Monday, November 19, 2018

Bill Clinton Predicts 2020 Presidential Election Results

Master Politician Predicts Presidential Election of 2020

Enough said.

But there will be one important caveat this time around.

If Americans feel that their own economic situation is like this little hamster in the photo below, and the top 1% are the ones who are benefiting from the "Republican economic boom", then there is nothing the Republican Party can do to keep Donald Trump or his successor in control in the White House.

You can bank on this prediction.

American Workers - Can They Get Ahead In Trump Economy?

Saturday, November 17, 2018

Reality Check: This is how many Congressional Seats and Governorships Republican Voters Suppression Efforts Cost Democrats in the 2018 Midterm Elections:

Republican Voter Suppression Strategy  Is Increasingly Effective

Voter Suppression was highly effective for the Republican Party in the 2018 Midterms.

What is Voter Suppression?

Voter suppression is a strategy to influence the outcome of an election by discouraging or preventing specific groups of people from voting.

Voter Suppression is part of the history of the United States of America.

It was most famously deployed in former Confederate States as a way of disenfranchising newly freed slaves after the American Civil War ended in 1865. Although it was illegal to ban voting on the basis of race alone after the passing of the 15th amendment to the Constitution in 1870, African Americans in the South were discouraged from voting by being subject to poll taxes, literacy tests (that were made up for them on the spot to fail), pure terrorism in the form of KKK rallies and lynchings (public hangings), and economic disincentives. The voting rights of African Americans were not protected until passage of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, one of the greatest achievements of President Lyndon Baines Johnson.

Although every American citizen, including anyone born in the USA has a right to vote, other groups, such as Latino Americans who are not economically and socially integrated in Western States, Native Americans on reservations who may not have required "street addresses" on driver's licenses but have P.O. boxes as an address (a problem in North Dakota), and college students who may lack the propers forms of increasingly rigorous ID requirements found themselves disenfranchised this year.

Republican officials such as Georgia's Secretary of State, Brian Kemp, whose successful race for Georgia's Governor against Democrat Stacey Abrams was helped by his throwing off the voting rolls of up to 60,000 voters for questionable reasons are other examples of how Republicans can write rules which elect them. This is a strategy which will increasingly benefit them as the natural Republican constituency - older, white people who aim to protect their narrow (and wealthy) economic interests -- decline as a percent of total voters.

Here are my estimates for how many seats the Republicans won because of voter suppression.

Voter Suppression in Mississippi - 3,959 black victims of mob violence in twelve southern states between 1877 and 1950
(Note- See the Memorial that Recently Opened in Mississippi to Lynchings Here)


Florida: (Andrew Gillum)  (The race has not been called and is in recount at the time of this article, but Gillum is expected to lose.

Several  reports show how the Florida election machinery, which was controlled by Rick Scott and the Republican Party, disfavored younger and minority voters.

Georgia: (Stacey Abrams).  The Georgia governor's race of 2018 will be a textbook case of why voting reform needs to become a priority if the USA is to protect its democracy in future years.

Senate Seats:

The Senate itself is not a purely Democratic institution. Every state has two Senators. California, the most populous state, which now has more than 40 million people has as much representation as Wyoming, which has 600,000 people. California is now a reliably blue (Democratic) state, and Wyoming a reliably red (Republican) state. There is no way this requirement will change anytime soon, it is one of the core foundations of the Republic and would require 3/4 of the states to agree to a change - something that is not going to happen anytime soon. 

We know that at least one new Senator, Rick Scott, the current Governor of Florida, will be in office through suppression of younger and minority voters. A recount is underway at the time of writing this article.  Bill Nelson, who has not conceded but almost will certainly lose once the recount is over.

There are two seats where voter suppression hurt the Democratic Party incumbent. However, I do not think they would have won reelection since Trump is so popular in their states. 

Missouri: Claire McCaskill

North Dakota: Heidi Heitkamp

Example of Gerrymandered House District -- How to Keep Republican Numbers Up in Congress

House of Representatives:

My projection is that voter suppression, including gerrymandering,  has cost the Democratic Party at least 12 seats in the 2018 House of Representatives.

This is, admittedly, hard to prove. Gerrymandering in places like North Carolina, Wisconsin, Georgia, and Ohio is costing costing Democrats at least 4 or 5 seats on their own.

If the 2020 election is as close as past ones, and if large states like Florida, Wisconsin, Michigan, and Pennsylvania are as close as they were in 2016, voter suppression will continue to be a key and effective weapon for the Republican Party to deploy in the face of demographic changes that are going against them.

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

2020 Electoral College Electoral Map Projection #1

Our first way too early electoral map projection for the 2020 Presidential election which is under 2 years away.

The next presidential elections will occur on Tuesday, November 3, 2020.

270 electoral votes are required to win.

Projected electoral votes as of November 14, 2018: 

  • Democrat: 191
  • Republican: 170
  • Undecided: 177


Monday, November 12, 2018

Some Way Too Predictions For 2020 Presidential Race - My Thoughts About Potential Candidates

Hey fellow political junkies!  The 2020 Presidential season begins in earnest right now. The 2020 Iowa Presidential Caucus is under 14 months away.  On (or before) February 3, 2020, Democratic and Republican Iowans will gather in living rooms, churches, and college auditoriums to being selecting delegates for Presidential Nominating Conventions.

Just when you thought things could slow down in the election predictions business, here are some of my way too early predictions about the 2020 presidential race.

Will Mitt Romney Give It One More Go?

1. President Trump will gain at one serious Republican opponent by that time for the Republican Presidential Nomination. This candidate might be one of the following well known Republican politicians, or someone else. This candidate will do better in Iowa then expected, and will have momentum going into the important New Hampshire Primary scheduled shortly after Iowa.

  • Utah Senator and 2012 Republican Nominee Mitt Romney
  • Arizona Senator Jeff Flake*
  • Ohio Governor John Kasich*
  • Tennessee Senator Bob Corker*
  • Nebraska Senator Ben Sasse
  • Businessman and Billionaire Mark Cuban
  • Cindy McCain, Widow of John McCain (note- she may run just to get on Trump's nerves)

Is American Ready for Betomania?

