These midterm elections will determine the fate of our nation. Even if Democrats win majorities in the House and Senate, they will have trouble reigning in Trump (and undoing the damage he has already done will take years and years). The midterm election is just a first step to a long journey for us to rebuild our nation.
Remember election night 2016? Remember that feeling?
The bottom line is not only do we have to vote locally but we need to do whatever possible to support our Divaland community outside of Washington state. If Republicans maintain control of the house, Trump will be completely unchecked to trample on human rights, the environment, you name it.
We are working for a Blue Wave this midterm election, but the cult of Trump is galvanized, too. In fact, NBC News is reporting that Republicans are outpacing Democrats in early voting. Still, it’s anyone’s race as pollsters expect the highest midterm election voter turnout in decades. Already we’re seeing evidence of tampering at the polls, voter rolls being purged by the GOP, and other restrictions to rob citizens of their votes. The Republicans know they face serious challenges if people turn out, so they are playing dirty.
Even in the worst case scenario, we’re not giving up. But if we didn’t do everything in our power to avoid that scenario, we’d kick ourselves later. In spite of their many nasty tricks, races are tight for a lot of seats currently controlled by Republicans. That’s why we’re canvassing, donating, and spreading the word as much as we can.
In the House: Democrats Need 23 Seats
At least 23 Republican-held seats need to turn blue in the House of Representatives for Democrats to retake control this midterm election. The non-partisan Cook Political Report calls 70 races highly competitive. That means they either lean slightly one way or another or are considered a tossup.
The great majority of these races are for seats currently occupied by Republicans, and most of them are still leaning red. However, 25 of those races are leaning Democrats, and 31 of them are considered a tossup. Best of all, no Democratic incumbent is considered vulnerable, so they are not expected to lose any seats. If even 1 in 3 of those 31 tossups go blue along with the Dem-leaning races, the Dems gain majority leadership.
In the Senate: Democrats Need Two Seats
That looks more doable, right? Unfortunately, the map is slanted toward Republicans maintaining control here. There are prime opportunities to switch seats blue in Nevada, Arizona, Texas, and Tennessee. However, some Democratic senators are quite vulnerable themselves, so every vote counts in every state involved.
Remember Dino Rossi only lost the Governor’s race by 133 votes!!!!
If you have money you want to donate to campaigns, or relatives living in these states, do what you can. At least, make sure everyone you know is registered to vote and is turning out to vote.
These are some of the national races to keep an eye on where your support may go the farthest.
Five of the House Races to Watch
Rout Dana Rohrabacher in California’s 48th District: Support Harley Rouda
California may be a blue state, but it has a Republican delegation of 14 Reps in the House. The most vulnerable of them in this election is 5-term Dana Rohrabacher. When he’s not playing stooge to Putin, he’s consistently kowtowing to Putin’s puppet in the White House. Democratic challenger Harley Rouda is giving him a real race in a district that went for Clinton in 2016.
Boot Rod Blum in Iowa’s 1st District: Support Abby Finkenauer
The House Freedom Caucus is one of the most hated groups on Capitol Hill. Their unrelenting desire to repeal Obamacare and dismantle other social safety nets has led them to throw multiple tantrums. Rod Blum is among that Caucus, and his time on the Hill may finally be up thanks to challenger Abby Finkenauer, who leads him just slightly in recent polls.
Bonus: Iowa has another tight race in the 3rd district, where Democratic challenger Cindy Axne is facing incumbent David Young. Like Blum, Young has been part of the charge to attack ACA. That doesn’t sit well with many Iowans who depend on it. The race is still very, very tight, though.
Bounce Andy Barr from Kentucky’s 6th District: Support Amy McGrath
Charismatic former Marine Amy McGrath is neck-and-neck with two-term Andy Barr. This district has flipped regularly between Democrat and Republican. Now would be a great time to see it turn blue again.
Cut Carlos Curbelo from Florida’s 26th District: Support Debbie Mucarsel-Powell
Carlos Curbelo‘s district went for Clinton in 2016, but as of last week he still had a 1-point lead over Democratic challenger Debbie Mucarsel-Powell. Both have Hispanic heritage in a district that is majority Hispanic. This district was only created in 2013, and Curbelo has been in control since 2015. It’s time to flip this seat blue (and have a woman leading it, too)!
Heave Will Hurd from Texas’ 23rd District: Support Gina Ortiz Jones
This is another district that has never had a woman represent it, despite it being a regular swing district. Will Hurd only won re-election by 1.3 percent last election. Time to give the heave-ho to him, and hello to Gina Ortiz Jones.
