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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

Teixeira: The New Conventional Wisdom on 2018/20 (or At Least It Should Be)

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

David Jarman at DK Elections has a good write-up of the recently-released Catalist data on the 2018 election and their strategic implications. He doesn’t say anything terribly different than what I said about these same data in a recent post, but he does go into a lot more detail than I did. Plus, he has a lot of nice simple tables and graphics to get across his points so it’s well worth looking at.

Jarman’s analysis underscores an important point: the Catalist data are so good and so clear that what they tell us should become the new conventional wisdom about 2018 and the implications for 2020 strategy. Of course, the mobilize-the-base-and-never-talk-to-Trump-voters crowd will still resist. But hopefully these data will convince all but the diehards which way we need to go. As Jarman says:

“[The Catalist release] points out some details that may challenge the conventional wisdom about 2018: Democratic gains in 2018, relative to 2016, were actually the largest in rural areas, not suburban areas, and the bulk of the impact in 2018 came from winning back the votes of 2016 Trump voters, not from the newly activated voters….

This may be the most difficult claim by [Catalist] for people to wrap their heads around….because it contrasts with the way that many Democrats have taken as an article of faith that the way to win going forward is by ramping up young voter and non-white voter turnout…”

But, as Jarman says, the math works out and the data are rock-solid. Time for a new conventional wisdom.

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