2. The Democratic Party will see a the emergence of a highly charismatic and energetic politician under the age of 50 quickly move to a central postion for the presidential nomination. Some possible candidates, with current age in parenthesis, include:

  • Texas Congressman and Senatorial Candidate Robert Francis "Beto" O'Rourke (46) *
  • New Jersey Senator Cory Booker (49) (note: Booker will be past 50 in 2020 but he is under 50 right now and makes the cut for this list) 
  • California Congressman Eric Swalwell  (37)
  • Former HUD Secretary and San Antonio Mayor Julián Castro (44) (note: his twin brother, Joaquín, is a Congressman from Texas)
  • Eric Garcetti, Mayor, Los Angeles (47)
  • Pete Buttegieg, Mayor, South Bend Indiana (36) (note: will make waves as first serious LGBT major party candidate if he runs)
  • Gina Raimondo, Governor, Rhode Island (47)  (note: Governor Raimondo is the only female on this list because of age; other female candidates such as Senators Harris and Warren are not mentioned here because they are past 50 and are currently considered front runners). 

*Note: Will leave office in 2019

Sunday, November 11, 2018

Eddi Predicts the 2020 Senate Elections - The Democrats are In Better Shape than 2018

The Important 2020 Senate Elections are less than 2 years away.

These will coincide with the Presidential Election, which will almost certainly feature a Republican Donald Trump running for a second term against a Democratic Party opponent. The election will be bitter and one of the most of the most divisive since the bitter mid-1800's Civil War period.

The Entire U.S. House of Representatives will be up for reelection. Democrats will be seeking to expand upon their majority.

In addition,  34 Senators will be up for reelection. Unlike the 2018 Midterms, more Republicans (22) will be defending their seats than Democrats (12).

It looks like the Senate will break down as 53 Republicans, 47 Democrats (and two independents who vote with Democrats) if two undecided races break to leading candidates (Arizona to D- Kyrsten Sinema and Florida - R to Rick Scott) pending final voting counts.

The party that wins the Presidency controls the Senate in the event of a 50 / 50 split, since the Vice President gets to cast a tie breaking vote. 

Which seats right now are the most ripe for pick-up efforts by either party?

Republican targets:

Alabama: Doug Jones (D)  won a special election against a particularly bad candidate, State Judge Roy Moore, is the #1 Republican target in this very red state. He simply is too progressive for the people of his state.

Michigan:  Gary Peters (D)  is a supposed target since Michigan narrowly voted for Trump, but Michigan is returning to its Democratic roots, has elected a Democratic Governor in 2018, and Peters is popular in his home state. I do not see him as a viable target.

Democratic targets:

Arizona  Open Seat (R):  This is John McCain's seat which will filled by former Republican Senator Jon Kyl who is not running for reelection.  Democrats have been doing well in recent years in Arizona. If they carry this state in 2020 they can carry the Senate seat.

Colorado:  Cory Gardner (R):  Colorado voted for Hillary Clinton and is turning more blue every year. Colorado just put in office Jared Polis as Governor, a Democrat, as America's first LGBT Governor.  Cory Gardner is a right wing Republican and will be seriously challenged by a well funded Democratic candidate.

Iowa: Joni Ernst (R): Although Senator Ernst would probably win election today, due to her 51% approval ratings, if Trump ratchets up agricultural tariffs, or if the economy starts to tank, she will find herself open to a challenge in this state that has been known to elect Democratic Senators.

Maine: Susan Collins (R): Collins was once one of the most popular Senators ever elected in her home state, and was lionized by both Democrats and Republicans. However, her deciding vote to confirm Judge Brett Kavanaugh, and some of her other statements which have identified her as a firm member of Mitch McConnell's caucus have left her open to a well-funded challenge among Democrats. Former National Security Advisor Susan Rice is mentioned as one possible candidate.

North Carolina: Thom Tillis (R): If North Carolina votes for a Democratic candidate for President, there is a chance that carry over voting could occur and elect a Democrat here.  Tillis won his seat over Democratic Senator Kay Hagan in 2014 by less than 50,000 votes.

Other Senate seats could open up --- if incumbents decide not to run for reelection, or die or resign in office and are replaced by Governors or through other means.

The Democrats do have a shot at taking the Senate chamber in 2020. Few, except for Doug Jones in Alabama, are truly vulnerable.

Saturday, November 10, 2018

How Good Were My Predictions for the 2018 Midterms? I think they were pretty good!

Eddi's Unconventional Source For 2018 Predictions 

How did I do with my predictions?

I think they were pretty good!  In fact, I might get total accuracy in predicting Senate, 95% accuracy in predicting Congressional, and 95% accuracy in predicting gubernatorial election numbers.

You can check my final predictions here.

The Senate  

Final Prediction:   

Although more Democrats win seats (24 Democrats to 11 Republicans), Republicans increase their number of seats in the Senate to 53.

  • 53 R, 47 D     
Actual Results (as of 11/10/18):
  • 52 R,  46 D,  2 not yet called  (Florida and Arizona) 


The House of Representatives

Final Prediction:  

The Democrats will increase their number of seats by 32 and take control of the House of Representatives by 15 seats.

  • 225 D,  210 R
Actual Results (as of 11/10/18):
  • 226 D, 199 R, 9 not yet called


Gubernatorial Elections:

I predicted that Democrats will win at least 9 states from Republicans. They will win at least 18 of the 36 states up for election, including most of the more populous states.

Actual Results (as of 11/10/18):

The Democrats picked up 7 states from Republicans to date and are awaiting the results in two states where Republicans are currently ahead, but in which not all the ballots have been counted. 

Democratic gubernatorial candidates won the following Republican-held states:

New Mexico

Undecided pending final count of votes:

Georgia: Republican is ahead but a runoff election is possible if either candidate does not get 50%

Florida:  Republican is ahead, pending recount.

The only Republican pick-up was in Alaska, where the prior governor was an independent. 

Sunday, November 4, 2018

My Final Predictions For the 2018 Midterms on Tuesday, November 6

Here are my final predictions for the U.S. 2018 Midterm Elections


D- Democrats
R- Republicans

The Senate  


35 Seats out of 100 are up for election:   9 R,  26 D


  • 51 R, 49 D                
Final Prediction:   

Although more Democrats win seats (24 Democrats to 11 Republicans), Republicans increase their number of seats in the Senate to 53.

  • 53 R, 47 D                

1. The Democratic Senators include 2 Independents up for reelection in 2018 who vote with the Democrats (Sanders, Vermont and King, Maine) and are included in their totals

2. One of Mississippi's 2 Senate seats will go to a final election on November 27 if a candidate does not receive 50% of the vote. However, the Republican candidate is favored to win. 

