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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

Teixeira: New TDS Memo Addresses Myths about the 2018 Election

The following article by Ruy Teixeira, author of The Optimistic Leftist and other works of political analysis, is cross-posted from his blog:

Let me recommend a memo my old friend Andy Levison has written for The Democratic Strategist site. He takes aim at three myths–dangerous myths–that have taken hold in conventional interpretations of the 2018 elections. I have pushed back against each of these myths in various posts I have written since the election, but Levison does a nice job of rounding up much of the relevant data undermining these myths and putting it all in one place. I heartily endorse his conclusions.

The myths:

1. A substantial number of college educated voters who voted Republican in 2016 switched to the Democrats this year while, in contrast, white working class voters maintained (or perhaps even increased) their 2016 level of support for the GOP.

2. The “suburbs” that shifted from supporting the GOP in 2016 to the Democrats this year were composed of educated middle class voters.

3. In 2018 rural areas maintained or increased their 2016 level of support for the GOP

The conclusion:

“[To] sum it up simply: white working class and rural areas did indeed participate in the rejection of Trump in 2018 and the image of the suburbs as entirely composed of educated
professionals is wrong.

The strategic implications are clear. There are votes to be found and races to be won in white working class and rural areas as well as among the educated and urban. Giving up on white workers and rural areas is simply playing into the GOP’s hands. The Republicans would like nothing better than for Democrats to cede them vast areas of the country so that they can concentrate all their resources on attacking swing districts and Democratic strongholds. Behind closed doors they are anxiously looking at the map of the elections in 2018 and hoping that Democrats will allow their deeply embedded negative attitudes about white working class and rural voters to blind them to the opportunities that exist.”

Read the memo!

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