Vanishing Middle: Political Polarization in the US and Europe

Immigration is a hotbed radicalizing issue in Europe and the US. Texas is ground zero here. Italy is ground zero there.

Spotlight Texas

A Record 4.8 Million Texans Voted Early in this years midterm elections.

It's hard to say who that favors, but turnout was heaviest in Collin County where nearly 50% of registered voters have already cast their ballots.

Collin county is heavily Republican.

Politico asks Did Beto Blow It?

> Over the past six months, I spoke with a host of Texas Republicans about the U.S. Senate race. Many of them dislike Cruz. Some of them privately hope he loses. And all of them are baffled by the disconnect between the superior branding of O’Rourke’s candidacy and what they see as the tactical malpractice of his campaign.

> In their view, Cruz is uniquely vulnerable, having alienated Texans of all ideological stripes with his first-term antics—and especially those affluent, college-educated suburbanites repelled by Trump.

> “Despite all of Cruz’s problems—and there are plenty—here’s a guy who’s running around talking about Medicare for all, and impeaching Trump, and abolishing ICE. And it’s killing him,” Karl Rove, the former senior adviser to George W. Bush, told me in Austin this summer. “Even for people who dislike Cruz, impeaching Trump strikes many of them as terrible for the country. I’ve got friends and family members who may not vote for Cruz. They don’t like Cruz. But Beto isn’t contesting them. I mean, it’s just weird.”

> Instead of pivoting to the center, as spring gave way to summer, the Democratic nominee hardened his positions. Where he had once hedged on his endorsement of "Medicare for all," O’Rourke began forcefully championing a single-payer system. Where he once avoided impeachment talk, O’Rourke reiterated, on the day he and Hurd received an award for civility in politics, that Trump should be removed from office. Where he once carefully straddled the border-security debate, O’Rourke said he was open to abolishing ICE if its duties could be assumed elsewhere.

> James Aldrete, a Texas Democratic strategist who ran the Spanish-language media strategy for both Obama campaigns and for Hillary Clinton in 2016, conceded “He never made a political adjustment to reach out to the middle.”

Beto Platform

  • Medicare for all.
  • Medicaid expansion.
  • Invest in job training and apprenticeship programs.
  • Impeach Trump —a position rejected by Nancy Pelosi, and nearly every other prominent Democrat in America, as futile and counterproductive.
  • Open to abolishing Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

It's easy to not like Cruz, but it's a lot easier to like Cruz when the opponent is extreme-left.

Cruz vs O’Rourke

I suspect this one will be close but Cruz will win.

O'Rourke may be the only person Cruz can beat just as Hillary was the only person Trump could beat.

Like Hillary, O'Rourke ran a poor campaign. Despite raising huge amounts of money, Cruz outspent O'Rourke on ads in the past few weeks.

Yet, I would not be hugely surprised if O'Rourke won. It's not impossible.

Abandoning the Middle

Neither Cruz nor O'Rourke reached out to the middle.

Apparently no one wants it.

Fiscal responsibility? No one wants that either. Deficits are out of sight and expanding rapidly.

For eight years Republicans were against Obama's budgets. Trump's projected budgets are worse.

A genuine middle-class tax cut would have gone over big. Instead, the middle class got peanuts.

Military waste is enormous. Entitlements are out of control. Interest on the national debt is soaring.

So how does Medicare for all, more Medicaid, more military spending and absurd makeshift job training programs, fit in?

Easy to Be Angry

It's easy to be angry.

Expect things to get worse when the next recession hits and public union pension plans go bust.

You ain't seen nothing yet.

Midterm Senate Races

Fearless Political Predictions

  1. Democrats easily win the House.
  2. Close but no cigar for Democrats winning the Senate. I give the Democrats 6 or 7 of those tossups.

I suspect the Democrats lose Missouri and win all the rest. Even if they win all 7 they have to flip another seat. The best chance is Texas.

So look for a 50-50 Senate tie or the status quo at 51-49.

2019 US Legislation

If the Democrats win the House, very little legislation will pass in the next two years, except of course more wasteful spending by both sides when the next recession hits.

Spotlight Europe

Meanwhile, the splintering is even more pronounced in Europe.

  1. The end of Merkel is at hand: Merkel's Legacy: Refugee crisis, the Splintering of Germany, Brexit
  2. Italy is openly feuding with the EU over its budget: In Unprecedented Move, EU Rebukes Italy's Budget: Italy Politely Says Screw You
  3. Eurozone Growth: Eurozone Growth Slows to 4-Year Low, Italy Stagnates, Global Recession Risk Up
  4. Anti-EU Marine Le Pen is ahead of French president Macron in European Parliament polls.
  5. There is still no agreed upon Brexit solution, but I have one: No Brexit Deal, No Problem.
  6. Derivatives mess at French Banks: Casino Report on 3 French Banks: BNP Paribas, Credit Agricole, Societe Generale

This is not a good economic or political setup to say the least, both globally and in the US.

Trumps tariffs make matters much worse.