3. 33 Senate Seats are usually up for election since Senate seats have 6 year terms. However, two seats (Minnesota and Mississippi) are special elections to fill vacancies. 


The House of Representatives

All 435 Seats are up for election:

  • 235 R,  193 D, 7 Vacancies

Final Prediction:  

The Democrats will increase their number of seats by 32 and take control of the House of Representatives by 15 seats.

  • 225 D,  210 R


Gubernatorial Elections:

Although I have not made gubernatorial predictions in this blog except for Florida, here are my predictions for 2018.

36 of the 50 States will be election their governor.

The current breakout overwhelmingly favors the Republican Party:  26 R, 9 D, 1 Independent

I predict that Democrats will win at least 9 states from Republicans. They will win at least 18 of the 36 states up for election, including most of the more populous states.  There is a chance that of the 10 largest states, only Texas will have a Republican governor at the end of Tuesday night.

Michigan, Illinois, and Florida are three top 10 states which currently have Republican governors and have Democratic candidates leading in polls.   Ohio and Georgia are two top 10  states that currently have Republican governors but may elect Democrats. They are currently too close to call.

Democrats are also poised to make a large turn-around in state legislative elections.

Note- You can see final results here:

Saturday, November 3, 2018

Upset Alert -- Which States Might See Upsets in the U.S. Senate Elections on Tuesday?

Elections are set for Tuesday, November 6

The U.S. Senate Elections are set for Tuesday, November 6. 

Although I will not give numerical odds, there is a chance that these 6 states could see an upset on Tuesday. However, given the right odds, I just might vote on the following candidates to pull off an upset on election date.

Clear Favorites are in Green: They are up by at least 5 percent points in the  11/3/18 Real Clear Politics average of polls

From most likely to be upset, to least likely. 

New Jersey: Menendez (D,I) vs. Hugin (R):    Menendez is simply disliked too much locally for brush-ins with ethic violations. Although New Jersey is a solidly blue state, voters may simply not be able to stomach voting for him on Tuesday.  An upset is possible.

California: Feinstein (D,I) vs. deLeon (D)  (note: California's System has two Democrats running against each other):  The large undecided vote is a wild card that could turn against Feinstein.

Texas: Cruz (R,I) vs. O'Rourke (D):  O'Rourke is catching up in the late polls. Still, Texas is Texas, and Trump remains popular here.

Tennessee:  Blackburn (R) vs. Bredesen (D): Although Bredesen is a popular former governor, the Republican machine in Tennessee will turn out the vote for Blackburn on Tuesday.

West Virginia: Manchin (D,I) vs.  Morrissey (R):  Trump is highly popular in West Virginia, and Morrissey has made some polling inroads. I do not see an upset as being likely, the Manchin machine will get out the vote on Tuesday.

North Dakota: Kramer (R) vs. Heitkamp (D,I):  Heitkamp has pulled victories out of tight elections before. However, Kramer is too comfortably ahead in the polls right now to see this as more than a 1 in 20 chance at best. 


Democratic Party Candidate: D
Republican Party Candidate: R
Incumbent Senator Running for Reelection: I


Note: The following states have no clear front runners as of today. A case could be made in betting on either candidate. I list the incumbent first here.

Arizona:  Sinema (D) vs. McSally (R)

Florida:  Nelson (D,I) vs. Scott (R)

Indiana:  Donnelly (D,I) vs. Braun (R)

Missouri:  McCaskill (D,I) vs. Hawley (R)

Montana:  Tester (D, I) vs. Rosendale (R)

Nevada:    Heller (R,I) vs. Rosen (D)

Thursday, November 1, 2018

Breaking News: Highly Rated Emerson Poll Shows Beto O'Rourke Moving Into Statistical Tie with Ted Cruz for Texas Senate Seat

Can Beto Catch Ted Cruz by Next Tuesday?

Beto O'Rourke, the charismatic El Paso Democrat who is running against right-wing Republican Ted Cruz is catching up fast. The highly rated Emerson College poll published today shows Beto behind by only 3% points which is within the margin of error.

If Beto pulls off this upset, he will immediately be thrust into consideration as a potential Democratic Presidential or at least Vice Presidential nominee for 2020.

From Emerson College Poll Released November 1 2018

Half of the Florida Vote is Now In - An Analysis of Where Things Stand In the Ultimate 2018 Swing State

Let's not waste any time --

As readers here know, Florida is the ultimate purple state.  Florida not only is the U.S.A's  third biggest state in terms of population (after California and Texas), it has two races this year for Senator and Governor which are very close and will set the tone for the upcoming 2020 Presidential elections.

Florida also votes early. Anyone can request an early mail-in ballot, and early voting is now taking place across the state.

Florida also reports its ballots by county -- we know who has voted by party registration, and by county. In fact, actual voters are known to party election workers. If you have not voted, you can be sure that your local party volunteers are now contacting you to get you to the polls.

So what do we know about the projected vote?

All numbers are taken from Steve Schale's website. Steve Schale is President Obama's former statewide campaign manager, and is keeping a daily count of where things stand in terms of the Florida vote.

As of this morning, about half of all votes are in (3,414,365).

An estimated 7 - 7.5 million Floridians will vote in the 2018 midterms. We can project this number off the number of mail in ballots and interest in early voting.

This number is below the 9.1 million Floridians who votes in the 2016 election. This is to be expected for a midterm.

This number, however, will exceed the 2014 number by at least 1.1 million votes. There is substantially more interest in this midterm than there was in 2014.

Although slightly more registered Republicans than registered Democrats have voted in Florida to date, this is to be expected since mail-in ballots tend to trend Republican. In addition, early voting is edging closer, and the non-affiliated vote is expected to trend towards the Democrats.

The important news is that enthusiasm among black and latino voters, and newly registered college students is at levels not seen since 2008, when President Obama carried Florida by a wide margin.

My projections --

The election will be close in America's #1 swing state, but Andrew Gillum, the young (39) and telegenic African-American mayor of Tallahassee, Florida who is running for Governor is heading for a victory. He will take Florida Democratic Senator Bill Scott along with him. In addition, several Floridian congressional seats (at least 3) will swing to the Democrats.

