From Podhoretz’s Lips to God’s Ears

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Conservative pundit, and legend in his own mind, John Podhoretz, writes,

Resist the happy talk. This election is very bad for the GOP, and harbingers ill for 2020. With the exception of Ohio, Democrats have shown strength in the states that gave Donald Trump his victory in 2016.

Ds took two Congressional seats in Iowa, defeated Scott Walker in his third gubernatorial bid in Wisconsin, and won most of the Pennsylvania House seats they tried for (with the happy exception of the defeat of the anti-Israel grandson-of-a-Soviet-lover Scott Wallace). Democrats romped in Michigan, notwithstanding a surprising showing for the GOP gubernatorial candidate (who still lost).

The highly contested Florida races were far closer in 2018 than in 2016. In Georgia, a very liberal governor candidate out-performed other great Democratic hopes in that state over the past decade—and the race that started Democratic hearts a-beatin’ in 2017, the special election for Georgia’s 6th district, flipped to the Democrat after Republican Karen Handel had succeeded in keeping the seat. Arizona’s apparent choice of a Democrat to fill Sen. Jeff Flake’s seat suggests that state might be in play as well. …

Meanwhile, The scenario I’ve painted here suggests states [Trump] won—Florida, Iowa, Georgia, Arizona—might be lost, in which case it doesn’t matter all that much what happens in the upper Midwest. Dems might only need to win one of those back, or two. Meanwhile, the results suggest there isn’t a single state Trump failed to carry that is moving in his direction. …

Where are the voters [Trump’s] going to gain? What has he done to expand out his base? Nothing—indeed, it looks increasingly like his “base play” in the last week may have delivered a death blow to Republican Senate candidates in Arizona and Nevada and might have hurt in several House races. This would suggest Trump’s electoral instincts are bad, not good, and that next time he needs to look at the situation with a colder and clearer eye. But who’s going to tell him? And does anyone think he would listen?