Plain English with Derek Thompson - Nate Silver on Why This Midterm Election Could Be the Weirdest in Decades


I’m Matt Bellamy founding partner of Puck news and I’m covering the inside conversation about money and power in Hollywood, with my new show, the town I’m going to take you inside Hollywood with exclusive inside on what people in Show, Business are actually talking about multiple times a week.


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Tell you what’s really going on.

Listen now, On today’s episode, we have Nate silver offering.


His analysis of what is turning out to be an unexpectedly, weird midterm, election year.

So a general rule of midterm elections is that the party in power losses?

This is as close to an ironclad law, as you can find in politics Republicans were in power, in 2018.


They lost Democrats were in power in 2010 and 2014, they lost.

Republicans in 2006 crushed, Democrats, 94 demolished.

There are exceptions to this rule, of course, 1998, 2002, but it tends to require something like a geopolitical earthquake like 9/11 to break the trend.


For most of the last year, it seemed like 2022 would be a typical midterm election year.

Namely that Republicans would sweep in the Senate and the house.

I felt like the story was almost baked in.

I mean, how many times on the show?

Have I said, Joe Biden is in the doghouse with voters.


Democrats are screwed as long as inflation.

Is it 40 year Highs?

But something quite strange.

And very interesting has happened in the last few months.

Maybe it was the Dobbs decision overturning Roe v– Wade, maybe it was gas prices, falling for four, five six, straight weeks.


Maybe it’s Democratic legislative accomplishments.

Maybe it’s covid shrinking from the news cycle, but whatever it is, something’s happening.

Over at 5:38.

Nate’s election forecasting site Democrats had a 40% chance to win the Senate.

Just two months ago today they have a 68% chance to keep this in it in that same time, their odds of winning the house have doubled.


So how did Democrats fortunes rebound?

How certain should we be that the polling in 2022 is accurate?

And more deeply.

What does it say about the Republican party that in a year when inflation hits nine percent and Americans collectively, think the economy sucks, the GOP is still struggling to find competent candidates who can compete in purple States.


I’m Derrick Thompson.

This is plain English.


Nate silver, welcome to the podcast.

Hey, thank you for having me on.

I’m a fan.

I’m a huge fan.

It is great to have you.

Here it is.

Great to meet you voice to voice.

So let’s start with the news in Alaska, on Wednesday, Mary Pell Toula, a Democrat defeated, Sarah Palin, in Alaska, special A selection and this is just the latest special election.


Where Democrats have either one or significantly over performed Joe Biden’s Edge in 2020.

What are these special elections telling us about Democrats chances in the midterms?

Yeah, I mean so in general, we have seen a big shift in the climate over the past few months, which you can date to the Dobbs decision that overturn Roe v– Wade, but they’re also other factors.


I’m sure.

We’ll talk about later on the Alaska results.

I mean, on the one hand, whenever a Democrat wins in Alaska under any circumstances, something went wrong for the GOP, right?

And you don’t expect things to go wrong in a state like Alaska.


When you were in some supposed Red Wave here, which I think even Mitch McConnell, doesn’t believe this point right.

On the other hand, you do have a rank Choice system being implemented.

In Alaska and that helped Democrats win where Sarah Palin is still a very polarizing figure up there.


She was in second place as cats were eliminated one at a time.

And then Nick begich, who was the more moderate Republican, had his votes split enough away from Palin toward patola that that she won by a couple of percentage points.


There were also a fair number of wasted ballots.

We saw this in the special.

Excuse me in the The New York mayor’s race here in New York, we have rank Choice.

Voting that not everyone actually fills out all the choices from 124 or 125 depending on the jurisdiction.


And so, therefore being a second choice, in theory may not translate in practice and so Palin may have won if there weren’t as many wasted votes.

But still supporter now of I think five special elections since the table decision where it’s not only like not a red wave.


It looks like a Fairly blue year.

If anything, right, these results are not that far out of line with, with what you saw and heard a 20-18 that needs to be balanced against other evidence, as well as kind of historical priors that I as I call them or precedence, basically, in which usually Preston’s party struggles at their midterms, but this is real.


This is real data now is not theoretical poles, and we got to have conversation.

But like, how reliable are poles?

These days Democrats are very Fated to go, I should get you to the Kansas abortion referendum, which lost overwhelmingly and Kansas is a little bit, a little bit more moderate than you might think.


It’s not Alabama, but it’s still Kansas and I lost by a lot and so on very high turnout.

So clearly something has changed the electorate.

We’re in an environment, looks more and more like an unusual midterm climate to set the stage here.

Why is it that parties in power are historically more likely to lose during Term elections and how much should we lean into that historical precedent for 2022.


So it really is.

One of the more robust historical precedence in politics.

It’s been reliable for many, many years.

