Should Dems bet on Beto?

Is Beto O'Rourke's loss in the Texas Senate race a springboard for a Presidential bid? Texas journalist Mimi Swartz hopes he first runs for Cornyn's seat.

Posted: Nov 12, 2018 3:24 AM
Updated: Nov 12, 2018 3:28 AM

The 2018 midterms can be extraordinarily helpful to Democrats in the 2020 presidential election.

History shows that dramatic victories by the opposition party two years into a presidency don't guarantee anything. Presidents Clinton and Obama, for instance, were reelected after midterm shellackings. But they can create substantial opportunities to achieve partisan advantage.

This is the case with 2018.

House Democrats can promote a robust issue agenda

One power that is afforded to the House majority centers on its ability to inject issues into national debate. This is the congressional bully pulpit.

House Democrats may face some difficulty finding legislation that will make it through the Senate, where Senator Mitch McConnell is waiting like Darth Vader to kill any bills. But they can shift the media discussion from the daily chaos of the Trump White House simply by proposing legislation and triggering debate.

This is important since the midterms demonstrated that Democrats support issues that are popular with the public. These include protections for Americans with pre-existing health conditions, Medicaid expansion, gun control, and voter rights. Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, a skilled veteran of Capitol Hill and probably the next Speaker, can keep these sorts of issues on the front burner, reminding voters what their party stands for and forcing Republicans to show what they are against.

Democratic governors can change politics within key states

Democrats were finally able to reverse some of the damage from the Obama years by winning gubernatorial races in Kansas, Michigan and Wisconsin, among others. These governors can play a pivotal role in the presidential campaign. They will have the capacity to push back against voter restrictions that have been put into place in recent years, which disproportionately impact voters who lean toward Democrats.

Governors also will be able to push for state policies that energize voters, and in turn generate ideas for a national candidate. Closer to election time, the Democratic governors can help mobilize their party behind the chosen candidate. A few of them might even emerge as potential candidates themselves.

Democrats learned that grass-roots mobilization matters

When many Americans are cynical about the impact of average people, the midterms offered a template for how electoral success comes from the bottom up.

From the minute the 2016 election ended, there was a surge of Democrats who were angry about the outcome and determined to do something about it. Hundreds of thousands of people participated in the Women's March on Washington and similar demonstrations around the country just one day after President Trump's inauguration. The march rallied those who felt defeated and energized a grass-roots movement.

Educated women in suburbs dove into the grunt work of organizing and building local political networks to deliver the vote in the midterms, according to Theda Skocpol and Laura Putnam's surveys and interviews.

Some of these women didn't just prepare to vote. They ran for office and set a record in the House.

Survivors of February's mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School also became fierce organizers. They may be frustrated with the possible outcomes in Florida, where two gun-rights candidates might win. But their activism boosted participation among younger voters and inspired older Americans to see why the composition of Congress matters. Gun control advocates also increased their numbers in Congress, and a sizable contingent of NRA-backed legislators won't be returning to the Hill.

The local mobilization that occurred before the midterms can be the basis for Democrats to start preparing for 2020.

Coalitional candidates are the best bet

There has been endless head-scratching and debate among Democrats about whether the party should move to the left (towards newcomer Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, for example) or veer to the center (occupied by Connor Lamb and Doug Jones). Democrats should instead ask which candidates have the political savvy and charisma to build a big tent. Beto O'Rourke was one such contender, and his campaign showed the strength of that combination, even in a deeply conservative state like Texas.

Democrats are now competitive in a broader portion of the electorate as Trump has narrowed his party's appeal. They should search for someone who can put together an issues package and have the Beto-like appeal to attract a diverse voting body.

Don't fret too much over the reddest states

Democrats are celebrating and breathing a sigh of relief over the House and state election outcomes, but the results in the Senate should be sobering. In October, Trump campaigned fiercely on issues like immigration and Brett Kavanaugh's Supreme Court nomination, which seemed to resonate in Republican states. Whether it was Trump or loyalty to the GOP, voters in red areas supported the party line and were not open to very centrist candidates like Democrat Heidi Heitkamp, who was defeated in North Dakota.

