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The pundits are wrong about the mid-term elections

Back in 2016, filmmaker Michael Moore went on a national television show (Real Time with Bill Maher) and predicted that Donald Trump would win the Presidential election. Now in fact, EVERYBODY (Trump himself included) thought he would lose to Hilary Clinton but Moore sensed something in the sort of people he grew up with in Michigan --- a dissatisfaction with the way things were going after 8 years of Obama and an even more significant dissatisfaction with Clinton’s candidacy. Unfortunately, Moore was right – even though Clinton won the popular vote.

This year Moore is back in the prediction business --- He argues that the punditry who have already conceded the midterm elections to the Republicans are just as wrong now as they were then. To support his view, he has begun to publish a daily bulletin he refers to as “Mike’s tsunami of truth.” The first one was published on September 25 – and there will be one every day until November 8. I have read a number of them and I think he’s on to something.

Here is what he wrote in his first one:

“The pundits and the Trumpsters are on a daily rampage to convince you we are going to lose the House, that we’ll still be stuck with a gridlocked Senate. And that Biden is a loser.

They are lying to you. And they know exactly what they are doing. They are convinced, due to our past behavior, that we are frightened of the Right, that we believe we are going to lose — and that we are filled with pessimism, cynicism and the justified doubts that the often-lame Democrats are experts at snatching defeat from the jaws of victory.

But the tide has turned — and it has turned massively. Much of what many in the media are telling you is patently false and just plain wrong. They are simply regurgitating old narratives and stale scripts. They are either too overworked or too lazy or too white and too male to open their eyes and see the liberal/ left/progressive/working class and female uprising that is right now underway.”

In a recently published article on Daily Kos, the writer Charles Jay describes others of Moore’s early blasts of his tsunami:

“Moore’s third installment declared that “the Haters, the Bigots and the Supremacists always lose in the end.” He wrote that “the reason we’re going to win in November is because the other side is a bunch of losers. Big losers. Bad losers. Sore losers.”

He noted that the Republicans have lost the popular vote in seven of the last eight elections: "Only because of the slave states' demand for the Electoral College—and the Republicans' #1 job of gerrymandering and voter suppression—do we even have to still deal with their misogyny, their destruction of Planet Earth, their love of guns and greed, and their laser-focused mission to bury our Democracy."

But Moore wrote that this year Democrats can overcome these factors because the Republicans “made a mistake” by pushing too far, including on Jan. 6, 2021. And when it comes to pushing too far, Moore wrote in his fourth installment that the Republicans are helping the Democrats win in November “by running the biggest batch of nutters in American electoral history”.”

[The long descriptive article that includes these quotes and many more can be found at: https://www.dailykos.com/stories/2022/10/19/2129727/-Michael-Moore-is-forecasting-a-Blue-Tsunami-in-Roevember-let-s-hope-his-prediction-is-right]

Of course, the pundits are now acknowledging a Democratic surge in the months of August and September but they have decided that the Democrats have already peaked and that many people who were anxious to vote for Democrats in September have now begun to move back to Republicans.

On the morning of October 24, I was watching MSNBC where the election guru Steve Kornacki was showing how there is heightened interest among all voters about this coming election. He noted that 70% of voters are enthusiastic about voting. He then showed some numbers that he said looked “bad” for the Democrats. Currently, 78% of Republicans claim to be enthusiastic about voting as opposed to only 69% of Democrats. He then contrasted those numbers with numbers from previous months where Democrats and Republicans both were enthusiastic at rates close to 66%. So how was that bad news for Democrats? Despite the pundits insisting that the “post-loss-of-Roe” bump had faded for Democrats, these numbers showed an INCREASE in enthusiasm among Democrats for voting. (Yes, they showed a bigger increase among Republicans, but the lack of fall off among Democrats gives the lie to the claim by the pundits that the anger Democrats expressed when Roe was overturned has dissipated.). And there is one other fact that Kornacki did not mention --- there are FEWER registered Republicans than Democrats. The 78% of Republicans who are enthusiastic are seventy eight percent of a LOWER NUMBER. The 69 % of Democrats who are enthusiastic are sixty-nine percent of a HIGHER NUMBER. (That’s why when lumped together, the 78 percent of Republicans and the 69 percent of Democrats sum to 70 percent of the total population.)

Some readers may have seen reference to a dramatic change in Independent women voters. According to the NY Times-Siena College poll, independent women shifted from 14% favoring the Democrats to 18% favoring Republicans IN ONE MONTH (September to October). The minute anyone saw those numbers they should have thrown that poll out. Yet the NY Times actually ran with it and developed a number of articles based on it. (One problem with that particular aspect of the poll, according to experts who examined the inner workings, is the small sample size. That means a large margin of error – in this case TWENTY PERCENTAGE POINTS. For details see https://www.politico.com/newsletters/playbook-pm/2022/10/17/the-poll-that-stirred-the-pot-00062094)

And that’s not all. Most polling data tries to identify LIKELY voters. But how do they determine who is a likely voter? By previous experiences with that demographic. Here is where Michael Moore has real evidence to suggest that there are surges of newer voters ready to beat the living daylights out of the Maga fascists.

