The month of October is almost over, so I wanted to put up this thread about extra midterm news. I don’t know if there will be an October Surprise (as there are only 6 days left this month), but there is a big story developing at the moment I’m typing this.
As many people know, at least 10 suspicious packages were found in a few states and the District of Columbia. We do not know of the exact motive behind the deliveries, but if the identity of the sender is revealed before the November 6 elections, that could have a tremendous effect for the people voting on Election Day.
Beyond that, many other important things have been developing in these last weeks of the 2018 midterms. Of course, this post will be periodically updated to include more news and anything that I missed.
Table of Contents
Extra News For:
- September 2018
- October 2018
- Bonus: November 2018
See Related Posts
I will include the news from September that came after all of the primaries.
09.14.2018: Andrew Cuomo Took a Victory Lap and Dissed Progressives.
A day after winning the Democratic primary in New York’s gubernatorial election, Gov. Andrew Cuomo took a victory lap and a huge, steaming dump on progressives. The Guardian shared a few choice quotes from Cuomo, who called Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s primary win was a “fluke,” and questioned the amount of appeal progressives had in his state.
This is what the governor said about the type of politician he was, in comparison to AOC:
“I’m not a socialist. I’m not 25 years old … I’m not a newcomer,” he told reporters at his Manhattan office. “But I am a progressive. And I deliver progressive results.”
This is what he said about a possible progressive movement in his state inspired by AOC’s win:
“Where was that effect yesterday? Where was it?” Cuomo asked.
When talking about the amount of votes he received in the primary:
“That is a wave,” he said. “On the numbers – not on some Twittersphere dialogue where I tweet you, you tweet me, and between the two of us we think we have a wave. We’re not even a ripple.”
This is a Democrat in a “blue” state saying this to spite a young Democrat running for Congress and other young and/or progressive folks who have problems with New-York-Style politics and Cuomo’s corruption. Yet he expects those some people he’s spitting on to vote for him because The Republican Is Worse.™ With “friends” like these …
09.14.2018: Another Black Candidate Got the Cops Called on Him
On September 14, 2018, Roosevelt McClary was confronted by half a dozen sheriff’s deputies in Florida’s Broward County while he was canvassing on his lunch break. McClary, a full-time member of the Broward Teacher’s Union executive board, is running for Seat 1 in Lauderdale Lakes, a city in central Broward County that is predominantly black and has around 40,000 residents. When he reached the house of Lissette Guevara, who wasn’t home at the time, he left a campaign flier. That’s when all the troubled started.
Five minutes after McClary left Guevara’s doorstep, he was talking with another resident, he was accosted by a group of sheriff’s deputies, who eventually called in dogs and a helicopter. Supposedly, McClary set off an alarm at Guevara’s house, she received a call from her security service, and she then called the police.
During the confrontation with the deputies, McClary started recording with his phone and the confrontation could be seen on Facebook Live. At times, McClary and the police got testy with each other and the police took offense to McClary saying that the ordeal was a result of discrimination.
The confrontation can be seen here:
09.16.2018: Did AOC Actually Endorse Cuomo’s Butt?
On Sunday, September 16, 2018, Jake Tapper interviewed Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez on CNN’s State of the Union. Tapper asked AOC about Puerto Rico, the statewide races in New York, her platform, and the recent allegations about judge Brett Kavanaugh.
At the top of the interview, the two talked about the aftermath of Hurricane Maria (2017) because Donald Trump kept tweeting about it and disputing the death toll numbers, while claiming that Democrats were misinforming the public. AOC, whose mother is from Puerto Rico, talked about how the neglect by the U.S. government likely led to her grandfather passing away after the storm because there were mass power outages in PR following the hurricane. AOC said that the elderly and sick children were among the most vulnerable after natural disasters and it was jarring that the federal government did little to nothing to help Puerto Ricans after the storm.1
The Most Controversial Part of the Interview
At around the 3:04 mark, Tapper asked AOC what her response was after Cuomo disrespected progressives.
JAKE TAPPER: So, I want to move on. You endorsed progressive candidate Cynthia Nixon in the Democratic primary for governor of New York. She lost on Thursday to Gov. Andrew Cuomo by a whopping 31 points. Now, I know progressives have had plenty of other victories, including yours, but Gov. Cuomo said that your progressive wave was, quote “not even a ripple.” He called your primary win a quote, “fluke,” and he asked on Friday, quote, “Where was that effect yesterday?” What is your response to Gov. Cuomo?
