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DON’T GET COCKY: Elizabeth Warren the front-runner? That’s great news for Republicans.

DON’T GET COCKY: Moody Election Model Has Some Very Bad News for 2020 Democrats.

TRADE WARS ARE FUN AND EASY TO WIN: Cramer on Trump vs. China: ‘Hate him or like him, he has them where he wants them.’

UPDATE: From the comments: “The Chinese must have decided Trump is going to be re-elected.” Don’t get cocky. Until election day, they assumed Hillary would win. But yes, I think that’s one of the things this means.

TWO TAKES ON THE SYRIA DECISION THAT DISAGREE WITH THE CONVENTIONAL WISDOM: (1) Security Studies Group: The Syria Decision.

As we warned at the time, the American position was much more exposed and much less tenable than was commonly understood. . . .

Just as allowing Iran to run wild hurts China much more than it hurts the United States, China is harmed by our allowing the Turks to provoke an insurgency that will bedevil the stability of the very region where China intends its massive investments. The wars that China’s own allies are starting are going to be the biggest tax on China’s growing power and influence, which means it will become China’s problem — and not America’s — to stop those wars. That means that China and Turkey, and not America, will end up paying the cost of Middle Eastern security. The danger they face is that they will overextend themselves, and provoke fights they cannot walk away from in the process. It may be a bigger burden than Erdogan or Xi imagine that they are taking on here.

It is unlikely that President Trump thinks so strategically or so ruthlessly. More likely he is simply convinced that these wars drain American blood and treasure in an unacceptable way, and he just intends to stop doing it whatever it costs.

(2) Trump’s Syria withdrawal bravely puts America First, the establishment last. “His decision will stop risking American lives and wasting taxpayer dollars on policing Middle East politics. This is long overdue, seeing as our security goals in Syria have already been accomplished. To recap, the U.S. military first intervened in the Syrian conflict in 2014. Our goal was to destroy the Islamic State Caliphate, as the terrorist group had built up territorial control of much of the conflict-ridden region. Mission accomplished.”

Well, I’m fine on reducing our commitments to the region. Trump’s diplomatic approach has the Arab world allied with Israel, and Saudi Arabia liberalizing internally. And thanks to fracking, the mideast isn’t that important to us anymore. On the other hand, the Kurds are good people, and I don’t like leaving them hanging, which is what this looks like to me. On that point, I’m in general agreement with Tom Rogan: “We relied upon the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces and other Kurdish militias in order to substantially degrade ISIS. Yes, Western special operations played a crucial role in this effort. But the Kurds took the brunt of the casualties. And the Kurds kept fighting alongside us even after their northern heartlands had been retaken. Their tenacious courage saved American lives by denying ISIS the space and time to plot attacks against Western homelands.”

UPDATE: Two more: Walter Russell Mead: Trump’s Jacksonian Syria Withdrawal.

Explaining his decision to pull U.S. troops away from the Turkish-Syrian border at the cost of the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces, and open the way for Turkish forces to create what Ankara calls a “safety zone,” President Trump tweeted early Monday that “it is time for us to get out of these ridiculous Endless Wars, many of them tribal, and bring our soldiers home.” . . .

Mr. Trump isn’t the first U.S. president to try to hold America back from a Middle East conflict. President Obama made a similar, and similarly hasty, decision in 2013 when he chose not to respond to Syria’s violation of his chemical weapons “red line” with a military strike. Many of the same people criticizing Mr. Trump today criticized Mr. Obama then, and the subsequent course of the Syrian war underlined both the humanitarian and the strategic case against Mr. Obama’s decision. Mr. Trump’s Syria decision may also prove to be a mistake, but it should give the establishment pause that two presidents as different as Messrs. Obama and Trump reached similar conclusions about the political risks in the Middle East.

The U.S. may be the most powerful actor in the region, but it can’t resolve the economic and social conflicts that destabilize the Middle East. As long as this is the case, those who want presidents to commit to long-term military engagements, however limited and however advantageous, must expect a skeptical hearing in the Oval Office.

Plus: Syria Could Be Turkey’s Vietnam. “Erdoğan may talk about a terror threat emanating from northern Syria, but he has yet to prove that one exists. Quite the contrary: Not only were Syrian Kurds the most effective indigenous fighting force against the Islamic State, there is also overwhelming evidence that Turkey cooperated, profited from, and at times coordinated with Syria’s Al Qaeda affiliates and the Islamic State. . . . Erdoğan may be cocky, but he could be falling into a trap. Turkey’s drones may give it a qualitative military edge in mountains and rural regions but may be of substantially less utility in the northern Syrian cities if limiting collateral damage is any concerns. The Kurds have extensive experience fighting on the ground. Meanwhile, recent political purges of the Turkish military make the Turkish Army a shell of its former self. With Kurdish insurgents voluntarily going into Syria at Turkey’s request as part of the previous peace agreement, Syrian Kurds simply have no place to go. A century ago, Turkish forces slaughtered the Armenians by marching them into the desert to their deaths; the Kurds refuse to be the sequel. Turkish invasion and ethnic cleansing—Turkey’s stated purpose is to settle a couple million Arabs in the region—will spark insurgency in northeastern Syria and across Turkey.”

Things have changed in the mideast, but when your decisions about Syria are compared to Obama’s, it’s not a good sign.

Plus, it’s a NATO thing.

I am speaking, of course, of president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, who is, increasingly, Turkey’s effective dictator. But it’s crucial to emphasize that these are Nato forces. This not only means they are supplied with state-of-the-art weaponry; it also means those weapons are being maintained by other Nato members.

Fighter jets, helicopter gunships, even Turkey’s German-supplied Panzer forces – they all degrade extremely quickly under combat conditions. The people who continually inspect, maintain, repair, replace, and provide them with spare parts tend to be contractors working for American, British, German or Italian firms. Their presence is critical because the Turkish military advantage over Northern Syria’s “People’s Defense Forces” (YPG) and “Women’s Defense Forces” (YPJ), those defenders of Kobane that Turkey has pledged to destroy, is entirely dependent on them.

That’s because, aside from its technological advantage, the Turkish army is a mess. Most of its best officers and even pilots have been in prison since the failed coup attempt in 2016, and it’s now being run by commanders chosen by political loyalty instead of competence. Rojava’s defenders, in contrast, are seasoned veterans.

Plus:

DON’T GET COCKY: Happy retirement, Speaker Pelosi.

DON’T GET COCKY: Democrats toss Biden aside in zeal to impeach — ensuring Trump’s reelection.

DON’T GET COCKY, KID: Conrad Black: Why Donald Trump will win big in 2020.

MICHAEL GOODWIN: Pelosi’s impeachment flip-flop changes everything.

