The NY Times published an interesting story today that must be causing some heartburn in Democratic circles. The point of the piece is simple: Democrats who were inspired by the party’s solid showing in 2018 should prepare for disappointment. A sliver of voters in swing states who turned out for Democrats last year plan to still vote for Trump next year:
Nearly two-thirds of voters in six battleground states who voted for President Trump in 2016 — but for Democratic congressional candidates in 2018 — say they intend to back the president against each of his top rivals, according to recent polling by The New York Times Upshot/Siena College.
The results suggest that the party’s winning formula in last year’s midterms may not be so easy to replicate in a presidential election. The Democrats’ relatively moderate House candidates succeeded in large part by flipping a crucial segment of voters who backed the president in 2016. If these voters remain open-minded again in 2020, Democrats will have a ready-made blueprint for winning back the crucial Rust Belt battlegrounds…
Michael Townsend, 38, a high school-educated construction worker in Dunmore, Pa., was a lifelong Democrat — until he voted for Mr. Trump.
“In the last couple years, the Democrats had kind of been losing the work, and I thought Trump might get us that work,” he said. “And to be honest, I’ve been in construction 21 years and the last two years were the best years I’ve ever had.”
As you read through the rest of the statements the Times has compiled from swing-voters around the country, there are a couple of things that stand out. First, many of them point to the economy as a sign that Trump is doing something right. That’s a very traditional explanation for why presidential candidates get re-elected and in this case it seems to be true. In their heart of hearts, Democrats must be rooting for a recession next year because without it this is probably going to be an uphill battle.