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Of Flippers and Voters and Non-Voters

Don Rose 20 September 2018 One Comment

They’re flipping faster than lightning.  One friend suggests that if Robert Mueller lands one more flipper the Republicans should change their symbol from an elephant to a dolphin.

Indeed, the latest flipper, Paul Manafort, onetime chair of Donald Trump’s campaign, is likely to be the most devastating in what Trump still calls a “witch hunt.” If in fact there was a conspiracy or collusion with Russia, as much current evidence suggests, Manafort was almost certainly a part of it–or witness to it.  That’ why Mueller gave the man quite deal to rat out the Orange Menace. It’s also important to note that Mueller’s investigation is supported nearly two-to-one by the public.


That makes Manafort quite a witch–or at least a son of a witch. Pieces of his story are sure to come dribbling out over the coming seven weeks before the mid-term elections. Which brings up the significance of the mid-terms, surely the most consequential of our lifetimes and perhaps any in history.

Remember, if Mueller comes up with a report that suggests major impeachable offenses, it will still take a Democratic House of Representatives to vote for impeachment. No way a GOP House will do so. In fact, it is quite possible that a report tendered to the Department of Justice could be buried rather than presented to Congress and the public–depending on who is in charge of the DOJ at that point. That’s just another worry.

The bright side for Democrats, however, is that all the signs to date indicate they will recapture the House–and even possibly the Senate, though that’s a much longer shot. On the generic ballots they have a 10-12 point lead on the question of who people want to control Congress and have a similar lead in enthusiasm. Plus most of the momentum to date.

Trump’s favorables have been on a slow but steady decline, with most of the respected polls placing him between 36 and 38 percent. Historically, numbers that low suggest the House will become the biggest flipper of all.

Clearly the voters are there to make that happen–but they must come out. Democrats, however, have a long, sad history of failing to show up for mid-terms even when it was evident they had the voters, as the eminent political scientist and sociologist Andrew Hacker writes in the current (Sept. 27) issue of the New York Review of Books. Even those who turn out for presidential races often skip the offices below–including congressionals–while Republicans vote the ticket from top to bottom.

Hacker’s bracing, cautionary tale goes into exquisite detail including all manner of tables and numbers illustrating how failures in mid-term turnout cost the Democrats control of both houses. Included are a host of special elections in 2017 and 2018 that might have gone Democratic. (He notes also that voter suppression efforts by the GOP definitely contribute to Dem losses.)

So don’t get overconfident. It’s in all Democrats interest to make sure that everyone within reach actually gets out to vote. A Blue Wave will surely make Trump totally flip out.


Don Rose is a regular columnist for the Chicago Daily Observer

One Comment »

  • John Powers said:

    Hard to take anyone seriously who thinks voter suppression is a big issue. We have nursing homes where 100% of the residents vote the same ballot in Chicago. We have precincts where Republicans get 0 votes out of thousands cast. Statistically impossible.

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