Is the Rust Belt Still Trump Country?

Democrats are leading in many high-profile races, but there are a lot of low visibility elections that carry exceptionally high stakes.

Comments: 167

  1. Actually, 2020 is on the ballot in less than a month. Millions of Americans are anxious about a predicted (hoped-for?) wave of Democratic sentiment to regain a foothold on the slipper slope of politics--national as well as local.

    The problem for the Democrats, as I see it two years out, is, "who's on first?" Many in the party, especially in the Senate--and who were particularly noisy in the Brett Kavanaugh hearing--were thought to have boosted their 2020 bona fides based upon the judge's success or failure in reaching the Supreme Court. Aligned against this was the president's siren call to tribal politics ("hey, white guys, where are you? One of ours (yours) is being attacked by the Democrats and The Left!"). In football terminology, this raw and nasty fight moved the chains, but where on the field were they? Their side or their opponents'?

    The Democrats seem not to have learned much from 2016. There is right now no clear visible leader. The women who are most often talked about--Amy Klobuchar; Kamala Harris; Ellen Warren; and the men: Corey Booker; Deval Patrick--represent severe challenges for a party still vulnerable to white resentment (women and/or minorities). If any of the just-named carry the party banner in 2020, Trump wins re-election easily.

    The Rust Belt, culturally, is the solid bedrock of (national) white tribal nostalgia. Sure, it's doing poorly, but being white has its compensations in an economy that is widely thought to be Donald Trump's, Barack Obama's.

  2. Don't count on the Rust Belt. Gerrymandering will keep those states red.

  3. You can see it on the airwaves out here in flyover country. The GOP abandoned any pretense of campaign ads touting solutions or the tax cut and are running non stop attack ads late last month. They are apparently bankrupt of ideas or issues. Debates turned the same way. They seem very desperate

  4. @tom this comment from a supporter of a party that finds its itself near extinction on the state level because all it has to offer is hating on the President. Guess your neighbors don't all feel like you.

  5. "For the Democrats to beat Trump in 2020, they will need a tough candidate prepared for battle in what has become politics without rules, boundaries or mercy."

    The GOP rolls over Democrats because they traditionally take knives to a gun fight. Michelle Obama's observation that we "go high" is true, and if we lived in an ideal world where the GOP respected the rules of civility, that would work. But we're all living in Trumpistan, and going high won't get the job done. Democrats must fight like Republicans or they continue to lose.

  6. @Adrienne
    That's Sad because I'm afraid it's true

  7. @Adrienne

    Schumer and Pelosi seem to spend their time writing up quotes for print newspapers read by small numbers of people. GOP leaders seem to spend their time getting their message directly to millions of people.

  8. @Adrienne "it's the economy stupid', what Democrat said that? Best to listen to your own people or you are getting another butt kicking on 2020. Trump just gets what every Democrat doesn't.....most of us want a job, not a government program that punishes my neighbors success by stealing his earned money and giving it to me. So he is making a fight for trade that needs fighting before it's too late. So please, run another social message candidate please!

  9. I arrived here in central Michigan on a temporary job assignment after having lived in Italy for a number of years. As an American re-pat I was expecting this area to be very conservative and pro-Trump" territory. No matter how many polls or studies or political discussions I see, people here seem staunchly behind the president, or rather, they are behind the "make america great" idea. Unfortunately, this region is not experiencing any notable improvement economically or otherwise due to the administration's policies.
    So once again, people around here are impressed by the sizzle but really don't care about the steak. Seems that if you put enough American flags on buildings, on motorcycle tanks and wear flag underwear, the U.S. will magically become a great place again. Never mind every problem that existed here before Trump, still exists: bad roads, lethargic economic growth, poverty, etc.
    People never learn.

  10. @mrfreeze6
    Here in the NY 19th Congressional District, it's very similar. People think Trump is doing good things, but our economy is still stagnant. Young people are still leaving for better opportunities. People struggle to find a way to reinvent these rural communities.
    Agriculture has changed and fields are going back to goldenrod. It's beautiful, but scary. Will the villages be ghost towns when the elderly eventually die?
    John Faso, the Republican incumbent, talks about the economic miracle. It worries me that so many don't realize that the miracle has occurred elsewhere.

  11. @mrfreeze6

    Either by design or accident you hit the bullseye:

    "Never mind every problem that existed here before Trump, still exists..."

    The rot started long before Trump. Saint Ronnie Ray-gun created the government is the problem-cut the taxes mantra. Clinton kept the wolves at bay but then came the unmitigated disaster of George W. Bush.

    Obama had eight years to save the middle class and chart a new economic course, but as you noted, the problems were still there upon the arrival of Trump.

    I see little to no hope that the democrats can find the candidate Edsall describes. Sad.

  12. @mrfreeze6 as if any president could fix all that on a local level in under 18 months. After the great God Obama, why is there any of this to fix? You mean 8 years of a Democrat wasn't enough time, but 18 months of a Republican is plenty, yeah sure.

  13. I find "Rust Belt" a derogatory and offensive description of my life-long home - the Mid-west.

    Rust is the by-product of decay and the devaluation of manufactured goods. I don't understand how liberals that demand political correctness and inclusion as a platform continue to refer to the mid-west as the "rotting belt of economic collapse", and then wonder why they would not vote for an urban coastal liberal elite and choose Trump instead.

    With global warming causing ocean levels to rise, maybe we should refer to California and New York as the "sinking states" Somehow I suspect the good people of the Rust Belt wouldn't miss them.

  14. @Tom Stoltz Brava!

  15. @Tom Stoltz

    Wow, my snarky 7 am rant has been replied to by more people than I even expected to read it.

    1) I think SDH did a good job expressing my view: "The biggest failure of the Democrats ... was the failure to articulate a vision that would actually help people in the Midwest". If you don't understand why Rust-belt is offensives, you STILL don't understand how Trump won the union vote.

    2) Detroit is a new city. Amazing things are happening. I actually go downtown by choice today, not just for jury duty. We write software. The Tigers play in Comerica Park. We have re-invented ourselves. You should visit.

    3) I have spent most of my career as an engineer making transportation cleaner and more efferent. I do believe we have a moral obligation to reduce carbon emissions. I drive a hybrid and get 42 MPG, and will buy an EV when total cost of ownership makes sense. I certainly hope my fellow citizens don't sink into the ocean. My crass comment of the "Sinking States" was intended to help people understand how "Rust Belt" might also be offensive.

    4) While I am a free market conservative, I voted for HRC, as the least bad option. I am not fond of Trump, but my point remains: if you don't understand why Rust-Belt is insensitive, you still don't understand why Trump is president. It IS all about jobs.

  16. @Tom Stoltz and Trump is fighting a fight needing to be fought for Americans on trade. He is tired of us getting exploited to subsidize the world. It's refreshing. The last president wondered where to put a wind farm, this one wants to know why we are getting screwed, love this guy!

  17. The Republicans are crawling out of the woodwork. We have several new lawn signs in the neighborhood since the October 4th Trump rally. They were put up by staunchly Republican neighbors.

    Republican voters, at least the ones I talk to, are not easy to understand. I not sure the polling sheds any light on what they expect from government at the local, state or federal level or why they vote.

    Trump seems to understand Republican voters. They love his pep rallies. My sense is that the large majority of the Republicans I talk to just want to vote for the candidate their friends and neighbors support. When they attend a Trump pep rally, or see a news report, they see neighbors cheering and they want to join the crowd.

    Democratic voters are not much different. Bernie Sanders got that. Beto O'Rourke seems to get that. The Democratic establishment, not so much.

    Trump is a real Republican asset. His pep rallies drive momentum for Republican candidates.

  18. "To say they are returning to the Democratic fold would be an overstatement because all the Democrats stand for is their opposition to Trump nowadays." Republican consultant.

    Whistling past the graveyard. The consultant is either not paying attention or is selling something. Education, health care, environmental protection, responsible fiscal policy are all areas where there is broad agreement between Democratic candidates and the voters.

    The two areas to be figured out are, now that Corrupt Donnie has broken them, are immigration and trade. Here Dem's need to be clear on values and willingness to work on solutions.

  19. "For the Democrats to beat Trump in 2020, they will need a tough candidate prepared for battle in what has become politics without rules, boundaries or mercy" concludes Mr. Edsall. With due respect, this is a blinding flash of the obvious.

    It would show character on the part of this voter, if I were to pull out a map of the United States before ending in Kansas with Toto. A project that has been in the works since 1970, 'The Island of The Center of the World' has arrived on the swift wings of a starling, taking this reader back to her place of birth to explore an epic story of Dutch Manhattan and the forgotten colony that shaped America.

    There is a Rust Belt studded not only with ashes but rubies, and the latter are beginning to glow. The Democrats have a powerful candidate; he is not in need of a rally to play Santa Claus to the howling mob, but would gather younger politicians under his banner and serve as a presidential mentor, The Superior and Public Servant to All.

    He has proven his mettle before as a public servant to New York; well-educated, strong and steadfast, he does not play games with Mother Nature, he has been put to the task before, and he can be brutally honest when push comes to shove.

    A measured successful business man, who releases his tax statements, and is never hysterical, he commands above all, respect and credibility, leading by fair example with distinction and a sense of morality.

    It could happen, and Chaos would take a stumbling fall.

  20. Pollsters have a long way to go to regain any credibility after 2016.

    As does the Democratic Party to demonstrate that they can fight and win elections against today's Trumpian GOP.

