Don’t forget, if you are in the US and registered (and intending to vote), your election day is probably November 6th, 2018 bar a special election or two after run-offs from the initial election on the 6th if needed and the like in possibly a few states.

OK, so the original idea for this page (and it was the only page, there was no #1 or #2) was just a sign on a wall with words to the effect that based on what happened last time in 2016, attending the voting booths in 2018 with underwear over your head was absolutely forbidden under any circumstances. No characters or anything else, just a sign on a wall. Instead, I was lucky enough to get a couple of actual pages with people and stuff going on and everything.

Interesting bit of history (for some, anyway) about the uses of the colours red and blue in the context of US politics. Apparently, neither colour was specifically allocated to either party with electoral maps during the reporting of elections and could swap party from election to election. Then the Year 2000 happened and the prolonged period of counting over a month after the election. So, since then, blue has been used to designate the Democratic Party and red the Republican Party.

Which is probably why there’s the variance with a number of other countries such as Canada, Australia and New Zealand where red has been used for the more left leaning party and blue for the more right leaning one for a long time now. However, in the US, it’s Democrats = Blue Team and Republicans = Red Team for the foreseeable future.

So, that’s really what our election coverage is going to be about – that’s right – Red versus Blue. Sure, depending on who’s running, it could sure polarise and energise people on one side or the other (or one side against the other) but even without that to an extreme degree, it seems to have been the case in the last few decades that the side that wins can ebb and flow in a staggered fashion.

It’s also been a learning experience that even though a lot of attention can be drawn towards the most high profile race of the presidency every four years, there’s also very important House and Senate races as well which can get lost in the shuffle sometimes – what we call Midterm elections as they’re between presidential terms.

Votes for members of Congress (the House) happen every two years, so they alternate between presidential and non-presidential years and the Senate are every six, so individual senators tends to stagger between presidential and non-presidential years for individuals. Then of course, there’s the governors of each state which can vary depending on the state. It is worth noting voting turnout tends to be less in non-presidential years.

So, what you might expect to happen (and seems to be case most of the time since the 90’s at least) is that when one party controls all three levels of government (presidency, Senate, House) – the electorate starts to swing the other way with control one or two of the latter going to the opposite party during a midterm election and at some point the presidency may as well. It’s not always as hard and fast as this and there exceptions, like 2002, possibly after what happened in 2001.

I guess that leads to the question as to what might happen this time – and what might have happened if the presidential race went the other way. First what’s currently the situation. Red Team holds all three levels (presidency, Senate, House) and you might expect at least the House to swing back to Blue (all congressional seats are up every two years).

The Senate is typically about a third up at a time and normally, Blue Team wouldn’t be expected to win control this time as they’re defending 26 seats (many in deep Red states from the last presidential election – up to ten are potentially very vulnerable) and of the 9 Red Team seats, maybe only two are realistic pickups if even that.

But due to a lot of particular specific factors for this year, there’s an outside chance (maybe like 20%) that Blue Team could pick up a majority in the Senate. Still unlikely but here’s how it may have been worse for Team Blue.

Had Blue Team won the presidency in 2016, it’s quite possible Red Team might have swept the House and picked up even more seats in the Senate than otherwise in 2018 … ending with the presidency as well in 2020 and Red Team controlling all three then, possibly with huge majorities.

Instead, it might even end up all Blue Team for all three in 2020 instead. I think it’s a lot to do with how the presidency is the most prominent and well known position – not to mention most visible too. A lot of the rest flies well underneath the radar. So, I guess we’ll see who waxes and who wanes soon enough.

Also, in spite of all the other gladiatorial combat that is the to and fro of modern politics with a new talking point or major media event that seems to be happening non-stop, probably what really determines the end results is the economy. How it’s doing and how people feel its doing. It’s why even in spite of just winning an overwhelming victory in a war in early 1991, the president lost an election in late 1992.

So, I guess what I’m saying is despite the sound and fury of each day, maybe what really decides how things go in the long run depending on longer term trends that rise and fall over much longer time frames than the 24 hour news cycle. I guess we’ll see in about a week for 2018 and then 2020 will be soon enough.

In the meantime, get out and vote but make sure you dress appropriately first. They really do have rules about what you can wear when you go to vote at the polling booth, so check your state … and your state.