ALEXANDRIA OCASIO-CORTEZ: You know, I always take a — I’m always willing to go toe-to-toe sometimes, but I think — when you actually look at the numbers that we focused on, every single down-ballot progressive candidate in my district, NY-14, won. New York had a profound tidal change, really, in the Democratic Party. One out of every five Democratic Senators got replaced on Thursday night. And the path to eliminating the IDC was through NY-14 and my district and I proud to say that every locally endorsed candidate that we mobilized for won our election.
JAKE TAPPER: Right.
ALEXANDRIA OCASIO-CORTEZ: Cynthia Nixon did a phenomenal job —
JAKE TAPPER: She lost your district by 30 points.
ALEXANDRIA OCASIO-CORTEZ: Right, right, but we focused on our local candidates and we focused on the legislatures. What she did was she centered a lot of phenomenal issues. She centered racial justice. She centered criminal justice reform. She centered marijuana legalization, single-payer health care, and a lot of down-ballot candidates benefited from that. And what I also look forward to is, moving forward, is us rallying behind all Democratic nominees, even the governor, to make sure he wins in November.
Getting Back on Message
After the above exchange, Tapped asked AOC about the estimated cost of her platform items, like Medicare for All, student debt relief, tuition-free college, a federal jobs guarantee, paid family leave, and Social Security expansion. Tapper said that based on studies, Ocasio-Cortez’s platform would cost an estimated $40 trillion over the next four years. Here is what the graphic said:
- $32 trillion on Medicare for All
- $5.4 trillion on jobs guarantee
- $1.4 trillion on student loans
- $1.3 trillion on free college, paid family leave, Social Security expansion
(The graphic George Mason University, Center on Budget & Policy Priorities, and the Congressional Budget Office. Tapper said that the information came from “nonpartisan” and “left-leaning” sources.)
Tapper mentioned that AOC offered tax increases on the wealthy to offset the cost, but that those increases would only bring in about $2 trillion over the next decade. Thus, Tapper asked AOC were the other $38 trillion would come from.
AOC answered and said that Medicare for All would pay for itself because it would first save the American people from paying out-of-pocket costs. Also, single-payer is a realistic option because every other Western democracy (like the United Kingdom, Canada, France, and Germany) had some version of a single-payer or universal health care system. Additionally, by instituting a Medicare for All system, Americans can send a message about the type of country we want to have.
After Tapper pressed her, AOC said that most of the money that is currently spent on health care goes into the private sector. She also pointed out how the current health care system created added costs because it deterred people, especially the people in her generation (Millennials) from making more purchases and buying big-ticket items, like houses and cars.
About the Kavanaugh Confirmation
Tapper put in a snide remark about AOC not answering the previous question, but he pivoted to the Kavanaugh confirmation hearings and whether there could be due process if Kavanaugh’s accuser remained anonymous. AOC said that Kavanaugh shouldn’t be confirmed under any circumstances, but the confirmation should be held up in this case in order to investigate the claims. AOC said that justice was about protecting the victim.
A lot of progressives got up in arms over this interview, especially because of what AOC said about Cuomo, but there was some pushback from others who called themselves progressives. Those complaining about what appeared to be an endorsement of Cuomo pointed out how corrupt the NY gov. was and that by “endorsing” him AOC was just “falling in line” and kissing the ring of an establishment figure who openly disrespected a key part of the Democratic base.
However, sometime after he made a video complaining about AOC’s decision, Niko House released a video in which he shared a message from AOC’s campaign, because he had reached out to it.2
09.21.2018: Beto O’Rourke and Ted Cruz Held Their First Debate.
On September 21, 2018, Rep. Beto O’Rourke and Sen. Ted Cruz had their first debate, which was held at Southern Methodist University. Here are the issues they talked about:
- Justice Reform
- Anthem Protests
- The Kavanaugh Confirmation Hearings
- Gun Control
- How to Deal/Work with Donald Trump
- Drug Policy
- Health Care
- Texas Values
For much of the debate O’Rourke and Cruz were at each other’s throats. At one point, Cruz mentioned Beto O’Rourke’s 1998 DUI Arrest. O’Rourke ribbed Ted Cruz for the senator’s Relationship with Donald Trump, pointing out how Cruz kowtowed to the same man who insulted his wife and father. For the most part, O’Rourke’s answers were based more on substance; by comparison, Cruz used much of his time attacking his opponent and his opponent’s party.
