Robert Kahne analyzes the election results

Bruce Maples Robert Kahne
Bruce Maples / Robert Kahne
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Elections analysis guru Robert Kahne lays out what he saw in Tuesday’s election in Kentucky.

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Bruce: Hello, and welcome to Moving Kentucky Forward. I'm Bruce Maples, publisher of Forward Kentucky, and this week I'm very excited to say that we have Robert Kahne as our guest. Robert is one of the best analysts when it comes to election results, and I'm excited to see what he has to share with us today. Let's hear from Robert. So we are here today with Robert Kahne. Robert is not only the co-host with Jasmine Smith of our sister show, my old Kentucky podcast, which is the best political podcast in the state of Kentucky. But he is also a election results guru and analyst, and I am excited to have him here to talk to us about everything that happened on Tuesday. Welcome, Robert, to Moving Kentucky Forward.

Robert: Appreciate that. Bruce, you, you've been say that about our show for a long time, and I, I really, I mean, I think that the fact that you still think that after there are now like several <laugh>, there's like four or five, uh, that you still think that, so, you know, you might switch to saying like the oldest at some point. So,

Bruce: <laugh> no, <laugh>. I <laugh> I think it says something that I even put your show over mine. So there you go,

Robert: <laugh>.

Bruce: Um, so we've got lots we can talk about, but let's begin by, let me ask you, what is your top line reaction to the results in Kentucky?

Robert: Um, okay. Well, I think the, my, my reaction to Kentucky is a little bit tied up in how I feel about the results as a whole in the whole country, which is basically that it was the same election as 2020, uh, across the whole country, which is generally good for Democrats because typically in the first midterm after a new president is elected, you get beat by a lot. It's just that in Kentucky we had redistricting and because we had redistricting, we had, uh, some losses, uh, in the State House. Uh, I, I think the five seats that were lost, which was the whole kind of up the, the whole kind of ball game for, for 2022 were entirely due to redistricting. And absent that we would've basically had the same election that we had in 2020.

Bruce: Yeah, Okay. Is let, let me follow up top line reaction to the national results then.

Robert: Yeah, I mean, I, I think it's shocking how, how well Democrats did, uh, you know, I I, I think the fundamentals of American politics this century and, and going back even further to like the 15, 20 years before that, or basically whatever president gets elected, you know, they typically are, their party is in for a, a beat down in the next midterm election. And there has to be some sort of something that happens to stop that from going on. And the last time we saw something actually happen was 2001, which was of course nine 11. So the 2002 midterm was pretty good for Republicans. And this time, you know, unfortunately it was a, a terrible thing that happened in, in terms of, you know, American Liberty, Uh, and, and just policywise, which is the Dobbs versus Jackson decision, which revoked, uh, Roe v Wade and, uh, you know, eliminated the, the right to an abortion for, for many, many people. Um, and, and that caused a big, big change. And I, I just think, you know, President Biden was able to realize that he wasn't doing well and made a bunch of changes and did a bunch of things differently. That c caused Democrats to look a lot better. And, and now, you know, there's still a lot to be determined and, and control of both Chambers is kind of up for grabs right now, which I think is, is pretty wild given you know, what normally happens around this time.

Bruce: So let's, let's talk first about Kentucky. Um, I told numerous people that it appeared obvious to me that the redistricting was to get rid of democratic women. Uh, that's who they went after. And it looked to me like for the most part, they succeeded. Uh, what do you think about that statement?

Robert: I, I think they took care of a lot of the Democratic women just in the, just in basically their districting process itself. By that, I mean, there were, I think, three women that were eliminated from the legislature just because they drew multiple women into the same district. And Right, of course, uh, Representative Cantrell and Representative Marsian had to, you know, decided not to run for a election to the State House, uh, this cycle be because of the way that the maps were drawn. Um, in the actual re in the actual election, the five seats that were lost, um, I think three of them were men. It was a representative Donahue, Representative Miller and Representative Wheatley. Um, and then the, the two others that were lost to Representative, mentor and Representative Hatton. Uh, you know, I, I think that they were, they were definitely targeting a few more women.

