Tuesday, March 6, 2018

THE PRAIRIE EDITOR: Hype, Omens And Errors

I think that a robust skepticism is useful, if not
necessary, in the early conversations about the
outcomes of the 2018 national mid-term elections.

It is especially valid in the current miasma of
media bias, so-called fake news, and an unusual
period of short-term volatility in the moods of a
great many voters.

The political cliche of this moment is to discuss
voter “intensity,” and many commentators have
concluded that the out-of-power Democratic voters
have the most intensity to go to the polls. Cited are
a few recent special elections at the local
and congressional level, and the historical rule that
the opposition party usually makes gains in the
first mid-term voting following a change in the
party that lives in the White House.

An upcoming special congressional election in
southwestern Pennsylvania is being given a build-up
and hype that it will be a harbinger of a Democratic
tide in November, one that returns control of the
U.S house to the liberal party. Friendly liberal media
will predictably conclude that whether or not the
Democratic candidate wins. But who is pointing out
that the district has been redrawn for November, and
that neither major party candidate lives in the new

In fact, Democrats could win back control of the U.S.
house this year, and it is possible that Republicans
could pick up 8-10 U.S. senate seats. But neither
scenario, I suggest, is portended by the omens of
special elections or current polling. Donald
Trump seems to break all the rules of traditional
politics. That could help him break the mid-term
curse, or it could lead to a Democratic landslide,

My counsel to readers is to be wary and skeptical of
politicians and pundits who make sweeping
predictions about 2018 and 2020.

This year, the political tide can turn on a Lincoln
penny or a Roosevelt dime. The future still depends
on small change and the wallet.

Copyright (c) 2018 by Barry Casselman. All rights reserved.

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