In surrendering to the radicals and the noisy drumbeat of their media handmaidens, Pelosi established a formal investigative process involving the top legislative committees.

Yet she did something else, too, something far more monumental: She effectively committed House Dems to impeaching President Trump.

Because of what she said and did, if the House doesn’t go all the way, it will be a political disaster. Either failing to take a vote on articles of impeachment, or failing to get enough votes among her majority to pass any articles, would be seen as a political exoneration for Trump, likely leading to his re-election.

Don’t get cocky.

That aside, maybe the only thing to the Democrats’ kamikaze wing worse than not going ahead with an impeachment inquiry would be an unsuccessful one.

DON’T GET COCKY, KIDS: 2020 Vision Wednesday: Trump raised $15 million in California in one day. That should worry Democrats.

NICE SPECIAL ELECTION, KID. DON’T GET COCKY. Roll Call: Why the GOP victory in North Carolina spells disaster for Democrats in 2020. “House Republicans are now 3-0 in special elections this cycle and, in all three races, the GOP nominee outperformed the 2018 result. In Pennsylvania’s 12th and North Carolina’s 3rd districts, Republicans even outperformed President Donald Trump’s 2016 numbers.”

NICE COLUMN, KID. DON’T GET COCKY. Trump in a Landslide: Here’s Why.

THAT WAS THE WEEK THAT WAS: The Media’s no good, very bad week (and what’s coming next).

I think this week is a harbinger of things to come. Why? Because the Mueller report didn’t work out as Democrats and the media hoped. There’s no public appetite for impeachment. Progressives are getting nervous and the NY Times has signaled privately and publicly, through its 1619 Project, that the 2020 election will be all about racism because that’s the best chance Democrats have to activate their base.

So what’s coming next? A lot more careless mistakes by the usual suspects looking to drag Trump and the GOP down. What this week demonstrates is that many of them care less about their credibility than ensuring the desired outcome. This isn’t really new of course. In fact, some version of this happens every four years. See dog-abusing-vampire-capitalist-with-80s-foreign-policy Mitt Romney for a previous example.

Which dovetails well with Tucker Carlson and Neil Patel’s look at how things went this week with the Democratic Party operatives without bylines, aka the politicians: Crackup in the Democratic Party.

Imagine you’re Biden’s political director, sitting offstage. All of a sudden, Biden wanders into the unscripted territory and says, “Imagine the assassination of Obama.” This is not an attack on Biden, but he’s not going to be the nominee. So the actual race comes down to Warren’s and Sanders’ competing visions of how to achieve the same socialist fantasy. Warren is promising reparations based on skin color. That’s popular. Sanders wants a government takeover of the entire energy sector. They will be working to out-crazy each other for the next six months. That is a dynamic guaranteed to produce even more extremism. And it has some Democratic leaders worried. The Democratic National Committee voted on a proposal to hold a debate focused exclusively on climate change. Why wouldn’t they? Well, because the solutions the candidates would promise live on television are insane: spend $16 trillion, ban airplanes, seize control of the entire U.S. economy.

The Trustafarians love stuff like that. Normal people find it terrifying. Even the party hacks here in D.C. don’t like it, and that’s probably a compliment. Do you really think Nancy Pelosi believes climate change is an existential crisis? Of course, she doesn’t think that. Plus, she flies private. Obama can say whatever he wants about carbon emissions. He can shake his chin and be concerned, but when you’re spending 15 million of your own dollars on a beachfront estate on Martha’s Vineyard, you’re not too worried about the oceans rising. But the Democratic base doesn’t get the joke. Democratic primary voters believe the talking points. And very soon, they will be powerful enough to nominate their own presidential candidate. And when that happens, it’s going to be a very different party.

Nobody should be getting cocky in this election cycle.

Classical reference in headline, from a time when the left still viewed satire as a weapon, before the revolution devoured its own.

DON’T GET COCKY: GOP Smashes Another Fundraising Record in July.

THAT’S NICE, BUT DON’T GET COCKY, KIDS. A ‘recession dashboard’ from Credit Suisse indicates the economy is nowhere near a recession.

DON’T GET COCKY: Joe Biden won’t win.

DON’T GET COCKY: Sean Trende: Yes, The GOP Should Worry About Texas.

MARK ELLIS: Don’t Get Cocky, But Things Look Good for Trump.

DON’T GET COCKY: Trump’s economy is on fire, but Democrats aren’t so hot (and that’s why he’ll win in 2020).

Bill Clinton ran in 1992 claiming the brief ’90-’91 recession (which had ended before the election) was the worst economy since the Great Depression. And the media helped him sell that fake news. So it doesn’t really matter to the media what the economy does between now and November, 2020 — they’ll tell whatever story they think will help put a Democrat in the White House.

DON’T GET COCKY: Democrats and Republicans agree — Donald Trump will be re-elected.

DON’T GET COCKY: Democrats are trying their best to keep Trump in the White House. Jon Gabriel’s column in the Arizona Central.

JOHN NOLTE: Democrats Just Had Their Worst Week in 47 Years. “Not since the 1972 discovery that George McGovern’s vice presidential pick, Thomas Eagleton, had been hospitalized and given electroshock treatments have the Democrats had a worse week than the one we just concluded.”

The Fake News Media Is the Only Shrinking Institution in America’s Booming Economy

Before 2019 is over, there will be upwards of 12,000 job cuts within the American media. That’s 12,000 fewer Democrat foot soldiers; 12,000 fewer propagandists, serial liars, cheerleaders, and toadies to hold Antifa’s jacket as they beat elderly Trump supporters to death with crowbars.

Every industry in Trump’s America is expanding and thriving … except for the media.

What’s more, the Democrats primary propaganda outlet, the far-left CNN, is hemorrhaging viewers like an Ebola victim hemorrhages solid foods.

Where’s your god now, Jeff Zucker?

Democrats Lost “The Sane One” Joe Biden

Slow Joe will always be the stupid one, the gaffe machine on the verge of imploding, but he has now openly embraced gun confiscation, taxpayer-funded abortions, the banning of every gun currently being manufactured (except those stupid “smart guns”), raising everyone’s taxes, and putting an end to deportations of illegal immigrants. And now, we don’t really know where Creepy Joe stands on awarding health insurance to illegals and decriminalizing illegal immigration because he’s flip-flopping all over the place on those two.

The so-called “sane one” is an aging moron ready to take our guns, ban all the others, and force us to pay for an illegal alien’s abortion.

Much more at the link, but as always, don’t get cocky.

WELL, HAVE YOU SEEN THE DEMOCRATIC FIELD? Why Trump has reason for optimism in 2020. But don’t get cocky, kids. If you care, you’re better spending your time as a campaign volunteer than surfing the Internet.

