What Last Week’s Election Tells Us About 2020

Looking at 2020.png

With last week’s election behind us, let’s look at the tea leaves to see what trends we might tease out to give us a sense of what we’re facing in 2020. Here’s a collection of thoughts from political writers at various outlets:

The national mood via FiveThirtyEight:

“[I]n Virginia, Democrats not only did well in absolute terms (they flipped two Senate seats and six House seats), but they also outperformed the FiveThirtyEight partisan leans1 of their districts in most of those races. … [Which is] consistent with a somewhat Democratic-leaning national mood, like the one we see in polls of the generic congressional ballot — though not nearly as Democratic-leaning as 2018, when Democrats won the House popular vote by almost 9 points.”

Voting patterns via The Atlantic:

“Amid all the various local factors that shaped GOP losses—from Kentucky to Virginia, from suburban Philadelphia to Wichita, Kansas—the clearest pattern was a continuing erosion of the party’s position in the largest metropolitan areas. Across the highest-profile races, Democrats benefited from two trends favoring them in metro areas: high turnout in urban cores that have long been the party’s strongholds, and improved performance in white-collar suburban areas that previously leaned Republican.”

Also: “Trump’s effort to mobilize his nonurban base around white identity politics is having the offsetting effect of turbocharging Democratic turnout in metropolitan areas, which are growing faster than Trump’s rural strongholds.”

The conservative vision via Vox:

“Kentuckians voted against Bevin because he pushed super unpopular — but standard — conservative policies. … [B]y defeating him, Kentuckians were also rejecting conservative vision of social programs. This doesn’t mean that Kentucky is going to turn blue, but it should send Republicans a warning sign nationwide about some of their most closely held ideas.”

Healthcare as an issue via Politico:

“Voters in Virginia and Kentucky sent a clear message on health care Tuesday night: Medicaid expansion and preexisting conditions are winning issues for Democrats, even as President Donald Trump and his allies try to undercut Obamacare.”

But: “Democrat Jim Hood made Mississippi’s gubernatorial race unusually competitive, but his support for Medicaid expansion in one of the poorest and unhealthiest states in the country wasn’t enough to win.”

Effect of gun reform spending via Vox:

“The nation’s most powerful gun rights organization [the NRA] was dramatically outspent in Virginia in 2019 by gun control organizations, helping Democrats gain control of the state legislature for the first time in more than two decades.”

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2 replies

  1. It’ll be interesting to see what this all means in 2020 in Kentucky. McConnell, like Bevin, is extremely unpopular. However, I think the Democrats in Kentucky were also helped by a good candidate with name recognition (Beshear was AG there, and his dad was governor, so the Beshear name carries currency in Kentucky)–a combination that’s difficult to replicate.

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