So, as it turns out, not a lot changed between 2016 and 2020 becausse the maps look eeriely similar. After that last Iowa Poll before the election I had a bad feeling that it was going to be more or less correct and it more or less was. Trump won the state and drilling down further into the statewide races, it's really not hard to see why it played out the way it did.
These three counties are the counties if the Democrats want to breakthrough. Dallas County (Des Moines 'burbs) is especially important, imo- because if the wider national consensus on CNN was right last night that 'the suburbs revolted against President Trump' Des Moines Burbs did not follow that trend. Granted, the margin in Dallas County for President last night was about 1,000 votes- but for it to matter to Dems, they need to push it closer to 60-40 territory instead of 50-50 territory.
I've no idea what to think about Woodbury and Pottawattamie. Demographics may be tough for Dems out there, but I also feel like it's problematic that they're not more competitive in either of these two counties. I don't know enough about what the state party is doing to say that they're underinvesting in either of these two counties- and given the fact that the last Democratic Senate Majority Leader in the Statehouse hailed from Council Bluffs I'm not comfortable with pointing the finger and saying, 'j'accuse!' but state Democrats have got to make Woodbury and Pottawattamie closer to 50/50 counties than 60/40 counties than what they have been these past cycles. It's even more disheartening given the fact Biden won Omaha- but there didn't appear to be any carry over whatsoever across the river.
Joni Ernst saved her job pretty much thanks to the President- and I think if there's a wider national trend- even if President Trump ends up losing, I think he might manage to save the Republican Senate- which if you're a Republican ain't nothing. If you're a Democrats, y'all gotta spend your money in better places- because an obscene amount of money got sent to Amy McGrath and Jamie Harrison and someone must have seen something there, but when the smoke cleared, we've still go Mitch McConnell and Lindsey Graham.
Ok, Congressional Districts:
First District went to Hinson and I've heard rumbles that Finkenauer may ask for a recount, but haven't seen hard news backing that up yet. I feel like Hinson's margin (11K or so per the SoS results page) makes a recount a long shot. The First District is Iowa's spiciest district by far and it doesn't look like it's getting milder at all. I feel like it was Dubuque County that might be Finkenauer's doom here-- she ran it up where she should have in Linn and Black Hawk, but Dubuque County was a squeaker. You have to think that if she would have pulled that margin a little further in her direction things might have fallen her way.
Hinson seems to have followed the script that works for Republicans: run it up huge (or YUGE) in the smaller counties to counter balance big scores for Democrats in the bigger counties. The challenge I think (again, not really having an inside scoop on what the State Dems are doing) is for Dems to make some of these 60/40 counties closer to 50/50-- Finkenauer did that up in Winnishiek County and Marshall County but almost no where else down district.
If there's going to be a recount anywhere, it'll be in the 2nd District- right now, Miller-Meeks is up by 282 votes. Yes, you read that right. 282. So never believe that your vote doesn't matter, because it really does. I have long thought that this district was better for Republicans than they thought- and even though the boundaries shifted a little bit, my overall notion seemed to have held true. When Miller-Meeks lost to Loebsack, the trend line appeared to be that she wasn't winning enough down district counties to offset Loebsack's vote in Johnson and Scott County- Loebsack was picking up a lot of medium sized river towns like Muscatine, Burlington, Ft. Madison-- but not this time. The medium to small sized towns with the exception of Clinton all went red in a big way. Now granted, Muscatine County was close and so was Des Moines County, so maybe that's just the way the cookie crumbles this time around. (It probably helps that Miller-Meeks having run like three times before is a very known quantity down district- or at the very least it probably won't hurt.)
Again- I forget the guy in the Governor's race who was all about rural Democrats and rural voters, but Democrats need to need to need to move some of these 60/40 counties close to 50/50. Maybe they're already doing that, maybe they're not I don't know- but they gotta to do better at it.
3rd District: See my above point about Dallas County. Axne kept her seat, but holy hell, they gotta start winning Dallas County and they got to run up the score in Pottawattamie as well. Polk County is why Cindy Axne gets another term, plain and simple, but this is another spicy district and it wouldn't take much in the way of a swing in Polk County to send it the other way. If turn out is down next election, if they try a new candidate? This isn't a safe Democratic Seat any more than the First District is a safe Republican Seat.