Robert: They were targeting, uh, Representative Stevenson, Shely Stevenson, not Pamela Stevenson, but they were certainly targeting her. I think that that race to me was, uh, on the State House liable the highlight of the night, uh, for me, because I believe that she was the person most closely targeted. Um, I, I, I don't want to take credit for this joke, but I, I did see, uh, my friend Tony called her new district the Lexington Lobster Claw, because it kind of turned from this very nice, compact, succinct South Louisville, uh, South Lexington district into this crazy sea looking thing that's, that scooped up into Scott County. Uh, and she was able to pull off a victory there by 35 votes, um, by, by running a really hard race and doing a really good job. Uh, I think this is her, her second election that has been in the double digits. So that's not something that she's un unused to. So, um, but yeah, that, that, But your, to your question, I, I do think that there were certainly targets on, on, uh, Democratic women's backs for sure. Uh, this, this cycle.

Bruce: I talked to one of the people in the mentor campaign, and this person told me that the redistricting for Patty mentor's area, Patty lives on a corner in Bowling Green, and the district line literally went around her corner. Yeah. They, they drew around her house to get her in another

Robert: District. That's the exact same thing happened to Representative Raymond, uh, and Representative Marsian when, and, you know, that that was, that's an easy district for Democrats. It wasn't like they were trying to, uh, beat them, but they drew Representative Raymond's house basically into that district so that there would be two Democratic women into it, like it is, uh, you know, that is not much territory at all that Representative Raymond had had previous to this election. And, and yeah, that's certainly what they did with representative mentors. She only had about half of her old district, her old district, I think. So, one, one of the ways I took a look at this was I, I looked at the, the US Senate results, you know, uh, Charles Booker got around, what he got like 38% of the vote, uh, statewide. And I looked to say like, based on the precincts that were there in 2020, uh, based on the precincts that were in the districts in 2020, uh, what would it have looked like?

Robert: And four out of the five districts, representative Booker one, uh, in, in those seats. Uh, and the thing is like the fifth one was, was Representative Miller's district and Representative Miller has been able to win his race, despite the fact that Democrats on the presidential and and Senate level have lost a lot. So he's well known in the PRP area. I think that that p p area a pleasure park for anybody that's outside of Louisville, uh, I think that, uh, his district was excluded, uh, included a lot of non p p area, which was not the case before. Um, and, and that's just kind of one of the things we go back to and back to in, in this race is these communities of interest have been broken up, um, every small. And I usually talk about that in terms of like the small cities, You know, uh, Covington was split into like three or four districts. Paducah was split into three districts. Ashland was split into two districts. You know, Richmond was split into two, like all, every city was split multiple ways. But even inside of Louisville, you have places like, like p r P, like Shively, like, you know, a lot of these kind of smaller cities, smaller communities of interest are still like, cracked into different ways just to make way for more, more Republican districts within Louisville.

Bruce: Yeah. Um, I was pleased to see that a couple of other Democrats that I worried about, uh, actually were able to pull it off, uh, Karen Berg, or one, uh, Sherly Stevenson, like you mentioned, which I was very pleased to see. I was disappointed that Buddy Wheatley couldn't pull his off, and I got really worried early in the evening cuz Rachel Roberts was behind by a good chunk of votes and then wound up winning fairly easily.

Robert: Yeah. Um, I, you know, there's Democrats in this state, and if you're gonna, uh, draw crazy maps, you kind of have to put the Democrats in some places. And Karen Berg's district actually got significantly easier for her to win. It used to include all of Oldham County. That district is now all within Jefferson County. Now. It includes some conservative areas, but she actually, um, was much more likely to win this than she would've if it had included more of, of Oldham County. Um, but, you know, she did have a strong challenge, or James Peden is on the Metro Council has been for a long time well known in that district. So I was, you know, I, I wasn't not worried about her. Uh, that that is, uh, is definitely true. But, but I was happy to see that she won. Representative Roberts to me always seemed quite a bit safer than, uh, Representative Wheatley, um, and, and was able to win that district despite the fact that it did get worse for her.

Robert: Um, I looked at Bud Representative Wheatley's district, you know, I said that, uh, every, every one of these seats that were lost besides one were won by Representative Booker. Representative Booker won the old district that Buddy Wheatley ran in 60 40, 60 40. And, and Charles Booker actually lost the, the new district 65, I think it's 65 by about eight points. Buddy Wheatley only lost by a couple of hundred votes. It was, I think just, uh, just two or three percentage points. And he ran ahead of Representative Booker in that district. Uh, but just, you know, the handicap was too strong for him, which is a real shame because he's a strong advocate for the folks of Covington. I was talking to some folks in Covington today, This is the first time that they say in the history of the state of Kentucky that there's no one from Covington in the state legislature.

