Political Analyst Rick Mullaney Offers Insight Into What The Midterms Mean For 2020

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Rick Mullany, The Head Political Analyst for Channel 4, News4Jax.
Photo By: The Florida Times-Union

By: Emma Anderson and Kate Brennan

Rick Mullaney, The Head Political Analyst for News4Jax, said that the midterms offered some insight into trends to be aware of moving into the 2020 presidential election.

Mullaney said that there could be some foreshadowing for the upcoming election and that the midterms suggest that there are some points President Trump should be aware of.

“Let me mention three things in particular for Donald Trump some good news and maybe some bad news for him. So the first one is winning the Senate as well as winning some governorships in Florida and Ohio is good news for Donald Trump. The second was the loss of support in the suburban areas may be a challenge for the president come 2020. He needs to have that if he wants to be successful in Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin as he was the last time,” Mullaney said. “The third thing about the 2020 election which is very interesting and significant relates to the Democratic Party. Will it be the more progressive wing of the party in 2020 or will it be the more establishment lane right?”

Mullaney said that the progressive wing in the 2018 elections was represented by Andrew Gillum, Stacey Abrams and Beto O’Rourke with his Senate race and the results “suggested that maybe the country isn’t quite ready to go to that more progressive end but that is going to be a big battle on the Democratic side come 2020.”

Mullaney also suggested that the trend in miscalculated pollings will continue into the 2020 election.

“I think challenges in polling is going to be a trend that we continue to see. It’s going to be difficult in the future for polling to be accurate because of technological changes and demographic changes. And it’s also very difficult to get the right sampling of likely voters and get the demographics correct. In 2016 the polls were actually accurate when it came to the overall national election in the count but they were not accurate in predicting the Electoral College and they were obviously off in key Democratic states,” Mullaney said. “Also, there may have been a little bit of a phenomenon 2016 to voters who weren’t being candid with the pollsters and who were going to vote for President Trump but didn’t want to say so outright. I think technology challenges and demographic challenges and forthrightness challenges are going to continue to be problems at the polls, this year and 2020.”

Support for President Trump by the Republican party has been two-sided, as there are some Republicans who wholeheartedly support the president and then there are those are turned off by his rhetoric, and Mullaney said that evidence of this could be seen in the midterms.

“The Trump endorsement was a game changer. The Trump endorsement is what made DeSantis the Republican nominee. Without the Trump endorsement, the nominee would have been Adam Putnam. So there’s little doubt in my mind that Donald Trump played a very significant role in the primary. The second part is not entirely clear affecting the general election. On the one hand, Donald Trump’s endorsement and support helped DeSantis with voter turnout. On the other hand, Andrew Gillum was very critical, of course as was Bill Nelson, of Donald Trump and you saw a couple different strategies that Scott and DeSantis took and at times appearing to somewhat distance themselves from Donald Trump. In the end, Donald Trump’s shadow loomed very large in the Florida Senate race and in the Florida governor’s race. Both were decided by very narrow margins. But in each case for Donald Trump, those were those were successful elections in his view. Clearly, he was the deciding factor in the primary but perhaps not so much in the general election,” Mullaney said.

Mullaney said that another win for the Republican party came of the Kavanaugh hearings that took place prior to the midterms.

“It appeared that the Democrats had a good chance of taking over the Senate, although it would have been difficult because of the map the map favorite the Republicans. However, the Kavanaugh hearings united the establishment wing of the Republican Party and the base of the Republican party such that the Republicans were favored as they did to take the Senate. That helped them in states like Missouri and Indiana and other places. So, I thought the cabinet hearings were a net positive for the Republicans and Donald Trump when it came to the U.S. Senate,” Mullaney said.

Mullaney said people should keep an eye on January because there will be significant impacts that “will be lifechanging” to come due to the Democrats now controlling the house.

“You can expect significant investigations to be launched into the Trump administration. You can expect to see them going after his tax returns. You can expect a very different policy agenda and very likely you’ll see gridlock when it comes to legislation and there will be a very big push among the base of the Democratic Party for articles of impeachment to be filed in the House of Representatives at this point. It would be unsuccessful in the Senate which is what happened with Bill Clinton too but I do think there’ll be that there’ll be that momentum,” Mullaney said. “So I think the midterm elections were very significant. And the House going to have the majority now on the Democratic side is very significant and the Republicans maintaining the majority in the Senate is significant, particularly when it comes to judicial appointments and potential appointments in the future to the U.S. Supreme Court. So, if Donald Trump thought his first two years were difficult I think he can expect the next two years will be very very challenging given the result in the midterm elections.”

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