DON’T GET COCKY: Democrats Just Had Their Worst Week in 47 Years.

SEE, THIS IS WHY I SAY DON’T GET COCKY, KIDS: Zogby: Trump behind in battleground states key to 2016 victory.

Related: Trump’s Way To Victory.

WINNING: Democrats fear Trump, Republicans are making inroads with Hispanic voters in Florida.

The usual “Don’t get cocky™” disclaimer aside, Trump’s not-so-secret weapon is going after the other side’s base. Reagan was a master at that, too, but every GOP candidate since then has preemptively surrendered yuge blocks of voters.

Maybe that’s a bit unfair to George W. Bush, who did make some plays towards black and Hispanic voters, but not nearly to the degree Trump does — and much less aggressively, too.

HMM: Rush Limbaugh Has A Nasty Reality Check For Joe Biden.

“Imagine if you’re Joe Biden last night,” said Rush (transcript via RushLimbaugh.com). “You’re Joe Biden last night, and your advisers come in, and they say, ‘Joe, don’t sweat it, don’t sweat anything that happened last night. What happened last night doesn’t mean anything, Joe. The debates are the only thing that matter, Joe, and you’re gonna wipe the floor with this guy, Joe. You’re gonna wipe the floor about him in the debates, and you got the big money behind you, Joe. You got fundraisers, you’re setting records all over. Joe, don’t sweat this stuff last night.’”

But then came a tweet from Republican National Committee Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel early Wednesday morning: “Donald Trump has raised a record-breaking $24.8 million in less than 24 hours for his reelection,” she announced. “The enthusiasm across the country for this president is unmatched, unlike anything we have ever seen.”

Don’t get cocky.

DON’T GET COCKY, KIDS: 797 Trump reelection ‘watch parties’ set, six times the number of #ImpeachTrump events.

Here’s why you shouldn’t get cocky: Swing states: Biden dominates, Trump’s reelection in trouble.

CHRISTOPHER ROACH: 2020 Has Echoes of 1996 for the Opposition Party.

The objective facts favor Donald Trump’s reelection for many of the same reasons Clinton was a favorite in 1996. The economy is doing quite well, and his tax cuts and regulatory reforms appear to be at least part of the reason.

Of course, he has not delivered on his main campaign promises, but he appears to his supporters at least to be trying, even in the face of bipartisan resistance. His deviations from promises appear aligned with rather than opposing public opinion.

Also, Trump rather decisively defeated ISIS’s caliphate in Syria, but has so far avoided calls for getting involved in another Middle Eastern war. Even Obama could not avoid this temptation, in spite of running as the “peace candidate” in 2008.

In short, we were warned that Trump would destroy the economy, the norms of good governance, and possibly act recklessly with his “finger on the button” in the event he became president. Instead, everything feels quite normal, prosperous, and predictable.

The gap between the Democratic Party’s hatred of Trump and his results mirrors the chasm between Republican Party’s Clinton hatred and the relatively modest evils of Clinton’s first term as president. Then, as now, there is some “outrage fatigue” among ordinary Americans, who are not nearly as partisan or engaged as the political press, volunteers, and donors who follow politics like a sport in both parties.

More important, by combining this background of ideological fervor and a “ho hum” candidate, Dole failed to excite the base, even as Republican rhetoric alienated those in the middle and within the Democratic Party.

Don’t get cocky.

DON’T GET COCKY: Biden Beating Trump in Texas? We’ve Heard This Story Before.

DON’T GET COCKY: Trump Finally Has the Wind at his Back.

DON’T GET COCKY: Why Joe Biden can’t win.

DON’T GET COCKY: Three Modelers Predict Trump Will Be Reelected.

DON’T GET COCKY, KID: 3 forecast modelers predict Trump will win in 2020.

DON’T GET COCKY, KID: SpaceX Starlink Will Equal Launch Revenue in 2020 and Will Make Elon the World’s Richest Person by 2023. But actually, I hope this is true. If it is, there’ll be lots of other people investing in space development.

CHANGE? Theresa May on track for the worst General Election result in Tory Party history – as Brexit Party is predicted to win more votes than Labour and Conservatives COMBINED in European elections, polls say.

In an Opinium poll in the Observer, focused on this month’s European elections, Nigel Farage’s new party is predicted to hoover up 34 per cent of the vote. The same poll gave Labour 21 per cent and put the Tories in a miserable fourth place with 11 per cent

But an even more extraordinary poll, commissioned by a Brexit Party donor and published in the Sunday Telegraph, said for the first time the Brexit Party would beat the Tories in a General Election.

The ComRes survey of voting intentions put Brexit on 21 per cent to the Conservatives’ 20, which would see Farage’s team win 49 seats, becoming the UK’s second biggest party after Labour, with 137.

Don’t get cocky, of course, and this election is only for the European Parliament, not the actual British Parliament. Even so, Tories ought to weight this advice heavily: “If the Conservative leadership contenders are not careful, there will be no party for them to lead.”

DON’T GET COCKY, KIDS: Trump captures Biden’s blue-collar, older voter base.

Former Vice President Joe Biden’s hope of riding the support of blue-collar workers and older voters to the White House has hit a wall called President Trump.

In a survey of key battleground states conducted after Biden entered the 2020 Democratic primary, Trump not only has a 46%-44% edge, but he has a 26-point lead among non-college educated workers earning $75,000 or less, considered the blue-collar base and a Biden target.

What’s more, the battleground state survey from WPA Intelligence showed that Trump does better with Biden’s other main support group, older voters, and has a 48%-44% lead over Biden in Florida, dubbed the Democrat’s “firewall.”

Well, Trump has been a successful President. Biden was an unexceptional Vice President.

ROGER KIMBALL: It doesn’t matter who Trump runs with: he’ll still win in 2020.

I realize we’re talking about Trump here, but still, as Glenn says, don’t get cocky.

DON’T GET COCKY: Four Reasons Why the Dems Will Lose in 2020.

The nation is actually doing quite well under President Trump, although you could never tell if your news comes from MSNBC, CNN, ABC, NBC, CBS, collectively the propaganda wing of the Democratic Party. Those manufacturing jobs we were told were gone? They are back. That 3% GDP that eluded Trump’s predecessor has returned and been exceeded. Those young black men who could not find work previously? They have found it now. That wealth disparity that Brother Bernie goes on and on about? It has diminished in recent years. Those flat wages? They have increased. Those who gave up looking for jobs? Many have now found the work that eluded them. Such positive news is always downplayed by the media and the Democrats.

The Democrats do best when the nation does poorly.

Remember in ‘92, Bill Clinton said; “It’s the economy, stupid”. When he said that, he did not have the facts regarding the economy on his side, but the message was clear: The economic condition will play a key role in determining the outcome of the election. Today that plays into President Trump’s hands.

