Perspectives

Midterms Meaner and More Costly than Ever says TIME Correspondent Elliott


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In addition to President Donald Trump’s scorched-earth campaigning, overall political races in 2018 have been meaner and more costly than ever, according to TIME, Inc. Washington Correspondent Philip Elliott.
Most candidates, at least on the Republican side, attempted to mimic the President’s combative campaign style, Elliott says. However, many did not feel comfortable with that type of overly harsh campaigning which often was not factually based. Democrats also found it difficult to respond to such tactics and not alienate their base.
The campaigns also were conducted differently due to the early voting allowed in most states. Issues needed to be raised earlier. No longer can candidates wait until Labor Day to start campaigning in earnest, Elliott notes. That makes campaigns longer, bitterer, and certainly more expensive.
Early voting hit an all-time record in the midterms with some 36.9 million voters taking advantage of early ballot casting. This compares to only 21.2 million in 2014.
Some prognosticators, however, have wrongly suggested that early voting favors Democrats. Elliott cites figures from Target Smart, a Democratic leaning firm, showing that, in fact, Republicans out voted Democrats in the early ballots. This is especially true in voters age 50 and over.
Regardless of the outcome of the elections, Elliott notes that Congress will be in a lame duck session between now and January 2019 and that several key items will be on the agenda – one being funding of the federal government. Current funding expires in the first week of December.
President Trump will be pushing his agenda along with key items of his administration such as building the wall along our southern border. To date, Congress has not funded wall construction.
Elliott also says you can expect Cabinet shake-ups after the midterms. Many suggest that Attorney General Jeff Sessions will be the first to go along with the Justice Department’s Rod Rosenstein who supervises the Robert Mueller investigation.
Others who will probably leave include the Secretary of the Interior, the Secretary of Homeland Security and Defense Secretary James Mattis.
Elliott also notes that Trump’s temperament will be mostly controlled by the outcome of this election ranging from petulant to even angrier that he appeared during the campaign.
Elliott joined TIME in 2015. Before that move, Elliott spent nearly a decade with the Associated Press where he covered politics, numerous campaigns, campaign finance, education and the White House. He has covered three Presidents: George W. Bush, Barack Obama, and now Donald Trump and numerous campaigns.