Mayor Gillum does have a problem with an FBI corruption probe over accepting some tickets for the Hamilton Musical in New York, and a reported hotel stay in Costa Rica.  However, many voters are willing to overlook this since President Trump reportedly took in an estimated $250 million in income from his hotel operations gaining business due to foreign emoluments in 2017 alone. 

Andrew Gillum- Democratic Party Superstar, Florida's Next Governor 
However, the next week still is not assured for Democrats. They will have to work hard against Trump's nationalist steamroller in order to win.

Friday, October 26, 2018

What Happens if the Democrats Get Clobbered On November 6? And 2018 Is a Repeat of 2016?

The Elephant (GOP) Kicks the Donkey (Democrats) -- Deja Vu All Over Again
(These are symbols of both political parties which date back to the late-1800's)

The "conventional wisdom" as of today holds that the Democratic Party will gain control of the House of Representatives from the Republican Party for the first time since the 2010 election, and hold losses in the Senate to under 1 or 2 seats in the important midterm elections on Tuesday, November 6.  Conventional wisdom also holds that the Democrats will also make inroads in governor races, perhaps picking up states such as Michigan and Florida, and winning over important state legislative chambers that were lost in the Obama years. All in all, the upcoming midterms will be a win for the Democratic Party.

But what will happen if the Democrats do not win control of the House of the Representatives, which will require a gain of 23 congressional seats, and will lose as many as 4 Senate seats in red states including Montana, Missouri, Indiana, and North Dakota, where incumbent Democratic Senators are facing tough reelection battles? What if the hyped "blue wave" fails to materialize - or, only turns into an ineffective "purple sludge"?

What is 2018 is a repeat of 2016, the year in which Donald Trump pulled off one of the most unexpected upsets in American political history?  What could be some of the consequences?

Here are some things that probably will happen:

Donald Trump would become the unquestioned and most powerful leader the Republic Party has seen in a generation. He would almost certainly terminate Rosenstein and Sessions after January 1, and would use the results of the election as rationale for ending the Russia probe. A Republican controlled Congress would offer no resistance in this effort.

The Dow Jones industrial average would favorably respond to new tax cuts and social safety net cuts (Obamacare, Medicare, and Social Security cuts) that a Republican Congress would certainly deploy for Trump administration phase 2.

Trumpism as a political strategy - appeals to nationalism, nativism, and social conservatism would have been shown to work. The Republican Party will continue to pander to its right wing rather than its center.

Nancy Pelosi would almost certainly be replaced as the leader of the Democratic Party in the House of Representatives. A battle between moderate and progressive wings could ensue for control

The Democratic Party itself could enter into a civil war between moderate and "democratic socialist" wings as it enters into the Presidential Nomination process for 2020, making the 2016 Sanders/Clinton fight seem mild by comparison.

A third party could emerge from the chaos. The last time a third party made a real impact on Presidential Elections by winning a large number of electoral college votes beyond a specific region was Teddy Roosevelt's Bull Moose Progressive Party in 1912. We could see something like this emerge. Rapid news cycles and social media could heighten interest in this.

Get ready for the unexpected.  

Thursday, October 25, 2018

October Surprise! The Stock Market is Nosediving. And This is one Trump can't do much about right now.

Down and Down the Dow Gows -- Wiping out Gains and American Retirement Portfolios
The Dow Industrial Average is correcting. This is bad news for the Republican Party and Donald Trump. The party in power never wants this to happen before an important election.

Economists feel that 3 key factors are causing this drop right now:

1. Trump has started a trade war with key U.S. trading partners, most notably China. Investors hate trade wars, particularly since China is the largest holder of native U.S. debt and can, if it so chooses, decide to dump the bonds that it holds and put the U.S. economy into recession at a significant cost to itself and to other economies. However, if China does decide to dump Trump, this would be perhaps the easiest non- warfare way to do it. 

2. The U.S. economy is overheated. The Federal Reserve has to raise interest rates to fight off any potential inflation. In addition, Trump's tax cuts need to be financed by more debt. All this means that the Fed must raise interest rates to make holding dollars and debt more attractive to institutional investors. Stocks always decline in value when this happens.

3. Factors that Trump cannot control include problems the EU is now facing with restructuring of Italian debt and Brexit uncertainties. In addition, there may be cyclical issues coming into play -- an economic expansion cannot continue forever.

If the Dow industrial average delinces through November 5, and American investors, either individual 401k holders or large institutions start to lose nerve, they will react and vote for fiscal stability which is something the Democratic Party has provided in similar situations in prior years.  Talk of more Republican tax cuts, something Trump is now doing, and talk of Social Security and Medicare cuts, something Mitch McConnell has done in the Senate, is not going to go over well in the next two weeks. 

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

Where Do The Midterm Elections Stand For the U.S. Senate As Of Today?

Senate Election Map from Real Clear Politics - October 24, 2018

The U.S. Midterms are less than two weeks away.  Election day is set for Tuesday, November 6, and early and absentee ballot voting has already started in many states.

The entire House of Representatives, 35 Senators, 36 State Governorships (out of 50), and a good portion of the State Legislatures are up for election.

Here is my take on where the Senate elections stand as of today in the U.S. Senate:

The makeup of the Senate is currently 51 Republicans / 49 Democrats.

The Republicans control Senate organization by a factor of a majority; in the event of a tie Vice President Mike Pence casts the tie breaking vote as President of the Senate. Democrats would need 51 Senators to control the Senate.

As of today, this appears to be beyond the reach of the Democrats. 50 Republican seats seem safe or leaning to Republicans. Democrats would need to score an upset in heavily Republican North Dakota, Tennessee, or Texas, and win all of the toss-up states to win a majority.  This scenario is not likely to happen.

The best Democrats can reasonably hope for (unless polls are entirely out of balance) is a pick up of one seat.  Republicans are looking for a loss of as many as 5 Democratic seats. The following 6 seats are in play as of today:

Montana - Democratic Incumbent John Tester is running for reelection in a state where President Trump is very popular. He is narrowly favored in most polls.

Arizona - Two female congressman are running neck and neck in recent polls for an open seat that is seen as a very "purple" state. Trump carried Arizona in 2016 by a narrow margin.

Nevada: Democrat Congressman Jacky Heller is challenging Republican Senator Dean Heller in a state that Hillary Clinton narrowly carried. The race is seen as neck and neck.

Indiana: Joe Donnelly, a Democratic Incumbent Senator, is running neck and neck against a Republican challenger in a state where President Trump remains popular.

