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7 takeaways from a wild midterm election

By: Steven Shepard

The suburbs were brutal for Republicans.

Driven by massive voter turnout, the 2018 midterm election was both a blue wave and a red wave. It just depended on which map you were looking at.

Democrats blazed a suburban trail to wrest control of the House from Republicans, easily winning the popular vote in a national rebuke of President Donald Trump that is likely to yield a gain of more than 30 seats.

And yet, the party lost ground in the Senate, giving Trump and GOP leader Mitch McConnell more breathing room for the next two years — and possibly even longer. Democrats also fell short in some of the most sought-after gubernatorial races, including the biggest prize of the night in Florida.

Turnout was off the charts for a midterm election: In the last midterm, in 2014, fewer than 79 million voters cast ballots for the House of Representatives. As of early Wednesday morning, 97 million votes had been counted solely for Democratic and Republican candidates, according to The New York Times, with millions more left to be tallied.

But just because the waves ran in opposite directions on the two maps doesn’t mean they weren’t driven by the same undertow. Democrats continued to draw increasing support from white college-educated voters that were once the core of the GOP. On the national House map, Democrats won white voters with a college degree by about 8 percentage points, according to the exit poll conducted for the National Election Pool — including white, college-educated women by roughly 20 points.

Republicans, however, continued to surge among the non-college-educated white voters that have powered the party in the Trump era. White voters without a college degree went for GOP candidates by nearly 25 points. (Democrats also won more than three nonwhite voters for every one that voted Republican.

In some races, that was a trade Republicans were willing to make. Andrew Gillum and Bill Nelson — the Democrats running for Florida governor and Senate, respectively — won Florida’s urban and suburban counties, including around Jacksonville, which was once GOP territory. But both were swamped by strong Republican margins and turnout in rural and inland counties that drove former GOP Rep. Ron DeSantis’ victory in the governor’s race and Gov. Rick Scott’s lead in the current vote count.

Here are seven takeaways from Tuesday’s Trump-powered midterms:

1. Suburban Republicans were swept away.

Democrats won suburbs from the Eastern Seaboard all the way to Nevada. But they didn’t just pick off the low-hanging fruit — the GOP members long seen to be vulnerable — they expanded into more challenging terrain near Dallas, Houston, Oklahoma City and Richmond.

Republicans like Barbara Comstock in Northern Virginia, Mike Coffman in suburban Denver, Kevin Yoder outside Kansas City and Erik Paulsen in the Twin Cities were easy pickings for Democrats. But few Democrats were as confident they could oust Reps. Steve Russell in Oklahoma, or Karen Handel in suburban Atlanta.

Democrats won both toss-up races in Virginia, beating Reps. Scott Taylor in the Tidewater area and Dave Brat around Richmond. They knocked off both suburban Texas members: John Culberson in Houston and Pete Sessions in Dallas. Incumbent Carlos Curbelo crashed and burned in South Florida. So did Randy Hultgren in outer Chicagoland.

Republicans kept only a handful of suburban seats, with Brian Fitzpatrick narrowly hanging on in Bucks County, Pa., and Troy Balderson winning a re-run of this year’s special election near Columbus, Ohio.

But, for the most part, it was a suburban bloodbath.

2. How big is the wave? Wait for California.

For almost two years, California was seen as the key to Democrats’ quest for the House majority. Turns out, they didn’t need it.

The party will likely have flipped roughly 30 House seats — it needed 23 to win control — without posting any gains in California at all. But Democrats seem likely to add to that total once California counts all its votes.

How many more seats will Democrats win? It could be awhile before we know for sure. Voters in California could postmark their ballots as late as Tuesday, and it will take weeks for all those votes to be tallied.

As of Wednesday morning, Democratic candidates are only leading in three of the seven targeted California races. But late ballots in California tend to trend Democratic, so more could pull ahead in the coming days.

There’s one specific Californian that will be watching the returns with intense interest: House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi. Given the large number of Democratic candidates who won Tuesday night that have said they won’t support Pelosi to be the next speaker, she could use all the votes she can get — especially from California, where she’s more popular than she is nationally.

3. Democrats may have lost the Senate until 2022.

If GOP leads in Arizona and Florida hold, Republicans will hold 54 Senate seats. That’s three more seats than the GOP holds now, and it may be enough to insulate the party against Democratic attacks in the next election.

The 2018 map was awful for Democrats — 10 incumbents running in states Trump carried in 2016, including five by double-digit margins — and while the 2020 map is better, there are few slam dunks for the party.

First, Democrats will struggle to hold Alabama Sen. Doug Jones’ seat. Jones, who won a special election last year against an extremely flawed GOP candidate, will have to choose whether to seek a full term in a state Trump carried with 62 percent of the vote in 2016.

