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The Rushmore Report – How to Pray for Today’s Elections

Today’s elections will determine the control of Congress – both in the House and the Senate. Thousands of other candidates will be on the ballot across the country. I’m sure I don’t need to convince you to vote. And as followers of Christ, we certainly understand that we should pray. In fact, it is more important to pray right than it is to vote right. The good news is that God hears our prayers. So it is important that we know how to pray.

I suggest five keys to effective election prayers.

1. Pray for a national revival.

God will bless America when America blesses God. We need the healing and revival of God across the land. Those timeless words of the Old Testament ring true: “If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and I will heal their land” (2 Chronicles 7:14).

2. Pray for our leaders.

Commit to this, win or lose. Pray that God will give our leaders wisdom and courage to seek him and lead us. Paul told Timothy, “I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people – for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness” (1 Timothy 2:1-2).

3. Pray for God’s sovereignty.

In all things, pray for God’s will. Pray for his perfect plan to be carried out through the men and women who will be elected. The Bible says, “It is God who changes the times and seasons; he sets up kings and deposes them. He gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to the discerning” (Daniel 2:21).

4. Pray for the real battle.

Our battle is not political, but spiritual. Revival never begins in the White House, but in God’s house. We are in a fight against evil as we defend the faith. Paul said it like this: “Our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realm” (Ephesians 6:12).

5. Pray that the church recognizes her true hope.

We must trust that God is able to do what man cannot do. The key to our joy and hope is not in the economy or certain political policies. Our hope was, is, and will always be, in the Lord. The prophet said it well: “Look at the nations and watch – and be utterly amazed. For I am going to do something in your days that you would not believe, even if you were told” (Habakkuk 1:5).

The Rushmore Report – Predicting Today’s Elections

The day has finally come. Today’s the day for the 2018 midterm elections. At stake are control of the House and the Senate. For months, a massive “blue wave” has been predicted by most media outlets. Democrats continue to lead in generic congressional polls. But nothing counts until the votes are counted. So what will likely happen in today’s elections? We have pored over all the most recent polls and assessed every race. You don’t have to wait for the voting results tonight. Here is what will happen . . . we think.

The Polls

We have considered the most reliable polls of recent days: Rasmussen, Gallup, Quinnipiac, NPR/Marist, and more. The data to follow is a conglomeration of these findings.

Presidential Approval Rating

President Trump is sitting at a personal high, with an average approval rating of 44.4 percent. The Rasmussen Report has him at 51 percent.

Generic Ballot

Democrats lead Republicans by about eight points, 49.5 to 41.9 percent. This has not changed much over the past three months.

The Senate

Republicans have solid leads in 50 states, compared to 44 for Democrats. When considering each of the remaining six races (Indiana, Montana, Florida, Arizona, Nevada, Missouri), we will make our best guess based on polls just out. Democrats will win Florida and Montana; Republicans will carry Arizona, Nevada, Indiana, and Missouri. This translates to a Republican controlled Senate by an increased margin of three seats, 54 to 46. This increase from 51 to 54 for Republicans is significant for any pending close votes on healthcare, taxes, or the Supreme Court.

The House

The most recent polling has led FiveThirtyEight to give Democrats an 86.1 percent chance of retaking the House of Representatives. The Real Clear Politics map has Republicans winning 200 seats to 205 for Democrats, with 30 toss-ups. So Republicans would need to win 60 percent of those contested seats (18 of 30) to retain control of the House. This is unlikely. Say it with me – “Speaker Polosi.”

Governors

While Republicans are favored to win the majority of governor races, Democrats will make a net gain of about four governorships.

Summary

This will be a split decision. Republicans will extend their lead in the Senate. In the House, Democrats will take a narrow majority. But their gains will be much less than typical for the party not in control of the White House in a midterm election.

Media Reaction

The mainstream media will pronounce this a “Blue Wave” of great proportions – regardless of the actual outcome. In fact, I’m pretty sure the headlines have already been written.

