The Jamaican bobsled team has a higher likelihood of planting its flag on Mars than Beto O’Rourke has of winning Ted Cruz’s Senate seat. In fact, rapidly rising John James has a better chance at flipping a long-held Senate seat of Debbie Stabenow than O’Rourke does of beating Ted.
It’s critical to understand the dynamic that fueled O’Rourkomania. From the outset, he was a media creation of stat-boofters like Nate Cohn and 538, a skateboarding unserious candidate who sank a gazillion dollars into yard signs, many of which ended up in “Kollyfornia.” (Last I looked, that was not a congressional district in Texas, though perhaps it should be).
O’Rourke was puffed up and groomed, feted and celebrated, in part because despite his “Hispanic” heritage, he appears to the pubic to be whiter than the Pillsbury dough boy (and equally soft). His toothy smile, evincing memories of Robert F. Kennedy, sent the Democrat faithful into a frenzy that this was the “young, hip guy” who could finally push out all the dinosaurs in the Democrat Party and again appeal to “da yuts.” Hence his appearances on millennial blather-fests such as Kimmel.
But the reality of the race—indeed of all the races—is much different, and for most races, has always been much different for many months.
I am still shocked to see that pollsters and even many pundits on our side fail to understand the fundamental difference in voting character between Democrats and Republicans, especially in the post-Trump era.
Democrats, the party of perpetual outrage, have bought into the notion that demonstrations, ugliness—especially on camera—mobbing, sign-waving, and shouting equal voter turnout. A close look at the post-Trump elections show this is anything but true. Republicans have won seven out of eight special elections, losing only a Pennsylvania seat to Connor Lamb by a razor thin 500 votes. Then there was the Alabama Senate race, which in no way whatsoever vindicated the “Dems are energized” mantra. Quite the opposite, that race showed that there are candidates whom Republicans will not vote for. Roy Moore (whose race, in wake of the Justice Brett Kavanaugh struggle, should have “woke” all Republicans to the nature of their enemy), managed to cause 685,000 Republican or Republican-leaning voters to stay home on election day compared to a mere 12 months earlier when Richard Shelby crushed his opponent.
Anyone who sees a ray of hope for Democrats in either of those races should visit Lens Crafters right away.
The Republican voter profile is one of people who work real, regular jobs (not “community organizing”), who go to church (not Wiccan festivals or summon witches for political events), who have families, and most important, who view politics as generally outside their daily lives, not at the core of them.
This, unfortunately, is wrong. Aristotle told us that man was a “political animal” and that was the human polis—the very purpose for existing. Christians would later replace that with God, but even then, the elements that made man a political being also made him a religious being—the quest for order, stability, a desire to peacefully resolve conflicts (either through the ballot box or at the foot of the Cross).
What this means is that Republicans—no matter how great the perceived threat—simply do not disrupt their lives for special elections. Moreover, they don’t get jazzed about almost any election until October.
This I knew. Any political observer should be able to see this. Yet all through the summer the punditocracy and boob-brained leftist pus-bubbles were insisting that “activism” was the equivalent of enthusiasm. (John Wooden, the great UCLA basketball coach, once said “Never let activity be mistaken for achievement.”) So all summer I knew that around October Republicans would temporarily prioritize politics over jobs and sometimes even family, that they would brush up on the issues, and that they would begin to get serious about voting. Any fool could see that, save writers at Slate or the Weekly Standard. They still assumed that all the Trump-hating professional agitators were a real voting base.
So here we are: two weeks out and Betamale has dropped in the polls like a rock (as has Heidi Heitkamp, Claire McCaskill, and other Democrat candidates.
I submit to you they were never, ever anywhere close to the levels they were polled at. Now they are finding their natural level. To me, it was inevitable, completely aside from any and all issues. (In fact, those issues—the Kavanaugh hearings, the mobbing, and the “caravan” of illegal invaders—have all played to Republican strengths).
That brings us to John James, or, as I call him from my comic-book days with “Justice League of America,” John James—Manhunter from Mars! Early on I had him in my third tier of “longshot” seats. While he in no way could be viewed as a favorite now, he has significantly tightened the race. (See all the paragraphs above). Some of this was inevitable, although he faced a serious disadvantage in name recognition (one apparently Jim Renacci in Ohio has overcome). Voters who cannot tell you who the Attorney General is, or what the MCUSA is, did not know James. Because Debbie Stabenow has been in the Senate forever, a much higher percentage knew her. Sadly, people often vote merely on who is familiar.
James has overcome a lot of this. Kid Rock at his side hasn’t hurt. I believe he is now in the -5 range, which could be huge. Richard Baris, the best pollster in America, has repeatedly said Donald Trump is good for “4-5 points” in a given race. And now, word is Trump is considering a stop in Michigan. If so, James has a legitimate shot. Don’t get me wrong: he would still need outstanding turnout from Republicans, somewhat depressed turnout from Democrats, and more than a few indies going, “Sh***er’s full,” to quote Cousin Eddie from “Christmas Vacation.”
But make no mistake: James has room to grow his voter base, while Beto may grow his donor list, but little else.
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