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‘Red Wave’ Becoming More Likely In Eyes Of Political Forecasters

‘Red Wave’ Becoming More Likely In Eyes Of Political Forecasters

Authored by Nanette Holt via The Epoch Times (emphasis ours),

Election forecasters…



'Red Wave' Becoming More Likely In Eyes Of Political Forecasters

Authored by Nanette Holt via The Epoch Times (emphasis ours),

Election forecasters changed their predictions on June 15 on the expected outcomes of four November midterm elections.

Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) walks on Capitol Hill in a file image. (Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images)

They based those decisions partly on the way voters in four states cast ballots the day before. The changes signaled expectations of improved chances for victory for Republicans in two Texas congressional races and Vermont’s gubernatorial race.

Only one revised prediction showed diminished confidence in a Republican’s chances to win in the fall. That slight downgrade was aimed at the ability of incumbent Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) to hang on to his seat in the U.S. Senate. But Lee is still expected to prevail.

The tweaked predictions about the upcoming fall Election Day come after voters waited in line on June 14 for a South Texas special election and for primaries across Maine, Nevada, North Dakota, and South Carolina.

Nevada Congressional District 4 Republican candidate Sam Peters and supporters call on voters at the Centennial Center in Centennial Hills north of Las Vegas to vote for him in Nevada’s June 14, 2022, primary. (John Haughey/The Epoch Times)

“In the aftermath of these contests, we’re making 4 rating changes, although 2 of them are in states that didn’t have elections on Tuesday,” the editors of Sabato’s Crystal Ball announced on June 15.

Crystal Ball pundits nudged their prediction that the November winner in the 34th Congressional District in Texas would be “Likely Democratic.” Previously, they had said that the race “Leans Democratic.” The change means that they now expect the race to be closer than they originally predicted.

It’s an unusual contest because of the circumstances.

On June 14, Mexican-born Republican Mayra Flores won a special election in the district for the seat vacated by a Democrat who resigned to take a job at a Washington law and lobbying firm.

Flores bested Democrat Dan Sanchez, winning 51 percent of the vote to his 43 percent. Her victory flipped the heavily Hispanic district.

Crystal Ball had predicted her victory correctly with the rating “Leans Republican.” And even Elon Musk wrote on Twitter: “I voted for Mayra Flores—first time I ever voted Republican. Massive red wave in 2022.”

An unusually low number of voters—about 29,000—cast votes in the Texas race. The midterm election four years ago brought out about 143,000 voters.

But the win only secures the spot for Flores until the fall.

Mayra Flores (C) speaks to supporters after winning the Texas 34th Congressional District special election in San Benito, Texas, on June 14, 2022. (Bobby Sanchez for The Epoch Times)

On Nov. 8, she must face Rep. Vicente Gonzalez (D-Texas), who currently represents Texas’s 15th Congressional District. Redistricting put the home of Gonzalez, a moderate Democrat, within the boundaries of the newly-drawn District 34.

So the fall Flores–Gonzalez match-up pits incumbent against incumbent in an area won by Joe Biden in 2020.

Based on that, the poor environment for Democrats, and the encouraging performance for Republicans in Tuesday night’s special election [win by Flores], we’re going to shift the rating,” Crystal Ball editors wrote.

The move shows increased confidence in Flores’s ability to put Gonzalez on the ropes, but the editors still predict that the Democrat holds the advantage.

Partly because of Flores’s strong performance on June 14, analysts with Crystal Ball also switched their prediction for the race to win the District 15 seat being vacated by Gonzales. The fall contest had been listed as “Leans Republican,” but was changed on June 15 to a stronger, “Likely Republican” prediction.

Analysts with Cook Political Report and Inside Elections have also predicted that the Republican candidate, Monica De La Cruz, will dominate. There are no incumbents in the District 15 race.

“We see this as a clearer GOP pickup in the fall,” Crystal Ball analysts wrote.

That’s partly because midterm elections usually don’t favor the president’s party in open-seat districts that didn’t vote for him in the previous presidential election.

And Flores’s victory is “just another piece of evidence that we’re headed for a typical midterm election in which the president’s party is punished by voters,” wrote analyst Nathan Gonzales of Inside Elections.

That matters because all 435 seats in the U.S. House of Representatives are up for reelection on Nov. 8. Currently, there are 209 Republicans, 220 Democrats, and six vacancies in that chamber of Congress. To hold onto control of the House, Democrats can have a net loss of only two seats.

