What do we know now, that we didn’t know when the primaries started back in March?
After a long primary season (which ended last night), we are all eager to move on to general election campaigning season. It’s go time for all of us who are working to make sure our candidates are elected all over the nation.
Here’s what we’ve learned and what lies ahead:
✦ While midterms are often a referendum on whoever is in the White House, Democrats have largely focused on talking about healthcare, the GOP tax overhaul, and local kitchen-table issues. They aren’t focused solely on opposition to Trump.
✦ Republicans are sticking with Trump, and Trump’s endorsements moved the needle. Trump appears to be able to mobilize a cross-section of conservative voters, but with his approval numbers underwater, Republican candidates will have to figure out how to corral a coalition of voters.
✦ The number of women running for seats surged this year, and the primaries saw a lot of these women winning their nominations. Many candidates are poised to make history if they win in November. The Democrats are fielding a LOT more female candidates than the Republicans this year. You can see a complete rundown of women candidates here.
✦ People tracking enthusiasm, fundraising, and turnout through the primaries say that the momentum is on the Democratic side.
✦ More Native Americans ran for seats this year, and the House seems poised to welcome at least one to their ranks in November.
✦ Despite the avalanche of stories that they engendered, only 2 Republican and 2 Democratic incumbents in the House lost their primaries.
According to Sabato’s Crystal Ball, here is the basic landscape going into these final two months of campaigning:
Things the Democrats have going for them: Trump’s approval is low and underwater in some red states; strong disapproval numbers could energize Democratic voters; the generic ballot still favors the Democrats which could lead to gaining the majority in the House; the endangered Senate incumbents aren’t certain to lose; they are poised to flip a number of governors’ seats; & they are running a good number of very strong House challengers.
Things the Republicans have going for them: The economy is good; we’re not in the midst of a international crisis; the math favors them for the Senate; while Trump’s approval isn’t good it has also held steady; & the generic ballot polls indicate that the Democrats could fall just short of the 24 seats they need to flip the House.
Other issues that could affect the midterms: Any new developments from Mueller’s investigation into Russian interference; the effect of Trump’s tariffs and trade wars, especially in red states; & any unforeseen international or domestic crisis that develops between now and November.
So there you have it. The Democrats can win this, but we can also just miss out. The difference is each one of us getting in the game and helping our candidates get out the word and turn out our voters. Let’s go.