4th District: As much as I like J.D. Scholten, the problem here was always Steve King. Voters got tired and embarassed of his (racist/white nationalist) schtick which is why Scholten damn near did the thing last time out. Not running against King and running against [Generic Republican Politician] meant that a large portion of the district 'came home to Mama' as it were, and lo and behold they did.
State House: I don't think anything much changed here. Sadly. In other words, if COVID Kimmie and her fiddle playing ways have you holding back internal rage, there seems to be no evidence of anything last night on any level in Iowa that's going to get her to change strategies.
Minutia: We said No to a Constitutional Convention because I guess the electorate just doesn't want to have fun anymore. But the real noteworthy statewide bit of minutia: Kanye West got more votes than the Green Party did for President. Kanye West.
The State Green Party annoys the ever loving piss out of me. There are solid environmental issues right here in Iowa you can build a party around but they won't. Someone ran for Governor under the Clean Water Iowa Party or something like that last time out and it should have been a flat out embarassment to the State Green Party but somehow it wasn't. If you want to be the State Progressive Party, then be that and worry about cannibalizing the Democratic vote. But if you're going to be on my ballot, then for fuck's sake, stop wasting my time, get your shit together and run a full slate of candidates for statewide office. Stand for clean water. Stand for better soil. Stand for better agriculture- you know, issues that people might actually care about in this state- and give voters who care about the environment in Iowa a voice, for crying out loud. It's inexusable to me that the Libertarians manage to field candidates for statewide office on the regular and the Greens just get to eat lunch off of their Presidential candidates results every four years and then do absolutely NOTHING with their ballot status in state.
*deep breath.* Okay. Rant over.
Let's deal with the good news: holy hell did a lot of us vote. Some preliminary results have national turnout at 66.9% which would be the highest turnout rate since 1900 where we hit 73.7%. Whatever ends up happening, it ain't going to be because of people not voting. That's for damn sure.
Drugs, man: Arizona, Montana, New Jersey and South Dakota. (South Dakota. Christ, Iowa needs to get it's shit together on this.) Voted to legalize weed for recreational purposes. South Dakota and Mississippi also said yes to medicinal marijuana. But wait, there's more! Oregon voted for Measure 110 which decriminalizes all drugs including cocaine and heroin and legalized psychedelic mushrooms for medicinal purposes. "Defund The Police" might not be a message that plays well in Peoria, but it sure seems like, 'Ending the War on Drugs' seems to be gathering steam. And this is going to put more pressure on states who are still arresting minorities (disproportionately) for posessing a drug that's legal in an increasing number of states.
Not quite sure how I feel about Oregon's thing. From what I'm understanding, it's for possession only- which makes a certain amount of sense to me. It would free law enforcement to focus resources where they should be: dealers and producers. It's not worth ruining someone's life over a pocketful of blow in the grand scheme of things really.
Mississippi got a new flag. Nice job, Mississippi! (*coughs*Georgia*coughs*).
Puerto Rico did vote for statehood in a ballot question that while non-binding seems to be less complicated this time around. It probably won't go anywhere, but it should.
Hot diggity- MS had an excellent election. Medicinal marijuana, new flag and now this. Nice, Mississippi!
Old Klingon Proverbs, The Ballad of Indira Gandhi and the Grover Cleveland Of It All: Megan McArdle made this point on Twitter and I want to echo it a little bit here-- I'm all for accountability for the powerful. If President Trump has broken a law and he loses the election he should be held accountable just like the rest of us would. That being said, you've got to have any indictments or cases against him absolutely stone cold. There can't be a whiff of politics behind this and in this climate that may well be an impossible sell. I worry that if Trump does lose, the media is going to be kind of fucked without him and may well encourage what they see as 'The Greatest Show on Earth' for their ratings, but run the very real risk of a partisan backlash four years hence.
McArdle makes this point- do you want the (potential, but looking as of this writing increasingly probable) Biden Presidency to turn into The Trump Show? I don't. I want him to go away and the way you do that is by denying him oxygen. I don't trust the media not to do that. It's like a tangerine car wreck with them and they can't look away. Which brings us to the Ballad of Indira Gandhi.