The U.S. Capitol on March 8, 2021. (Erin Scott/Reuters)

In the U.S. Senate, 34 of the 100 seats are on the ballot. Democrats currently control that chamber as well, even though there are 50 Republican senators and only 48 Democrats. That’s because two independent senators caucus with the Democrats and Vice President Kamala Harris casts tie-breaking votes.

If they don’t lose any seats, adding just one more would allow Republicans to recapture control of the Senate. Inside Elections predicts that the Republicans will score a net gain of one to three seats, tipping the balance of power back into the hands of Republicans in the fall.

Even so, Crystal Ball analysts downgraded confidence in Lee’s ability to hang on to his Senate seat representing Utah, moving him out of the “Safe Republican” category. They say the race now is only “Likely” to be held by the Republican incumbent.

Lee still “remains clearly favored,” Crystal Ball’s editors wrote. But he faces a “high-profile challenger in 2016 presidential candidate Evan McMullin, an independent.”

McMullin had been a Republican, but left the party in 2016 and became an option for anti-Trump conservatives when he ran for president.

Lee will likely leave his two primary challengers in the Utah dust on June 28, politics watchers agree.

But the race is considered competitive because McMullin earned the endorsement from the Utah Democratic Party, which could prove valuable. Also, the state’s other senator, Republican Mitt Romney, dealt Lee a blow by withholding an endorsement for his Republican colleague.

Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah) walks through the Senate subway during a vote on Capitol Hill on Feb. 16, 2022. (Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images)

Although they still expect Lee to come out on top, Crystal Ball editors downgraded his chances of victory slightly on June 15.

“The Lee–McMullin contest seems to have a little more intrigue than your average Safe Republican Senate race,” they wrote.

There was better news for incumbent Vermont Gov. Phil Scott, a Republican. Crystal Ball pundits showed increased confidence in his victory by upgrading their predicted outcome for his fall election from a “Likely Republican” win. They now consider Scott to be a “Safe Republican.”

Although Vermont is “one of the most Democratic states in the country,” Crystal Ball analysts said that “Scott often ranks among the country’s most popular state executives.”

He has irked Republicans by signing legislation to tighten Vermont’s gun laws and aligned more closely with Democrats on COVID-19 measures.

But if Scott gets past a challenge from two other candidates in the state’s Aug. 9 primary, forecasters at Crystal Ball wrote, “We would not be surprised if he cleared 60% in the general election—as he did in 2020. Vermont voters have not ousted an incumbent governor since 1962.”

Tyler Durden Fri, 06/17/2022 - 17:00

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Costco Tells Americans the Truth About Inflation and Price Increases

The warehouse club has seen some troubling trends but it’s also trumpeting something positive that most retailers wouldn’t share.



Costco has been a refuge for customers during both the pandemic and during the period when supply chain and inflation issues have driven prices higher. In the worst days of the covid pandemic, the membership-based warehouse club not only had the key household items people needed, it also kept selling them at fair prices.

With inflation -- no matter what the reason for it -- Costco  (COST) - Get Free Report worked aggressively to keep prices down. During that period (and really always) CFO Richard Galanti talked about how his company leaned on vendors to provide better prices while sometimes also eating some of the increase rather than passing it onto customers.

DON'T MISS: Why You May Not Want to Fly Southwest Airlines

That wasn't an altruistic move. Costco plays the long game, and it focuses on doing whatever is needed to keep its members happy in order to keep them renewing their memberships.

It's a model that has worked spectacularly well, according to Galanti.

"In terms of renewal rates, at third quarter end, our US and Canada renewal rate was 92.6%, and our worldwide rate came in at 90.5%. These figures are the same all-time high renewal rates that were achieved in the second quarter, just 12 weeks ago here," he said during the company's third-quarter earnings call.

Galanti, however, did report some news that suggests that significant problems remain in the economy.

Costco has done an incredibly good job at holding onto members.

Image source: Xinhua/Ting Shen via Getty Images

Costco Does See Some Economic Weakness

When people worry about the economy, they sometimes trade down when it comes to retailers. Walmart executives (WMT) - Get Free Report, for example, have talked about seeing more customers that earn six figures shopping in their stores.

Costco has always had a diverse customer base, but one weakness in its business may be a warning sign for its rivals like Target (TGT) - Get Free Report, Best Buy (BBY) - Get Free Report, and Amazon (AMZN) - Get Free Report. Galanti broke down some of the numbers during the call.

