The Dems will continue to ignore the independent voters.
Mike Mikus speculates there are a fairly decent number of voters around here who have voted over the past 20 years in turn for Ron Klink, Melissa Hart, Jason Altmire, Mark Critz, Keith Rothfus, and Conor Lamb.
That is, they’ve swung their congressional vote from Democrat to Republican to Democrat then Democrat to Republican and now back to Democrat.
“While it is not like an overwhelming majority, but I bet you about 15-20 percent of the voters that at one point have voted for each one of those winners of that seat,” said Mikus, a Pittsburgh-based Democratic strategist who worked for two of the eventual winners, Altmire and Critz, who would eventually lose the seats to Republicans.
Between the time Barack Obama took the oath of office in 2009 and the time Donald Trump took the oath in 2017, Democrats lost nearly 1,000 congressional, state House, and Senate seats in nearly every nook and cranny in the country. They also lost the majorities in the state legislatures, governors’ offices, and statewide elected offices.
Two years into the Trump presidency, Democrats swung nearly 380 — about one-third — of those state House and Senate seats back into their column. They also flipped seven governors’ seats their way as well as 40 congressional House seats, additionally regaining several of the statewide elected offices.
What does this tell us? And how will Washington, D.C., interpret these results?
In 2006, when the Democrats took the House and scored wins up and down the ballot, the party seemed to mistakenly read that as a sign that America really liked them.
Four years, billions in bailouts, and an Obamacare later, Republicans erased the Democrats’ House wins and demolished the Democrats in governors’ and state legislative seat races. Republicans, in their folly, thought: Well, America must really like us now.
Eight years later, we swung again as Democrats wiped out the House Republicans’ majority with fairly moderate candidates who ran on not voting for Nancy Pelosi for speaker of the House again.
And Democrats are tempted to think: Oh look, America likes us again, and we’ll just get right back on that same the path with the same leadership team, which is very good at raising money!
But does the coast-heavy Democratic leadership know anything about the districts outside of their super ZIP codes of the Beltway, California, New York, and Chicago?
American voters, in particular independent voters who actually deliver these swings back and forth between parties, keep sending Washington a message with their votes. And Washington keeps misreading that message.
It tells us in part that these rapid and large swings show a disconnected middle that feels a distrust with both parties and an allegiance to none.
But the magnitude and frequency of these swings tell us something more important: Nothing seems to be working. Voters keep telling politicians to follow through on their promise of a broad shared prosperity and an end to the culture wars. But politicians hear: Let’s get the band back together and put on an ideological road show.