News of the Week for Nov. 12th, 2018
Today marks the 100th anniversary of the day that the guns that roared during the “Great War” fell silent on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month.
Though begun as “Armistice Day,” Veterans Day has expanded in the United States as a day for all those brave men and women who fight to keep us free.
On the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month, let us remember they who risked everything for freedom even despite the follies of their political leaders., including their very lives.
100 Years ago on the 11th day of the 11th month of the 11th hourhttps://t.co/NPX9IDiKta
— The Political Hat (@PoliticalHatToo) November 11, 2018
Genetic editing of embryos is illegal in many countries. However, the land of 猫耳, Japan, is now set to allow editing of genes in human embryos:
“Japan has issued draft guidelines that allow the use of gene-editing tools in human embryos. The proposal was released by an expert panel representing the country’s health and science ministries on 28 September.
“Although the country regulates the use of human embryos for research, there have been no specific guidelines on using tools such as CRISPR–Cas9 to make precise modifications in their DNA until now.
“Tetsuya Ishii, a bioethicist at Hokkaido University in Sapporo, says that before the draft guidelines were issued, Japan’s position on gene editing in human embryos was neutral. The proposal now encourages this kind of research, he says.”
While manipulation of human embryos for reproduction would be restricted under the guidelines, such restrictions would not be legally binding.
After all the sturm und drang, not to mention the plethora of polling calls, political mailers and commercials, and emotional outbursts, the 2018 election is over and in the bag.
My predictions for 2018 were broadly accurate, but I was too conservative in many regards as to the magnitude, especially in Nevada. As predicted, Democrats flipped both the U.S. Senate seat and Governorship, though by much larger margins than predicted, abet still a plurality with rather than an outright majority. However, the Democrats ended up doing far better, not only picking up the Lt. Gov. seat, but also the state Controller seat by a decent margin (both with Democrats winning a majority of the vote). The Republicans lost the Treasurer’s and Attorney General’s race (both of those being open seats), by less than 1%. The only silver lining for Republicans is the reelection of Secretary of State Barbara Cegavske who won a slim plurality victory of less than 1%; she is now the front-runner for the Gubernatorial or Senate nomination in 2022, assuming she doesn’t opt to run for the 3rd Congressional district in 2020 or 2022. Ominously, the Democrats did even better in Washoe County that in 2016, with their early vote results far in excess of the Democrats early voter edge, making it clear that it was all over for Republicans before Election Day even began.
Speaking of the down-ticket races in Nevada, as predicted, Democrats kept both the 4th and 3rd Congressional seats. In the legislature, it was an absolute disaster for Republicans. Not only did they fail to pick up a winnable seat in Washoe County, they lost two in Clark County, giving the Democrats a supermajority. Worse yet, was their performance in the state Senate. By the early votes, it seemed like the Republicans were in a good position to keep SD08 and SD20, while only being at risk in SD09, since though they were behind, in previous elections independents and election day voters helped counter that early vote lead. In 2018, the exact opposite happened. The Democrats’ early voter lead underestimated their eventually victory in not only SD09, but also SD08. This means that the Democrats are only one seat away from gaining a supermajority in the state Senate too, which would give them a degree of power not seen in many people’s lifetime, and the hard Left a degree of power that they’ve never had in Nevada. How close was this supermajority in the state Senate? The Republicans won by twenty-eight votes. For the state Senate, this means that the Democrats will have complete control for redistricting in 2020, since Republicans would have to pick up three seats to regain a majority, while there are only to potential pick-up opportunities (SD05 and SD06).
In the 3rd Congressional district, which Republican nominee Danny Tarkanian lost narrowly in 2016, and a district that Trump won that same year, Tarkanian lost by an even greater margin than Republican Crecent Hardy did in the 4th Congressional district (~26K vs. ~19K). More on Danny Tarkanian, a professional loser, below.
