The Polls Close at 7:30


The Special Election in North Carolina 9

In 2018 the Very Reverend Mark Harris (R-Whited Sepulcher), candidate for Congress in North Carolina’s Ninth District, tried to steal the election. Hence today’s do-over.

The Ninth District normally leans Republican to the tune of 14 percentage points. In advance of today’s do-over election, four polls have been conducted. One shows the Republican candidate ahead by 1. A second shows the Democrat ahead by 5. The other two show the voters evenly split.

One may hazard the guess that, whoever wins today in the Ninth District, it will be very close.

In sum, the arrow is blue, it points left, and it is about 14 percentage points in length.

The Special Election in North Carolina 3

There is also an off-year election in North Carolina’s Third Congressional District, where the incumbent Republican up and died. The Third District normally leans Republican by a whopping 24 points. (Aren’t you glad that you don’t live in the Third District?)

One poll has been taken in advance of this election, and it shows the Republican winning 51 to 40.

In sum, the arrow is blue, it points left, and is about 13 percentage points in length.

Brave and Pure Thy Men and Women, Better This Than Corn and Wine

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.