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Saturday, November 29, 2014

Election Trends

What have we learned from the 2014 election, and what to future trends hold? It looks like each Congressional election, political parties are going to win in big waves. Like a pendulum, the Presidential elections will swing to the left, with Democrats making big gains. In midterm elections, the pendulum will swing to the right, with Republicans making big gains. It's a little favored toward the Democrats as long as they win the President seat, swinging 4 ticks to the left during the Presidential elections and swinging 3 ticks to the right during midterm elections.

One reason for the large pendulum swings is because Senators have 6 year terms, so in the next election they will face a turn of fortunes. All those Republican Senators who won in 2014 will face an adverse election in the 2020 Presidential election.

While the Democrats have a small advantage, it won't be enough to get anything done, at least for the next several years. It's Congress who writes and introduces new laws, and even during Presidential elections, the Republicans should hold a House majority or 41 Senate seats to filibuster new laws. Republicans may lose one, but they'll keep at least one obstacle. Then in the next midterm election, the Republicans will regain both obstacles.

What are the issues that is defining the political parties?

This is where the Republicans have their strongest hand. A few years ago, there was a populist movement to eliminate the failed Bush tax cuts for the rich that exploded our deficit and lead us into a recession. Now that most of the tax cuts for the rich were eliminated in 2013, there really is no desire to raise taxes. Republicans will use this as their strong hand for many years to come. If Democrats try to raise taxes, the results will be disastrous for them.

Democrats, avoid tax increases at all costs. If you do increase taxes, this will greatly strengthen the Republicans. The best way to seek tax revenue is to find ways to eliminate tax loopholes and controversial tax deductions employed by the rich, as well as putting the pressure on tax cheats and evaders.

Illegal Immigrants
This is a controversial issue and a tossup. Republicans like to bring up this topic to portray them as fighting for American citizens over illegal immigrants, but all too often the GOP comes off as being racist and idiotic, and their real agenda is racism and fear that granting citizenship to illegal immigrants will result in more Democratic voters.

Obama seems to have the right approach to the illegal immigration issue, although the Republicans in Congress won't let any of his ideas pass through. Obama's plan is to allow the illegal immigrants who have worked here for a certain number of years to stay without fear of deportation, and offer a pathway to U.S. citizenship as long as they have no criminal record and pay back taxes. Illegal immigrants who have criminal or terrorist ties are deported. Human traffickers are arrested, sentenced, and deported. Those here by illegal human trafficking tactics, such as the abandoned children from Central America last summer, will be deported.

Minimum Wage
Democrats have the advantage here. In referendum votes across America in 2014, voters overwhelmingly approved of minimum wage hikes. Polls show Americans strongly approve of minimum wage hikes. However, the Republicans still dominated the 2014 elections, despite their opposition to minimum wage hikes. So what to make of this?

While Americans agree the current $7.25 an hour minimum wage is too low, most Americans believe around $10 an hour is more appropriate. Going as high as $15 an hour is too high that will only pass higher prices to the customers, and a very high increase would shock businesses. Also, taxes were a greater issue to the voters in 2014, because near minimum wage workers are in the minority of the American labor pool.

Womens' Rights and Abortion
This is the Democrats' strong hand, but this hand was a disappointment in the 2014 elections. What happened? First of all, there were no Republicans making ignorant, offensive, or dumbass statements like "legitimate rape". Second, most of the Republican candidates of 2014 didn't take a strong right-wing, anti-woman stance. When Democrats tried to air attack ads against Republicans, the Republicans successfully defended themselves against the misogynist charges. When the misogynist charges became a non-issue, voters focused on taxes, jobs, and the economy, which the Republicans had the lead.

For the Democrats, read the section on taxes. This is what hurt you the most in the 2014 elections, and this is what you need to fix for future elections.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

How Republican Thom Tillis won the North Carolina Senate Race

There was a U.S. Senate seat in North Carolina up for election in 2014. Democratic incumbent Kay Hagan was seeking a second term, and Republican candidate Thom Tillis was the challenger. Polls showed Hagan was ahead of Tillis mostly throughout the election, yet in a surprise Thom Tillis beat Kay Hagan in the final election, 48.9% to 47.2%. How did Thom Tillis pull off this victory?

