November 5, 2018 | Reading Time: 4 minutes
Tuesday Is for Political Payback
As usual, American women are getting the job done.
I don’t know how tomorrow is going to shake out any more than anyone else. (And don’t believe anyone who tells you they know.) Yes, polling gives us a good deal of information about what to expect, but as regular Editorial Board readers know, polling is not predictive. It’s an informed guess. That’s better than nothing, though.
This is important to note because some are saying the president’s last-ditch effort to ramp up paranoia, xenophobia and bigotry (over “criminals,” over the “caravan,” over fill-in-the-blank) is affecting polling, therefore giving way to statements like this: whatever you think of Trump’s racist tirades, they are working to drive out the GOP base. This is probably confusing correlation with causation. Yes, polls show Republicans “coming back home,” but is that due to Trump’s efforts? It might be. Just as likely, it might not be. I don’t think we can ever really know for sure.
Here’s another theoretical scenario related to the first: Yes, Trump’s racist tirades might be driving out Republicans, but as likely they are driving out Democrats even more. This is what happened after the confirmation of Brett Kavanaugh. We were told that opposition to Kavanaugh was electoral gold. It would spark a backlash against the Democrats. Well, turns out, it’s the reverse. The backlash isn’t coming from Republican voters. It’s coming from women determined to elect Democrats.
Consider too that we already saw tomorrow’s midterms in miniature last year during the race for Virginia governor. Republican Ed Gillespie out-Trumped Trump in running a white-power campaign. Polling right before Election Day had him three points ahead of Democrat Ralph Northam. By day’s end, Gillespie was nine points behind. Northam crushed him. As Vanity Fair’s Peter Hamby wrote: “Since Trump took office, polls have consistently underestimated Democratic performance.”
That performance is coming from women. Reid Wilson, of The Hill, tweeted demographics derived from early voting data. Across the board, women are voting at rates around 10 or more points ahead of men. Given that the president’s core support is from men, this long-term trend line does not bode well for him or the GOP. CNN’s Ronald Brownstein says this has the makings of a realignment between the parties.