As the above shows, the gainers continue to include the Southeast, Texas, the Mountain States, and the Northwest. The losers are led by Illinois (I’m still amazed anyone who can leave stays there given the dire fiscal and tax situation and crappy weather) and New York (which continues to hemorrhage retirees to Florida). Those who can bail on Kansas, too, as the Republican governor and Republican-controlled legislature do their best to destroy the economy and social fabric of the state in the stupidest experiment I’ve ever seen any state run. I continue to wonder how Arizona and Nevada are going to water their expanding populations. And, of course, there is New Mexico: the most underperforming state of all. Given its location and climate, it should be growing, yet somehow manages to make itself as unappealing and dysfunctional as possible.
Just a few reactions to yesterday’s election (including a few that are personal):
- The country is a safer place now that Trump and his R minions won’t be controlling both houses of Congress. There is something to be said for legislative gridlock.
- Adjusted for strong economic and stock market conditions, this election represents the worst House retention of any president in 100 years according to JPMorgan Asset & Wealth Management. But, of course, not everyone is benefiting from these conditions; asset appreciation and increased wealth continue to accrue mainly to the top 1 percent. This dynamic will play a major role in future elections. To this point, neither party is addressing the problem.
- Ds are badly out of step on immigration and taxes. If they don’t get their act together, it will cost them dearly in 2020.
- Rs are badly out of step on health care. If they don’t get their act together, it will cost them the White House and Senate in 2020.
- The electorate is in two camps: urban and rural. And within those camps, the electorate is divided by education.
- The disenfranchisement of voters in large states (people, not land), and the over-representation given to voters in sparse states, will continue to put pressure on our constitutional system. The Senate is becoming a highly unrepresentative body. This doesn’t bode well for our future.
- The Ds have to run good candidates if they are to win. Donnelly in Indiana, where I now live, was a pathetic candidate. Consequently, the Ds squandered a seat they should have retained.
- The Ds retaking seven governorships is huge even though it’s not getting the attention it deserves.
- The grand Republican experiment in Kansas failed miserably. The state is worse off because of it. On a positive note, the Ds took the governor’s mansion. However, much damage has already been done and not all of it will be reversible.
- Scott Walker’s loss in Wisconsin is sweet. Very sweet. And very well deserved.
- Texas is undergoing a major shift. For the first in a long time, its electoral votes will be up for grab in 2020.
- My favorite state, Colorado (a place I called home until recently), completed its transition from purple to blue. Colorado is the least partisan place I’ve ever lived. The Rs’ divisive tactics don’t work so well there.
- Steve King’s reelection speaks volumes about the people in his district in Iowa. They should be ashamed. The fact they’re not is a stark reminder of some of the forces at work in American politics today. And of the darkness that lives within the souls of all humans (yours truly included). At its best, politics should be a source of enlightenment and understanding and call people to their better selves. Sadly, politics often does just the opposite.
- Old white men are the strength of the Republican party. As these guys die off, the Rs are in big trouble unless the party can pivot and start appealing to educated women and younger voters.
- Voters still aren’t concerned about fiscal risks. This will come back to haunt them in a very big way someday.
- Yesterday’s election tells us little about either party’s prospects for 2020. Two years is an eternity in the world of politics.
- Yesterday’s election will have absolutely no effect on Trump. He is who he is, and he isn’t about to change. For some, that’s good; for others, it’s a never-ending nightmare. Either way, our president and his presidency are a reflection of who we are. What do you see when you look in the national mirror? Voters’ reaction to that image will decide the 2020 election.