking Points -- Whew!”

  1. [1] 
    Chris Weigant wrote:

    I have no idea what I did wrong here, I'm pretty sure I didn't uncheck the "allow comments" box when posting... but then it was a long week, who knows?

    Anyway, mea culpa maxima everyone. Technical error, that was it! Sorry!

    I am answering some of this week's comments, starting with:


  2. [2] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    We knew it! No need for apologies, Chris. And, may I say, you should have been a top-level diplomat! :-)

  3. [3] 
    Chris Weigant wrote:

    Answered all of yesterday's too.

    And in penance/atonement, here are some Beatles songs, just because...


  4. [4] 
    Chris Weigant wrote:
  5. [5] 
    Chris Weigant wrote:

    OK, just The Cute One, but can't resist the opening lyrics...

    Uncle Albert

    So sorry...



  6. [6] 
    Chris Weigant wrote:

    My poor excuse for screwing up...

    I'm So Tired

    You'd say I'm putting you on
    But it's no joke
    It's doing me harm
    You know I can't sleep
    I can't stop my brain
    You know it's three weeks
    I'm going insane
    You know I'd give you everything I've got for a little peace of mind

    Yeah, I can relate... 3 weeks, that's about right...



  7. [7] 
    Chris Weigant wrote:

    And one just for Liz...

    Only A Northern Song

    One of my favorite Beatles songs, just for being so weird...

    We just wrote it like that...



  8. [8] 
    Chris Weigant wrote:

    One for Trump, just because...

    I'm A Loser

    ...just because he hates the idea so much...

    Although I laugh and I act like a clown
    Beneath this mask I am wearing a frown
    My tears are falling like rain from the sky



  9. [9] 
    Chris Weigant wrote:

    And finally, a continuing hope for everyone here...

    We Can Work It Out

    Life is very short, and there's no time
    For fussing and fighting, my friend
    I have always thought that it's a crime
    So, I will ask you once again
    Try to see it my way
    Only time will tell if I am right or I am wrong
    While you see it your way
    There's a chance that we might fall apart before too long
    We can work it out
    We can work it out


    Peace out.


  10. [10] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    That was fun!

    I've been listening to my 'The Beatles in Mono' box set of late. I've had it for a few years now and I'm just half-way through ... been savouring every tune. Heh.

  11. [11] 
    Chris Weigant wrote:

    Cool! Mono rocks, it's how they recorded it (the early stuff, at any rate). Fake stereo is bogus...



  12. [12] 
    Chris Weigant wrote:

    And: well, I just didn't want anyone to think it was my commentary on the commentary here, that's all..


  13. [13] 
    Michale wrote:

    Since the Grand Poobah, CW has expressed some frustration with the abortion debate, this will be my final word on the issue..

    Unless CW hisself has a rebuttal.. :D

    Ya'all argue a point that is not being contested..

    Yes, at six weeks, even though SCIENCE says there is a fetal heartbeat, I really don't have much of an issue with abortion at that time.. The soon-to-be-baby is just a bunch of cells clumped together..

    But as early as TWELVE WEEKS, the unborn baby is undeniably a baby..

    It's got hands and feet and a pronounced body. A separate and distinct body..

    At THAT time, it's no longer the woman's body that is at issue, so the BS claim of MY BODY, MY CHOICE (a claim that was IGNORED during the COVID hysteria, but that's another discussion) is no longer a valid claim..

    This is the fact that ya'all refuse to argue.. Most likely because there IS no argument against the facts...

    These are the facts that no amount of Left Wing Democrat "science" hysteria will change...

    Secondly, it's UNDENIABLE and INARGUABLE that Roe v Wade would still be the law of the land today if Democrats had not pushed and pushed to make baby-killing abortions mainstream and worthy of praise...

    Had Democrats remained happy with Safe, Legal & Rare then Democrats would still have RvW today...

    But Democrats, as Democrats are wont to do, tried to impose THEIR "values" (such as they are :^/ ) and THEIR ideology on those who refuse to accept them..

    And Democrats lost... At least when it comes to RvW...

    In the Roe v Wade debate, Democrats were their own worst enemies..

    "These are the facts of the case. And they are undisputed."
    -Captain Smilin' Jack Ross, A FEW GOOD MEN

    Se fini.... :D


  14. [14] 
    Michale wrote:

    And finally, a continuing hope for everyone here...

    We Can Work It Out

    Life is very short, and there's no time
    For fussing and fighting, my friend
    I have always thought that it's a crime
    So, I will ask you once again
    Try to see it my way
    Only time will tell if I am right or I am wrong
    While you see it your way
    There's a chance that we might fall apart before too long
    We can work it out
    We can work it out


    Peace out.