Mike "Mish" Shedlock

Comments (47)
No. 1-18
SMF
SMF

You should read what my friends in South America say about the Venezuelan refugees coming into the country. Change a few words and you'd say they were Trump supporters. And these friends live in small towns.

SMF
SMF

As for results for the midterms, who knows? I was thinking that can't get good polling anymore since most people won't always answer their cell phones from unknown numbers, I certainly don't.

At the same time, the conservatives that I know (myself included) keep their leanings secret, as the hassle of dealing with discussions is just too much. But I've been a little surprised to find more Trump supporters that I didn't think were, i.e. Hispanics.

wootendw
wootendw

Fearless Political Predictions

Republicans retain House and, in a midterm fluke, gain 5 seats.
Republicans (nearly all RINOs) retain Senate
wootendw
wootendw

"...Hillary was the only person Trump could beat"

Trump could have beaten Sanders, Biden, Martin O'Malley, and any Democrat Senator.

Ted R
Ted R

Most voters don't care about tariffs. Period. It is a no issue. Watch the Republicans win more Senate seats and also more seats in the House than anyone expects. Just watch. Trump has his pulse on the American voter.

gregggg
gregggg

Let's ask Nate Silver. Lol, Meanwhile Stixhexenhammer666 (youtube) was almost perfect in his predictions for 2016.

MaxBnb
MaxBnb

big government big taxes, it become imperative for your side to win there is no middle ground.

“Fiscal responsibility? No one wants that either. Deficits are out of sight and expanding rapidly.”

you have 2 type of socialist fighting for power -- they do not call themselves socialist but they are --same as in Germany between 1919-1933

Mike Mish Shedlock
Mike Mish Shedlock

Editor

Bernie would have won

  1. He is a union loving protectionist like trump
  2. Many milennials who would have voted for Bernie did not vote at all - they sat the election out
  3. Republicans held their noses and voted Trump
  4. Many Democrats and Independents could not hold their nose and vote for Hillary

I think this is pretty clear

Tengen
Tengen

Our deepest desire as a nation is to fight each other. Whenever economic decline finally sets in, we'll have the excuses we need to take off the gloves and get this party started. The only thing keeping the lid on now are the Boomers, who have too much to lose if the country goes up in flames. I'm no fan of them as a generation, but they're the only ones even trying to hold things together, selfish though their reasons may be.

Of course, conflict plays into the hands of elites and proves that divide-and-conquer is alive and well in the 21st century. Neither side will get what they want out of the bloodshed and we'll lose bigly as a nation. It'll be every bit as productive as the last 20 years in Afghanistan or Iraq. The military will be playing their own game and have loads of experience pitting groups against each other, helping out as needed to ensure a balance of power so the conflict drags on for maximum duration. After heavy early fighting, the rest will be a long term low to medium intensity conflict. This blueprint has already been carried out in several countries and will continue to spread.

As for tomorrow, who really cares? To paraphrase Cheney, Trump proved elections don't matter. We're in the final throes of American democracy. Two years of Trump and there's no locking her up, no wall, no ending of wars, no addressing debt/deficits, and certainly no MAGA. Instead Trump hitched his wagon to the fake stock markets and the utterances of Fed Chairs, just like his predecessors. Both the red and blue teams stand firmly against the American people, at least the bottom 95%+.

But it's not all bad! At least we can despise each other based on politics, race, age, wealth, religion, gender, linguistics, and other hot button issues, so we've got that going for us, which is nice. We'll also probably stay upright longer than most of the Eurozone and China, but not too much longer.

Realist
Realist

First, I would like to say that I agree with almost every comment so far. Looking from the outside I see a divided America, with far too much hatred on both sides. I believe this hatred has always been there, in small amounts, simmering under the surface. However, it was often contained by a line of Presidents who took the moral high ground and did their best to keep the country united. Then came Trump, who tapped into this hatred and exploited it for his own gain. It is the politics of hate. He is fanning the flames of hate, and America is worse off as a result. And it's only going to keep getting worse as long as he President, because it is his only strategy, and he will never let it go.Today’s election result is probably meaningless. My condolences to America.

Casual_Observer
Casual_Observer

I will go out on a limb and say this is the beginning of the end for Trump. I would be surprised if he made it past 2019 in office. We will get to 2020 with the largest leadership void in perhaps all of American history. No idea how this ends but with two kids and a family I am making backup plans to leave the United States if social disorder kicks in in 2019.

JL1
JL1

Predictions:

Republicans end up with 58-42 lead in the Senate from the current 51-49.

Republicans lose some seats in the House but since they have a lead of 23 seats currently they keep the House with a lead of 3-5 seats so Democrats gain 18-20 seats but the blue wave does not happen in the way they hoped because they went extreme-left with their Kavanaugh personal destruction, with harassing Republicans in restaurants with Maxine Waters even telling her supporters to harass Republicans everywhere and ex-AG holder telling Democrats to kick Republicans and Hillary Clinton's mad speech in Europe and most of all Obama took away the Democrats claims the Economy is not so great by trying to take credit for the great economy.

