A mystery.

I have no confidence in a favorable outcome for the Democrats. Intellectually, I know all the arguments that suggest that the House will go Democrat, especially the historical precedent of losses of Congressional seats to the party in the White House in the first election after it got there. “Always happens” doesn’t cut it for me in 2018.

The word is “confidence.” Hopeful anticipation but no “confidence.” Times are just different. None of the predictive factors are persuasive. Starting with the 2016 election, extraordinary things have happened and are continuing to happen.

First, the occupant of the White House has never before held any public office.

Second, he has total control of the Republican Party and has remade it to reflect his shifting views so that it cannot be said to stand for anything but what he thinks at the moment. So it’s all Trump all the time for good or for bad.

Third, he is said to be “unpopular,” but his opponents are just as “unpopular” as he is. Actually, his proponents support his unpopularity, likening it to the proverbial “new broom” or to  a medicine man dispensing foul- tasting cure-all patent medicine.

The result of these phenomena, and many others,  is that the President is a secret sauce to his adherents: something that they can’t quite understand but that they like.

While Trump’s personal appeal is a rope of sand, his effect on the nation is not. And much that he has done and is doing makes November 6, 2018 unpredictable because a majority of voters could–could–support that effect without really liking Trump..

The Supreme Court. Justice Brett M. Kavanaugh is now on the Court and appears to be entering on a relationship of collegiality and mutual respect with the other eight Justices.

He has a number of relationships with them. He has been a “feeder” for clerks. Two Justices have clerks who previously worked for Kavanaugh on the Court of Appeals. Justice Kagan, as Dean of Harvard Law School, hired him to teach there. Both he and Justice Gorsuch clerked for Justice Kennedy. And Justices Thomas, Alito, Sotomayor and Kavanaugh went to Yale Law School, a small school, so that some of them shared experiences with the same teachers in the same courses although some years apart.

Justice Kavanaugh will appear on the bench to hear arguments several times before November 6 and will be heavily covered. Reports of these appearances will emphasize the workmanlike manner in which he interacts with the others. This will alleviate–at least to some degree–the hatred for him that developed in the confirmation fight. Favorable comments passing on the bench  between Kavanaugh and, say, Ginsburg can have an effect and are not unlikely as the Justices often agree on noncontroversial cases.

The Mueller Investigation. Nothing will happen there before November 6. And there has been a weird silence about all of it.  Has anybody seen or heard from Rudy Giuliani? Mueller’s accustomed silence and inactivity leading up to the election need not be matched by Rudy, were he around and still representing the President.

And what was this buddy-buddy plane ride with Trump hosting Rod Rosenstein, he of the proposed Republican impeachment move and proposed firing?

The Economy. Between now and November 6, nothing will happen to the hustle and bustle of low unemployment, a flying stock market, improvement (finally) in workers’ wages, corporate profits, the negotiated trade pact among the United States, Canada and Mexico (however phony) and repatriation of American corporate funds.

North Korea. Whatever the truth of the “love” between Kim and Trump, nothing will fall apart between now and November 6. Thus, the hope of a denuclearized Korean peninsula continues.


A change of control  in one or both houses of Congress is good for the Democrats AND good for America. The control of the White House and the Congress by one party puts too much power in the hands of Donald J. Trump and causes the dangerous escalation of the hatred and distrust that we have seen during the first two years of his term.

It might be argued that just because the Democrats take control does not mean that hatred and distrust will abate. But when faced with having to come together to get something done, perhaps an improvement will ensue.

I hope that the Democrats prevail, at least in the House and maybe the Senate. I wish I was more certain of that outcome.