If Democrats lose the Alabama seat, they’ll need to pick up five seats to flip the chamber (six if they don’t win the presidency). It’s hard to find that many solid opportunities on the 2020 map. The only Republicans up for reelection in states Hillary Clinton won in 2016 are Sens. Cory Gardner of Colorado and Susan Collins of Maine. Democrats could also target Sens. David Perdue (R-Ga.), Joni Ernst (R-Iowa), Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), Thom Tillis (R-N.C.) and John Cornyn (R-Texas) — but those are more difficult.

That’s why — even if Democrats weren’t going to win the Senate on Tuesday — it was so important for the party to limit its losses. Some races are still uncalled, but it appears Democrats failed to keep the Senate within arm’s reach two years from now.

4. Republicans held some big governorships.

Democrats flipped seven governorships on Tuesday: Illinois, Kansas, Maine, Michigan, Nevada, New Mexico and Wisconsin. The Wisconsin victory, ousting longtime nemesis Scott Walker, might have been the most satisfying for Democrats.

But there are a handful of close-but-no-cigar races where Republicans emerged ahead that will sting. At the top of the list: DeSantis’ 1-point victory over Gillum, who appeared to energize Florida Democrats and had a modest lead in most public polls. Democrats haven’t won a governor’s race in Florida since 1994.

The closely watched race in Georgia hasn’t been called, and while Brian Kemp is ahead, Democrats hope his vote share falls under 50 percent, forcing a December 4 runoff with Democrat Stacey Abrams. But even if Kemp fails to secure a majority, he’d be the favorite in a head-to-head race with Abrams.

Republicans also held on in a couple of smaller states with outsized national implications — Iowa and New Hampshire — where a number of Democrats will soon be flocking to kick off their 2020 presidential campaigns.

5. Democrats patched the Blue Wall, but it’s still vulnerable.

Two years after Trump crashed through the Midwestern Blue Wall, Democrats made gains in a number of states that the now-president turned red. In Pennsylvania, the incumbent Democratic governor and senator were reelected easily, and Democrats won half of the state’s 18 House seats, up from only five after the previous election.

In Michigan, Democrats won the governor’s race, the incumbent senator was reelected and the party picked up a House seat (and a second seat is leaning their way, though it’s too close to call as of Wednesday morning). In Iowa, Dems picked up two House seats, though they lost the governor’s race. In Wisconsin, Walker went down, and Sen. Tammy Baldwin won reelection.

But none of this means these states will reject Trump in two years. In 2010, Republicans won governorships in Pennsylvania, Ohio, Wisconsin and Iowa — and senators in Pennsylvania, Ohio, Wisconsin and Illinois. Then-President Barack Obama still won them all in 2012.

Moreover, while Democrats made gains in some states, Ohio and its 18 electoral votes still look challenging for the party. Incumbent Democratic Sen. Sherrod Brown defeated a poorly-funded Rep. Jim Renacci by a little more than 5 points on Tuesday, and Republicans held the governorship when former Sen. Mike DeWine defeated Democrat Richard Cordray.

6. Women won in record numbers.

A record number of women will serve in the next Congress.

The previous record of women serving in the House and Senate at one time — 107 in the current Congress — was shattered Tuesday night. Some races are uncalled, but it’s likely that more than 100 women will be serving in the House alone for the first time.

Most of the growth in women members comes from Democrats. Eighteen of the 29 seats Democrats picked up on Tuesday night were won by women, and more are likely to declared victors in the coming days.

One telling example: All 20 members of Pennsylvania’s current congressional delegation are men. But the state elected four women to Congress on Tuesday.

Women also drove Democratic successes in other races. Trump is fond of saying, wrongly, that he carried the female vote in 2016, but the result was even more decisive this time around. Women tilted Democratic by nearly 20 points, and white women were split evenly between the parties, according to exit polls.

7. Beto didn’t win, but other Texas Democrats did.

Sen. Ted Cruz defeated Rep. Beto O’Rourke on Tuesday by less than a 3-point margin — a closer race than many expected, and closer than some thought was even possible.

No, O’Rourke’s army of dedicated voters inspired by his candidacy didn’t overcome Texas’ partisan lean. And, yes, he may have left some voters on the table by running hard to the left.

But there are reasons not to be too dismissive of his campaign.

First, turnout spiked. As of Wednesday morning, 8.3 million votes had been tallied in the race. That’s only slightly fewer than the just under 9 million votes in the 2016 presidential race, and close to double the 4.6 million in the last Senate race in 2014.