  21. Those candidates who heard and understood the message of 2016 will win. Nationally the Democratic party is still stuck in 2015. The fights over social issues occurring in the media and playing out on the national stage have little to do with paying the mortgage or our kids finding gainful employment. Where are the jobs to propel people way up into the middle class? Where is the security in old age, or relief from ruin due to medical bankruptcy?

  22. I've voted Democrat for over 30 years. I read the Times and the Washington Post every day, along with other news sources like Politico.

    And the messages that seem to be coming at me from the party are: impeach Trump, Medicare for all, and abolish ICE.

    The media focus on strong emotions and activists from the left: the Kavanaugh hearings, sexual assault allegations, progressive socialists, female candidates, candidates of color, upstart candidates.

    In general, I know Democrats represent things like environmental protections, which are important to me and a woman's right to choose.

    But I don't have a clue about other broad, general specifics beyond hatred of Trump. They need to be telling people: do you support shipping manufacturing jobs overseas, what about the people are are dizzy and confused from our economic and demographic changes, what about those left behind, etc.

  23. @Talbot stop getting all your messaging from the media, especially the Times. They love the horse race and feed on the divisions as much as Trump does. I have been working for the Dems in Pa for months; the message you think you're hearing isn't what they are saying. I find it exasperating that so called liberal outlets like the Times and even MSNBC have journalists assigned one single beat: the conservatives (Jeremy Peters and Casey Hunt). Where are the reporters covering the other party—the Dems? Same with the Sunday talk shows, which is why I stopped watching.

    Honest reporting is replaced by stupid pieces like today's op ed on "Dems don't blow it!"(funny coming from the paper that ran multiple negative stories on Hillary every day of 2016) or the magazine piece on Dems' so-called "immigration problem."

    I'm so tired of the whining. "They have no message, their neoliberal, blah blah blah." Dig a little deeper why don't you? Dems stand for everything they have always stood for: protecting SS and Medicare, making sure everyone has affordable health care, the environment, civil rights, etc. None of that has changed. It just gets drowned out by the noise the media makes, whether attacking they are attacking Dems or spreading the gospel of the Trump party.

    Take some responsibility. Inform yourself. The more you throw up your hands, stay home, or vote third party, the more power you give to the Trumpkins and the more difficult it is to move forward.

  24. @Talbot

    Agreed. And it just about makes me think that owners of the "liberal" media aren't really interested in getting out the Dems' message, but rather giving people a reason not to vote Dem, creating the illusion that all Dems have for a platform is "we hate Trump". And Republicans just love hearing and repeating that false talking point.

  25. For some reason the Democrats never miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity. And I fear the same is happening in 2018.

    The GOP strategy has its origins in the aftermath of Nixon's debacle. The party of big business had just witnessed two waves of popular democracy that had swept aside their policies.

    The first was the civil rights movement which generated hundreds of thousands of new Democratic voters and the second was the anti-war movement which changed foreign policy.

    As an ideologically driven party they understood that the struggle was about power. Elections were simple the vehicles used to gain that power. Money was the hand maiden of power and they had plenty of it.

    The Democrats abandoned the base of FDR in their anti-communist zeal of the 50's and quest to be the party of corporate finance in the 90's.

    The deals the Democrats have cut over the last thirty years have undercut the fundamental promises of the New Deal to such a degree that it's no wonder that some switched to Trump while the greatest number of American voters simply despaired and stayed home.

    They can be brought back into civic life, but as the Sanders campaign showed, someone has to fight for the bread and butter issues that affect their lives.

    When I listen to Pilosi and Schummer I hear Ms. Insider and Mr. Banker, not a story that will excite me enough to match the take no prisoners attitude of the GOP.

    We're not as bad as Trump may be true but it will not carry the day.

  26. @drspock

    Progressives cannot allow the perfect to be the enemy of the good. This leads to staying at home on Election Day or casting a "protest vote" for someone who cannot win, which is effectively a vote for the Republican. Sometimes good enough has to be good enough, because the alternative is so much worse.

  27. @Mark Thomason

    Waiting for the perfect candidate is a recipe for continued failure. Politics is about compromise, not about getting everything you want. That applies to candidates as well as policy.

  28. The strategists talk about polls and $. But, like before, they don't talk about issues and needs of the target constituencies. Just pumping dollars into a race doesn't guarantee a win, as past races have shown. However, it's the only way the Democrats know how to think any more; any connection of the party to issues and ideas has been fading since the late 80's and at this point is pretty much gone completely. As long as it remains a battle of tribalism (R) vs., "were not them" (D), the tribalists are going to keep winning.

    Short of a major house-cleaning of the Democratic leadership, I don't see this changing anytime soon.

  29. It would be interesting to see this broken down by age group. On issues like climate change, which is extremely important to address immediately, polls have consistently shown much less difference in red/blue opinion in the 18-35 demographic. How different will their political world look, and when will the tipping point arrive? Soon, I hope.

  30. Don't be so sure. History tells me that every last one of the single issue voters--gun rights, anti-abortion, no new taxes or no taxes at all, reduced government regulations, privatization of public services and education, strict immigration laws and border security, pro-military spending--tends to vote Republican. The Republicans are very smart to push these issues to the forefront and repeatedly remind their supporters that they should fear for their lives. They all vote!

    Citizens who tend to vote Democrat don't all vote for various reasons. Many are young, and lets face it, immature and less responsible. Many are poor and lack the time and/or resources. Some are radical and not easily moved to the center. It's harder to get many of them to rally around a single issue or even two or three.

    Here in Ohio, you can count on every Republican to vote. I hope that the last two years is enough to motivate those who would vote Democrat to make the extra effort to vote, but the 68 year old cynic in me is not convinced they will.

  31. The loss of the Rust belt has nothing to do with politics & everything to do with bigotry & racism.The white Blue collar worker is solidly in the Republican corner.To these workers the Democrats are made up & controlled by Jews, Blacks, & Hispanics, and are more interested in Gay rights than jobs for these workers that lost their jobs to out sourcing. Trump & the Republicans gave them the message they wanted. Bring back their Jobs , with a hint of racism thrown into the mix.
    Don't bet against Trump & the Republicans in the Mid term elections. The Poles were wrong about Trump & they are wrong again.
    I hope I'm wrong, but I'm prepared to be disappointed again.

  32. @Joe Blow -- "The loss of the Rust belt has nothing to do with politics & everything to do with bigotry & racism."

    Keep thinking like that and you'll lose again.

    It was all about politics. Those who talked only of bigotry and racism, aimed at the voters they sought to represent, were doing the political work of their opponents.

  33. The voters have proven they are easily fooled by shiny trinkets and baubles, as demonstrated in their glee over the tax cut scam, the Trump Trade Wars and the screeching over Democrat push toward socialism (while not realizing much of our society has socialism built in-police, social security, Medicare and much more). In their belief that anything said against the Democrats is truth, particularly when Trump spews it, those voters will continually vote against their interests.
    Perhaps the Democrats should dumb down their rhetoric as their high-brow take the high road actions have borne little fruit over the recent years. But, the seeds of hate have been sowed when the grifter from Queens emerged from his swamp and infested our White House with his carnival barking, dog whistling and gas lighting, and the people cheered and believed him then and still do today as their pockets are being picked.
    As it is said, a fool is born....

  34. Sounds like a call for Joe Biden for 2020... Yeah, he's older but he's got the working class sensibility and still pulls in Obama Dems elsewhere.

  35. @Elrod. Please no. We need younger leadership. Period.

  36. Tom,
    My wife and I moved back to Michigan and our first “rule of thumb” is to believe every person you meet voted for Trump. So far, that theory has held up. Most commercials by the right focus on Nancy Pelosi’s agenda what ever that is.
    On the bright side, there is Michigan proposal #2 which addresses gerrymandering. Our statehouse races look promising.
    I’m trying to stay positive even with a very biased newspaper and TV stations in Grand Rapids. Most alarming is my church which gives cover for the right on one issue right to life. Never mind children in cages, our tarnished reputation worldwide and the effects of global warming. I’ve got mine!
    November 6th is the day to change the course for our future and our grandchildren.

  37. @PatMurphy77
    You mentioned Grand Rapids which leads me to believe you are most likely from that area. That would explain why you assume that everyone you meet is a Trump supporter. The Western side of the state is Betsy DeVos territory. I personally find it more equally divided in other areas of Michigan. By the way, DeVos is the Sec. of Education who never once bothered to visit the public schools in Flint, MI when some were out of heat during the dead of winter. Not what I consider a nice person. Also, the Repubs gerrymandered the last 10 years into districts that guaranteed them Republican control. of the state. I'm very sick and tired of minority rule in this country and I implore everyone to please vote.

  38. @PatMurphy77
    Take heart; Grand Rapids is not Michigan; there are plenty of people here who vote for Democrats!
    I am puzzled by the right's obsession with Nancy Pelosi (as in the ads you mention). If she wasn't effective, they certainly wouldn't spend any time & money fulminating against her! However, I am truly baffled that Democratic candidates have fallen for this bait and are now wasting their air time in distancing themselves from her rather than in pointing out the very real failures of their Republican opponents.

  39. @PatMurphy77 You just put your finger on why churches should be taxed.

  40. Trump barely understands what his daddums did to create a real estate empire.

    He has blown up the deficit - which Trump loyalists in this House and Senate don't seem to mind at all these days - and his trade war rhetoric is already causing an adverse impact on businesses in all of the "purple" states he's been rallying in - such as last night where his rally appears to be an overdone comedy routine that would not have succeeded on the Gong Show. Honestly, how many times does he expect to get a laugh out of referring to a smart female senators who intimidate him as "Pocahontas" and "lock her up".

