Blog Credo

The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary.

H.L. Mencken

Friday, May 26, 2017

The Cold Comfort Of Moral Victories

Good job, Montana.  Perhaps you had already cast enough votes to elect odious billionaire Greg Gianforte before he allegedly assaulted a reporter for asking questions about health care.  But clearly people went to the polls yesterday and voted for this guy.

Matthew Yglesias makes the not unreasonable point that the margin of victory demonstrates a continuing collapse of support for the GOP in the Age of Trump.  Mathematically, he's correct.  Similar arguments about the unexpectedly close races in special elections in Oklahoma and elsewhere can be and were made.  After a while, however, we need more than moral/mathematical victories.  We need to win elections.

This puts a ton of pressure on the coming special election in Georgia.  Montana was, indeed, tough sledding for Democrats; it is precisely the sort of aging, WWC electorate that prefers Trump.  GA-6 is the sort of suburban district that might be flipped in 2018.  Current polling has Ossoff winning, but that will only make a possible defeat all the more demoralizing.  Liberals in the age of Florida 2000, Ohio 2004 and 2016 are predisposed to expect defeat.  Currently they are mobilized, but a string of these defeats would be crushing.

Democrats also need to reach out to so-called moderate Republicans like Michael Gerson who have shown the potential of breaking with the GOP over Trump's politics.  He represents a certain type of Republican voter who is sickened by the nature of our politics in the age of Fox News and Trump.  That means expanding the Democratic Tent to include people that the Sanders Left might be uncomfortable with.  Hopefully they will show enough flexibility to actually start winning some of these races.

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