Bunch of thoughts on the midterm election.
- I'm disappointed with the results, but things could have been worse. A lot worse. I was at a viewing party with other Republicans, and they were downright cheerful, as they fully expected the House to go to the Democrats.
- This was a strange midterm. For the past generation, midterm elections have been nationalized, with a singular theme driving the winning party to power, and the outcome percolating throughout all levels of government (e.g. 1994, 2002, 2006, 2010, 2014). That was not the case here. Both sides had victories and defeats. More specifically, the results were highly idiosyncratic in ways that defies normal political patterns. The Dems outperformed in the House while the GOP did better than expected in the Senate. GOP managed to win governor races in FL, GA, OH, NH, VT, and kept control of most of the state legislatures. At the same time, the Dems got surprise wins in GOP held House districts that were categorized as lean Republican by the pollsters. So yeah, I don't know what to make of it from a macro sense.
- Time for brutal honesty. If it wasn't for the GOP Senators' courageous unified stance for Kavanaugh and Trump's nonstop rallies, the outcome would have been devastating for the GOP. And the single person who bears the most blame for us losing the House is not Trump but Paul Ryan, who will go down as one of the most ineffective House speakers in history. Despite the GOP majority, Ryan did nothing, unable to pass Trump's agenda. He spent his time pontificating about ideological purity and policies that the American people (unfortunately) will never accept. The House's ineffectiveness on enacting the Trump agenda, especially on immigration and healthcare, cost us control. If you look at the races where the GOP incumbents lost, the margin was quite narrow, and they were mostly anti-Trump Republicans who lost to purported "moderate center-left" candidates. The conservative base punished these incumbents.
- More brutal honesty. The GOP has a YUGE problem with not just cities but the suburbs of large cities, the places that are teeming with growth and economic opportunities. I know that the rural and exurban voters are our base, but we need to improve our margins here. The fact that Cruz won by just 2-3 points in Texas should send chills down the spine of conservatives. Dallas and Harris counties (Houston), once bastions of Texas Republicanism (they went GOP long before other parts of the South) are now rock solid blue, with margins increasing in every election. Yes, Beto spent $70 million and the media made him into a messianic figure, but nonetheless, the margin is worrisome.
The same thing in Georgia. The governors race was too freaking close, especially when the Democratic nominee is far left, who burned the American flag as a student and openly talked about the possibility of gun confiscation. How did this happen? The suburbs of Atlanta are super diverse now (Gwinnett County is now 45% white), and the Latino and Asians are voting Dem by large margins. In 2004, W Bush won Gwinnett county by a whopping 33 points. Hillary won it by 6 in 2016. Stacey Abrams won it by 14!!! Republicans, we have a problem.
- Still more brutal honesty. Conservatives have a big uphill battle. The Left controls the media, cultural institutions, and universities, shaping the minds of young people and forming powerful narratives. This is a nearly impossible obstacle to overcome, and it is a major reason why I'm ok with Trump's bombastic style and aggressiveness. The good news is that with social media and the decentralization of news, conservatives can rely on alternative platforms to get our message out. Of course, Facebook, Google, and Twitter, are downright banning and censoring conservatives, but I'm glad that my side is at least fighting back on this.
A more worrisome issue is demographics. When we import 1.5 million legal immigrants annually, many of whom are low skilled immigrants from Third World countries, conservatism will lose. When those people become citizens, they will vote for Democrats by large margins, as their lower economic status will make them vulnerable to grandiose promises of socialism and big government programs. And no, Latinos are not "natural" conservatives. The Bush era Republicans who say that need to STFU. No Republican presidential nominee has EVER won the Latino vote. In his epic 49-state landslide in 1984, Reagan got just 30% of the Latino vote. So you're gonna tell me with a straight face that the GOP can win them with a message of fiscal conservatism, personal responsibility, and tough immigration laws? I got a unicorn to sell you if you believe that.
- The Bernie progressives lost last night (Cruz, Gillum, Abrams, Jealous), which is a huge plus, as I want the Democrats to be a moderate center-left party that expunges the elements of socialism and open borders.
- Money matters in House races. Bloomberg pouring in millions helped flip many of those seats. It's also amusing that the Left is not complaining about Citizens United, in the aftermath of the election. I'm glad they support the SCOTUS decision on that case!
- What do the midterm results portend for 2020? Not much. Two years is an infinity in American politics. Anyone who says they have an insight into the 2020 race based on the midterms is full of horseshit. Tune them out. Having said that, the Democrats' primary choice will be the following: do they nominate a moderate who can win back the swing states, or do they go hard left and nominate a Bernie style socialist who is also a minority? I'm pretty sure they will opt for the latter. We shall see.