There have been exceptions like 98 is one that’s created to Monica Lewinsky and the backlash to the Clinton impeachment attempt 2002, which was after 9/11 in 1960, you basically had a neutral year after the Cuban Missile Crisis and he’s 62, I should say right, you go back.


In 1938 I guess it was after the Great Depression is at 34.

Maybe I’m screwing that up but like but those are pretty few and far between in behind more years like 2018 or 2010.

We had a pretty big backlash against the president’s party the reason for that is somewhat disputed.


But what idea is that voters want balance?


Voters are actually kind of lower case C conservative in the sense of not wanting a lot of policy changes.

Typically party comes into office, It’s a trifecta.

Meaning they have the presidency plus both branches of Congress will pass a bunch of new legislation.


Maybe it goes too far.

Obamacare for example, a palace, it is now fairly popular was unpopular the time in 2010 and so boaters are trying to backlash and make sure that there are checks and balances on on each party’s Authority.

So what’s potentially different this year is that the Dobbs decision shows how much power Power the Republicans have even when they’re out of power through the Supreme Court, we, you know, have a 6-3.


I think, frankly very active, conservative majority, they are exercising, a lot of political power and they struck down a policy that was revie way that was a very popular precedent and so so that that might be the reason why the theory is violated here, right?


It kind of seems more like sides are battling back and forth.

Over who truly has more power.

Like that a trifecta that was brought to his attention in a really dramatic way by the abortion decision.

We can talk about things like January 6th or republican threats to electoral Integrity or whatever else right to some extent.


That’s kind of theoretical.

You can talk about how well if Republicans getting office they’ll do this.

And that could be really bad, right?

But you actually have a living example of that in the Supreme Court decision.

In clinical science, what you’re talking about is sometimes called the thermostatic theory of public opinion, this idea that voters prefer there to be enough balance and government that you often have this pendulum swinging from Democrats to Republicans, then back to Democrats.


And that this especially happens during midterms.

It’s like, is it voters?

Think of midterms as the perfect opportunity to express a backlash, the party in power, but to Riff on your points, there are many sources of backlash, right?

Because the White House moving too far in One Direction left or right, that Camille.


The backlash but Congress being seen as being too.

Mean to the president, as I suppose people thought they were being in 1988 during the Monica Lewinsky scandal, that can be another opportunity.

The Supreme Court overruling a popular and long-standing precedent in Roe versus Wade that is an opportunity for voter backlash.


So we just might be in a very strange midterm year where voters are more interested in punishing Republicans for going too far or remaining too far to the right than they are in.

Published in punishing the party in power but also enough Theory or some hard numbers on the table decision, on 538 your website, Joe Biden’s approval, rating bottomed out around 37.5% which is really, really bad.


The week of July 21st on July 24th, the Supreme Court handed down the Dobbs decision that overturned row and since then Biden’s polling is sharply up.

What else has happened since mid-july?


That you think could?

In the Democrats, turn around, certainly for the Senate, where you have direct control over 20 Supreme Court Justices, then then Supreme Court decisions.

Might be, particularly Salient, I think, maybe for Biden.

Yeah, I mean, gas prices going down and inflation in general, having a beta dab.


It is important.

You do have a series of policy accomplishments Now by Biden, and the Democrats that you didn’t have before you have Covid cases have been actually case has been fairly high, but you haven’t had a new way of deaths on a scale of, like, the Delta variant or something like that.


And so yeah, I mean in some ways the news has been relatively good for Democrats.

The other Factor though, is that you have a lot of I’m not sure what euphemism to used wacky.

Republican candidates, right sometimes?


That means kind of it’s like, dr.

Oz of Pennsylvania.

Who is just experience, making a lot of stupid gas.

Sometimes it means, Can it have far-right views on abortion or January, 6th or other issues.


You have also a active Shadow campaign for the GOP nomination.

In 2024.

So that means both you have Trump resurfacing as a political figure and a lot of the problematic candidates for the GOP have been Trump’s elections, but you also have other Republicans, namely, Rhonda Sanchez trying to trying to out-compete Trump and out, conservative him.


And so, so, you know, voters have a very kind of salient, reminder of what trumpism looked like, what the stakes are in 2024 and it just it, it doesn’t feel.

Like a typical sleepy.

Midterm environment?



The all of the factors that I have written down.

You basically just name-checked.

So number one, obviously, the Dobbs decision is weighing very heavily, especially, it seems on the minds of women Suburban, women and independent voters number to inflation and gas.


Seem to have seemed to have a relatively mechanical effect on presidential approval, and support for the party.


In power, people really don’t like paying more for gas prices number three.

I’d actually like you to comment just a little bit more.

About this is on covid.

I do think that moderate selected, Joe, Biden to kind of like banish bad vibes, didn’t want to think about the president being a lunatic.

Every hour of the day.


These are moderates Independence.

They didn’t want to think about covid all the time but then Biden got elected.

He’s not a lunatic.

