Yes: Republican statewide victories in Florida, over a Senate seat and the governorship, as well as a governor’s victory in Ohio and basically a tie for the statehouse in Wisconsin despite Scott Walker’s narrow loss, indicate that the electoral path Trump navigated to the presidency in 2016 remains plausible in 2020.
But: The midterms offered redundant evidence (some GOP strategists have been warning of this for a generation) that the party’s base is predominately rural in a country growing more urban and suburban, predominately white and culturally conservative in a country growing more diverse and culturally tolerant. Do Republicans really think that losing a majority of people who voted – as they did in 2016 and did again Tuesday night – but clinging to power through institutions designed to buffer democracy like the Senate and Electoral College is a wise strategy long-term?
The suburbs, which formed the bedrock of the Republican Party for half a century, are increasingly Democratic ground. The slow suburban exodus from the GOP has accelerated and even expanded beyond the Midwest and Northeast to the South and across the Sunbelt. Name the big metro – Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas, Houston, Minneapolis, Philadelphia – and chances are there’s a Republican incumbent who lost Tuesday night or barely escaped.
Whose fault is it?