She fucked up the norms of her country way worse than Trump ever did. She suspended the Constitution, instituted the authoritarian rule, locked up dissidents and her opposition- basically all the shit that the capitol R Resistance screamed that Trump was going to do but actually didn't. Finally, she couldn't extend the Emergency any longer and called elections in 1977 and was (rightfully) demolished at the polls by the opposition Janata Party. But here's the rub: Janata was so riven by hatred of Indira Gandhi (again, see above reasons and look up The Emergency. There's some justification there.) That even though she lost her seat in the Lok Sabha, when she got back in on a by-election they brought charges against her, and the subsequent trial and prosecution completely flipped public opinion against Janata and their crusade against "that woman" as they called her- but guess who won a smashing victory and got her job back in the 1980 elections?
That's right. Indira Gandhi.
I don't know what the mood of the country will be in four years. But if the Resistance and the media push for what half the country will see as a political show trial- rightly or wrongly-I could see the country shoving both their thumbs into the eyes of the political establishment in 2024 and putting Trump back in there for another four years. He'd be the first President since Grover Cleveland to do the non-consecutive term thing- but if anyone in contemporary American politics could do it, it would be Trump.
If he loses this, I don't want the door opened even an infinitesimal crack for him to have a chance in 2024. If he loses this, I want him to go away.
I am all for accountability for the powerful, but handing down indictments as soon as he's out of office is a more dangerous play than people think it is. Revenge may be a dish best served cold, but there's more than one way of serving it.
Thursday Night and The Fraud Thing: The margins in Georgia are absolutely insane right now and there's an outside chance that Biden takes a lead by the morning and if he does this with Georgia and Arizona? That would be so much better than it all coming down to Pennsylvania. I think Trump is gonna scream fraud no matter what happens, but it becomes a lot more dubious if he's accusing Republican Governors in Georgia and Arizona of being in on it. If it's all down to Pennsylvania, I think we'll be hearing from the right about 2020 for fuckin' decades in much the same way I still hear about Nader in Florida from 2000 from the left.
There's going to be a recount in Wisconsin. Governor Scott Walker got on Twitter and pretty much said that if the 2016 recount only flipped 131 votes the President's way, then the margins that Biden has in Wisconsin would probably hold up and if the former Republican Governor of a state is saying that, let's just go ahead and say that's probably going to hold up.
MI and PA, I'm not sure what, if anything triggers a recount- but unless the margins get real small there too, I don't know if you're going to get enough to flip a result. Plus, you would have to see some evidence of it in down ballot races. There'd be some fucked up result somewhere else that people would be scratching their heads over.
What people forget- because the media has been screaming about it since 2016- is that President Trump won by a fingernail. It was never going to take much to swing it back the other way and with increased turnout across the board to boot...
I don't want to say it. Not yet. But, let me just say this: it's getting a lot harder for President Trump. He's running out of places to find votes and that's a problem because the GOP is only going to be silent for so long. There's a difference between Biden getting 273 electoral votes and him running the table and breaking 300. The former leaves the door open for a 2024 run from President Trump (the Grover Cleveland of it all) and the latter probably doesn't. Once that's clarified one way or the other, I expect they'll have a quiet conversation or two if needs be- especially if Biden gets a comfortable EV margin.
I had a Tweet a few months back and I wondered if the electorate was going to fire everybody, as it were- and if the rumblings I'm hearing on the right are correct, the Democratic margin in the House could be thin indeed. Like paper-thin. And with Alaska and two Senate run-offs in Georgia in the offing the Senate could still be up for grabs as well. In other words, we could go from Republican President, Republican Senate, Democratic House to Democratic President, Democratic Senate, Republican House. The 'throw the bums out' option is still on the table. Theoretically at least.
Friday Afternoon and The Door Is Closing: Biden is set to address the nation tonight at 8pm, but I think when the dust settles on this, it's still going to be Biden. I think President Trump will just need to flip too many states to send it the other way and he'll probably have to get some help from the Supreme Court to do so. Human error and shenanigans can't be ruled out, but the margins are getting so wide that I just don't think there's going to be enough to overturn them unless you want to get into the game of disqualifying votes, which is not, I think a path we're going to want to go down.
The hot takes are flying thick and fast at the moment, so I think I'm going to a lot of reading and do a lot of thinking and when there's more data out there to consider a full autopsy on this mess I'll probably be back with The Hangover, Part II.
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