At the end of the debate, both candidates were asked to compliment other, but O’Rourke was more compliant. O’Rourke said that he admired the strength of Cruz’s convictions. In a move reminiscent of the 2016 election, Cruz couldn’t bring himself to openly compliment his opponent; instead of just praising O’Rourke for having equally strong convictions, Cruz took another dig at O’Rourke, to which the congressman said, “True to form.”
09.26.2018: Democratic Senate Arm Pulls Ad Buys in WV
In a show of confidence, the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee decided to pull ad buys in West Virginia. The DSCC had originally planned to run ads in the state between October 2-15, but the committee was encouraged by recent polling in the U.S. Senate race and will only run ads in WV from October 16 up to Election Day. Sen. Joe Manchin is running for reelection, and according to a September poll from Emerson College, he enjoyed a comfortable 12-point lead over the Republican in the race, WV Attorney General Patrick Morrisey.
So far, October has been a very busy month for election news, especially in Georgia. This month, candidates in key national and gubernatorial races held debates. News came out about the voter suppression in Georgia. And a few Democratic figures, plus a few others were dealing with bomb threats.
10.09.2018: Georgia’s Kemp Is Blocking Over 53,000 Voter Registration Applications.
On Tuesday, October 9, 2018, news came out that Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp’s office was blocking over 53,000 voter registration applications. About 70% of those applications came from block Georgians. This is a problem because that Tuesday was the deadline for voters to register.
This is nothing new from Kemp or the Georgia GOP. Since 2012, Kemp’s office has cancelled over 1.4 million voter applications, 670,000 of them in 2017 alone.
Kemp, a Republican is also running for governor in Georgia. He is in a close race with Democratic former state Rep. Stacey Adams, so every vote counts. Kemp is making sure that there are far fewer Democratic votes to count, though.
10.16.2018: O’Rourke and Cruz Had Their Second Debate.
On October 16, 2018, Rep. Beto O’Rourke and Sen. Ted Cruz squared off in yet another debate. This one was hosted by News 5 and simultaneously streamed by Global News.
Topics included the following:
- Social media and misinformation
- Possible changes to abortion law
- What Texas companies must do to deal with climate change
- The border wall
- How universal health care would be funded
- The effects tariffs are having in Texas
- Economic relief for the victims of Hurricane Harvey
Throughout the debate, Rep. Beto O’Rourke took direct aim at Sen. Ted Cruz by pointing out the senator’s dishonesty and reminding the audience that Cruz was corrupt. O’Rourke also reminded the audience of the insults that Donald Trump used for Cruz, who ultimately fell in line and supported the same guy who insulted him and his wife. The best part of this debate may have been when O’Rourke pointed out who much Cruz was paid by donors for specific votes.
Cruz had less substance and it showed. Compared to O’Rourke, Cruz showed his nervousness by laughing and he often went over his allotted time during most, if not all, of the segments. He also directed people toward his site (much like Hillary Clinton did in 2016), when he knew that no one would care to do so.
10.19.2018: Alaska Gov. Bill Walker Suspends His Campaign.
On Friday, October 19, 2018, Alaska Gov. Bill Walker formally suspended his reelection campaign. Walker made his intentions known a day prior, at the Alaska Federation of Natives conference in Anchorage, shortly before he was due to participate in a debate.
The suspension of Walker’s campaign came three days after his running mate in the race, Lt. Gov. Byron Mallet (a former Democratic gubernatorial candidate), stepped down due to inappropriate comments he made to a woman. Byron was quickly replaced by former state health commissioner Valarie Davidson. Walker and Byron’s names will still appear on the ballot because the ballots have already been printed, but Walker threw his support behind former U.S. Sen. Mark Begich, the Democratic gubernatorial candidate.
10.21.2018: Andrew Gillum and Ron DeSantis Held Their First Debate.