Bruce: Wow. Wow.

Robert: Yeah.

Bruce: Okay. So that's, that's all depressing. Um, what did you think of, uh, the Booker race and how that turned out?

Robert: Well, you know, there's a lot of different ways to think about this. Um, I think that there's some kind of depressing ways, uh, to think about it in terms of like, you know, it does seem like no matter what happens, there's kind of a ceiling on Democrats chances in, in Kentucky these days, um, at about 40%. And, and both Representative Booker and, uh, you know, Amy, Amy McGrath, who ran before hit about the same percentage points, uh, they did it in very different ways. Charles Booker was able, able to forge a really deep connection with a lot of people across the state, um, and, and was able with about $7 million to, to do a little, um, do do about as well as representative or as Amy McGrath. Now, the thing is, Amy McGrath was able to raise all that money because she's good at doing that, and she was able to deploy this like, army of organizers out into the state.

Robert: And I think both of those things are valuable in terms of, of, in increasing Democrats chances, uh, o over the long term. We do probably have a hard ceiling. It's gonna be very difficult for us to elect US senators, uh, as Democrats. But the thing is, it's really good that we keep trying, I really think it's, there are states across this country where the Democrats who run for Senate are not well funded, are not well supported, are, I mean, there are people that were complaining that, that Charles Booker didn't have good support. He did raise, you know, close to $6 million, which, I mean, if you're talking 15 to 20 years ago, that's like a ton of money. You know, that's a lot of money to run a Senate campaign these days. It's really not. Um, but, but you know, being able to spend that money to, uh, to organize the state, uh, is still pretty valuable.

Robert: I, I think Charles Booker was a, a good avatar of a democratic message that was meaningful to the people across the state of Kentucky, You know, his from the hood to the holler kind of idea. Um, I think that really activated a lot of people. It gets people thinking about these types of things. And, you know, maybe representative, uh, Ashley Tackett Lafferty doesn't survive if, if Charles Booker doesn't run the race that he does, you know, maybe, um, you know, maybe Patty Minter gets beat like by 10 instead of by two. You know, there, there's a lot of advan advantages to having, you know, ay campaign that that's well run in the state, even if it doesn't necessarily result in a victory. Um, I mean, there, there's lots of things that I could say about like, ways, things that I wish had happened for Charles Booker that didn't quite happen, but it's, it's over now. Um, and you know, I'm, I'm really glad to have Hi, have had him as the nominee. I, I am glad that repre or that Amy McGrath was the nominee before him, I think it's really great that in this state that hasn't elected a Democratic senator since the 1990s, we still have good candidates willing to put themselves forward, uh, to carry the Democratic flag, uh, to try to be elected, uh, senator in this state.

Bruce: So let me ask you this. Uh, I want to, I want to, there's a whole bunch more stuff I wanna get to, but let's, before we leave the Booker and campaign and the legislative races, uh, are there things that you thought KDP should have done or should not have done, or something related to any of these races?

Robert: Well, you know, um, now that it's kind of over, it's, it's easy to see, well, this race was close, so they probably should have put more money here instead of there. Um, you know, I, I know that they spent heavily to, uh, to try to defeat the lawsuit or to, to defeat the maps, to overturn the maps that are, are in place here. I think really after seeing the way that this race came out and the way that these maps kind of function, that really just kind of, uh, you know, validates that strategy in my mind, we need to spend some money to try to take on these maps because it's very difficult, even in a neutral political environment to, to maintain 25 seats in it, just because of the surgical precision at which they've targeted these things. And the KDP is gonna have to spend money to do this.

Robert: They actually just lost at the circuit court level in front of Judge Wingate. Um, there is some reporting today that says, you know, Judge Wingate isn't gonna like, write a novel lawsuit. He's not gonna overturn precedent as a district judge. That's just not really his attitude towards it. But inside of the ruling, and I haven't read this, this is just based on reporting that I've read, uh, he, he kinda lays out the ways in which the Supreme Court could overturn the map based on the fact that they do that. That's kind of their role. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. So maybe, and, and, you know, that that's valuable, that's something that KDP is engaged in, that's valuable. One of the things I have been told is that, you know, in the past, the KDP has spent very heavily on legislative races that weren't close. In the end. There are, uh, I, I don't remember the exact numbers, but it was like some sort of millions of dollars, like multiple millions of dollars spent on races in the past two or three cycles that they're, that the, the candidates ended up losing by 10 or more points.

