Sure, we all know that's the title of Hillary Clinton’s new book about the election. But it’s also what Republicans are saying this week after Democrats flipped two more solidly red seats on Tuesday night.
Those two wins bring the seat flip score this cycle to Democrats 6, Republicans 0.
Wins feel good, and pickups feel better, but Democratic success since Trump’s election actually cuts a quite a bit deeper.
Analysis of these special elections reveals that Democrats are consistently outperforming the presidential elections results from both 2016 and 2012.
- Democrats have beaten Hillary Clinton’s numbers in 28 of the 35 contested special elections this cycle, and
- Democrats improved on Obama’s 2012 numbers in 25 of them.
Compared to Clinton’s numbers, Democrats are performing an average of 13 percent better, and they’re even performing 9 percent better than Obama.
Don’t call it a comeback … okay maybe call it a comeback.
Living History: Lots of hand-wringing and column space has been invested in analyzing the regions of the country where the Democratic margin fell sharply from 2012 to 2016. Was this a one-time thing? Is this a permanent partisan realignment? Will Democrats be able to recover? Did I leave the oven on?
- Ten of the special elections held so far this cycle have been in districts where the presidential margin shifted 10 or more points toward the Republican presidential candidate from 2012 to 2016.
- Briefly, they are Connecticut HD-115, Iowa SD-45, Iowa HD-89, Iowa HD-82, New Hampshire HD Grafton-9, New Hampshire HD Belknap-9, Minnesota HD-32B, New York AD-09, Oklahoma HD-28, and Missouri SD-28.
- In all 10 of these districts, the margin has shifted back toward Democrats in the special.
- But in eight of them, the margin has shifted past the 2012 presidential margin.
Does this mean we can expect Democrats to win everything everywhere this cycle? Nah, that’s silly. But it does mean that Democrats not only aren’t stuck at 2016 performance levels, but they’re also often improving on Democratic presidential performance in 2012.
Too many words? Check out a neat visualization of this whole section here.
An Invitation to the Statehouse: Even by themselves, the two Democratic flips on Tuesday were pretty cool.
Also, Rep.-elect St. Clair rides motorcycles. Like, a lot. Like, he’s the organizer of Laconia Motorcycle Week.
- Democrats’ Oklahoma pickup was similarly awesome. Oklahoma is a reliably red state, and House District 46 also had been reliably GOP, consistently sending a Republican to the statehouse since 1995. This seat went 52-41 for Trump in 2016 and 60-40 for Romney in 2012.
- Democrat Jacob Rosecrants, a teacher, public education advocate, and union member, actually lost this seat just last fall by a 60-40 percent margin.
- On Tuesday, he literally flipped the script: Rosecrants won this special election 60-40 percent.
Stronger Together: In case you’d forgotten, Maine Gov. Paul LePage is a crazy and rather terrible human.
Some background: After LePage vetoed five separate pieces of legislation over the past few years that would’ve expanded Medicaid in the state under Obamacare, a group called Mainers for Health Care began collecting signatures to place Medicaid expansion on the ballot.
Granite-Hard Choices: A while back, I wrote in this space about a terrible new voter suppression law in New Hampshire.
A quick recap of what this nasty new law requires:
- People who move to New Hampshire within 30 days of an election must show proof that they intend to make the state their permanent residence when they register to vote.
- The measure places onerous and pointless requirements on Granite Staters who seek to register within that 30-day window or on Election Day itself.
- Baseless conspiracy theories about voters getting “bused” in gave Republicans supposed justification as they passed this law forcing new voters to provide proof that they intend to remain in the state long-term if they register within the 30 days preceding an election.
- If new voters merely attest to their intent to remain and fail to send in one of the required items as that “proof,” election officials may “cure” voters’ registrations by, among other things, sending agents to their home address.
- Penalties included a potential $5,000 fine or a year in jail.
Thankfully, a judge just blocked the draconian penalties in this law from taking effect. The law itself is still under review by the court that issued this restraining order.
Dear Vermont, Dear Wyoming: This week’s data interlude features two fresh new states for which we’ve finished calculating the 2016 presidential results in all legislative districts. Check out Vermont and Wyoming here, and you can find our master list of states right here. We’ve hit 38 of the 50 states so far, and if you’re wondering what the bluest GOP-held seat we’ve found anywhere is, we have the answer.
Welp, I’m off to read … something. Maybe Hillary Clinton’s new book. But probably not. Maybe I’ll get to it after I finish this masterpiece. Until next week, happy bookworming!