Yeah, but I remember the press falling all over themselves to go along with Clinton’s claim that the short and relatively mild recession of late-1990/early-1991 was the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression — even though it was over before the campaign began.

DON’T GET COCKY, KIDS: The Trump 2020 campaign is much, much more formidable than 2016.

RICK MORAN: Forecasting Model that Predicted Trump Win in 2016 Shows the President in Good Shape for 2020. “It won’t matter who the Democrats run if the economy is experiencing modest growth.”

Great model. Don’t get cocky.

CONRAD BLACK: Democrats in 2020: Unelectable Nonentities. “It is now almost too late for the Democrats to shift lanes into plausible electability.”

Don’t get cocky, kid.

CONRAD BLACK: Donald Trump’s Annihilation of the Democratic Party. Nice speech, kid. Don’t get cocky.

RASMUSSEN: Generic Congressional Ballot’s All Tied Up.

The latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone and online survey of Likely U.S. Voters finds that 46% would choose the Republican candidate if the elections for Congress were held today. Forty-five percent (45%) would vote for the Democrat. Three percent (3%) prefer some other candidate, and six percent (6%) remain undecided. (To see survey question wording, click here.)

A week ago, Democrats held a 47% to 44% lead. Since Rasmussen Reports began the weekly surveying in early May, Democrats have led every week but one until early last month. Following the controversy surrounding the Senate confirmation of U.S. Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanuagh, the Generic Congressional Ballot was tied for two weeks, but then Democrats moved back ahead.

The GOP now has a small lead among voters not affiliated with either major party. But significantly, 20% of these voters remain undecided or prefer someone other than the Republican or Democratic candidates.

In other words: Don’t get cocky.

DON’T GET COCKY, KIDS: Poll: Trump Hits Record High Approval Rating with Black Voters Amid BLEXIT Launch.

DON’T GET COCKY, KIDS: Smart money is on Republicans keeping control of House, betting site odds say.

UPDATE: I said not to get cocky. Three well-known sites have DEMOCRATS favored to win House. Meanwhile, a friend on Facebook posts: “What am I doing this afternoon? Well, so glad you asked: I’m making thousands of phone calls to NC Republicans and asking them if they know where their polling place is; do they need a ride to the polls; is there someone they know who needs one; would they like a Republican voter guide (or at least see if they understand the other ballot proposals)… Hook up with your (largely useless) GOP locally and do what you can – everything (and I do mean EVERYTHING) hinges on these midterm elections!”

DON’T GET COCKY, BUT I ADVISE YOU VOTE AS LATE AS YOU CAN AND LIE TO ALL POLLSTERS:  Early Voting: Don’t Get Complacent.

USA TODAY: President Trump’s approval rating hits new high as Democratic lead shrinks in tight races, poll says. Don’t get cocky, kids.

AND DON’T GET COCKY:  Don’t Get Cocky: Republican Election Hurdles for November.

WORRIES AT THE NEW YORK TIMES: What if the Republicans Win Everything Again? Total victory for the G.O.P. would mean Trump unleashed.

Related: “Anyway, R+6 in the Senate is, if not crazy, pretty close to it. But it says something both about the awfulness of this map for Democrats & where things have gone since Labor Day that it’s October 19 & R+6 is still not a possibility you could totally rule out.”

Well, don’t get cocky, kids. If you care, you should be volunteering and donating.

DON’T GET COCKY OR COMPLACENT. EVEN IF YOU LIKE TO PICK AND CHOOSE, THIS YEAR VOTE STRAIGHT GOP. THE DEMOCRATIC PARTY AS CURRENTLY CONSTITUTED IS A CLEAR AND PRESENT DANGER TO THE REPUBLIC AND WILL NOT CHANGE EXCEPT THROUGH PERSISTENT DEBACLE:  ‘Blue Wave’ Ebbing? Dem Advantages Offset by Strong Economy.

IT COULD HAVE A LOT TO DO WITH THE WAY THE MOB THE DEMS HAVE BEEN BEHAVING. THREATS OF VIOLENCE INCREASE NEED FOR DEFENSE: Poll: Support for Gun Control Drops Ahead of Midterm Elections.  But remember how wrong the polls were in 16. So even if it seems to favor us, don’t get cocky.  Don’t answer polls, or lie, vote as late as you can, and if you can in person (if they don’t know how many votes to manufacture we get to surprise them) but above all VOTE.

YES, SURE, BUT REMEMBER CRAZY TACTICS WORK ON THE INSANE AND DON’T GET COCKY:  The Democrats Must Be Defeated.

BLUE WAVE? Polarization Seems to Be Helping Republicans in Run-Up to Midterms. “Energized voters on the right dim prospects for big Democratic gains in red districts and states.”

Nate Cohn:

The fight over Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination to the Supreme Court seems to have contributed to polarizing the electorate, helping Republicans gain in red states and districts even as Democrats cement their strong position elsewhere. The trend might fade, but if it holds it will be an abrupt change from earlier polls and last year’s special election results, which indicated that Democrats were highly competitive in red areas.

Instead, the district and state polling raises the possibility of an election more like last year’s Virginia elections or the 2010 midterm elections. Both were strong results for the party out of power — but the big numbers came mainly on home turf. A similar result this year would tend to lock the Democrats into their single biggest disadvantage: the map.

The Democratic geographic disadvantage is so severe that it gives the Republicans a chance to survive a so-called wave election, like the 1994, 2006 and 2010 elections that flipped control of the House.

Don’t. Get. Cocky.

DON’T GET COCKY: Don’t expect a big Democratic wave this fall, a new CNBC poll says.

BLUE WAVE: ABC: Generic Ballot In Battleground Districts Is … R+1? Nice poll, kid. Don’t get cocky.

Related: Salena Zito: A Republican red tide is pushing back against the Dems’ blue wave. “If people like Westbrook and Vogel coalesce around the GOP, the Democrats could be in trouble. And if the Democrats keep supporting people who claw at the doors of the Supreme Court in protest, or harass Republicans and their families at dinners, or talk nonstop about impeachment or echo Hillary Clinton’s sentiment that: ‘You cannot be civil with a political party that wants to destroy what you stand for,’ then they may do what I thought unlikely: stop their own blue wave mid-flow.”

DON’T GET COCKY, KID: Pollster Zogby: Dem House win ‘far from certain, elusive,’ Senate ‘nearly impossible.’

But if it turns out that way, this is why: Trump’s list: 289 accomplishments in just 20 months, ‘relentless’ promise-keeping.

Related: Marc Thiessen: Trump could be the most honest president in modern history. To be fair, that’s a low bar to clear. “For better or worse, since taking office Trump has done exactly what he promised he would do.”

