Friday, October 19, 2018

Midterm Elections 2018 Results: What Policy Changes are Likely?

Date: 11/7/2018
Time: 5:00 PM to 7:00 PM
Location: Maglione Hall (5th Floor)

RealClearPolitics 2018
Ambassador Christopher Hill and Professor Floyd Ciruli reprise their popular post-election analyses of the November results and its domestic and international effects on November 7 in Maglione Hall.

The post-election session will review the midterm results, the possible end of one-party control of the federal government and the likelihood of impeachment. Also, the impact, if any, on America First, and President Trump’s trade, immigration and alliance policies. How will the results align with international trends of populism, nationalism and authoritarianism?


REGISTER here

Thursday, October 18, 2018

Lock Him Up

Although President Trump likes the rally chant, “lock her up,” aimed at women he finds irritating, such as Hillary Clinton and Dianne Feinstein, it’s Trump who may be locked up (figuratively) after November 6. History and polls confirm what Trump himself argues, this midterm election is all about Trump. And, if Democrats take the House, they will have a mandate to restrain what I call the “Authoritarian Presidency” (see blog Authoritarian Presidency).

Trump’s and the Republicans’ main election weakness is the desire of a plurality of voters to put up restraints on his presidency, not encourage it. Of course, that corresponds to decades of experience where it’s the out-of-power party that is most motivated to containing newly elected presidents, such as Ronald Reagan in 1982, Bill Clinton in 1994 and Barack Obama in 2010.


The second problem for Republican candidates is that the swing voters who have reservations about Trump aren’t in a revolt over policy, but his personality. In other words, citing accomplishments and the great economy is undermined by his relentless disruption of the status quo and need for attention expressed in endless commentary, interviews, announcements and tweets (72% say he Tweets too much, 58% of Republicans, Politico, 5-18)

Hence, the 2018 midterm is either going to be an extraordinary victory for Trump if the Democrats fail to take the House or the beginning of “locking him up.”


Q: Would you rather see the next Congress controlled by the Democrats, to act as a check on Trump, or controlled by the Republicans to support Trump’s agenda? (ABC News/Washington Post)

Q: [Respondents who disapprove of the way Trump is handling his job, N=499] Is your disapproval of Trump’s job so far driven more by the positions he takes on issues or more by his personality and leadership qualities? (CNN/SSRS)

See Politico: Poll: Trump’s tweets damage the nation

The Authoritarian Presidency

As Richard Nixon faced his Watergate accusers after his landslide 1972 re-election, critics had already established an intellectual theme, the Imperial Presidency, that appeared in scholarly journals, books and guest editorials. It urged action to tame his administration’s behavior.

After his resignation and pardon, the 1974 midterm elections brought 43 new Democrats to the House and three more to the Senate, setting the stage for new legislation to constrain the Nixon administration’s long described rogue behavior. The War Power Act was passed (before the resignation), along with dozens of laws related to elections and abuse of power, such as the Federal Elections Commission and Freedom of Information Act. To help strengthen congressional oversight, the Congressional Budget Office was created. The growth of presidential power was slowed.

Similar to the 1970s, an entire publishing industry has been established critiquing President Trump’s abuse of power and danger to democracy. Google the term “Trump and fascism” or “authoritarianism” and see dozens of citations to popular and academic references. The intellectual framework is in place to limit the Authoritarian Presidency. If the Democrats win the House in the 2018 midterm, it will reflect a desire by voters to put some side rails on the Trump presidency. Discussions have already begun about which House committees would be involved, what issues addressed and the timing and process to follow.

Reporter Jeff Barker in the Baltimore Sun, hometown paper of Elijah Cummings, described the 22-year congressional veteran who could replace retiring Republican Trey Gowdy as Chair of the powerful Oversight and Government Reform Committee, which was a scourge of the Obama administration under Darrell Issa and now works equally hard to protect Trump

Cummings, as a ranking minority member, has already requested subpoenas for subjects related to immigrant family separation, security clearances and patient protection, such as pre-existing conditions. A few of the topics discussed among staffs and members include:


One issue the Cummings and Democratic House leadership wants to avoid is impeachment. As I told Barker:

“The risk of talking about impeachment is to scare off moderates, suburbanites, independents who would like a little relief from the level of bitter partisanship and the unbelievable gridlock,” said Floyd Ciruli, a Colorado-based independent pollster. “Their problem is, Mueller may come in with true high crimes and misdemeanors.”

If Mueller presented impeachment-worthy evidence, Ciruli said, the Democrats could get dragged into a debate “in spite of their leadership.”

Monday, September 24, 2018

Midterm Election: Who Controls Congress? What Happens Next?

A record crowd of more than 250 people joined Hill and Ciruli after the surprise 2016 election
to review the polling and forecasting and the national and international fallout.
Ambassador Christopher Hill and Professor Floyd Ciruli reprise their popular post-election analyses of the November results and its domestic and international effect on November 7 at DU’s Maglione Hall.

5-7 pm, Wednesday, November 7, 2018
Maglione Hall, University of Denver Campus
Anna and John J. Sie International Relations Complex
2201 S. Gaylord St., Denver, CO
5:00 pm: Reception
5:30 pm: Presentation and conversation
6:15 pm: Discussion
Event FREE, but space limited

The post-election session will review the midterm results, the possible end of one-party control of the federal government and the likelihood of impeachment. Also, the impact, if any, on America First, and President Trump’s trade, immigrant and alliance policies. How will the results align with international trends of populism, nationalism and authoritarianism?