What happened in Nevada was not unique. It was about the suburbs and how they are shifting towards the Democrats after long default control by Republicans. In Nevada, independents as well as many Republicans repudiated “MAGA”. This was widely seen nationally, as the Democrats won Congressional and legislative races in the suburbs, picking up a majority in the House of Representatives and flipping many legislative houses nationwide. This shift also contributed to Democrats winning over a dozen governorships and losing none (the Republicans picked up the Alaska governorship from a formal independent who had dropped out of the race earlier this year). It is also fair warning that the unique orgy of Black Swans that ushered in 2016 is over.
After the 2016 election, I considered why I had been off on the Presidential election. My conclusion was that I, as had others, underestimated the sheer degree to which Hillary Clinton was toxic. I had previously noted that Hillary was the only Democrat who could lose to Donald Trump, and she indeed managed to somehow due so by less than 100,000 votes across a few states. In those states, the Republicans were devastated, doing horribly in Pennsylvania and losing governorships in Wisconsin and Michigan, while being devastated in neighboring Minnesota. Only in Ohio did the Republicans manage to keep the governorship while the Democratic incumbent kept the U.S. Senate seat. This is fair warning for Republicans that they can not rely on these states as default entries into the Republican/MAGA column.
Indeed, much of the 2018 election looks like 2016 would have been in the absence of Hillary Clinton. The success of the Democrats in the suburbs during those special elections, primaries, and general elections over the past two years since the Nov. 2016 election were fair warning that the GOP was going to do poorly in the suburbs. But of course accepting that fact would run counter to the MAGA narrative that it was the “establishment” who were the problem and that the suburbs punished them for not being “MAGA” enough. This ignores that only the at least somewhat squishy GOPers can get elected to many of these swing suburban districts, and that suburban “soccer moms” et al. with college degrees and a middle class lifestyle don’t take kindly to being belittled and attacked for what they are.
Half a dozen of years ago, I was talking with a scientist who had immigrated from Bulgaria, had lived under Communism, and had become an American citizen. The words she spoke to me still gives me a chill of terror:
It’s prediction time! My “official” prediction for the 2018 election are below. As a preemptive rejoiner to potential critics of previous predictions, I’d like to note that my predictions for Nevada have been highly accurate, with errors being within a close margin. In the previous Presidential elections, I admit to being a bit swayed by the din of others, either overly optimistic or thankfully pessimistic in predicted outcome. Still, below are what I think most likely to (though not definitely) happen.
As it regards the big two races in Nevada (Governor and U.S. Senator), I see a narrow win for the Democrats in each race, probably at 1½% (give or take a percentage point). My reasons were outlined after the Early Vote was in:
“Will the 2018 electorate look like the 2016 electorate, or will the prognostications that assume ceritis paribus conditions be off. There are indications that things will not be ceritis paribus. One major factor is the north-south divide in Nevada. In 2016, the Republican Joe Heck was from southern Nevada and was up against a Democrat who had previously won statewide with a majority of votes twice, including in Democrat-unfriendly 2010. Despite this handicap, Heck nonetheless won Washoe county while Trump was losing the same county to Hilary Clinton. That was the first time, with the exception of 2014’s black swan situation, that a statewide candidate in Nevada won Washoe County while losing statewide since Harry Reid eked out a slim victory in 1998. In 2018, the regional situation is reversed. Heller is from northern Nevada and had won four previous statewide elections, while his opponent is an unknown representing a southern Nevada Congressional district. Similarly, Laxalt has a northern Nevada base and has heavily campaigned in the north and the rest of the rural counties, while his Democrat opponent, Sisolak, is a Clark County Commisioner, similarly without a base outside of Clark County; however, Laxalt also has to contend with independent candidates Bundy (son of Cliven Bundy) in additon to the usual siphoning votes of the Independent American Party and Libertarian Party candidates (the only minor parties in Nevada with automatic ballot access). The largest factor, however, is how the center-moderate and right-moderate suburban women will vote. In the special elections, regularly scheduled primary and general elections in 2017 and 2018 so far, there has been a massive change from 20116 that heavily favors Democrats; if 2018 general election results mirror this even if marginally, it will be enough to throw these statewide races, as well as down-ticket races both in Nevada and elsewhere to the Democrats, and heavily so.”