Robert: So not even able to keep it close. And, um, at what point is that just kind of throwing good money after bad? Uh, I don't wanna say that that's, that it's, it's bad for people to run there. They have no hope or they have no chance. But just where are you gonna spend your money when it is a bit of a finite resource? Of course, I wish that KDP had the type of money that to like, fully support everybody with tens of thousands of dollars or hundreds of thousands of dollars. That's just not, not the, the party that we live in. The KDP is very fortunate because, uh, unlike a lot of our partner states, states that are similarly situated to us, that, that have, you know, less than a quarter of the members of the legislature, uh, most of those state parties are deep in debt.

Robert: They don't have leadership, they don't have staff, They aren't able to keep people on the executive board. If you look around to the states to our south, that's the, that's the state that a lot of these state parties are in. The KDP is well funded, has former, uh, you know, former governors that are still willing to step up and fundraise for us. We, we actually have a good amount of cash that we have to spend on things. Uh, we're actually having this argument about where should we spend our money instead of like, how do we get out of the debt that we're in? Um, so, you know, I I think that the leadership of the kdp, if I was in the leadership of the kdp, would I have done things a little different? Probably, I probably would've spent more on some of these races. I know that they did support a lot of these races, even some of the challengers late in the race. I, I probably would've started that a little earlier, but I'm not, But at the same time, I can't really criticize because I think that the, the, the decisions they made, uh, were justified even if they weren't the ones that I would've made.

Bruce: Okay. So what about good news in Kentucky?

Robert: Well, the, the two constitutional amendments that the Republicans put forth in the legislature both went down, Uh, which is, is huge news. I think that that's the best statewide news for Democrats or, or liberals in Kentucky, really, since Andy Bashier was elected governor. Um, the, the first, uh, constitutional amendment was, um, probably more consequential, uh, than the second, even though the second got the most news and was more important to me personally. The, the first constitutional constitutional amendment would've given, of course, the legislature the ability to call itself back into session, which is a very bad idea, <laugh>. And, uh, it, it actually went down by about eight points. The second constitutional amendment would've, uh, banned abortion in the state constitution, which would've basically put an end to ba basically any ab chance to, to legalize abortion or legalize abortion or, or liberalize abortion laws in Kentucky for the foreseeable future.

Robert: And it went down by four points. That, that, I think if, if you're look looking back, and Bruce, I know you and I both pay very close attention to the, uh, to the general assembly. When that passed the general assembly and was put on the ballot, I think both of us were probably like, Well, that's gonna pass with 70% of the vote. Um, and, and we could not have been more wrong. Uh, I mean that this was, this was an issue that really caught fire nationally. I think there were six places it was on the ballot with places as diverse as like Montana, Kentucky, I think. Well, Kansas was a little earlier than the year. I think California had, like, a lot of different types of states had it, and they all went down, every one of them across the whole country, which just goes to show you like the status quo and what, what our thoughts are about what people think about abortion are probably too heavily influenced by what the loudest people say, and that actual people have different opinions about this issue, that, that follow a pretty wide range. Mostly supportive,

Bruce: Though, I've got to tell you two quick stories. Uh, as you know, uh, at the end of the night when you're working a pole area, you print out the tape with all the results. And one of the jobs of the role I had is to actually take the tape and put it up on the door outside so people can come look at it. Um, we had four precincts in our polling location, so I had four different sets of tape, and this was a relatively conservative, uh, area. Uh, as an example, dif won all four precincts for Metro Mayor, and the two constitutional amendments got clobbered in all four precincts. I mean, it wasn't even close. And the other thing that was interesting was I was holding, I had gone outside to check on something and was holding the door open for a woman, and she, she sort of looked teary eyed to me. I mean, she seemed sort of emotional. And she said, as she passed me, she said, I've got to go vote, even though it goes against my religion. And I thought, Huh, there's a Catholic gonna go vote no on the amendment.

