As I’m sure you know by now, Republican Karen Handel beat Democrat Jon Ossoff in a special election in Georgia’s 6th Congressional District last night. She will be the first Republican woman sent to the U.S. House from Georgia.
Not that you’ll hear much hype about that since Republican women breaking glass ceilings is different. Or something.
The race was widely touted by the left as a referendum on President Donald Trump, and while Democrats can legitimately say that they made the race pretty close in district that historically votes strongly Republican, it’s still a loss.
Their fifth consecutive loss in special elections since November.
[mks_pullquote align=”right” width=”300″ size=”24″ bg_color=”#ffffff” txt_color=”#000000″]…if there were some anti-Trump wave coming, wouldn’t we see Democrats getting something more than very expensive moral victories because they almost beat Republican candidates?[/mks_pullquote]
It was the most expensive race for a House seat in U.S. History. The more than $32 million collected by all candidates in the special run off, and most of that came from the Demcorats. Ossoff raised over $23 million only to lose to Handel who raised just over $4.5 million.
Rank-and-file Democrats have complained that in previous special elections the left wing candidate didn’t get enough support from the DNC and liberal donors. Nobody can claim that in this race.
Ossoff had plenty of monetary support. He just lost.
That’s devastating for Democrats, and a punch in the nose for this idea that there is some certainty of a widespread backlash against Republicans in the Trump era.
Everyone was certain that Trump couldn’t win the GOP nomination. He won anyway.
Everyone was certain that Trump couldn’t beat Hillary Clinton to win the White House. He won anyway.
Now everyone is certain that Trump and Republicans are set for a midterm election drubbing from an angry national electorate fired up by months of negative headlines for Trump in the early months of his administration.
So far there’s no evidence that any such thing is in the offing.
We have to be careful about extrapolating too much from these special elections. For a lot of reasons having to do with things like turnout, comparing a special election to a regular election really isn’t an apples-to-apples situation.
But still, if there were some anti-Trump wave coming, wouldn’t we see Democrats getting something more than very expensive moral victories because they almost beat Republican candidates?
Which isn’t an endorsement of how Trump has been running his administration so far. Only an indication that Democrats can’t rely on anti-Trump sentiments to help them win elections. At some point, they will have to give voters something to vote for that’s not just their usual identity politics and fear mongering.