NEW YORK TIMES: Why New Jersey Democrats Are Suddenly Worried About the Menendez Race. Don’t get cocky, kids.

So what are the Senate races where an injection of volunteers and donations might make a difference? I have some ideas, but I want yours.

DON’T GET COCKY:  CBS News pollster reveals why ‘blue wave’ is unlikely.

DON’T GET COCKY:  So much for the ‘blue wave’ in Florida.

DON’T GET COCKY: It’s Been A Bad Week For Liberals.

DON’T GET COCKY:  Blue Wave Missing in Action.

REPUBLICAN TROY BALDERSON WINS BELLWETHER OHIO SPECIAL ELECTION.

Link is to the NYT, but here’s how Drudge plays it:

Related: Socialist star Ocasio-Cortez strikes out: All endorsed candidates lose Tuesday primaries.

Don’t get cocky, kids. The Ohio race shouldn’t have been this close.

BLUE WAVE? In Deeply Blue New Jersey, an Unexpected Battle for Senate.

Facing a deep-pocketed Republican challenger, a blitz of negative ads and lingering concerns over a lackluster performance in an uncontested primary, Mr. Menendez’s race has started to concern some Democrats. After weathering a criminal indictment and a harsh ethics rebuke from his Senate peers, Mr. Menendez may find himself in a tough enough re-election fight that will force the party to devote money and energy needed in other races critical to the party’s quest to retake Congress.

In theory, Mr. Menendez, 64, should win easily: Registered Democratic voters outnumber Republicans by nearly 900,000; President Trump remains deeply unpopular; contested congressional races are energizing Democrats; and he has the backing of a Democratic machine that still has enough clout to deliver victory.

But despite the advantages, Mr. Menendez has shown signs of weakened support.

I wonder why that is…

In any case, don’t get cocky.

DON’T EVEN THINK ABOUT GETTING COCKY:  All Hands on Deck for Operation Midterms.

PAUL BEDARD: Pollsters: Trump knows ‘how to win,’ would beat 2020 liberal ‘decisively.’

Democratic pollster John Zogby doesn’t care much for many of President Trump’s policies and thinks the man is rude, but he’s also coming to the conclusion that the Republican has something very big going for him.

“Some people just know how to win,” said Zogby, who didn’t think Trump would make it out of the Republican primaries in 2016.

After two years of polling on Trump, Zogby said that the president is emerging as an unusual non-politician who has confounded his critics and even his own party leaders by succeeding on an aggressive agenda that has pleased his supporters.

He compares Trump to three former presidents, Andrew Jackson, Abraham Lincoln, and Theodore Roosevelt, who entered office to shock from the ruling elite. “With all three there was sense by the elites that this was the end of the world,” said Zogby.

But like them, Trump has connected with many in the country by battling the ruling powers. In his latest John Zogby Strategies poll, 54 percent view Trump as one “who is fighting the Washington, D.C. establishment,” compared to 26 percent who view him as an insider. He revealed the results in his Forbes Magazine column.

It is part of what Trump campaign pollster John McLaughlin called the president’s profile as the “blue collar billionaire,” a leader standing up to Washington, and last week NATO, for taxpayers and workers.

“If you are a working class person, it feels to you that he is fighting for you,” McLaughlin said. “He’s their president.”

New polling from Zogby’s son Jonathan, who conducts the trademarked Zogby Poll, revealed that feeling is true even among some Hispanics and African Americans. His polling shows that a sizable portion of minorities feel positive about their lives and future finances under Trump, something that his father John Zogby said could “lessen the fervor to say, ‘We’re going to Hell, I’ve got to get this guy out of there.’ ”

While Trump’s critics suggest that there has never been such a threatening president, Zogby said that the same charges were filed against Jackson, Lincoln and Roosevelt, and they won reelection. “They don’t remember that we’ve been here before. There is precedent,” he said.

Well, don’t get cocky, kids.

WORRIES AT SALON: New poll spells doom for Democrats’ dreams of a blue wave: Three Senate Democrats are running behind their Republican challengers — leaving Democrats worried about the fall.

Don’t get cocky, kids. And if you care about what happens, find a close race and donate or volunteer.

BLUE WAVE? Heidi Heitkamp faces reality of losing seat as race re-classified to ’tilt Republican.’

The classification increases the pressure on Heitkamp, who has been busy forging herself as a moderate Democrat not afraid to work with President Donald Trump and Republicans while fighting for the interests of North Dakotans.

Heitkamp has been forced to move toward the center because she’s defending a seat in a state that Trump won by more than 30 points over Hillary Clinton in 2016. To make matters worse, Heitkamp endorsed Clinton during the 2016 presidential race, an endorsement she has since rescinded.

When Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy announced his retirement, Heitkamp’s plate became even fuller. To appease North Dakota voters and help herself in November, Heitkamp will likely be forced to vote against her party and in favor of whoever Trump nominates to the Supreme Court.

To put it kindly, Heitkamp is vulnerable and Inside Elections’ analysis only confirms what political observers predicted about the race.

Don’t get cocky.

DON’T GET COCKY, KIDS: Beware The Red Wave.

But however skewed Rasmussen’s poll sample might be, that 74 percent number indicates the Democrats are in serious trouble if they actually believe a far-left push is the key to winning those mid-term elections. It isn’t. It is a complete invitation to disaster. The Rasmussen poll isn’t the only one recently offering an indication the Democrats are on the absolute wrong track this year. In another, this one from Reuters/Ipsos, the Dems are cratering among the millennials they’re trying to build their party around — dropping from 55 percent support over Republicans two years ago to 46 percent now. And among white millennials the numbers are catastrophic. Two years ago with white voters between 18 and 34, Democrats held a 47-33 edge over Republicans; now it’s 39-39. And with white male millennials it’s an almost unimaginable swing; what was a 48-36 Democrat advantage is now a 46-37 GOP edge.

Dems are underperforming among Hispanics this year, too. But November is still a long way away, and if you want to have an impact, you should get involved in a campaign — not necessarily where you live, but where it will make the most difference.

DON’T GET COCKY, KID: Roger Kimball: The Left Is Slipping into Terminal Irrelevance.

DON’T GET COCKY, KID: Trump ‘bullish’ on midterm elections, poll shows ‘rising tide’ for GOP.

Buoyed by the support he sees for his policies outside the Beltway and new polls showing a “rising tide” for Republicans, President Trump is growing more confident that his party will retain control of the House and Senate in the midterm elections.

“He’s pretty bullish,” said Wisconsin Rep. Sean Duffy, who traveled on Air Force One to Trump’s sold out rally in Duluth, Minn., Wednesday. . . .