    But Russia seems to be doing great under Trump's edicts, now that China has stopped buying our corn, pork, and soy products and is buying from Russia these days.

    His slogan should be MRGA. Don't worry. Even if he actually changes it to that, he'll still get a laugh or two from his loyalists who are into that demented one-act routine he's running at his rallies.

  41. 2020 is far too far away to worry about. Democrats must keep their focus on this November.
    A Democratic majority in either House or Senate could expose Trump as a charlatan and we have not yet heard from Mueller.
    Win this November and the future looks brighter, lose and the Democratic Party will implode.

  42. The Rust Belt will stay rusty as long as Trump and what used to be the Republican Party stay in power.

  43. A whopping 16% of the public believe Congress is doing a good job and yet political campaigns still seem to trade fire about the moral depravities of competing candidates as though, "these guys" need to win the election because their parole boards have insisted that they find a job. This is the kind of Congress that apathy not only creates but also recreates further apathy and the biggest obstacle to replacing the Rubber Stamp Republicans in the Midwest and everywhere else is lack of effort in reminding people how little faith they already have in Capitol Hill. Telling people over and over that Candidate X likely has a Swiss bank account will not only keep people at home on election day, it will probably make them want to bolt their doors. It's time political campaigns ran on the platform that the current crop of incumbent Republicans are what we already know them to be: incompetent.

  44. @Jerry Meadows -- They did not like any Democratic Congress either, in recent memory. It isn't the party, it is the Congress and its culture. It is donor control for the benefit of people who are utterly unlike the voters.

  45. What we should all be striving for is not the displacement of the Republicans as gerrymanderers-in-chief with Democrats as gerrymanderers-in-chief, but the establishment of independent commissions to determine voting districts. The Democratic Party, the only one left with members concerned with democracy, should make this a major national issue.

  46. Hillary was poised to win too.

  47. The Rust Belt is Trump country, more than ever.

  48. They said that about Virginia and look what happened there. The voters who took a chance on Donald Trump in the "blue wall" Midwest know that he's picked their pocketbooks with tax cuts for the rich; cuts in health care (aka Obamacare) that have seen their premiums jump by 20 percent; a job-killing trade war that is making basic items more expensive; and welshing on his big promise of high-paying jobs in repairing the infrastructure. And now he's turning their anger that elected him into an attack by calling them an "angry mob." They have ever reason to be angry, but they're not a mob, as he'll find out. They're voters who know a hoax when they see it in their bills and paychecks.

  49. The Democrats have a knack for shooting themselves in the foot at critical times. The way they conducted themselves during the Kavanaugh hearings will hurt their midterm prospects. The GOP base is angry & will turn out in huge numbers. Republicans have shown up in every off year election since 2010...pretty much guaranteed after this messy judicial hearing. There’s a reason why the burden of proof sits with the accuser. Without that burden, any accusation can be used as a political tool. We can't have a functioning government where every congressional activity is held hostage like this. We're already starting to see blow-back. Stacey Abrams & Andrew Gillum two African American Progressive candidates running for Governor in Florida & Georgia were ahead in polls a month ago. Now both GOP opponents have caught up & are perfectly positioned to win their races. At this point, few analysts of either party expect the Democrats to make major gains at the state legislative level around the country. The recent drama with Kavanaugh will motivate many to come out — not just the conservative base, but fair-minded Independents who are outraged that Democrats have waged an opportunistic political war. Probably any possibility that the Democrats could retake the Senate is already out of reach. This eerily feels like the 2016 over-confident predictions about the"inevitable" victory of HRC. The tide is turning in the wrong direction. The left is going to regret how they over played their hand.

  50. @Bill Brown -- "The way they conducted themselves during the Kavanaugh hearings will hurt their midterm prospects."

    Yes. But they are proud of it. They are oblivious to how it was perceived by the very people they know they must convince, the ones who were not already their true believers. They are in denial, and digging their own hole deeper and deeper. We all fall in with them.

  51. @Bill Brown

    Apparently HRC plans to campaign for Gillum. Could help, or could be the coffin nail. Guess we'll find out.

  52. People continue to harp on Trump's "base". His base was a fabrication of Putin and the world wide web of trollers. Since his election, he has spent all his energy on trying to convince American media that he has a base and that base is sitting at his rallies. Listen people, those rallies are people bused in by his contractors and are given food and drink and rehearsed. They want to see what Trump looks like and they mostly laugh at him, not with him. Come on the GOP out in Nov!

  53. @pb -- "His base was a fabrication of Putin and the world wide web of trollers."

    No, it wasn't. That was a tiny factor, if any at all.

    Stop making excuses.

    This denial is the route to suffering the same again.

  54. Things we don't know:

    * The consequences of a stock market downturn, which might actually be underway. Who would benefit and who would lose, exactly?

    * The consequences of a 2018 'Blue Wave' overtaking the House. By 2020, will the electorate perceive Democratic overreach—such as impeaching Trump or Kavanaugh, or both? The potential backlash is incalculable. Hubris isn't just for Republicans.

    * The consequences of an ideological divide within the Democratic party. Spring, 2019 is nigh upon us—Democratic presidential hopefuls begin their long campaigns. That’s less than half a year away! No one stands out in particular so far. In spite of supposed Blue Waves, there's uncertainty in the Democratic party—it is potentially fractured by its internal polarizations. Hillary vs. Bernie produced a lot of bad mojo—it’s not clear how unified Democrats truly are.

    Nothing is certain, or obvious.


  55. As always Mr. Edsall, excellent analysis---I will say, however, I just do not understand how individuals vote for Obama and then switch to Trump---I know, Hillary was disliked more than Trump. Maybe because I am from NY and grew up reading about Trump in local tabloids, but Trump is who he is...a complete charlatan. When Trump was elected, I had trouble understanding my friends calls from NY because they were laughing so hard. There are close calls in elections, but, still will never understand how this complete joke, as my friend put it, became President of the United States.

  56. @ACJ Would you call Mussolini a charlatan? Although he had strong elements of charlatanism, his primary characterization would be 'dictator.' Trump's character is the same. (Hasn't achieved dictatorship yet ... he and his supporters [McConnel et al] are still in the plotting stages - stay tuned).

  57. @ACJ -- You explained it, and in the same breath refused to hear your own words.

  58. plus Russian meddling in ways not yet fully revealed

  59. Writing from one of the three “rust belt” states where Dems are leading in major races, I can say that the picture is not nearly as clear as Edsall paints it. In Wisconsin, Scott Walker, who trailed in all the early polling, has pulled even. Tammy Baldwin is still ahead, but I wouldn’t bet my house on her victory. After all, Dem strength in the polls was one of the factors that led Hillary to totally ignore Wisconsin in ‘16, which she then proceeded to lose. And BTW, perhaps the upper Midwest still looks like the “rust belt” if you’re a member of the “coastal elite”, writing from midtown Manhattan. But it’s getting pretty old. If you want to convey educated snobbery, why not use “flyover country” like so many of your colleagues?

  60. @stevevelo, I thought "flyover country" was the phrase used by the right to describe the Rust Belt. Strange, you think it's the opposite. Who qualifies as a "coastal elite?" Do you have to be rich?

    I'll be so happy when demagogues--both in politics and on air--no longer succeed in getting people to repeat these divisive insults toward fellow Americans. Won't you? Wouldn't you prefer that everyone be your fellow American?

  61. @stevevelo, The idea that Walker has "pulled even" implies that somehow in the last month, thousands of Wisconsinites have changed their position on the elections for governor. We both know that this is hardly likely, which in turn suggests that we not pay so much attention to the Marquette poll (or any other poll) or treat it as some sort of precise snapshot of the electorate. Have we not learned anything from 2016? I do agree with you on not wanting to bet on either Baldwin or Evers, but that's based on the unpredictability of many Wisconsin voters -- the ones who swing back and forth of reasons that defy rational explanation.

  62. The economy is still the tipping point. If the economy stays strong, the Midwest could still be Trump's big holdout, but if the economy slumps, things could really shift in a heartbeat. At some point, folks are going to feel the backlash from the tariffs; it's already happening, and in the Rust Belt, as elsewhere, the reckoning with the recent tax changes, and other factors could tip the scales away from Trump, where people's wallets are concerned.

  63. Democrats must let go of Trump. Any direct reference to him and especially his "character" or fitness for office gives him energy and further entrench his base.

    The left needs to expose and reveal the results of his administrations actions. The data and numbers are out there in every aspect of Americans lives, that will expose that Americans are worse off now. Show that 45's policies help a few - name them, show their benefits, and compare them to the rest of us. Use the facts to show what it could and should be like. Stand for workers, the environment, health care, education, housing, . . Don't attack Trump or the Republican Party, simply tell and show what Democrats stand for.

    The Democratic Candidate ideally and morally should be anyone. But in this time with democracy and our nation under attack, the Candidate must be someone of like age and race to Trump-who is also comfortable with the rally concept, but truly is someone who IS like the "threatened" white male. The candidate must have had the real world life experiences and similar challenges of voters and in so doing standout as a real person, not a wealthy tycoon acting cool.

  64. @Jon -- Agree. I'd add though that I would vote for my wife or my mother or daughter or my female cousins. I respect them and trust them. I pity the fool who doesn't. Many white males do feel that way about many of the women in their lives.

    What matters in finding someone to trust is not being like in gender or age. It is trust, respect.

    So who do those voters trust and respect? Not Trump. Not anyone else offered so far either, it seems.

    Example: Eisenhower was going to win, so much so that both parties tried to recruit him so they could have the White House in their party. Why? Trust and respect felt for Eisenhower, earned defeating Germany.

