When reviewing the election of Trump in 2016 a lot of people are tempted to think of Trump’s victory in terms of magic, as if he had some secret powerful mojo that defied the polls and propelled him to the presidency. And they project that magic onto the 2020 election and worry that Democrats won’t be able to stop him. But this view ignores the facts. Trump won four swing states by almost impossibly slim margins. And as data demonstrated, Democratic turnout in those states was depressed for three reasons. One, many Democrats weren’t enthusiastic about voting for Hillary Clinton and, two, James Comey’s announcement of more email investigation further depressed turnout for Clinton and, three, a large and coordinated effort to dampen Democratic turnout was unleashed on social media by Russia and Russia’s unwitting helpers.
The 2018 midterms provided a ton of new data and insight about voting trends and possibilities for the 2020 election. Only one election analyst predicted the 2018 outcome with near perfection and she has a lot to say about the coming 2020 election. Her name is Rachel Bitecofer and she claims that many of the 2016 and 2018 election theories pushed by political pundits are wrong. She makes a very compelling case. One of the things she argues is that the 2018 midterm Democratic wave didn’t pull Trump voters or conservative independents back to the Democratic side. Instead, liberal independents who didn’t necessarily vote in 2016 turned out big for the Democrats in 2018. In other words, the wave included many people who were freaked out by Trump and came off the sidelines to vote. Her modeling has led her to the conclusion that the urge of Democrats to appeal to moderates in the face of Trump’s presidency is the wrong path. Instead, she urges the Democrats to embrace their most bold and progressive members. These were the members who in 2018 made the greatest inroads in Red States, like Beto in Texas and Abrams in Georgia, while moderate Democrats in Red States often lost their races in 2018. Bitecofer concludes from the data that there are few people who voted for Trump who can be “converted” but there are many disaffected progressive people who didn’t vote at all who can be enlisted. In other words, the Democrats should try to turn out their like-minded voters rather than try to placate voters who no longer exist.
Here’s a quote from an interview of Bitecofer in Salon:
“…it was this giant turnout of core constituencies, that either are Democrats or favor Democrats — they’re independents who favor Democrats — and they have a huge turnout explosion. So it’s not the same pool of voters changing their minds and voting Democrat after voting Republican because of the issue of health care. It’s a whole different pool of voters. They might have many reasons that they cite, and probably this is not the reason they would cite. But what made them enraged and show up is Trump Inc., the negative partisanship. I don’t know why Nancy Pelosi, the DCCC or many of these moderate members are convinced that moderate Republicans crossed over and voted for them. I have the data for some of these districts and the data tells a very different, very clear story: If Republicans voted in huge numbers, they voted for Republicans.”
Here’s the link to the article–it’s a fascinating and worthwhile discussion:
And here’s a link to her latest analysis and prediction for the 2020 election:
Her analysis breaks through the “Donald Trump is magic” myth and shows that his campaign is fighting against some very strong demographic trends and cultural forces. This is not to say we don’t have a long, difficult fight on our hands to vote him out, but we need to know that it’s entirely possible and will depend on the turnout among our own progressive base that we’re able to generate. It’s not magic. It’s hard work.
Keep resisting Trump and keep working to “vote his ass out of office.”