Ok, Steinberg. It’s crunch time now. Time to step up to the plate and give us your prediction on the US Senate races.
I have been dreading this moment. My prediction that after January, 2023 the MAGA fascist Republican coalition will control both Houses of Congress is certain to cause consternation among my fellow warriors for democracy.
I want to take this opportunity to respond to defamatory Internet trolling and hate speech by MAGA fascists to which I have been subject. I have tried to ignore this, but Internet trolling, particularly of an antisemitic nature, is an essential tool of the MAGA anti-democracy fascist effort to destroy the US Constitution and install a federal fascist regime. At the state level, this effort to destroy democracy will accelerate after the anticipated election of election denial Republican gubernatorial candidates this Tuesday in Wisconsin (Tim Michels) and Arizona (Cari Lake).
From the time I was honorably discharged as a Lieutenant in the United States Navy in 1977 until I first began my governmental service in 1992, the Republican Party was a passion in my life second only to my faith, Judaism, and my family. I pursued this passion during that period of my life without receiving a nickel of compensation from any governmental or political source. From 1992 until January 20, 2009, I had the magnificent opportunity to serve at the highest level as a political appointee and full-time governmental employee of Republican administrations, federal and state.
My Republicanism was that of my greatest presidential heroes of the 20th century, Dwight David Eisenhower and Ronald Reagan. This Republicanism became inoperative from the time Donald Trump descended the escalator of Trump Tower to announce his presidential candidacy in 2015.
The MAGA defamation of me has most notably featured their use of two phrases to describe me: 1) “Garbage human being;” and 2) “demented.” They also have alleged that I am approaching the age of 100 – I turn 73 on November 22.
I could normally laugh at this as the nonsensical stupidity and lunacy of MAGA fools who are mostly losers in life and lack even a scintilla of integrity. Unfortunately, the words “garbage human being” and “demented” are the exact words the Nazis used to attempt to discredit Jewish intellectuals from the time Adolf Hitler became Chancellor of Germany in 1933. Given my role in crafting the New Jersey Holocaust Education Mandate while serving as a Senior Policy Advisor on the Assembly Republican Staff in 1993, I cannot stand idly by without comment as to this MAGA resurrection of Nazi hate speech.
So before I make my prediction on the US Senate campaign, I want to reassure my readers that the fight to save democracy will accelerate in earnest after the election and will have my unflagging support and effort. Nor will I be intimidated by the MAGA physical threats I anticipate. Now to my Senate predictions.
For months now, the focus of political pundits has been in forecasting how many US Senate seats will flip in this election from Democrat to Republican and vice versa. The irony is that in my view, there will be only one flip in the entire nation: In Nevada, Republican Adam Laxalt, a 2020 election denier will defeat Incumbent Democrat Senator Catherine Cortez-Masto, giving the GOP a 51-49 Senate majority. Before I “get in the weeds” in this prediction, some preliminary considerations are in order.
In making my Senate predictions, I am, as in all elections, taking into account a number of factors: Polling, turnout (including early voting and mail votes), registrations, wagering markets, campaign spending, recent trends. And as always, Jon Ralston, the Bible in Nevada – more on him later.
When it comes to assessing the value of polls, I tend to discount those outlier surveys who seen to give excessive weight, intentionally or unintentionally, to the voters of one party or the other. That’s why I have discounted the Trafalgar Poll (Republican lean) and the Marist Poll (unlike in past years, a 2022 Democratic lean).
There are, however, two factors present that are a departure from recent past elections: 1) a multiplicity of “kitchen table issues”; and 2) an anticipated surge in Gen Z voters (“Zoomers”), i.e.; anybody born between 1996 and the early 2000s.
“Kitchen table issues” are defined as those issues that “ordinary folks” confront in their daily lives and are likely to discuss at the kitchen table. It is axiomatic that voters are guided by kitchen table issues in casting their ballots.
Yet these same pundits tend to make two significant errors in assessing the impact of kitchen table issues.
First, kitchen table issues are not limited to economic concerns. A perfect example of this was the election of 1968. In that election, the only kitchen table issues were noneconomic: 1) the war in Vietnam; 2) race relations; and 3) crime.
Second, where there is a multiplicity of kitchen table issues, the top priority issue may not be decisive as to how the voter casts his or her ballot. In this election, the kitchen table issue of the economy is the top priority issue. But there are other kitchen table issues as well, including protection of democracy, abortion, and gun safety. Any combination of the last three could supersede the economy as a voting issue.
Finally, there is the phenomenon of the Zoomers. John Della Volpe, the Director of the Harvard Kennedy School Institute of Politics, based on the Harvard Youth Poll, projects a “Gen Z Wave,” in which Zoomers vote in a higher turnout rate than ever, particularly in battleground states. While Zoomers do not give Biden personally high approval marks, they significantly favor Democratic policies over those of the GOP. This will be a definite plus for Democrat US Senate candidates in battleground states.
Taking all this into account, at this point, one should assess the political landscape in those states where a Senate flip is considered to be a distinct possibility.
In Pennsylvania, where the outgoing Senator, Pat Toomey is Republican, Democrat John Fetterman was once considered a likely winner over the famed Republican candidate Dr. Mehmet Oz. The debate, however, was a political catastrophe for Fetterman. Given the Democratic candidate’s health condition, it was pure political malpractice to let him debate. Oz will win the seat.
In Georgia, a growing number of election gurus forecast that Republican challenger Herschel Walker will defeat incumbent Democratic Senator Raphael Warnock. A similar outlook has developed regarding Arizona, where an increasing number of pundits predict that the Republican challenger, Blake Masters will defeat Democratic incumbent Senator Mark Kelly. I disagree – I believe that both incumbent Democrats will prevail against their Republican challengers, Warnock in a runoff. I base that finding on the fact that the “Blue Chip” polls surveying each state have consistently had the incumbents ahead.
That leaves Nevada. And when you talk Nevada, you must first take into account Jon Ralston of the Nevada Independent. His Early Voting Blog is, in my view, Holy Writ when it comes to Nevada elections.
And thus far, Ralston has given a daily report in the Early Voting Blog that has to be most discouraging to the incumbent Democratic Senator, Catherine Cortez-Masto. The Democratic turnout she needs in the early voting from Clark County (Las Vegas) just isn’t there.
The only way Cortez-Masto can prevail over her Republican challenger MAGA favorite Adam Laxalt would be if the Culinary Union turns out massive numbers of Latinos to vote for their fellow Latina. I think they will fall short in that effort.
As Nevada goes, so goes the US Senate. And in this election, Nevada is going Republican Red. I will pray that I am wrong.
To prepare yourself for the ominous authoritarian MAGA future, please read The Plot Against America by Philip Roth.
Alan J. Steinberg served as regional administrator of Region 2 EPA during the administration of former President George W. Bush and as executive director of the New Jersey Meadowlands Commission.