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‘A storm of the century’: New data reveals why 2018 was such a massive landslide for Democrats — and bodes even better for 2020

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Democrats succeeded in fueling the hoped-for “blue wave” in 2018, flipping control of the House of Representatives and securing a decisive majority of 38 seats. And new data analyzed by Michael McDonald, who studies elections as a professor at the University of Florida, helps reveal why Democrats were able to win so big.

The Census data shows that in 2018, the share of the voting population that was non-Hispanic white dropped compared to 2016:

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Since white voters disproportionately vote Republican, and people of color are more likely to vote Democratic, this shift strengthens the Democrats’ chances.

But as McDonald noted, and as the chart above showed, this is not a typical pattern for a midterm election.

“Usually, the midterm electorate becomes a shade whiter than the last presidential. Not true in 2018 compared to 2016,” he explained. “The 2018 election saw the highest midterm turnout rate since 1914, so I expected the midterm electorate to more demographically like a presidential, but I did not expect to see the non-Hispanic White share of the electorate actually drop from 2016.”

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This shift could be partially explained by the fact that in 2016, black voter turnout was down compared to 2012. This is consistent with the graph above showing that, even though the overall non-Hispanic white portion of the electorate shrank from 2012 to 2016, the decline was much smaller than it had been in recent cycles.

Another key demographic that represented a large share of the electorate in 2018, giving Democrats a boost, is the younger cohort:

“What does this all mean for 2020?” said McDonald. “We are likely in for a storm of the century, with turnout levels not seen for a presidential election in the past 100 years. It is likely persons of color and younger people will participate in 2020 at unprecedented levels”

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McDonald didn’t speculate about the causes of the shift in the trends, but the most obvious explanation is President Donald Trump. Despite a relatively strong economy, his approval rate is pretty abysmal. And his presidency has been a gripping tale of controversies, scandals, and outright presidential abuses and neglect that have likely roped many more voter in and drawn more attention than a comparatively uneventful administration would have. The groups most opposed to and threatened by the GOP and Trump agenda were thus more likely to turn out in 2018. If Democrats are able to play their cards right, and Trump doesn’t manage to stir up comparative enthusiasm on the right, the GOP might face another blowout in 2020.


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Jon Stewart blasts ‘abomination’ of Rand Paul trying to ‘balance the budget on the backs of’ 9/11 responders

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On Wednesday's edition of Fox News' "Special Report," comedian and activist Jon Stewart slammed Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) for blocking unanimous consent for a bill to support health care for 9/11 first responders.

"Pardon me if I'm not impressed in any way by Rand Paul's fiscal responsibility virtue signaling," said Stewart to anchor Bret Baier, who appeared on the show with first responder and activist John Feal.

He added that Paul's complaint, that the bill was unfunded, rings hollow given that he "added hundreds of billions of dollars to our deficit" with the GOP tax cuts for billionaires. He castigated Paul for trying to "balance the budget on the backs of the 9/11 first responder community."

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Republicans will never say that racism is ‘racism’ — basically because they’re racist

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Is there any expression of racism that Republicans will actually admit is racism? It's a question on a lot of progressive minds in the wake of Donald Trump demonizing female congresswomen of color with the "go back" canard that white nationalists and other assorted racists have long used to abuse anyone with heritage they dislike, whether that heritage is Jewish, Irish, Italian, African, Latin American or Muslim. Telling someone to "go back" is, in the ranks of racist statements, right up there with calling a person the N-word or some other rank slur. Yet, there still appears to be resistance among Republicans to admitting that is racism, which leads many on the left to wonder: If this doesn't count, then what could possibly count?

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This explains why Trump picked a fight with the four Congresswomen of color: analysis

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On one hand, President Donald Trump almost certainly chose to mark out Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), Rashida Tlaib (D-MI), Ilhan Omar (D-MN), and Ayanna Pressley (D-MA) because of his own deep-seated racism.

But there is likely another reason he is doing it, wrote Aaron Blake of the Washington Post's "The Fix" on Wednesday: because his core voters hate them as much as he does.

Blake cited a new The Economist/YouGov poll of 2016 Trump voters' opinions on several politicians. "As you peruse it, it becomes clear that the conventional wisdom about why Trump picked these targets is right: They were ripe for motivating the GOP base ... All of them are better known among Republicans than Democrats, which suggests that a steady stream of coverage in conservative media has elevated them as potential Democratic bogeywomen. Trump is tilling fertile soil. And in fact, they might already be his most effective foils."

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