By 8 a.m. the Saturday before the elections, journalist Chuck Todd was locked and loaded for the 2018 midterms.
Chuck Todd with Sebastian the Ibis
“It’s the eye of the hurricane right now, eerily quiet. Our data is ready, the exit polls are written, the graphics are made,” the Miami native and Meet the Press moderator told the almost 300 guests gathered at Homecoming’s “Morning Spirits,” the 70th Anniversary breakfast of the University of Miami Law Alumni Association.
“It’s now in the hands of the voters; God bless ‘em or goddamn ‘em.”
By his side and whetting the part behind-the-scenes/part prediction conversation – was Jackie Nespral, the NBC affiliate WTVJ news anchor and UM graduate. The two veteran journalists lamented the role that Florida seems to play in every national election, foreshadowing the midterms still four days away.
“I think I can say this because I am fellow Floridian and I say this with love: have you ever had the last cup of coffee in the coffee pot?” Todd said. “It’s a little crunchy. We are America’s sediment. We get the good, the bad, and the Florida man.
“Florida is the microcosm of America,” the 46-year-old Miami native said. “Every major issue being debated in every single state right now, no matter what it is, is debated somewhere in Florida. We hype Florida a lot but even if you aren’t from Florida, you realize that Florida is the ballgame for the midterms. If Democrats win 40 seats but don’t win ether of the statewide races here, it’s not a good night.
“The perception of the midterms in terms of the president’s strength or weakness is going to depend on the direction of Florida. There is no path to the presidency for the Republican side without Florida,” he said “and it is becoming increasing clear that it is very difficult for Democrats to find a path without Florida.”
Outside of an opening salvo comparing Hurricane football fandom, the next 30 minutes unboxed not only possible election outcomes, conjecture regarding the ramifications for 2020, but also a what-went-wrong rehashing of polling projections in 2016.
The conversation drew to a close right where it started. “Go ‘Canes,” Todd said. “Beat Duke.”