A breaking story this AM about Nikki Haley leaving her position at the U.N. at year’s end. That was a surprise. There was no reason other than she wants to go home with family.
Now let’s see if something crazy like this happens. Post election Jeff Sessions resigns or is fired. The new AG becomes Lindsey Graham. Nikki Haley back home in S.C. is selected to replace Graham. Crazy? Maybe.
The Mid-Terms Post Kavanaugh
With Kavanaugh now behind us, let’s turn our attention to the November mid terms and what we see four weeks from today.
The intensity is certainly up. The noise from both sides is louder. So if we had to predict today what do we see?
We still see the Democrats taking the house and Nancy Pelosi back as speaker.
We see the Republicans holding the senate, possibly adding a seat or two.
In the mid terms it is all about turnout. Turnout is about enthusiasm to vote. The anti Trump forces are fully motivated and they will vote.
Today the Republicans are more motivated than before the Kavanaugh hearings and vote. They need to hold that a month, and since they won the nomination they may not. Even if they do hold it the anti fervor is still so strong.
1. A survey of 2,672 likely voters by George Mason University shows that likely voters in key districts favor Democrats by a slight margin: 50 percent prefer the Democratic nominee and 46 percent prefer the Republican. By way of comparison, in 2016 these same districts favored Republican candidates over Democratic ones by 15 percentage points, 56 percent to 41 percent.
There you see the difference and why we think the Democrats will get to the 218 seats needed.
2. Women are driving Democratic support in the battleground districts, favoring the party’s candidates by 54 percent to 40 percent. Men in these districts favor Republicans by 51 percent to 46 percent. That gender difference continues a pattern that has been seen throughout the year in other polls and in special elections.
3. As many as 68 seats currently held by Republicans are firmly in play. They are rated as ‘Lean Republican’ or worse for the GOP — presenting a stark contrast to the Democratic side, where only a half-dozen Democratic seats are in similar jeopardy.
4. According to Politico, “there are now 209 seats either firmly or leaning in the Democratic column”. That’s only 9 shy of the 218 the party needs to wrest away control of the chamber. The Republican number is estimated to 193, so they have a longer way to go.
In the senate here’s why we see Republicans holding the chamber.
The competitive races that can see seats change parties are more on the Democrat side.
Republican seats in jeopardy are in Arizona, Tennessee and Nevada. We think they can lose two of those. (they have 51 seats now)
Democratic seats in jeopardy are: Florida, North Dakota, Missouri, Indiana, Montana and West Virginia. We think they can lose three.
So, we see a divided government going forward with a Republican President and Senate and a Democratic house.
A month, of course, is forever in politics, so anything can happen. World events can influence something, the President can tweet a message that moves the needle. Maybe Republicans develop a single message that talks about the progress of the past two years and the need to stay the course and scare people not to change the congress. Maybe Schumer and team make it about healthcare and an administration dividing the country. We’ll see and
revisit these predictions, but as of today this is our view.
The MSM Reporting
One thing for sure the MSM won’t be assisting the administration and Republicans. Here’s the latest MRC analysis on coverage. 92% negative on the administration. Below we put the full MRC story, but the Republicans must overcome that to make any gains.
In four weeks, Americans go to the polls for the midterm elections that the news media are casting as a referendum on the Trump presidency. Over the summer, the broadcast networks have continued to pound Donald Trump and his team with the most hostile coverage of a President in TV news history — 92 percent negative, vs. just eight percent positive.
For this report, MRC analysts reviewed all 1,007 evening news stories (1,960 minutes of airtime) about the Trump administration on ABC, CBS and NBC from June 1 to September 30, tallying the coverage of each topic and all evaluative comments made by anchors, reporters and non-partisan sources (such as voters or experts).
The results show that, over the past four months, nearly two-thirds of evening news coverage of the Trump presidency has been focused on just five main topics: the Russia investigation; immigration policy; the Kavanaugh nomination; North Korea diplomacy; and U.S. relations with Russia. The networks’ coverage of all of these topics has been highly negative, while bright spots for the administration such as the booming economy received extremely little coverage (less than one percent of the four-month total).
Once again, the ongoing Russia investigation received more evening news coverage (342 minutes) than any other individual topic. This does not include the 86 minutes spent on the Michael Cohen investigation and guilty plea, except for a few minutes talking about the possibility that Cohen would cooperate with special counsel Robert Mueller.