Robert: Yeah. Yeah. Um, I, I will say, you know, the, the way that Amendment won an Amendment two worked in Kentucky probably are, I, I think, think in, in, in a lot of ways, the ways that Democrats hope that 2021 goes, um, no, on two, which is the, the pro-choice people, the people who support abortion rights voted no on two, that one all but nine precincts in Jefferson County. So, I mean, you know, the Metro Mayor race was, was, uh, a six point win for, for Craig Greenberg. And we talk, we can talk about that race if you want to. I'd love to talk about that race. Another piece of good news for, for Kentucky, in my opinion. Uh, but, but you know, he did not win all but nine precincts. He, he lost a lot of precincts. It won all but nine precincts. It cleared like 110,000 total votes, which, you know, erases 70, 80 smaller counties. The smaller counties still only won by 15, 20 points, which is not what happened on the, in the US Senate race, for example. Uh, you know, uh, they, it won I think like 30 counties, basically everywhere along I 64, between Louisville and really all the way up to almost Ashland. Uh, it, it did very well. And along 71, uh, it, it did quite well along 65, basically where the interstates are. That's the places where, where the amendments did quite well. Uh, and it just blew out of the water. And, and Louisville and Lexington, which,

Bruce: Well, nice segue because I have the map. So

Robert: Who made that map? Bruce?

Bruce: Uh, this is the, I believe this is the New York Times map. Mm-hmm.

Robert: <affirmative>. Yeah.

Bruce: Uh, and so the darker the red, the more no votes, and the darker the blue, the more yes votes. And this was before some of these counties actually got counted. Woodford County, for instance, isn't right, counted in this map. Uh, I have to ask your reaction to something that somebody said. Somebody saw this map and said, uh, Kentucky Democrats here is your plan for 2024.

Robert: 2024. 2023.

Bruce: Yeah. They, they were saying, This is how, this is what you need to work on to win in 2024. Use this map as your guide.

Robert: Well, I don't know what we're supposed to do in 2024. Uh,

Bruce: Well, the midterms, and

Robert: That's the next presidential election. Uh, I don't think we stand much of a chance to, to carry that. Okay, hold on. Let me, let me show you. Can I show, show

Bruce: You, Well, this was okay for 2023. Would you use

Robert: This? Yeah, definitely. I, I, I think if you're, if you're Andy Bashier and you're looking at this, you, uh, you know, you're, you're looking at this is like, this is the way that I win. You know, what, what I'm looking at here, and I've got the precinct level information, uh, on my screen.

Bruce: Okay. Let me stop sharing. And you can throw that up.

Robert: Yeah. Uh, let's see here. Um, is it this one? I think we'll, uh, can you see that?

Robert: Uh, yes, now I can. Awesome. All right. Yeah, you can see Louisville, just a total domination, uh, are, are, you know, if you're listening and not watching on, on YouTube or however the video is shared, sorry for this, but you can just see it travel along 64 Franklin County, huge wins, Uh, did really well in Lexington. And you can see, um, these pockets of cities, uh, throughout this state. Uh, this is, Henderson did really well in Henderson County. Owensboro did quite well in, in Owensboro. Paducah, uh, did well, very well in Paducah, but not in McCracken County. Cuz you can see the rest of McCracken County is extremely, extremely, uh, yes onto Bowling Green. It did very well in basically all of Warren County. Um, it did quite well all the way out, you know, Georgetown, uh, Richmond, uh, this is eTown. No, eTown is over here.

Robert: What is this? I don't know. Uh, Nicholas? No, I don't know. I don't know what that is, but, uh, it, it did quite well in every small city across the state, uh, Covington, Northern Kentucky. Absolute domination for, for Noah to, and you can see, yeah, this is absolutely the plan that Andy Bashier and other Democrats could probably take on to and a good chance for them to, to declare victory in in 2023. Uh, let me move over. Let me see if I can pull this next one up. Uh, this Bruce is Amendment one, and you can see it's quite a bit different now. It won by eight points, which is a lot more than Amendment two. Uh, but one of the things was, is that it is much more spread out in the way that it won. And in eastern Kentucky, people were willing to vote yes or vote no on one, which is, you know, the more liberal position.