Florida: Democratic Incumbent Senator Bill Nelson is narrowly favored over Florida's Governor, Rich Scott, who cannot run for reelection.  The turnout and enthusiasm generated by Florida's Democratic candidate for Governor, Andrew Gillum, who is African-American and 39 years old, is seen as helping the more laconic style of Nelson.

Missouri:  Democratic incumbent Claire McCaskill is running neck and neck for reelection in a state that President Trump carried by a wide margin.

If the elections were held today, I predict that Democrats will carry 4 of the above 6, and Republicans 2 (my best guess is Missouri and Arizona) which will give the Republicans a 52 seat majority in the senate.

This would be a one loss seat by the Democrats. It was be a disappointment, Trump's strategy for energizing his right-wing base may very well have paid off in keeping control in Arizona, North Dakota, Texas, Tennessee, and other states that were seen as winnable for Democrats before the Kavanaugh nomination.

Friday, October 19, 2018

The Midterms Are Less Than Three Weeks Away - Here are My Updated Predictions

The U.S. 2018 midterms, set for Tuesday November 6,  are less than three weeks away.

Here are my updated predictions.

Senate:    Republicans will pick up 2 seats for a total of 53 seats (3 seat majority)

House:   Democrats will pick up 31 seats for a total of 226 seats (8 seat majority)

Tuesday, October 9, 2018

Two New Polls Point To Disaster For House Republicans On November 6

Is a Blue Democratic Tidal Wave About To Hit The House of Representatives?

Two well regarded polls out today see a 13 point Democratic voting majority for the House of Representatives in the elections set for 4 weeks from today on November 6.

Early voting has already started in several large states.

A 13 point generic ballot lead would point to a 60 plus seat pick up for Democrats.


For additional information: about the CNN poll:

Saturday, October 6, 2018

President Trump's Popularity is Rising. Will The Stop the Expected Congressional "Blue Wave" on November 6?

Trump's 42% Popularity -- Thanking A Higher Power 

President Donald Trump's average adjusted popularity is now 42.4% and is on an upswing according to the excellent quantitative analysis conducted by Nate Silver and his team over at

Trump's rise in popularity, which is still at a historic low for any President at a similar point of tenure, is due to the following:

1. A reduction in the reported unemployment rate to a 49 year low of 3.7%.

2. A boost due to today's confirmation of SCOTUS Justice Brett Kavanaugh.

3. The USA is not involved in any major ground land wars - except for very limited ground action in parts of the Middle East. Americans do not like soldiers coming home in body bags.

Trump's Popularity Has Not Been This High Since May 2018
Source: 538 Running Average of  Tracking Polls
4. Trump is winning trade concessions from trading partners. The new NAFTA-style trade agreement gained headlines this week, even though it probably would have been better positioned as a revision of NAFTA with ongoing negotiated concessions by both sides.

5. The Mueller investigation is still ongoing and is on "hold" in terms of major new indictments through the November 6 midterms.

6. Trump is President and controls much national media conversation.  He may yet be able to pull off an "October Surprise" in the foreign policy field that I mentioned in an October 1 post. 

7. Although an increasing number of millenials are willing to vote for socialist parties and candidates, older voters are not. Younger voters do not have a good record turning out in midterms. The Democratic Party may be moving too far left too quickly by identifying factions with the Democratic Socialists of America and similarly named groups.

Only 21% of 18 - 29 year olds bothered to turn out in 2014 midterms vs. 37% of all voters

My predictions as of today:

The U.S. Senate: The Democrats will lose 2 seats. I predict 47 Democratic Seats (including two independent) and 53 Republican seats. The Democrats are simply defending too many seats (10) in states that went for Trump. 

The House of Representatives:  The Democrats will win a narrow majority of 9 seats.

The final count will be 222 Democratic Representatives, and 213 Republican Representatives.

There are currently 193 Democrats in the House. This will be a pickup of 29 seats.


The final results will be disappointing for many Democrats and progressives who are projecting a great "blue wave" on November 6.

Thursday, October 4, 2018

Kavanaugh Will Almost Definitely Be Confirmed - Per My Prediction of 8 Days Ago

Republican Senators Jeff Flake and Susan Collins - Swing Votes for Kavanaugh
Illustration from Huffington Post on Thursday, October 4 

It appears that controversial Trump SCOTUS nominee Brett Kavanaugh will be confirmed -- probably at some point in the next three days.

The Huffington Post and other media outlets report that the limited and controversial FBI report was released last night to the Senate, and is not available for public disclosure, reportedly has not directly confirmed any sexual improprieties against Kavanaugh. At least two Republican Senators will need to vote against Kavanaugh for his nomination to be rejected by the Senate. Both Jeff Flake (Arizona) and Susan Collins (Maine) were undecided -- but have made statement this morning that sound positive toward confirmation. This leaves only Lisa Murkowski (Alaska) as the only Republican Senator who might vote against Kavanaugh's confirmation, however, even if she were to vote no, her vote alone could not stop the nomination.

I predicted on September 26 that Kavanaugh would be confirmed unless Michael Avenatti produced a credible third witness by Thursday, September 27 against Kavanaugh. Although Avenatti came forward with a third witness, Julie Swetnick, her claim against Kavanaugh was simply not strong enough to gain traction as evidence against him.

I predict that Brett Kavanaugh will get 53 votes, and 2 Democrats, Heidi Heitkamp (ND) and Joe Manchin (WV)  will vote for confirmation. They are from states where Donald Trump is very popular and are up for reelection in 5 weeks. They will have "informal permission" from Democratic Party leadership not to sacrifice their senate seats by voting no.

My Prediction - Kavanaugh Would Be Confirmed

Monday, October 1, 2018

Is Master Politician Trump Planning Several October Surprises?

President Donald Trump should never be underestimated. He has proven his brilliance as a master marketer and promoter by making the most of limited resources before. He would not be President of the United States otherwise.

An October Surprise is an unexpected event which impacts national November elections in the United States. Although they traditionally are mentioned during Presidential election years, and are not always assigned to actual decisions but accredited to chance events, some political observers have talked about a Trump "October Surprise" which will upend the 2016 midterms which are set for November 6, 5 weeks from tomorrow.

