Feb 13, 2018

Democrats' 2018 advantages

Illustration: Lazaro Gamio / Axios

A rising number of retirements, court rulings dismantling Republican gerrymanders, and falling behind in fundraising and candidate recruitment are a few ways Republicans are losing their advantage in the months before the 2018 midterm elections, per NYT.

Why it matters: There's no guarantee that Democrats will win the House — there are too many things that can change between now and November. But if these disadvantages for Republicans continue to rise throughout the year, they'll have a tougher time fighting off the wave election many Democrats are predicting.

The factors favoring Democrats:

  • They've flipped 35 state legislature seats since President Trump's election.
  • History shows that the incumbent president's party loses an average of 36 seats (when his approval rating is below 50%) in midterm elections.
  • Republicans are struggling to put up formidable challengers, especially against the 10 red-state Democratic senators. (GOP candidates in Ohio, Michigan and North Dakota have all dropped out.)
  • Court rulings have changed gerrymandered maps favoring Republicans in Florida, Virginia and North Carolina, resulting in the loss of three House seats, per NYT. And Pennsylvania's governor declared the Republican gerrymander unconstitutional.
  • NYT points out that "134 Democrats in 83 districts raised at least $100,000 in individual contributions" last quarter. And anti-Trump resistance is helping fund Randy Bryce's campaign against Paul Ryan in Wisconsin.

Republicans are responding to this in a few ways, namely by relying on their traditional campaign playbook of attacking Nancy Pelosi, as NBC's Jon Allen noted. We've also seen outside conservative groups spending millions against Wisconsin Sen. Tammy Baldwin.

Bottom line: Of the disadvantages mentioned, Republicans can only really control fundraising and candidate recruitment. And anti-Trump resistance is a big underlying factor in Democrats' success since his election, which is one thing they're banking on for voter turnout in the midterms.

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UFC wants to host fight on tribal land to avoid coronavirus restrictions

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

In an attempt to skirt federal and state guidelines during the coronavirus pandemic, the UFC plans to hold its April 18 pay-per-view event on tribal land in California, per multiple reports.

The state of play: Even as the rest of the sports world hits pause, UFC president Dana White has remained adamant that fights must go on, and appears to have settled for a shutdown casino in a state with the fourth-most confirmed cases of coronavirus.

Ivanka Trump plans focus on coronavirus recovery for small businesses

Ivanka Trump speaks at yesterday's White House videoconference with bank and credit card executives. Photo: Kevin Lamarque/Reuters

Ivanka Trump personally lobbied top bank executives to line up the $1.5 billion in commitments to small business that were announced yesterday at a videoconference among the bank executives and President Trump — stoking competitive juices among the execs to drive up their commitments.

The state of play: Ivanka, who has had workforce development in her portfolio going back to 2017, plans an increasing emphasis on small businesses in the weeks ahead as they navigate the rescue bill’s Payroll Protection Program, sources tell me.

Public transit's death spiral

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

Public transit systems across the country are experiencing a painful trifecta: Ridership has collapsed, funding streams are squeezed, and mass transit won't bounce back from the pandemic nearly as fast as other modes of transportation.

Why it matters: Transit agencies could see an annual shortfall of as much as $38 billion due to the coronavirus pandemic, according to TransitCenter. At the same time, they're more important than ever, with more than 36% of essential workers relying on public transportation to get to work.

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