This Republican victory is one of the more controversial ones, using high risk and controversial tactics. The campaign started off normal, with Hagan criticizing Tillis for cutting education spending. Thom Tillis was able to defend his record on education, so this criticism died off. Then in October, treats from ISIS and Ebola flooded the news, and Tillis was ready to take positions on these hot topics. Another fortune came for Tillis when Hagan admitted on October 8 that she had missed a classified hearing for Armed Services Committee about ISIS to attend a campaign fundraiser in New York City.

These October events certainly helped Tillis come closer in the polls, but he was still behind and needed more fortunate luck or some new tactics to pull ahead of Hagan. Political races are like poker games, full of big cash, high risk, and high thrills. When Tillis knew he had a good hand, but Hagan probably had a slightly higher hand (you can't see your opponent's cards, but you can make educated guesses), Tillis decided to make a very risky move by increasing the bets, hopefully to intimidate his opponent. The North Carolina U.S. Senate race of 2014 turned out to be the most costly U.S. Senate race so far in American politics, which broke a new record at $113 million.

Another controversial tactic by Thom Tillis was to suppress the minority voters any way possible, especially Black voters who consistently vote around 90% Democrat. Thom Tillis and the Republicans eliminated early voting in North Carolina, where most early voters are African American and/or Democrats.
All of these problems add up to fewer people voting, and election results skewered towards Republicans, who designed the laws. According to Weiser, in 2010, 200,000 voters cast ballots during the early voting days, which were cut by Tillis’s law. In 2012, 700,000 voted during those days; this number accounted for more than a quarter of all of the votes cast African-Americans that year. Weiser writes, “In 2012, 100,000 North Carolinians, almost one-third of whom were, African-American, voted using same day registration, which was not available this year.”

Thom Tillis won by less than 50,000 votes, and allowing those early voters to vote wold have easily reversed Tillis' fortune in the final election.

This was one of the more controversial victories the Democrats could have won if there were better prepared. For the Democrats, you got to get your voters out during every election, not just the Presidential elections. Also, focus more on the state and local elections. Alot of the election policies are set at the state and local levels. The Republicans know this too well, especially with their successful gerrymandering of House Representative districts in 2010.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

How Republican Barbara Comstock won the northern Virginia House race

Republicans won significant gains in all three areas of the 2014 elections: State Governor, House, and Senate. I'll cover a major victory for each of the three areas. Today let's analyze Barbara Comstock's (shown below) victory for a House of Representatives seat in the 10th district of northern Virginia.

The current House Representative for Virginia's 10th district is Republican Frank Wolf. This is Frank Wolf's 17th and last term as House Representative. When he retires in 2015, he will have served 34 years. This district was a very conservative district, but in the past several years, it has turned into a moderately conservative district. Frank Wolf has dominated the elections for over 30 years, often winning with over 70 percent of the vote. In recent years, northern Virginia has been diversifying and Frank Wolf's winning percentage in elections has often dropped to under 60%, and as low as 57%.

This open seat gave a fresh start for both parties. Republican candidate Barbara Comstock was facing Democrat candidate John Foust. Polls showed early in the campaign that the race was a toss-up or competitive. At best Comstock was only looking to win by a few points. Even if Comstock won the election, if the Democrats can limit her votes to under 54% in this mid-term election favoring Republicans, that would be a good opportunity for the Democrats to take back the seat in the 2016 Presidential elections favoring Democrats.

John Foust started off well by picturing Barbara Comstock as a radical right-wing extremist. He aired ads showing how Comstock wants to severely restrict abortion rights. However, women voters, especially unmarried women, did not come out in great numbers this election, and these anti-woman charges against Comstock gained no merit. Then in August, John Foust made a mistaken statement by saying Comstock never had a "real job". Barbara Comstock successfully turned that statement into critical ads against Foust. Comstock successfully tied that statement as an attack on working women of all types. Foust's ratings dropped in the polls, especially among women, and in the final election, Comstock soundly defeated Foust, 56.5% to 40.4%.