As for the other partisan statewide races, the Democrats will do best in the Lt. Gov. race and pick it up. The Democratic candidate, Kate Marshall, is northern Nevada based and had proven her vote-getting abilities in 2014, a year in which Republicans rode a tsunami of electoral results, when she not only won the swing county of Washoe, but was able to win the rural county of Mineral.
With the completion of early voting, probably over ⅔ of the vote is already in, with, save for late returning absentees, only election day voters remaining to change things. Since the early vote is the vast majority of the overall vote, a early voter lead for one party or the other can be determinative, as there just isn’t enough election day voters left to counter it. The Democrats hold an early voter lead from in person early voting of 28,131 voters, which, shrinks to 22,292 when returned absentees and mail ballots received so far are included, which gives the Democrats a lead of 2½%. Turnout has been just over 80% of what is what in 2016. At this point in 2016, Democrats had a lead of 45,628 voters, or 23,336 voters less than in 2016. Both Trump and Senate candidate Heck lost by about 27,000 votes in 2016; at just over 82% turnout of 2016, that margin, ceritis paribus, would mean a margin of about 22,000, or just under the drop of Democrats early voter lead in 2018 compared to 2016. Of note, is that while after early voting Democrats had an over 45,000 early voter lead in 2016, their final victory for the two partisan statewide races after election day votes were county was about ⅗ of their early voter lead, which could mean that their lead is illusionary, at least when it comes to the statewide vote.
Perhaps what is ominous for the Republicans, is that while they did relatively much better than they did vis-à-vis the Democrats in the first week of early voting in 2018 vs. 2016, the Democrats in the second week did even better than they did in the Presidential year of 2016 in the second week of early voting. Does this mean that the Republicans shot their bolt in the first week, with the Democrats demonstrating GOTV power that will carry over to election day, or does this mean that Democrats shot their vote with early voting in the second week and election day won’t be as favorable as the second week of early voting, despite Republicans doing much better in 20118 with absentee ballots than Democrats? Or perhaps both have shot their bolt and neither bolt lands on election day?
There are other factors, as well, that must be considered. Will the 2018 electorate look like the 2016 electorate, or will the prognostications that assume ceritis paribus conditions be off. There are indications that things will not be ceritis paribus. One major factor is the north-south divide in Nevada. In 2016, the Republican Joe Heck was from southern Nevada and was up against a Democrat who had previously won statewide with a majority of votes twice, including in Democrat-unfriendly 2010. Despite this handicap, Heck nonetheless won Washoe county while Trump was losing the same county to Hilary Clinton. That was the first time, with the exception of 2014’s black swan situation, that a statewide candidate in Nevada won Washoe County while losing statewide since Harry Reid eked out a slim victory in 1998. In 2018, the regional situation is reversed. Heller is from northern Nevada and had won four previous statewide elections, while his opponent is an unknown representing a southern Nevada Congressional district. Similarly, Laxalt has a northern Nevada base and has heavily campaigned in the north and the rest of the rural counties, while his Democrat opponent, Sisolak, is a Clark County Commisioner, similarly without a base outside of Clark County; however, Laxalt also has to contend with independent candidates Bundy (son of Cliven Bundy) in additon to the usual siphoning votes of the Independent American Party and Libertarian Party candidates (the only minor parties in Nevada with automatic ballot access). The largest factor, however, is how the center-moderate and right-moderate suburban women will vote. In the special elections, regularly scheduled primary and general elections in 2017 and 2018 so far, there has been a massive change from 20116 that heavily favors Democrats; if 2018 general election results mirror this even if marginally, it will be enough to throw these statewide races, as well as down-ticket races both in Nevada and elsewhere to the Democrats, and heavily so.
