Rachel Bitecofer, a newish political strategist who called the 2018 Democratic wave has released her 2020 model and it doesn’t look good for the President and his party:
Bitecofer has already released her 2020 model, and is alone among election forecasters in giving the Democrats—who, of course, do not yet have a nominee—the 270 electoral votes required to claim the presidency without a single toss-up state flipping their way. She sees anyone in the top tier, or even the second tier of candidates, as strong enough to win back most of the Trump states in the industrial Midwest, stealing a march in the South in places like North Carolina and Florida, and even competing in traditional red states like Georgia, Texas and Arizona. The Democrats are likely to pick up seats again in the House, she says, pegging the total at nine pickups in Texas alone, and have a decent chance of taking back the Senate.
Bitecofer argues that the “shifting minds of independent voters” is an old way of thinking. She posits that a focus on WHOM votes is really what matters.
But the electorate that elected Donald Trump in 2016 and the electorate that gave Democrats control of the House in 2018 might as well have been from two different countries, Bitecofer says. The first was whiter, had less college education and lived in more rural parts of the country than the second, which was more diverse, better educated and more urban than its counterpart from two years prior. That change had nothing to do with Democrats luring swing voters with savvy messaging, and everything to do with a bunch of people, who were appalled by the president, showing up at the polls, wanting to make their feelings known.
Once you know the shape of the electorate, she argues, you can pretty much tell how that electorate is going to vote. And the shape of the electorate in 2018, and 2020, for that matter, was determined on the night of November 8, 2016. The new electorate, as she forecasts it, is made up mostly of people who want a president named anything but Donald Trump, competing with another group that fears ruin should anyone but Donald Trump be president.
The first group, the Democratic universe of voters, now includes some very strange bedfellows, everyone from former Bush speechwriter David Frum to Susan Sarandon. It includes Al Sharpton and also the chief strategists for both Mitt Romney and John McCain’s failed presidential bids. It is Americans who are college-educated, who are not white or who live in or near a major urban center. This group turned out in force in the 2018 midterms, much the same way Tea Party voters showed up in 2010 to express their unhappiness at Obama. The more candidates talked about Trump and what a threat he was to their way of life, the more partisans were activated.
In other words, negative campaigning works. The question Republicans need to ask is will the “Trump wave” eclipse the coming “anti-Trump wave”, The Iowa caucus suggests that enthusiam for the Democratic candidates is equal to or less than the enthusiasm for Hillary Clinton in 2016 but the general elections is where the turnout matters. Like 2016, a whole bunch of voters may tell their friends one thing and secretly vote for Anyone But The President in November.