Okay, check box number one but then the Vibes soured really quickly because inflation Rose and all these variants started spilling out of the world into America and people have to think about covid more and they just got frustrated with the And the White House for not banishing, those bad epidemiological vibes.


I do think it might be underrated to a certain extent.

How much the decline of covid.

As a national issue, has had a beneficial effect for Democrats.

Do you think that theory is is a little bit over my skis or do you think there’s there’s, maybe something something there?


No, look.

I mean, I think in general, if you kind of, think back to think, back to covid and how profoundly disrupted every Aspect of life was for for a depending on what city you’re living in, right?

A year or more than a year, right?

And how many people died, right?


It just so gargantuan as a scale, the problem relative to other things.

And some ways it’s shocking that it didn’t have bigger and more obvious political After Effects.

But for sure, I mean, Biden’s approval rating turned downward initially in mid-summer 2021 people attributed that to the withdrawal from Afghanistan.



The timing also lines up quite well with when you have concerns appropriate concerns about the Delta, very right.

And we’re cases really took off, and where people start to feel kind of almost like Odis pairing.

We’re kind of in this never-ending cycle of variance forever whereas for better or worse now, I mean, people have have stopped caring about covid.


If you look at polls, you say, what is the most important issue facing the country?

Re like, literally codes at 1% or sometimes, like won’t even registered to the asterisk Stone, as we call it from kind of reveal preferences.

I mean, even in New York, which is a blue City, I mean, we actually do have a mask mandate on public transit and in like, train and Airport, stations.


Maybe a third of people are asking if that people have just entirely stopped worrying about covid.

For the most part on a day-to-day basis, I do to get to A big factor definitely kind of produces more of a return to normalcy because I think you had begun to see like this photo a co-ed policy were more in the Democratic Coalition.


By the time we got to late last year for example, right?

Where it was, you know, the vaccinate and relax crowd against the kind of covid, 0 crowd babies, one way to characterize them, and those fights were pretty vicious.


I as a vaccine relaxer myself, I Stated in some of them but to remove that is from the table with a caveat though.

That you know, I think epidemiologists are still concerned about seasonality and they’re still concerned about new variants.

We have now vaccines that will be approved shortly to Target be a five.


But but you know it’s still like a lingering concern that could resurface in the future.

But yeah we shouldn’t forget How dominant a forest code has been over over our lives for the past couple of years and if it’s a little bit more in the background now that’s that’s important.


I want to talk about Kennett selection in a little bit because we’re going to talk about the some specific Senate races where candidate selection comes into play in a second but I want to turn to your work at 5:38 you have several forecasting models that I am starting to check on a weekly and semi daily basis.


And these forecasting models are, of course Dependent on the quality of pulls pulls, famously missed badly in the presidential election 2016.

They missed a lot more that I thought they would in 2020.

Power poles, doing this year.


And is there any reason to think that in midterm elections when Trump is not on the ballot, we might be able to place deeper faith in National polling.

So there are a bunch of questions here that it might help too.



You know, one question is why were the polls?

So inaccurate in 2016 and 2020.

And let me start by getting kind of like the Steel Man case for if you’re defending the poles, right?


So holes, if you actually just kind of calling a bunch of people on the phone, most of them don’t answer maybe 5% or 10% do.

And so it’s always be kind of like a leap of faith.

That people who do answer your poll are representative of the people in the population as a whole, but of course, it’s not true in general, like old white, women are the most likely to answer pollsters phone calls and like, young black men are Least likely, right.


But you can tell because he may have a database of registered voters in your state, and you’re like, well, our sample here, has a lot of old white women.

Not very many younger blacks or Hispanics.

And so, so we can do is say, well, we know what we think, turnout should be, and we can, therefore, wait, the pole.


We’re now, every young black man, that we find in a poll counts for 3x and every old white woman counts for, Point to X, right?

And therefore, we synthetic create an electorate that kind of has the right turn out that we expect to actually see in November, right?


That works well enough as long as you identified the right variables by which political opinion varies, but what if there’s some factors that you’re not accounting for people who attend college are much more likely to answer holsters phone calls, for example, they are more politically engaged.


They Soon more news, if a pollster calls and says I’m from so-and-so, polling agency.

They may be excited, right?

Well, it used to be that there was little correlation between education levels and voting patterns.

You go back to 2000, for example, pulled the 25, most educated counties in 2000, half of the voted for Bush and not Gore right now.


Those same counties voted for Biden over Trump like something like 35 or 40 points on average, right?


So did you attend college is a very important predictor of political Behavior.

It’s also a predictor of answering polls and so therefore if you’re not adjusting for the educational accomplishment of the people in your, in your pole, then you’re probably going to be skewed and have too many Democrats, right?


That’s the basic excuse for what happened in 2016 that you have the shift along educational lines and pollsters hadn’t thought through about this problem, enough ahead of time in that cause The error right education, polarization is I think one of the most interesting things happening in politics right now because it’s not just the Democrats becoming the party of the college educated.