On September 21, 2018, former U.S. Congressman Ron DeSantis and Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum faced off in a gubernatorial debate in Tampa, Florida. The debate was hosted by CNN and moderated by Jake Tapper. These are the issues both candidates included climate change, health care, and raising the minimum wage.
In his opening statement, DeSantis, the Republican nominee, said that he was “on a mission to protect Florida’s future for a generation.” He said that Gillum threatened Florida’s economic prospects with plans to raise taxes. DeSantis also said that he wanted to protect the environment and mentioned the endorsement he received from the Everglades Trust. Additionally, DeSantis said that, as governor, he would protect Floridians by standing by law enforcement and fight against sanctuary cities.
DeSantis called Gillum a “failed mayor” who saw a rise in crime in his city. DeSantis said that, in comparison, he would protect Floridians and stand with taxpayers.
In his opening statement, Gillum, the Democratic nominee, refrained from attacking DeSantis. Instead, the Tallahassee mayor focused on his background and upbringing. As a person who was the first in his family to graduate college, Gillum said that he was running to represent all Floridians and especially for people who were told that they didn’t belong due to their upbringing, et al. Gillum said that he was proud to represent the Democratic Party in this race and that he looked was grateful for the opportunity to work for all the people in his state.
Among the top moments from the debate where those when the two were discussing Israel and racism, gun laws, and crime. When discussing Israel, DeSantis tried to distract from his own racism by accusing Gillum of being antisemitic, but Gillum hit back by reminding the audience that DeSantis was part of an antisemitic Facebook group. When discussing gun laws in Florida, Gillum called out DeSantis for accepting NRA donations. Gillum also destroyed DeSantis when the latter misrepresented information about Tallahassee’s crime rate.
It was clear that Gillum did. Overall, Gillum gave progressives the template for debating right wingers, by hitting DeSantis hard, keeping him on the defensive, and never letting up. Even when DeSantis tried to talk over his opponent, Gillum keep on and made his points.
Throughout the debate, viewers can see that DeSantis was visibly shaken. He did not expect Gillum to hit him this hard and to give so many substantive answers.
However, there were some moments where Gillum disappointed. In particular, Gillum punted on the health care issue. He wouldn’t give his express support for a single-payer health care system but kept repeating that he wanted to expand Medicaid in Florida and give more people “access to health care.”
Beyond that, Gillum positioned himself as the better candidate. He was poised, strong, confident, and clear.
10.22-25.2018: A Series of Suspicious Packages Were Sent to Critics of Donald Trump.
In the span of four days, a total of 8 people received suspicious packages at their homes and offices. Among those who were sent those packages were Democratic donor George Soros and Democratic figures like Bill and Hillary Clinton, Barack and Michelle Obama, and Rep. Maxine Waters.
The First Package
This all started when an explosive device was sent to one of George Soros’ New York homes. The package the device arrived in was found by an employee, who took it out of the mailbox, opened it, then placed it in a wooded area near the home in Katonah. Soros was not at home at the time.
When officers from the Westchester County Police Department came to suspect the package, they found black powder inside the package. Bomb squad technicians from the police department were able to proactively explode the device. The police said that the bomb was relatively small.
The FBI and the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives are still investigating. The FBI says that there is no threat to the general populace.
Soros was likely targeted because of his connection to the Democratic Party and certain progressive causes. Soros, 88, is a billionaire and Holocaust survivor. He is often held up as a boogeyman by the right.
This story if developing, so there is no established suspect or motive yet.
This section will be updated once more information is given.
Bonus: News from November 2018
If there is any important election news before Election Day, I will include it here.
This will be filled out around Election Day.
- Ultimately, Puerto Ricans, who are U.S. citizens, have been treated like second-class citizens. They are not allowed to vote in federal elections and they have little autonomy, especially economically. There is a colonial relationship.
- Niko House and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez have a connection because both served as staffers on Bernie Sanders’ 2016 presidential campaign.
- 2017 Rewind: A Prelude to the Midterms (includes some information from 2016)
- Jan.-Feb. 2018: Are You Ready for Some Midterms?
- Mar.-Sept. 2018: The Primaries Are upon Us
- Will We See a Blue Wave in 2018?
- Election Day 2018: Who Won?
- Midterm Wrap-up [Might be re-titled later]