Robert: They were willing to vote no on one, but not on two, uh Right. Which I think that that's probably culturally telling. Uh, you know, that is probably the place where, you know, uh, ideology, anti-abortion sentiment is, is the most strong in the state, but also there's deep democratic roots in places like Pikeville and Lecher County and Floyd County. Uh, I think that this more than anything is kind of Andy Bee's path, where he really probably will do quite well in Eastern Kentucky. Uh, I think, you know, the, the Beier name has always been very good down in that part of the state. And, uh, I, I, I mean, I think that this is an eight point victory. Now, there were a hundred thousand fewer votes on Amendment one versus Amendment two. And as somebody that was handing out ballots all day, that's probably not surprising to you because Amendment one was, what, 500 words or something of Oh, legalese nonsense, <laugh>.

Robert: Oh, yeah. So I think that probably about a hundred thousand people saw it and said, I don't know what this means. I'm not gonna vote on it. Which, that's, that's appropriate <laugh>, if you don't know what it says, he probably shouldn't vote on it. But you can see here, uh, how, how a lot of the, uh, you know, really it really did kind of matter, uh, the, the amendment one versus two, and they were quite a bit different, even if the numbers were, were somewhat comparable. Uh, just for, for last, uh, comparison, this is the, the, the US Senate race. And this is Bruce. If you're saying like, this is a Democrat's path forward, that's the difference To me, this is the same election. This is an abortion amendment. There's nothing much more democratic than support for abortion rights. It won by Four Points. Charles Booker, a Democrat, Lost by 40.

Robert: I think the issue that we face is that the brand of the Democratic Party has a lot of issues in the state of Kentucky and a lot of states like Kentucky. I don't think it is our message. I don't think it's what we believe in. I don't think it's our issues. I think people in most of the state, people across this state, even in places like Louisville and Lexington, even people that agree with us on issues, they see the blue, they see the d, all they see are Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Nancy Pelosi, Barack Obama, and not who those people are really either just the car caricatures of those people as they're told on, on Fox News or whatever else. Uh, that's what they see. And and that's what Democrats really face is how, how can we rebuild the brand power of the Democratic Party because people agree with us, <laugh>. Yeah. That was, that's what, that's what I, I come away with, is how do we, how do we deal with that issue? Uh, and, and that's it.

Bruce: And of course, the next thing would be, well, Robert, how do you think we should deal with it?

Robert: Uh, that, that's just a really, really good question. I, I will say that, you know, in a lot of the conversations that I've had with, with Republicans and, and conservatives across this state, um, you know, I think the, the impressions that Democrats have of Republicans are just as bad as the ones that Republicans have of Democrats. You know, uh, Democrats see a Republican and think, you know, Donald Trump or George W. Bush, pick whichever one you feel like is worse. Um, and, and the reasons why I think the reasons why Republicans vote for Republicans is not because they, as voters don't believe in democracy or, you know, hate women or, uh, you know, want to support Insurrectionists. Uh, I think that the reasons for voting Republican have to do with anxiety around public safety, um, have to do with support for gun rights, have to do with, um, you know, attitudes towards work or whatever.

Robert: Um, and, and, you know, those are the, the places where we have these strong disagreements. And, and that's not really what we're talking about these days. And I think that, uh, you know, the, having conversations around those things requires a lot of nuance. It requires a lot of trust to get people to open up on those kinds of things. And, uh, getting people to kind of like both understand the Democratic positions on them, and then also to see what we would rather the government focus on, which is kind of support for people, um, uh, as they're try trying to, you know, as they're trying to establish themselves in our economy, stronger supports for families, uh, stronger supports for children, uh, better schools, better access to places like daycares, better access to, to pre-K, like those types of things, like getting people to focus on those issues. That, that's I think what wins more people over to the Democratic party. And I certainly hope that, uh, that that's something that we're gonna be able to do, uh, you know, in the near future, uh, on in Kentucky as well as nationally.

Bruce: Uh, let's take down the map, uh, so we can see your face more. Cool. Uh, yeah, I would agree with that. Uh, and that's a whole nother podcast for another day on what we need to do as Democrats in Kentucky. Uh, let's quickly go to national look and feel or look and see, how do you feel about the national results? Were you, let me put it this way. Were you surprised?

Robert: I guess there was, this was what I had hoped for, Um, am I surprised? I think that there was a range of things that I was expecting, and, uh, I guess like, I always tend to think more optimistically than really happens. And this was like, my optimistic thought was, you know, maybe John Federman will win in Pennsylvania. You know, I had high hopes for, for Tim Ryan in Ohio. Um, but, but that one I, I always felt was a little bit more of a stretch. Um, I do think, uh, you know, I, I, the, the North Carolina candidate, oh goodness, I can't think of her name. Uh, I can see a picture of her Beasley, Sherry Beasley, I think her name. I think that's right. I, I, you know, I didn't think that she had much of a chance, but I thought, you know, maybe on, on the best day, and of course, that window about as well as I'd hoped, you know, I thought that we had a chance in Wisconsin, but it, it ended up being about what I thought a, a few percentage points for Ron Johnson there.