The Rushmore Report – Six Governors Races to Watch

The midterm elections are just one week away. While the media has focused heavily on the Senate and House races, 36 gubernatorial elections are up for grabs as well. Republicans have the most to lose, having won control of 33 of the 50 governorships in 2016. Six races are considered toss-ups, each with Republicans currently in office.

These are the six elections to follow closely.

1. Wisconsin

Scott Walker is running for a third term. Opposed by Tony Evers, Wisconsin’s superintendent of public instruction, Walker was once considered unbeatable. But as voters have become weary of the incumbents’ long tenure, Evers has opened up a 3.6 percent lead, according to Real Clear Politics.

2. Georgia

The race for Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal’s open seat is a toss-up between Republican Secretary of State Brian Kemp and Democrat former state House minority leader Stacey Adams. Kemp is patterning his race after that of President Trump, calling for voters to “make Georgia great again.” Adams is banking on a large minority turn-out on election day. Kemp has a small lead of 1.5 points in this Republican-leaning state.

3. Florida

Republican U.S. House member Ron DeSantis is running against Andrew Gillum, mayor of Tallahassee. Gillum is a Bernie Sanders progressive, vying to become Florida’s first black governor. DeSantis has the backing of the national Republican Party. Expected to open a sizable lead, DeSantis is trailing by three to five points in most surveys.

4. Ohio

John Kasich will be replaced by Republican Mike DeWine (former U.S. Senator) or Democrat Richard Cordray (whom DeWine once defeated for State Attorney General). Cordray has secured the endorsements of his party’s most liberal stalwarts, such as Elizabeth Warren, while DeWine has the support of pro-life groups. Cordray leads by 2.7 points.

5. Illinois

Another Republican seat is up for grabs in another large Midwest state. Incumbent Governor Bruce Rauner is opposed by Democrat billionaire venture capitalist J. B. Pritzker. Rauner barely won election in 2014 in a state that went for Hillary Clinton in 2016, by 17 percent. Real Clear Politics has Pritzker running away with this one by 12 percent.

6. Nevada

In a state that has elected only Republican governors for the past 20 years, Nevada is listed as a toss-up by both FiveThirtyEight and Real Clear Politics. Current Governor Brian Sandoval is term-limited, opening the door for Democrat Steve Sisolak (Clark County Commissioner) to oppose Republican Attorney General Adam Laxalt. The Republican holds a five-point lead.

Summary

If the other 27 races are won by the party currently in office, and if these six races go as currently forecast – though many are very close – Democrats will pick up four seats, meaning Republicans’ national lead will diminish from 33-17 to 29-21. Their lead among governorships would be cut in half, from 16 to eight.

The Rushmore Report – Where Americans Stand on Their #1 Issue

A new NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll of 900 registered voters (645 of whom self-identify as “likely voters”) brings surprising results. Of note are President Trump’s new approval ratings, Americans’ assessment of what matters most in the midterm elections, and especially their view on which party would best address the #1 issue of the day. And on that, they say it’s not even close. With the midterm election just around the corner, the new survey brings encouraging news to one political party – and it may not be the party you would think.

Let’s consider the poll’s findings in three areas.

1. President Trump’s approval numbers

Traditionally recognized as perhaps the most accurate of national polls, NBC News/Wall Street Journal has just found President Trump’s approval numbers hitting a record high. For the nearly two years of his presidency, his approval numbers have ranged from 39 percent to 46 percent. But the new survey, taken from October 14 to 17, sets Trump’s approval numbers at a record high of 47 percent.

2. Americans’ #1 issue

By a plurality, Americans rate the economy as the number one issue. Twenty-one percent say the economy stands atop all issues in terms of importance. And herein lies good news for Republicans, as those surveyed said they trust Republicans over Democrats to handle the economy by a 15-point margin, 43 percent to 28 percent. This bodes well for Republicans fighting to keep their electoral majorities in Congress.

