These Things I Know


I don’t know how the election will go next week, so I will wait until the votes are counted to offer a purported explanation. But there are a few other things that I do know.

The Luxury of Trauma

It’s amusing that Politico solemnly informs us today that Democrats traumatized by 2016 are having pre-midterms nightmares. I suppose that is probably true of many. But this I know: when you are in the fight of your life, you cannot afford to be traumatized.

Trump’s Inexplicable Behavior

Meanwhile, Ross Douthat is, I think, on much sounder ground in lamenting The Luck of the Democrats: Trump could have flattened liberalism. Instead he’s given it an opening.

I deplore Douthat’s desiderata but believe he is probably right, or almost right, in his analysis of some plausible counterfactuals. But something important needs to be added to Douthat’s analysis this morning. Remember how, in his dubious book, Michael Wolff told us how Trump didn’t want to be elected president? If you bear that in mind, the best explanation for the Trump behavior that Douthat finds inexplicable is that Trump does not actually want to lead a governing coalition.

And so here’s another thing I know. I know that when your adversary seems to be crazy, there are three and only three explanations: (1) Your adversary is actually crazy. Or, (2) your adversary has figured out something that you haven’t figured out, and isn’t crazy at all. But don’t forget the third possibility: (3) your adversary seems to be crazy because he isn’t actually pursuing the goal he tells you he is pursuing, or the goal you would expect someone in his position to be pursuing. So, given his real goal, not his presumed or expected goal, he actions are appropriately attuned to his end.

Women’s Reactions to Asshole Male Behavior

Finally, on an optimistic note, this Daily Kos headline: Midterms 2018: Women are ready to win the fight.

This I know: though there are exceptions, by and large women are much, much, much less tolerant of assholery than we Y-chromosome folk. Probably because they suffer more assholery than we men have to put up with.

So I know something that Trump does not know: watch out for the women.

The Fat Lady Warms Up

fat lady sings

On Morning Joe, Steve Kornacki—who is nobody’s fool when it comes to political numbers—discussed new polling showing that the Republicans have a head of steam in many of the Senate races.

By contrast, at 5:25 AM this morning, Political posted Poll: Kavanaugh confirmation energizes Democrats more than GOP:

Republicans are touting the confirmation of Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh as rocket fuel for the GOP grass roots in next month’s midterm elections, but it’s Democrats who appear more energized by the nomination fight, according to a new POLITICO/Morning Consult poll.

Kavanaugh’s confirmation is not popular: In the poll, which was conducted entirely after last week’s Senate vote, 46 percent of voters said the Senate “made the wrong decision” in approving the controversial judge, while 40 percent said it was right to elevate him to the high court.

And following the GOP-led effort to push through his nomination, enthusiasm among Democratic voters has surged. More than 3 in 4 Democrats (77 percent) say they are “very motivated” to turn out and vote in the midterms — more than the 68 percent of Republicans who say they’re “very motivated.”

Prior to Kavanaugh’s confirmation, some polls had showed an uptick in GOP interest in this year’s elections. And it’s possible the fight over his nomination may have more positive effects for Republicans in key red states in the battle for control of the Senate — like Indiana, Missouri, Montana and North Dakota — than nationally, where Kavanaugh is less popular.

And Here is Something Else That is Possible

As long as we are speaking of things that might possibly be true, it’s possible that some of those red state Republican women are telling the pollsters—with their husbands listening in—that they are going to vote Republican this November, when in fact they intend to do the opposite.

Inasmuch as my name is not Rosy Scenario, I make no predictions. But it is possible.