Normally the special elections are everything but special in the minds of American citizens. In fact, these elections usually bring even less excitement than the normal election year (principally, in elections which take place in die hard blue or red districts). However, this is not a typical year and elections are far more serious than ever before.
Democrats have been rallying together in order to create a movement against the Trump administration. After the devastating loss in November, many Democratic members assembled to motivate progressive voters to the polls. Many believed the disaster, otherwise know as Trump and his Republican lackeys, would be enough to win back Democratic support.
In fact, Democrats attempted to use the widespread movement of anti-Trumpism to win over the swing voters in Georgia, a solid Red district. They smelled blood when the district, which normally voted Republican by double digits, only voted Trump by a mere 2 points.
Following the Georgia Primary, where Democratic candidate, Jon Ossoff, won the jungle primary with 48% of the vote against around two dozen Republican candidates, the Democrats decided to invest heavily into the election. In fact, they invested MILLIONS, more money than has ever been invested for any House seat in history.
Democrats hoped to use the special elections, especially in Georgia, as a referendum on the Trump administration. Many in the media reported the significance of these election on the Democrats’ chance to win back footing in the 2018 midterm. However, Dems lost in Georgia, just like all other special elections. Not only did they lose, they lost after committing an unimaginable amount of resources to the campaign.
Despite the horrific picture painted by many liberals and conservatives alike, these losses aren’t life shattering. In all honesty have Democrats even had a chance of winning these states before? Democrats need as many representatives in Congress as they can muster; nevertheless, we really shouldn’t be crying about a narrow loss in a heavily conservative state. The fact Democrats even had a chance to win these states after only 150 some days of the Trump administration is beyond incredible. Winning is always better; nonetheless, one should always have realistic expectations.
Despite all this, Democrats do need to take a long look in the mirror. It is imperative that Democrats use these losses to grow as a party and to focus in on weaknesses.
For example, did Democrats really have so much confidence they invested in a moderately liberal 30 year old white male who didn’t even live in his district? It is also worth noting that much of the money raised for the election came in from outside states, particularly liberal states like California.
The disconnect between the Democratic Parties strategy and what appeals to local voters is slightly alarming.
So what should we learn from these losses?
For one, the Democrats are going to have to come up with something better than just active resistance to anything Republican and actually appeal to voters with something other than their standard issue talking points. They are going to have to engage the populous rather than demand from and be demeaning to those who do not share their world view. Democrats just had their lowest take in contributions for the month of May since 2003, at only $4 million while the Republicans continue to rack in record finances. If Democrats can’t reinvent themselves and appeal to more voters more losses may be in their future.