by Moon of Alabama
What are the chances the mid-term elections in the United States will change the majority in the House or Senate?
The Democrats need to pick up 23 seats in the House to gain a majority. Of the 48 seats in play, only 16 seem likely to change in their favor. In the Senate, they need to take gain two seats to become a majority, but at least one of the Democrats’ current seats is endangered, and polls for the other 9 seats that potentially might change show a tossup.
My personal hunch is the Republicans will keep both houses and may even gain a few seats.
The U.S. economy is doing relatively well. The recent drop in share prices points to a more mixed outlook from here on, but so far everything held up.
The Democrats have neither a program nor a leadership that incites to vote for them. They wasted two years with hyping a non-existent Russiagate no one but Washington insiders and the media cares about. Did they actually oppose anything Trump did? They tried a #metoo stunt around a Supreme Court nomination but how effective was that?
The Democrats also failed to get rid of Hillary Clinton, or at least to shut her up. How can she, the most hated woman in the U.S., suggest to run again for president just a few days before the mid-terms? (Her candidacy would give Trump the easiest re-election ever.)
Trump continues to be an excellent salesman. He knows how to get and maintain attention. Each day he makes some outrageous claim or acts on some hot button issue. This has two effects: it is red meat for his base, and it gives major media attention to his politics.
Over the last days, he offered a 10% tax cut for the middle class, bashed the media, suggested houses of worship should have armed guards, bashed the media more, sent troops to the border to stop a migrant caravan, bashed the media again, and attacked birthright citizenship for children of illegal immigrants. He surely has a list of seven other issues to fill the daily news cycles until the election.
All of the above lets me expect a higher turnout of voters who lean Republican than of those who lean towards Democrats. The higher turnout wins.
With a continued majority in both houses Trump should have an easy run during the next presidential elections.
In international politics, many hoped they could wait out Trump, and by 2021 everything would go ‘back to normal’. That was always the wrong strategy. Unless something unexpected happens Trump is here to stay. When he leaves a new ‘normal’ will have evolved and the ‘normal’ of 2016 will no longer exist.
by Caitlin Johnstone Nov 5, 2018
I haven’t been writing about the US midterms much, because I don’t care about that nonsense anymore. The whole thing’s a fake pro wrestling performance staged every couple of years to give a heavily-armed populace the illusory sense they have some degree of control over the things their government does.
By this, I do not mean the votes aren’t real or the outcomes are predetermined. I simply mean both mainstream parties are controlled by plutocrats who benefit from the status quo and are only interested in their own power and profit.
No matter who wins on Tuesday, the wars are guaranteed to continue, the oligarchs are guaranteed to keep siphoning more and more money out of the pockets of ordinary Americans, opaque and unaccountable intelligence agencies are guaranteed to continue expanding intrusive surveillance practices and narrative control psyops in collaboration with powerful Silicon Valley corporations, and we’re guaranteed to keep hurtling toward climate catastrophe on the back of an economic system which requires infinite growth on a finite planet.
The only thing that might change a tiny bit is America maybe temporarily having a government which pretends to care about oppressed minorities sometimes.
But there’s a sharp tension in the air about this performance. Whenever I mention how it’s all an act staged to profit nobody but Vince McMahon, I get a bunch of people yelling and cursing at me, with even those those who kind of know it’s fake saying “Okay, but you still gotta cheer for The Undertaker though, come on!”
That tension is there because on paper the outcome of the 2018 midterms is still uncertain. The slight lead Democrats held in polls has narrowed further today, withsome analysts going so far as to predict Republicans retaining control of both houses.
Which is, on its surface, bizarre.
It is bizarre not only because a new president almost always takes congressional losses at this point in their administration (the only exceptions being the historically significant years of 1934 and 2002), but also because the Republican Party is under the leadership of the most despised presidential candidate of all time.
If US politics were real, this would not be happening.