For Clark County, the Democrats advantage after the end of early voting is 47,204 early voters. Usually, when the actual early vote results come out, Democrats lead needs to be keep to about 40,000 in Clark County in order for the rural counties and Washoe County to counter it, with the bulk of the countervailing vote coming from the Rural Counties, with up to 50K+ votes coming from the rural counties alone due to their heavy Republican leanings. This lead of 11% is less than their 12½% active voter registration edge in the county. In contrast, the Democrats lead in 2016 in Clark County was 72,672, a difference of about 25,000 early voters.
For Washoe County, the Democrats retain a lead of 1761 early voters, which results in a lead of about 1½% which stands in contrast with the 2% lead Republicans have in voter registration. For comparison, the Democrats lead in 2016 was only 1000, despite overall turnout being 20% higher. This is a very ominous sign in a critical swing county and an indicator of statewide Democrat dominance. Nonetheless, that the Republicans Heller and Laxalt have northern Nevada powerbases in contrast with the Clark County centric Democrats they are running against, this slight improvement from 2016 could be limited if not illusionary; still, this is a very ominous sign for the Republicans.
In the Congressional races, the Republicans are behind in both the 3rd and 4th Congressional races. In the 3rd, Republican Tarkanian is 3500 behind Democrat Lee in early voters, or just under 3%. In 2016, Trump won this district, yet Tarkanian lost it; this is a case where the candidate will likely be the greatest factor in the overall results. In the 4th, former GOP Congressman Hardy is behind former Dem Congressman Horsford in the Clark County portion of the district (which makes up the majority of the district population-wise, by 16,500 voters or just over 13%, when one includes the rural counties save for Lyon County, this drops to 11,930 voters, which is ominously close to Hardy’s loss in actual votes in 2016. Lyon County is split between the 2nd and 4th Congressional districts and the split by said districts was not immediately available, but Republicans had a turnout advantage of 4137 voters; Horsford won Lyon County by just over 2000 votes in 2016. In 2014, when Hardy defeated Horsford, it was by 4000 votes, with Horsford only winning Clark County by about 2000 votes; with the Democrats up over 16000 voters in Clark County, the 4th is likely gone shot for Republicans at this point.
In the state Senate, the Republicans have 9 seats to the Democrats 11, with one former Republican turned independent caucusing with the Democrats who is not running for reelection. There is no possibility of the GOP pic.king up seats this cycle, aside from regaining SD08, which is being vacated by the aforementioned Republican turned independent. However, the Republicans have a shot at picking up SD05 and SD06 in 2020, which means that they need to pick up one of those seats to regain a majority in time for redistricting if they hold all their Senate seats this year, and both if they lose one. Losing more than one would preclude them from regaining the state Senate until after redistricting. In SD08 and SD20, the Democrats have a lead of less than 2% in voter turn-out, with a voter lead of 817 and 573, respectively. While not a good position for Republicans, it is not insurmountable either. However, in the SD09, the Democrats have a lead of 3292; this seat is almost certainly lost, as the percentage advantage nearly 10%, which is not far off from the ca 12% lead the Democrats had in the SD05 and SD06 in 2016, which translated to about 2000 votes and 1900 votes respectively after the first week. By comparison, the actual results saw the Democrats winning SD05 and SD06 by about 500 votes and 1100 votes respectively. At this point, the Republicans need to triage their Clark County efforts to defend SD08 and SD20, and then pour almost all their energy into SD05 and SD06 in 2020, even if it means sacrificing any and all other candidates (though that is unlikely unless saner heads can replace people running the Nevada Republican Party).
As a side note, others have noted that the Democrats could pick up to two seats in the Assembly in Clark County. This is less likely that Republicans picking up a seat in Washoe County. But if both come to pass, then the Democrats will have a supermajority in the Assembly. If the Democrats somehow win both SD08 and SD20, then they would not only have supermajorities in both legislative houses, but the Governorship as well. This would be a total reversal of 2014 results, and would result in almost permanent Democrat favored legislation being enshrined for years if not decades to come.