Impossible Things Are Happening Every Day

The Republicans might not have an official platform, but the day-to-day actions of party members gives a pretty clear picture of what they will run on in 2024:  transphobia, bullying kids, erasing LGBTQ people and people of color, hurting women, crashing our economy, and destroying our democracy.

It’s a wide range of hateful activities, and over the last 3 elections it hasn’t played well to the general electorate. The Democrats took back the House in 2018, the White House and both houses of Congress in 2020, and in 2022 they gained a Senate seat and held “the red wave” to a trickle.

The Republicans made a lot of noise last fall about doing a post-mortem of why they kept losing, but then they put the creepy gun-obsessed loser candidate Blake Masters on the committee, so you can guess how that went. The Washington Post obtained access to part of it, and it doesn’t look like the party got the message:

A draft Republican Party autopsy report on the 2022 midterm elections examining why the GOP failed to win the U.S. Senate and posted smaller-than-expected gains in the House does not mention Donald Trump or his role as the de facto leader of the party, according to people familiar with its contents.

Already off to a great start. What else?

The draft report says abortion hurt the Republicans in the midterm elections, with candidates trying to avoid the issue and alienating some voters while Democrats saw their base’s energy grow, according to the people familiar with the document. It calls on Republicans to talk more about abortion than they did in the midterm elections.

I’d love it if Republicans talked more about abortion in the 2024 elections, since the party is slowly closing ranks on a national abortion ban.

Of course the big problem with this post-mortem is that it doesn’t accurately describe or identify what killed the body. And without fixing that omission, and seriously dealing with how TFG is going to kill the party in every national election, it doesn’t matter what else the party does, especially as TFG’s ongoing litigation is only going to continue to turn voters off.

The GOP has another problem, and this one can’t be combated with messaging:  fewer of their core voters–white non-college educated voters—aren’t turning out to vote as much:

White voters without a four-year college degree, the indispensable core of the modern GOP coalition, declined in 2022 as a share of both actual and eligible voters, according to a study of Census results by Michael McDonald, a University of Florida political scientist who specializes in electoral turnout.

McDonald’s finding, provided exclusively to CNN, shows that the 2022 election continued the long-term trend dating back at least to the 1970s of a sustained fall in the share of the votes cast by working-class White voters who once constituted the brawny backbone of the Democratic coalition, but have since become the absolute foundation of Republican campaign fortunes.

As non-college Whites have receded in the electorate over that long arc, non-White adults and, to a somewhat lesser extent, Whites with at least a four-year college degree, have steadily increased their influence. “This is a trend that is baked into the demographic change of the country, so [it] is likely going to accelerate over the next ten years,” says McDonald, author of the recent book “From Pandemic to Insurrection: Voting in the 2020 Presidential Election.”

Here’s some detail on what’s going on:

From election to election, the impact of the changing composition of the voter pool is modest. The slow but steady decline of non-college Whites, now the GOP’s best group, did not stop Donald Trump from winning the presidency in 2016 – nor does it preclude him from winning it again in 2024. And, compared to their national numbers, these non-college voters remain a larger share of the electorate in many of the key states that will likely decide the 2024 presidential race (particularly Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin) and control of the Senate (including seats Democrats are defending in Montana, Ohio and West Virginia.)

But even across those states, these voters are shrinking as a share of the electorate. And McDonald’s analysis of the 2022 results shows that the non-college White share of the total vote is highly likely to decline again in 2024, while the combined share of non-Whites and Whites with a college degree, groups much more favorable to Democrats, is virtually certain to increase. The political effect of this decline is analogous to turning up the resistance on a treadmill: as their best group shrinks, Republicans must run a little faster just to stay in place.

Especially ominous for Republicans is that the share of the vote cast by these blue-collar Whites declined slightly in 2022 even though turnout among those voters was relatively strong, while minority turnout fell sharply, according to McDonald’s analysis. The reason for those seemingly incongruous trends is that even solid turnout among the non-college Whites could not offset the fact that they are continuing to shrink in the total pool of eligible voters, as American society grows better-educated and more racially diverse.

Coupled with the eternal vow to support TFG, this only causes problems for Republicans:

That prospect remains a central concern for the dwindling band of anti-Trump Republicans who fear that the former president has dangerously narrowed the GOP’s appeal by identifying it so unreservedly with the cultural priorities and grievances of working-class White voters, many of them older and living outside of the nation’s largest and most economically productive metropolitan areas.

I wish I could say that my response to this isn’t giddy gleefulness, but I can’t. And on Tuesday we saw a reason for at least a measured gleefulness, with Jacksonville, FL electing a Democratic mayor after spending 26 of the last 30 years under Republicans. Here’s some context in case you don’t think this is significant:

There’s a lot of work to be done for the Democrats to hold the White House and to establish a workable majority in Congress in 2024. But it’s not an impossible task.

Rogers, Hammerstein, Whitney, and Brandy can sing us out:

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