    The Traveling Wilburys - End Of The Line

    Well it's alright, even if they say you're wrong
    Well it's alright, sometimes you gotta be strong
    Well it's alright, as long as you got somewhere to lay
    Well it's alright, everyday is Judgment Day

    Well it's alright, even when push comes to shove
    Well it's alright, if you got someone to love
    Well it's alright, everything'll work out fine
    Well it's alright, we're going to the end of the line

    Well it's alright, even if you're old and gray
    Well it's alright, you still got something to say
    Well it's alright, remember to live and let live
    Well it's alright, the best you can do is forgive



  15. [15] 
    Michale wrote:
  16. [16] 
    Michale wrote:

    OK OK...Got the music out of my system.. :D

    No, seriously, that was his answer to the problem of Republicans offering not a single solution to the problems young voters take the most seriously, and of the Republican Party actively fighting in court to prevent college students from getting up to $20,000 of their student loan debt forgiven.

    And what a beautiful scam that was, eh??

    Biden's handlers KNEW that the EO would NEVER pass Constitutional muster..

    The handlers KNEW that it would be totally and completely shot down..

    That's why they waited so late in the game to put it out there...

    A scam to literally BUY votes knowing it would NEVER be allowed to be enacted...

    The only question is, where ya'all duped as well?? Judging from the comments and commentaries here in Weigantia, it seems ya'all actually thought this was an earnest and legit action, not a blatant flagrant vote pandering/buying...

    Ya really just have to admire the depths of cynicism and depravity Democrats will plumb to maintain their Anti-America hold on power.. :D

    When the GOP has the House, I hope this is added to the long list of investigations that the GOP will put into play..

    And I KNOW that ya'all, being of sound moral and America-loving character ya'all are... :D .... will support these investigations as much and as passionately as ya'all supported the Russia Collusion Delusion and the 6 Jan Cardassian court... :D

    amiright!?? :D


  17. [17] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    OK OK...Got the music out of my system.. :D

    But not, apparently, bold caps. Ahem. :)

  18. [18] 
    C. R. Stucki wrote:

    TP2 Re ". ..basic constitutional rights"

    Where was abortion ever even mentioned in the constitution? As I recall, the infamous "Roe vs" thing was based on an extension of the (only implied) constitutional "right to privacy", NOT on the "right to abort the unborn".

  19. [19] 
    C. R. Stucki wrote:

    TP7 "partisan polls"

    Why, based on recent experience, would anybody trust ANY political polls, partisan or otherwise? Or perhaps it's that they are all partisan, but either way, how should anybody ever trust 'em?

    I suspect that modern technology has killed the 'science' of public polling.

  20. [20] 
    ListenWhenYouHear wrote:

    But as early as TWELVE WEEKS, the unborn baby is undeniably a baby..

    It's got hands and feet and a pronounced body. A separate and distinct body..

    It's not a baby if it's unborn. If it can survive outside the mother's body, then it's a baby. At 3 months, the first trimester, it cannot survive outside of the mother's womb.

    At THAT time, it's no longer the woman's body that is at issue, so the BS claim of MY BODY, MY CHOICE (a claim that was IGNORED during the COVID hysteria, but that's another discussion) is no longer a valid claim..

    Yes, it is the woman's body that is at issue and MY BODY, MY CHOICE is most definitely a valid claim!!!

    Doctors could just induce labor and force your "baby" into the world where it will die immediately. They do not do this because that puts the mother's life needlessly in greater danger. That is why they perform the abortion and remove the fetus after it has been broken apart into smaller pieces.

    And to compare forcing birth of a child upon a woman to you not wanting to get a shot is downright comical. What a snowflake you are!!! For starters, one is about the right to medical care; the other is about your right to refuse it.

    YOU still have the right to choose! No one made it illegal to not get vaccinated, did they? If your work required you to get it and you CHOSE not to get it, YOU CHOSE TO LOSE YOUR JOB! I fully support your right to refuse to CHOOSE to be vaccinated! I am a firm believer in natural selection. A few more strains of COVID and we'll probably be rid of the MAGA Party's base. Your choice to go out fighting for your right to remain ignorant... there is nothing more 'Merican than that!

    Secondly, it's UNDENIABLE and INARGUABLE that Roe v Wade would still be the law of the land today if Democrats had not pushed and pushed to make baby-killing abortions mainstream and worthy of praise...

    So your problem is with the First Amendment... your hatred of Free Speech! For you, reversing Roe v. Wade was just a new way to backhand mouthy women since you cannot get away with actually striking them like you used to... your version of MAGA! You are still blaming it on the women, it's punishment for them because they wouldn't stop flapping their gums... they brought all of this on themselves? What a sexist moron you show yourself to be!

  21. [21] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:


    Fake stereo is bogus...

    To say nothing of the dreaded auto-tuning ...

  22. [22] 
    Michale wrote:

    As per my original comment..

    I am giving you the last word, Russ...

    "Just for that, I am going to give you the last word."
    "Thank you."
    "You're welcome."




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