    So, who do we have today whom people would trust and respect? That question is not even asked by politicians jockeying for "Me, me, me."

  65. Democrats focused their money and organization efforts on the few big name races at the top of the list.

    Republicans took a different course. They went deep. They put a lot of money and a lot of effort over many years into building that base of power in state legislatures and county commissions and the like.

    Now we see what came of those two approaches. The Republicans were right.

    Step one: admit that. We mustn't let partisan bias blind us to reality. That will only take us deeper down this path.

  66. @Mark Thomason,


    Republicans took a different course. They went deep. **the Koch brothers, the NRA, Sheldon Adelson, the Mercer family, and the Uihlein family** put a lot of money and a lot of effort over many years into building that base of power in state legislatures and county commissions and the like.

  67. Give me a candidate who can relate the pain of working class day to day struggles to broad local, regional, domestic and foreign policy initiatives that won't leave us behind . Someone with the common decency to work for the greater good .I will vote and support that candidate.

  68. Time to stop the heist of representation in congress by the GOP. The Republicans know that they represent the interests of the extremely rich and are diametrically opposed to the will of ordinary voters. For instance:

    • 58% of Americans support a single payer health insurance system. The number climbs when people are told more about the way it would work.
    • 90% of gun owners support some sort of background checks for purchasing a gun.
    • 83% of people would have a “favorable” reaction to their representative in Congress taking “a strong stand in support of policies to protect and strengthen national parks."
    • 70% strongly support protecting public lands like monuments and wildlife refuge areas.
    • 72% of people support stronger controls on pollution.
    • 66% support the expansion of wind, solar, and renewable energy development.
    • 65% of voters back increased taxes for Americans making more than $250,000 a year.
    • 67% of the top one percent of American earners support higher income taxes.
    • 65% of people support giving illegal immigrants a path to citizenship.

    The only way the GOP has of maintaining power is to lie and cheat and steal and disenfranchise voters. We cannot let them get away with this. If we don't stop them, we don't deserve to have our democracy back.

  69. @pmbrig

    All true.

    Additionally, 55% accept evidence that Russia attacked our voting system in 2016 and continues to do so. A higher percentage support the Russian investigation.

    What is the support for the immigration issue by state and district? Russia?

    Each of these issues play well according to the geography and demographics of the electorate in each state and district. Each must be played accordingly. One size does not fit.

  70. One thing I learned from the 2016 election is that no one has a crystal ball. Yes, I see these trying out for the apprentice style rallies with people who want to feel they are maybe a little bit famous for being there but there are people who are determined, smart, and intelligent - watching, listening and reading. I expect we will all be voting come November. 2020 will be better organized after November.

  71. My own two cents...probably worth about half that. The Obama - Trump voters were actually voting for the same thing--change. Obama represented change as a candidate, but it turns out that he was not change enough. In the next election without an incumbent, you could not get more of a change than trump. Voila, we now have trump. The questions in my mind are if those wanting change have 1) gotten it (the rich are still getting richer), and 2) gotten their fill of change.

  72. Bill and Hill are starting a 13 city, $750 a seat tour beginning next month--right before the midterms.

    They will be grabbing a spotlight that should be focused on local and state candidates and issues. Not listening to a rehash of the Russians in 2016.

    This is the kind of grandstanding--"I am Spartacus," let's chase the Republicans out of restaurants, "Kavanaugh is a serial rapist who wants women to die", etc--that destroys the Democrats' credibility and takes attention away from the issues again and again.

    We need to say what we stand for, specifically, in state and local elections. To say what Democrats will do, specifically, at the state and local level that will make things better for the voters.

  73. @Talbot

    "Bill and Hill are starting a 13 city, $750 a seat tour beginning next month--right before the midterms."

    I find this hilarious, and even more so because it's so utterly pathetic. (Whassa matter, Foundation gravy train dried up?) And yet, even more pathetic than this - they'll probably fill the seats.

    (Sanders-type hopefuls for 2020 - here for you when you finally realize it's long past time to cut the party apron strings and run as Indies.)

  74. @Talbot

    I get your drift but facts matter. It's 13 US and Canadian cities; the tickets range from $59.50 to $745.50; and the first date is not until November 18th.

  75. The rust belt absolutely does not have to be Trump country, nor should it be.

    The democratic party needs to effectively split into two different factions without splitting into two different parties.

    One faction for the coasts and the big cities, another for the interior, and, especially, the Great Lakes region.

    The rust belt democrats should promise to support coastal liberal issues in return for coastal liberal support for helping rust belt democrats with addressing the economic concerns of their constituents. This will require trade-offs from both. What will be most difficult will be getting coastal liberals to act against their big donors' financial self-interest for the sake of political power. The reasons for this approach must be explained to the coastal capitalists who might be reluctant to get on board.

    The working classes are socially more conservative but they aren't reactionary: given the choice, most will support an economic issues based platform. Aside from Trump the republicans are the party of the bosses, and, hence, except for the religious kooks, they don't have much appeal with the working classes.

    The great challenge facing the democratic party is finding a way to square a party whose ideology has become thoroughly middle-class (and increasingly upper-middle class) with the fact that the working classes continue to represent a majority of the country. Their vote will determine the future landscape of the country.

  76. The 2016 election could turn out to be one where the short term success of the GOP ultimately is seen as a negative. If the Midwest returns to the Democrat fold, it will leave the party where it was before Trump - as a shrinking, increasingly nativist party too reliant on the votes of older white voters, but also having lost four years because it drew the wrong conclusions from the Trump phenomenon.

    It reminds me of '76 when after Nixon's impeachment and its boon to the Democrats, it allowed them to avoid their internal conflict between the more extreme liberal flank and white middle class voters. Come to think of it, the Democrats haven't fixed that problem either.

  77. "If Democrats were to succeed in winning not only governorships but complete control of a state’s legislature, they would have the power to redraw congressional and legislative districts in their favor after the 2020 census, just as Republicans did after the 2010 census. If Republicans can keep control of at least one branch of a legislature, they will have power to block Democratic gerrymandering and force compromise."

    You neglect the impact of the Gorsuch and Kavanaugh appointments here.

  78. Enough with the horse race.

    With 2016 polls and "predictions" by "experts" having no bearing in reality, I'm extremely skeptical now. I'm waiting to see 3 election cycles of accurate polls and predictions before I will consider articles like this.

    In the end, shouldn't it be about the issues anyway?

  79. I am one of those old bread-and-butter liberals--and an opponent of the Vietnam War. I remain utterly dismayed by the intransigence of the culture radicals in the Democratic Party. It's easy to forget that Alexander Barkan, the one-time head of the AFL-CIO's Committee on Political Education, once condemned Democratic Congressmen for their cowardice towards the feminist left in the party. All of this continues to be relevant, as Celinda Lake worries about how men will react to the conflict over the Kavanaugh nomination. The Democrats may profit from a huge gender-gap, so-called, but there is one truth that is to me indisputable, namely, that women will drift more easily towards a male-dominated party than men will towards a female-oriented party. It's an iron law, and the Democrats keep forgetting it.

  80. The large imbalances in the US economy have been exacerbated by the Republicans. While many of the richest people in the country evade paying taxes, the fact that wage earners might see some gain from the current economy causes the fed to call for rate increases. Many Trump voters have been appalled at the way Trump populism has plaid out. Populism for the greedy wealthy. The obtuseness of Republicans to doing any real work on health care, education and infra structure while dragging their feet on income inequality is plain insulting.

  81. The top 3% of taxpayers pay more than 56% of all the taxes that are collected. The bottom 60% of all taxpayers pay less than 7% of all the taxes that are collected.

  82. In Michigan, there is a constitutional amendment on the ballot that would remove redistricting from the legislature and transfer this work to an independent commission. That may be the best way to break the extraordinary hold that the combination of gerrymandering and DeVos money has given the Republicans in this state.

  83. The Democratic Party would do a lot better if it were to focus on policies that would aid the middle class, rather than the tactics of electoral campaigning. Medicare for All, free (or almost free) college tuition, reigning in of financial abuses like payday loans, student loans, and credit card interest rates that remained largely in the 20's when the Fed Funds rate was close to zero, as well as more progressive taxation. Note to the DNC: you are hemorrhaging support on your left, not to your right.

  84. In thinking about Republican strength in the midwest, let’s recall that the Democratic standard bearers have been people like Rod Blagojevich, 40th Governor of Illinois, impeached, convicted, and expelled from office in 2009 for corruption.

    There are many people who would vote Republican if the party wasn’t burdened with Evangelicals and alt-right crazies, and who pick the Democrats as the lesser of two evils.

    What young person could honestly get excited about the geriatric leadership of the Democrats? At least Trump shows evidence of life, however unfairly mediated this might be. If you’re going to be excluded from power, why not go with the better entertainment value?

    Polls don’t get at this type of thinking, and neither, it seems, do most political writers. Engaged themselves, and having already made their intellectual and moral compromises, they falsely assume that voters think and feel as they do. Maybe it’s the sea air. Or too much looking at charts and forgetting what the charts are supposed to represent.

  85. Excellent comments!

  86. The issue at hand is that we have only two real choices when voting if we hope to influence the outcomes: Democrat or Republican. But the issues are far more complex and nuanced than what only two choices can provide. And, there is no candidate from either party who is as complex and nuanced as the issues. We've become a simplistic nation in complicated times.

