Feeling good after yesterday
The odd off-year election last night was an interesting barometer of where things stand politically right now. Here's some general thoughts about it.
Last night was a strong showing for Democrats that presents an opportunity in more ways than one. Right before the election the pundit Chuck Todd talked about it as a referendum on impeachment. He seemed to predict failure for the Democrats for this reason, and was proven wrong. Now is the time to flip things around. The wins in Kentucky and Virginia are instead proof that the hard stance against Trump is working. That's at least the narrative that needs to get out there. I fear that weak-willed Democrats in the middle might not have the glue to stick in this fight. Hopefully last night will stiffen their spines some more.
Some have noted the swing in suburban areas that helped determine the outcomes of elections in Kentucky and Virginia. I have been thinking a lot about this, since affluent, educated suburbanites have been default Republicans ever since there have ever been affluent, educated suburbanites. The new Republican Party, beholden to Trump. nativism, and Bible thumping does not appeal as much to people who used to just pull the lever for low taxes and regulations. However, I fear this new alignment will further defang the Democrats. These new Democrat voters are likely to vote Dem on social issues, but still support neoliberal economic policy. I have a feeling that this will be a real problem coming down the road for those (like me) who want the party to have a redestributionist approach.
Last, this election yet again shows the singularity of Trumpism, which has no coattails. The same people who worship Trump do not transfer their loyalty to his toadies. Just take a look at Matt Bevin and Roy Moore. There is not going to be a dynasty with Ivanka, Jared, or Don Jr picking up the mantle. Trumpism is not a coherent ideology or a movement, it is simply about elevating one man. One key in 2020 will be getting enough people who distrust other politicians but believe in Trump to see him as a betrayer. That's not going to be easy.