Editor's Note: The Darsch Report is a new project of The Wendt, written by Nathan Darsch. Nathan has a deep interest in politics, and a natural talent for sorting through opinion and speculation to find the facts. The aim of the Darsch Report is to provide a short and understandable synthesis of the past week's events. It does not claim to be expert commentary, but a way for people to stay apprised of the facts behind the headlines, and determine what issues require personal research.
Let’s Get Right Into the News
Hello and welcome to the first installment of the weekly Darsch Report, this article will be providing some of the news for the week of Oct 22-28.
Up first is two stories I’m sure that many across the US have already heard about. A 56-y/o South Florida resident (I do not wish to perpetuate the name recognition that killers get after an act of terror) was arrested earlier this week on charges of interstate transportation of an explosive, illegal mailing of explosives, threats against former presidents and certain other persons, threatening interstate communications, and assaulting federal officers. The Aventura resident sent suspected pipe bombs to various citizens and figures in the Democratic Party including Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, Maxine Waters, Cory Booker, and George Soros. FBI agents found the man after finding his fingerprints, DNA and tracking his mobile phone data. The man was found at a vehicle parts shop with a van covered in pro-Trump and anti-Democratic on every window. In response to the event, President Trump stated that “These terrorizing acts are despicable and have no place in our country.” The man has a criminal record going back almost 30 years with charges including theft, fraud, battery and a 2002 bomb threat. He will be in U.S. District Court in Miami on Monday for a hearing before being prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the Southern District of New York.
On Saturday, Pittsburgh also faced its worst mass shooting ever after 11 people were killed at the Tree of Life synagogue. The shooter was a massive anti-Semite who reportedly laughed as he gunned people down and shouted: “All Jews must die”. The shooter has no previous criminal record. In response to the shooting Pope Francis led prayers for the victims on Sunday and President Trump ordered that all flags be put at half-mast for the remainder of Saturday and they continue to be at half-mast on Sunday. Trump also stated, “It’s a terrible, terrible thing what’s going on with hate in our country and frankly all over the world, and something has to be done,” and that the Synagogue could have used “some kind of protection,” then “it could have been a much different situation.”
Now let's move on to something less depressing. According to recent polling, things are looking very good for the Republicans in the Senate and maybe not so good in the House. On Real Clear Politics website, polling averages predict a GOP pick up of +3 giving the Republicans a 54-46 seat edge against the Democrats. RCP has the GOP winning the key states of Texas, Arizona, Tennessee, Nevada, Missouri, North Dakota, and Indiana but losing the states of West Virginia, Florida, and Montana. On 538 it is a different story with Nate Silver’s model predicting an average GOP gain of +0.8 seats as well as them losing both Indiana and Arizona. In the House, it is a much different story. In order to win a majority in the House, the Democrats need a net gain of +24 seats to meet the 218 seat mark. On RCP, they currently predict an average net gain of +24.5 seats with a pickup range anywhere from +10 to +39 seats. This greatly runs counter to 538’s model which currently has democrats averaging a net gain of +35 seats with a overall range from +55 to +19 seats. In my own opinion, I do not claim to know who will win the House but I do believe that no matter who wins they will control the House with no more than a +5 seat majority or a Democratic gain anywhere between +29 and +19 seats.
A lot of early voting data has also come out this week in many key states for this election. According to Target Smart, their target early record has more GOP affiliated being turned in in these key states (ballot lead): Arizona (114,025), Florida (106,634), Georgia (111,329), Tennesse (301,674), and Texas (401,161). The Democrats currently lead in these key states (ballot lead): Iowa (7,329), North Carolina (76,437), and Nevada (5,055). There are many more states than these on the list provided and I suggest everyone reading click on the link provided above so that they can get the full picture.
Stock Market and Growth
This week we have also had some very interesting numbers come out of the US stock market and from the current GDP growth estimate for the 3rd quarter of 2018. Over the past week, the Dow Jones has lost about 756.03 points (-2.97%), the S&P 500 has lost about 109.09 points (-3.94%), and the NASDAQ has lost about 281.82 points (-3.78%). A lot of the recent drop in stock market prices has come from fears that the FED will continue to raise interests, companies not making the earning investors wanted and some companies taking hits to their business from external and/or internal forces. Some of the pressure is also coming as an effect of the tariff war with China as companies like Caterpillar can’t continue taking the tariff hits and will be raising prices on their products. Although not all is lost with the economy as the Bureau of Economic Analysis has given out their first report on US GDP growth in the 3rd quarter of 2018. Their advanced estimate has put the US with a GDP growth of +3.5% with a second, more complete estimate set to be released on November 28th. This is good news for President Trump for both the midterm election and for the rest of the year as he now only needs a GDP growth rate of +2.1% in order to have a yearly GDP growth of +3.0% in his second year, a feat never accomplished by the Obama administration in their eight years. The closest to a +3.0% yearly GDP growth was +2.9% in 2015 with an average yearly growth rate of +2.14% between 2010-2016 (these years were chosen as they are the years Obama was president for a full year after the Great Recession).
For our last story of the day, we will be talking about the Brazilian General Election that is taking place on October 28th. The Social Liberal Party candidate Jair Bolsonaro has won over Worker’s Party candidate Fernando Haddad and will become president of Brazil starting January 1st of 2019. With 100% (9:00 pm San Antonio time) of the total votes having been reported and Bolsonaro leads with 55.1% of the total vote. Not only has a member of the Social Liberal Party become the president but they also made considerable gains in the Brazillian National Congress from the first round of elections that took place 7 October 2018. In the Chamber of Deputies, the PSL has become the 2nd largest party with 11.7% of the vote and 52 of 513 seats. In the Senate, they have finally gotten some representation by adding 4 new members to the 81 seat senate. Although only time will tell if the PSL will be able to form a coalition government with the other right-wing and center parties.
Jair Bolsonaro is a 63-year-old Brazilian politician and a former military officer and paratrooper. He has become known for his strong support of national conservatism and vocal criticism of many left-wing policies including same-sex marriage, abortion, affirmative action, and drug liberalization. He has also advocated for Brazil to have much closer relations to both the United States and Israel and he also advocates for economic liberalism and pro-market policies. Much of his recent infamy though has come from comments he has made in recent years where he believes that Brazil should reinstall the military dictatorship so that law, order, and stability can be restored to Brazil, his views on secularism, "God above everything. There is no such thing as this secular state. The state is Christian and the minority will have to change, if they can.”, and various comments made to/about women and homosexuals.