SETTLED BETS: Time Travel and Diversity Were Last Night’s Deciders

Midterms WrapI don’t know about you animals, but when I woke up this morning after watching the election returns, my apartment looked a lot like this.

hotel room trashed

It’s just like my mom used to say: don’t eat benzos and bet on over-the-hill Republicans to hold their Congressional seats at the same time. What an idiot (me).

Anyway, those downers must have kicked in pretty hard because I am running way behind on getting these takes out. So let’s do it. Let’s talk about the 2018 Midterms.

First, three obvious takeaways:

(1) The Democrats won the House by a little bit.

(2) The Republicans won a few Senate seats.

(3) Taylor Swift’s endorsement of Phil Bredesen (D-TN) was a colossal fail.

Taylor Swift

At least she’s still got hundreds of millions of dollars, perfect looks, and world-class talent to fall back on.

Now let’s talk about some less-obvious things.

Time travel was a MAJOR factor in this election.

We all know that the President’s party usually loses midterms, which the Republicans did last night, but voters were so ticked-off at Trump that they wailed on past presidents, too. As Mollie Hemingway at The Federalist pointed out:

Screenshot 2018-11-07 09.04.09.png

Oopsy-whoopsy! At least the former Pres is consistent: he is now 0-4 in midterm elections.

On the Republican side, Democrat Colin Allred crushed seven-term incumbent Rep. Pete Sessions (R-TX) in George W. Bush’s old neighborhood, and in the hometown of his presidential library; while Rep. Steve Knight (R-CA) got shanked by Katie Hill, handing over the keys to the Ronald Reagan Library (and The Gipper’s final resting place) to Nancy Pelosi’s Democratic horde.

This proves two things: (1) that Democrats are so mad about Trump that they are not just trying to nullify the 2016 election, they are also trying to go backwards in time to nullify the 1980, 1984, 2000, and 2004 elections; and (2) with the homesteads of George W. Bush and Ronald Reagan now under the liberal iron curtain, the Republican Party is 100-percent Trump’s. He owns it now. And they own him.

There was no “Blue Wave” or “Red Wall” to explain the election. But there was a resurgence of an older type of diversity.

I am sure that there are Democrats out there who are bummed that voters gave them a small majority in the House instead of soaking Republican HQ in political napalm (trigger warning: Antifa), but they need to put their beer goggles on and take the long view.

The fact that the Democrats’ House majority is built on last night’s baffling scorecard is proof that American politics has not been completely nationalized into two warring camps of “Red” and “Blue” with equivalently simplistic demographic profiles.

For example, rich Republicans in the Texas suburbs ditched longtime GOP Reps. John Culberson (TX-7) and Pete Sessions (TX-32); while Californians in the middle class, majority-minority, Orange County district of CA-39 chose to elect soon-to-be freshman Republican Congresswoman Young Kim. In Florida, Democrats lost the governorship and the senate race, but picked-up two House seats, including one where half-Lebanese Democrat Donna Shalala defeated GOP hopeful Maria Salazar in a 71-percent hispanic, formally Republican district. And in Ohio, Democrats failed to make gains, but they ran away with prize states Virginia and Pennsylvania.

It is 100-percent true that Republicans got throttled in spendy suburbs nationwide, but if you subtract out zip codes where people assume that anyone who doesn’t drive a Mercedes is either on meth or someone else’s house keeper, then you’re left with a baffling list of races that don’t sort themselves out onto any one trend line. There is no explanation.

Except,  ZONK! There is!!!! Because this is exactly how America is supposed to work! In the Federalist Papers, Founding Fathers like Alexander Hamilton, John Jay, and the Headless Horseman explained that our government must be composed of MANY “minority factions” — not just TWO. That’s why I have a huge chubby for this election, because it is basically the strongest evidence in ages that local political cultures can still trump people’s affiliations with national political parties. This is an undeniably healthy thing for a democracy that many have been casting some serious side-eye at for the last few years.

Here is a secret: most people get annoyed by the contradictory information and hippocrital claims constantly spewing out of D.C. But that stuff is exactly the juice that keeps the machine running. If politicians were as wedded to their principles as they are to their manicured headshots, then nothing would ever get done. Compromise would be, by definition, impossible. And if voters really loved their political party as zealously as the idiotic concepts of “Red” and “Blue” make us think, then there would be a civil war going on constantly, because that’s not how families work.