Once poised to deliver a knockout blow to the White House, Democrats have seen their advantage lessen in midterm election polls. The latest Suffolk University/USA Today survey found Trump’s approval ratings increasing and the gap between House Democrats and Republicans shrinking.

There’s still a lot of time before November. And if you care what happens, you should be donating to, or better yet volunteering for, a candidate you like.

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT: Michael Barone: California results suggest blue wave has crested and ebbed. Don’t get cocky, kids. And remember, you can do much more good picking a campaign to donate to and volunteer for than you can by tweeting or posting blog comments.

DON’T GET COCKY:  In the midterms, even those who dislike Trump may not like the Democrats’ focus on impeachment and “resistance,” says John Fund.

YUGE: 5 Reasons Trump Will Win 40 States in 2020.

Here’s one:

He Will Garner Record African American Support.

Driven largely on great home-ownership numbers, George W. Bush garnered the modern era’s greatest numbers of African American voters. It was all of 11%.

The lock-hold that the American left has handcuffed the African American vote with is both cultural and economic. And while President Trump will — like all GOP Presidents in the era — not likely gain the majority of African American votes, even an increase of 15-20% of their overall votes would trigger a seismic landslide. Consider that Bush was able to improve the lives of many by increased home-ownership. Consider that President Obama oversaw a rapid decline in the lives of African Americans. Then consider that no group has benefitted more from Trump reforms, deregulation, and job creation initiatives than the nation’s African Americans. But also consider the cultural impact President Trump is making on the issue of prison reform, cracking down on dangerous gang activity (of which minorities are the overwhelming majority of victims,) and pardoning African Americans wrongfully imprisoned, and their is a cultural shift occurring that no one is yet reporting. That he is even reaching out to the very sports figures who have opposed him and embracing cultural figures and giving them audience to hear their hearts and minds in order to achieve justice on some social level—is a picture that African American communities are unaccustomed to seeing. President Obama’s went to black churches, put in affected speech patterns, and bemoaned conditions. By contrast President Trump invites them to the White House, listens to their legitimate complaints and plots solutions. I would not be surprised if he were to break 30% of African American support in 2020.

Don’t get cocky.

BEN SHAPIRO: Are Democrats Blowing It?

Instead of playing nice with Trump, while stoking the flames of anti-Trump ire with their base, Democrats promised a deus ex machina: Trump would flame out, retire, be impeached, be prosecuted by Robert Mueller for Russian collusion, and all the rest. Trump wasn’t merely a bad guy — he was the worst guy, a buffoonish Hitler clad in the armor of cruel conservatism.

But there’s a problem: Trump hasn’t flamed out. Mueller so far hasn’t come up with credible evidence of Russian collusion, and even the high hopes surrounding porn star Stormy Daniels have gone flaccid. Trump himself seems alternatively irked by his office and trollishly empowered by it, but never willing to walk away. That’s dispiriting to the Democratic base, which spends each morning fuming over the latest Trumpian twitterstorm, thrilling to the extremist musings of kooks such as Maxine Waters (D., Calif.).

Any plan which relies on the ineptitude of your opponent is hardly a plan at all.

More:

All of which means that Democrats have been forced to turn to the second prong of their 2018 attack: policy.

But on policy, the Democratic record looks even worse. Trump’s rhetoric continues to fuel feelings of unmoored chaos, but the markets continue to soar, the job market grows, and we’re not in the middle of any serious foreign-policy crisis. In 2016, CNN Money warned, “A Trump win would sink stocks.” Nope. Pelosi warned that Trump’s tax cuts were mere “crumbs” that would amount to nothing. Nope. Hollywood celebrities warned about the significant possibility of global thermonuclear war. Nope. Democrats promised a dystopian hellscape. Instead, they got an economy so good that the New York Times ran a piece headlined “We Ran Out of Words to Describe How Good the Jobs Numbers Are.”

Don’t get cocky.

PAUL BEDARD: 2020: Trump gains on Democrats, Stephen Miller says polls better than in 2016 win. Don’t get cocky, kid.

BLUE WAVE? 48 Hours Later, Media Still Keeps Dems’ Total Collapse in Reuters Poll a Secret.

Nice polls, kid. Don’t get cocky.™

NICE POLLS KID. DON’T GET COCKY. From Blue Wave to Blue Trickle to Blue Gurgle.

BLUE WAVE?

As always: Don’t get cocky.

BLUE WAVE? Dem Advantage on Generic Ballot Down to 1.4%.

Historically, Democrats have needed about a five-point or better advantage to take the House.

Still, don’t get cocky.

BLUE WAVE? Why the Democrats Just Lost the Senate. “While Nancy Pelosi is shopping for speaker’s gavels, Chuck Schumer should be preparing for another term as minority leader.”

Because the bulk of Republican incumbents up for reelection this year are in states that are nearly impregnable—think Nebraska, Utah, Wyoming—Democrats will almost certainly have to defeat Nevada’s Dean Heller and pick up the Arizona seat left open by Jeff Flake’s retirement.

Beyond that pair, everything else is a stretch. Rep. Marsha Blackburn appears capable of blowing a lay-up open seat in Tennessee for the Republicans, and there are signs that Sen. Ted Cruz could be ripe for a takedown from cash-flush Democrat Beto O’Rourke in Texas, but both of those races are mostly progressive wishcasting at this point.

In any case, picking up two seats is the easy part. The Democrats must also protect incumbents in 10 states that Trump won in 2016. Five of those senators (Indiana’s Joe Donnelly; Missouri’s Claire McCaskill; Montana’s Jon Tester; North Dakota’s Heidi Heitkamp; and Manchin) represent states where Hillary Clinton failed to muster even 40 percent of the vote.

The Democratic brand is no asset in many of these places. Equally important, the president known for his historically weak approval ratings at the national level remains popular locally in states like Montana, North Dakota and West Virginia.

Charlie Mahtesian repeats the conventional wisdom that “the House seems to be a lost cause for Republicans,” but that might not be the case.

Anyway, don’t get cocky.

DON’T GET COCKY: GOP worries Blankenship surge will cost party W. Va. Senate seat.

DON’T GET COCKY, KIDS: Republicans not alarmed by bad poll result for Blackburn in Tennessee.

DON’T GET COCKY, KIDS: Bumps Appear on Democrats’ Road to Midterm Triumph: Republicans are getting a chance to be competitive in Connecticut, Iowa and California House races that once looked daunting.

Here in Tennessee, Phil Bredesen is polling ahead of Marsha Blackburn for the Senate seat Bob Corker is vacating.

AXIOS: Exclusive polls: Big warning signs for Senate Democrats. Nobody from either party should get excited about polls at this point, but this does shred the “inevitable Blue Wave” narrative.

