Just 36 more hours of nonstop political ads, phone calls, door knocks, candidate appeals, and social media diatribes.
It can’t come soon enough.
I don’t know who’s gonna win, but I think the GOP will pull it off.
But Dems could surprise us. Nationally, the youth vote is up 125% from what it was in 2014…and a lot more will probably vote tomorrow.
Here in Montana, over 300,000 absentee ballots have already been returned. Missoula is actually looking at a possible 70% return rate on those, something that might push our county’s overall turnout above 50% (in 2014 we had 49.3%).
Back in 2014, the state saw a turnout rate of 55.4% for the general, compared to the 72.1% that turned out in the 2012 general.
Tester benefited from that presidential year, but this year he won’t. The turnout when he first got in in 2006 was 63.3%.
I personally don’t think we’ll see a turnout higher than 58% for the entire state. It’s supposed to rain tomorrow and that won’t help, either.
Now let’s take a few moments to look at some things that will impact how people will vote tomorrow.
The Primary’s Impact
Sure, there are tons of polls out there, but I always feel elections are the true indicators.
That’s why the June Primary is so telling.
Back then, the GOP turned out nearly 25,000 more voters than Dems in the House race, and over 38,000 more for the Senate race.
We don’t know what the Libertarians took, as they had no primary. The Greens took a measly 1,500 votes or so in each race, or about half a percent.
I put a lot of stock in the primary numbers. If one Party turned out more people then, chances are good they’ll do the same 5 months later.
Back in 2006, Dems turned out 108,000 people for their primary, compared with the 93,000 the GOP turned out. Come the general, Dems prevailed by over 3,000 votes and Tester went to Washington.
One highlight for Dems in the numbers is that in the 2012 primary, the Republicans actually turned out 50,000 more voters but five months later saw the Dems beat them by 18,000 votes (32,000 went for the Libertarian). Tester got his second term.
Maybe Tester is just capable of doing that. In 2014, after all, we saw the Dems get just 76,000 to the polls for that Senate primary, compared with the nearly 133,000 the GOP turned out. That fall, the GOP won it by 65,000 votes, with the Libertarians and their 8,000 votes proving a non-factor.
The real wildcard is Rick Breckenridge’s kinda-sorta-maybe endorsement of Matt Rosendale on Friday.
That sent Democrats into a tizzy, put the Libertarian Party brass on defense, and might have convinced enough Libertarian voters to throw their vote to the only conservative that can win, Maryland Matt.
That one move could cost Tester his third term.
Obamacare will have a big impact on this election, with many Democrats voting to save it, and many Republicans voting to get rid of it.
If I-185 doesn’t pass, I’m not sure how the state will pay for Medicaid expansion, which means most poor people won’t get an Obamacare subsidy.
If we didn’t have that in my house, we simply couldn’t afford healthcare.
As it is, I got an email from healthcare.gov today saying that if I don’t change my current plan in 2019, my healthcare costs “may be significantly higher.”
Currently, my Obamacare choices for 2019 have my premiums going up anywhere from 400% to 1,000% and my deductible going up anywhere from 600% to 1,300%.
That’s with the subsidy.
I’ll certainly be putting a lot less money into my local economy next year, and I know millions of other American families will be doing the same.
Our Left-Behind-Economy’s Impact
I call it the left-behind-economy because it leaves most Americans behind.
Rolling Stone magazine did a great job highlighting this in an article about a struggling single mother living in Florida.
Here are some detailed highlights:
- “In the Federal Reserve’s most recent annual Survey of Household Economics and Decision-making (SHED), more than one-fifth of adults are behind on their bills, more than one-fourth skipped necessary medical care in 2017 because they were unable to pay for it, and four out of 10 responded that if they needed to come up with $400 unexpectedly, they would only be able to do so by selling something or borrowing the money.”
- “The latest Pew Research Center analysis of such trends found that, after decades of decline, the proportion of stay-at-home mothers rose from 23 percent in 1999 to 29 percent in 2012. More pointedly, a growing share (six percent in 2012 versus one percent in 2000) reported they were not home voluntarily, but rather because they could not find a job, or at least one that could cover child care. Thirty-four percent of stay-at-home mothers (versus 12 percent of working ones) are living in poverty. That’s more than double the number who were living in poverty in 1970.”
- “Child care is one of a handful of factors that, taken together, have made middle-class life roughly 30 percent more expensive than it used to be.”
- “In 1960, the annual average health care costs in America were just $146 per person; in 2016, that figure had risen to $10,348. Over the past few decades, the cost of attending a four-year public college has risen more than 200 percent, which helps explain why Americans now have $1.4 trillion of student-loan debt. The median home value also rose dramatically, from around $3,000 in 1940 (or around $30,000 in inflation-adjusted terms) to more than $200,000 today.”
- “A 2017 report by the National Low Income Housing Coalition determined that there is now literally nowhere in America where a minimum-wage worker can afford to rent a two-bedroom apartment.”
- “From the early Seventies until 2017, productivity (the amount of goods and services created in an hour of work) has grown by almost 77 percent, but the inflation-adjusted amount workers are paid for that productivity has only grown by about 12 percent (by way of comparison, from the late 1940s to the early 1970s, compensation rose by about 90 percent).”
- “Increased productivity expands the economy, driving certain prices up, which means that the cost of living has been rising faster than incomes for more than 40 years.”
- “Women are working outside the home while still doing 2.6 times more unpaid care and domestic work than men, according to a 2018 report from the United Nations. The amount of unpaid care work has been estimated to be worth about $3 trillion annually. Without it, America’s economy would grind to a halt.”
- “Between 2003 and 2013, the cost of employer-provided health insurance rose by 73 percent, 93 percent of which was passed on to workers, even as deductibles more than doubled.”
- “Almost 60 percent of American workers are now hourly rather than salaried…and in 2015, the Pew Charitable Trust found that almost 50 percent of households saw their income rise or fall by 25 percent or more from one year to the next.”
- “In 2017, 39 percent of Americans had less than $1,000 saved.”
- “The top 10 percent of households own 84 percent of the country’s stocks – and this includes all stocks in retirement accounts.”
There’s a reason half the people in Missoula don’t vote in midterms.
It’s the same reason about 45% to 35% around the state don’t vote:
It doesn’t change anything.
No matter if the Dems or the GOP have the House or the Senate, or if even one Party has both chambers, common workers aren’t going to see their lives improve.
Healthcare, education, childcare, food, energy and lots of other costs will continue to go up for them, at the same time their paid hours are going down, and their wages remain stagnant.
The nation doesn’t have enough apartments or houses for the people living here, and the supply we do have is very high-priced.
It’s hard to get by, and even though 70% of Americans think they’re in the middle class, just 50% actually are.
More and more, people are falling into the working poor. They’re falling into poverty.
Voters say the most important issues to them this year are the economy, healthcare and immigration.
Sadly, most of our politicians highlight how well the economy is doing.
If you’re a rich politician, I imagine it does look well.
For half the country, however, this economy is shit.
That’s why half the country won’t vote tomorrow.
The highest voter turnout we ever had in an election in Montana was 86.4% back in 1968.
Ever since then it’s been going down…kind of like the fortunes of the middle class.
Are the two intertwined? I think so.
Anyways, I’ll vote tomorrow at my kid’s school, put up a short post in the morning, and then – like you – I’ll sit around and wait.
We’ll have a good idea of who’s going to win by 10 or 11 tomorrow night, but I don’t think we’ll know for sure until 2 to 3 AM, and possibly not until midday on Wednesday.
Just about 36 hours and it’s done.