It’s also the Republicans are becoming the party that stands against everything you can associate with college, whether it’s woken, s, or corporate labor, or public health, and it’s you’re saying, the shift has been so sudden and recent that it briefly through off the accuracy of polling because companies were calling around and it was all these college-educated educated.


Congrats for picking up the phone so it made the electorate seem way more democratic than it actually was.

So, that’s 2016.

I thought the pollsters learned their lesson, tell me what happened in 2020.

There may also have been some effects of covid.


In particular, the Democrats were all much more likely to lock down and they were literally at home with lots of time on their hands to answer polls, Republicans, still going out to local Applebee’s or whatever.

I’m not sure.

Um, but there’s big differentiation in people’s availability in 2020.


What is funny about 2020 is that if you look at polls unlike the day before, I guess it wasn’t the day, right?

But polls before Cohen became like a dominant issue and like wait, February 20, 2012 pulls did quite well.


Those calls predicted, like an arrow Biden.

When we’re in a constant by a point and it’s closed, right?

Those clothes are pretty good.

The polls in November.

We’re not that good.

And so, so, maybe the pre-coated polls had been fairly good right now.


There is such a question about like what their Trump in particular has particular effects.

I mean, he was literally a celebrity and he will kind of turn out voters who might be low propensity voters.

Including for example, low propensity, Hispanic voters.


If you look at South Texas for example.

Is a major surge in the share of the GOP vote and pristine a 20/20, but it does have a major search.

The number of Voters, it was known for very low, turnout, South Texas and you had.

I think a lot of Hispanic voters who did not participate in system at all, who actually were kind of turned on by by Trump.


And a pollster might say, oh, you haven’t voted before you’re not a likely voter going to screen you out.

Also, these are Hispanic voters who may may speak.

Vanish at home.

They may not have as high socioeconomic status, choose to be hot, may be harder to reach on the pole and phone poles or an internet Poll for that matter as well.


And so if you have these low, propensity lower, socioeconomic status Trump voters.

Well, that was going to be proper for the polls in 2018 2020.

It might not be in 2018 or 2022 because they might not turn out for for Blake Masters.


Or something right?

And in elections that haven’t featured Trump on the ballot.

The polls have not had a republican bias since 2016 including in these special elections.

Where if anything, the poles of underrated Democrats a little bit there hasn’t been a ton of policy.


I would generalize too much from that but Democrats have kind of beaten their poles and this 2022 post Dobbs environment.

So altogether, there are three biases to think about when it comes to the accuracy of polls.

Number one, college bias, number two, the covid stay home, bias 2020.


And number three, a trump bias that we can maybe ignore this year because he’s not on the ballot.

I think this is a good time to talk about your forecasting models and what they’re actually predicting will happen in November.

So you have on 538 a light model which is basically what election day would look like, right now.


Now based on polls alone and then you have classic and Deluxe models which add factors like fundraising and pass voting patterns and the opinions of experts.

So if we look at the house right now, if you look at the polls, only model, it gives Republicans a pretty narrow chance to win, only a 63% chance, but your deluxe model gives them a 76 percent chance to win.


Can you help me understand the difference?

So if you look at the generic Congressional ballot which Is just a question that asks voters, which party would you would you prefer to control Congress or which party do you prefer to luck in your District that tends to reduce about the same result that favors Democrats?


Bye-bye about one point, right?

That is a change before the deposition.

There have been a two or three point eight GOP lead on that measures.

The question is if Democrats win the generic ballot by one point.

Do they win the house or not is actually one of them?



I want to get to first though, which is that that generic ballot, average consists of poles that are often among registered voters in a midterm.

You typically have mediocre turnout.


And so and so people actually turned out to vote may not match the entire universe of registered voters.

Typically in a midterm year you would expect the out part of the opposition party.

This case GOP to have more voter enthusiasm.

And in particular in the past Republicans tend to vote more regularly at midterms that may be shifting.


Now as you have Democrats, you know, the more kind of educated Coalition that may be different now than it was in the past.

So so one question is, if you Democrats ahead narrowly among registered voters then how does that translate among likely voters?


Maybe maybe it’s more like good pure toss-up or at one point GOP lead.

Another question is given redistricting where the GOP still.

A slight Advantage, radishes are drawn, not a very big one but a slight one, does it translate purely 14.


Wonderful 50/50.

But anyway, light does that math and says, you have this very, very narrow lead among registered voters of democratic generic ballot that translates to the GOP, being a very slight favorite based on polls alone in the house, right?

The more other ingredients you add to that, the more skeptical, the model Becomes of the gop’s, chances of losing the house.


Historically obviously it’s been very rare for the president’s party to lose seats or to gain seats at the midterms right by.

Now though his approval rating is up is still a relatively unpopular president.


These expert ratings that we look at that.

Have some predictive value Still project the GOP gain in the house.