3. The next two issues

But not all in this poll is good news for Republicans. On the two issues that matter most – after the economy – Americans favor Democrats. Voters prefer Democratic positions on immigration (+18 percent) and health care (+4 percent).

Conclusion

The new survey is a mixed bag for both parties. But one thing seems apparent. The massive “blue wave” that has been assumed by the mainstream press may turn out to be little more than a ripple.

The Rushmore Report – The Six Senate Races that Really Matter

The 2018 midterm elections are just two weeks away. It seems likely that Democrats are poised to take control of the House of Representatives with a net pick-up of at least 23 seats. But the Senate is another question. While 35 races are on the ballot, only six really matter. The others will all likely be won by incumbents, meaning none of these 29 races will impact the Republicans’ current 51-49 lead. So how are these six key races stacking up with just 14 days to go?

First, a bit of history. PolitiFact notes that, dating back to 1862, the party that holds the White House has averaged a net loss of two Senate seats in midterm elections. If that holds this year, Democrats will flip the Senate by the most narrow of margins, 51-49.

The problem for Democrats, however, is that of these six races, they are defending four of them. So let’s take a look, state by state.

1. Missouri

Sen. Claire McCaskill (D) is trying to fend off the challenge of Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley (R). The state voted for Trump, 57-38 percent. but McCaskill has already been elected to the Senate twice. And she led this race by as much as seven points just two months ago. But recent polls have shifted toward Hawley. The Real Clear Politics average of recent polling puts Hawley ahead, 46.3 to 45.8 percent. This narrow lead of .5 percent has given optimism to Republicans in a highly Republican state. However, energy remains on Democrats’ side. This may be the closest of the six competitive races. I’m going against recent polling and guessing that McCaskill will hold this seat by a whisker.

Winner: Claire McCaskill (hold for Democrats)

2. Nevada

Republican Senator Dean Heller is trying to hold a seat in a state won by Hillary Clinton in 2016. In fact, this is the only state where a Republican won a senate seat along with a Clinton vote for President. Democratic challenger Jacky Rosen, who has represented Nevada’s third congressional district for two years, has the strong backing of former President Barack Obama. Heller is not particularly popular in his home state. Current average polls give him a narrow – but growing – lead of 1.7 points.

Winner: Dean Heller (hold for Republicans)

3. Florida

This one will go down as the most expensive Senate race in history. It is truly a battle of the heavyweights. In one corner is Senator Bill Nelson (D), who is running for a fourth term. In the other corner is popular Governor Rick Scott (R), who has the backing of President Trump. Trump beat Clinton in Florida by 1.2 points. A wild card is the governor’s race, which is currently leaning Democrat. For months, Scott maintained a narrow lead in the polls. Then things shifted to Nelson, who led in most polls by three to five points through early fall. But now, things are shifting back toward Scott. Real Clear Politics has this as a dead heat, 46.3 to 46.3 percent. So who will win? I give the edge to Rick Scott for three reasons. First, momentum is on his side. Second, when an incumbent can’t crack 50 percent in the polls, that incumbent usually loses. Third, people want change. Re-electing an aging three-term senator hardly represents that change.

Winner: Rick Scott (pick-up for Republicans)

4. North Dakota

One-term Senator Heidi Heitkamp (D) is being challenged by Kevin Cramer (R) in a heavily Republican state. Cramer is the state’s only member of the U.S. House, so he has high visibility, the president’s backing, and he is surging in recent polls. The latest polls out of North Dakota have the challenger up, 57-42 percent.

Winner: Kevin Cramer (pick-up for Republicans)

5. Arizona

With the retirement of Sen. Jeff Flake (R), this state is wide open, and is becoming more Democratic by the moment. Democrat Rep. Kyrsten Sinema led for months over Republican Rep. Martha McSally. But recent polling is moving in McSally’s direction, with Real Clear Politics now giving McSally a very narrow lead of 45.3 to 45.0 percent. I have moved this state from Democrat to Republican based on two factors: polls are sliding toward McSally, and her experience in the military will sway the older population of Arizona.

