The sweetness of victory that Republicans enjoyed last November may now seem more bitter than defeat. For the second week in a row, Republicans have only narrowly held a formerly safe seat against a Democratic opponent.
Thirty-year-old Democratic documentary filmmaker John Ossoff barely missed an outright win in Georgia’s Sixth Congressional District Tuesday night, receiving 48.1 percent of the vote. He will compete in a June runoff against former Georgia secretary of state Karen Handel. The runoff is forecast to be a tossup.
Despite the fact that Democrats failed to take the congressional seat outright, this still has to be considered a defeat for President Donald Trump and the Republicans. The fact that Democrats are even beginning to make inroads into such formerly safe Republican territory has to be worrisome. The seat Ossoff almost won was represented by conservative firebrand Newt Gingrich for decades and more recently by tea party congressman Tom Price, now the health and human services secretary.
Democrats will now have several key advantages going into the midterms in 2018. For starters, they have a highly motivated base of progressives. They will also likely have a money advantage given corporate America’s recent shift away from Republicans. And they’ll be running against a historically unpopular president.
If there’s a swing vote in the midterms, it will be college educated whites. They reluctantly voted for Trump in 2016, and according to FiveThirtyEight.com, they’re now showing signs of displeasure:
Nearly 80 percent of Trump’s enthusiastic voters said they approved of his budget proposal, which essentially serves as an outline of the White House’s priorities. Only about half of reluctant Trump voters approved of the budget.
More worrying still: 15 percent of reluctant Trump voters said they would vote for the Democratic candidate in their district if the November 2018 elections for U.S. Congress were held today. Just 4 percent of other Trump voters said the same.
These are warning signs that Republicans need to pay attention to. The Trump agenda and Trump himself are generally unpopular. Eventually, Democrats will win unless changes are made. Republicans need a course correction and soon.