As I mentioned this weekend, the Kavanaugh nomination is turning out to be a disaster for the Republican Party. Although Justice Kavanaugh is now favored by prediction markets to be nominated by a 2-1 margin,

The first "October Surprise" came this morning.  Trump's announcement today of a new NAFTA-like trade agreement between the U.S., Mexico, and Canada can probably be beneficial for Republican Congressional candidates if it swings some independent voters.

Trump is a very good media manipulator. We can expect other attempts at an "October Surprise" in the following areas:

  • North Korea peace agreement and second summit 
  • Progress Towards Two-State Israeli Palestinian Peace Agreement 
  • USA / Russia Space Exploration Agreements / Other Deals. However, Russia's backing of Iran's movement in the area -- particularly in Syria and Lebanon as a regional Shi'ite power is bound to cause friction on this front. 
  • Other unexpected news. 

We can also expect more Wikileaks and other attempts at disinformation as we get closer to the election designed to inflame Trump's conservative case since turnout is key to Republican chances in 5 weeks.

Expect more October surprises dominating the news headlines over the next 5 weeks.

Saturday, September 29, 2018

Today's YouGov Poll Shows How Kavanaugh Confirmation Battle is Harming Republican Chances in Midterms

Although controversial Scotus Nominee Brett Kavanaugh will probably be confirmed by the full Senate after a short FBI investigation this week, the lasting damage to the Republican party in the midterm elections can be demonstrated by today's Yougov poll. An article in the Huffington Post today summarizes why:

"But the results suggest that so far, Kavanaugh’s opponents may be especially mobilized by the issue. Sixty-five percent of voters who don’t want him confirmed, the survey finds, say the Supreme Court will be very important to deciding their vote in this year’s midterms, compared to 50 percent of those who support his confirmation ― a gap that’s especially notable because, in the past, Republicans have often been substantially likelier than Democrats to prioritize Supreme Court appointments."

In the past, Republicans and more conservative independents have used SCOTUS confirmations as a primary reason for voting in midterms. Democrat and progressive turnout, especially among younger voters, has lagged behind their counterparts. If the Kavanaugh fallout motivates younger, progressive, and especially cross==party female voters to vote for the Democratic Party nominee the results will be especially damaging for Republicans.

Note - At the time I write this article, the Predictit Betting Market assigns a 59% chance that Kavanaugh will be confirmed by at least 50 Senate votes. (Note - V.P. Mike Pence would cast the tie breaking vote if the Senate vote is 50 / 50 ). 

Friday, September 28, 2018

Brett Kavanaugh is a Disaster for the Republican Party

SCOTUS Nominee Brett Kavanaugh

Republican SCOTUS Nominee Brett Kavanaugh is a disaster for the Republican Party.

For those who have not followed today's development, Arizona Republican Senator Jeff Flake of Arizona agreed move his nomination out of the Senate Judiciary Committee -- only if the White House agreed to a one week extension to allow for an FBI investigation of Dr. Christine Blasey Ford's allegations against him of attempted date rape yesterday.

Senator Flake, an opponent of President Trump who is not running for reelection, agreed to do this after being confronted by outraged female constituents about his vote.  All this was carried on cable televsion live.

This is a disaster for the Republican party. Republicans cannot win right now.

If Kavanaugh ultimately is confirmed by the entire Senate, this will infuriate progressive and female voters.

If Kavanaugh's nomination is withdrawn - or goes down to defeat -- due to FBI uncovering of additional facts, new allegations, or as I suspect, evidence contradicting Kavanaugh's sworn testimony in front of the U.S. Senate, there is no way this can be positive for the Republican party.

The Midterm Elections are 5 weeks from Tuesday on November 6.  College educated women, particularly those in suburban districts who may usually vote Republican or Independent are seen as crucial for Democratic "blue wave" hopes. Polling is showing that Kavanaugh is extremely unpopular with this group.

Republican hopes of playing up positive economic news in the next week will be drowned out by the Kavanaugh nomination and potential fallout.

Saturday Night Live begins its season tomorrow night. You can be sure the upcoming comedy sketch will be biting and sardonic.

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

My Prediction - Kavanaugh Will Be Confirmed Unless Michael Avenatti Can Produce A Credible Third Witness By Thursday

Lawyer Michael Avenatti

My final prediction on the Brent Kavanaugh SCOTUS nomination is this.

Kavanaugh will be confirmed, perhaps as early as this weekend, unless a credible third witness comes forward by Thursday of this week with credible allegations.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has set a committee vote for this Friday, and may have a full Senate vote for final confirmation as early as this weekend.

Lawyer Michael Avenatti's promised third witness has yet to come forward.

Maine Senator Susan Collins, a centrist Republican, appears to be the deciding vote. There is an article in Vanity Fair today on why she will be probably vote for approval if the current situation stands as it does as of this evening.

Sunday, September 23, 2018

Boom! Just Like That -- Kavanaugh is Finished. SCOTUS Nominee Accused of Second Act of Gross Sexual Misconduct

Right-wing SCOTUS Republican Nominee has just been accused of gross sexual misconduct by a second accuser. The story broke in the New Yorker Magazine tonight in an article co-authored by highly respected reporter Ronan Farrow and Jane Mayer.

The Kavanaugh nomination now appears to be dead.

My post earlier today mentioned that Kavanaugh's nomination would be doomed by a corroborating allegation of sexual misconduct.

Will Right-Wing Republican SCOTUS Nominee Brett Kavanaugh Be Confirmed?

Professor Christine Blasey Ford and Nominee Brett Kavanaugh

For those of you following the current confirmation battle in the U.S. Senate over President Trump's right-wing nominee to the U.S. Supreme Court, U.S. Appeals Judge Brett Kavanaugh, here is my take of where things stand today, Sunday, September 23.

The news today is that Professor Christine Blasey Ford will be testifying before the Senate Judiciary Committee about Judge Kavanaugh and her accusation of attempted rape by him when she was 15 years old at the prestigious Georgetown Preparatory Academy.

Please note that I will not be getting into details of the case in this post, or the guilt or innocence of Mr. Kavanaugh, just my predictions on the outcome as of today, Sunday, September 23 in a Q and A format:

Q. How many SCOTUS justices nominated by the President have been rejected by the U.S. Senate?

A. In the over 228 years the U.S. Constitution has been in effect, 30 Presidential Nominees have not been confirmed by the U.S. Senate, most recently Merrick Garland under President Obama. Only two nominees have not be confirmed this century. For a full list:

Q. What will it take for Brett Kavanaugh to be confirmed by the U.S. Senate?

A. It will take 50 Senators -- half -- to vote to confirm Brett Kavanaugh, and Vice President Mike Pence to break a tie vote as President of the Senate if it comes to that. A SCOTUS nominee can no longer be filibustered, or require 60 votes, as it was in prior years.