Winner: Martha McSally (hold for Republicans)

6. Montana

Jon Tester (D) has held this seat since 2007, in a heavily Republican state. State auditor Matt Rosendale is mounting an uphill challenge against the popular Tester. But President Trump is going all in with his support for Rosendale, and it seems to be working. What makes this one hard to predict is the lack of polling in the sparsely populated state. Montana is reliably unpredictable. My thinking is that voters will place a high value on keeping their incumbent in place, as Tester has moved into leadership roles within the senate.

Winner: Jon Tester (hold for Democrats)

Summary

Remember, the other 29 senate races are pretty much set. Unless there is a major upset in West Virginia or Indiana (both held by incumbent Democrats), it will all come down to these six states: Missouri, Nevada, Florida, North Dakota, Arizona, Montana. Because only two of these are held by Republicans (Nevada and Arizona), in order for Democrats to retake the Senate, they will need to hold all four of their seats and pick up both Republican seats. Neither is likely. I see Democrats losing Florida and North Dakota, with no change in the other four states. This represents a net pick-up of two Senate seats for the Republican Party.

Final Score: Republicans 53, Democrats 47

The Rushmore Report – 2018 Crystal Ball

Larry Sabato is the foremost political scientist in America today. He is the Robert Kent Gooch Professor of Politics at the University of Virginia, where he is also the founder and director of the Center for Politics, which works to promote civic engagement and participation. Sabato is recognized as the most reliable predictor of elections. As publisher of Sabato’s Crystall Ball, he provides updates on the state of imminent elections. This is his latest analysis on the coming 2018 Senate elections.

Current Senate Breakdown

Going into the midterm elections, Republicans hold a slim advantage over Democrats, 51-49.

States Solid or Leaning Democrat

The following state senate races are likely to be won by Democratic candidates:

  • California
  • Washington
  • Montana
  • New Mexico
  • Minnesota
  • Michigan
  • Virginia
  • Pennsylvania
  • New York
  • Maryland
  • Delaware
  • New Jersey
  • Ohio
  • West Virginia
  • Massachusetts
  • Rhode Island
  • Connecticut
  • Vermont
  • Maine
  • Hawaii

States Solid or Leaning Republican

The following senate races are likely to be won by Republicans:

  • Utah
  • Wyoming
  • Nebraska
  • Mississippi
  • Texas
  • Tennessee

Toss-up States

The following states could go either way. By each state, we will note which party is currently in power.

  • Nevada (R)
  • Arizona (R)
  • North Dakota (D)
  • Missouri (D)
  • Indiana (D)
  • Florida (D)

Conclusion

Sabato does not show any current states which are strong or leaning in one direction or the other as changing parties. So it all comes down to the six toss-ups: Nevada, Arizona, North Dakota, Missouri, Indiana, and Florida. Because four of these six states are currently in Democratic hands, they are at the greatest risk of losing seats.

Bottom Line

Below, we give the final senate count following the midterm elections.

  • Best case for Republicans: expand majority to 55-45
  • Best case for Democrats: reclaim majority by 51-49
  • Most likely outcome: Republican expand majority from 51-49 by one seat, to 52-48

The Rushmore Report – Midterm Update: Crazy Amounts of Spending

The 2018 midterm elections are fast approaching. Both Republicans and Democrats are gearing up for the final stretch. What happens at the polls next month will determine if the Trump agenda continues to move forward, or if we will be locked in hopeless gridlock for the next two years. While polls show Democrats with about an 8-point lead in the generic ballot, critical individual races are much closer. But what’s crazy is the amount of money being spent – by both sides.

The National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC), which works to get Republicans elected to Congress, has been reevaluating their strategy between now and the November election and pulling ad buys from campaigns they believe they no longer have a shot at winning.

According to The Hill, individual candidates, the NRCC, the DCCC, and numerous allies have spent $63 million this week alone. And that was in just 51 of the most competitive districts across the country.