DIVERSITY won this election, but not the kind that college professors jerk themselves off over. It was a bigger type of diversity — one that does contain the concepts of race, religion, and gender that are hip these days — but also contains something even larger: the full range of America’s many different geographies, economic activities, and local cultures that go into forming our politics. All of these forces combined to produce an election result that defies a simple explanation. I, personally, am glad to know that.


I had a good night. I’ll give myself B. I gave you 19 predictions and was right on 13 of them (assuming Martha McSally’s narrow win in AZ stands up). Also, one of my predictions that I lost was brazenly a joke if you actually read it, but who am I to split hairs?

Like most Republicans, I got crushed in suburban districts. I did not think that the Blue Wave would find it’s way into the Sunbelt, but was proven wrong.

For those of you who are trading your own coin on PredictIt, here are some macro lessons that I learned this cycle:

(1) Don’t bet on House races if you can avoid it. Political cultures at this level are too specific for pollsters to really have a good bearing on. Same goes for you.

(2) Go with your gut. I made much more money on positions that felt instinctively right than intellectually right;

(3) Allow yourself to bail out of bets. I held on to a few bags that I knew were going the wrong way. I can’t blame myself entirely because…

(4) Don’t fold. I lose more money changing/reducing my positions on winners than I do holding on to losers. Obviously, I’ve got some work to do in rectifying these three things.

And without further ado… here is my scorecard for Election 2018:

GOP Senate Seats After Midterms – NO that GOP has 60+ @ 93 cents. WIN.

Who will control the House? – YES on Democrats @ 68 cents. WIN.

Will Ted Cruz (R-TX) be re-elected? – YES @ 81 cents. WIN.

Which party will win the AZ Senate race – YES on REPUBLICANS @ 57 cents. STILL COUNTING– PROBABLY A WIN, SHARES TRADING IN 90s.

Who’ll be Speaker of the House in the Next Congress – YES on Pelosi @ 52 cents (my biggest bet). WILL RESOLVE IN NOVEMBER – CURRENTLY TRADING AT 92 CENTS/ I BOUGHT AT 52.

Who’ll be Speaker of the House in the Next Congress – YES on Lujon @ 2 cents (hedge). LIKELY A LOSE. FINE. THIS WAS A HEDGE. DOESN’T COUNT.

Who’ll be Speaker of the House in the Next Congress – YES on Bustos @ 2 cents (hedge). LIKELY A LOSE. FINE. THIS WAS A HEDGE. DOESN’T COUNT.


Will Claire McCaskill (D-MO) be Re-Elected? – NO @ 64 vents. WIN.

Which Party Will Win TN Senate Race? – YES on GOP @ 74 cents. WIN.

Will Jon Tester (D-MT) Be Re-Elected? – YES @ 66 cents. STILL COUNTING (LIKELY WIN) — SHARES TRADING AT 99 CENTS.

Will Bill Nelson (D-FL) Be Re-Elected? – NO @ 51 cents. (ooof). WIN. HOW THE HELL DID THAT HAPPEN!!??

Will Tina Smith (D-MN) Be Re-Elected? – YES @ 83 cents. WIN.

Which Party Will Win WV-03? YES on Democrats @ 34 cents. LOSS. THIS WAS A LONGSHOT, NEXT TIME I’LL SKIP THOSE.

Which Party Will Win VA-02? YES on Republicans @ 68 cents. LOSS. D’OH!

Will Rod Blum (R-IA) Be Re-Elected? No @ 83 cents. WIN.

Which Party Will Win KY-06? YES on Democrats @ 45 cents. LOSS.

Which Party Will Win CA-45? YES on Democrats @ 62 cents. LOSS.

Which Party Will Win IL-12? YES on Republicans @ 63 cents. WIN.

Will Mimi Walters (R-CA) Win Re-Election? NO @ 72 cents. LOSS.

Will Peter Roskam (R-IL) Be Re-Elected? NO @ 67 cents. WIN.

Will Pete Sessions (R-TX) Be Re-Elected? YES @ 62 cents. LOSS.

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