Wednesday, August 24, 2022


Shockingly, the conventional wisdom right now is Democrats in array.
It would have been easy to write Nebraska off as a fluke, after Democrats ran better than expected in a House race there last month. But then came Minnesota, where Democrats again beat expectations. And then, in New York on Tuesday, the dam broke.

“Well, shit,” one Republican strategist texted late Tuesday, as results from a Hudson Valley special election filtered in.

It would have been a victory for Democrats if they’d even kept it close. Instead, Democrat Pat Ryan beat Republican Marc Molinaro in a district that Joe Biden narrowly won in 2020, but that would have appeared to favor Republicans in a normal midterm climate.

Overall, on the last major primary night of the year, the winds appeared to be shifting in Democrats’ favor.
Here's an exchange on this between an election analyst and a local pol from Pennsylvania:

Yes, we were repeatedly told to BEWARE THE MIGHTY WRATH OF THE WRONGED TRUMP VOTER!!! And nothing happened. In many races, these voters didn't turn out.

The old conventional wisdom was: Democrats fall in love. Republicans fall in line. The 2016 and 2020 elections strongly suggested that the reverse is true now: In both years, Democrats nominated a candidate whom many of the party's voters didn't love, while Republicans were besotted.

(Democrats nominated Walter Mondale in 1984, Mike Dukakis in 1988, Al Gore in 2000, and John Kerry in 2004, so love has often not been the driving force on the Democratic side.)

In this year's election, I suspect that Democrats are voting for the party -- the party of abortion rights, the party of democracy, the party opposed to gun extremism and demonization of people who aren't straight white males. Republicans seem to be looking for someone to love: Trump, Ron DeSantis (who didn't have an opponent in yesterday's Florida primary), or some Trump or DeSantis substitute. There may be some love for a few of the Trump- and DeSantis-endorsed extremists, but for the most part there's no one on the ballot this year who makes GOP voters' hearts go pitty-pat.

Maybe that will change between now and November. But I think Democrats might be better positioned because they're voting on issues, not emotions. The 2024 presidential election will probably be different, alas -- Republicans will have two objects of affection fighting for their hand. (How romantic!) But for now, Democrats are the realists and Republicans appear to be lovelorn.

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