Tags: 2018 Midterm Elections | midterms | trump election | jair bolsonaro | gop

Post-Mortem Snapshot of America's Political Landscape

the capitol is framed amid bare tree branches in washington.

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Tuesday, 13 November 2018 11:42 AM Current | Bio | Archive

He was a vitriol-spewing demagogue, and no group felt his wrath more than the gay community. Claiming public schools wanted to distribute “gay kits” to turn students into homosexuals, he also suggested that parents beat effeminate boys, and said he would rather have a dead son than a gay one.

Yet Jair Bolsonaro was just elected Brazil’s president. And here’s the kicker: he did so with substantial support from the gay community, as at least 29 percent supported Bolsonaro.

What does it tell us that one-third of gays supported a candidate who slandered them?

Easy. Identity politics, in all forms, are getting blown out of the water. Traditional assumptions no longer apply, and those adhering to them will reap the consequences. Brazil had 64,000 murders last year, and many gay citizens cited Bolsonaro’s commitment to physical security as their motivation for backing him. Others favored his economic plan. Their reasons are irrelevant. What matters is that they supported him, proving that voters cannot be neatly “boxed.”

It’s no different here.

For all the talk of Donald Trump being a racist and misogynist, he continues to garner support from non-traditional constituencies. Blacks, Latinos, gays, and various other subsets supported Mr. Trump at levels not seen in decades. That increased level of support for the GOP will wreak havoc on pollsters in future elections.

Let’s put the new political landscape into perspective:

  • With limited exceptions, Republicans are not a factor in any state that touches saltwater from Virginia Beach to the Canadian border. Throw in Democratic Vermont and Pennsylvania (with a significantly-reduced GOP legislature, and crushing wins for the Democratic governor and U.S. candidates), and you have a solid Democratic stronghold.
  • The Left coast is even more alarming for the GOP, since one can drive from Vancouver to Tijuana without passing through a single Republican-held district.
  • Democrats won at least 32 U.S. House seats in their best midterm showing since Watergate.
  • Only one state (Minnesota) has a split legislature, where one chamber is Republican, and the other Democratic.
  • And yet, overall, it was still a good night for Republicans, since they beat back the anticipated “Blue Wave.” In fact, Mr. Trump outperformed historical averages (Bill Clinton lost 53 seats, and Barack Obama, 63). More important, they netted two senate seats.

With that in mind, here are some less-covered takeaways:

Republican predictions that “socialist” Democrats will help Mr. Trump get re-elected are premature. First, Mr. Trump may not even run. Second, while there may be an element of truth to that, overall GOP enthusiasm may not rise to the level required to re-take the House. It remains to be seen whether anti-Democrat fervor can trump disappointment with a party that promised big, but delivered little, despite solid majorities: no border wall, skyrocketing deficits, and intact Obamacare.

That said, the U.S. senate map in 2020 favors the GOP. The biggest question will be whether media darling Beto O’Rourke will flip Texas against incumbent John Cornyn.

Demographic changes are working in the Democrats’ favor. Older, conservative blue-collar voters are dying off, replaced by liberal-leaning Millennials and their children who, while not reliable voters, are increasing their turnout. Notwithstanding the inroads Mr. Trump is making with non-traditional constituencies, the GOP still faces an uphill challenge.

If Republicans fail to attract burgeoning voter blocs not traditionally in their wheelhouse, America, at the federal level, will soon be dominated by Democrats for the foreseeable future.

Once again, Republicans failed to message. This author has been a lone voice for a decade, advocating that Republicans run multimillion-dollar ad campaigns year-round, not just during the white noise of election season. The ads should be non-partisan, outlining what they've done, and their vision, a la Reagan, for the future. Campaigns should be marketed to wide-ranging audiences, from the Super Bowl to Blue Bloods to Black-ish viewers, with no regard to past gender and ethnic assumptions.

Executing a high-quality PR campaign where the GOP would write the narrative, and the dreaded “fake media” couldn’t influence the message, would pay massive dividends.

Had they articulated such a program, Obamacare would have been repealed, funding for the wall would have been appropriated, and a majority would have supported the travel ban, corporate tax cuts, tariffs, and even the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh.  But they didn’t. Instead, the inside-the-Beltway cocoon prevented GOP leadership from seeing the forest for the trees. The result was losing close races that should have been won.

The 2020 presidential election will be huge, but the more substantial long-term impact will be which parties win at the state level, as those victors will draw redistricting lines for congress (and state legislatures). Accordingly, the GOP’s biggest gubernatorial prizes were Ohio, Iowa, Florida and Georgia, while the Dems elected Chief Executives in Pennsylvania, Michigan, Colorado, Nevada, and Wisconsin.

-If third parties are going to play spoiler, then they need to explain why they ran candidates that hurt the party most closely aligned with them. Failure to articulate their reasoning will, ironically, generate contempt amongst those whom they are attempting to woo.

And it’s onward to 2020.

Chris Freind is an independent columnist, television commentator, and investigative reporter who operates his own news bureau, Freindly Fire Zone Media. Read more reports from Chris Freind — Click Here Now.


 

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Freind
Identity politics, in all forms, are getting blown out of the water. Traditional assumptions no longer apply, and those adhering to them will reap the consequences.
midterms, trump election, jair bolsonaro, gop
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2018-42-13
Tuesday, 13 November 2018 11:42 AM
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