With the 2018 elections behind us, it's time to reflect on what happened, what didn't happen, and what it all means for our country going forward.
(1) Pay no attention to the spin: Democrats were the winners.
Donald Trump went into full media-narrative combat mode Wednesday to convince us that it was a good night for Republicans. And in a few races it was. But overall, Democrats were the clear winners Tuesday night, taking back the House with a strong margin as well as many wins in key state races. We also padded our bench with fresh new talent for elections to come.
(2) The "Blue Wave" rhetoric lost us the expectations game.
Election Night pundits made comments about how the blue wave "crashed early", and it was underscored by a few disappointments in the Senate and in Florida. But the expectations pundits had were frankly ridiculous. Beto O'Rourke and Stacey Abrams weren't long shots, they were full-court shots, and they both hit the rim. Democrats won plenty of races they wouldn't have in most years, including House races in Kansas and Utah.
(3) The real victories were in the statehouses.
The period of redistricting after the 2010 Census and midterms had a devastating impact on our party's performance these last eight years. Taking back the U.S. House of Representatives was important, but the long-term victory will be the flipping of 6 state legislative chambers and several governor's mansions. But we're going to need more statehouse victories in 2020. Besides defeating Trump, this should be our top priority moving forward.
(4) There's a geographic divide over #MeToo.
On the coasts and in urban areas, the Kavanaugh hearings were seen very differently than they were seen in the South and the agricultural Midwest. Their votes against Kavanaugh cost Claire McCaskill, Heidi Heitkamp, and Joe Donnelly their Senate seats. The one Democrat who voted for him was re-elected in West Virginia. Throughout October, we heard even Republicans in coastal states take Ford's side and even Democrats in rural states take Kavanaugh's. While we're far from understanding this divide, we see it clearer than ever.
(5) There's a clear realignment taking place.
Every election cycle, political scientists like to ask themselves if a "realignment" in the electorate is underway, and it happens basically anytime a chamber or office changes parties. But it really does seem to be happening under Trump. Rural districts across the country have been gradually going red over the last few decades, but until recently many could still reliably elect Democrats. Now suburban districts are starting to consistently go to Democrats. Most surprisingly, southern suburban seats, like those around Atlanta, Houston, and Dallas, flipped blue last week. Higher education levels in a district used to correlate with higher Republican support. Now it's the opposite. This may be the most significant legacy of Donald Trump.
"Why I Chose HSG Campaigns"
"As a new candidate, HSG Campaigns was so helpful to my campaign. They helped coach me and show me how a campaign should be run, and they produced great mail and other media to support me. HSG Campaigns knows how to win!"
— Marisol M. Uribe, Board Member-Elect, Montebello Unified School District
We have been proud to work with the Monetebello Teachers Association over the years, as well as their endorsed candidates in 2018. Among them was Marisol, who took first-place in her first election last week. The Montebello Unified School District has had its share of problems these last few years, which is why we are proud to have helped elect an educator and reformer. Good luck, Marisol!
What We're Reading
This week Dave is recommending "The Storm Before the Storm: The Beginning of the End of the Roman Republic" by Mike Duncan.
"I am excited to be starting my first podcast in 2019. One of the podcasters who got me interested in the medium was Mike Duncan, whose book comes from the many notes he compiled for his History of Rome podcast.
The book focuses on the generations that came before the fall of the Republic, and the politics of that time (which eerily mirror our politics today): '...rising income inequality, dislocation of traditional ways of life, increasing political polarization, the breakdown of unspoken rules of political conduct, the privatization of the military, rampant corruption, endemic social and ethnic prejudice, battles over access to citizenship and voting rights, ongoing military quagmires, the introduction of violence as a political tool, and a set of elites so obsessed with their own privileges that they refused to reform the system in time to save it.'"
Thank You, Dave!
If you have worked closely with HSG Campaigns in the past, you have probably worked with our Managing Director, Dave Broker, who is moving on after ten terrific years at our firm. Dave has been a tremendous asset to us, and I wish him all the best of luck moving forward.
Dave will soon be launching a podcast about the Industrial Revolutions and the world-upending impact they've had on our society, our politics, our work lives, and all other facets of our lives. He's a smart guy with interesting stories, so I am really looking forward to hearing it!
If you would like to receive information about the Industrial Revolutions Podcast when it becomes available, please click here to email Dave and let him know.
Thank you, Dave!