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.
In the Attorney General race, it is likely a toss-up at this point, and we’ll all likely toss a coin to decide what the prediction will be. In the other statewide partisan races, incumbent Controller Knecht will likely win re-election and receive the highest vote margin for any of the statewide Republicans. The incumbent Secretary of State will likely win by a much narrower margin, in large part due to the tendency of down-ticket incumbents to win re-election. In the open Treasurer’s race, Bob Bears will likely defeat his Democratic opponent.
In the Nevada state Senate, the Democrats will pick up SD09, but narrowly lose SD08 and SD20. This will leave them with a 12-9 majority. The only hopes the Republicans will have of winning back either chamber before redistricting (which is especially important if the Democratic nominee for Governer, Sisolak, wins the gubernatorial race), is to win both SD05 and SD06 in a highly charged Presidential election year. In the Assembly, the Republicans will likely net up one seat based in Washoe County. Democrats will retain the 4th Congressional District, but more narrowly than they won it in 2016.
Congress and State Level
Nationally, it will likely come down to White suburban women, including the recently forgotten “soccer moms”. In the House, the Democrats will make gains, likely to be enough to eke out a slim majority in chamber, but the margins will be narrower than most believe (see below). In the Senate, the Republicans benefit from a favorable map with almost no vulnerable seats, while the Democrats have a plethora. After three devastating cycles for this Senatorial class (2000, 2006, and to a lesser extent 2012), the Republicans can pick up seats despite a potential national wave against them. Aside from Nevada, the only seat they could lose is Arizona (which will likely be fairly narrow), while the Republicans are set to win elsewhere. All in all, the Republicans will gain seats in the U.S. Senate, with North Dakota being the biggest win by margin, with their advantage decreasing in the order of Missouri, Indiana, and Florida. Give or take a seat, this will result in a GOP majority of 53R-45D-2I, with both independents caucusing with the Republicans.
As for elsewhere, look to see the GOP lose at least half-a-dozen state Trifectas, with Democrats picking up Governorships in critical 2020 battleground states (e.g. Michigan) and far too many legislative houses. This is critically important, since it is, in most states, the Governors who are elected now who will have say over redistricting plans after the 2020 census, and in many cases at least half (if not more) of the state Senates which will also be legislating over the same.
Here, I will present three picks for dark horse candidates, where I don’t think it’ll come to pass, but for which I will not put out of the realm of possibility, and wouldn’t be totally shocked if they were to win.
- Nevada Democrats win a supermajority in the state Assembly.
- Republicans pick up at least one governorship, if not more, in a “blue state”.
- An outspoken Congressional Republicans goes down in flames.
A Little Mood Music
The House will flip mid-Congress due to deaths and/or resignations.