To Hawthorn Friends & Family –

To all the commentary flooding the airways and web this morning (and even the few newspapers that still exist), let me add but three points:

First, despite self-claims of providing the margin, it is NOT clear President Trump’s endorsement made a/the critical difference in the special Ohio congressional election (a very narrow GOP win, likely to hold, in a district historically overwhelmingly Republican) or in the Kansas gubernatorial primary (where Trump’s candidate is ahead by 191 votes out of 311,000 cast and could still lose). In fact, there is good question whether President Trump created the “drag” that made the Ohio district competitive at all.

President Trump certainly did not have the impact he had earlier in South Carolina’s congressional and gubernatorial primaries. Indeed, it looked more like his lack of impact in Alabama’s special U.S. Senate election and run-off last year.

Second, while much happened yesterday encouraging to Democrats, they, in fact, LOST the Ohio congressional (assuming recounts don’t reverse the current outcome), the kind of district they must win in order to take back control of the House.

Yes, Democrats were badly out-spent. Yes, it’s a heavily Republican district. Yes, they ran a VERY close race, with superb early organization. But, ultimately, Democrats lost. As Churchill said after the “miracle of Dunkirk,” “We must be very careful not to assign to this deliverance the attributes of a victory.” (The NYTIMES, for instance, called it “a Democratic Triumph.”)

Most striking to me was the repeat of what we’ve been increasingly seeing: deep, deep divides between rural and urban counties, with the Democrat getting 65% of the vote in Franklin County (Columbus) and losing every one of the other six counties.

Third, the biggest news yesterday was labor’s overwhelming reversal of right-to-work legislation in Missouri, with labor winning better than two-to-one, 67.5% to 32.5% in a state only 8% union membership. Labor carried 100 of Missouri’s 115 counties, in a state where Hillary Clinton carried only three counties.

It was a brilliantly run, well-financed labor campaign . . . and it just MAY show signs of voters’ returning to vote their perceived economic self-interest, not just their ideological outrage.


One additional observation: Impeachment charges were filed yesterday against the four remaining West Virginia Supreme Court justices (the fifth has already resigned). This adds yet another element of chaos to whether formerly imprisoned coal executive Don Blankenship can, having lost in the GOP primary, now get on the ballot as an “sore loser” third party candidate (prohibited by West Virginia state law) in the U.S. Senate race where his presence would help divide the vote against Democrat Joe Manchin.