Since the beginning of the Trump administration, the three networks have spent 1,975 minutes — nearly 33 hours — on the Russia investigation, or nearly 18 percent of all of their coverage of the Trump presidency. As we have previously reported, virtually all of that coverage has been negative, while almost none of it has focused on any of the controversies involving Mueller or his investigative team.
■ As we reported in July, the networks’ coverage of Trump’s immigration policies has been fiercely negative since the first days of his administration. That trend continued this summer, as the networks churned out 308 minutes of mostly (94%) negative coverage the administration’s immigration policies from June to September.
The networks’ attention to this topic has waned over the summer. In June, the three evening broadcasts spent 250 minutes on immigration, but that fell to just 35 minutes in July, 18 minutes in August and a mere five minutes in September as the Kavanaugh confirmation battle took over the airwaves.
After Brett Kavanaugh was announced the night of July 9, the networks gave his nomination relatively little airtime. From July 10 through September 6, the three evening newscasts together spent a mere 32 minutes on the Kavanaugh confirmation battle.
That changed on September 13, when the first anonymous allegations against Kavanaugh were revealed. From then until the end of September, the networks produced an additional 249 minutes of coverage centered on accusations of youthful sexual misconduct, or roughly eight times more than was devoted to the earlier debate about Kavanaugh’s judicial record and philosophy. [This heavy coverage continued in early October, leading up to the Senate’s approval of Kavanaugh’s nomination on October 6.]
The chart (above) reflects only the evaluative (82% negative) statements about how President Trump and his team handled the Kavanaugh nomination, including criticism of the President for dismissing the accusations, and for supposedly limiting the scope of the FBI probe.
Comments about Kavanaugh himself were far more numerous, but just as negative (83%) — nearly all of it focused on the late September misconduct allegations. His performance at the first round of hearings actually earned praise from journalists, especially CBS’s Jan Crawford, who enthused on the September 6 Evening News: “The main takeaway is that Judge Kavanaugh, he is performing well….It’s almost like he’s giving a judicial seminar on these areas of the law.”
Once the coverage moved to the sexual assault allegations, reporters offered nightly recitations of the highly inflammatory (and uncorroborated) charges against Kavanaugh, including that he enabled gang rapes of high school girls in the early 1980s. It is impossible to recall the networks ever giving publicity to a more damning accusation that had not either originated from law enforcement or at least been corroborated by journalistic investigation.
The evening newscasts spent 179 minutes on the administration’s diplomacy with North Korea, much of it focused on the June 12 summit between Trump and North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un. In a one-week period from June 9 to June 15, the networks spent a combined 96 minutes on North Korea, or more than half of the total for the four months we examined.
Reaction to the summit was initially somewhat positive — CBS’s expert Mike Morell, a former Obama administration official, pronounced on the June 12 Evening News that it was “a diplomatic win for the United States,” but cautioned that “we are far from a strategic win.”
As the weeks wore on, reporters focused on the lack of specific progress, leading to the 90 percent negative spin on this topic. On the September 10 Nightly News, for example, Andrea Mitchell highlighted the negative take of NBC News Korean Affairs analyst Victor Cha, who declared: “If the President is saying one thing, but the intelligence is showing something else, it’s hard to believe that the diplomacy is working.”
The networks spent 151 minutes on the Trump administration’s approach to Russia, virtually all of it (99%) negative. As with the North Korean summit, the networks’ interest peaked in the days surrounding President Trump’s July 16 summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin, with nearly 70 percent of the coverage (107 minutes) taking place during the seven days between July 13 and July 19.
Unlike with North Korea, the networks’ immediate reaction was negative. On the July 16 Nightly News, NBC’s Andrea Mitchell exemplified the media elite’s scolding tone: “He [President Trump] showed he was not willing to stand up to the Russian leader….It is profoundly demoralizing to American intelligence professionals and diplomats around the world.”
Amid this sea of coverage, the networks spent almost no airtime — a mere 14 minutes, or 0.7 percent — on the administration’s economic achievements, including the positive effects of the tax cuts and deregulation, plus historic job growth. Indeed, the only aspect of the Trump economic program that interested the networks during the past four months has been the President’s use of tariffs to push for better trade deals (80 minutes).
Coverage of Trump’s trade policy emphasized the downside: potential higher costs to consumers or the possible harm to industries that rely on foreign imports, as opposed to the potential for job growth or higher wages for American workers. That made the spin of trade news nearly as negative as the other major topics (88% negative), overwhelming the positive (89%) but puny coverage of the broader economic record.