It was the women voters, or the failure for the Democrats to win the women voters, that led to this defeat. It was also a very expensive race, with Comstock raising $3 million and Foust raising $2.1 million. Barbara Comstock had to take out $550,000 in personal loans for this expensive race, and with a House salary of $174,000, it's going to take a while to recover those loans. But it's a victory, and donors and supporters will be more eager to help out, and gives her a tremendous head start in the 2016 elections.

For Democrats, this House seat is still in play for 2016. Comstock didn't win as dominantly as Frank Wolf used to, and if Foust didn't make blunders, the race would be much closer. The district continues to diversify and the voters of 2016 should be more Democratic friendly. But your candidate has to be careful what they say and how they act.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

How Republican Larry Hogan won the Maryland governor race

In one of the biggest surprises of the 2014 elections, Republican Larry Hogan won the governor's race in Maryland. Maryland is a deep blue and Democratic state for so many years. However, Larry Hogan (shown below) defeated his Democratic opponent Anthony Brown by 51.6% to 46.9%. It wasn't even a close race, Larry Hogan won big. So how did he pull this major upset victory and what can the democrats learn from this?

Larry Hogan was facing a very steep uphill from the beginning. Registered Democratic voters outnumber registered Republican voters in Maryland by over 2 to 1, and Hogan was well outspent by Brown. In the end, it came down to these two issues that helped Hogan win, fighting higher taxes and winning women voters.

Current Maryland governor Martin O'Malley is a Democrat for two terms (8 years). He did create much controversy by raising taxes quite a lot and quite a bit. He signed increases for personal income taxes paid by high earners, the corporate income tax, sales tax, gas tax, tobacco tax and alcohol tax. Maryland voters stated in polls that their number one concern was the high taxes in Maryland. Larry Hogan paid attention well and campaigned on pledging no new taxes, and repealing governor O'Malley's tax hikes.

On the other hand, Anthony Brown did not make his position known on taxes. As Lieutenant Governor of Maryland, he worked very closely with Martin O'Malley. Because his stance on taxes were unknown, voters assumed Anthony Brown would keep all of O'Malley's tax hikes and even hike more taxes higher. When polls showed Brown was losing later in the campaign, Brown finally made a "no new taxes" pledge, but it was too late.

The second reason Larry Hogan won was by copying the Democrat's successful formula of winning women voters. Hogan didn't win the majority of the women vote, but he did win enough women votes to significantly close the gender gap, which is a tremendous victory for a Republican in a liberal state.

The Democrats did initially portray Larry Hogan as a misogynist who wants to ban birth control and abortion. It worked early in the campaign, but Hogan's campaign team fought back. Hogan appeared in numerous commercials and videos denying those false misogynist charges, and had his daughter and other women vouching for Hogan as a supporter of women's rights. It worked and Hogan, while he did not win the majority, won just a few points shy of the majority of the women's vote. This is remarkable for a Republican.

Another reason Hogan did well with women voters was the tax issue. Women and men voters in Maryland listed relief from high taxes as their number one priority, and Larry Hogan campaigned on that priority.

For Democrats, watch your stance on taxes. There's only two major political parties out there, so if you raise taxes, the Republicans will be the party of lower taxes. Taxing the rich may made sense several years ago when Bush's failed tax cut policies for the rich destroyed the economy and drove up debts. But now that most of Bush's tax cuts for the rich are gone for good, debts are declining, and the economy is improving, tax hikes are going to be a very negative impact for the candidate and the party your candidate represents.

Sunday, November 09, 2014

2014 Election Results

It takes a few days after the election to get the final results. Some elections are so close, the election officials don't officially declare a winner yet, or the close losing candidate can challenge with a recount. Some absentee ballots or ballots need to be counted, but by the weekend after we can get a good picture of the election results.

Republicans won 8 seats in the Senate. New Senate count is:
53 Republican
45 Democrat
2 Independent

Republicans won 13 seats in the House. New House count is:
247 Republican
188 Democrat

State Governor
Republicans gained 2 seats, Independents gained 1 seat. New count is:
31 Republicans
18 Democrat
1 Independent

Stay tuned for more analysis of the 2014 elections. There is a lot of data to analyze and it will take several days.

Thursday, November 06, 2014

2014 Election Analysis - Race, Sex, Age

The 2014 election results are in and the Republicans dominated this midterm election. Race, sex, and age heavily influences who wins or loses elections, so it's time to analyze the impact on the 2014 elections. Data comes from the CNN Election 2014 website, which polls the voters in the House elections nationwide.