For detail on the process:

Q. Do Republicans in the Senate have the votes by themselves?

A. Yes. Republicans currently hold 51 seats. They can afford to lose one of their Senators, either Susan Collins or Lisa Murkowski, who are both currently undecided, and still confirm Kavanaugh.

Q. Are Democratic Senators all committed to vote against Kavanaugh?

A. No. Several red state Democrats, where President Trump remains very popular are up for reelection in November, and remain undecided. They include:

Heidi Heitkamp, North Dakota
Joe Manchin, West Virginia
Joe Donnelly, Indiana

All three voted for Justice Gorsuch last year.

In addition, Doug Jones from Alabama, who is up in 2020, remains undecided.

John Tester (Montana) and Bill Nelson (Florida) are also undecided but I expect them to vote against Kavanaugh.

Q. What has to happen before the full Senate votes on Kavanaugh?

A. Kavanaugh has to make it out of the Senate Judiciary Committee before his nomination is presented to the full Senate Floor. This is where he and Professor Ford will be testifying on Thursday.

To see the makeup of the 21 Senators (11 Republicans and 10 Democrats)  on the Judiciary Committee:

Q. Which Republican Senator could turn against Brett Kavanaugh?

A. The Republicans only have 11 male Senators on the Judiciary Committee.  The Democrats have 3 females, including ranking member Senator Dianne Feinstein from California.  Jeff Flake of Arizona, who has been highly critical of President Trump in the past, and is not running for reelection in November, is on the committee and just might vote against Kavanaugh.  He has been highly critical of comments critical of Professor Ford this week.

Q. If the Judiciary Committee rejects Kavanaugh, could their still be a vote on the Senate Floor?

A. Although Mitch McConnell, the Senate Majority Leader could still bring the nomination to a full Senate vote if the Judiciary Committee rejects it, the Kavanaugh nomination will most likely withdraw his nomination if this occurs. 

My prediction as of today:

Unless another "bombshell" accusation comes out against Kavanaugh, he will be confirmed. If another person comes forward and claims similar misconduct on his part, or if enough people who attended Georgetown Prep will corroborate Professor Ford's testimony,  his nomination will be withdrawn. 

The Republicans know that they can lose control of the Senate on Tuesday, November 6. Timing is of the essence for them. Although they could rush another nomination through in October, and try to confirm a nominee in December before the new Senate is sworn in in January, such a strategy is risky and could be untenable. 

Sunday, September 16, 2018

I Agree with Michael Moore - Trump is the Favorite for Reelection in 2020

Although I am not sure I will agree with Michael Moore's description of Donald Trump as an "evil genius", I do think he is a brilliant politician, and is the favorite for reelection in November 2020 per his interview in CNN today.

Michael Moore famously predicted Trump's election in 2016 by pointing out his popularity in the traditional manufacturing heartland states of Michigan Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin.  These states had voted for the Democratic Party candidate for the past 6 Presidential elections, and were seen as Hillary Clinton's "firewall".  They narrowly went to Trump instead.

The reason why I think Donald Trump would be reelected if the election were to be held today, under current circumstances, are the following:

1. Presidents are reelected to second 4-year terms more often than not. The last two Presidents to lose reelection campaigns were George Bush Senior in 1992 (to Bill Clinton) and Jimmy Carter in 1980 (to Ronald Reagan).

2. In the case of Carter and Bush, both candidates faced  slow economic growth as primary campaign issues.  I do not see a recession impacting the U.S. economy before November 2020. Americans do not like changing Presidents during an economic expansion.

3. In addition, both candidates faced highly talented opponents who were able to capture the imagination of centrist voters. Reagan and Clinton.

In my opinion, the only candidate who the Democrats might nominate who could beat President Trump is former Vice President Joe Biden. However, his age - he would be 78 on inauguration day in 2021 - will be a problem for him when gaining the vote for many Americans.  Other candidates, particularly those identified as too far to the left, may threaten traditional Democratic Party coalitions that will need to be rebuilt to take important rustbelt states including Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin that were lost in 2016.

4. Voters in the U.S.A. have expressed a preference for split government. A governing situation in which one party controls the legislative branch (Congress), and one the Executive Branch (Presidency) would match prior year patterns. The Democrats are expected to control the House after this November.

5. If President Trump is impeached by the House of Representatives in 2019, if a Democratic Majority takes over, as appears likely, and is acquitted by the Senate, since 67 Senators will not vote for his removal from office (no Republicans and many red state Democrats are likely to do so), he may gain a large sympathy backlash much like the Democrats did in the 1998 elections when Bill Clinton was impeached and acquitted by the Senate. The American people by and large do not like the partisan spectacle of an impeachment trial.

6. The United States has not fought a war during the Presidency of Donald Trump. This is another factor which, if continued, will be a plus in his favor.

7. Voter suppression of  minority voters and other traditional Democratic voting groups, including college students, is still in effect and will suppress Democratic Party turnout.

8. Foreign actor social media interference (from Russia and other sources sympathetic to President Trump and the Republican Party) is not being countered and will continue to impact the elections of 2018 and 2020.


Factors which will upset these predictions and point to a one term Presidency for Donald Trump-

1. A recession.  It will not require a 2008 sized crash. All it will take is recessionary growth in two consecutive quarters before the November 2020 election to upset voting intentions among American voters.

2. An unexpected Republican loss (over 35 House seats and the loss of the U.S. Senate in November 2018) could cause the Congressional Republican Party to break ranks with their Congressional leadership and stop supporting Trump. As of now, the Congressional Republican Party is supporting Trump.

3. Involvement in a shooting war -- in the Middle East or Korea or another location -- would ruin Trump's narrative that he kept the U.S.A. out of shooting wars during his Presidency.

I do not see the Mueller investigation as a threat to Trump's reelection as of yet, simply because he has followed the advice of council and not fired anyone to date. However, he can lose control of this situation in 2019 -- it remains unpredictable.

Factors unknown, including Trump's health, and other personal situations, can mean he will not seek reelection. However, it is highly unlikely his ego will allow him to do so.