  87. I believe this article is more frightening than it is meant to be. Our country is currently polarized economically and culturally. The current electoral system has been jeopardized and it currently does not reflect most people’s values. The word gerrymandering is used to describe a legal takeover of land with the goal of serving only one side, in this case a minority. Historically, this used to be called an invasion and it led to wars. I’m afraid that’s where we are headed. We’re witnessing the dying days of a political system that has run its course.

  88. While it will not flip the PA State House majority, I'm surprised that there has not been more attention paid to the race in PA's 28th District, where an upstart Democratic candidate, Emily Skopov, is running a very competitive race against the current Speaker, Mike Turzai. Should Skopov win, the entire deck of leadership cards reshuffles in PA. Turzai was the mastermind of the PA gerrymander that its Supreme Court declared unconstitutional, and the one who suggested impeaching the Supreme Court judges that found it so. So a Skopov victory would also have big implications as a referendum on that attitude. For those of us interested in the national implications of state legislative elections, this is a race to watch.

  89. Riding around town this morning, I saw a lot more signs for the Democrats running for the Senate than the other way around. I still don't hold out much hope for either of them winning however. The state as a whole is just too blood red.

    I'm very concerned about 2020. After reading about Bloomberg registering as a Democrat and talking about running in 2020, I was disgusted. Another billionaire? If the Democrats run another establishment candidate, whose friends are corporation honchos and Wall Street titans, they will lose.

    It's about time we had another president who is not on Medicare. You can call me an ageist, but I'm 73.

  90. The Dems need to emphasize that they are in favor of decent pay, affordable health care and retirement for those who are workers. That is, those who have wages on W2 forms, not those who live off stocks, bonds and real estate. That is the bottom line.

  91. "For the Democrats to beat Trump in 2020, they will need a tough candidate prepared for battle in what has become politics without rules, boundaries or mercy."

    There is only one Democratic politician who is Trump's equal in moxie and utter fearlessness, but who can also boast of a solid record of accomplishment as mayor of our most unruly city. His name is Rahm Emanuel. Rahm, step up to the plate!

  92. The Democrats apply the "Rules of War", (maintaining some humanity) while fighting for political power. The Republicans discarded those rules long ago. They engage in gut level guerrilla warfare in seizing power by whatever means possible, most notably gerrymandering, and voter suppression, and embracing misogyny, racism, xenophobia, and homophobia, making them Trump's rallying cry at his celebrations of himself. In Georgia Brian Kemp, the Secretary of State is blocking 53,000 voter registrations, in a brazen attempt to control the election. His opponent, Stacey Abrams, is the first black woman of a major party to seek that office in Georgia or any gubernatorial race in the U.S.
    What I am hoping for in November is what happened in Alabama with the election of Senator Doug Jones, that women will become the driving force that will start to turn this country around. Polls do not matter, they are pointers, it is what happens on Election Day that matters, as we sadly learned in November of 2016.

  93. In my circle no one who voted for Trump is changing their mind. Trump haters are so more than ever. What is different however Iraqi,Syrian,Cambodian,Vietnamese Arab,Hispanic, Eastern bloc acquaintances that own businesses all approve of Trump.
    "Fearful of loosing privileges white voters" aside, success or failure in upcoming elections hinges on the growing numbers of Black and Hispanic voters who respect Trump.
    Legal immigrants running businesses want nothing to do with leftist policies they fled.

  94. Yes it is because this is still the angry white men part of the country. They do not realize that those rusting falling down factories are never coming back. Immigrants did not take their jobs. Greed took their jobs & trump has given more money in tax cuts to those same greedy people. They have not built factories or brought back their businesses from overseas. They have not increased wages. They put the tax cut money in their pockets. Automation has taken more jobs away from people because companies save when they do not have to pay wages & benefits to human workers. The Rust Belt will remain the Rust Belt forever. It is called "the flyover" area of the country. That means businesses do not stop & build in the Rust Belt-Flyover. No infrastructure, railways, airports, etc to support big businesses. The trump base will never accept that their jobs are not coming back & wages will never get to a life supporting level. His wealthy donors have seen to it that again they win over the "forgotten" people. Mob mentality at the rallies just show that if they keep him happy he will not do anything for them. He has already planned his next attacks on the common man. What will we little people lose this year & next?

  95. What is amazing in discussions of the upcoming vote in November and prospects for Trump and other Republicans in 2020 is the absence, the complete dismissal actually, of any discussion of the Mueller investigation. Do analysts, let alone voters, even consider that Trump and his Republican sycophants in Congress gained power in this country through an open and illegal conspiracy with a hostile foreign power. Does anybody consider that Trump is openly and arrogantly enriching himself in violation of the emoluments clause while embracing, all but bowing down to, his Russian benefactor, Putin. We are staring at the product of a civil coup, but the animosity toward Hillary Clinton, much of it engineered by the Russians, is so strong nobody seems to care. Those who held their noses and voted for Trump but won't vote for Democrats in 2018 to correct that error are leading all of us into darkness.

  96. Democrats can do better than reported here. First, don’t let the media talk you into referring to the Midwest as the rustbelt or flyover country. Next, talk economics. Most Democrats are fiscally conservatives who believe helping your fellow man is not only humane but also good economic policy. The policies Trump espouses are mostly hot air and tax cuts for the wealthy. All the Democrats need to say about Trump is, “he’s a liar,” then get on with a plan to help us save the planet and create a more economically sound United States.

  97. Running "against" Trump figuratively in 2018 and running against Trump literally in 2020 are entirely different propositions. It's not clear to me who Democrats can run in 2020 who will be a stronger candidate than Clinton, as dreadful in many ways as she was.

  98. "The Democrats may do well in 2018 by capitalizing on animosity to Trump, but that guarantees nothing for 2020. "

    I don't follow the logic. If the Dems win just the House on November 6th they should be able to give Mueller (and a host of possible additional investigators) free rein to unearth Trump's impeachable misdeeds, from money-laundering to collusion.

    I understand that in normal election cycles the loser in the mid-terms should have an advantage in the presidential election, but the consequences of a Democratic victory next month would raise possibilities irrelevant to normal election cycles. Trump could become a lame duck hounded by multiple investigations whose developments lie entirely in the hands of a Democratic Congress out for his blood.

    If the Dems win the Senate as well, then all bets are off and I won't be worried about a Trump victory in 2020.

  99. There is a key phrase buried somewhere in this article: "Barring unforeseen events..." Like the election of Donald J. Trump? This insane dissection of esoteric polling data accomplishes nothing, and means nothing. By all means, go ahead and remind people of the importance of state legislatures in the long-run fight about the boundaries of voting districts. But don't obsess over polls that you think are telling you where you have already won or lost. Just get your people out to vote.

  100. Really — incredible focus on what pollsters say and very little about the lives experience of midwesterners. Why not at least read « Ohio » a novel about the Midwest or speak to some locals about their lived experiences — the Midwest is desolate homes in 2008, deaths in mid eastern wars, opioid, fracking, hope and change with Obama — and now what

  101. No one snatches defeat from the jaws of victory better than today's DNC and its tone-deaf campaign wings DCCC and DSCC.

    I'm predicting a 6-seat gain in the House for the OP in November. Remember where you read it first.

  102. "Is the Rust Belt Still Trump Country?"

    Yes, it is.

    Why ?

    For decades, the Democrats have been in bed with the trade unionists, every year promising that the union membership and union prosperity, is a top priority for them.

    Decades later, what do we have ? The cold facts of economics, and failed socialist policies, moving jobs from the US to Mexico. Or, just going awway.

    What happened in 2016, is that the union members - disgusted with constant lies, unfulfilled promises, and condescension from the Democrats and the union bosses - threw in the towel on both of them and went republican.

    Why ?

    Not because Trump was a nice guy.

    Rather, despite the silly details of his rhetoric, his intent, was clearly to make things better for Americans at the cost of other nations populations.

    Who in their right mind would argue against that.

    And he has delivered.

    American workers aren't as stupid as the Democrats think they are. Everyone understands that Trump's tariffs are bargaining tools, not a sign of a permanent shift to protectionism. They will work. And they will be lifted. And things will be better.

    The Democrats promise "better' and deliver"ghost towns".

    Game over.

  103. Thank you, Edsall, for being the only Times editorialist other than Krugman (when he talks about economics) who dosesn't just pick the predictably low hanging fruit of opinion. I looked all over, including at 538 to find out how the state legislative races were going on the whole, and found nothin' until this column. And yet it is arguably the most important race because it decides so many others after the census. It speaks to our lack of attention to basic civics I think, that we don't pay attention to this level of politics. No wonder we get our clocks cleaned!

  104. Are you suggesting that where ever the Democrats take control they should use the opportunity to gerrymander in their favor and be just as bad as what I am now calling the party of evil (GOP = party of evil, the dark side of the force). If they do that, than I will have no party, because I actually believe in right and wrong, fairness and unfairness, etc., and let's hope we have a party that can stand for those things. Let the GOP be the ends justify the means party as they always have been, and let the other party use the power of truth.

  105. "One crucial pillar of his political success has been the vacuity of his Democratic opposition." Why is this? Is the democratic party really incapable of coming up with someone who can defeat this psychopathic conman mobster who has disgraced this country and darkened the future of our children and the planet? And though I personally may respect them and agree with them on most issues, we are in trouble if we have the likes of Bernie Sanders or Elizabeth Warren as democratic presidential contenders. Bernie is considered too be too nutty, far left and old, and Warren would be ripped to shreds and smeared on the walls by the angry, loud mouthed mobs of republicans just like Hillary was.

