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Thread: The 2018 midterm elections

  1. #1
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    The 2018 midterm elections

    Midterm elections are just 18 days away and it is no exaggeration to say the future of our republic and our democracy is at stake. Here is a Canadian journalist's analysis of our upcoming midterms. I figure a Canadian would be more objective than an American, eh?

    2018 US midterms: What's at stake for Trump, Democrats and GOP in November's elections?
    Andrew Russell, Global News, Sep 16 2018

    The 2018 US congressional midterm elections are about one thing: the Presidency of Donald Trump. While Trump himself won't be on the ballot, Americans will look back on the last two years under the Republican president and decide how the next two years will be shaped. Will the grasp of the GOP – currently in control of both the House and the Senate – remain or will a "blue wave" of Democrats shut down Trump's agenda for his remaining time in office?

    Scheduled to take place on November 6, the midterm elections are part of a system of checks on the US political system and presidency. House members serve two-year terms meaning the contests happen along with presidential elections and in "off years" without a presidential race, like 2018. The staggering of the elections means that either a presidential or a midterm election is held every two years.

    Americans will vote on all 435 seats in the House of Representatives. In the Senate, just 35 of the 100 seats in the Senate will be in play this year as Senators serve six-year terms. At the state level, 39 governorships will be up for grabs and voters will also decide a number of ballot measures on issues including abortion, voter ID laws, Medicaid health insurance and marijuana.

    Currently, Republicans control Congress, with Democrats trying to win back the House and possibly the Senate. The Democrats have 193 seats to Republicans' 236 with six vacancies. The Dems will need a net gain of roughly 25 seats to win a 218-member majority in the 435-seat chamber.

    Winning the Senate will be a much more difficult task for Democrats. The GOP hold 51 of the 100 seats, but the Senate races will be especially tough for the Dems who are defending 26 of the 35 seats being contested.

    A win for Republicans could mean further dismantling Obamacare and appointing more conservative judges to courtrooms. If Democrats win control of either chamber, Trump's legislative agenda would be mostly dead on arrival, meaning no border wall, no cuts to welfare and social security and no further tax cuts.

    It could also lead to a re-examination of immigration reform, including revisiting the Obama-era Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) policy that shielded young people from deportation who came to the US illegally with their parents.

    Every day, there seems to be a new story or scandal that could change what happens between now and November. Generally, it's believed that the Senate is likely to stay Republican while Democrats have a strong chance to win the House, leading many to predict a "blue wave" is coming in November.

    Democrats have consistently won state-level elections and special elections, managing to flip 11 seats in Congress this year to the Republicans' two. Meanwhile, Trump has long predicted a "red wave" of Republican victories and warned that any GOP losses could threaten public safety and weaken the nation's borders.

    Historically, the president's party does not do well during midterm elections. Barack Obama's Democrats lost 63 House seats during the first midterm in 2010 and during George W. Bush's second term, the GOP lost 30 seats.

    https://globalnews.ca/news/4446526/2...rms-explained/

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    Most Republicans who are running for office or are up for re-election this year are saying very little about jobs, taxes, immigration, climate change or other issues. Their campaign tactic is simply to attack Democrats. Trump, of course, is the Attacker-In-Chief. Here is a radio ad that even some Republicans say went too far:

    Rep. French Hill condemns ad that suggests 'lynching' if Democrats win
    CBS News, Oct 19 2018 8:31 AM

    Rep. French Hill of Arkansas is condemning a radio ad released on his behalf in which two black women suggest "white Democrats will be lynchin' black folk again" if they're voted into office. The ad invokes the contentious Brett Kavanaugh nomination process, suggesting Democrats want to change the "presumption of innocence to a presumption of guilt" and their husbands, fathers and sons would be in danger. The ad was paid for by the group Black Americans For The President's Agenda.