For now, his is the favorite for reelection. I have to agree with Michael Moore.

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

The Democrats Are Closer to Picking Up The Senate In November Than Ever Due to Beto O'Rourke in Texas

Current Polling Averages from Real Clear Politics -- September 11, 2018

The Democratic Party is closer than ever to picking up majority control in the U.S. Senate according to today's polling averages in Real Clear Politics.  Although current polling averages still places the Democrats at a 51 - 49 minority (see the map below), all it would take is two of the above four states going to Democrats to give them a 51 seat majority. 

The Democratic Candidate is the incumbent in three of these states, Missouri, Florida, and North Dakota.  All three states are close, well within the margin of error. Although President Trump remains popular in Missouri and North Dakota, and has already campaigned against the sitting Democratic Senator, his continued effectiveness and huge amounts of Republican campaign money have made no impact this summer in the Senate races. The Democratic Party's turn out the vote effort will ultimately decide the election here. 

The Democrat in Florida, Bill Nelson, has been heavily outspent by Rick Scott, the Republican -- but has important resources coming to play in the form of an emerging Obama coalition which may push minority turn out to Presidential year levels due to African American candidate Andrew Gillum, who is doing surprisingly well in his race for Governor. 

The reason why the Texas race, which Ted Cruz is still favored to win, is so important, is that this is turning into the premiere race for ad dollars and Republican National Committee support. Beto O'Rourke is charismatic, and raising huge amounts of national dollars against Cruz. Republicans cannot spend money attacking Democrats in other markets if they spend millions in the expensive Texas market defending this highly visible seat. 

Although the odds remain in the Republicans favor, the Democrats now have a 1 in 3 chance of capturing the Senate in my opinion, higher than ever for this year. Declining Trump popularity numbers will continue to raise their odds.

Friday, August 3, 2018

The 2018 Texas Senate Race - Charismatic Democrat Beto O' Rourke Challenges Ted Cruz in Latest Polls

Democrat Beto O'Rourke - The Next Senator From Texas?

Robert Francis "Beto" O'Rourke, the Congressman from Texas 16th Congressional District (El Paso), is the Democratic nominee for Senate against Republican Senator Ted Cruz in the November 6 national election. 

O'Rourke has been moving up in the polls and is now 6 points and 2 points behind the well known Cruz in two recent surverys. These poll numbers are surprising, since O'Rourke has limited name recognition behind his own district in far west Texas. Ted Cruz, Texas's Senator since 2013, has wide name recognition in Texas and nationally as a Presidential Candidate and right-wing opponent throughout the Republican Primaries against Trump in 2016.

O'Rourke speaks fluent Spanish (by all accounts better than Mr. Cruz who has Cuban ancestry), and has staked out very progressive positions on social issues for cannabis legalization, reproductive rights, and LGBTQ equality which show that deep red Texas may be returning to its moderate Democratic Party electoral traditions.  

O'Rourke is charismatic and looks good in cowboy boots. In addition, he can raise a ton of money nationally. This race, and Florida's,  where incumbent Democrat Bill Nelson is defending his seat against Republican Governor Rick Scott, are the two battlegrounds which will command national attention this fall. 

For more about the Texas Senatorial Race:



Thursday, August 2, 2018

Four LGBTQ Democrats Favored In Hotly Contested November Election Races

A record number of open LGBTQ Democrats are favored in hotly contested election races on November 6 for Governor or Senator.

I am not mentioning every Democrat running for electoral office. For example, democrat Lupe Valdez, who is a lesbian and running for Governor of Texas, is not mentioned here since she is not favored to win her election race against incumbent Republican Governor Greg Abbott. I am mentioning candidates who are given at least an even chance in current election polls.

Arizona      Senator       Kyrsten Sinema    (note: current member of U.S. House of Representatives)

Colorado    Governor    Jared Polis            (note: current member of U.S. House of Representatives)

Oregon       Governor    Kate Brown          (note: incumbent)

Wisconsin   Senator     Tammy Baldwin    (note: incumbent)

In addition, a record number of open LGBTQ candidates (almost all Democrats) are running for the U.S. House of Representatives. The final tally on November 7 should see the current number of 6 increase to over 10 open LGBTQ congressman.

For list of current LGBTQ House Members:

For LGBTQ Victory Fund Candidates in 2018:

Wednesday, August 1, 2018

Ohio 12th Special Election Update - Democrat Danny O'Connor Closes In To 1 Point According To Well Regarded Monmouth Poll

Riding the Democratic Tidal Wave

The well respected Monmouth University poll now has young Democrat Danny O'Connor pulling within 1 point of Republican Troy Balderson in the special Congressional election set for next Tuesday, August 7, in Ohio's 12th Congressional district. O'Connor actually leads in a high turnout predictive model.

Make no mistake about it - a Democratic win here will send shockwaves through the national political establishment. As we wrote earlier, this district should not be competitive for any Democrat.

For more information on the Monmouth Poll:

Sunday, July 29, 2018

The Nation is Wrong. Going Hard Left Will Be Suicide For Democrats in 2018 and 2020. Let's Look at One Major Piece of Evidence Why

The Marx Brothers -- Americans May Like Groucho, But They Generally Do Not Like Karl

The Nation is one of the oldest (1865) and most respected progressive (or left wing) periodicals that has been continuously published in the United States. You can read about their rich history of associations with progressive writers and luminaries here; they were on of the first notable national publications to endorse Bernie Sander's campaign in January 2016.


Our first piece of evidence concerns a Gallup poll on the subject of who Americans will vote for for President by group identity.

Gallup is the best known pollster in the U.S.A.  Although this poll is three years old, these views change slowly over time.

Socialists are the most unpopular group.  They are the only group that more Americans would not vote then would when asked.

In order for Democrats to take control of the House in 2018, they must win 23 districts that are now Open or in Republican hands in suburban and rural areas. It is not beyond logical comprehension to assume that these voters will not respond well to the term "Democratic Socialist" as party identification --- especially when Trump remains popular in red state areas.

In addition, Democrats must defend sitting Senators in the following states that voted for Trump in order to have a chance of taking over the Senate, and win open seats in the red states of Arizona and possibly Tennessee.

West Virginia
North Dakota

The term "socialist" still alienates in mid-America.

Moving hard left, and adopting Democratic Socialism,  may play out in places like California, New York City, and Vermont, but could prove disastrous for Democrats in other area.