Midterm Post-Mortem Grab Bag

Koz Freamon

Koz is a regular commenter on Ordinary Times.

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16 Responses

  1. Michael Cain says:

    You need to expand your Arizona thoughts to pretty much the entire West. The West was the only reasonably bright regional light for the Democrats in 2016, and was even better in 2018 — won everything that could realistically be considered winnable, held everything that was already in hand. One interesting perspective, and an important one IMO, is the type of ballot initiatives that are winning even in red western states.

    The California Diaspora is a thing. Despite Texas’s propaganda, though, a sizeable majority of Californians who leave their state move to other western states. (For various good reasons, Texas should not be considered a western state, and the Census Bureau doesn’t.) But that Diaspora isn’t the only thing.Report

    • Jesse in reply to Michael Cain says:

      Ironically, if the vote was limited to only people who were born in Texas, Beto would be a Senator-elect right now.Report

      • Michael Cain in reply to Jesse says:

        Beto was born in and represents the part of Texas that most resembles a western state. I’m occasionally curious about whether El Paso would be happier if a bit of that corner of Texas were nipped off and attached to New Mexico. The city’s politics certainly look more like New Mexico’s than they do like Texas’s.Report

        • J_A in reply to Michael Cain says:

          This is probably a very good place to link to 538.com’s analysis of the electoral trends in Texas.


          One of the most interesting items is that five counties in Texas (handsomely won by Beto) represent 43% of the voters. The other 57% is distributed among 249 counties. In Harris county (Houston), Dems won 100% of the races. Every.Single.One of them.All the way to Probate Judges or Justices of the Peace

          Divorce or war? How do Houston, Dallas/Ft. Worth, San Antonio, Austin, divorce from Texas? Please tell us, @jaybird. We really want out.Report

          • Koz in reply to J_A says:

            Obviously Texas is part of the demographic trends facing America as much as anything else but the idea that Texas is _this close_ to tipping is an illusion that has more to do with Ted Cruz than anything else.

            We’ve found out that, controlling for ideology, Ted Cruz is a uniquely repellent person. I actually find that’s kind of a shame really. Given how much we as Americans have abused God’s blessings, we could hardly complain if we ended up being ruled by a humorless scold like Ted Cruz. That said, it does seem pretty poor as a vote-getting strategy.Report

          • Michael Cain in reply to J_A says:

            Yeah, Texas is all sorts of its own thing. Houston is more like Atlanta geographically demographically, El Paso looks like Phoenix. Rural East Texas is full of small towns with their own Confederate monuments, far West Texas is about Hispanic families that were there before the Pilgrims arrived in Massachusetts. The only prediction I make is that El Paso is already part of the Western Interconnect and will want to jump that way when the split occurs :^)Report

          • Morat20 in reply to J_A says:

            One of the judges that lost threw a tantrum. Just let everyone go on their own recognizance and stopped showing up to work because “That’s clearly what the voters wanted by electing a Democrat”.

            Funny thing is, that’s a wonderful example as to why he should have been replaced — except there’s so many judges and other local races on the ballot in Harris county I’d be shocked if one voter in 200 knew a damn thing about this guy beyond his party.

            Which is where parties come in handy. If nothing else, you have a mental snapshot of someone’s likely politics and views.Report

    • Koz in reply to Michael Cain says:

      Sort of. The polling for the West is complicated by Nevada, which is the mirror image of what I was talking about in the OP. This is due the ground game of the Reid machine there (and may be getting weaker over time as legacy of Harry Reid fades further away) which doesn’t really exist anywhere else in America that I can see.

      In the bigger picture, it will be interesting to find out if the trend in the West against Republicans is the same as the suburbs turning against Republicans all over America or if there is some particular Western component to it.Report

      • Michael Cain in reply to Koz says:

        Start from this point (and I know this is offensive to some degree) — there are no western states where African-Americans are the largest minority group. There are some western states where they’re not even the second largest minority group. Arguably, from the edge of the Great Plains east*, US states are currently refighting Reconstruction. There have been claims put forward this past year — east of the Great Plains — that black women are the difference between Democrats winning and losing. That simply can’t be true on the west side of the Great Plains because there aren’t enough black women to make that much difference.

        Anyone who thinks that all minority groups are in this together needs to read the clearly racist statements that Chicago black aldermen have made about Hispanics moving into that area.

