Congratulations, Congressman-Elect Balderson

Pyrrhus

As of this hour on the morning after the election, the Fake News crew has not called the election on the twelfth congressional district in Ohio. Aardvark, however, a brave member of the reality-based community, is happy to offer congratulations to congressman-elect Balderson, shown above leading his troops in battle.

The twelfth congressional district is an oddly shaped geographic space, and is the product of efficient Republican gerrymandering. Efficient Republican gerrymandering means packing as many Democrats as you can into as few districts as possible, while creating a lot of districts that “lean Republican” by five, ten, or fifteen percent.

This is a really clever strategy, except for those occasions when a Republican president is bound and determined to drive a big wedge into the heart of his own party.

The twelfth district is comprised of wealthy suburban areas and much poorer rural areas. Franklin County, the most populous of its eight counties, is a suburban area located adjacent to Columbus, has 32 percent of the district’s voters. In 2012, Obama won Franklin County by three percent. In 2016 Clinton won by 19 points. Last night the Democratic candidate won by over 30 percent in Franklin County.

In the twelfth district as a whole, Trump won in 2016, 53 to 42. Last night the 11-point Republican advantage shrank to less than one percent. This is roughly in line with the average 16-point Democratic swing in ten prior special elections over the past two years.

But as a whole bunch of country club Republicans voted Democratic, or voted for the Green Party, or just stayed home, Trump did manage to gin up his rural white non-college educated supporters in the twelfth district, who came out to vote Republican in the same numbers as they did in 2016. (One may marvel at their gullibility and wonder what might suffice to end it. Only time will tell.)

Thus, instead of a 16-point Democratic swing, there was only a ten or eleven point change last night in the twelfth district of Ohio.

So, President Trump, please accept Aardvark’s felicitations on your great victory. Pyrrhus would be proud of you.

Likewise,  my heartiest congratulations to congressman-elect Balderson. You have indeed hitched your wagon to a star.