The President's bet that Republicans would come home in the end was on target. The midterms should prevent Democrats from making the mistake of thinking that they can flip states in most circumstances. Democrats should be realistic about Republican strongholds and see that putting their human and financial resources into fighting for purple states like Nevada and Colorado is the best investment.

It won't be long before the presidential campaign really begins. The candidates soon will announce their intent to run, the debates will begin, and the fundraising will kick off. Although this was not a total revolt against Trump, the midterms have provided Democrats with a massive opening to take back the White House in 2020.

West Lafayette
Clear
63° wxIcon
Hi: 77° Lo: 60°
Feels Like: 63°
Kokomo
Clear
65° wxIcon
Hi: 77° Lo: 59°
Feels Like: 65°
Rensselaer
Partly Cloudy
66° wxIcon
Hi: 75° Lo: 61°
Feels Like: 66°
Fowler
Partly Cloudy
63° wxIcon
Hi: 76° Lo: 60°
Feels Like: 63°
Williamsport
Partly Cloudy
65° wxIcon
Hi: 78° Lo: 59°
Feels Like: 65°
Crawfordsville
Clear
64° wxIcon
Hi: 79° Lo: 57°
Feels Like: 64°
Frankfort
Cloudy
64° wxIcon
Hi: 77° Lo: 57°
Feels Like: 64°
Delphi
Partly Cloudy
64° wxIcon
Hi: 77° Lo: 60°
Feels Like: 64°
Monticello
Partly Cloudy
64° wxIcon
Hi: 76° Lo: 63°
Feels Like: 64°
Logansport
Partly Cloudy
64° wxIcon
Hi: 77° Lo: 59°
Feels Like: 64°
Comfortable weekend with a few spotty showers & t'showers...
WLFI Temps
WLFI Planner

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 771299

Reported Deaths: 14005
CountyCasesDeaths
Marion1059471808
Lake570611031
Allen43193700
Hamilton37458426
St. Joseph37420568
Elkhart29819471
Tippecanoe23584231
Vanderburgh23431405
Porter19616327
Johnson18899394
Hendricks18168323
Clark13623199
Madison13604348
Vigo12908256
Monroe12626178
LaPorte12594225
Delaware11183198
Howard10747237
Kosciusko9810124
Hancock8799150
Bartholomew8296157
Warrick8150157
Floyd8072183
Grant7397181
Wayne7254201
Boone7236105
Morgan6948143
Marshall6358117
Dubois6301118
Cass6110112
Dearborn604078
Noble603590
Henry5971111
Jackson518677
Shelby512898
Lawrence4961127
Gibson467296
Montgomery461392
Clinton458455
DeKalb458485
Harrison456977
Huntington421382
Whitley418645
Steuben412861
Miami407273
Jasper402556
Knox393191
Putnam386862
Wabash371684
Adams355356
Ripley352771
Jefferson347187
White340954
Daviess3098100
Wells304881
Greene295985
Decatur293493
Fayette287464
Posey285435
Scott283458
LaGrange278472
Clay276049
Washington255637
Randolph248283
Jennings240449
Spencer239731
Fountain237250
Starke230859
Owen224759
Sullivan222943
Fulton209545
Jay203432
Carroll198822
Orange192756
Perry191939
Vermillion181944
Rush178627
Tipton173848
Franklin173035
Parke156816
Pike143434
Blackford138232
Pulaski124048
Newton123736
Benton110515
Brown106443
Crawford106316
Martin92715
Warren88015
Switzerland8488
Union73710
Ohio58411
Unassigned0429

COVID-19 Important links and resources

As the spread of COVID-19, or as it's more commonly known as the coronavirus continues, this page will serve as your one-stop for the resources you need to stay informed and to keep you and your family safe. CLICK HERE

Closings related to the prevention of the COVID-19 can be found on our Closings page.

Community Events