That sharp increase may have helped other Democrats. Lizzie Fletcher beat Culberson in Houston, and Colin Allred unseated Sessions in Dallas. GOP Rep. Will Hurd leads his Democratic opponent in another battleground district by fewer than 700 votes.

There were also a number of Republican close shaves — seats that stayed red, but were much closer than expected. Seven-term Rep. Michael McCaul, the chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, won by just four points, down from a 19-point win in 2016. Rep. Kenny Marchant, also seeking an eighth term, won by just three points, down from 17 points. Rep. John Carter, who won by 22 points in 2016, only edged Democrat MJ Hegar — whose candidacy is best-known for viral campaign ads that highlighted her service as an Air Force combat pilot — by only three points.



How to ignite change so that all lives matter.

The question that’s weighing heavily on the minds of many is how to ignite change? How to be treated equally and have black lives actually matter. No praying, crying, rallying, killing or hating will ever give African Americans the respect they deserve. For black lives to matter, we must matter!

A few ways for black lives to matter are one, we must know our history and spiritual practices beyond slavery. I heard, “A nation without a past is a nation without a future.” Next we must practice self love and protect each other, if the system isn’t protecting us, then we must help we. No that’s not saying be the bully which we demise, but it’s saying stand up for what is right, stand together, they cant kill us all. They fear us for being dangerous, but our most dangerous muscle is the brain, let’s use our mind to fight back and use our bronze when necessary. Please sign my petition. We are trying to change the interaction between police and all civilians.  Petition for change.

Now we get down to the real answers to open the gateway for change, we must control the black dollar!! We as a culture have the least amount of buying power yet we spend the most money. I can understand how Dame Dash once said that Jewish people call black people liquid money . We as a culture must stop spending money with a system that’s oppressing us. Lets start buying from black owned businesses, lets start banking with black banks and lets sacrifice some of the amenities we are used to having in order to invest in the black community. The more we sacrifice and invest in black owned companies, the more job opportunities and resources we create for ourselves. Once we can support ourselves, we will be able to not only receive the justice that is due but we will be able to rise again.

Just one thing to ponder, even though all races endure inequality and brutality, why is it happening to the black race at such high rates vs any other race in America? Do you think other races will continue to wake up and support a system that doesn’t support them? We must wake up, stand up and build our nation up.

By: Keidra Ponder

So people are upset that they chose Serena Williams over the horse American Pharaoh?

Now, before I dig into what bothers me about this situation lets give credit where credit is due. American Pharaoh credentials…

American Pharoah (foaled February 2, 2012) is an American Thoroughbred racehorse who won the American Triple Crown and the Breeders’ Cup Classic in 2015. In winning all four races, he became the first horse to win the “Grand Slam” of American horse racing. He won 7 of his 8 total races this year. Kudos to his jockey (Victor Espinoza) training staff and owner (Ahmed Zayat of Zayat Stables, trained by Bob Baffert).

Now for Serena’s year. Williams won 53 of the 56 matches she played this year, including three of the four Grand Slam events, and held the No. 1 spot in the WTA rankings every week.

Now the fact that the award is called “Sportsperson“should tell you were I’m headed with this. On top of that, humans have been the only ones to win this award since its birth. Below are a couple of quotes from Sports Illustrated about the issue.

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I don’t even want to declare who is more deserving of the award. I really want to speak on another issue that was brought back to my attention. Before I do I want touch on another matter at hand and it is the regard for human lives and its new perception in society.

We have being dealing with a uncanny year when it comes to national tragedy. One is, what seems to be a epidemic to me,  the mass murders/brutality of citizens from the hands of the police. Also, we have had another bad year of terrorist attacks. From the white supremacist Dylann Roof shooting and killing nine black people during a Bible study at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in an attempt to spark a race war, to the Colorado Springs shooting that stemmed from an anti-abortion movement, to the San Bernardino, CA shooting which was ruled terrorism, to the ISIS attacks in Italy. Also, the hundreds of attacks that occurred in other countries that never made top news in America. These situations have really shed light on the true colors of how certain people value certain lives over others. Especially when it comes to race. One case being the most recent backlash the Muslim Americans have been getting do to the rise of terror to the hands of ISIS. Some feel that the banishing of all Muslims is the only way to solve the act on terror whens it comes to ISIS. This method is highly absurd to me but we can touch on this issue at a later time. My focus is a tad bit different.


