This morning I looked again at the 2018 House Popular Vote Tracker, and received the happy news that our aggregate margin has increased by one tenth of one percent. The Democratic advantage is now 7.8 percent, of which 5.7 percent represents an improvement over Clinton’s popular vote margin of 2.1 percent.
In an earlier post I mistakenly implied that this extra 5.7 percent Democratic margin is made up entirely of previous Republican voters who decided to vote against Trump’s enablers in 2018. In fact, that, of course, accounts for only part of the change. Additional factors would include Republican voters who decided to stay home in 2018, and, most importantly, normally Democratic voters who were unenthused by Hillary Clinton but who, by 2018, had come to see the reason to show up at the polls. But whatever the sources of the change may be, a 5.7 percent shift is still a 5.7 percent shift.
But what about the blue shift in red country? Was there one, and what might it portend? Let’s look at Alabama, whose seven congressional districts are shown on the map below.
Liberal Hands and Spirits Free
Alabama’s legislators segregated as many black citizens as they possibly could segregate, into the seventh district. The Republicans didn’t bother putting up a candidate for congress there, the white folks didn’t bother to vote, and the Democratic candidate for Congress won with 97.8 percent of the vote.
Make Us Worthy, God in Heaven, of this Goodly Land of Thine
So let’s disregard the seventh district, and look only at the six white people’s districts. According to the Cook Political Report, these six Alabama districts normally lean Republican by margins ranging between a low of 15 percent and a high of 30 percent. So of course all these districts will be represented in the next Congress by Republicans. (All over the country, Republicans reliably won in districts leaning Republican by more than about five points, while a lot of the districts leaning Republican by five percent or less flipped to Democratic control.)
Nevertheless, I find it heartening that, even in Alabama, some fraction of my white brethren and sistern are beginning to wake up and smell the coffee.
To Thy Northern Vale Where Floweth Deep and Blue the Tennessee
The fifth district, which is located in the Tennessee Valley and includes Huntsville, saw a 10.7 percent shift in the Democratic direction, as between Trump in 2016 and the Republican congressional candidate in 2018—well exceeding the national 5.7 percent difference.
Broad Thy Stream Whose Name Thou Bearest
The second district comprises an irregularly shaped portion of southeastern Alabama. and includes Montgomery. There the Democratic candidate’s margin exceeded Trump’s margin by 8.6 percent, again materially more than the national average.
Fair Thy Coosa-Talapoosa, Grand Thy Bigbee Rolls Along
In the third and the sixth districts (east central Alabama) the 2018 Democratic gains—5.5 and 5.3 percent—were almost the same as the national figure.
From Thy Southern Shore Where Groweth by the Sea Thine Orange Tree
In the first district (Mobile and surrounding territory), the Democratic pickup was significantly less than the national average, but that was the Alabama district where Clinton did best (that is, least badly) in 2016.
Goodlier Than the Land that Moses Climbed Lone Nebo’s Mount to See
But there is good news for Trump. In the fourth district (north central Alabama, south of the Tennessee River). There Democrats were only able to improve by 2.8 percent on their crushing 62.5 percent loss in 2016.
Little Little Can I Give Thee, Alabama, Mother Mine
I mention these things not to prognosticate the 2020 Alabama Senate race. I assume my Alabama sources are right in predicting that Senator Jones will be looking for a new job in 2021.
But I do think we need to keep some things in mind.
First, even in darkest Alabama, significant numbers of folks are already getting out of the clown car.
Second, Doug Jones’ victory over Trump-endorsed Roy Moore demonstrates beyond doubt that there are some things up with which some of the white voters of Alabama will not put.
And, thirdly, it’s entirely possible that some of the things white Alabama voters won’t tolerate might occur between now and 2020.
Folks who put their money on Trump’s criminality and stupidity haven’t lost a bet yet.