Opposing tendencies favor and hinder the vote towards that party against the Republicans, in a race marked by the influence of the presidency of Donald Trump.
For two years, the US Democrats have been enraged about the presidency of Donald Trump, have discussed among themselves on the best strategy to respond to it and, above all, have counted the remaining days until the next interim election month.
The biggest political issues that the Democrats face – it has to be said – are still to be decided on the night of the elections. But that does not mean that the stormy campaign season of 2018 has not already sent important signals, both encouraging and ominous, about the future of the Democrats against a Republican Party that Trump is reforming in his image.
Below is an attempt to identify some of the most important trends already evident on each side of that ledger for the Democrats, along with some crucial questions that follow, by far, unresolved.
The most encouraging trends for Democrats in 2018:
1. The middle class suburban discontent towards Trump is real and widespread.
The separation of the Republican Party among white voters who have at least a four-year university degree is more intense among women, but it is also evident among men.
And those voters are moving away from the Republican Party not only along the East Coast (through the suburban seats that Republicans occupy in New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Northern Virginia) and the West Coast (in a concentration of five seats occupied by the Republican Party in Los Angeles and another near Seattle) but, more importantly, also through the center of the country.
There, the Democrats seem destined to capture suburban seats outside of Minneapolis, Kansas City, Denver, Detroit, Chicago and Tucson; to have ‘fifty-fifty’ odds on other seats near Des Moines, Salt Lake City, Detroit and Chicago; and they have solid opportunities, although more challenging in Houston and Dallas. (More on it below).
When the Washington Post / Schar School poll recently surveyed voters in 69 of the most competitive districts of the House of Representatives, they found that Democrats led among white preferences with college education for a total of 13 percentage points; in comparison, Republicans in the House of Representatives had led among those voters by almost 20 margin points in both 2010 and 2014, according to exit polls. The Republicans gained control of the House of Representatives and the Senate respectively in those intermediate elections.
2. The Democratic Senate and Governor candidates in the Midwest are showing renewed competition among white working-class voters who were the key to Trump’s victories in the states that propelled him to the White House.
The current Democratic senators in Ohio, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania and Michigan – all states won by Trump – now appear to be solid favorites for re-election. The game is favored for the governors of Michigan and Pennsylvania, and is in closed races in Wisconsin, Ohio and Iowa, the fifth key state of the Midwest for Trump’s victory in 2016. And could recover up to four seats in the House of Representatives combined in Iowa and Michigan.
In each case, that’s at least in part because Democratic nominees are reporting much better numbers than Hillary Clinton among working-class white voters. Some of that might reflect what political professionals call “differential participation,” meaning that non-university whites who do not like Trump are more likely to participate than working-class whites who went to the polls to vote for him. in 2016, but who are not as enthusiastic about conventional Republican candidates.
But Trump also seems to have suffered a genuine erosion among working class white women, largely because of his attempt to repeal the Affordable Care Act and a feeling among many that the improvement of the national economy has not given them greater security. If that crack in Trump’s armor persists until 2020, it could provide the most important advance for Democrats in midterm elections.
3. In a party whose national leadership is clearly older and whiter than its younger and multiracial constituency, Democrats can transform their list of elected officials with a variety of young and diverse leaders.
They have elected the largest number of women as candidates in the elections for the House of Representatives, the Senate and governorships; They chose a wide range of talented young national security veterans (a surprising number of women as well) in the races for the House of Representatives; they selected African-American nominees for governor in three states, nominated Latinos in three others, as well as Native Americans in Idaho; and nominated several openly gay, bisexual or transsexual candidates in high-profile state positions (including Krysten Sinema in the Arizona Senate race and Jared Polis in the Colorado gubernatorial race).
It is not difficult to put together a list of candidates from the Democratic House of Representatives who could graduate very quickly for future Senate nominations if they win next month: Mikie Sherrill in New Jersey, Conor Lamb in Pennsylvania, Jason Crow in Colorado, Dan McCready in Carolina of the North, Amy McGrath in Kentucky and Colin Allred in Texas, among them. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez will come to Congress from New York City as an instant national figure among the progressives. If the challenger to the Texas Senate, Beto O’Rourke, wins or even recovers from his current electoral fall to end up with Republican Ted Cruz, he could quickly become a serious candidate for the presidency.
“The [Democratic] class of 2018 … will bring an extraordinary number of national security experts to Congress at a time when the United States needs to reinvent its role in the world,” said Simon Rosenberg, founder of NDN, a research group and Democratic defense. “I bet the next ‘John McCain’, a proud and passionate patriot, will come from this class and be a Democrat.”
4. The party has built a powerful national fundraising base among small donors.
The vision of a massive online fundraiser among small taxpayers persecuted in the presidential election by Howard Dean, Barack Obama and Bernie Sanders has exploded from a niche opportunity to a default option for Democratic candidates this year.