"Traffic or shopping frequency remains pretty good, increasing 4.8% worldwide and 3.5% in the U.S. during the quarter," he shared.

People shopped more, but they were also spending less, according to the CFO.

"Our average daily transaction or ticket was down 4.2% worldwide and down 3.5% in the U.S., impacted, in large part, from weakness in bigger-ticket nonfood discretionary items," he shared.

Now, not buying a new TV, jewelry, or other big-ticket items could just be a sign that consumers are being cautious. But, if they're not buying those items at Costco (generally the lowest-cost option) that does not bode well for other retailers.

Galanti laid out the numbers as well as how they broke down between digital and warehouse.

"You saw in the release that e-commerce was a minus 10% sales decline on a comp basis," he said. "As I discussed on our second quarter call and in our monthly sales recordings, in Q3, big-ticket discretionary departments, notably majors, home furnishings, small electrics, jewelry, and hardware, were down about 20% in e-com and made up 55% of e-com sales. These same departments were down about 17% in warehouse, but they only make up 8% in warehouse sales."

Costco's CFO Also Had Good News For Shoppers

Galanti has been very open about sharing information about the prices Costco has seen from vendors. He has shared in the past, for example, that the chain does not pass on gas price increases as fast as they happen nor does it lower prices as quick as they sometimes fall.

In the most recent call, he shared some very good news on inflation (that also puts pressure on Target, Walmart, and Amazon to lower prices).

"A few comments on inflation. Inflation continues to abate somewhat. If you go back a year ago to the fourth quarter of '22 last summer, we had estimated that year-over-year inflation at the time was up 8%. And by Q1 and Q2, it was down to 6% and 7% and then 5% and 6%," he shared. "In this quarter, we're estimating the year-over-year inflation in the 3% to 4% range."

The CFO also explained that he sees prices dropping on some very key consumer staples.

"We continue to see improvements in many items, notably food items like nuts, eggs and meat, as well as items that include, as part of their components, commodities like steel and resins on the nonfood side," he added.


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Under Pressure From Fat Activists, NYC Bans Weight Discrimination

Under Pressure From Fat Activists, NYC Bans Weight Discrimination

Discriminating against fat people is now illegal in New York City, after…



Under Pressure From Fat Activists, NYC Bans Weight Discrimination

Discriminating against fat people is now illegal in New York City, after Mayor Eric Adams on Friday signed off on a ban that will affect not only employment, but also housing and access to public accommodations -- a term that encompasses most businesses. 

We're in safe company using the word "fat," as champions of the cause refer to themselves as "fat activists." With the mayor's signature, two more categories -- both weight and height -- are added to New York City's list of protected personal attributes, which already included race, gender, age, religion and sexual orientation. 

As Mayor Adams signs the law, self-described (and everyone else-described) fat activist Tigress Osborn consumes more than her share of the backdrop (James Messerschmidt for NY Post)

Embracing one of 2023's innumerable strains of Orwellian brainwashing, Adams declared, "Science has shown that body type is not a connection to if you’re healthy or unhealthy. I think that’s a misnomer that we’re really dispelling.”

Even the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention say obesity is an invitation to a host of maladies, including to high blood pressure Type 2 diabetes, coronary heart disease, stroke, gall bladder disease, many types of cancer, mental illness and difficulty with physical functioning. 

“Size discrimination is a social justice issue and a public health threat," said Councilmember Shaun Abreu, who introduced the measure. "People with different body types are denied access to job opportunities and equal wages — and they have had no legal recourse to contest it," said Abreu. "Worse yet, millions are taught to hate their bodies." 

A full 69% of American adults are overweight or obese, but our woke overlords would have us believe the real "public health threat" is a nice restaurant that doesn't want Two-Ton Tessie working the reception desk, or a landlord who's leary of a 400-pound man breaking a toilet seat or collapsing a porch.  

The enticingly-named Tigress Osborn, who chairs the National Association to Advance Fat Acceptance, said New York's ban "will ripple across the globe" -- perhaps something like what would happen if the hefty Smith College Africana Studies graduate were dropped into a swimming pool.  

Councilmember Shaun Abreu said he gained 40 pounds during the pandemic lockdowns and noticed people treated him differently

The New York Times reports that witnesses who testified as the measure was under consideration included "a student at New York University said that desks in classrooms were too small for her [and] a soprano at the Metropolitan Opera [who] said she had faced body shaming and pressure to develop an eating disorder." 

