A Coming Democratic Wave? 

San Diego Women’s March, Credit Tom Abbott

Nov 9, 2017 (San Diego) The Women’s March was an open rebuke of the newly inaugurated President of the United States. That was a cold January morning, and it happened across the country. In San Diego alone we saw 40,000 people come out and march In protest to the newly inaugurated president. This was the largest march in the history of San Diego County, 

The resist movement has been growing, and becoming smarter politically. A year after the 2016 election Democrats won the Governorship of New Jersey, which trends blue. They also won the governorship of New York City. this is the first time a democrat wins re-election in 30 years. Republicans are dismissing these two. Why? They are solidly blue, and Chris Christie, a Republican governor, might be seen as an outlier. 

New Jersey and New York could be signs that traditional blue areas of the country are getting bluer. This happens every time you have a president from the other party in Washington. Virginia, on the other hand, is far more important. While five of the last six governors have been Democrats, and it is trending blue, it is a far more conservative area of the country. 

The governor of Virginia is Democrat Terry McAulife. Virginia is unique as it has a term limit for governor of one term. His successor will be lt. Gov. Ralph Northam, also a Democrat. The divisiveness, and Trumpism may have seen a strong rebuke. 

The campaign ran by Republican Ed Gillespie was racially charged and dirty. In spite of all that, Gillespie lost by about four points. It is in the map breakdown where a familiar pattern emerges, 

Northmam did extremely well in urban areas. Guillespie shellacked the newly elected governor in rural areas. It is in the suburbs where an important flip happened. This flip may matter in 2018 in multiple races across the country and one in San Diego County. 

There is something else that is striking, The primary race for the governor shows a similar pattern, where the more progressive Tom Perriello did far better in rural areas than the governor elect. Northam did very well in urban areas, and among better educated voters, which matches the conflict in the Democratic Party. Progressive policies do better among younger and more rural voters. This speaks to a future trend within the Democratic Party.

However, Northam won the governorship in suburban districts This is critical, because these districts used to be reliably red. 

And then there is the House of Delegates. On November 7 Democrats controlled 34 seats, after November 7 they control, 49. This is enough to flip control of the state legislature from Republicans to Democrats, by two seats. This could be the end of the drought that started in 2010 for Democrats. Moreover, this would be a historic flip since Republicans have controlled that chamber for 17 years. However, there are still four seats that are too close to call. Republicans could remain in control of the chamber. 

While most observers concentrate in the governor’s race, or in the case of New York the Mayor, it is at the level of Sate houses where parties build a bench. Democrats have a very weak bench. Since 2010 they have lost over 1000 legislative seats nationwide. 

How could this translate to San Diego and 2018? Daryl Issa barely held to his seat in 2016. His district is changing and those same suburban areas in San Diego that were reliable Republican have become bluer. The same suburban areas in his district in Orange County are lagging in that move towards blue. The rural area of his district remains reliably red. He could very well lose his House seat in 2018.

This is not just Issa’s district. There are many others like that in California, which is a strong blue state. And it is not just California. Republicans should indeed be worried. 

The democratic wave has been building, but the question is how deep it will be, and whether that wave will be enough to take back a House or Senate, or less likely both. 

In 2006 we saw a similar process, and it was driven by similar forces. Back then people rejected the policies of then President George W Bush. However, the divisions in the Democratic Party, in my view, will prevent this from being as deep as it otherwise should be. However, the Republican vote will have an obvious enthusiasm gap. President Trump is all but popular at this point. While Republicans control the federal government, they have no legislative achievements to speak off. Why they are in a rush to pass the tax cut they have promised, that in its current form will benefit the wealthiest among us, and perhaps hurt the middle class. He is also seen as a very divisive figure. 

Democrats will also have another problem. After the 2006 blue wave they decided to not work as a real break to President Bush, many now independent voters have not forgotten that. Many will demand that they work as a break, perhaps talk of impeachment. Which famously Nancy Pelosi took off the table. There is another thing. In politics, a year is an eternity. 


Categories: Poltiics, Resist, Social Movements, Women's March

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