Preelection polling from Monmouth University … accurately predicted the final result, showed that while O’Connor led comfortably among college-educated white women, their male counterparts still gave Balderson a nearly 20-point advantage, even though about half of them disapproved of Trump’s job performance. “It remains clear that the House is in play and Democrats hold an enthusiasm edge,” said Tom Davis, a former Republican representative who served as the chair of the National Republican Congressional Committee. “Yet this is the kind of open seat that should be in play in a wave. Democrats could not close the deal here where Trump was front and center.”
The district’s five more heavily blue-collar counties did not turn out at the level of the suburban behemoths, Franklin and Delaware. (That disparity also continued the pattern evident in Alabama and Virginia). But Balderson still carried around two-thirds of the vote in three of those counties and about 60 percent in the other two. …
Trump seems determined to widen the suburban-rural gulf with his midterm strategy, which has focused overwhelmingly on energizing the blue-collar and nonurban Republican base by provoking cultural and racially infused fights. That might generate more pressure on the Democratic senators seeking reelection in the preponderantly white heartland states Trump carried—such as North Dakota, Indiana, and Missouri—but it imposes a burden on GOP candidates in suburban areas. “We are going to run a national campaign to beat [the Democratic U.S. senator from North Dakota] Heidi Heitkamp—great,” Murphy said. “What about the rest of the map? We are betting the store on a shrinking demography because Trump is running the general election like a Republican primary.”
The consistency of the voting patterns in the major elections since 2016 suggests the divisions around Trump are both hardening and nationalizing. That points toward a 2018 election in which Democrats are likely to solidify their control of the major metropolitan areas, but may struggle to establish widespread beachheads in the Republican strongholds beyond them. (If anything, Democrats have better odds of making gains on the latter battlefields than Republicans do of avoiding losses on the former.) That stark divergence promises intense conflict in Washington, D.C., after November. It also foreshadows a Trump reelection campaign in 2020 that could look like a Battle of the Bulge between what America has been and what it is becoming.
A Takeaway: It’s Lysistrata Time
There are, of course, lots of takeaways here, but let me focus on one. The college-educated white women are doing us proud. Meanwhile, something is badly wrong with those college-educated white men who are disappointed in Trump but still vote Republican.
Not a credit to their race. Not a credit to their gender.
Trump can’t think ahead two steps in the game. (Wouldn’t it be fun to play chess with him?) But some of his acolytes know they’re in trouble with suburban women, but think the secret to their success is to ignore the women and ramp up their appeals to the crazy white men. More racism, more immigrant torture, more cultural resentment. More Geritol, please.
Women, I think it may be time respond by emulating Lysistrata.