So this morning, we spent emails about Don Blankenship, the vagaries of public opinion polls, why Harry thinks West Virginia is a fascinating state and why today we could tell how much the GOP is Donald Trump's party.
Our conversation – raw and uncut! – is below.
I love these days. Democracy in action! Voters vote!
I want to start in West Virginia. And with the only question anyone is interested in, can ex-con / racist / coal-mining owner Don Blankenship actually win?
My Answer: Yes. In fact, I think he is a slight favorite over Rep. Evan Jenkins and Attorney General Patrick Morrisey. Blankenship has trumped the other two on TV ̵
Ducks : Prejudices can be most fun for junkies like ourselves, especially if we do not have to stay up until 11pm to close for the polls, as we did in Arizona! Primary values can be the most unpredictable because the queries are not nearly as predictable (more on that in a second). They are also synonymous with winning the general election in many places, because the places are either democratic or republican. In any case, I believe that Blankenship can definitely win.
We agree on that. Let me take a slightly nerdere perspective.
The public poll was, to say the least, sparse. The only public poll not sponsored by anyone (a poll by Fox News) has left Blankenship behind, but this survey was conducted a few weeks ago and Blankenship was only nine points behind the front-runner in this poll (Morrisey). I say "only" because I would have set a 95% confidence interval by +/- 23 points, based on the previous primary query accuracy at that stage before the election. Given all the attention Blankenship received in advance, I would not be surprised if he won. (Although I would not be surprised if he lost both, we just do not have enough data to get started.)
As for the general election, I think he has a chance, but I think that definitely decreases the chance of a GOP takeover. I have some surprising thoughts on why this is so …
Cillizza : The obvious answer is that he:
a) during the closing terms such as "Chinaperson" and "Negro" has used weeks of campaign;
I would be interested to know your less obvious;)
Then I would like to talk about Talk about other important issues that matter today: the Republican Senate of Indiana.
I think you win in West Virginia if you're Republicans to attract the South people, where the Democrats have their biggest registration advantage, but where Trump's biggest win in the state won. From there comes Evan Jenkins and why he is probably the strongest candidate for election.
Given how popular Trump is still in West Virginia, Blankenship could still win. I'm skeptical given that Manchin has beaten a Senate businessman twice already.
Cillizza : We agree. Jenkins is the strongest GOP candidate – that's why a Democratic Super PAC has slammed him with ads over the last six weeks. And blankenship is most likely to be problematic for a Republican party that, if the presidential outcome is a sign, should control that seat after 2018.
Indiana does not get as much attention as West Virginia – not a Blankenship-like character in Hoosier State – but the most important thing is as much. CW assumed last week that none of the two members of Congress – Todd Rokita and Luke Messer – would win. The guy who looked like the winner was Mike Braun, a former state representative who threw in more than $ 5 million of his own money. The one knocked on Braun: He was until 2012 Democrat.
We're flying a kind of blind here, but what we do know is that the one who wins has a good chance of being a senator. Senator Joe Donnelly (D) won the 2012 race thanks to Richard Mourdock's implosion. Provided that this does not happen again in November, this is a condition that Trump won in double digits in 2016.
I will bring Braun to win. What are you saying?
Ducks : Indiana gets no respect. No respect!
What about former Democrats as Republicans? We have one in the White House. We have one in West Virginia. Now we have one in Indiana. Almost as if the parties were changing a bit.
I think Indiana and West Virginia are trying to confirm something about the Republican Party in general.
Cillizza : And this thing is …..
Let me guess: That it's now a totally Washington-based party that wants to vote for people who just did not do it was in Washington, but who hates it actively.
When Blankenship and Brown win, I think it will be hard to conclude otherwise. Two rich guys running into the political process as outsiders – just like a bouffant – we know who's calling 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue home.
Did I guess right?
Ducks : Yes I think you're on the button. Now one or two primaries prove nothing. But I'm surprised how much Republicans who run for office continue as if it were 2014 or so.
It's not just that they are outsiders (though Brown was a state representative). It is also the messaging. We will clean the swamp. It's all about running against Hillary Clinton. What is that? Since when can you run against someone who has not ruled for half a decade and has not won office for twelve years? It is bizarre.
I think the idea is that change almost always seems to be a popular message, so why not try to run when you're still in power ?!
History suggests that this is unlikely to work, but history is history. We have to see if the Republicans are working this year. Are elections no fun?