Some have dared to speak out against the measure. “This is another mandate where enforcement will be primarily through litigation, which imposes a burden on employers, regulators and the courts,” said Kathryn S. Wylde, president of the Partnership for New York City, speaking in April. 

Implicitly putting the weight ordinance in the same category as Brown vs Board of Education, Abrue said, “Today is a monumental advancement for civil rights, size freedom and body positivity and while our laws are only now catching up to our culture, it is a victory that I hope will cause more cities, states and one day the federal government to follow suit.” 

Taking effect in six months, the law has an exemption for employers "needing to consider height or weight in employment decisions" -- but "only where required by federal, state, or local laws or regulations or where the Commission on Human Rights permits such considerations because height or weight may prevent a person from performing essential requirements of a job." 

We pray there's a federal exemption for employers of strippers and lap dancers. 

Think we're joking? We remind you that the chair of the National Association to Advance Fat Acceptance is named "Tigress" -- and this is her Twitter profile banner photo:

via Tigress @iofthetigress
Tyler Durden Sun, 05/28/2023 - 15:30

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‘Kevin Caved’: McCarthy Savaged Over Debt Ceiling Deal

‘Kevin Caved’: McCarthy Savaged Over Debt Ceiling Deal

Update (1345ET): The hits just keep coming for Speaker Kevin McCarthy, as angry Republicans…



'Kevin Caved': McCarthy Savaged Over Debt Ceiling Deal

Update (1345ET): The hits just keep coming for Speaker Kevin McCarthy, as angry Republicans have been outright rejecting the debt ceiling deal which raises it by roughly $4 trillion for two years, doesn't provide sticking points sought by the GOP.

In short, Kevin caved according to his detractors.

Some Democrats aren't exactly pleased either.

"None of the things in the bill are Democratic priorities," Rep. Jim Himes (D-CT) told Fox News Sunday. "That's not a surprise, given that we're now in the minority. But the obvious point here, and the speaker didn't say this, the reason it may have some traction with some Democrats is that it's a very small bill."

*  *  *

After President Biden and House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) struck a Saturday night deal to raise the debt ceiling, several Republicans outright rejected it before it could even be codified into a bill.

Here's what's in it;

  • The deal raises the debt ceiling by roughly $4 trillion for two years, and is consistent with the structure of budget deals struck in 2015, 2018 and 2019 which simultaneously raised the debt limit.
  • According to a GOP one-pager on the deal, it includes a rollback of non-defense discretionary spending to FY2022 levels, while capping topline federal spending to 1% annual growth for six years.
  • After 2025 there are no budget caps, only "non-enforceable appropriations targets."
  • Defense spending would be in-line with what Biden requested in his 2024 budget proposal - roughly $900 billion.
  • The deal fully funds medical care for veterans, including the Toxic Exposure Fund through the bipartisan PACT Act.
  • The agreement increases the age for which food stamp recipients must seek work to be eligible, from 49 to 54, but also includes reforms to expand who is eligible.
  • Claws back "tens of billions" in unspent COVID-19 funds
  • Cuts IRS funding 'without nixing the full $80 billion' approved last year. According to the GOP, the deal will "nix the total FY23 staffing funding request for new IRS agents."
  • The deal includes energy permitting reform demanded by Republicans and Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV)
  • No new taxes, according to McCarthy.

Here's McCarthy acting like it's not DOA:

Yet, Republicans who demanded deep cuts aren't having it.

"A $4 trillion debt ceiling increase?" tweeted Rep. Andrew Clyde (R-GA). "With virtually none of the key fiscally responsible policies passed in the Limit, Save, Grow Act kept intact?"

"Hard pass. Hold the line."

"Hold the line... No swamp deals," tweeted Rep. Chip Roy (R-TX)

"A $4 TRILLION debt ceiling increase?! That's what the Speaker's negotiators are going to bring back to us?" tweeted Rep. Dan Bishop (R-NC). "Moving the issue of unsustainable debt beyond the presidential election, even though 60% of Americans are with the GOP on it?"

Rep. Keith Self tweeted a letter from 34 fellow House GOP members who are committing to "#HoldTheLine for America" against the deal.

"Nothing like partying like it’s 1996. Good grief," tweeted Russ Vought, President of the Center for Renewing America and former Trump OMB director.

In short:

Tyler Durden Sun, 05/28/2023 - 11:30

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