Democrats have been eager to exploit the president’s unpopularity and translate it into electoral victories. So far, they’ve been woefully unsuccessful, at least on a federal level.
The Georgia special election involving Jon Ossoff versus Karen Handel was the most expensive House race in history. Despite boasting that their candidate was the “Trump killer,” the Democrats still couldn’t pull it off.
Rasmussen polls pegs the presidential approval rating at a dismal 38 percent. That’s lower than at any time during the Obama administration. One would expect that the opposition party’s prospects would improve somewhat.
Well it appears that they finally have.
“Out in the states, we’re seeing an incredible over-performance at the state legislative level,” said Jessica Post, who serves as executive director of the Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee.
“Incredible over-performance” is apparently defined as four seats in state legislatures that used to be held by Republicans that have now been won by Democrats.
Some of these victories are impressive in their own right.
In July, the Republican stronghold of Oklahoma saw a state house and state senate seat flip from red to blue. The same happened in New Hampshire, with the state senate candidate winning by an 11 point margin, 10 points larger than Hillary Clinton’s victory margin last year.
And a New York State general assembly seat has also gone to the Democrats in a Trump district.
Is this a coming blue tidal wave, or just a blue tempest in a red teapot?
Tim Storey, elections analyst for the National Conference of State Legislatures, isn’t sure.
“That is a really small sample size to extrapolate much beyond these local races,” he said. “There are quirky factors in all of them, and you just never know until you see a big trend.”
And, realistically speaking, this isn’t a big trend. When every special congressional election is being heralded as the downfall of the House of Trump, the idea that a state senate race in Delaware is going to matter when the 2018 midterms come around is a little hard to swallow. With such a historically unpopular president, the fact that the Democrats can’t close the deal demonstrates that they are in even worse shape than the floundering White House.
But who knows? Predicting elections a year out is a fool’s errand. It may well be that this is the start of something. It’s very possible that these state races may prove to be the dead cat bounce that the Democrats have been waiting for.
(Photo of Georgia Democratic candidate Jon Ossoff delivers a concession speech in his race for Georgia’s 6th Congressional District in June 2017, by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)