Because They Show A Path By Which Democrats Might Beat Trump In 2020
We’d been a little concerned about this; while Democrats made great inroads in the Midterm Elections — that are becoming more evident every day — when we looked at election night maps, we still didn’t see a way a Democrat might win the electoral college without winning Ohio or Florida or both. And Ohio came in very red, which is largely what caused Liberals to have conniptions early in the evening, before Democrats’ wins began widening. (One notable exception there: a big win by incumbent Democratic Senator Sherrod Brown, which we’ll talk more about tomorrow). And Florida continues to cause political tremors for both Republicans and Democrats, and Republicans have a history of ultimately prevailing there. And if they do this year, count on them to work to make it harder for Democrats to win there in 2020.
Not that there wasn’t room for great encouragement even on election night. As we showed you then, slivers and chunks of blue had begun popping up even in deep red states.
But look at this new map below from 270towin. This is a map of the popular vote in House races across the entire country. (Dark blue and dark red denote states won by at least 5 points). Notice anything?
Several states Trump won by a lot, especially in the East and Midwest: Pennsylvania, Michigan, Wisconsin, are now deep blue. (And North Carolina would probably be at least light blue if not for gerrymandering there, which we’ll talk about in another column as soon as we find the time).
Now, this doesn’t mean those states still wouldn’t go for Trump. And as fivethirtyeight’s Nate Silver rightly points out, last week turned out to be exceptionally blue. So he took that same map and increased Republicans’ chances by 6-points, leaving the map looking like this:
Those same 3 states are still blue-ish, although Florida shifts from baby blue to pink. Even though it’s not an even comparison, compare that to Election Night 2016:
Meanwhile, the Florida recount has started with Republicans in the lead for both Governor and Senator, but that lead narrowing significantly enough to force a recount. The first round will be a machine recount. That must be completed by Thursday. If that shows even further narrowing, state law then requires a hand recount of some of the ballots. fivethirtyeight has moved the Senate race here to “Likely R” from “Lean R.” All of this against the backdrop of the State’s current Governor Rick Scott, who is the Republican candidate for Senate, accusing “liberals” of election fraud. And of course the President loves any kind of election conspiracy theory, so he’s jumped on that.
In Arizona, sort of the opposite: the Democratic candidate for Senate, Kyrsten Sinema, is expanding her lead. fivethirtyeight has moved the Senate race here to “Likely D” from “Lean D”. Things have been by-and-large more orderly here, but that could be because the deadline for finalizing results is a bit further off: December 3rd. So there’s still plenty of room for crazy…
If you’re wondering why it’s taking so long to count so many of the votes this year, there are two basic reasons:
- State officials vastly underestimated voter interest. According to the University of Florida Professor Michael McDonald, last week will likely be the highest nationwide turnout for a Midterm Election since 1914.
- A surge in mail-in ballots accompanying the overall surge in votes. The issue with mail-in ballots is the signatures on those ballots still have to be matched with the voter’s registration after they are received but before they’re counted, and that takes time. When you go in to vote in person on Election Day, you generally sign a ledger of some kind, and your signature check is complete. When you mail in a ballot, although it’s much more convenient for you, election officials then have to verify your signature, without you being present to clear up any issues. So it takes longer. That’s why we always encourage people to vote in person if they can. And also why we’re more in favor of making Election Day a national holiday than expanding different ways to vote.
So, if Democrats do have some visibility now about how they might win in 2020, who’s it going to be? We’ll go on one of our rare, wild speculation binges and try to answer that for you tomorrow, barring all hell breaking loose…