Today I want to speak on Human lives vs (wild/domestic) Animal lives. One situation in particularly started this thought process of mine. The call to boycott Micheal Vick from signing to the Pittsburg Steelers. As you know Micheal Vick did close to 2 years in prison on charges of felony dog fighting conspiracy. 20,000 animal activist and Steelers fans signed a petition in hopes that the deal to sign Vick would dissipate. Unfortunately, for them, the deal went through and Vick joined the team. Since Vick’s situation with dog fighting he has bounced back remarkably. He paid his depth to society, took all blame, and even joined forces with HSUS to help stop the underground activity of dog fighting. The confusing part about this situation is that Ben Roethlisberger was accused of rape back in 2008. And it’s not like he won the case or got acquitted, they simply dropped the case and settled out of court. The same exact situation happened again this time in 2010. Ben was hit with a 6 game suspension that time.


Yet, no one seems to care about these women’s lives. It seems Pittsburgh fans just brushed this under the rug and welcomed there beloved Ben back with open arms. Now can I blame Pittsburgh fans for not boycotting Big Ben like they did Vick, technically no, seeing that they all my not be women rights activist. In the same note I’m pretty sure not all those who signed the petition weren’t only animal activist.

It continues. This time with the fall of Cecil the Lion and Jimmy Kimmels reaction to it. See the clip below.

Jimmy Kimmel – Killing of Cecil Lion (Video)

Before I over reacted I searched for the big stories of African Americans being killed by police officers/neighborhood watchmen (Sandra Bland, Trayvon Martin, Eric Garner, Micheal Brown) seeing that they would most likely be covered, and couldn’t find one reaction video from Kimmel. I’m not saying there wasn’t a reaction but I was just really hoping he had the same kind of reaction for these lives, as well. He did bring Obama to his show to speak about Ferguson, but its wasn’t as intense. Kimmel even had time to squeeze in a joke. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t know his personal connection with Cecil and I’m not attacking his empathy towards human life. I’m simply making a case about public perception towards human life.  It seems as though the fight in the media is to prove wether or not people deserved to die verses stopping them from dying in the first place. Now just imagine how that may be perceived in the public eyes to constantly see the media trying to justify some one dying by police because they may have been a “criminal”  or “thug”?

Now going back to this Serena vs Pharaoh situation. I don’t follow horse racing so when I first Google’d him my initial reaction was “a horse?”. After I took the time to think about it I said to myself “Well, they do have to keep up with the horse, train the horse, etc. so you can’t take that away from them.” Yet, I can’t help but think that, well, why would they want them to race if they are known for getting killed if they endure an injury? I mean, for those who put animal lives so high why would they even want this sport to have light shed on it, right? They don’t feel this is exploitation of animals just as well as dog fighting? I’m pretty sure a horse would’t race on it’s own. This is extreme but I feel it is necessary to put into the light. I don’t feel people can be half way activist. Like those who boycotted Vick, I wonder if they eat meat or costume products that come from the death of animals.


Right now what I’m seeking is understanding. I had an incident happen that hit home for me and my community. A local woman went viral after posting a picture of her dog with his mouth tapped shut with the caption “this is what happens when you don’t shut up.” I have to be completely honest, from the things I have posted about the “Black Lives Matter” movement I have created a lot of tension with my fellow comrads on my Facebook account. Mainly, if not only, from white people. Amazingly, some of the same people who argued that “those thugs shouldn’t have broken the law” when speaking of the lives that were lost to the hands of police, came together unitedly and with vengeance to catch this woman. The woman was found I believe a week later. My thoughts were “Hmmm, now just imagine if they cared about human lives in the same manner”.

The understanding I want is what am I missing? What would make a person value animal life over human life? I rebuttal myself by saying maybe these people feel this way because animals can’t defend themselves. Which is very true. My thing is if we can’t value human life first, being that we are humans, how can we value anything for that matter? If the point of saving animals lives is for the sake of the Earth then aren’t human lives the most important seeing that we are the dominant species of the planet Earth? We, as humans, have the ability the restore this hell on Earth. To me this is a sign that people have given up on humanity. Maybe they feel that humans are a lost cause and that some people just won’t change. Maybe all we have left is the natural instinct that animals have to just nurture the planet. I hope this isn’t true and I’m am sorry if animals lovers feel they are being attacked. That is definitely not the case. I’m purely just a man who feels that saving the humans should be the leading agenda of saving the Earth. I also apologize for going off subject with the Serena and Pharaoh situation, as well. I think this was just my breaking point.

The reason why I’m comparing this situation is because I feel that why publicly take away Serena’s win for a horse that doesn’t even have feelings to be upset about not winning? Why can’t people just be happy that an animal was even considered in a an award race the caters to humans? Thats just my thoughts. My opinion isn’t law.


P.S., Caitlyn Jenner won Woman of the Year and she has a Penis….but I’m sure no one will outrage that one. Hmmmmm…..



Bruce Walton

Keedie’s Corner 2015