Albeit a muted gain enough, the ones they were hoping for before.

So the Bells and whistles, you add to the model, the more.


It tends to hedge back toward the kind of default prior which is a GOP wedding, the house, although although it’s become much less.

Sure of that.

But it had been and before the, so-called deluxe model, now has Democrats with a 24 percent chance of winning.


The houses were taping this they were as low as I think around 12% when we watch the forecast tuned in late June, right?

So Democrats have have doubled, their odds of winning the house but they still only Have essentially a one in four chance it’s different when you look at the senate in the Senate, your deluxe model.


Now has Democrats with a 68% chance to win.

Democrats are basically almost as likely to win the Senate as Republicans are to win the house which is pretty interesting.

What explains the difference?

I mean here.

And we should also mention that like, if you go to like the light version of a separate model and has ever had to 82 percent, right?


So, basically in the Senate, you have a lot of polling in key individuals.

That race which you don’t really the house right now house, you’re lucky to have like one pole but District in the Senate.

Most of these races have been polled four or five or six times in the past few months and those poles, quite consistently.


Tell a good story for Democrats, right?

So, a race, like, Pennsylvania, from first principles, you might expect Pennsylvania.

Be a very close race.

It’s a purple state in a whit.

Now, looks like a purple year but instead fetterman, the Democrat is up by By seven or eight points over dr.


Oz in a state like Arizona, another state inspector, be closed.

But Mark Kelly the Democratic incumbent has a pretty sizable League over Blake Masters and then even States, like Ohio, that shouldn’t be closed.


Ohio has been a pretty red state, but you have the Democrat, Tim Ryan basically tied with, with JD Vance.

Who is the author and Or capitalist turned GOP, Trump endorses domini and they’re running about even despite Ohio’s.


Now, fairly strong Republican lead.

So this individual state by state polls.

Tell a very Rosy picture for Democrats where they not only, are they fabricate the Senate.

They actually are favored to add a cedar tube, which could have implications going forward, obviously, but here and I kind of get to more questions about like, can you take these poles at face value, right?


Right one.

Basic problem is that it’s September 1st.

The elections not being held on September 1st, right?

To be held in November.

So I might be true in Ohio, that if you had the election today, that it would be highly competitive.

However, Tim Ryan, I said a big advertising advantage that will probably even out.


The GOP is going to come to the rescue and Vance.

I would think Advanced is not that well-known.

Again, a, that name recognition will will increase relative to Ryan.

Who is You know, US representative who ran for president in 2020.

And so, so, you know, there are reasons to think in some of these races at things will, will tighten by November.


I want to jump into some of these specific Senate races.

So starting with Pennsylvania, you’ve got the Democrat John fetterman running against Oprah’s Favorite carpetbagging.

Dr. Mehmet Oz and fetterman according to 538 has a 79 percent chance of winning an estate that a lot of people is you said thawed, Winds are going to pick up in November and this in particular, has just been a really strange election fetterman suffered a stroke.


He has been very scarce on the campaign Trail.

He’s been posting a bunch of memes.

Making fun of us for not being a real resident of the state of Pennsylvania.

He started a petition for example to named oz to the New Jersey Hall of Fame.

There’s a lot of silly lessons that I think one could take or that maybe the internet is taking from this race.


Like for example the Democrats should just nominate a bunch of really big Dudes who meme their way through elections by just being super funny.

And that those ingredients might be enough to get someone through a tough race in a purple state.

But I wonder what do you see as the most significant lessons of a state like Pennsylvania.


First of all, historically in experienced candidates tend to underperform the fundamentals and you kind of seen that play out in Imaginary, I think like political humor is kind of terrible.

I think some of the osmiums including some of the cell phones are kind of funny, right?


Where he had this Infamous video of.

He’s like shopping for ingredients that a Wegmans trying to complain about inflation.

He’s buying ingredients for crude attempt at a who did say, which I think is like the least relatable possible food, right?


If you were like, yeah, I’m getting a sushi platter.

And people make fun of me for being like rich, but least people kind of like sushi, right?

Or criticize.

Sushi doesn’t have an accent aigu over one of the letters like Republican, Republican, candidates should not have public messaging that has accent aigu or Exxon grabs.


I think in their messaging like you do not want to come across as explicit as an explicitly accented, Francophile.

But anyway, it keep going um you know and then I think he wasn’t prepared for this line of attack about being from New Jersey and you know vote.


Those tend not to like carpet baggers.

There is some Empirical research on that, you know, I don’t things like so fetterman has a stroke which is like a pretty serious issue, right?

I mean for sure, and he’s avoiding debate for that reason.


But instead like Oz is spokesperson said, well maybe if fetterman and eating more vegetables, he would have had the stroke, right?

Which is, you know, I’ve been in Pennsylvania.

It’s not a state.

I would associate with, Healthy organic produce, right?