So far this year, 13 major media markets have especially been targeted. This is a breakdown on the money spent in each of these markets.

  • Los Angeles: $36.1 million
  • Minneapolis: $30.8 million
  • New York City: $23.4 million
  • Philadelphia: $18.9 million
  • Washington, D.C.: $18.7 million
  • Las Vegas: $16.4 million
  • Detroit: $15.4 million
  • Houston: $13.7 million
  • Denver: $13.5 million
  • Kansas City: $12 million
  • Seattle: $11.6 million
  • Miami: $10 million

The Congressional Leadership Fund has raised more than $100 million this election cycle. They plan to spread $9 million across 30 districts this week alone.

While Democrats seem poised to take over the House, Republicans will likely hold onto the Senate. For conservatives, this is better than the reverse, as all Supreme Court nominations go through the Senate. Should the Kavanaugh hearings drag into next year, or if he goes down before then, this will matter – a lot.

With all the money being pumped into politics, get ready for a barrage of election ads. Until after November 6, it may not be safe to turn on your television set.

The Rushmore Report – Predicting 2018 Senate Outcome, An Update

Leading up to the 2018 midterm elections, we will continue to provide updates on the key senate races. With Republicans holding a slim 51-49 lead, races in 11 states are still up for grabs. At risk is the Trump agenda and future court nominations. With Vice President Mike Pence holding the tie-breaking vote, Republicans can afford no more than one net loss of one seat. So what will happen in the coming elections? Who will emerge with control of the Senate in 2019?

The short answer is, “It’s too close to call.”

My prediction is that Republicans will emerge with a shaky 52-48 lead, for a net gain of one seat.

In 11 races, polls give either candidate a legitimate hope for victory. These are those races.

States with incumbent Democrats: Florida, Indiana, Missouri, Montana, North Dakota, and West Virginia.

States with incumbent Republicans: Arizona, Mississippi, Nevada, Tennessee, and Texas.

States especially close: Florida, Indiana, Montana, North Dakota, Arizona, Nevada, and Tennessee.

If we assume that Missouri, West Virginia, Mississippi, and Texas remain in incumbents’ hands – all of which seem likely – the hold of the Senate will come down to those other seven states, four with incumbent Democrats and three with Republicans.

Based on all recent polling, trends, and historic voter turnout, here are my predictions for each of those seven states.

  1. Florida: Republican Rick Scott will unseat Democratic Senator Bill Nelson.
  2. Indiana: Incumbent Democrat Joe Donnelly will defeat Republican Mike Braun.
  3. Montana: Incumbent Democrat Jon Tester will defeat Republican Matt Rosendale.
  4. North Dakota: Republican Kevin Cramer will unseat incumbent Democrat Heidi Heitkamp.
  5. Arizona: Republican Martha McSally will defeat Democrat Kyrsten Sinema, holding the seat for Republicans.
  6. Nevada: Democrat Jacky Rosen will unseat incumbent Republican Dean Heller.
  7. Tennessee: Republican Martha Blackburn will defeat Democrat Phil Bredesen, holding the seat for Republicans.

Summary

  1. Democrats’ best case scenario: If each of the seven races go Democrat – which they could – Democrats will emerge with control of the Senate, 52-48.
  2. Republicans’ best case scenario: If each of the seven races go Republican – which they could – Republicans will maintain control of the Senate, 55-45.
  3. Most likely result: Democrats will pick up one seat in Nevada, while Republicans pick up seats in Florida and North Dakota. All other races will be won by incumbents. That will result in Republicans holding control of the Senate, with a net increase of one seat, 52-48.

The Rushmore Report – Surprising New Poll Just Out on the Midterm Election

We’ve been hearing it for months. This November, we will witness the biggest “blue wave” ever, as Democrats obliterate Republican control of both houses of Congress. Both the House and Senate will surely fall into Democrats’ hands, right? Some are predicting a pick-up of five Senate seats and as many as 60 seats in the House for the Democratic Party. But is this just wishful thinking on the part of Democrats and their accomplices in the media? A new CBS poll is just out, and its finding are surprising.

