The Midterms

For years we’ve been saying that the Republican Party’s fortunes are tethered to an aging white (male) constituency—and  it’s pretty clear that we can attribute the GOP’s increasingly unhinged racial animus as well as its voter suppression efforts in non-white communities to this if nothing else—but how long do we have to wait? Where’s the demographic shift we’ve been promised?

There were some important victories last night, but not nearly enough for my taste. The “blue wave” turned out to be more of a trickle. According to the New York Times, there was, at best, a “blue shift.”

“2018’s shift to the left was smaller than the one in 2006, the last time the Democrats flipped the House. And it was half the size of the most recent Republican wave in 2010 when districts shifted more than 19 points to the right.”

Perhaps I’m being overly pessimistic, but I worry that this may be the best Democrats are capable of pulling off. It certainly doesn’t bode well for 2020. Where is the repudiation of Trumpian cruelty? Do so many Americans really support stripping children from their families and housing them in concentration camps, thinly veiled support for neo-Nazis, violent contempt for journalism not to mention science? The list is endless. By and large I think those who were calling this a referendum on Trump were right—and he came off better than he should have. At a minimum it demostrates that the liberal fantasies of Russian trolls are wildly misguided: Trump won because (white) Americans respond well to his flagrant bigotry. This is America.

At least the county where I live (Silver Bow) is a reliably progressive haven in Montana—more so even than Missoula, home of the flagship campus of the University of Montana. Butte’s militant labor history lingers in interesting ways. It’s hard to imagine Democrats ever winning in Montana without support from the mining city.

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