Robert: Um, but I, I knew that Nevada was gonna be tough to hold. I knew Arizona was gonna be tough to hold, but I expected, uh, Senator Kelly to, to hold on there. And I knew that Rafael Warnock was probably gonna be the 50th senator. Um, I, I, I felt, I, I felt like, you know, all of that could have fallen apart. And it does look like both, um, Senator Kelly, Senator Cortez Maso and Senator Warnock are, are all well positioned going into today. I think the one that, uh, uh, we're, you know, Senator Warnock is definitely going to a runoff, and we are yet, we're, we're trying, waiting to see whether that will be for the 50th or the 51st seat for Democrats, which is great news. It Democrats have an incredibly good chance to hold the United States Senate, which just seems wild, uh, in a period where they had just 50 seats before.

Robert: In terms of the house, it's even better than I think we had hoped for. Uh, you know, the, the Democrats have a legitimate chance to actually hold onto the house, and we're looking at, if the Republicans take, take control, like at maximum they may have like a 15 seat majority, which is really hard to put together. And really more realistically, you're talking about like five or six seats or fewer for, for a Republican speaker. You know, that caucus is Wiley. It is, it is, it is broad. It is people who are mad about all kinds of things. There's already people that don't like, uh, the Republican leader, Kevin McCarthy on both the right and the middle of the Republican caucus. And being able to get enough people to support him for speaker is going to be really hard for him. And we may see multiple ballots for speaker.

Robert: Uh, that may be the first time, uh, you know, our new, um, member of Congress, Morgan McGarvey here in the third district in Kentucky. Uh, you know, I was like, Why would you want to go to Congress? I kind of thought about that, you know, I know that he doesn't wanna be in, uh, this Kentucky Senate anymore. That's the worst job in the world, I think. But he, uh, he, he took the jump to Congress and I was like, I don't know what you, you do up there. You just basically, uh, vote however your party tells you, and you don't get to even speak that much anymore. Right? He's gonna be in the middle of some real crazy stuff. Like, it's gonna be a pretty wild time in the, the US Congress, this, this, uh, next Congress. So, uh, get, get ready. I think no matter what happens, it will be wild if Democrats hold on.

Robert: You know, I think that party Unity is actually probably stronger in the Democratic party. Uh, I mean, if you get down to like two or three seats for a Republican majority, you could see some defections. I mean, there are still one, maybe two pro-Trump or pro, uh, I guess like anti Insurrectionists, <laugh>, pro impeachment Republicans. Hey, come on over here, give it, and you can be speaker, right? If, if it's like a one seat majority for the Republicans, like, go to that one guy and be like, If you wanna be the speaker of the house, we'll give you that job. Like, you know, that that could be something that happens. Uh, I, I think it's, it's, it's gonna be a wild time for legislating, uh, anyway, and it, it, regardless, it looks a lot better for Democrats in the house than we, uh, had thought before.

Robert: So, um, you know, and, and, and I mentioned Tim Ryan before, I think that there's like three Ohio House seats that probably flip to Democrats that wouldn't have been there, if not for him. Michigan had a great day, uh, on, on election day for Democrats. Uh, there, there are a lot of places across the, the country that, that did really well for Democrats. And weirdly, New York is probably what's gonna cost the Democrats a majority. Yes. Uh, which is just kind of weird to think about. Uh, a lot of weird stuff going up, going on in New York in the past few years though. So, uh, they gotta get their house in order, uh, as kinda the leaders of the party. So

Bruce: Yeah, that's, a number of people have said that the Democratic Party in New York is a train wreck and they're having internal fighting, and that's one reason that, that some of those things lost. We don't have time to get into it today would be an interesting discussion for another time, but I, I'm starting to look around the country at the number of states that now have a democratic trifecta, which is new. That's like, really? So, you know, that pendulum is swinging back the other way. Yeah. Um, so we're looking at a much better night than we thought. Uh, going forward. Let's, let's look at, if the Democrats hold it all, that's great. If they lose the house. We've got Jamie Comer being chair of the House Oversight Committee, and we've got Jim Jordan being head of the Judiciary Committee. So let's, let's wrap up, not wrap up, but let's talk quickly about what are the worst things that we see could happen if the Republicans take the house?

