From today’s New York Times:
The most significant harbinger from the Ohio race may not be the narrow margin, but the turnout gap between the most and least heavily populated parts of a district that absorbs the close-in suburbs of Columbus and rural stretches of central Ohio.
In both Franklin County, which includes Columbus, and Delaware County, the fast-growing suburb just north of Ohio’s capital, 42 percent of voters turned out. But in the five more lightly populated counties that round out the district, turnout ranged from 27 to 32 percent.
This is an ominous sign for Republicans: The highest-income and best-educated elements of the electorate — those deeply uneasy with President Trump — are showing the most interest in voting. Defending a few dozen districts that are either more heavily urban or feature a similar demographic mix as Ohio’s 12th District, Republicans will need to find a way to win back suburbanites or better galvanize rural voters. If they do not, their House majority will slip away.
OK, let’s reread that last sentence. To win, Republicans EITHER have to win back the country club set OR they have they have to ratchet up their appeal to the unwashed.
As Greg Sargent observes, the Republican establishment has made its choice. They have well and truly bitten the bullet. They have decided which horse to ride on:
The key to this is that Trump and Republicans have been doing everything they can to energize those rural Trump-leaning areas. If you look at the ads that Republicans ran against O’Connor — see here and here — they amount to a festival of Nancy Pelosi-bashing and relentless culture-war demagoguing about crime, the menacing immigrant invasion, and the alleged threat that “the Resistance” poses to traditional values. With the GOP tax cut mostly disappearing from GOP messaging, this represents a last-ditch effort to galvanize Trump’s rural base.
It’s working. But it’s not working well enough. Yesterday, 42 percent of the voters in suburban Franklin County showed up, compared with between 27 to 32 percent in the twelfth district’s five most rural counties.
In the rural areas, the subset of folks who chose to vote were even trumpier than they were in 2016. But lots and lots of the country club set are gone, gone, gone.
What all this tells me is that Trump and his enablers are energizing A PORTION of the most ignorant and gullible of the rural white vote. “Trump’s base” is being winnowed down to a crazy hard core.
It is a loser’s strategy. Winning politicians practice the art of addition. Only a loser practices the politics of subtraction.
We were told long ago that Trump’s goal was to lose the 2016 election and then monetize his increased fame. Having failed in that goal two years ago, he persists.