With the insatiable antipathy of the Democratic base towards Trump providing the fuel, the massive fundraising by the donors is providing the party with financial advantages that would not have been unimaginable long ago, especially now that the Democrats do not control any of the levers of finance. power of Washington.
The most notorious example of this revolution is O’Rourke, who raised $ 38 million in the third quarter of this year. But the most impressive thing can be the breadth of this financial river: the Campaign Committee of the Democratic Congress says that, in that third quarter, 30 Democratic candidates to the House of Representatives raised at least 2 million dollars, while another 30 raised minus 1 million dollars. Those numbers are unprecedented and suggest that the Democratic presidential candidate in 2020 will have all the money he can spend.
What is disappointing for the Democrats in 2018:
1. Trump’s provocations alone show few signs of improving lower participation patterns among Latinos and millennials, two Democratic electorates.
In the polls, both groups express a preponderant opposition to Trump’s position on cultural and racial issues. But most polls suggest that their turnout next month will plummet compared to 2016, as is often the case in the midterm elections. To aggravate the problem, when Latino participation sinks, the remaining in the voter group tend to be older and more Republican.
Democrats received encouraging news from Sunday’s ABC / Washington Post poll, which found much higher levels of youth participation than almost any other recent poll. But that result seems an outlier compared to most other surveys. And even if young people participate in slightly higher numbers, their share of the vote could decrease if they do not keep the pace of medium-term interest higher than usual among other groups of voters.
By 2020, millennials will significantly outperform baby boomers as a proportion of eligible voters, but based on their trajectory of participation they will continue behind them among real voters. That would be a huge opportunity cost for the Democrats, given that Trump gets consistently low ratings with that generation (apart from younger whites who are not college graduates).
2. Middle-class residents in the south still seem to be much more resistant to Democrats than elsewhere.
“Electorates there are definitely more conservative,” says Democratic pollster Geoff Garin. “A suburban Texas voter is not the same as a suburban New York voter or a Denver suburban voter.”
A wide range of recent surveys support that evaluation. In Texas, O’Rourke has shown clear progress among white voters with a college education compared to Democratic candidates across the state, but in recent polls it has stagnated at around 40%, insufficient to win.
New York Times / Siena College polls have found that Democratic candidates to the House of Representatives lag behind white people with college degrees at about 20 points in two suburban districts of North Carolina and at about 15 points in two suburban districts of Texas. Stacey Abrams, the candidate for African American Democratic governor in Georgia, has also shown little progress among those voters.
The big exception is Andrew Gillum, the African-American governor candidate in Florida, who has advanced competitively with those voters in various polls. But most of Florida is more North-like in its cultural affinities; the more general tendency is that the ambivalence about Trump still does not seem to be moving away from the Republican Party to a critical mass of inhabitants of the southern suburbs, many of them culturally conservative Christians.
3. Trump has not yet decisively tilted the southwest toward the Democrats.
As I wrote earlier, the term Democrats will need to deepen the Southwest in the long term to compensate for what is likely to be a slow erosion in the Great Plains and perhaps also in the Midwest states dominated by older white voters and workers who now they systematically favor the Republican Party (even if the Democrats cut those margins this year in the Midwest). Many Democrats waited, and Republicans feared, that Trump could alienate the southwestern states through his anti-immigrant agenda and the suspicion against free trade that works better in the industrial Midwest than in the Western states with less manufacturing and greater ties with Mexico and other global markets.
But the key states of the Southwest, although competitive, are still difficult battles for the Democrats. Democrats are favored in the gubernatorial campaigns in Colorado and New Mexico (more closely).
But they face a hot competition in Nevada’s gubernatorial and a likely crushing defeat against the governor of the Republican Party of Texas, Greg Abbot.
In Arizona and Nevada, Democrats are struggling in races to the Senate more often than many in the party wanted, or even expected. Meanwhile, recent polls have shown Cruz comfortably ahead of O’Rourke, despite huge crowds and Democratic fundraising.
Apart from the Texas governors race, Democrats could still rescue any of these battles. But its difficulty reflects the combined impact of the discouraging signs (1) and (2) just above: there is not enough participation (or margin) of Latinos and insufficient progress among suburban middle-class voters. Texas offers a variation on that equation that tilts even more toward the Republican Party, largely because of the (4) point:
4. Outside of a few key states in the Midwest, non-university whites in most places are still turning to Trump and the Republicans en masse.
That inclination is most evident in the South: in the latest Quinnipiac University Texas survey, Cruz not only scored an incredible 86% of white non-university men, but also nearly three-quarters of white working-class women.
In the New York Times / Siena polls, Republican nominees won about three-fifths or more of those voters in the four suburban districts of North Carolina and Texas that have polled. With a broader view, the Washington Post / Schar poll found that Republicans lead among non-university whites with double digits in the 69 districts of the disputed House of Representatives they surveyed.
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