Robert: Oh, I mean, I think you just named him, I mean, Kevin McCarthy as speaker, if he is able to hold onto his caucus, like he is not a safe person to be around, I don't think. Like, I, I just don't, that's, that's kind of dangerous the way that his kind of approach to, to Trump kind of his, uh, I, I don't know, his kind of like blase attitude towards like the entire Democratic project of America. Like that's kind of scary. Uh, and yes, absolutely, like Jim Jordan. I mean, the fact that like the man has the past that he has with the allegations that haven't really ever been fully investigated around his, his wrestling team and the, the sexual abuse that went there, being given like a major position in American democracy is really a travesty. I mean, Jamie comer's deeply annoying as a person, but the Republican chair of the oversight committee always is who is the guy?

Robert: Trey Gowdy, remember him? He's not there anymore. What a, you know, whoever it <laugh>. Yeah. Uh, whoever holds that position is just a villain no matter what. And, and you know, James Comer, what a disappointment, Right? You know, when he ran for governor, it was, you know, it was kind of thinking like, well, maybe he would be so bad. He did a good job as agriculture commissioner kind of, I guess, like, and you know, he lost that primary to Matt Bevin went into Congress and just immediately became like the worst version of, uh, you know, a Trumpist Republican just saying like, just awful things in general. And it's just deeply disappointing as somebody or Republican who I did have a lot of respect for before. Uh, so, you know, that, that, that would be bad for sure. I mean, Marjorie Taylor Green getting our committee assignments back, that's a Kevin McCarthy thing.

Robert: But you know, the thing about Republicans across this country that I think like saying, or like normal Republicans have to cope with is like, in order for them to maintain their majority, they have to make community with anti-democratic people. They have to maintain, uh, you know, a community with people who believe that the January 6th insurrection wasn't a big deal, that think that those people are being prosecuted. There's no way for them to maintain their power while, but while going against that thought and, and the fact that that exists and that's the situation we find ourselves in as a country, makes it a very dangerous proposition for Republicans to be in charge. And, and that's the thing that I think is the scariest, especially in Washington dc

Bruce: I would agree. And I was hopeful that we would hold at least one of the chambers so we could at least stop that from being as bad as it could be.

Robert: We do still have the presidency, you know, luckily we got, uh,

Bruce: At least Joe at least for two more

Robert: Years. Yeah, exactly. Exactly. All

Bruce: Right. Robert Kahne, the co-host of my Kentucky podcast, and a good friend and an absolute guru when it comes to doing analysis of election results. Thank you so much for your time. Thank you for the work you do. And, uh, we will probably be having you back on again sometime in the next year to talk about, uh, that map and, and this year's gonna go with that map.

Robert: We got a lot to talk about in terms of Louisville. We didn't really get to, uh, I mean school board mayor, Metro Council, there's a lot of stuff there too. Maybe we'll come on and we'll do one about Louisville, because there is a lot of cool stuff there. But yeah, I appreciate it, Bruce. Thank you so much for inviting me on. You know, I love to talk about this stuff, so anytime you wanna do it.

Bruce: All right. That was a great interview with Robert Kahne about all the various things about the election and the results and the analysis and so and so forth. I really want to thank Robert for taking the time to be on the show and in fact, in his comments at the end. We've already decided to do another show in the next couple of weeks talking about the judicial races and about Louisville and Lexington specifically. Thank you for watching or listening. You can always catch the latest versions of these shows on our website, ky.com. We have Moving Kentucky, which is an interview show, which is available via podcast and video on YouTube. And we have the state of Kentucky, which are editorials by me, also available as a podcast and on YouTube. Again, check out forward ky.com and thank you for being with us.

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Bruce Maples has been involved in politics and activism since 2004, when he became active in the Kerry Kentucky movement. (Read the rest of his bio on the Bruce Maples Bio page in the bottom nav bar.)

Robert Kahne

Robert is a graduate of UK's Martin School for Public Policy. He works as a data scientist in Louisville, where he lives w/ wife Kelsey and their daughter. (Read the rest on the Contributors page.)

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