Biggest problem for Democrats however is that they would welcome the Caravan to USA, that they would abolish ICE, they would let criminal illegal immigrants back to US streets instead of deporting them and make every state and city sanctuary states and cities if they could, they would give mass amnesty if they could and they are Rapidly anti-Wall and economically and mathematically ILLITERATE by complaining about the cost of WALL that would be about 25 billion ONCE when USA pays over 700 billion a YEAR on just interest on the massive national debt.

If the Democrats win it will be because most media outlets have turned into anti-Trump hate-propaganda machines comparable to the evil stuff Goebbels pulled.

I would not be surprised if CNN and MSNBC start running claims that Trump drinks babies blood in the middle of the night, that is how unhinged and crazy the US mainstream media has become.

One crazy Democrat even claimed that Trump son-in-law was responsible for the Saudis murdering and torturing the Saudi journalist in the Saudi Embassy in Turkey...

silvermitt
silvermitt

If I may, I'd like to point out much of Indiana considers it to be Republican. The places where Democrat politicians do well is centered at large cities, where there is dense voter population. But ask anyone in rural Indiana, and you'll get a different view for politics and far more Republican support. Just my two cents from Southern Indiana. Thanks.

MntGoat
MntGoat

Texas is becoming what happens when liberals flee their failed states (California) and move to red states for cheaper housing, and then start to pollute local politics with their failed ideology. Add to this liberal exodus from the coasts large numbers of immigrants who vote 75% Dem. 30 yrs ago no way a guy like O'Rourke would have gained any traction in TX.

Texas has been an amazingly strong job producer and population magnet for the last 30+ yrs. Despite being flat, hot, and not having all the physical gifts places like Calif do (great weather, mountains, beaches, etc...). That is largely because it has been a pro business and low regulation red state. Now Beto O'Rouke wants to make it a lot more like California politically. RIP Texas in a few decades.

Liberals have polluted the politics of other states like Colorado, Nevada, Washington. And are even starting to infect Idaho and Utah. And on the east coast liberals fleeing NY, NJ, CT, MA -----> NC, SC, FL, GA.....and turning those states more purple. They flee their old states because of high taxes and looking for greener pastures....and then in turn ruin where they go.

Realist
Realist

It just occurred to me that I keep coming back to this site (when I have time), because watching America fall apart slowly is like watching a slow-motion train wreck. It's not pretty, but you can't look away.

JL1
JL1

The bluewave happened in the House.

It was not as big as Democrats had hoped but it still happened.

Incumbent House Republicans that lost were either actively opposing Trump and trying to reverse Trump policies (example: Kevin Yoder in Kansas who wanted to reverse Sessions asylum definition tightening and return it to the Obama started ridiculousness of considering spousal abuse in Guatemala or gang threats in Honduras reasons for asylum)

OR

running away from Trump and not talking about immigration at all (many Republicans)

OR

Republicans who hid themselves from voters and did not hold any townhalls and made strange statements (example: Dave Brat who was a former tea party darling and whose win in Republican primary against Eric Cantor in 2014 led to amnesty-loving Republicans like Rubio and others giving up on the Republican-Democrat mass-amnesty push of 2014)

Also re-districting was part of many Republicans losses.

Democrats have also been successful in getting some redistricting through the courts where Republican strongholds have been moved to different voting-districts and replaced with Democrat leaning areas and this was part of the losses.

Republicans got more seats in the Senate but not as much as I predicted and some losses were tight 50ish-49ish battles where Republican turn out strategy failed compared to energized Democrats.

It seems Republicans won many Governorships that they were predicted to lose by the media and this is important for the 2020 redistricting but Republicans lost some Governorships and this will hurt them 2020-2030 in those states they lost after Democrats do the 2020 redistricting in those states.

Democrat Maxine Waters will be responsible for Wall Street regulation in the House....

Dsgn
Dsgn

I do have to say that it's interesting how effectively that established, rich and partisan organizations we refer to "The Media" can use a logical fallacy like "poisoning the well" on their "customers" so effectively and get away with it. Must be all that Forced Public Schooling.

Immigrants. All of the people who moved here from Mexico and settled are immigrants, right? They've ALL gone through the complete language, civics, health checks, loyalty oaths ... right?? NO?!? Then perhaps Mish should buck the “language consensus” media impose on us, and call things by their true names, and always refer to them as INVADERS. As the Soviets would say, "immigration" is an Agitprop word, an euphemism designed to camouflage evil.

Speaking of the Soviets, and given the money flows of this sElection, perhaps the political polarization we see is the fact that the US Democratic Party is a subdivision of the International Communist movement, building their "World Communist Corporate Empire", where the former united states becomes merely an administrative and tax district for faraway, untouchable Rulers. A fascist merger of big.gang.biz and big.gang.guv, forever.

The Globull "One World" movement will end all that pesky "polarization". The Dems and the RINO's are merely temporary useful idiots. They will rest in eternal peace - in mass unmarked graves - when they become useless. We all know how those schemes end.