Most NC Congressional and Legislative Races are Republicans to Lose After SCOTUS OK’s GOP Maps

by johndavis, February 9, 2018

Most NC Congressional and Legislative Races are Republicans to Lose After SCOTUS OK’s GOP Maps February 9, 2018         Vol. XI, No. 3         12:13 pm Maps + Money = Majority The Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) ruled on Tuesday, February 6, that all but 11 of the 170 Republican-drawn legislative districts were allowed to
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Most NC Congressional and Legislative Races are Republicans to Lose After SCOTUS OK’s GOP Maps


February 9, 2018         Vol. XI, No. 3         12:13 pm

Maps + Money = Majority

The Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) ruled on Tuesday, February 6, that all but 11 of the 170 Republican-drawn legislative districts were allowed to stand for 2018, dashing the hopes of Democrats for taking back either the North Carolina Senate or House this year. The 11 districts, redrawn by the federal court’s “special master,” are in only six of the state’s 100 counties: Cumberland, Guilford, Hoke, Bladen, Sampson and Wayne. All others remain as drawn by Republicans.

Candidate filing begins Monday, February 12, 2018. Unless there is judicial intervention, North Carolina Republican-friendly districts will once again greatly outnumber the Democratic-friendly districts for the 2018 elections. As NC Democratic Party spokesman Robert Howard said about the Supreme Court’s ruling in today’s News &Observer, “The battlegrounds are largely the same.”

Republicans have a 35/15 supermajority in the North Carolina Senate; a 75/45 supermajority in the North Carolina House. This week’s US Supreme Court ruling means that state Democrats will likely shift their political priorities to breaking the GOP supermajorities, rather than breaking the majorities.

North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper (D-Nash) has raised $2.4 million for Break the Majority, a state Democratic Party political action fund for legislative candidates. And, Democrats can count on a substantial amount of support from out-of-state groups.

Eric Holder, former US Atty. Gen. during the Obama administration, has formed the National Democratic Redistricting Committee, and plans to invest millions of dollars in legislative campaigns in a dozen states, including North Carolina, “in an effort to block Republicans from single-handedly drawing congressional maps after 2020,” said the New York Times on February 6, 2018.

But, Republicans can count on outside money too. On Saturday, January 27, 2018, the conservative billionaire Koch brothers and their allies announced that they plan to spend $400 million during the midterm elections to help the GOP keep their majorities in Washington, DC and other state capitals. Much of that money will be spent by Americans for Prosperity, a conservative organization known for their effectiveness in getting North Carolina Republicans out to vote.

It strikes me that a $400 million political commitment from conservative billionaires means that Democrats can forget gaining a financial advantage in 2018 through liberal billionaires.

I have used a simple formula to forecast likely legislative majorities in North Carolina for many election cycles: Maps + Money = Majority. This week’s ruling by the US Supreme Court, allowing all but 11 of 170 GOP-drawn maps to stand for the 2018 legislative races, along with the likelihood that GOP candidates will have all the money they need to run effective campaigns, means Republican majorities are likely during the 2019-2020 sessions of the North Carolina General Assembly.

Economic Expansion Above 5% Means Presidential Approval Up by Fall

Democrats are counting on a traditional midterm election during which a negative referendum on the White House will drive their voters out and cause Republicans to stay home in discouragement. Unfortunately, a truly historic era of economic expansion appears to be unfolding. If it does, President Trump’s job approval will rise, along with voter optimism, and the Democratic wave will fall.

Consider recent economic news from Reuters. On February 1, 2018, Reuters reported that the Atlanta Federal Reserve had revised its forecast, saying that the US economy is on track to grow at 5.4% (1st Q GDP). On February 8, 2018, Reuters reported that US jobless claims dropped to a near 45-year low, and that low unemployment and wage growth could be expected.

Historic tax and regulatory reform legislation, which has already stimulated 300 companies to give over 3 million Americans bonuses or raises, has triggered the repatriation of hundreds of billions of dollars from foreign banks for new and expansion projects in the United States.

And then there is today’s economic news that the “Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018,” a bipartisan $400 billion bill that provides increased defense funding and disaster relief, was passed in the wee hours of the night by the US Senate (71-28) and House (240-186). The bill was signed by President Trump this morning, who Tweeted, “This bill is a BIG VICTORY for our military, but much waste in order to get Dem votes. Fortunately, DACA not included in this bill, negotiations to start now!”

Midterm political pressure is forcing Congress to get things done, likely including passing the much-anticipated immigration reform legislation in March and an infrastructure spending bill soon after.

All this positive economic and political activity will eventually drive up the President’s job approval. As to what will drive Trump’s approval numbers down, I do not believe that you count on scandals and indictments. Too many officials in the Clinton campaign camp and the Obama Justice Department with offsetting political exposures to allegations of inappropriate, biased activity.

So, a lot is at stake in the 2018 elections: 435 US House races will decide the MAJORITY PARTY, including 13 US House races in North Carolina. Another 34 US Senate races that will decide the MAJORITY PARTY in the US Senate, critical, because the US Senate decides the US SUPREME COURT. There are 36 governors up for election in 2018, and 87 of the nation’s 99 legislative chambers … including the North Carolina Senate & House.

Thanks to US Supreme Court rulings on GOP-drawn maps in North Carolina, along with an expanding economy, offsetting political scandals in DC, a growing list of Trump Administration accomplishments and plenty of conservative billionaires to make sure their narrative is well-told, odds favor the GOP holding the MAJORITY PARTY status in Washington, DC and Raleigh.

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Thanks for reading the John Davis Political Report

 John N. Davis

 

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