ELECTION 2018: Democrats will take House, CNN analyst says

Nov 01, 2018

Bamberg County native and CNN political commentator Bakari Sellers speaks at Claflin on Oct. 30. “The House is going to flip because of white, college-educated suburban women,” Sellers told The Panther. This demographic is “put out” with the current administration. (Panther photo by Olanma Hazel Mang)

Bakari Sellers predicts a majority for Democrats in the U.S. House of Representatives but a Senate minority after the midterm elections.

Sellers, a political analyst at CNN, spoke about the Nov. 6 election during an Oct. 30 news conference with The Panther.
He said Republicans will most likely still hold the Senate majority after the Nov. 6 midterm elections.

“I don’t think the Democrats will win the Senate, but I think it’ll be closer than what people give them credit for,” Sellers said.

While the Democrats might struggle in Maryland, Georgia, Tennessee and South Dakota, states like Michigan, West Virginia, Arizona, Nevada and Florida will be definite wins for them, Sellers said.

“I think that Andrew Gillum will win,” Sellers said of the race for Florida governor. “If Andrew wins, Nelson wins, a lot of people in Florida win.”

A poll by the University of Florida showed the two senatorial candidates, Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson and Republican Gov. Rick Scott, in a tie with 45 percent of voters likely to vote for each candidate.

Gillum, who is the mayor of Tallahassee, Florida, and the Democratic gubernatorial candidate for the state, is running against Rep. Ron DeSantis.

According to the poll, 47 percent of likely Florida voters plan to vote for Gillum while 43 percent will vote for DeSantis.
There seems to be a blue wave washing over Florida with Gillum’s increasing popularity. It has been more than 20 years since Florida elected a Democratic governor in 1990. But Sellers thinks waves are just “political talk.”

“I think the only wave that you’ll see, for example, is a wave that will catch people in Florida and skip people in South Carolina,” Sellers said.

Not many people in South Carolina are excited about the elections, he said.

The Post and Courier of Charleston reported that Democratic candidate for governor, James Smith, is falling behind his opponent, Republican Gov. Henry McMaster.

Sellers said, “If there was a Democrat who could win, the Democrat would have the profile of James Smith.” But he thinks it will be an uphill battle.

“I do think that, in order of people who have the best probability to win, it goes: Joe Cunningham, Constance Anastopoulo and then James Smith.”

Cunningham is a first-time political candidate running in the 1st District congressional race against Republican Katie Arrington.

Anastopoulo, a litigator and ethics professor, is running against incumbent S.C. Attorney General Alan Wilson.
Sellers predicted a lot of people will leave the ballot blank in the attorney general race. “She’s running against probably the weakest statewide candidate we’ve had in a long time.”

Regarding the national races for the House of Representatives, Sellers said Democrats will lead the way.

“The House is going to flip because of white, college-educated suburban women,” Sellers said. This demographic is “put out” with the current administration.

The suburban votes in major cities like Philadelphia and Los Angeles are very crucial in determining the outcome of the elections, Sellers said. But until results from California come in, there is still uncertainty.

If Democrats recapture the House, Sellers thinks they will move to investigate President Donald Trump.

“But I hope their priorities are repairing the Affordable Care Act, improving the tax bill so that it doesn’t just benefit the top 1 percent, and we would like to take a peek into Trump’s tax records,” Sellers said.

Even though the election races in South Carolina might seem dull now, Sellers said young people still have to vote.

“If voting wasn’t so important, why do you think they try so hard to take it away from you?” he asked. “Every year they make it harder for people to vote, for young people to vote.”

He said young people need to talk more about things that matter to them, such as college education, student loans, health care, taxes, unemployment and job searches.

“Those are things that directly affect you,” Sellers said. “For you all who are college students, who are on this journey and educated, you guys have to begin to talk to your peers and your classmates about voting.”

The son of civil rights activist and former Voorhees College President Cleveland Sellers, Bakari is an attorney who in 2006 unseated Bamberg County state Rep. Thomas Rhoad, a veteran lawmaker who served in the House for 24 years. At age 21, Sellers was then the youngest lawmaker in the country.

After serving in the House for eight years, Sellers lost his 2014 bid for lieutenant governor to Republican candidate and current Gov. McMaster. He did not run for re-election to the House 90 seat.

Since then, he continues to practice law and is a frequent political commentator on CNN.

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