Art sent me an email he composed for a friend. I share it with my readers for them to exult or lament:
To: Michael XXXXXXXXX
Sent: Friday, November 11, 2016 10:57 AM
Subject: Continued: The ignored rural voter and the mathematical realities of why the Democrats lost, and why they need to change their tactics
Looking at the math of the next two election cycles, things don’t look good for the Democratic party on the National level in the near future.
The Democrats really blew it this year and its going to have a long term impact.
This year we had 24 Republicans and 10 Democrats Senators up for election. This was the golden opportunity for the Democrats to pick up half (7 gains), but they only got a very miserable 2 seat gain; and instead, 22 Republicans won (65%) and only 12 Dems. The biggest surprise for me was that Trump’s coattails were long.
2018 is looking very poor for any Dem gains. There will be only 8 Republicans, but 23 Dems Senators up for election. The mathematic odds are that the Republicans will make gains.
2020 is looking better for the Dems as there will 22 Republicans up and only 11 Dems Senators up for election. But that is also the Presidential election year and if Trump runs again (and assuming he keeps his winning celebrity status) he will likely win and, like this year, bring the Republican Senators with him.
I went from thinking that the Republicans were going to self-destruct in this election cycle, to seeing the Democrats self-destruct.
As Maureen Dowd said: Whoops.
There are two big demographic and mathematical issues working against the Democrats. And both involve the rural vote. And the rural vote was completely ignored by the Democrats and that played a big role in this elections. Rural American is nearly 100% Republican (look at the map!). What are these two mathematical issues that are being completely ignored by the Democrats?
1) Because of the high concentration of Democrats in the city, mathematically, a Democrat vote has less impact on the overall, national outcome than does a Republican in a rural area. [Just because 70% of urban voter and 90% of black voters vote Democrat in a landslide, that still gives them only 1 District win–versus in rural areas where the party split is more even, Republican win with only 51% of the vote]. So literally, every vote over 50% in urban areas have absolutely zero impact on the national results [and there are a lot more urban than rural voters]. This is why the House of Representative is so strongly Republican. The more concentrated any group of voters are in a District, the less impact each of those concentrated voters have in the overall, national outcome.
2) And in the Senate and in the Electoral College, there is a further mathematical advantage to Republicans because low population, rural states are Republican and those Republican voters have the benefit of having 3 electoral votes (and selecting two Senators) if they win–compared to only 1 (or zero if they make up a minority) electoral votes if they live in rural California or New York.
Contrary to the punditry, item 1) has a bigger impact on the national outcome and is why the Democrats won the popular vote, but lost the election. And Item 1) would happen whether or not there is an electoral college. Do the math–even if small rural states only had only 1 electoral vote (instead of the current 3), the Democrats would still have lost the election–all because of that strong concentration of Democratic votes in urban states and Districts.
These two factors give a strong mathematical/demographic advantage for Republicans. Democrats didn’t campaign in rural area, and to win in the future, they must start doing that. That means they might also have to take on some of those rural values–are Democrats ready to do that?
Thus, getting the minority (e.i., race) vote in the city and “getting out the vote” in urban areas is not a effective electoral strategy for Democrats [even though that is the ethical thing to do]–they need to find a way to be attractive in rural America. And they not only failed miserably this year, they ridiculed the rural voters. Until Democrats start embracing rural American (instead of scorning them) they are going to have a hard time winning for a long time.
I wrote back to Art:
Your analysis is spot on. I’m impressed. There is one more major factor in the Republican’s unexpected resurgence that will also likely help them in the future. The reapportionment that follows the 2020 census. A. If Trump doesn’t screw up they stand to have lots of state’s under their control to draw favorable new districts for 2022 and B. Reapportionment allows them to pick little portions of high democratic urban areas and mix them with large rural districts to dilute them leaving relatively fewer safe Democratic Congressional Districts.
If Democrats are waiting for Trump to screw up they may be greatly disappointed.