Pete's Prep: Thursday, May 19, 2018

Is the "Blue Wave" coming or not?

In the aftermath of yesterday's North Carolina primary, state Democratic leaders were pointing to various stats and results as proof that the much-celebrated "Blue Wave" is coming, and Republicans are unenthusiastic about stopping it - even they are even capable of doing so at all.

For example, here is the NC Democratic Party spokesman:


The NCDP sent out a press release elaborating:

Early voting laid the foundation for a strong night for Democrats, as Democrats had a higher share of the vote than ’10 or ’14 while Republican early vote ballots sagged behind 2014. 

After Congressman Robert Pittenger (NC-9) lost in his GOP primary, his strategist said: "(The) real story is turnout, and also Democratic turnout."

Paul Shumaker added, "Fall may be brutal for R's on the ballot."

You've heard this before, right?

We've all heard this for the past... what... year now?

But local races - like Pittenger's - are influenced by local events and local personalities. Bad candidates (or incumbents) don't mean it's part of wave.

Dr. Michael Bitzer from Catawba College writes about this today at his Old North State Politics blog.

In thinking about the Democratic contests in the 9th Congressional District, one could consider that the competitiveness of, and voters' interests in, several sheriff's races may have provided a boast in numbers to the McCready-Cano contest. Of the 45,660 votes cast in the district for the two congressional Democrats, 48.8 percent, or 22,317 votes, came out of Anson, Robeson, and Scotland counties combined. The sheriff's races in these rural counties may have driven the votes to congressional race, and thus a perception of enthusiasm and energy, in the Democratic primary for the district as a whole.

But now Jonathan Turley is sounding the alarm - the Democratic Tsunami might not make it ashore.

The Democratic leadership defied the pressures from the catastrophic loss of Hillary Clinton by refusing to change its leadership, particularly the deeply unpopular minority leader Nancy Pelosi.  It has also gone “all in” on issues like immigration that deeply divide the country.  Now, according to a new CNN poll conducted by SSRS, shows that the Democrats’ once towering edge over Republicans going into the mid term elections has largely disappeared.  With six months to go, 47% of registered voters say they back the Democratic candidate in their district, 44% back the Republican — within the margin of error.

Back in February, Democrats held a 16 points advantage. That shrank to six points in March. Now it is just three points.

Over at Hot Air, Allahpundit says we should tap the brakes a bit...

This is big news, but context always counts. Look at the RCP “poll of polls” and you’ll see that it’s an outlier. No other poll taken over the past two weeks has the GOP as close as three points. Three, in fact, have Republicans trailing by eight or nine, which is no bueno in terms of holding the House. Still, it ‘s possible CNN’s data is picking up the start of yet another broad trend towards the GOP on the generic ballot. At one point in December the party trailed by an average — average — of 13 points, which is duck-and-cover territory for the midterms. The average now is around half that at 6.9 points. Still not great, but with tighter numbers here and virtually all vulnerable Senate incumbents hailing from the Democratic side, the outlook on Republicans holding the Senate keeps getting brighter.

And Jazz Shaw goes in-depth on the problems with the Democratic Party messaging - which is conflicted by the need to placate a base that has gone far to left:

Jobs are always key, but it’s tough to make the claim that the country needs to switch parties to create more jobs when the unemployment rate is the lowest it’s been since 2000. Infrastructure is always a popular topic as well, but both parties are already fighting to push an infrastructure bill. The problem is that nobody wants to pay for it. Healthcare remains a significant concern, but they had a long stretch of time in power and passed Obamacare. If that’s not working for the voters it will be hard to pin it on the GOP. Making college tuition more affordable would be a big winner for them but, again, they have no idea how to make that happen.

The other problem with this approach has everything to do with their base. That list of policy items is, as I said, rock solid in terms of traditional political strategy. But it certainly doesn’t seem like a list of priorities that their vocal supporters want to hear about right now. The Democrats are already in the process of holding a shadow primary for their 2020 POTUS bid in parallel with the midterms. What their supporters want to hear about is gun confiscation, identity politics, social justice and generally opposing Donald Trump. Aside from the last item on that list, these are some dangerous planks for the Democrats to be walking, but if they don’t please the loudest members of the hard left they’ll have a tough time of things in the primary season which is now beginning.

Shaw hits on a lot more, and you should read the entire piece.

So, is a wave coming?

I think the answer is a solid maybe.

And speaking of sheriff races

Here's our friend Becki Gray from the John Locke Foundation...


NC citizens vote to raise local sales taxes

A dozen counties held votes on Tuesday to raise their local sales tax by a quarter-of-one-percent (.25%).

Votes were held in Bertie, Clay, Gaston, Jones, Lenoir, Lincoln, Pasquotank, Person, Rockingham, Rutherford, Washington, and Watauga counties.

The conservative John Locke Foundation notes that most of these tax hike referendums fail on their first attempt. And all of these have.


Teacher strike gains momentum

Meanwhile, school district administrators continue closing schools rather than deny personal leave requests. Teachers are planning a "day of action" against Republicans on Wednesday, and sympathetic school officials have been closing districts for the day to help that happen.

It's a pretty blatant politicization of our schools. But as long as it benefits Democratic electoral chances, it's cast as a courageous, selfless act of civic duty.


Here's a debate between the Executive Directors of the NCDP and NCGOP about the issue.

  • Democrats say there is a surplus that could go toward teacher pay.
  • Republicans say they have already increased teacher pay and investment in public schools.

I find it ironic that Democrats are now telling us how to spend the surplus money that the GOP budgets and tax reforms have yielded.

Efforts that Democrats fought.

Efforts that Democrats predicted would bankrupt the state.

It's money that, had Democrats succeeded, would not be available.

Also, it ignores the fact that the Republican legislature has increased education funding by billions of dollars, and increased teacher pay (to an average of $51,000+) over the past five years.

Which tells you all you need to know about next week's one-day teacher strike. It's about putting Democrats in power. Not about children or education.

You can watch the debate HERE

Pete Kaliner

Pete Kaliner

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