Wednesday, November 07, 2018

Four REAL Take-Away's from Tuesday's Midterm Elections

Forget what pundits are saying on CNN and in the NY Times.

This was not a repudiation of Trump and Trumpism.

This was not a re-alignment of the parties.

Let's look at what really happened in this election.

1. The South is Still the South

Democrats lost major races with charismatic candidates in Florida, Georgia, and Texas. Their strategy was built on turning out progressives and tapping in to the growing demographic shift in these southern states.

They fell short, and Florida once again showed it's really part of the South.

While demographics will continue to shift the Democrats way, now Republicans will have the chance to shore up and gerrymander their way to retaining control of the Old South for the next ten years. Florida especially was a major loss with implications for 2020 and beyond.

2. Blue-color Suburban Workers Voted their Pocketbooks, not their Values

Is the suburban Eisenhower Republican now a thing of the past, as extinct as the DoDo?

No, not really.

Yes, the wealthy, leafy suburban districts in New Jersey, New York, and California flipped Democratic, but don't fool yourselves. Those wealthy suburbanites with five acre horse farms are still card-carrying Republicans. What flipped were the blue-color, middle-class Catholic voters in closer-in, high-tax suburban enclaves that are also part of these same districts.

Those blue-collar voters in high-tax states were killed by the Republican tax "cuts." Theirs were the taxes that actually went up, and the ones most concerned about holding on to healthcare. They flipped because they've been paying through the nose for everyone else's economic "miracle."

3. The Trump Trade War Cost Him the Upper Midwest

While the Trump Street Journal crows about how Trump is really a classic Republican, they conveniently overlook all of Trump's populist, anti-conservative economic policies.

Like huge deficits

Like trade wars

Those policies have hit home in states like Kansas, Wisconsin, Michigan, and Minnesota where conservative voters like trading with Canada and China, and reigning in interest rates, more than they like bashing immigrants.

4. Democrats Won the Easy Stuff and Lost the Hard Stuff. The Next Time Won't Be So Easy

Flipping college-educated suburban voters hurt by higher taxes, scared by gun violence and antisemitism, and anxious over exploding deficits, slowing housing markets, and a plunging stock market wasn't too hard.

Trump voters don't have stock portfolios and Jewish lawyers and so don't care about those things. They are having too much fun bashing liberals.

Now all the moderates have been flipped and we are left with true deep red and blue, country and urban, two Americas that can't stand, let along talk to, each other.

Where do Democrats go from here in 2020?

In 2016, Democrats got a wake up call - they can't simply coast to elections any more. They woke up, and finally, in 2018, they organized.

But in 2020, that won't be enough.

They need to now start doing  what Republicans have been doing for 30 years - building grass roots money, activists, and think tanks, caring about and electing the right judges, controlling state houses, drawing favorable districts, and staking out sustained, simple, mass media positions that can make inroads in the general population. That is, doing hard work, day after day, to change the conversation, the election game, and the story.

Anything less and they will be sorely disappointed.

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