Even Democrats Can't Help But Admit Trump Made the Difference in Tight Special Election
What a difference 10 months makes.
After Tuesday night’s special election victory by Republican Dan Bishop in North Carolina’s 9th Congressional District, Democrats and liberal commentators are in damage control mode, arguing that the close GOP win in a district the Trump campaign carried by 12 points in 2016 could mean trouble for the president in 2020.
But it’s easier to argue that exactly the opposite is true.
When 9th district voters went to the polls in 2018, for a midterm election that was ultimately thrown out, the country was awash in Democratic fervor. With campaigns focused almost entirely in opposition to President Donald Trump, the Democrats won control of the House of Representatives.
Trump himself wasn’t on any ballots in November, but that didn’t stop Democrats — still smarting from Trump’s 2016 victory — from making the election all about his administration.
In Tuesday’s special election in North Carolina, Trump wasn’t on the ballot either, but he mounted a major effort on Bishop’s behalf, including a huge rally in Fayetteville where he appeared on stage with the GOP candidate.
And even Democrats had to admit Trump made the difference.
“We fell an inch short tonight, but it took more than $6 million in outside Republican spending and a last-minute Trump rally to scrape by in a district that the President carried by 11.9 points,” Rep. Cheri Bustos, an Illinois Democrat and chairwoman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, said in a statement.
DCCC’s Bustos: I’m proud to congratulate Dan McCready..We fell an inch short tonight, but it took more than $6 million in outside Republican spending and a last-minute Trump rally to scrape by in a district that the President carried by 11.9 points.
— Chad Pergram (@ChadPergram) September 11, 2019
Yes, well the fact is, there was a personal rally by Trump — and in the 2020 election, where the president will actually be on the ballot — that effect is going to be amplified.
What the Democrats and liberal commentators aren’t mentioning, though, is that during the 2018 midterms, voters hadn’t yet been subject to month after month of Democrats running for president taking increasingly left-wing positions on issues Americans care about — from health care to immigration reform.
Voters who might have been willing to support a Democrat because of certain aspects of the Trump presidency — constant Twitter posts that generate constant headlines, for instance — hadn’t yet seen what Democrats are really offering as an alternative.
Since then, they’ve witnessed the Democrat-controlled House, ostensibly led by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, look increasingly like a high school cafeteria dominated by the four mean girls of “the squad” — Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ilhan Omar, Ayanna Pressley and Rashida Tlaib.
They’ve seen the clown car of Democratic presidential contenders either increasingly trying to outflank each other on the left — Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, etc., etc. etc. — or acting like embarrassing relatives — the dangerously loopy “Uncle Joe” Biden.
It’s true that there weren’t as many votes cast in Tuesday’s special election, about 188,000, according to The New York Times, as they were in November, about 217,600, according to Ballotpedia. But that’s to be expected in any special election.
There was a reason this race was viewed as a bellwether for the 2020 election — it was because voters on both sides knew full well what the parties they were voting for actually support.
In the November midterm, anti-Trump feelings were almost enough for Democrats to win in the North Carolina 9th District, and it wasn’t.
In Tuesday’s election, after Trump and Vice President Mike Pence made no bones about how important the race was, voters on both sides responded.
And Trump’s side won.
Democrats can try to spin their loss in North Carolina on Tuesday any way they want, but the reality is that American voters have gotten to know more and more about the Democratic Party since the November midterms, and there’s a good chance that even many who are not strong Trump supporters don’t like what they see one bit.
There are still more than 12 months before the next election, but if Tuesday’s results are any indication, the last 10 haven’t helped the liberal cause at all.
There’s no reason to think another year of Democratic insanity in the presidential race is going to be any different.
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