The Democrats Now Have Less of a Headache
A quick take on the 2018 Midterms makes for optimistic reading. Despite the headline failures.
Everything told me it was going to go exactly the way it did: the Dems take the House, the GOP take the Senate (albeit more handsomely than expected). And we weren’t consumed by a Blue Wave, either. I could hear the headlines already and I was gutted for Beto, and Gillum, and Abrams
On reflection, I’d say it was a better night for Democrats than I immediately thought. We have to park conventional wisdom at the moment because Donald Trump is neither conventional, nor wise. A Blue Wave never materialised, sure. But they did achieve a net gain of 35 seats in the House; that’s the most since before 1976. Democrats also have to remember, they’ve spent 80% of the last decade in the White House. So like it or not – a *lot* of people voted for the current administration. There is reason why the one term president is a rare beast and expectations have to be set accordingly. For example, half way through George Bush Snr’s only term, the Democrat net House gain was one third of what it was this week and the Democrats were still able to beat him second time round.
To see a sea-change in opinion in a short space of time was always unlikely, despite a media hype in the last 4 weeks. If the Democrats are serious about dethroning the fillet-o-freak in two years’ time, then there are lessons to be learnt and comfort to be taken from this week.
Firstly, it was a night of ‘first’. All of which can be attributed to the Dems. The youngest female Congress woman ever now sits, the first Palestinian American elected, first openly gay Governor, first native American, (shockingly) the first female Senator from Tennessee elected, and there are two Muslim Congress women. All of which boosts the Democrats’ direction, morale and resolve to win.
None of this will worry King Donald, or even the more considered Republicans. What will worry them though, is their loses in Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, and Michigan. Democrats should avoid schadenfreude, but there is a gloriousness to Scott Walker’s career finally ending because of a rule he so enthusiastically passed, disallowing him a recount.
Aside from Walker, neither state (WI, PA, MI) attracted the ‘big hitters’ (i.e. Beto) they were though all states that Trump won, one state that Hilary infamously avoided, all states that any President *has* to win, and all states that Democrats did well in this week.
Finally, the Independents were key. Trump carried the independents, and, much like the aforementioned states above, they are absolutely necessary to win for any president. Trump won them in 2016 by 4%. He lost them by 12% yesterday. A 16% swing from such a large group in two years will worry any sane observer. And, as someone who has flirted with both parties, it might even worry man himself.
Finally, finally, the Democrats ought to take comfort from the white, educated woman swinging against the GOP. Even if America stands still between now and 2020, those swings are enough to change the White House.
American voters standing still for two years? Unlikely. But not impossible. Amongst a night of firsts, the midterms stuck to tried and tested American sentiment: Florida remained a swing state- with talk of a recount at time of writing- the southern states continued to seep blue, and the Democrats’ rainbow coalition is becoming more and more colourful – none of which will change the outcome of 2020.
Democrat progress in the rust belt and an independent wing. Just. About. Might.