  106. The Republican Party persistently campaigns upon anger, fear, and rage factors, reminding their ever shrinking base 'they' are under attack from 'those people' who do not look like them, do not speak the King's English, do not worship like they do, whose complexion is different as the hues of the rainbow, who are threatening to take their jobs, and who, looking through their myopically narrow prism, do not share their values. The GOP and 45 desperately cling to this divisive tactic to incite and drive their loyal die hard supporters to the polls. Never mind the continued exodus of manufacturing businesses to foreign tax haven nations. Just look at Carrier in Indiana after the bombastic, sabre rattling and vocal histrionics of 45 before ascending the throne. Carrier left anyway. Midwesterners are soberly emerging from the cloaked gamesmanship of the Republican ploy to divide and engender racial and ethnic divisiveness premised upon potential job loss and diminished stature. The GOP transported their 1968 Southern Strategy of 'us versus them' and that 'you are better than they are' to the Midwest. The increasing demographic developments experienced in the Midwest have steadily eroded the sustainability of pure 'racial rage' tactics, producing a significant participation in the American electorate through multiculturalism.Diversely racial, religious, and immigrant communities are contributing to the positive American experience.The GOP is diminishing in stature. Race matters.

  107. As long as wealth continues to accrue at the very top at the expense of everyone else, we will not see any lasting change or reform. There is no greater obstacle to the survival of the American experiment; there is no more important issue than this.

    This is difficult to accept for most. But democracy depends on a functioning healthy middle class. Otherwise, we'll devolve further into a neofeudal and/or fascist theocracy. As important as other issues are - denial of equal rights to any group, opioid addiction and death, and the coming environmental catastrophe - they allow for the richest to grab all they can while we are looking the other way so they can ride out the extinction while we kill each other over scraps.

    Of course there are individual exceptions, but by and large it seems as though a large group of extremely wealthy people long for a new Gilded Age. Roll it all back and put these peons in their rightful place. So we either ban together and put a stop to that - a New New Deal would be a good start - or the Great Recession is going to look like a picnic to what's coming. The era of the centrist Democrat must end. All this anger and resentment and hate that's boiled over isn't going away.

    Imagine all this anger without all the cheap calories in America once crops start to shrink and fail. You think everyone is angry now, wait until they're also starving.

    If we don't fix this with ballots, we'll end up with bullets.

  108. I'm so tired of the played-out "Rust Belt" label. The condescension is annoying and insulting.

    Try stepping out of your safe socio-economic and political bubbles and living in a place where different classes and political beliefs actually live and interact with each other on a daily basis. I've lived in both places and I much prefer the "realness" of the Midwest.

  109. People vote their emotions. Yet, polls don't ask people about their emotional state, hence a lot of the predictions are flat wrong. People who are depressed generally don't bother to vote, happy people don't always vote either. Enraged people do vote.

    What is the national mood less than a month before election? The actual turnout will tell us a lot, but then it will be too late.

    One big problem is that the RNC, and possibly the DNC, want to eliminate the opposition party to become the de-facto dictators of America. The party leaders, want power, the power to subjugate We the People and largely We the People are more than willing to abdicate our position as sovereign of this nation.

  110. Thomas Edsall writes good op-eds, backed by analysis. But politics has become toxic, and we agree with his assessment:

    "For the Democrats to beat Trump in 2020, they will need a tough candidate prepared for battle in what has become politics without rules, boundaries or mercy."

    Yes, Trump is a terrible president. But Hillary Clinton has stated:

    According to the Washington Post, Hillary Clinton now says that Democrats cannot be civil with Republicans who want “to destroy what you stand for, what you care about.”

    Perhaps Clinton lost the presidential election because she descended to Trump's level and focused too much on claims that Trump had sexually harassed women, with evidence that appeared inconclusive.

    Now we have had the Kavanauth nomination. The charge by Christine Blasey Ford seems to have caused Harvard to retract an invitation for Kavanaugh to teach at Harvard, persumably because he is now regarded as a "sexual predator" by the left wing.

    This is the real problem with the Me Too movement. Although Harvey Weinstain will undeoubtedly go to jail, many of the accusations of the Me Too movement will not result in prosecutions, just the destruction of careers. The real punishment is the accusation, and no finding of guilt will ever occur. But this encourages false accusations because there are no penalties for false accusations when cases do not reach court.

    Thus feminists have dispensed with due process to get political change. That is too high a cost.

  111. @Jake Wagner: Are you as outraged that thousands upon thousands of rape kits are still untested? That out of 1000 rapists, only 6 will be caught and prosecuted? You think me too means no justice for men? Try centuries of women being raped and then blamed, vilified, not believed, and the crimes against them taken seriously.

    Did you know that the great threat to life for women in child-bearing age is death from their significant others? That many mass shooters have convictions or histories of beating their wives and girlfriends?

    So some tweets and a rescinded job - big deal. Try being raped if you want to know what unfairness, injustice, and abuse really feels and looks like.

    And it wasn't just the charge by Dr. Ford - it was the numbers of people who came forward saying Kavanaugh lied about his drinking. He had thousands in gambling debts just disappear. He was proven a liar by documents produced in the hearings.

    Many women are tired of justice for everyone except for them, and really tired of empathy for men who are credibly proven to be abusers but no empathy at all for the women who have been raped.

  112. There is no such thing anymore as a ''safe'' seat for republicans. Special elections, primaries have seen to that.

    If you have a candidate that is fearless & unequivocal in a true Progressive message, then more than likely they are going to break through electorally.

    Poll any Progressive idea in the country (even among so called republicans) and it is wildly popular. Things like peace, health care, education, the environment, Progressive taxation, firearm security, and many more things are at the forefront of people's minds for themselves and their families.

    People are realizing more and more that they can rate a job as number one, but it means nothing if radical right wing republican rule devastates everything else around that job. They end up paying more taxes (especially with tariffs), more administration costs, more education costs, more health care costs, more environmental costs. (especially for clean up in natural disasters)

    They realize they are working longer and longer for less money, less security and less benefits under radically right wing republican rule. So what does it matter if they keep voting against themselves, they ask ?

    It matters a whole lot - which is why the whole country is turning blue/Progressive. The republican party will soon be reduced to a regional party, then a decisively minority party, then a party that gets wiped out again and again electorally,

    They are not going to hold the White House ever again after 2020. They don't know it.

  113. @FunkyIrishman

    "Wildly popular" for all issues, is way off the mark, and too simplistic. Reality check: There are masses of anti abortion, anti immigration, and pro gun voters.

    The vocal campaign by Democrats in favor of immigration, and gun control, will motivate people to vote.

    But they motivate opponents more than supporters;

    From NYT's Thomas Edsall:

    "..among those who say immigration is their top issue, opponents outnumber supporters by nearly two to one. In this respect, immigration is similar to gun control — both mobilize opponents more than supporters."

    And on guns? Don't infer too much from polls without parsing the question carefully. Yes, 80% favor "reasonable" regulation - as do I. But for many, castle laws and concealed carry are "reasonable". Look at all the states that's have legalized concealed carry.

    Democrats *could* unite the nation, if they embraced their New Deal economic policy roots - but their donors won't let them.

    Democrats have become the 2nd party of Wall Street.

    True, Democrat's historical FDR economic positions *are* wildly popular:

    - NO TPP (Anyone who is for TPP, and doesn't know what ISDS stands for, should consider themselves uninformed!)
    - Higher minimum wage
    - Pro banking regulation
    - balanced trade
    - infrastructure
    - SS

    However, so long as Dems run banker funded candidates, they have *zero* credibility on these winning positions.

  114. I look at this through the prism of my own state. Now that the primaries are over, one conclusion for the Oklahoma legislative races is clear: those Republican representatives who took the hardest line against the teachers striking for funding after a five-year drought are gone, replaced in their own caucus by less radical Republicans. Maybe I should be encouraged, but I’m not. If the legislature is still composed of Republican majorities, just slightly less moronic and more reasonable sounding small-government, evangelical, pro-life Republicans, Oklahoma still won’t make any progress in crucial areas.

  115. It seems that the effects that gerrymandering and voter suppression are having in these races is being downplayed here.

    As a democrat all I really want is a level playing field, and let the chips fall where they may. If our people simply don't get off their duff to get out and vote then so be it. That's on us.

    But when there's extreme gerrymandering (that the courts don't always seem to want to do anything about), and voter suppression - both official and unofficial (ex: targeted robo-calls claiming arrests, or misleading info. on the actual election dates, etc.), then that's what gets us upset.

    We should be arguing about important policies of governance, not having to fight simply to keep elections fair and maintain access to the ballot box for all.

  116. I will say it again: It is not up to the Democratic Party to save our democracy; it is up to We the People.
    If we want our children to grow up in a fascist/oligarchy state we will stay home and watch the circus.
    If we want to give our children a future, and an inhabitable planet. we will get off our butts and vote. And convince our children and brothers and sisters to vote.
    The End.

  117. Just a side note. Pennsylvania in not in the Midwest

  118. The Democrats seem to have 'anger and fear' on their side but I'm not sure 'hating Trump' is a platform that wins.

    I'm not sure being 'pro environment' and being compassionate to the less fortunate will translate into victory for the Democrats. The hardworking Americans in the middle class need something more from the Democrats to change their vote. Our candidate for Governor is 'mad as hell' about Trump but I'm not sure what else he stands for save for political fodder for the most liberal voters.
    What exactly is the 'winning message' for Democrats in the mid-terms and it better be something more compelling than 'we are not Trump!'.

  119. If the Democrats want to curry favor among my Rust Belt nose-holders there 2 things they should focus on: the sacrosanct climate of the Great Lakes & bolstering the job market as a response.