Related: About That Blue Wave: “The prevailing wisdom suggests that there will be a Democratic wave election in 2018. In a manner that suggests that little was learned from the 2016 primary or general elections, pundits and analysts seem so committed to this narrative that they promote it even when the data point in the other direction.”

Also: New Poll: Rick Scott Leads Bill Nelson 42-35 in Florida.

Plus: Marquette Poll finds Tammy Baldwin underwater on favorability, 39% unfavorable/ 37% favorable.

Don’t get cocky, kids — whether you’re Dems or Republicans. Remember, the voters don’t like much of anyone, really.

WEIRD, POLITICO HAD A SIMILAR PIECE THE OTHER DAY: TNR: How Trump Wins Re-Election.

Internal polling by the Democratic group Priorities USA showed the president’s approval rating had climbed to 44 percent in early February, which “mirrors Trump’s improving position in public polls.” Gallup finds a narrow majority of Americans support his handling of the economy, and the new Republican tax law is getting more popular.

“I think people just kind of assume he’s a goner,” FiveThirtyEight statistician Nate Silver told me recently, “but look, he’s now more in a range where presidents have recovered to win reelection. His approval rating is up to 41 or 42 percent in our tracking. That verges on being a normal number that resembles what happened to Reagan or Clinton or Obama in their second years.” (Silver noted over the weekend that Trump dipped to 39 percent in their tracking.) As Jim Messina, who managed President Barack Obama’s reelection campaign in 2012, warned earlier this month, “Donald Trump can absolutely be reelected.” . . .

“If you had the election literally today, I think Trump would be an underdog in the popular vote, but I don’t know about the electoral college,” FiveThirtyEight’s Nate Silver told me. “He’s coming from a low point where he had, approval ratings wise, by far the worst first year of any president. But he’s kind of reverting to some mean, in a way, and the mean is how, on average, incumbent presidents get reelected. You know, on average incumbent presidents are having a rough time two years in and their parties suffer anywhere between mild and humongous loses in the midterms, but the baseline case is that incumbent presidents usually win.”

Interesting to see the conventional wisdom shifting. Plus:

Lichtman said the only variable that Democrats can control in the 2020 election is whether they nominate a charismatic candidate. He noted that the party’s past three presidents—Barack Obama, Bill Clinton, and Jimmy Carter—were all elected as “young unknowns,” which does not describe the top likely candidates to run against Trump in 2020: Joe Biden, Elizabeth Warren, and Bernie Sanders. “The Democratic Party increasingly is looking like a nursing home,” Sabato said.

But don’t get cocky, kids.

DON’T GET COCKY, KID: Politico: Trump Is Winning.

Donald Trump is on track to win re-election to the presidency of the United States.

Yes, despite Russiagate, despite shitholegate and despite whatever gate he blunders through next. Despite approval ratings that would make Nixon weep. Despite his mind-numbing political misjudgments—defending accused pedophiles, for example—and the endless, unnecessary daily drama. Trump is winning. It is actually happening, people. And if there are those who want to stop it—and there are of course millions—they need to know what they are up against. It’s a lot more than they overconfidently think. . . .

Second, consider Trump’s record as president. He actually has something to run on. He’s cut taxes. He’s rolled back regulations. He’s put ISIS on its heels. The economy and the stock market are humming along again, despite recent turmoil. Any other Republican incumbent running on that record of relative peace and prosperity—just as Eisenhower and Reagan did—would be in pretty good shape for re-election. Trump, as loathed as he is, might not cruise to reelection on an electoral landslide like those predecessors. But if jobs continue to be created and the economy continues to hum, whether he deserves the credit or not, enough voters might just hold their nose again and vote for him.

Maybe Trump isn’t all that loathed. After all, he’s ahead of where Obama was at the same point in his term, and nobody in the press was calling Obama “loathed.”

Related: One major difference between 2010 and 2018: Trump’s signature tax bill is much more popular than Obama’s signature health bill.

BLUE WAVE? Internal Dem polling shows Trump’s standing on the rise.

According to internal polling by the super PAC, President Trump’s approval rating climbed to 44 percent in the first week of February, compared to 53 percent who disapprove. That mirrors Trump’s improving position in public polls.

In November, the same survey found his approval rating at 40 percent, with 54 percent disapproving.

The group’s survey also showed the Democratic Party’s generic ballot advantage had shrunk, with 46 percent preferring Democrats to 42 percent for Republicans.

The memo says that a broad range of metrics show the political climate is still favorable for Democrats. But it also makes an unambiguous diagnosis for Trump’s recent rise: Democrats this year have stopped focusing on economic and health care issues, topics that demonstrably hurt his approval during his first year in office.

They can’t seem to help but rise to the culture war bait, which is how they get more Trump.

Also, I’d remind you that anything much under a five percent advantage for Congressional Democrats on the generic ballot typically means a win for Republicans. But I’d rather remind you: Great poll, kid — don’t get cocky.

CHANGE: As Polls Shift, Dem Hopes for Control, Impeachment Fade. Don’t get cocky, kid. Polls that change can change back.

DON’T GET COCKY: Trump Makes Quick Work of Re-Election Fundraising. “President and his super PAC appeal to supporters big and small to build massive war chest—faster than any prior White House occupant.”

In the past year, Mr. Trump has appealed to supporters big and small to build up a re-election war chest, held nine political rallies in states he won in 2016 and aired campaign-sponsored television commercials to promote his policy agenda. He has also embraced the political action committees and major donors he once called a scourge on governing.

Mr. Trump’s campaign and an outside group that backs him collected more than $73 million last year, according to Federal Election Commission filings and interviews with officials at America First, a part-super PAC, part-nonprofit group that routinely meets with Mr. Trump and top White House officials to discuss political strategy. The campaign’s $43 million haul is four times what President Barack Obama raised in his first two years in office, a period when he wasn’t actively fundraising.

Indeed, no president who has served under modern campaign finance laws that date back to President Jimmy Carter has held a re-election fundraiser before entering his third year in office, said Brendan Doherty, an associate professor of political science at the U.S. Naval Academy who has researched presidential campaigning. Mr. Trump had eight in his first year.

If Trump continues to deliver on jobs and wage increases to Rust Belt and Midwest Obama-to-Trump voters, that warchest will be overkill.

On the other hand, there’s nothing wrong with a little overkill.

DON’T GET COCKY: Republican National Committee has huge financial edge heading into 2018 midterms.

DON SURBER: “That was no State of the Union address tonight. That was the death of Democratic Party.”

Don’t get cocky, kid. But yeah, not only was the speech good, but they looked awful. Surber: “Democrats have nothing. They stand for equal pay (the law since 1963). Civil rights (1964). Gun control (1968). Abortion on demand (1973). Why not call for the end to Prohibition (1933)?”