It’s the state of the Philly cheesesteak and like delicious, like, giant greasy sandwiches of different kinds and fried foods of different kinds.

It’s just like, it’s just like a, I’m not saying this is an issue that like is going to turn out that many voters.


But like, if you are as then, can you find Ways to raise doubts about fetterman stroke, which is again, a legitimate issue as far as people governing going forward, right?

And steady kind of steps in it and so experience I think I think matters a fair bit.


He’s a guy that’s like easy to make fun of.

It’s not quite clear.


He’s even like running for Senate.



It’s kind of its kind of a wildering.

I don’t understand why he’s doing this at all.

He’s completely trashing whenever reputation he had His television career in, in order to do, what not, barely even run for office.


I mean he hasn’t been particularly visible on the campaign Trail.

The thing that I have us worry about is fetterman at this point, seems so likely to win that.

I’m I’m in advance worried that Democrats are going to take the wrong lessons from the Pennsylvania election and assume that the way to win elections against famous Republicans.


It’s just a meme your way through it.

But dr.

Oz is such a terrible candidate.

I’m not sure any particular campaign lesson should be taken.

From this particular Showdown, actually, one of the move to it.

To Georgia for a second.

This is where the Democratic incumbent Senator Raphael Warnock is for now narrowly.


Holding off the former football star Herschel Walker.

Who was a who for whom Trump was a major in public supporter.

I’ve been a little surprised, how close this election is Georgia is you know, a purple State.

This is a midterm year Herschel.


Walker’s, public comments have been somewhere between utterly crazed and mere gobbledygook.

What is interesting to you about the Georgia election right now?


Maybe in some ways, why is Walker.


Not paying more of it can a penalty.

I guess is one question, especially cuz it’s like a Cuts both ways, right?

It’s not just that Walker’s, or we can, it’s also that Warnock is, you know, potentially a very good when it’s a very compelling, life story, right?


Is one of the more persuasive speakers on the Democratic caucus that pickle here potentially.

But, you know, Georgia is one of those states where there are some swing states that are strategically of a lot of Swing.

Right like in New Hampshire once it’s kind of like weird like white secular upper-middle-class kind of pseudo libertarian right?


Those are better Center like cross pressure and tend to flip parties.

A lot right in Georgia.

It’s just kind of a matter of you line up your coalition’s on each side and they happen to be about 50. 50, where Democrats have obviously African-American voters.


There are a number of big colleges.

Universities in Georgia and an increasing number of Professionals of all racial Persuasions that are moving to Atlanta and its suburbs.

The GOP.

Still has lots of conservative Evangelical white voters, though, in Georgia, outside of Atlanta, still wins by by large margins.


And it’s coalition’s are are about 50/50.

They’re pretty immovable.

Democrats have managed to turn out, just slightly more voters.

Live in 2020, obviously.

And so it’s a cliche that might be a race that comes down.


More to turn out, right?

People will tolerate a bad Republican nominee and Georgia because they were just a consider.

If you’re like an Evangelical white motor somewhere in rural Georgia.

You just not going to consider voting for a Democrat under under any circumstance before we get to Ohio in Arizona, which I kind of think of, as their own story because those Those candidates are backed by Peter teal, the tech billionaire.


I want to do a quick stop in Wisconsin.

Wisconsin seems to me, like maybe the most surprising State of Affairs for Republicans.

This is where the Republican incumbent.

Senator Ron Johnson is rather stunningly in a toss up against the Democratic Challenger Barnes.


Barnes was actually leading in the last three, a-rated poles that you recorded at 5:38 long time, incumbents, Are not supposed to lose in midterms.

When the other party is in power, do you agree with the generals sense?

That Wisconsin seems to be like the the largest and deepest red flashing light for Republicans right now and worrying that this is the exception to the general midterm rule.


I mean this is what if I had to flag when race where if I had Personal money on the line, where I’d be a little skeptical about the bottle ii-i’m.

Not sure I buy that Wisconsin.

This is closed system model, shows it all.

The polling has been pretty consistent but Wisconsin has two states.


Had the worst polling in the country over the past, several election Cycles.

So that’s one where you might want to put a little asterisk by it.

I think the cake is for it is that you know, Johnson has been been a very conservative Member of the Senate in a state that is purple.


It did ultimately vote for Biden in 2020.

It hits the other Center is Tammy Baldwin, who is a progressive, you know, openly lesbian Senator, right?


Still has enough Progressive elements and Johnson is a very Pro.

Trump has spoken sympathetically about the events of January 6th.



Is also not the most articulate.

Guy has had somewhat a half-assed approach towards in.

Arrest in in being in the Senate.

Wisconsin has high turnout.

It’s a hypothetical engagement state so you can maybe tell a story where where he underperforms by a couple of points.


Whose constant under very close state, I’m just a little worried because of the particular history of polls.

Getting things wrong in Wisconsin.

