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National Govt & Politics
Do the 2017 results mean anything for the 2018 elections?
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Do the 2017 results mean anything for the 2018 elections?

Do the 2017 results mean anything for the 2018 elections?
Photo Credit: Jamie Dupree

Do the 2017 results mean anything for the 2018 elections?

As the vote totals rolled in on Tuesday, and Democrats chalked up election wins in Virginia, New Jersey and other states, the outcome sparked an immediate flurry of predictions about what will happen in the 2018 mid-term elections, and whether it would mean an electoral rebuke for President Donald Trump, with Democrats hoping to win back control of the House and Senate.

Here's a look at some of the election clues:

1. Is the GOP edge in Congress going to end in November 2018? This will be the biggest story line over the next year. Typically, there are losses in the first mid-term election for a President. And historically, we have seen the off-year election predict that type of outcome. Eight years ago, we were mulling the Republican victories in Virginia and New Jersey, and whether they indicated a big win for the GOP in 2010. They did - as 2010 was the year of the Tea Party wave, as the GOP won back the House in the first mid-term for President Obama. History shows us that President Trump has an uphill fight with history in 2018.

2. One GOP counter - blame Gillespie, but not Trump. From the other side of the world, President Trump quickly threw Virginia's Republican candidate for Governor under the bus for the 2017 election loss in the Old Dominion. "Ed Gillespie worked hard but did not embrace me or what I stand for," the President tweeted from South Korea. But to many who watched the Virginia race, Gillespie did try to embrace a number of political issues which were tied to Mr. Trump - and it didn't work. But you aren't that likely to hear such a message today on conservative talk radio and television.

3. Don't ignore the Virginia House of Delegates. Most people will focus on the Democratic wins for Governor in New Jersey and Virginia - but to me, the most important results of last night were the big gains that Democrats made for the state House in Virginia. The day began with a GOP advantage of 66-34 - with some recounts expected in close races, the scoreboard reads 50-50 at this point. That's a huge gain for the Democrats. What does it show? It shows a distinct edge for the Democrats in terms of energy, voter excitement, and maybe most importantly - local organization. The GOP had the edge in those categories in 2010. The pendulum could be swinging the other way for the Democrats in 2018.

4. What did the exit polls show about the 2017 elections? Back in 2016, President Trump was able to generate a big turnout of White Republicans. In 2017, it looks like Democrats were able to get their people to the polls. This is a simple kind of game - it's called turnout. The exit polls in Virginia showed an electorate that was identical in makeup to 2016 - 67% White, 21% Black, and 6% Hispanic. 2018 will be another election that boils down to a simple matter - which party can motivate their voters to get to the polls. Usually, mid-terms excite the party that is not in power in the White House. And just as Republicans used the Obama health law and his agenda to motivate their voters in 2010, Democrats will try to do the same in 2018.

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5. A message on the Obama health law from Maine. Voters in Maine left no doubt where they stand on the issue of expanding Medicaid coverage under the Obama health law - they were strongly for it, as a statewide referendum went in favor of that Medicaid expansion by a 59-41 percent margin. That's not a small victory, in a state where the GOP Governor was against the idea. It's also a reminder that despite a lot of Republican efforts over the last seven years, they still can't get rid of the Obama health law.

A lot could happen in the next year. But for now, Democrats seem to be on offense, and the GOP is playing defense.

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News

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  • A Monday morning British Airways flight scheduled to fly from London, England, to Dusseldorf, Germany, accidentally went to Edinburgh, Scotland, instead. >> Read more trending news  The error has been attributed to an incorrect flight plan filed by WDL Aviation, which operated the flight on behalf of British Airways, USA Today reported. This led the pilot and cabin crew to believe the flight was bound for Edinburgh. Air traffic controllers followed the same flight plan and saw nothing amiss, British Airways officials told The Associated Press. Zsófia Szabó, a passenger on the flight, told CNN she noticed something may have been amiss when she saw mountains outside the cabin window instead of the “usual German landscape.” A coworker brought up Google Maps on their phone, she said, and noted the plane was in Scotland. 'When we landed there was a bit of a hilarious moment when the flight attendant asked for a show of hands for the people going to Dusseldorf, which turned out to be everyone,' Szabó said. The pilot apologized to passengers, then announced the plane would refuel and head to Dusseldorf. Most passengers didn’t seem mad about the situation and instead found it funny, Szabó said. Why an incorrect flight path was filed remains unclear. 'We are working with WDL Aviation, who operated this flight on behalf of British Airways, to establish why the incorrect flight plan was filed. We have apologized to customers for this interruption to their journey and will deal with them all individually. Customers are on route to Dusseldorf currently,” British Airways spokesman Chip Garner said in a statement. WDL Aviation said they’re also investigating the incident: “We are working closely with the authorities to investigate how the obviously unfortunate mix-up of flight schedules could occur,' said WDL spokesperson Joachim Schöttes. “At no time has the safety of passengers been compromised. We flew the passengers on the flight with number BA3271 to Dusseldorf after the involuntary stopover in Edinburgh.” The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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  • A giant 9-foot alligator surprised golfers Sunday at a course in Savannah, Georgia, when it suddenly appeared out of nearby brush and lumbered across the links.  The reptile stopped the game at the Savannah Harbor Club on Hutchinson Island as stunned players gawked and gave the gator plenty of room. >> Read more trending news  One of the golfers captured the encounter on video, including the moment the creature decided to take a rest at the 17th hole. Savannah resident Ed Vance told IslandPacket.com he was getting ready to take a shot onto the 17th green when he heard a loud noise from nearby brush. “We all looked at each other and were asking, ‘What is that noise?’” Vance said. “At first, I thought it was the maintenance crew on the other side of the brush cutting it back or something.”  Then, a huge alligator ambled onto the course, heading for a pond just beyond the 17th hole. Vance said the reptile was so enormous, the sound of its feet hitting the course could be heard as it moved. “I will always remember the sound of his feet when he was walking on the green,” Vance said. “The video doesn’t pick it up, but the ‘thud, thud, thud’ sound was what you would think a dinosaur sounds like. It was surreal.” >> Related: Emotional support alligator visits senior home, is just like a dog, owner says After taking a quick pitstop on the links, the gator made its way to the pond and slithered in. The golf club isn’t too far from a wildlife refuge, so residents in the area are accustomed to seeing alligators and other wild animals, but Vance said he never expected such a giant gator to suddenly interrupt his golf game and he won’t soon forget it.