Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Why We Must Avoid Recriminations About Last Night's Special Election Results

We're going to try to avoid the welter of "hot takes" today about the results of last night's special elections in Georgia's 6th and South Carolina's 5th Congressional Districts. What we do want to stress is that going forward, recriminations about "woulda, coulda, shoulda" do progressives no good whatsoever. We'll go with 538's analysis of the actual performance in all the special elections held since dimbulb Donald "Rump" Trump was "elected":
...[I]n terms of the implications for midterm elections in 2018, it’s much less clear that Republicans had a good night. For election forecasting purposes, the margins matter: that Ossoff and Parnell came fairly close to beating their opponents yields a different interpretation than if they’d been blown out. And South Carolina is an important data point, just as Georgia was, even if it received a fraction of as much media attention. The earlier special elections in Kansas’s 4th Congressional District and in Montana’s at-large district provide useful information about the political environment also. 
Democrats have gone 0-for-4 in these races. From an emotional standpoint, the outcomes have been disheartening for Democrats. From an analytical standpoint, however, they’ve ranged between “not bad” and “pretty great” for Democrats as compared with their results from the 2012, 2014 and 2016 elections — consistent with the sorts of results Democrats would expect if they were on track to compete for the House next year. (our emphasis)
Or to put it in cold numbers (click on chart to enlarge):

(Screenshot - 538) 
Those are significant swings in districts that range from deep red to dark pink.  Republicans are whistling past the graveyard if they think their hold on the House is safer in 2018 as a result of these elections; and Democrats would be foolish if they interpret these losses as meaning they shouldn't actively compete in such districts in 2018. As the down- spiral of the Rump regime continues, as Republicans continue to push their toxic agenda, those swings should will get larger and more widespread across the country. We just have to continue to stick together and #resist.

BONUS: Looking at the Georgia race in the context of the past 16 years shows why Dems need to fight:

BONUS II:  One takeaway is that Republicans come out and vote for Republicans no matter what. See Charles Pierce, Steve M., and Tengrain.

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