So moving on to Ohio and Arizona, this is where we have JD Vance in Ohio and Blake Masters in Arizona, Republican candidates, both sponsored by Peter.


All the tech billionaire, they’re both underperforming.

And I don’t want to overstretch in my attempt to create a narrative here, but the subject that I want to end on with you is the subject of candidate selection.

It’s kind of hard to ignore if the Republican party has two very different billionaire.


Kingmakers Peter, teal and California, Donald Trump in New York who have gone about backing candidates that are mostly be significantly underperforming in their particular race.

And I wonder what you make of this candidate selection problem, the Republicans seem to have because it really is a story that you can tell about a lot of the states that we just visited.


It’s a story.

You can tell about Herschel Walker in Georgia.

It’s a story.

You could tell about Mehmet Oz in Pennsylvania.

Both of these were backed by President Trump.

Both of them are significantly underperforming.

What we should expect?

Why do you think the GOP has this candidate selection problem?


Well, here’s a getting a question about, like, what is the GOP, right?


Exactly Rings.

It’s a formal structure.

There’s a Republican National Committee that has some degree of formal Powers, right?

It’s a series of elected officials who have various formal and informal influence.


Some of them are retired or are informally aligned with the party, Peter teal, for example, and then you have the Republican voters and like, and they have conflicting incentives.

They They have imperfect information, I mean, look in general.


If you had told the Republican party again, understand that, that doesn’t really make sense as a term.



That, like, you’re going to get Roe v–, Wade, overturned, a historically.

We’ve been waiting for for 50 years, but it’s going to cost you two or three seats in the Senate.


Would that be worth it?

I don’t know what they’d say, if Pretty close right?

You know, so The champ is made like a lot of compromises to try to.

Well, I mean in in nominating Trump in some ways, the bargain McConnell was making is that Trump will cause lots of problems for for the GOP.


But Hillary Clinton will nominate liberal Supreme Court, Justice and trouble dominate, conservative ones as long as that’s true.

Well, It’s worth making a big sacrifice for that.

So maybe my answer the question, very, very directly.

I mean, I think the GOP is kind of in some sense getting when it bargained for.



No, I was just thinking as you were talking, I was thinking, this is this is several chickens coming home to roost, right?

This is the Federalist Society.

Anti-ro chicken coming home to roost.

The Supreme Court has moved significantly to the right of public opinion and now Republicans Are being punished for their success.


This is The Price of Politics.

And then you have Trump who is both behind-the-scenes, boosting candidates and directly in the main stage Spotlight, with the Mar-A-Lago, search and seizure.

And this is where I want you to tell me if my analysis is going a bit off the rails.

But I have noticed a subtle shift in the way that some Republicans talk about Trump putting together, his horrible record of handpicking, Republican candidates for Senate and this Mar-A-Lago mess.


So you have the big-time conservative pundit Ben Shapiro, who wrote a long Twitter thread earlier this week pretty explicitly, blasting Republicans for being in thrall to the idea that Trump has some unique Shaman who can overcome the threat from the left just today or maybe yesterday the Wall Street Journal ran an op-ed criticizing Trump’s quote, Vendetta politics saying he seems to care more about settling scores than promoting its own party.


This is a conservative editorial panel and then Fox and Friends.

The News Morning Show of which I’m not a typical viewer saying so many negative things about Trump, that he’s now accused them of going to the quote dark side.

So I’m not trying to write Trump’s political obituary right now.


Too many people have tried to do that and looked, absolutely ridiculous.

But do you think we’re seeing some kind of movement, some kind of subtle inflection point, among Republican Elites where this attitude toward the role Trump plays in their park in the Republican?


Artie seems to be shifting a bit.

Yeah, trip.

Has this like reputation for being Teflon electorally but his track records, not really.

That impressive, right?

He beat Hillary Clinton, despite losing the popular vote, and she is not a strong nominee, I’ll leave it at that, right?


He lost re-election as an incumbent, which is pretty rare.

The GOP had it bad midterm in 2018, which is Them to be a little bit worse than average.

They have done kind of poorly in these various special elections.


There are now increasing signs will have a disappointing 2022.

And so, yeah, I mean, part of the problem, I think the GOP is that they don’t really have like other Role Models kind of what an electoral a successful candidate might look like right.


I mean, bush left office as being very unpopular and I think Republicans might feel as though Bush didn’t really leave them in a position where where they were conservative goals accomplished, right?

Kind of left them with the with a Roberts Court that that religions thought was not serving their interest, right?


He left them with unpopular Wars in And Iraq, right?

He left them with fiscal policy.

That was not transformative lie changed at the very least and then create a big backlash that led to Obama winning and so you know, Republicans don’t really have successful examples of like non-trump candidates winning.


I guess, I mean, the closest substitution seems to be Ron DeSantis in Florida.

Who is very Trump like in mrs.

A whole Wormhole would go into about how much is just at us like or not like Trump.


But, you know, part of the kind of Devil’s bargain.


