The final hours of 2018 are ticking down. The 2020 presidential season is about to kick into full swing. It’s a time to look ahead, but it’s also a time to reflect on the election cycle passed and to glean from it lessons that can be learned.
Put a less harmonious way, it’s a chance to examine what I screwed up on this past year in order to do better in 2020.
O’Rourke lost the Texas Senate race by less than 3 points to Republican Sen. Ted Cruz. That was far closer than I thought it was going to end up being.
A good portion of O’Rourke’s success had to do with the fact that Texas is changing electorally. I don’t think I grasped how telling the 2016 presidential result would be. Two years ago, Hillary Clinton lost Texas by less than 9 points, better than any Democratic presidential candidate since the 1990s. In addition to O’Rourke’s close race, Texas Democrats lost the House of Representative vote statewide by less than 6 points, even with a lot of incumbent Republicans running.
The idea that the presidential vote is predictive of downballot races isn’t new. It is more powerful than it’s ever been though. For example, four opposition party senators lost this year in states that Trump carried in 2016.