Conversations with Top GOP Campaign Operatives: They’re Convinced the GOP will Take the House and the Senate
I have spoken with a great cross-section of some of the top Republican campaign operatives.
To a man, they all believe the GOP will take back the House and the Senate.
On the other hand, I believe the Dems expand their margin in the U.S. Senate by two seats and keep the U.S.House by two or three seats.
These GOP operatives are so convinced they are right and I am wrong, either they or I offer to bet just to end the discussion. I’ve taken every bet and have thousands of dollars on the line.
In short, they believe history is with them. They believe the predictions for the U.S. House, which are below, from a screen grab from the front page of today’s RealClearPolitics (RCP):
RCP, as of today, is at an average GOP gain of 27 seats in the House — here is why I think they’ve gone off the deep end.
I should also mention that no Democratic hill staffer, public relations guy, lobbyist or campaign operative, or fundraiser that I spoke with believes their party will keep the House.
In the Hillary-Trump election, the Dem pollsters massively inflated the Dem representation in their polls, leading to widespread soul-searching and condemnation of pollsters by the Dems — with good reason — after Trump won.
Some pollsters made a real effort to correct their bias before the Biden-Trump election, and mostly we had a mixed bag, but still, GOP voters were underrepresented in the main.
Enter 2022, an off-year election for a first-term president, and the historic precedent for a massive loss in the House by the President’s party is mind-numbingly thorough and detailed and relentless — with exceptions basically every two and a half decades. (If you want the root and branch of it, please read Sean Trende from RealClearPolitics for pretty much the best briefing on the subject.)
Now, pollsters like The Trafalgar Group are just adding an extra dose of Republicans to their polling model based on data, intuition, and how wrong polling was in the last two elections. This has led to Trafalgar Group being an outlier, plus 4 or 5 GOP above other polls, save for Rasmussen polls, who accurately predicted Trump beating Hillary — he too is heavy GOP this cycle.
This has pushed the GOP generic ballot up higher in recent polls.
Even the New York Times Poll today has the GOP generic ballot advantage at +4.0 — which is high enough that the GOP would certainly take the House.
It’s clear from my conversations with the GOP operatives and pollsters (not at Trafalgar or Rasmussen) that they are dismissing the effect of women voters because of the Supreme Court case Dobbs on abortion, and they are dismissing any downside from the behavior or revelations about Donald Trump while increasing the GOP weight in their polling models.
Furthermore, the GOP point to higher-than-average GOP votes in mail-in and other forms of early voting, as well as higher GOP participation in primaries.
In short, the GOP operatives believe they have early voting trends, history, and GOP turnout on their side, and unless there is a massive case of groupthink underway, they have reinforcing views from every expert, in many fields, to confirm this view.
For my part, I think the women and men who care about the Dobbs case in the Supreme Court have, by in large, been happy to sit out elections in the past, believing the assurances that nothing on abortion would change. When it did change, they registered this cycle. It bears repeating, but pollsters can’t see these voters. I mean, these are voters who did not vote in the last election and will show up, out of the blue as far as pollsters are concerned, and vote. This is how AOC won her first election.
And, these voters will not show up in a poll of likely voters because likely voters are registered voters who have voted in the last election — the Dobbs voters that upended the Kansas referendum on abortion and did the same in the NY State special US House election, did not vote in the last election. In other words, these voters are invisible to pollsters polling likely voters.
But there is another force, another group of voters, the Republicans who can’t stand Trump and his mini-Trump candidates. They will simply not vote for that candidate, just as they did in the special election in Alaska: because of rank-choice voting, we know that 11,000 Republicans, more than twice the margin of victory for the Democratic candidate for Congress in Alaska, refused to vote for Palin — a mini Trump.
These are what I call the minus one (-1) GOP voters since they won’t vote for Trumpists, they are minus one from the Trumpist vote total, and in Palin’s case, it crushed her.
Then, there are also pro-Trumpers who will never vote for a moderate Republican; they also are minus one (-1) GOP voters since the effect of them not voting is the same, minus one (-1) from the GOP vote total. In fact, Trump recently told his supporters not to vote for the Colorado GOP Senate candidate, who Trump called a RINO. in other words, Trump just proved this point.
