The Thinker: Rich Galen


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This 2018 Election is Finally Over

Rich Galen

Thursday November 29, 2018

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  • The midterm elections of 2018 are finally over. Let's look at the U.S. House of Representatives.

  • Call it a tsunami, a wave, a tide, or just backed-up plumbing there is no doubt that the color was blue. Not sky blue; not even indigo. Midnight blue.

  • Democrats won a net 40 seats, which was at the upper edges of even the most optimistic projections from the Left.

  • Keep in mind this was a victory in which Democrats had to sail upwind and run uphill because of the successfully gerrymandered districts Republican Governors and State Legislatures had drawn over the past decades.

  • When the 116th Congress opens in early January, 2019 there will be (if my highly acclaimed math skills have not deserted me) 235 Democrats and 200 Republicans taking the oath.

  • For comparison, according to the House Press Gallery, as the 115th Congress stood for election about three weeks ago, the party division was 236 Rs, 196 Ds, and three vacancies.

  • According to the NY Times analysis of the 100 incoming freshmen in the House, 62 will be Democrats, 38 Republicans.

  • Forty-two will be women. Of those 42, four are Republicans, 38 Democrats.

  • Finally, there will be 23 people of color, according to the NY Times, of whom 22 are Democrats and one is Republican (Anthony Gonzalez - Ohio 16).

  • In California, the state Republican Party can hold its meetings in the La Brea Tar Pits along with the other extinct mammals. Of the 53 Congressional seats allocated to California, Democrats now control 45; Republicans only 8. In the former GOP stronghold of Orange County (between Los Angeles and San Diego) the number of Republicans going to the U.S. House is zero.

  • That happens to be exactly the same number of Republicans elected from New England: Zero.

  • There will be no Republican Members of the U.S. House from Maine, Vermont, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, or Connecticut.

  • When you look at a map of the United States by Republican and Democratic districts you might think the Republican have a massive majority in the House. You would be wrong:

    Map Courtesy

  • Democrats were successful in almost every urban and suburban district plus districts in the Northeast and Northwest. Because of the way Congressional districts are apportioned, winning all the seats in Alaska, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Wyoming (5) is not as helpful as winning 45 of 53 seats in California.

  • Unlike the House, every state gets the same number of U.S. Senators - two.

  • In this election, while House Democrats were mounting their huge victory Senate Democrats lost two seats giving the Rs a 53-47 majority (up from 51-49). The final race - Mississippi - was decided after a run-off which was won by Republican Cindy Hyde-Smith over Democrat Mike Espy by just under eight percentage points

  • Why the difference in Senate results? Its because elections for the U.S. Senate are as different as elections for any other office in the same way that white cats are different from any other color. They just are.

  • In my adult lifetime, two U.S. Presidents have won 49 states:

  • Ronald Reagan in his 1984 re-election (525 Electoral votes) beat Walter Mondale's one state plus DC (13 Electoral votes).

  • In 1972 Richard Nixon won 49 states (520 electoral votes) against George McGovern's one state plus DC (17 Electoral votes).

  • In each case, Democrats picked up a net two seats in the U.S. Senate. How can that be?

  • White cats.

  • By the way, Richard Nixon is an excellent example of why you should not pay any attention to what the pundits on the chat shows say about what the results of the 2018 elections portend for 2000.

  • Less than two years after he won 49 states, because of the spreading political poison of the Watergate scandal, Nixon resigned on August 9, 1974.

  • Two years after Reagan's blow-out win against Mondale, Democrats won back control of the U.S. Senate (which they had lost in 1980) and picked up an additional five seats in the U.S. House raising the Democrats' majority to 258-177 - an 81 seat edge.

  • The election of 2018 is finally over and we can all turn our attention to the greater issue: Where will Bryce Harper play baseball for the next 10 years?

  • On the Secret Decoder Ring today: Links to the NY Times' look at incoming freshmen, to the U.S. News & World Report analysis of California and to the Wikipedia entry for Richard Nixon's resignation. Also, for those who still want to send in a subscription, the instructions for doing so.

    The Mullfoto is a striking shot of dawn in Palm Desert, California on Thanksgiving morning.

    -- END --

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