Reading the Special Election Tea Leaves

There are special elections all the time, mostly at the state level. The news is full of the Moore vs. Strange race, which isn’t just strange because Strange is in it. You all know about that. But what you may not know about is the interesting victory, also yesterday, of Kari Lerner in New Hampshire.

New Hampshire politics are above-average complex at the state level, so I won’t dwell on context. But this is a New Hampshire state house race in a district normally held by Republicans. Lerner is a centrist Democrat. She won 39 votes, and a third party candidate, a Libertarian, won by 41. So, one could say that the right wing won by one vote but split the ticket. Nonetheless, a Republican house seat flipped Democratic.

The pattern has been similar in races at the state and national level across the country. There is some number, which I suspect is predicted by some other number, by which Democrats do better, even if they don’t win. So, for example, in a district where Republicans usually win 66-34, and where Trump got 65% of the vote, the special election will still have the Republican winning but in a close race, like 52-48. In the case of this New Hampshire district, Trump did get 65% of the vote, so it is pretty deep red, and the race came out virtually even (with the Democrat happening to win).

At some point we will have to start to dissect this dynamic and predict the color of states and federal districts over the next two years. Yess, my precious spreadsheet, we wills do thisss…..

But first I think we need more data.

Comments

  1. #1 jane
    September 27, 2017

    “Lerner … won 39 votes, and a third party candidate, a Libertarian, won by 41. So, one could say that the right wing won by one vote but split the ticket.”

    I think you mean to say that Lerner won BY 39 votes, whereas the Libertarian won [only] 41. It is not appropriate to assume all Libertarian voters are “right wing”; some of them care deeply about such non-right social issues as ending the War on Some Drugs.

  2. #2 Greg Laden
    September 27, 2017

    Jane: Funny how prepositions work. They have no real meaning yet if you leave one out…

    Anyway, not really on the Libertarians, by and large. Bill Weld is an example of the sort of Libertarian you are talking about. He does not live in rural New Hampshire. Also, you are probably talking about the candidate. I’m talking about the 41 voters. Maybe one would have voted for the Democrat, causing it to be a tie.

  3. #3 MikeN
    September 27, 2017

    In theory libertarians care about lots of issues, but in practice Libertarians are all about the drugs. They wouldn’t give Ann Coulter their line over the issue.

  4. #4 RickA
    September 28, 2017

    The war against drugs is important to libertarians – sure.

    But really, that is a small part of the whole nanny state, big brother thing – which really bugs most libertarians.

    I don’t like laws against the right to die, the right to doctor assisted suicide, the right to pursue whatever healthcare treatment I want (with informed consent), the right to buy a big gulp, or a sugar drink, the right to drink alcohol if over 18, the right to buy a cigarette if over 18, or ingest any drug I want (if over 18 and not driving under the influence) and laws which force me to buy stuff I don’t want or need.

    I am sure there are other laws which irk me – but those are off the top of my head.

    The government mandate really bugs me – because if the government can force me to buy health care, what can’t they force me to buy?

    Imagine if every New Yorker had to buy automobile insurance – the ones who don’t own a motor vehicle would scream bloody murder. I bet the cost of automobile insurance would be lower if everybody who doesn’t drive one was in the pool.

    If everybody had to own an automobile, everybody would have to have a driver’s license. Boom – voter ID laws issues solved!

    Forcing people to buy stuff they don’t need is the solution to many many problems. I predict it will spread far and wide over the coming decades.

  5. #5 MikeN
    September 28, 2017

    RickA, the capital L makes a huge difference. The Establishment Libertarians wouldn’t let Ann Coulter run for a House race because of drugs.