Two Unique House Races Also Worth Tracking
Two, younger, charismatic Democratic contenders are fighting hard in Maine and Pennsylvania. In March, Conor Lamb scored an upset win in the Pennsylvania 18th district special election. Now, thanks to redistricting, he is in a race with another sitting congressman, Keith Rothfus, formerly of the 12th district. Both are vying for the newly drawn 17th district seat, and it’s anyone’s guess who will win at this point.
Meanwhile, Maine’s new ranked voting system is being put to the test, especially in the 2nd District. There are five contenders, with incumbent Bruce Poliquin facing his stiffest competition from Democrat Jared Golden. Chances are, if Poliquin loses because of the ranked voting (something Maine citizens asked for and MANY other voters want) he will challenge it in court. All the other contenders said they would accept the results. In other words, expect more Republican tantrums, litigation and nastiness if Polinquin doesn’t get his way.
Five Senate Races Worth Watching
Toss Ted Cruz in Texas: Support Beto O’Rourke
This race is grabbing headlines for a number of reasons. 1) Everyone hates Ted Cruz, and he’s running as slimy and tone-deaf a campaign as you’d expect. 2) Beto O’Rourke is winning hearts big time, despite being a true progressive in Texas. 3) Again…literally EVERYONE hates Ted Cruz.
Block Marsha Blackburn in Tennessee: Support Phil Bredesen
This is another blood-red seat up for grabs, in this case because the craven Senator Bob Corker is resigning. (Don’t let the door hit ya where the good lord split ya, Bob!) Republican Marsha Blackburn is favored to win, BUT it ain’t over till it’s over. Former Governor Phil Bredesen was in office eight years, and he remains popular. If anyone can take this seat for the blue team, he’s a good bet.
Hell No to Steve Heller in Nevada: Support Jacky Rosen
This is one of our best bets for turning a seat blue nationally. Steve Heller won election by only 12,000 votes statewide in 2012, and the state went for Hillary in 2016. There are lots of hot topics in the state: gun control (1 year after the Las Vegas shooting), immigration (with the border issues hotly contested), and healthcare. Democrat Jacky Rosen is progressive on all these counts, as well as on abortion rights and the environment. We’re pulling for her!
Miss Me with that Cindy Hyde-Smith in Mississippi: Support Mike Espy
The #WalkAway campaign designed to make it look like Democrat voters are fleeing the party may be Russia-funded troll-bait…but Cindy Hyde-Smith actually did flip to Republican in 2010. Now that she’s gone to the dark side, she is running in a special election for the senate seat vacated by retired cockroach Thad Cochran.
Mike Espy is running a long-shot campaign, but this isn’t his first time at the rodeo. He served as Mississippi’s first African American congressman since Reconstruction from 1987 to 1993 in the House of Representatives.
Spare Us Martha McSally in Arizona: Support Kyrsten Sinema
This seat is currently occupied by Jeff Flake, who has decided to walk rather than run. Funny. He talked the talk about curbing Trump’s vile behavior, but never walked that walk.
The Republican contender to replace him, Martha McSally, is all too eager to shine Trump’s shoes. Democratic contender Kyrsten Sinema will not be stopping for that. Whoever wins will be the first woman Senator in Arizona history. Lets hope it’s the one that actually stands for women, rather than bowing for arch-misogynists.
Two Vulnerable Democratic Senate Seats
Now that we’ve highlighted the ones to flip, here are the ones that Democrats may lose.
Mike Pence’s stomping grounds, Indiana, went for Trump by nearly 20 points. That doesn’t bode so well for Democrat Joe Donnelly. Even we have a hard time being excited for him, given that he is anti-choice. However, he did vote against Kavanaugh’s confirmation despite pressure at home to confirm. That may hurt him at the polls, given how activated the Kavanaugh hearings were for both sides.
In North Dakota, Democratic incumbent Heidi Heitkamp is more or less tied poll-to-poll with challenger Kevin Cramer. Trump won the state by 36 points in 2016, so this is a tough one to call, even for professional political prognosticators.
We’re all doing what we can to support progressive candidates across the country in the 2018 midterm elections. If you want to contribute to campaigns, but don’t know where to put your money in these critical final weeks, consider donating to groups such as SwingLeft.org. You should check out their site to further explore swing districts and see how you can volunteer.