The media has tried to convince voters of Trump’s failure for many years, but have thus far been unable to do so. Tuesday’s special elections show we should hold off on the “Blue Wave” and “Trump can’t win” narratives.
It was just two days ago that ABC News’ election forecaster FiveThirtyEight suggested “Two Special Elections On Tuesday Could Hint At Another Blue Wave In 2020.”
The case made by Geoffrey Skelley and Nathaniel Rakich was simple: Supposedly Americans strongly prefer Biden and Democrats over Trump and Republicans, and they are particularly upset with Trump and other Republicans’ attempts to reopen the country as the global Coronavirus pandemic rages.
“On Tuesday, we’ll get a taste of whether Democrats’ electoral advantage on paper will hold up in practice, as California and Wisconsin hold special elections for two vacant congressional seats. The main event is in the California 25th Congressional District, a bellwether seat in the north Los Angeles suburbs, where both parties see a chance to add to their ranks in the House. But if Democrats are also competitive in the quickly reddening, rural Wisconsin 7th Congressional District, it could signal another blue wave in the fall,” they argued.
The contest in California’s 25th Congressional District was an open battle for a seat vacated by Katie Hill after the married representative got in trouble with Democratic leadership for intimate relations with some of her staff members. The House had just passed rules forbidding such relationships. She won her seat by nine points in 2018 in a district Hillary Clinton won by seven points. Wisconsin’s blue collar-heavy 7th Congressional District went for Obama by eight points in 2008, but now favors Republicans such as Trump. Trump won the district by some 20 points in 2016, when Republican Sean Duffy won re-election with 62 percent of the vote. Even as a very popular incumbent, Duffy’s support ticked down to 60 percent in 2018. The FiveThirtyEight fellas reminded readers that Democratic Sen. Tammy Baldwin lost the district by five points in 2018, and Democrat-favored Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice-elect Jill Karofsky lost it by 6 points last month. Suspecting a Republican victory might be eked out, they said to pay special attention to margins.
“Still, pay attention to the final margin, both here and in California. When a party consistently overperforms its usual partisan baseline in special elections, it bodes well for that party in the general election as well. So even a narrow loss by [Democrat Tricia] Zunker, if paired with a comfortable [Democrat Christy] Smith win, would add to the evidence that another Democratic wave is building.”
Well, the results are in and Republicans won both seats. And not by small margins. In Wisconsin, Republican Tom Tiffany beat Zunker by 14.4 points.
In California, with some precincts still reporting, Mike Garcia is currently winning his election by 12 points. According to Dave Wasserman, it’s the first time the GOP has picked up a seat in the state since 1998.
As Alex Berenson, a skeptic of the government-mandated economic shutdown, asked, “But Democrats are the party of lockdowns, and voters love lockdowns, amirite?”
Sen. Ted Cruz, R-TX, similarly tweeted:
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— Sam Metz (@metzsam) May 13, 2020