Last night in Pennsylvania’s 18th Congressional District, regardless of who ends up winning or losing (and right now, Democrat Conor Lamb holds a slim lead with 100% of precincts reporting), this election is “an ominous sign for Republicans in a district that Donald J. Trump won by nearly 20 percentage points.”
How ominous? According to Vox, “When you take a step back and look at the 2018 race for the House, you realize: There are more than 110 Republican-held House districts that Trump won by less than he won in the district where the Republican House candidate just effectively tied with the Democrat.”
So what happens here in Virginia this November if there’s a 20-point swing away from Trump? Let’s go to the State Board of Elections 2016 results and look at this district by district.
VA-01: Trump won this district by just over 12 points (53.22%-40.97%), which of course is 8 points fewer than 20. Which means that Rep. Rob Wittman (R) should be a weeeeee bit nervous right about now.
VA-02: Trump squeaked out a win in this district by about 3.5 points (48.5%-45.0%), which is of course wayyyyy fewer points (16.5 fewer to be exact) than 20. Rep. Scott Taylor (R)’s days (mis)representing this district could very well be done in November. Let’s hope so, because Taylor is terrible.
VA-05: Trump won this district by 11 points (53.1%-42.1%), which yet AGAIN is far lower than 20 points. And yet AGAIN, the Republican currently (mis)representing the district – in this case Rep. Tom Garrett – could be in serious trouble come November.
VA-06: OK, now this is a super-red district that Trump won by nearly 25 points (59.3%-34.7%), and that IS greater than 20 points. So is this district unwinnable for Democrats? Mmmmmmayyyybe? It really depends who Republicans nominate, because if they’re stupid enough to go with extremist nutjob Cynthia Dunbar, who almost makes Roy Moore look sane, they could be in trouble even in this deep, deep-red district. We’ll see.
VA-07: Trump won this district by about 6.5 points (50.2%-43.7%), which puts it between VA-02 and VA-05 on the Democratic competitiveness scale. Even better news for Democrats here is that Rep. Dave Brat (R), in addition to being bat**** crazy, is also unpopular, including among the women “up in his grill” of course, but also among Cantor Republicans from what I’ve heard. In sum, Brat is not just the “wurst,” he also could be gone in November. Let’s do it!
VA-09: Trump won this district by 41 points (68.4%-27.2%) in 2016, so even though I’d love to see climate-science-denying freakazoid Rep. Morgan Griffith (R) gone, last I checked 41 points was a LOT greater than 20 points.
VA-10: Trump LOST this district in 2016 by 10 points (42%-52%) to Hillary Clinton, but Rep. Barbara Comstock (R) held on because she out-performed Trump by about 16 points (Comstock won by 6 point). The problem for Comstock, in addition to her pathetic record of voting in lockstep with Trump, is that if there’s a 20-point swing this November, or even a 10-point swing, she’s in deep, deep trouble. If I were Comstock’s staffers, I would be seriously polishing up my resume, networking and stuff like that. LOL
In sum, if there’s a 20-point swing away from Trump this November, Democrats are poised for an amazing night here in Virginia, with possible pickups (in descending order of likelihood, not considering candidate strength) in VA-10, VA-02, VA-07, VA-05, VA-01 and possibly even VA-06. Of course, it’s possible there won’t be a 20-point swing away from Trump in November, maybe only a 10-point or 5-point swing or whatever, but even so that would make for a potentially strong Democratic night.
Of course, Democrats need to be ready to take advantage of these scenarios, by first and foremost nominating the strongest possible candidate in each CD, then by running as strong a campaign as possible, and of course by being united around our nominees. If we do all those things, we set ourselves up to take advantage of however large a “swing” we see this coming November. Put ourselves in position to take advantage of potentially VERY positive circumstances, in other words…