    "I condemn this outrageous ad in the strongest terms. There's no place in Arkansas for this nonsense," Hill said. The ad, posted to Twitter this week, sparked shock and outrage. Rep. Clarke Tucker, French's Democratic opponent, said, "Hill and his allies will have to live with the kind of campaign they're running. This radio ad is disgraceful and has no place in our society. We won't let these shameful tactics distract us from our fight to stand up for the people on the critical issues in our lives."

    https://www.cbsnews.com/news/rep-fre...as-outrageous/

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    As I said above, Trump's number-one method of campaigning for any Republican is to attack Democrats, either specific individuals or Democrats en masse. Tonight was no exception. And in addition to spreading lies and false accusations and pandering to his followers' fear, the pompous, narcissistic, egotistical blowhard with delusions of grandeur declared that the "greatest votes" ever cast were the votes for him. I feel sick.

    Trump calls Arizona Democrat 'a dangerous candidate'
    New York Times, Oct 19 2018 10:58 PM EDT

    President Trump focused on immigration today at a rally in Mesa, Arizona. Trump was campaigning for Rep. Martha McSally, who is locked in a challenging race with Democratic Rep. Kyrsten Sinema to fill retiring Senator Jeff Flake's Senate seat.

    Trump spent much of the rally talking about undocumented immigrants, resurrecting the phrase "bad hombres" to describe criminals entering the country illegally. He said hospitals and schools were "overrun" with immigrants.

    "The casualties in the Democrats' open border crusades are American families," Trump said, incorrectly saying that the Democratic Party supports drugs and criminals pouring into the country. He said that a Democratic victory in November would be a "bright flashing sign" to allow drug dealers and criminals to come into the country."

    Trump continued his attacks on Democrats, whom he called an "unhinged mob." "Vote for the jobs, not for the mobs," he said, adding that the Republican majority was "very fragile." He urged rally goers not to be "complacent."

    "Martha's opponent is a far-left extremist," Trump said about Sinema, adding that she was being "protected by the fake news media." He said, "A vote for Kyrsten Sinema is a wasted vote, but more importantly it's a dangerous vote," Trump said, adding that voting for McSally would be the "second greatest vote you ever cast. The first greatest vote was for me."

    https://www.cbsnews.com/news/trump-r...ay-2018-10-19/

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    I know what you're thinking: It seems strange to see "Facebook" and "security" in the same sentence. Neve mind that. Read on.

    Facebook's former security chief: US is unprepared for 2018 elections
    NBC News, Oct 18 2018 1:59 AM

    Facebook’s former security chief Alex Stamos said in an interview with NBC News that the US has not been aggressive enough in fixing its vulnerabilities to election attacks and is ill-prepared for the new tricks hackers will launch in the midterms, which are less than three weeks away. Stamos likened the 2016 election to Pearl Harbor and 9/11 — not in loss of life but in terms of failure to foresee impending threats. But unlike in the aftermath of those events, the US has not taken aggressive action to fix its vulnerabilities, particularly those exploited by Russian hackers who were able to break into Democratic organizations and the Hillary Clinton campaign, Stamos said.

    "There have been small improvements in campaign security," he said. "But we have not seen the kind of massive upgrade in campaign infrastructure that you would need to stand against a professional hacking agency like that. Adversaries will have new tricks and tools this time around. The real question is what are our adversaries going to do in 2018?"

    https://www.nbcnews.com/tech/tech-ne...ctions-n921396

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    Same ol' story: Trump campaigns for Republicans by attacking Democrats. I can't imagine any Democrats attending Trump's rallies. All he is doing is preaching to his base.

    Trump goes after Democrats at campaign event for vulnerable Nevada senator

    https://www.cbsnews.com/news/trump-r...ay-2018-10-20/

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    I guess we can blame computers and the World Wide Web for this: We've gone from "The buck stops here," "Don't give up the ship" and "Damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead"* to "This is a race without an end."

    Top DHS official Chris Krebs says ensuring election security is 'a race without an end'
    On a podcast, he says the Chinese present as much of a threat to election security as the Russians.

    https://www.cbsnews.com/news/top-dhs...ithout-an-end/

    *During the 1864 Battle of Mobile Bay, Rear Admiral David Farragut issued this order: "Damn the torpedoes! Four bells. Captain Drayton, go ahead. Jouett, full speed." His order is usually paraphrased as above.

