The end of democracy draws a little closer

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NY Times:

Democrats fear midterm drubbing as party leaders rush to defend blue seats

Kamala Harris, Hillary Clinton and other prominent Democrats are scrambling to bolster candidates in places President Biden won comfortably in 2020

As Republicans have focused on inflation and crime to go on offense in Democratic territory over the past month — competing in traditionally blue districts in California, Oregon, New York, Illinois and elsewhere — there’s a growing sense among Democrats that there’s little they can do at this point to combat the combined forces of history and economics.

Senate and House are different animals, but there’ no question which direction things point. In NV, for example:

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I’ll have more on the blog tomorrow, but Dems are unlikely to be in the kind of strong position by tomorrow night that they have been in 2016, 2018 and 2020. They can still benefit from mail coming in for another week, but will it be enough to offset Election Day if need be?
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— Jon Ralston (@RalstonReports) November 4, 2022

Lee Drutman and Charlotte Hill/NY Times:

Why Do People Who Don’t Like Politics Hold the Fate of the Country in Their Hands?

It’s almost Election Day, and once again, the party that wins the midterms will likely be determined by swing voters — a small but critical slice of the electorate that, despite the polarization of U.S. politics, is still open to voting for Democrats or Republicans.

These swing voters have gained a reputation for being the one remaining moderating force in our politics. But more often they are a mercurial mix of unorthodoxy and political uninterest — and they hold disproportionate power to decide the fate of the country, based on the price of gasoline or a reflexive turn against the party in the White House.

What we’re left with in our polarized system is that the only real swing voters are those who either don’t really follow politics (most swing voters) or whose deeply considered political values leave them ambivalent about the two major parties (a few highly educated voters with an outsize media presence).

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If you want a peak into how badly Kevin Stitt has damaged his relationships in rural Oklahoma, the rural papers turning against him openly right before Election Day should be a siren for him among a host of others: pic.twitter.com/WiFXng29p5

— Blake Allen (@Blake_Allen13) November 2, 2022

Blake Hounshell/ NY Times:

Why Election Experts Are So Confused About the 2022 Turnout Mystery

It’s a unique midterm year, with a Republican-friendly environment, an abortion ruling energizing Democrats, and increased partisanship in how people cast ballots.

It’s the biggest mystery of the midterms: Which groups of voters will turn out in the largest numbers?

It’s also, obviously, the most important question of all. Most, if not all, of the big Senate races are within what political pros call the “margin of field” — meaning that a superior turnout operation can mean the difference between winning and losing.

“It’s the only thing that matters right now,” said Molly Parzen, the executive director of Conservation Voters of Pennsylvania, an environmental group that is part of a coalition of liberal organizations running get-out-the-vote operations in the state.

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Ds facing no shortage of challenges but large-sample @NALEO tracking poll out today shows them holding at 64% of two-party Latino vote for House & Kelly in AZ drawing more than that. Key question is whether Latinos in NV, where eco discontent is soaring, fall off from that.

— Ronald Brownstein (@RonBrownstein) November 2, 2022

Gallup:

Early Voting Higher Than in Past U.S. Midterms

The level of planned early voting measured in the Oct. 3-20 poll still does not reach what Gallup measured in the 2020 presidential election year, during the coronavirus pandemic and before COVID-19 vaccines were available. Two years ago, 64% of U.S. registered voters planned to vote early versus 32% who planned to vote on Election Day. It is unclear how much pandemic concerns boosted early voting in 2020 because the practice has historically been more common in presidential than in midterm election years.

Early voting intentions this year, though more prevalent than in the last (2018) midterm election, match those from the 2016 presidential election (40%).

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I think these three tweets do a good job at how there is almost no overlap between the parties. What voters in one party are looking for is competely different from the other. pic.twitter.com/W0Viy5j0ra

— Drew Savicki 🦃🦃🦃 (@DrewSav) November 2, 2022

Texas Tribune:

“I’m in no rush”: Voter apathy takes hold of early voting ahead of Texas midterm election

Republicans may be waiting to vote on Election Day after former President Donald Trump pushed voting in person on Nov. 8 at a rally in South Texas.

After two election cycles of record-breaking turnout, Texas’ major political parties are confronting such apathy this early-voting period, which has seen smaller numbers compared to this point during the 2018 midterm election. It has caused Democrats and Republicans to contemplate whether overall turnout will be lower than expected — and whether 2018 was a new baseline or more of an aberration.

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Oprah Winfrey has announced her support of John Fetterman, who is running for Senate against Mehmet Oz in Pennsylvania.

“Dr. Oz” was a frequent guest on Oprah’s former daytime television talk showhttps://t.co/rBlhBBL5AR

— philip lewis (@Phil_Lewis_) November 4, 2022

ABC News:

Midterm elections early voting updates: Turnout surpasses prior years

As of Thursday morning, more than 32 million votes had been tallied.

Turnout in 2022 is still on track to be high for a midterm election, according to McDonald, even though midterms traditionally have lower participation compared to presidential cycles despite growing interest in recent years. The last midterm election, in 2018, recorded some of the highest turnout in the nation’s history. In this election, some states like Georgia are seeing early vote numbers surge, suggesting they might break their 2018 records. In other states, like California, McDonald noted that early vote tallies indicate overall turnout may not reach 2018 levels of high participation.

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Several new polls in Pennsylvania show little shift after last week’s Senate debate.

To the extent the race has evolved, it’s stayed on a very similar trajectory: With Oz closing, but mostly thanks to a coalescing GOP — not Fetterman health concerns.https://t.co/CT4DQy6NWD

— Aaron Blake (@AaronBlake) November 3, 2022





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