I have a new column up at The Federalist today, “The 2018 Midterm Results Leave Democrats Without A Roadmap For 2020.” It’s consistent with my pre-election “prediction” that “no one will learn anything” from the 2018 midterms, now bolstered by the results. The Cook Political Report’s Amy Walter has a piece up today making the roughly similar point that this week did not produce a “frontrunner” for Dems.
Since submitting my piece, it appears we will get a recount in Florida and possibly Georgia. I tend to doubt any change in the results, but even if there were, my analysis wouldn’t change much. That’s not partisanship or confirmation bias. Nate Silver, making an adjustment for uncontested 2018 races, produces a possible 2020 map where Georgia remains red and Florida remains Florida. A Dem win in one of those two states might affect their internal debate or struggle over choosing a presidential nominee, but it probably should not for the reasons discussed in the column and just stated here.
An additional point about the identity politics faction of the party was left out of my column for reasons of space and flow. I refer to “identity politics––or, to put it less pejoratively, representational politics.” That last phrase is there because it’s not like African-Americans like Stacey Abrams don’t have a point in their critique of their party. Georgia Democrats have offered up nepotistic candidates who were the relatives of old white Dems who won in GA once upon a time — and they’ve lost quite a bit. Given that history, it’s entirely rational to at least try a different approach. Laboratories of democracy, let 100 flowers bloom, etc.
I also could have written more about how Beto O’Rourke, for all of his faults, exposed some underlying issues in Texas. Fortunately, John Daniel Davidson made that dive in a piece at The Fed yesterday. I would add that some of the problem in Texas was weak candidates with scandal baggage — but that too is a symptom of an overly complacent state party.
I could have further analyzed Sherrod Brown — one of the few Dems who won a marquee race — as an exception to what was otherwise a bad cycle for Dems in Ohio. The Buckeye state seems like it may swing further right (at least during the Trump era) in a way that’s more like neighboring West Virginia than neighboring Pennsylvania. The fact that PA Dems had a very good night (not to mention MI, WI, even IA and MN) should serve as a warning to the GOP, but they weren’t the focus of today’s’ column.
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