In short, the head pollster for CBS News, Anthony Salvanto, doesn’t think we will see a blue wave this November. His team is polling 5,700 voters in the 50-60 Congressional districts most in play. And so far, he doesn’t see a whole lot of flipping of seats from one party to the other.

The New York Post reports, “Salvanto’s polling currently indicates that few House seats will change hands in November – and that the GOP could very well hold its majority in the House.”

Salvanto told the Post, “Right now I think this election looks like a toss-up. We see a Democratic pick-up in the House of Representatives in the 20-odd seat range, but Republicans could certainly hold on to the House.”

Republicans currently hold a 43-seat majority.

Salvanto said he doesn’t “see a large number of Republicans saying they will flip and vote for a Democrat,” despite several op-eds from “conservatives” telling the Right to switch parties.

While Democratic hate for President Trump is fueling their push in November, Republicans typically vote in higher volume in mid-term elections than do their foes. And just being against something – or someone, in the case of President Trump – is rarely enough to win elections.

Salvanto added, “Voters say the Democrats need to do more than just oppose Trump. They are asking, ‘What are they standing for?'”

Experts agree that for Democrats to retake the House, they will need to be up by about five points in the latest generic ballot polling. And that is exactly where they stand just a few months before the elections.

Could there still be a blue wave in November? Yes, it’s possible. But don’t believe what you’re hearing. The recapture of either house of Congress by the Democratic Party is far from certain.

Stay tuned . . .

The Rushmore Report – The Funniest Political Story of the Year

Question: When is a challenge to debate national defense, the economy, and immigration code for sexism? Answer: When a certain congressional candidate would rather avoid the discussion of real issues than accept a gift of $10,000 for her own campaign or favorite charity. What happened this week is the funniest political story of the year. Here’s what happened. Conservative activist Ben Shapiro called out New York Democratic congressional nominee Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.

While she has made a sport of flying around the country to endorse fellow socialists – all of whom have fallen in defeat following her endorsements – Ocasio-Cortez continues to simply make up data that is the antithesis of truth. Her recent statements on the economy, jobs numbers, and the middle class have been proven false by some of the most liberal news outlets in the country. But rather than getting a grasp on the facts, Ms. Ocasio-Cortez continues to say things that are verifiably inaccurate.

In stepped Ben Shapiro with an offer she could refuse.

Shapiro tweeted this message: “Miss Ocasio-Cortez, I’m really excited that you’ve been elevated to that position and I would love to have a real conversation with you about the issues. Not only am I eager to discuss the issues with you, I’m willing to offer $10,000 to your campaign for you to come on our Sunday special. We can have an hour-long conversation about all the topics under the sun in order to really probe your belief system.”

Not only did she decline the offer; she characterized Shapiro’s offer as sexist. She said it was a form of “catcalling.”

She tweeted, “Just like catcalling, I don’t owe a response to unsolicited requests from men with bad intentions.”

Conservative Katie Pavlich weighed in. “Okay, fine. If you won’t debate Ben Shapiro because he’s a man (and because he would destroy you intellectually) how about a debate with me?”

Shapiro has added, “This is a new definition of ‘catcalling.’ If I say to a woman, ‘Hey, wanna talk about the economy?’ that is now a sexist statement.”

And to make the point that he is not just targeting women, Shapiro has now made the same offer to a man. Perhaps you’ve heard of him – Sen. Bernie Sanders. Only this time, Shapiro has offered $50,000 to discuss the issues.

Together, Ocasio-Cortex and Sanders could get their message to a new audience of Americans, and at the same time, raise $60,000 for their causes. But – as expected – they have no interest in a free and open discussion with Ben Shapiro. And who can blame them? It’s much easier to scream “Sexism!” than to defend the socialist policies that have failed wherever they have been tried.