In the case of Palin’s race, 29% of GOP voters who did not vote for Palin, voted for the Democratic candidate — this means these voters were minus one GOP for Palin and plus one for the Dem making them effectively give the Dem +2 voters.
A friend who is running for office in Pennsylvania knocks on every GOP or Independent door in his State Senate district. He has found something interesting — 25% of his GOP voters will not vote for the GOP Pennsylvania Senate or Governor candidate. I asked him how these voters feel about Trump, and my friend’s response was instantaneous — “they hate him.”
In the special election this summer in the swing Congressional district in New York that voted for Obama, then Trump, then Biden, — the Dem US House candidate won on abortion, mostly.
If you combine the abortion non-voters who register and show up this election, plus the -1 Trump voters who won’t vote for a non-Trumpist, and the non-Trumpists who will not vote for a mini-Trump (no matter how well these Trumpist candidates try to hide it), and then you add the non-Trumpists who vote for the Dem in for good measure, you could easily add three or four or five points to every Dem vote total in the country, depending on the district.
That would be enough for the Dems to hold the House.
But the Dems, burned so psychically by the Hillary election, can’t bring themselves to see this — while the Republican operatives in Washington DC have a huge blind spot post 1/6 about Trump, and don’t even understand that his nutty call to be “installed” as President “immediately” is just a sop to his QAnon supporters.
And GOP operatives think an ex-Republican President writing on TruthSocial that he should be installed immediately as President will have no effect on the GOP base or GOP voters in the midterms — I just don’t see it.
This goes for Trump’s ongoing and ridiculous Bananaization of our Republic.
Trump’s lies about the election were premeditated and had no proof (he lost 62 court cases, some with Trump-appointed judges) because Trump’s lies about cheating were planned long before election day.
FBI searches and Espionage Act violations, and calls to defund the FBI have had zero impact on the GOP operatives and pollsters who see Speaker McCarthy installed — without a doubt — they are fully pickled to see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil.
I’m concerned that when the GOP does not take the House and loses two seats in the Senate, cries of fraud, civil war, and refusal to accept the election results will roil through social media, post-election.
The response to these cries of voter fraud and stolen elections is to take the claims seriously and investigate them impartially — not dismissively give those making the claims the back of the hand. These claims must be run down swiftly to be able to answer the charges of cheating on social media.
Further, Republican House Leader McCarthy will most certainly not be Speaker, but also not be Republican House leader, if the GOP doesn’t take the House.
This loss in the House and Senate, because of the Dobbs Supreme Court ruling and because of Trump, may and I say may give the GOP some pause regarding Trump, who I refer to as The Seditious Bastard or TBS, for short.
If I am right, all of this news about the GOP election loss will hit as TBS is hopefully being indicted, may, and I must stress may, wake the GOP out of its pro-Trump stupor.
We arrived at the spot, dear reader, where 29% of GOP voters who voted against Palin in rank choice voting in Alaska, voted for the Dem because the GOP voters who have watched Trump lie and concoct 1/6 and be subject to multiple criminal investigations, including violations of the Espionage Act, their fellow-travelers in the GOP who spoke up about Trump’s behavior were pillared and voted out of office in primaries — Republicans like Rep. Liz Cheney. (It is worth noting that even in Trump country Wyoming, 31% of voters backed Cheney — which is at the high end of the range of the anti-Trumpers in every district.)
These GOP voters were mocked, ignored, attacked, belittled, and disregarded.
My guess is Senator Romney is one of these Republicans, and I would not be surprised if the independent candidate running in Utah against Senator Mike Lee will not be a template for Senator Romney and others to leave the Republican party, and run as independents.
The Republicans who have the Trump blind spot simply cannot fathom the loathing for Trump and his election fraud and lying and pain of the damage he has done to the country.
My guess is that the nation is about to find out the depth of that GOP anger and contempt for Trump and the Trumpists in the two weeks after election day, Nov. 8th, 2022, once the mid-term election results are sorted.
P.S. There is one Democratic operative who agrees with me, that the Dems will take the House — Michael Moore. (Both he and I were one of very, very few who predicted Trump would beat Hillary, by the way.)
P.P.S — Four or five days after writing this blog, this AP story is published about how the Georgia GOP is attempting to convince TSB supporters to vote in the mid-terms. Uh-huh.