    In 100 years Phoenix and S Cali will be uninhabitable by any reasonable means, coastal ports will be unpredictable & harsh, & vector-borne illnesses will the norm in the South.

    The best cities for climate change by polls: Duluth and Buffalo. The best state: Michigan. The Great Lakes represent 20% of the world's fresh water & the Rust Belt sits atop the most abundant supply of this precious commodity well, anywhere.

    So acknowledge this, recognize the Rust Belt for its past AND FUTURE importance, & the ears of a beaten down, snubbed region will be yours. Prepare these places w tech jobs, wind farms, and clean industrial jobs (labor is what we do best here) and you will win back Inland North.

    And for God's sake, stop painting us all as closed-minded racists. Let's not forget where women's suffrage, abolitionism, and religious revolt began...ta da!...the Rust Belt. And it's also a refugee resettlement Mecca (sorry New York, the new multiculturalism is Detroit, Buffalo & Minneapolis). The region has always been a melting pot of not only culture (Irish, Poles, now Burmese, Yemeni) but also free thought--something Dems & Repubs alike now scorn.

    You want the Rust Belt? Give us some credit. Give us something to hope for.

    After all, your great-grandkids' water just might depend on it.

  120. @Allentown, Wisconsin was the historical home of the union movement. Nowhere in the country was the union movement stronger than in the Midwest. I have family in Minnesota who are true prairie populists.

    I don't think the author meant to denigrate the Midwest. I think he was just describing a particular kind of voter, one who held his nose when voting.

  121. Please stop using the term "Rust Belt." Many of us who live her find it offensive.

  122. One word: gerrymandering.

    Just look at Ohio's special election for the 12th district around Columbus. The GOP candidate won by a hair proving that one of the most gerrymandered districts in that state, Jim Jordan's 4th district excepted, could survive a blue wave.

    In 2010, the Koch Brothers funded a secret project through Karl Rove who pimps for them. That project, REDMAP, was done in secret through GOP senators and congressman. In Ohio, it was John Boehner. REDMAP uses a sophisticated consumer-based model to pinch Democrats into narrow margins while diluting Democrats elsewhere. The idea is to grab the most seats for the US House and the state houses.

    These republicans should all be in jail with the Koch Brothers and Karl, the pimp, charged with election fraud. Just try and find a judge to hear the case after McConnell gets done.

  123. This is a good analysis by Thomas Edsall who unlike other writers of op-eds for the NY Times tries to obtain an objective outlook.

    This is the kind of journalism that we need. It reminds me of Bob Woodward's recent book, Fear, which documents a dysfunctional White House staff, making a strong case that President Trump is unfit for the job.

    But there is a real danger that Democrats will descend to Trump's level rather than lifting the discussion to an honest discussion of real issues.

    The Kavanaugh nomination provides an example. Susan Collins voted for confirmation because she believed that allegations of attempted rates did not meet the standard of "more likely than not."

    It is grossly unfair for unproven allegations to destroy the career of Kavanaugh. Yet it seems that Harvard cancelled a teaching appointment for Kavanaugh as a result of the unproven allegations, which give him the reputation of "sexual predator" among liberals.

    The guilt and innocence of individuals should not depend on their political beliefs. The Bill of Rights was supposed to protect against that with its due process clauses.

    The Bill of Rights was a reaction to travesties of justice that had occurred in Britain with political show trials.

    Under Henry VIII, Thomas More was executed because he did not renounce Catholicism, Under his daughter Queen Mary Thomas Cranmer was burned at the stake even though he renounced Protestantism in an attempt to save his life.

    The mob cheered both times.

  124. @Jake Wagner: Then why did Dr. Blasey request an FBI investigation and Kavanaugh and the Republicans refused it? Because they were afraid of what the FBI would find in a thorough investigation? She came forward this time (to Diane Feinstein in confidentiality) because the person she had identified from the time it happened to the present as Kavanaugh, now would be rewarded with one of the highest court positions in the USA. She had to give up anonymity after her letter was leaked, at great peril to herself and her family.

  125. Edsall and Silver are coming around to what I've been saying all along. Midwestern swing voters are not enthusiastic Trump supporters. They were nose-holders trying to choose between two truly terrible candidates and would swing back if given a neutral candidate like Kerry or a great candidate like Obama. I don't understand how coastal observers don't get what a nightmare Hillary was. She was transparent in her contempt for blue-collar people and her support for Wall Street and Hollywood. She was easily the worst candidate I've ever voted for.

    The Democrats seem really good at not understanding their problems or admitting their faults and could repeat their mistake in 2020 if they're not careful, particularly if they nominate Gillibrand or Bloomberg. The solution to winning over the Midwest is not hard: defend and endorse robust middle-class programs and living-wage jobs for unprivileged whites and minorities alike. Nominate a candidate who is likable, genuine and down-to-earth; economically liberal and socially moderate. Fail to do this and tempt another four years of this awful president and more crying from the sidelines.

  126. @Chris Gray it wouldn’t surprise me in the least if the Dems blow it now that they’ve decided on running as the pro “guilt by accusation”.

    It’s good that Harper Lee died recently, I think she would be appalled at having to believe rape accusations against a man by a women.

  127. @Chris Gray

    Don't blame the Democrats because you believed the lies that the misogynist GOP told about Hillary. I remember her fighting for the middle class.

    You really think that Kerry would be a better blue collar candidate? Maybe you don't remember the swift boating of him.

  128. @Chris Gray My recollection is that Nate Silver predicted more than a 90% chance of President Hillary Clinton, right up until election night. How did that work out for the liberals?

  129. I fear that the US may descend into civil war.

    The problem is that politicians from both sides do not talk with each other. They fight dirty and attempt to destroy the lives of their opponents. I agree with Edsall when he writes,

    "No matter what happens in November, one thing is certain: For the Democrats to beat Trump in 2020, they will need a tough candidate prepared for battle in what has become politics without rules, boundaries or mercy."

    But politics without rules, boundaries or mercy is tearing the country apart.

    Yes, some of the blame can be placed on Trump. But long before Trump was elected, those who opposed illegal immigration were characterized as racists by the Democrats. Such rhetoric antagonizes the opposition.

    And it makes it impossible to have a discussion of how to limit immigration.

    Make no mistake the US has finite resources. There are shortages of water in California and other Western states. Unskilled laborers see their incomes declining. They can see with their own eyes that they compete against illegal immigrants. Immigration adds to costs for education and health care, with Medicare slated to run out of funds in 8 years.

    The real issue is population growth. Too much population growth causes resource shortages, such as shortage of health care.

    But we cannot discuss these issues because the discussion is shut off when liberals make cries of racism.

    Political correctness has destroyed the functioning of democracy in the US.

  130. Is the Rust Belt Still Trump Country?

    I dont know, but the continued and loud anti-white rhetoric from the left and media makes it clear that these voters are not welcome in the Democratic Party. For instance, the op-ed page currently has an article stating essentially that white people's fears and worries don't matter--simply because they are white.

    When you blame whites for all of societies problems, past, present and future, then you run on a platform of revenge, dont be surprised when rust belt voters in places like Ohio, Penn, Michigan, and Wisconsin (btw all Union states that fought to end slavery) start practicing some self preservation. You cant blame the chickens for voting against Col Sanders.

  131. Please point out where ANYONE has accused white people as being a source of all the countries policies. I’m a white male, and I read Charles Blows article and in no place does he blanket label “white people” with anything

  132. @Bill

    I’m a white guy. What am I missing that should be to terrifying? So there are some more people from different backgrounds I encounter. So what? Maybe some of these people will have skills that are in demand that I don’t have. Whose fault is this? The world changes. Get out of the road if you can’t lend a hand.

  133. Anti-white? Which imaginary figure on this imaginary "the left and media" is putting out such a line?

  134. I think Democrats should change tactics and emphasize fairness, not equality, except under the law.

    No one pretends everyone is equal, all people want is a fair deal.

    That includes a fair shot at a great education, no matter where you live.

    Strong encouragement at unionization for EVERY industry from manufacturing to nursing, food service, etc

    A basic health insurance for everyone

    And a real effort to fight white collar crime and corruption.

    Those are issues all Americans want, Left and Right.

  135. @Progressive in Ohio—

    Democrats should emphasize “fairness?”

    Good luck with that. Mostly, Democrats emphasize “the knife in the back.”

  136. I own a large business in Michigan and I can tell u it is still going Trump big here more then I would have ever thought after all that’s happened.

  137. @Chris—

    Good to hear!

    And I say that as a one-time “Never-Trumper” who became a Trump convert as Senate Democrats unscrupulously plotted to assassinate the character of Judge Brett Kavanaugh, in the presence of his family, no less.

  138. These states went to Trump by a hair. They're not red states; they're purple states.

    It's important to note: every Democrat running for Senate in the Rust Belt is a popular incumbent--candidates that are really hard to beat under any circumstance. Add to that: none of their Republican challengers are especially invigorating, and it is going to be a good Democratic year (even if Republicans hang onto the House and Senate.)

    So what, really, do you expect?

  139. I expect a bloodbath. Establishment Democrats lack the killer instinct that wins elections up and down the ballot. Give the Gang Of Predators credit: They have it. And they get it.

    There's a split in the party, all right, but it's easily healed by ousting the leaders who just don't seem to mind losing as long as the fundraising holds up.

    Ceterum autem censeo: Bill and Hillary, please go away now.

  140. First, the term ‘rust belt’ is rather hurtful and unnecessary. Second, the country will really remember if voters in the Midwest and PA go for Trump and related candidates again. That will be a big mistake if they go red again.