If the Democratic Party were a real political party, a party which advances popular agendas in order to get its members elected to the government the way kids are taught in school, it would be on the cusp of a massive landslide of victories in both the House and the Senate, instead praying Hail Marys that they at least gain a slight advantage in the House.
The last two years would have been spent promoting the virally popular agendas of the Bernie Sanders movement like single payer healthcare and getting money out of politics, after a thorough and radically honest autopsy of everything that went so catastrophically wrong in 2016.
Instead, what did Democrats do? They spent the last two years babbling about Russiagate conspiracy theories, and then, in a tacit admission they’ve never believed a word of that nonsense, suddenly went completely silent on the issue before midterms and switched to the “We’re not Trump” platform. Oh yeah, and they’re telling Green Party candidates to drop out.
Democrats have done almost nothing in the last two years to fight the Republicans in any way that will ensure victory.
Using his personal Twitter account, conservative media lackeys, and an army of sycophants, Trump completely dominated the narrative that his presidency is a godsend for the economy. Fighting this narrative should have been Democrats’ first and foremost priority from day one, which would have been extremely easy to do since the narrative is entirely false.
Job growth continued on the trajectory it’s been on since 2012 and ordinary Americans don’t have any more money in their pockets than before; the wealth stayed at the top no matter how much the economy has grown. An entirely factual counter-narrative about money being siphoned upward to the dollar-hoarding billionaire class with the help of Republican tax cuts would have been an extremely easy sell, but hardly anybody has attempted to do this.
Or war. It’s simply taken for granted that Democrats aren’t going to campaign against war, but how easy would it be for them to win elections if they did?
There is no shortage of footage and statistics which could be used to attack this administration’s unforgivable rate of civilian casualties from airstrikes, its expansion of military presence in Syria, Afghanistan and Africa, its horrifying escalations against a nuclear superpower in Russia, its continued facilitation of the worst humanitarian crisis in the world in Yemen, and its depraved implementation of starvation sanctions against Iran.
Democrats could have been shoving these horrors into the public eye since January 2017, and it would have not only galvanized liberals and leftists against Trump, but also crippled his appeal with the anti-interventionist paleocons, libertarians, and nationalists on the right.
But, of course, they did not, because that would have alienated their war profiteer sponsors.
Instead of advancing popular positions to win the votes of the majority as kids are taught happens in school, all Democrats are doing currently is attacking the Republicans over Trump’s obnoxious tweets and generally successful anti-immigrant fearmongering.
Since both parties support all oligarchic agendas in essentially the same ways, the only wiggle room Democrats have left is on issues the billionaire class doesn’t care about, like racism and other forms of bigotry. Plutocrats don’t care if gay people get married or if the president says racist things, they only care about power and profit, so civil rights and opposition to racism are the only means by which Democrats can significantly distinguish themselves from Republicans in a way that helps them get elected.
The fact both parties support the same oligarchic agendas which hurt disadvantaged groups first and worst goes unmentioned by either side.
It was telling when the Democrats lost to the single most beatable presidential candidate of all time in 2016. It was even more telling they chose to spend two years spouting gibberish about Russia instead of building an actual platform with actual positions that actual people care about.
The fact there is any doubt whatsoever about the donkey party making gains in 2018 proves conclusively they have been making zero effort to help advance the interests of Americans.
They do not care. It should be as clear as day to everyone by now. And why don’t they care? Because a pro wrestler gets paid the same whether his character wins the match or loses it.
US politics work nothing remotely like how kids are taught in school. The difference is night and day. If the American education system really wanted kids to learn about the way their electoral system actually functions, teachers would bribe student government candidates with Monopoly money to betray the interests of their classmates, and whichever candidate accepted the most bribes would get advertised on the school PA system as the clear and obvious choice to vote for.
By all means, go ahead and vote on Tuesday, my American readers, in whatever way you feel might make some difference. But please also remember you are ultimately participating in a game rigged for your oppressors, and you deserve a much better system than this.
That’s where the real fight is.