Signs and Portents for 2020?

     The November 5th elections signal a complete cycle (save for the Gubernatorial run-off in Louisiana) of off-Presidential year elections in the United States. If we can learn anything from this odd-year election it is that all the trends in elections since the 2016 Presidential election are unabated: The suburbs, especially amongst college-educated White women, have turned away from the Republican Party under Donald Trump, and may very well be calcifying.

     Oh, there were victories for Republicans, such as winning the Mississippi governorship, picking up seats in the New Jersey Legislature, and Washington state’s Referendum 88 being behind by a few percentage points (mail-in ballots are still being counted—or “discovered”). However there were even worse losses.

     In Kentucky, the Republicans won all but one state-wide race by large margins. However, the one they did lose is the governorship. In this case the lose was due primarily to the unpopular incumbent, Matt Bevin. But even then, a Left-ward shift could be seen.

     Some may hope that this is just due to “Trump Voters” who sat home and will only come out for Donald Trump. However…

     Even in Mississippi, where the Lt. Gov. defeated the still relatively popular Atty. Gen., there were noticeable shifts Left-ward.

     Mississippi also echoes a national trend seen in this election, and elections in 2018 and 2017: The suburbs are becoming more Democratic voting while Republicans are doing better in rural areas.

     While this is a beneficial trade-off in states like Mississippi, which was already highly Republican and more rural than many other states, it bodes ill for those states whose rural populations are much small compared to the growing suburban and exurban communities which are embracing the Democrats/Anti-Trump party. Far too many swing states don’t have enough rural votes to counter the massive shift in the suburbs/exurbs.

     Increasingly, the Republicans are risking everything on the hopes of a perfect storm that will sink the Democrats while letting them sail into safe harbors.

     No where was this more readily seen than with the Virginia Legislature, where the Democrats picked up both legislative chambers. In 2017, the Republicans were one seat away from a ⅔ supermajority, now at the end of 2019 find themselves in the minority. And no, this isn’t just an example of D.C. spilling out into Virginia, since the suburbs outside of the D.C. area also trended more Democratic, which will be exacerbated after redistricting.

     Virginia Legislative results demonstrate that 2020 will likely look bad for the GOP unless the Dem Presidential nominee somehow becomes worse than Hillary—something that most of the Democratic Presidential candidates seem hell-bent on achieving.… and even then GOP downballot will likely suffer regardless of the Electoral College outcome.

     At best, Donald Trump seems to be doing to the Republican Party what Barack Obama did to the Democratic Party; at worst the Republicans are simply picking up at an accelerated pace a demographic (White non-college educated working class) that was already trending towards them and will only net them marginal gains in elections while alienating at a rapid pace a moderate middle in the form of While college-educated suburbs and exurbs whose loss will likely exceed any of the aformentioned gains.

     Yet still, far to many are, instead of trying to understand why the GOP is driving away White suburban women, they double down on mocking them and telling them to just “get over it” and vote the way they are told to vote by the GOP. To a large degree such sentiment is being sold, not to the swing voters the GOP needs to pick-up, but to the recent converts who want to feel that they are the “true America” who have such power that they can easily afford to flip the bird to everyone else.

     All this does not mean that the Democrats will sweep the elections come November 2020, but it does underscore the hubris of many in the GOP—including the grifters and snake oil salesmen who profit off of the catharsis from telling those swing suburban voters to take a flying leap through a rolling doughnut—and their reliance on the Democrats to be so horrible that the swing voters will yet again put on þe olde clothespin and vote against the Democrats.

     Relying on your opponents to perpetually out-crazy you as a long-term strategy is suicidal.

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