THEY WERE THREATENING HIM TO KEEP QUIET BEFORE: BREAKING: DOJ authorizes FBI Informant to speak with Congress concerning alleged corruption involving Clintons & Uranium One.

But don’t get cocky. A reader writes:

Something no one is considering re this dossier story: Perhaps the Dems can let go of this narrative now because they believe they have something real on Trump, something that can really hurt him. So they can put this toothless story to bed (while helping the mainstream press re establish credibility because, “look, we reported this!”). Doing this now can also – finally – puts an end any further noise from the Hillary camp about a 2020 run. This story finishes that possibility, gets Potus feeling comfortable, thinking he can relax, then they haul out whatever it is they have and the outrage-impeachment morality play goes on. OR, (slightly less or maybe more plausible) thanks to the unprecedented data base of info that Maxine Waters talked about, they have material on enough GOP house and senate members to either 1) chase them out, blaming Trump as they exit and setting up 2018 for all kinds of difficulty or 2) turn them while they remain in office. Watching 4-5 reporters yesterday asking Flake (and Corker and even Pelosi before him) about removing Trump from office does make it seem like something coordinated is in the works, and the press is chomping at the bit to get to it. If I liked popcorn I would be popping it for the next act.

Well, they’ve acted sure that they had The Donald dead to rights on many occasions. So far, the torpedoes have a tendency to circle back.

HONEY, I SHRUNK THE PARTY! Collapse: Time Magazine’s Brutal Deep Dive Into The Ever Shrinking And Regional Democratic Party.

The Democratic Party is in shambles. Say what you will about the Republicans—they have problems too—but at least they’re a national party. For all his faults, Trump was able to virtually get the entire GOP base to vote for him in 2016. The GOP controls Congress, the presidency, two-thirds of the governorships, and 69/99 state legislatures. They’re at the apex of their power. As the GOP licked their wounds and learned from their 2008 and 2012 defeats, the Democrats, smug, content, and insufferable, felt they had advantage for the next generation. They would run the table on national elections due to demographic shifts. Then, Hillary Clinton torpedoed that whole narrative. Time magazine delved into the state of the party, its hit to the mouth after Trump’s win, and noted that things look grim for this regional, shrinking party. As many other, including here, have noted—the Democrats have no leader, no message, dismal fundraising, and seem to be on the brink of civil war over issues on what actually makes one a Democrat.

Time magazine featured Obama on 22 covers. I’m sure if it had been 23 covers, they wouldn’t have had to run this cover:

On the other hand, as Glenn would say, don’t get cocky, GOP — the media loves to write “Death of ____” stories and project a current crisis out to infinity. Business Week’s infamous “Death of Equities” cover story in 1979 is a classic example in hindsight, coming just before President Reagan and Paul Volcker jumpstarted the economy by cutting taxes and significantly reducing the Carter-era inflation that made stocks such a bad bet in the 1970s. And there have been past reports of the demise of parties and political worldviews — I collated several of them in a 2010 post titled,  Whatever Your Ideology, Your Opponents’ Worldview Is Officially Dead.

AARON BLAKE: This poll is a warning sign for Democrats.

A new Washington Post-ABC News poll, as Mike DeBonis and Emily Guskin report, presents a pretty mixed bag for Democrats. It shows that registered voters say they want Democrats to control Congress to be a check on Trump by a 52-38 percent margin, but it also shows Democrats are — rather remarkably — less enthusiastic about voting than Republicans are. While 65 percent of Republicans and GOP-leaning adults say they are “almost certain to vote,” just 57 percent of Democrats and Democratic-leaning adults say the same.

The question from there is which is more predictive of what lies ahead. And the answer won’t necessarily make Democrats feel better.

Great, kid — don’t get cocky.

UNEXPECTEDLY: Best-Run States Are Low-Tax Republican, Worst-Run Are High-Tax Democratic, Study Finds.

There were several changes in the rankings from last year. Florida moved from sixth place to first, while Alaska dropped from first place last year to 17th this year, driven mainly by the fall in oil prices. Idaho moved into the top 10.

At the bottom of the heap, Louisiana and West Virginia both dropped down in the 10-worst list, while Hawaii greatly improved, going from 45th place last year 27th this year. Connecticut, Maine and New York also climbed out of the bottom 10 list. But New Jersey fell to dead last from last year’s 48th place.

The report also includes rankings for each individual measure of fiscal solvency, in addition to the overall ranking. Some states do well on some measures, and bad on others. New Jersey, for example, is last on long-run solvency and second to last on budget solvency, but ranks 24 on service-level solvency.

Nearly bankrupt Illinois is in the bottom in all but one of the five individual measures — service-level solvency.

The Mercatus report doesn’t include data on the states’ political leanings or tax burdens, but the implication is clear.

Great study — don’t get cocky.

GREAT SPECIAL ELECTION, NOW DON’T GET COCKY: Republicans Undefeated–& They Haven’t Even Cut Taxes Yet.

James Freeman:

Mr. Ossoff’s campaign seems to have enraged some voters, while others were not as enraged at Mr. Trump as you might think from consuming national news. Perhaps answering Mr. Bruni’s question of whether anti-Trump passion is largely theatrical—and also explaining the challenge facing Democrats— Josh Kraushaar writes in the National Journal:

Here’s why their math is more daunting today. Democrats need to net 24 House seats next year to gain a majority. Georgia-06 is the 28th-most-Democratic district that Republicans hold (based on Hillary Clinton’s vote percentage in 2016). For Nancy Pelosi to become speaker again, Democrats would need to nearly run the table in more-favorable districts—or pick off seats in places even more forgiving of Trump. It’s possible, but a little less likely given Tuesday night’s results.

One Democratic operative tracking House races said the generic ballot is around 6-7 points in their favor. To regain a House majority, it needs to be closer to a double-digit advantage by next November.

The big tell that the race wasn’t as favorable for Democrats as the early conventional wisdom was when Ossoff’s paid messaging never mentioned Trump, and barely mentioned the GOP’s health care efforts—despite the uproar against both in Washington. Democrats saw polling, confirmed by good shoe-leather reporting, that the district’s skepticism of Trump was not nearly as red-hot as most people expected based on cable news coverage.

This column has noted previously that voters seem to approve of Mr. Trump’s agenda—particularly his focus on American economic revival—much more than they approve of Mr. Trump. This suggests that many voters see his well-documented flaws as worthy of serious consideration, but not a grave threat to the republic.

If there’s a grave threat to the Republic, it comes from those using misdirection, lies, and even violence to overturn the results a free and fair election.

GREAT WIN KID — BUT DON’T GET COCKY: A Reality Check about What Handel’s Win Means.