On October 15 Moore wrote the following:

“There is one group no one is paying much attention to leading up to the Midterms. It is a large segment of the electorate that is newly active, intensely motivated and whose numbers should tip the scales against the Republicans.

Who are these voters that are going to keep the Senate and the House in the hands of the Democrats? They are a group so huge, and yet, despite their numbers, they are unable to make campaign contributions to candidates, and they own no media, no corporations and hold few elective offices. Which almost guarantees they are being ignored by the press, pundits and pollsters during this all-important election.

These are the people who clean your buildings, make your coffee, ship you your packages, flip your burgers, care for your parents, serve you, drive you, fly you, wait on you, test you for Covid, give you a flu shot, pick up your garbage, fix the leak in your bathroom, babysit your kids, pop your corn, change your oil, stock your hardware and deliver that nice hot pizza to you.

They are the working class.

They are called “blue collar.” The image the media gives of them is that of the beaten down and angry white factory worker they refer to as “Lunchbucket Joe.”

But this is an old and out-of-date depiction. The truth is that, in 2022, the majority of the working class, i.e., those who make the least amount of money, are young, of color and women. And for the past year, thousands of them, scattered across every corner of the country, across every job sector, have been in revolt, quietly building momentum to organize their co-workers. And in recent months, as the Midterm election was on the horizon, they have exploded into a full-scale revolution.

The result: Hundreds of workplaces across America have now been unionized in the largest such movement in decades.

There are thousands of new union households thanks to numerous successful organizing drives. In the first half of 2022, out of 837 union elections, there were 641 victories (that’s a 76.6% success rate). And as of this June, there were already more new card-carrying union members in 2022 than were achieved in all of 2021.

It is a historic rise of unionizing activity across 45 states, and it dovetails with the vast majority of the American people (71%) saying they support labor unions — more than in any other year since 1965. The year your great-grandfather retired.

Much of this shift has occurred thanks to young people. There is now a new generation of dispirited young adults who see they will likely never own their own home. They feel permanently tethered to unfulfilling jobs and they carry a crushing student loan debt that they may be saddled with into their forties or fifties.

When Covid swept in, and the country locked down, a spark ignited within this new working class. For the “non-essentials” as they were called, it was fueled by their abrupt loss of income, with no protection or safety net to fall back on. For the “essentials” it was born while serving on the frontlines — risking their lives to keep the country functioning. But the flame that was lit inside them was the same: Despite being the majority of this great country, and the backbone of this great country, the fact was that this “great country” saw their jobs as expendable. Their lives were expendable. They were being exploited. And as the deadly pandemic raged, they all struggled to survive while the rich got richer.

So this new generation did what Americans do — or what we used to do — they banded together to create real job security, benefits and a livable income for themselves.”

I know anecdotal evidence can never be a good substitute for lots of data, but I believe I have just experienced a tiny bit of what Moore is driving at. Last week, I went to Cleveland, Ohio to do some canvassing in favor of the Democratic candidate for Senate, Tim Ryan, who is attempting to defeat that lying fake J.D. Vance. My job was to see if registered Democrats were planning to vote and to give information about how to vote by mail if they chose to do so. I did not find everybody home but the people I spoke with, with only TWO exceptions, were very certain they were going to vote and to vote for the Democrats. Some had already voted and all of them knew where to vote on election day (it was really cool to meet a young mother who said she takes her kids with her to vote so they can see what democracy is all about!). These responses were significant because the usual situation is that Democratic vote totals fall off in off-year elections. I found none of the usual disinterest or apathy that often affects Democrats in those off-years.

The reason there has been less apathy is of course Donald Trump. In 2018 a record number of people came out to vote (53 percent of the population) and the Democrats took back the House by a large margin because people saw what a disgusting “leader” Trump had become. (That percentage was still lower than President election years. In 2020, 66 percent of the population voted.) But if Moore is right, I expect that the percentage of the population that votes in 2022 will surpass the percentage from 2018. Trump remains the issue as he has chosen absolutely awful people to run --- Herschel Walker in Georgia, JD Vance in Ohio, Mehmet Oz in Pennsylvania. (Check out an even longer list of horrible individuals running as Republicans assembled by Moore in his tsunami of truth.).

(Data about a surge in early voting bodes well for Democrats. There have been strong efforts to suppress early and mail-in voting in a number of states, most notably Georgia, but nothing gets people riled up more than telling them they “can’t” do something. There seems to have been a successful effort to navigate the efforts to suppress voting. At least that’s what the early numbers show.)

The larger the turnout, the less likelihood there will be for the Republicans to make the gains the pundits have already predicted. Because I am persuaded by Moore’s arguments I believe doom and gloom should not be the Democrats’ situation. If they get out (and encourage their friends and relatives to vote) they will win. And in so doing, they will save the country from fascism.

Michael Meeropol is professor emeritus of Economics at Western New England University. He is the author with Howard and Paul Sherman of the recently published second edition of Principles of Macroeconomics: Activist vs. Austerity Policies

The views expressed by commentators are solely those of the authors. They do not necessarily reflect the views of this station or its management.

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