A lot of liberals are heartbroken that Jon Ossoff lost the race for Georgia's 6th congressional district. Conservatives are crowing about the win and the left is understandably wringing its hands. But allow me to give you a little perspective about what happened last night and why Republicans who are paying attention shouldn't be cheering all that much today.
Last night, Ossoff lost by 3.8% or slightly less than 10,000 votes. You might be tempted to say a loss is a loss and go back to blaming Bernie or Hillary or whatever boogeyman floats your boat but you're missing a few important details.
Here's 2017 via Ballotpedia
That was in an off year election in a gerrymandered district that is 70% white and heavily Republican.
Here's the last three elections by way of contrast:
You should be noticing a trend by now. It keeps going like that on Ballotpedia until 2000, with the Democratic candidate being stomped each time by well over 20 points. Hell, in 2004 and 2010, the Republicans ran unopposed! Even in 2008, which was a very very bad year for Republicans, they won GA06 by 37 points.
In fact, if you take the last 4 elections where a Democratic candidate ran, Republicans won with an average of a little over 30 points. That means last night's "victory" with a 3.8% margin represents a stunning 26% swing to the left.
Read that again: 26%. That is catastrophic for the GOP.
The GOP win in South Carolina yesterday was also a squeaker. SC05 is another heavily gerrymandered district filled with angry white conservatives that voted for incumbent Mick Mulvaney by 20.5 points in 2016, 21.3 points in 2014 and 11.1 points in 2012. Republicans kept it red by 3.2% last night. They won the sole Montana seat by 6.1 points, a seat they usually win with low double digits, and the race in Kansas by less than 7, a seat they always win by over 20 points. Suddenly, that 26% shift doesn't sound quite so unbelievable, does it?
Let's pretend the shift is only half of that at 13%. Going by the results of the 2016 election, A 13% shift in the electorate flips 25 seats in Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, and Florida. Just those seven states alone would cost the GOP control of the House. It gets progressively worse from there (pun intended).
Yeah, we lost races that we haven't had a chance in hell of winning in over a decade but we came within spitting distance, anyway. It should be obvious by now that even seats Republicans consider "safe" with a low teen margin are not even slightly safe. And that's before we spend the next 17 months watching the GOP steal healthcare from millions of Americans explicitly to give a trillion dollar tax break to the rich while covering for Trump's historic corruption.
Barely surviving is not the same as winning. At this rate, a 26% swing might end up being a best case scenario for Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell.
There are 503 days left to the 2018 elections.
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