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    Not surprisingly, a majority of whites and a majority of men want Congress to be controlled by Republicans -- but a huge majority of blacks, Latinos and women want Democrats in control. I encourage everyone to vote November 6. Vote as if the future of our republic and our democracy depends on it.......because it does.

    Poll: Democrats hold 9-point advantage for midterm elections
    Two weeks out, Democrats retain an edge but 'unprecedented enthusiasm' is fueling both parties.

    https://www.nbcnews.com/politics/fir...ctions-n922266

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    Earlier this month, Hurricane Michael killed 50 people and caused more than $8 billion in damage. Twenty-three of those deaths were in Florida and 100,000 residents of the state are still without electricity. A growing percentage of Floridans are realizing the importance of voting for Democrats instead of for Republicans who care only about themselves, big corporations and the wealthiest Americans.

    CNN poll: Democrats hold an edge in Florida with two weeks to go

    https://www-m.cnn.com/2018/10/21/pol...nor/index.html

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    Because his enormous ego would not allow him to accept that he lost the election by nearly three million votes, Trump declared that between three million and six million people voted illegally. Of more than 135 million votes cast, only four -- four! -- were found to be fraudulent. But Trump disregards facts and lives in his own little world and creates his own little reality. Thus:

    Donald Trump warns people to beware of non-existent voter fraud
    CNN, Oct 22 2018 12:02 PM ET

    Over the weekend, President Donald Trump issued a stern warning about attempts to tamper with the 2018 midterm election vote. "All levels of government and Law Enforcement are watching carefully for VOTER FRAUD, including during EARLY VOTING," he tweeted. "Cheat at your own peril. Violators will be subject to maximum penalties, both civil and criminal!"

    Sounds serious, right? Here's the thing: There's just no significant evidence of intentional voter fraud on anything near the scale Trump and his allies allege. Never has been. There is study after study that make this fact plain. In one, Loyola Law School professor Justin Levitt tracked US elections from 2000 to 2014 in search of voter fraud, or, as he put it, "specific, credible allegation that someone may have pretended to be someone else at the polls."

    How many examples did he find? Exactly 31, out of more than one billion instances. 31! (That's an infinitesimally small number.) That's not to say that each of those 31 instances of attempted voter fraud isn't worth an investigation. We don't want any voter fraud. But it is to say that 31 instances out of more than one billion is nothing anywhere close to widespread voter fraud.

    The Levitt study is far from the only one to draw such a conclusion. A five-year study on voter fraud commissioned by George W. Bush found that same conclusion as Levitt. In the 2016 election, in which more than 135 million votes were cast, there were a total of four documented cases of voter fraud.

    It's not clear whether Trump a) knows all of this and chooses not to care or b) is unaware of the mountain of data that suggests the fraudulence of voter fraud claims. Either way, he has a long history of pushing the idea that there is some sort of widespread attempt -- by Democrats -- to cheat the system via voter fraud. In the wake of his 2016 election victory, Trump insisted that he lost the popular vote to Hillary Clinton (by nearly three million votes) because of alleged illegal votes.

    Soon after being sworn in, Trump created the Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity, which had as its purpose to sniff out and eradicate these broad voter fraud attempts. Less than a year after its formation, the commission was disbanded. And now, just 15 days before the midterm election, Trump again raises the specter of widespread voter fraud -- without providing a single shred of evidence of its existence. Because, of course, that evidence simply doesn't exist.

    https://www-m.cnn.com/2018/10/22/pol...aud/index.html

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    Former President Barack Obama has been speaking at rallies across the country, encouraging everyone to vote and "restore some sanity to our politics. Folks should want to see a restration of honesty and decency and lawfulness to our government."

    Speaking yesterday at the University of Nevada, Obama took issue with the current President for creating a trillion-dollar deficit, targeting groups "based on what they look like and how they pray," threatening the freedom of the press and pressuring the FBI and Justice Department to punish political opponents. He concluded by saying.......

    Obama on Trump: 'This is not how America works. That is how some tin-pot dictatorship works.'

    https://www.realclearpolitics.com/vi...hip_works.html

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