For more information, contact: Karen Hayden at 303.871.4374 or email to Karen.Hayden@du.edu

Sponsored by:
Crossley Center for Public Opinion Research
Office of Global Engagement
Korbel School at University of Denver

Friday, September 14, 2018

Is Colorado’s Governor’s Race Competitive?

Republicans are at risk to lose some governorships in the 2018 midterm elections, which could affect the presidential reelection and have a negative impact on redistricting after the 2020 census. Republicans have 26 seats to defend with only 19 held by Democrats in the election.

States

Republicans are on the defensive in a number of states, including Florida, Ohio and Illinois. One open seat they would like to win is Colorado. Outside observers, like Larry Sabato of the University of Virginia on CNBC and Louis Jacobson of Governing Magazine, continue to rate Colorado as competitive.

They recognize the state has shifted slightly Democratic to the benefit of Jared Polis (see “Polis Begins Campaign in Strong Position”), but they are assuming that a nominee with as liberal a reputation as he has is going to be vulnerable to a reasonably competitive opponent and campaign.

Neither the Polis or Republican Walker Stapleton campaigns have really started, but each side’s supporters have launched initial attacks, with Republicans (the National Republican Governor’s Association) warning of “Californicating” Colorado and Democrats arguing Walker Stapleton is a pawn of Donald Trump and friend of Tom Tancredo.

Polis is an advocate of a single-payer health care system, an opponent of gas and oil fracking, and a high-profile advocate of gay rights and the legalization of recreational use of marijuana – a comfortable agenda for a Boulder congressman and likely a majority of Colorado Democrats. But historically, or even in recent history, putting it all together in one candidate would be a tough sell for the state.

However, at the end of August in the 2018 midterm elections, Democrats appear to have the advantage.

Read:
The Buzz: If it’s Stapleton vs. Polis, who wins?
CNBC: With 36 governorships up for grabs in midterm elections, Republicans have most to lose

National Dashboard: Consensus Builds, Democrats Have Momentum for a Majority

After a dilatory spring when polls and signs were weak (see “Blue Wave or Just a Ripple”), Democrats have regained the momentum for retaking the House of Representatives. In fact, even Mike Coffman’s seat is now rated a toss-up with a Democratic lean by Nate Silver’s 538.

Some of the data:
  • Presidential approval remains in the low 40s and mired in negative territory. Strong disapproval is 10 to 15 points larger than strong approval in polls that ask the intensity feelings (Gallup, May 2018). Historically, low presidential approval tends, although not always, to accompany major losses for the presidential party.


  • Congressional ballot question is at 7 points in the RealClearPolitics average and substantially higher in some recent polls. CNN/SSRS poll of August 12 has an 11-point spread in favor of the Democrats. Reuters/Ipsos and Quinnipiac have it at 9 points. Nate Silver’s analysis states that at least 8 points will be needed to overcome anomalies in voter distribution in House seats for the Democrats to win.

  • Midterms, especially the first for a new president, tend to be restraining. Opponents are enthusiastic and supporters less impassioned than two years earlier. Ronald Reagan in 1992, Bill Clinton in 1994 and Barack Obama in 2010 lost an average of 47 seats among the three of them. George W. Bush was an exception due to 9/11 making the election a referendum on fighting terrorism and national unity.

         This also is an especially tough year on incumbents. The President is better at primaries
         than general elections and at dividing his party than defending it, so an establishment
         incumbent suffers from both being associated with a controversial president and possibly
         not having his full support.

  • Special elections have given Democrats only one victory. But, out of nine elections, they have benefited from a 10-point shift toward them even while losing. If that trend holds up in the midterms, they could win more than 60 competitive and near competitive seats.

  • A strong economy is a Republican advantage, but as the economy has improved, voters have shifted attention to other issues, such as health care, that benefit Democrats and immigration that stirs up the base of both parties. Unfortunately for Republicans, Trump often steps on good news with controversial tweets.

  • District by district analyses by Silver, Charlie Cook and Larry Sabato agree that the odds are favoring Democrats to gain at least 23 seats and possibly more. Silver puts the chance at 3 out of 4.

Many Republican supporters of the President (although few in the Republican establishment and officeholders) have taken to accept the analyses and argue losing the House will be good for the President’s re-election. He will win voter sympathy, like Bill Clinton in 1998, as the Democrats ramp up multiple investigations and impeachment.

But, the President doesn’t agree. He has committed to 40 campaign appearances this fall. He believes he can personally hold the Republican House. That’s a good call because, in fact, loss of the House will be a very negative judgement on his first two years, mostly end any legislative accomplishments, drain his political power and embolden the Republican establishment to start putting distance between him and their careers.

Health Care Top Issue, Especially for Women

Health care registers as the second most important issue in numerous surveys just after jobs and the economy, which the public is increasingly satisfied with. It is the top issue for women, and women are a challenge for Republicans in the 2018 midterms.


According to a recent CBS News poll (8-13-18), health care ranked first by both younger (18-35) and older women (over 35) when asked what issue will be very important in their vote for Congress. Also, 68 percent of women said the candidate must agree with them on the issue to get their vote. It should be noted that the economy becomes a less useful issue for Republicans as it improves. Health care then becomes a greater interest for voters, especially women.

Health care will be especially important in the Colorado gubernatorial race, with Jared Polis having supported the single-payer “Medicare for All” proposal of Bernie Sanders and Walker Stapleton a strong opponent.

Regardless of pro or con views on single-payer, what the candidates plan to do related to access and affordability of health care may be a deciding issue, especially for women.