What the midterms mean for the Democrats’ 2020 hopes


In Tuesday’s midterm elections, Democrats captured control of the House of Representatives for the first time since 2010. But they lost the Senate decisively, as well as some closely-watched and hard-fought gubernatorial races. While the party had high hopes for a long-shot takeover of the Senate, the numbers just weren’t there, as Democratic incumbents Bill Nelson (Florida), Heidi Heitkamp (North Dakota), Claire McCaskill (Missouri), and Joe Donnelly (Indiana) were defeated. And while Beto O’Rourke ran well ahead of Hillary Clinton (or any statewide Democrat in the last 20 years), he lost his bid to unseat Republican Sen. Ted Cruz in Texas.

The results set up a narrative battle: For Democrats who had hoped for a comprehensive defeat of the forces of Trumpism, certainly the night could have gone better. At the same time, given the headwinds of gerrymandering and partisan clustering in the House, Democrats should be thrilled with their substantial gains; they will make it much harder for Republicans to recapture control in 2020.

In the Senate, it appears that President Trump’s closing-weeks gambit of ramping up fear and paranoia about illegal immigration may have succeeded in shoring up the GOP’s narrow majority and rescuing gubernatorial candidates in Florida and Ohio in races that had looked like toss-ups in the lead-up to Election Day. While there was no sign of it in the early voting numbers or the closing surveys from CNN and Gallup, the GOP appears to have somewhat outperformed its polling in places like Florida, Ohio, Indiana, and Missouri for the third consecutive election cycle. If those numbers hold up, it means that pollsters are going to have to fundamentally revisit their models of turnout and the electorate in a number of states to take into account not just recent results but what might be a lasting transformation of their electorates wrought by Trump.

Beyond the House and the Senate, Democrats made significant and consequential gains, if not as many as they had hoped. In the Rust Belt, where Trump famously and unexpectedly sealed his Electoral College victory, Democrats won governorships in Wisconsin, Illinois, and Michigan, while holding on in Minnesota and Pennsylvania. Basically Republicans have been almost voted out of executive power in the Midwest. For a president whose hopes for re-election run directly through territory that was lost pretty decisively in this midterm cycle, the sudden shift in GOP fortunes in this …read more

Source:: The Week – Politics


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