By Mark Green
Matalin and LaMarche debate what's driving Tuesday's vote and what it implies for the winner-take-all 2016 contest. Also: can an unapologetic bully get elected president?
*On Midterm Elections. As the GOP appears poised to do well November 4, what will the results imply for 2016 when a) 23 R Senate seats up and only 10 D seats; b) turnout 130 million not 80 million; c) electorate 71 percent white and 11 percent Hispanic, not 79 percent and 7 percent?
The GOP is now optimistic but anxious after its embarrassing predictions in 2012: Krauthammer says it'll be a "wave election... but if we can't win back the Senate, maybe the party should find another country" to run in.
Gara assumes Republicans will do well Tuesday but is struck by how many still-close races there are - 11 gubernatorial and 7 senate contests within the margin-of-error - despite the usual "six-year jinx" and lagging Obama popularity in the relevant red-purple states. He doubts any so-called "wave" election since there's no dominating issue like Bush-Iraq in 2006 and bad economy-attacks on Obamacare were in 2010. It's also possible that there could be upsets given pro-Democratic patterns in early-voting states and the undersampling harder-to-reach Democratic voters.
Mary largely agrees emphasizing that voters appear more anti-incumbent and anti-politics rather than hating on a particular party. "This will keep going until one party scratches the public's itch"... perhaps in 2016.
Out on limb: Gara predicts that, Senator Hagen wins in North Carolina...Mary says watch Gillespie-Warner in Virginia for upset... while Bill Kristol, with a near-perfect record of always being wrong, tweets that Tuesday will be "The End of the Age of Obama." So that's a lock.
Host: The GOP does itself no favors by hoping to win based merely on being anti-Obama during a "six-year jinx" election which does nothing to help them overcome the demographic and policy trends that undid Romney in 2012... and will likely boost a strong Hillary Clinton in 2016. Until they get out of their box of being for "self-deportation", more guns after Newtown and extreme weather while being against gay marriage and women's choice and economic security issues, they'll stay a Grand Old Party on the wrong side of millennial and minority voters in a country with more of each.
Would a GOP Senate make that big a difference since President Obama still has his veto pen and Democrats would have a legislative filibuster in the Senate? Gara worries that "gridlock will be even worse" and Obama's judicial appointments, which have recently won confirmation with only a majority vote, could come to a halt. Mary argues that the gridlock is the fault of Senate Democrats since the House "with bi-partisan majorities" have sent 370 bills over to the Senate... though on big measures like a path-to-citizenship, the House hasn't moved a muscle.
*On Voter Suppression Laws. Both Sides Now again debates the 20 Republican-dominated states with new Voter ID laws, now that the Supreme Court has stopped ones like in Wisconsin but permitted others like in Texas. Because studies show a few dozen cases of voter impersonation out of a billion voters in the past decade in all U. S. races, the Host wonders why conservatives don't apply their usual cost-benefit analysis to conclude that possibly deterring one bad voter in 50 million is not worth denying millions their franchise.
Like earlier Both-Siders Ron Christie and Rich Lowry, Mary repeats that voter fraud must be stopped no matter what while Gara hopes that the obvious discriminatory result and intent of these laws will spur minorities to come out to vote to defeat this "new Jim Crow."
Host: ideally post-election, someone will figure out a measurement of how states with these laws blocked x% of eligible voters from voting in 2014 as compared to 2010; that would at least help justices, the next time the issue gets to the Supreme Court, better understand the real impact of its theorizing as jurists Stevens and Posner did when they recanted their early views upholding these measures.
*On Ebola. What should rational politicians do - like messrs Cuomo and Christie - when facing polls showing overwhelming support for quarantining those returning from treating Ebola patients in West Africa and the overwhelming scientific consensus that they pose no danger justifying such counter-productive, punitive acts? Monitor them... imprison them? Consensus: Matalin and Lamarche agree that there's been an overreaction as fear overwhelms facts when it comes to a terrifying disease that's, according to comedian Howie Mandel, "killed fewer people than there are Jews in the NFL."
Both Matalin and LaMarche think that some electeds have over-quarantined people out of fear of the disease or voters, as the CDC revamps its protocols about what's safe and smart to do so. Also, we discuss Lawrence O'Donnell's logical question that, if you quarantine nurses coming back from West Africa who could get ill, what about all those hospital personnel and patients in Bellevue who have the same infinitesimal risk?
*On Quick Takes: Catcalls, Gender-Neutral Bathrooms, Bully-as-President?
^While it's a sad objectification and misogyny when 100+ men catcall a women being filmed over a 10-hour walk in NYC, the panel won't overreact to this grandstanding since, well, there's little anyone can do about it. Also: Mary admits that it happens more to younger than older women so the "insult" may vary by age whether you're insulted by catcalls or the lack of them.
^There's support for University of California gender neutral bathrooms to make trans-gender students feel more welcome so long as they're voluntary and not mandatory.
^Can Governor Shut-Up-and-Sit-Down get elected with such an incorrigibly bullying personality? Mary thinks more people will like than punish Christie's authentic temperament while Gara thinks it'll prove disqualifying. The last six presidents of both parties - Carter, Reagan, Bush 41, Bush 43, Clinton 42, Obama - had different ideologies and styles but all were regarded as "nice guys." Will the public break this mold in 2016? Nah...
Mark Green is the creator and host of Both Sides Now.
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