  141. Instead, Democrats could campaign to federally ban gerrymandering. You make the 2020 census a positive argument by making the issue non-partisan. Fighting for control of legislatures on the principle that Democrats deserve gerrymandering more than Republicans is a losing proposal. Just end the whole process. Democrats are actually ennobled when humbling themselves.

    I've worked on the Utah ballot initiative to this effect. As you might guess, I've encountered more than a few Republicans opposed to the proposition. Here's what I've attempted to explain: The issue is not about which party is politically favored. The issue is how the representative portion of our government is being intentionally manipulated. Unrepresentative governance belongs in the Senate, not the House. That's what the Constitution says. This ideal applies equally to state and federal governments.

    States have the right to administer voting laws. However, that does not give states the right to manipulate the influence of a citizen's lawful vote. The democracy part of our country is as important as our republic. The two approaches were intentionally designed as co-equal.

    In this instance, Democrats would end up gaining more if they stood by principle rather than advantage. Give up your own gerrymandering in the destruction of all gerrymandering. We'll all be better off.

  142. I think the article overlooks that as long as the Democratic Governor can veto a reapportionment, he or she can force a compromise. The Republicans would not only have to control both Legislative houses, but they would have to do so with enough votes to override the veto, which should require more than a simple majority. I should think the situation is grimmer for Republicans. Or am I whistling past the graveyard?

  143. I believe "concentration of wealth" is the biggest problem in the USA at present - and both Democrats & Republicans are trying to avoid addressing that.

    There is no shortage of Wealth in the USA - and that wealth is concentrated - making it difficult for a large proportion of the population to get by.

    I wish I knew a solution.

    We've all been trained that we must "earn our keep" so just handing out money, those who cannot get jobs will not feel good about it.

    Economists keep telling us "this is just a transition, soon Automation & AI will create jobs we never knew existed - and the masses will have jobs galore."

    What if the intelligence and skills needed for these new jobs are too high for those of us with "average intelligence?"

  144. The math of the 2016 presidential election popular vote was like this:

    50% voted Democratic
    2% voted independent
    48% voted Republican, but of this group…

    40% were Trump true-believers, and…
    8% or so were “nose-holders," who only voted for President Trump reluctantly.

    How do we calculate the 8%? Since the 2016 election, no matter how awfully President Trump behaves his approval rate remains firm at 40%. These are the true-believers; they love their guy for a variety of reasons (e.g., thinly-veiled racism), and it has little to do with his performance.

    But this number was already only 40% on President Trump’s first day in office, and he was miffed. He said something like, “These polls must be wrong—I was just elected with 48% of the vote (actually, as is his style, he portrayed it as being more), so how can my approval be only 40%?”

    Easy— despite not liking him, 8% of Americans had held their noses and voted for him anyway for a variety of reasons, such as always voting Republican, or having issues with Hillary. Or, they hoped he would address the problems of the distressed middle class, and this probably goes the furthest to explain Trump’s success in the Rust Belt, which arguably was the biggest factor in his razor-thin victory.

    The Democrat’s 50% had no nose-holders—they all pretty-much hate Trump. So it’s all about the 8%. The Republicans need to convert ALL of the nose-holders, and the least a little defection spells their doom.

    So yes, in 2018 “nose-holders rule!”

  145. @Jerry S.

    This seems pretty spot-on.

  146. One step at a time, 2018 first, let’s get the House back and maybe Senate so at least SC doesn’t run away in case RBG retires or worse if she is no longer available. Let’s start worrying about 2020 after the 2018 elections are over.

  147. Edsall suggests the rust belt Trump voters have come around to the right side of things. Hardly likely. However, as regards 2020, Rasmussen, being the only pollsters who got 2018 right, say that 35% of the black community will vote for Trump.

  148. @The Ancientkanye is the most dangerous man in America to Democrats. Hope and Change? Just kidding.

  149. As to gerrymandering, from the data here, it's hard to understand its influence in driving the Republican lock on legislatures. What we need is a correlation between gerrymandered districts and skewed representation- ie representation that doesn't match voting outcomes.

  150. What simply amazes me is how so many places in the midwest are still "Trump country" - so much so that it is a struggle to win elections. Why? He is not for the middle class, the workers, in terms of his policies. Is it because he's the guy you'd meet at the bar, and they relate to him and feel allegiance? Is it his bully tactics, which allow him to come off like he's fighting the system on your behalf?

    There are two standards in the American electorate: one for the Republicans and one for the Democrats. The Republicans do very little, yet somehow manage to appeal to the average Joe. They want to take away ACA and they gave a tiny middle class tax cut - which increases the deficit - and they are still big threats to retain control. The Dems want to improve lives, strengthen the ACA and maintain the safety net, improve worker safety and protections, and address pollution and climate control, and they are seen as the bleeding heart liberals.

  151. As long as there are pervasive powerful right wing propaganda machine like Fox News/Breitbart that mercilessly spread lies to takes advantage of peoples fear and prejudices, there will be "suckers born every minute".... Trump counts on this and exploits it with even greater fervor

  152. @jefflz When it comes to fake news, Breitbart & Fox are rank amateurs compared to the NYT, WaPo and CNN - the Deep State house organs of (respectively) the FBI, CIA and State Department. Look up Ali Watkins and how she sat on the leaked FISA warrant for many months.

  153. What I am observing with awe is we are counting the chickens when even the egg is not hatched!
    The midwest specially the rural communities will not vote anti GOP unless they really get hurt bu Trumps trade practices and other policies.. yes a down market will force them to look otherways !
    They currently lie and sway the pollsters and research firms but these places show absolute hatred for liberals and threat to their livelihood is pretty apparent and opioid crises is real and add on to it the spices from Trumps rhetoric and tribal calls.. They will heed it come November and again the pundits and Dems will blame Russia and not themselves for their debacle and their glass house policies!
    Yes unless we have a real grass roots restructuring ! Dems can only dream of 2020! and we will be thrust with another term of Trump gimmicks ! God help us Americans.

  154. I lived in Ohio for 20 years until this summer. In state races, Democrats campaigned on urban issues, black/Hispanic issues, and enhanced welfare programs. That guaranteed them the urban seats, which add up to about a third of the total. The Republicans won all the rest. This is not the East Coast. There isn't the same concentration of people in cities. An East Coast style platform and campaign yields permanent minority status in Midwest statehouses. The Democratic party needs to find some leaders and a platform that appeals to middle class suburbanites who live more than 100 miles from an ocean. It can be done; Hickenlooper figured it out in Colorado.

  155. Note that, as is the case with several Midwestern states discussed in this article, here in Michigan the state legislature is currently gerrymandered by and for the Republican party. However, there are two proposals on the state ballot this November which are aimed at (1) ending partisan redistricting; and (2) making it easier to vote. The results of these initiatives should be part of the ongoing analysis of voter moods in the Midwest.

  156. Stop referring to the Midwest as The Rust Belt! I cannot overstate how insulting it is.

  157. @ksb36

    If the shoes fits.....

  158. @Ksb36, The Democrats abandoned the central states but now that they’re not in control of either house suddenly have a sense of obligation? Their HRC clones nothing better!

  159. @ksb36
    I'm a proud Michigander, and I don't mind the "rustbelt" moniker; it keeps out the riff-raff! (-: Many people on the "coasts" have NO IDEA that we, too, have coasts--- on "freshwater seas" so enormous that huge ships can disappear in their storms. Michigan is the sweet spot, but please do keep calling it the rustbelt; it'll keep property values low (by "coastal" standards)!

  160. On the topic of Democrats gaining total control at the state level and redrawing districts in their favor, one things nobody seems to be talking about is how California, despite Sacramento being in a perpetual Democratic headlock (save for Arnold), did away with partisan gerrymandering for its 53 Congressional seats - allowing 14 Republicans to win seats in a state where the GOP hasn't been competitive in a generation. And as a result California sends the likes of McCarthy, Nunes, Rohrbacher, Hunter and McClintock to Washington. I voted for the nonpartisan districting, but in this era of Republican hardball, I'm left wondering if we were naive to try and play fair.

  161. This could take decades to unwind.Gerrymandering may not be illegal but it should be.

  162. First, I agree with other commenters, stop thinking of the Midwest as a monolithic rust belt. It isn't accurate. I don't think its surprising that midwestern states are returning to the Democrats. Part of the reason Trump won certain states really may have been Clinton's tactical mistakes in not bothering to visit Michigan and Wisconsin. He won none of these states by more than a few votes. In short, as far as most of the midwest is concerned, Trump's victory may be a genuine aberration. As a region there are very real differences between Chicago and Youngstown or small town Iowa. Trump is not likely to win most of these states in 2020.

  163. President Trump is expanding the electoral map for 2020. As long as the DNC approves of the "mob rule" tactics I see an easy re-election for POTUS.

  164. The Democrats would do well to change leadership by reaching into the Midwest for able advocates of the working man & woman of this country.
    Sorry to say, but the retinue seated behind Dianne Feinstein at the Senate hearing looked like extras from a Hammer film.

  165. Maybe Hillary will jump in again, LOL.

  166. When he says "barring unforseen events" (5th paragraph), does he mean like the way all the big liberal media including NY Times predicted a smashing victory for Hillary Clinton, but Trump won anyway? Just curious....

  167. One hopes Mr. Edsall is right, but to me it seems he is reading too much in these early trends. Dems will surely gain because some traditional working class Dem voters, not all, who had deserted the party because of their distrust of Clinton and how Sanders was treated are coming back. But the swing back is not the great when you look at it this close. Michigan is perhaps the real bright spot for Democrats.