        * The Great Plains are a convenient geographic marker for certain historical patterns. They aren’t the cause of said patterns.Report

        • Koz in reply to Michael Cain says:

          On this part I completely agree with you. In fact that’s what I was trying to get at in the OP talking about how this was an election lost by the GOP among white people.

          I don’t think Democrats have any idea how much trouble they are in with minorities (relative to prior elections and their expectations). The thing is, it won’t make any difference if the GOP can’t get their suburbs back.Report

      • Michael Cain in reply to Koz says:

        The polling for the West is complicated by Nevada… is due the ground game of the Reid machine there…

        Ignoring that Nevada is not one of the Big 5 states for population in the West, let’s look at this year outside Nevada. NM governor. CO state senate. US Senator in AZ. Tester held his seat in MT. US House seats in NM, CO, AZ, WA, maybe UT, and looks like six in CA. Medicaid expansion in UT and ID. Medical marijuana in UT, with the LDS Church now retreating to “let’s have a special session and regulate the use a bit more than the initiative, but not try to overrule it.” I would argue that on policy, Pruitt/Zinke/Perry have been at least a small disaster for the Republicans. WY is the last holdout, but can be bought — they export a metric sh*t-ton of electricity, and as their customers have said, “Not interested in coal, willing to pay a premium for wind,” WY is changing accordingly. Given all that, NV looks much less like the Reid machine and more like the general trend.

        Maybe it’s a one-time thing with the suburbs. Having watched things for the last 30 or so years, that’s not how I would bet.Report

        • Koz in reply to Michael Cain says:

          You’re conflating a few different things that might not be related.

          The point of the Reid machine in Nevada is to explain why the Democrats there have, more than once in recent significant elections, outperformed their polling. That’s the only place in America where I think that’s happened, and certainly the most prominent. Democrats have done well in other places in the West (especially relative to say, 20 years ago) but they were polling well in those places too, so there wasn’t very much surprise in their favor on Election Day.

          Separately, there is the fact that the GOP did very poorly in the suburbs this cycle. They also did poorly in various places in the West. My inclination is to think that the latter is a special case of the former. There also may be special regional issues working against the GOP as well. If so, you surely understand those better than I do.

          Related to that, but not the same at all, is whether the suburbs can or will be recovered by the GOP in subsequent cycles. I think they will, because they have been a core part, maybe the core part of the GOP for many many years, and to a large extent the reason they broke against the GOP this time was because of Trump, specifically his Twitter feed and the like. (That and the fact that the Democrats have hated the suburbs for at least as long, and still do.)Report

        • J_A in reply to Michael Cain says:

          they export a metric sh*t-ton of electricity

          10% more sh*t than in regular sh*t tonnes, if someone was curious.Report

  2. In 2020, the there’s a decent chance that the Democrats are going to nominate Kamala Harris, who I think we’ll find out is a horribly unlikeable person

    She is. But she’s horrible in ways the GOP will find difficult to exploit. Her tenure as AG included things like arguing prisons should be kept full for slave labor, bringing bogus lawsuits against Backpage and opposing prosecutor accountability. She’s a prosecutor, through and through, always defending the power of the state. But I don’t see how the GOP will exploit that, given that they’re worse on many of the issues she is bad on.Report

    • Koz in reply to Michael Siegel says:

      That’s part of the reason she won’t do well with Bernie-ish type voters, and there was a stubborn cohort of them who didn’t move to Clinton for the general election. I don’t know how many of them intend to stay true to their complaints against the Democrats for this cycle though.

      I was thinking more of the Kavanaugh drama and the like. More than most of the other Demo Senators on the Committee, I think that’s the sort of well she’s going to back to over and over again. From our side, the bad news is that she doesn’t have a long profile in national politics unlike Mrs Clinton, who had built up substantial stores of revulsion wide and deep among American voters, and not just conservatives or Republicans. Even if apolitical voters are disfavorable toward Kamala Harris, they’ll be much more motivated to getting rid of Trump (assuming his favorability stays about where it is now).Report

  3. Michael Drew says:

    “Liberals think the whole idea that Donald Trump could be President is ridiculous on its face and the whole thing is a bad April Fools’ gag on America and never really existed in the first place.”

    This is extremely true (except, in fairness to a group I drag a lot, to a pretty decent portion of the liberal establishment), and what’s more (though it kinda follows from the same fact), they’re not reckoning with that failure to update at all. That’s why they seem to stay constantly a step or two behind him politically (though not morally).Report