As a reference, here are the polls of some past elections to help analyze.


The racial demographics of America consistently gets more diversified. Although this doesn't bring the Republicans good news, at least for them minority voter turnout is often lower in midterm elections. In the previous midterm election of 2010, White voters made up 78%; this declined to 75% in 2014. Both times white voters voted 60% Republican. In the last Presidential election of 2012, White voters made up 72% and voted 59% Republican.

In this election, the Democrats actively campaigned to the Black voters and it worked. In 2010, Black voters made up 10% and voted 90% Democrat. In 2014, Black voters increased to 12% and voted 89% Democrat.

Latino voters voted slightly less Democrat, but Democrats lost out on the Asian voters. In 2010, Asians only made up 1% of voters and voted 56% Democrat. In 2014, Asian voters increased significantly to 3% but voted more evenly, voting 49/50 Democrat/Republican.

In reaching out to minority voters, Democrats did well overall because they successfully reached out to the largest and most loyal minority population, African Americans. However, they are losing out to the two fastest growing minority populations of America, Latinos and Asians.


It's always been a gender war in American politics, with Republicans capturing men voters and Democrats capturing women voters. In 2014, the Republicans successfully captured the men voters, but the Democrats failed to capture the women voters, which is the primary reason the Democrats were soundly defeated this election.

In almost every election, Presidential, midterm, odd year, special election, the female/male voter ratio is usually 53% to 47%. With this ratio, there are an average of 1.128 women voters for every 1 male voter. So to break even in the gender gap, the Republican must win 1.128 men voters for every one female vote the Democrat wins.

In 2014 something different happened. Women only made up 51% of voters, while men made up 49%. Not only that, but women voters only voted 51% Democrat, a considerable decline from the 55% or more women traditionally vote Democrat. Men voters voted 57% Republican.

Whether it's because women voters were not enthusiastic about Democrats, or the Democrats didn't reach out to women, or new men voters suddenly came out in large crowds to vote Republican, the Democrats lost women voters considerably and thus lost the 2014 elections considerably.


We're aware that the young voters under age 30 are the most likely to vote democrat, but young voter turnout declines during non-Presidential elections. The Democrats are aware of this and actively reached out to young voters during the 2014 campaign. How did the Democrats do?

In 2014 the Democrats made significant improvements reaching out to young voters. In the midterm election of 2010 young voters made up 11% of voters and voted 57% Democrat. In 2014 young voters increased to 13% and voted 54% Democrat. In the Presidential election of 2012, young voters made up 19% of voters and voted 60% Democrat.

Young voter turnout is trending upward in midterm elections, but there is significantly more room to grow to reach Presidential election numbers. Not only do the Democrats need to get the young voters out to vote, but they must convince them to vote Democrat. In 2014, young voters voting Democrat declined to 54%, although they are still the most likely to vote Democrat.

Democrats win elections by reaching out to minority, women, and young voters. Of the three categories, the Democrats greatly lost out to women voters in 2014, and have drastically suffered in the elections. Looks like the Democrats were so focused on Black and young voters in 2014, they almost forgot to reach out to women.

The next group Democrats need to reach out to are the young voters. They made progress compared to 2010, but they still need to continue reaching out to young voters to vote every year, not just Presidential elections. Not only do they need to get the young voters to vote every year, but they must convince the young voters to vote Democrat.

While the Democrats did well reaching out to Black voters in 2014 and helped lessen their losses, the racial voting population isn't just black and white. There's alot of diversity, and the Democrats need to get the Latino, Asian, Native American, mixed, and other races to vote every year, and convince them to vote Democrats as well.

Wednesday, November 05, 2014

2014 Election Preliminary Results

The Republicans have dominated the 2014 elections. The GOP have reclaimed the Senate with at least 52 Senate seats, and possibly 53, The GOP made gains in the House and state governor races. There are a few bright spots for the Democrats, but it is a solid Republican victory on par with their gains in the 2010 elections.

I'll be posting over the next few days a comprehensive analysis of the 2014 election results, starting with my famous "Race, Sex, Age" voter analysis tonight. Stay tuned.