They’re willing to make is that, you know, I think they kind of think that they aren’t sure if they can win elections without Trump either.

And so, so they’ve been willing to be very tolerant of trump and, and now, you know, to some extent maybe the inmates The Asylum, right?


We no longer have like a smoke and mirror system of primaries.

We have primaries by popular vote rank-and-file GOP.

Voters are are fairly loyal to Trump.

Still, you know, I do think that in 2024, it’s likely a pretty competitive race if it’s Trump against the Santas, you know, in some ways voters might want a new storyline, right?



Oops arguments about electability even though he will claim the election was stolen.

Falsely, of course, you know what was my still ask?

Well, how much was stolen and you’re not in the White House.

What’s to prevent it from being stolen again from you, right?

You don’t seem to have a plan here, really.

I think DeSantis is Somewhat skilled about winning new Cycles.


I think if you do have kind of like, you know, Fox News being subtly, probably not explicitly anti-trump that could have some influence potentially.

So I think 2024 is competitive.

But like, but, you know, the GOP accepted Trump as their flagbearer had kind of a free option to remove him from office and Barb morning officer again.


A January 6th and and chose not to take that.

And so this kind of it the bargain.

They’re left with, but they have gotten something out of it.

Got in Roe versus Wade, overturned.

And that’s worth a lot.

If you’re a Conservative Republican.

Yeah, they’ve got, they’ve gotten things out of it.

I just, I think that the arrangement of the Republican party is in with Donald Trump right now.


It’s just showing, it’s not only bad for democracy in some, you know, big picture ethical way.

It’s also just bad for the Republican party, as an organization that wants to maximize its election victory.

Seems to me like we’re in a situation right now where there’s a lot of Republican pundits who say that the FBI indict settled Trump, that will almost guarantee his nomination.


And it’s like, I don’t disbelieve that, that might be true.

That might be exactly.

The course of events that when Republicans see Trump under attack, they are more likely to vote for him.

But this idea that like when the GOP becomes more attracted to Trump, when he does incredibly unpopular things that pass such a high threshold of terribleness of the FBI indict him for obstruction of justice, the Espionage Act Like, that’s a terrible Habit to cultivate when your job is a party.


Is to try to win national popularity contest.

So it’s a very rough marriage that they’re in right now.

I don’t want to get, I want to end on like, you know, huffing it capital, D Democratic opium here.

I actually want to end on a slightly more sober, note for Democrats, which is that, you know, based on my reading of you and some other pieces.


One thing that we seem to know about the homestretch of midterm elections and that is precisely what we’re in right now.

Is that there’s a fairly Ironclad rule that thinks typically get worse for the president’s party as we get closer to election day.

What are you just end on that note, why is it the case that things typically tend to swing to the party out of power as we get closer to election day in a midterm?


Um, so I think it might be a little bit overstated but it’s basically true.

I think the reason is just that Voters are not paying that much attention to the election months ahead of time, right?

About now, after Labor Day is when they were traditionally tuned in and so.


So all that means is, like the patterns are maybe kind of latent all along beginning to lock in, right?

Your voters?

Say well, Democrats are in power.

Now, we want to keep them in check and so now that I’ve thought about it, more sure, my Senator might be a nice guy, but I’m a swing voter.


I’m going to vote Republican in this election for For balance, you know, although again to kind of bring this somewhat full circle, typically what happens after it loses a presidential election is that a party will cleanse itself of the previous nominee and or the previous kind of forces that led to that losing campaign, right?


So you have a new Fresh Alternatively of the contract with America in in 2000 or 1994, right?

Or you have in 2018, these new kind of suburban, moderate Democrats are pursuing a different face, the party than Hillary Clinton did.



You know, the GOP is not as not pivoted from Trump, right?

So, it’s like, that’s another reason why you might expect the quote-unquote fundamentals to be to be violated here potentially, is that its offering The same or maybe even a more extreme version of the platform.


It offered on a losing basis in 2020, including the former nominee still playing a very large role.

Decisive, many primaries in the party and so and so in some sense, why would you expect it to be different than then 2020?

That’s so interesting.


I had, I don’t think I’ve ever put that together.

Quite like that either the idea that parties themselves.

Learn from losses.

And moderate in response to losses.

And that one reason, why a naturally moderate country might have this kind of pendulum swing between parties, is that they swing ever so slightly toward the party.


That is moderated in response to losing the election, two years prior.

But that’s not happening at all with the Republican party.

They are accelerating in the opposite direction which means to a certain extent while I still don’t think the Democrats have are very likely to win the house.

We might be able to throw out some of The history of midterm results in 2022 because this year is just so anomalous in that way.



If you have history condition on people behaving in a certain way and they violate that behavior than the history becomes.

Less useful for sure.

Well said Nate silver.

Thank you very much.

Thank you, Derek talk to you soon.

I’m Jerry Thompson.


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