Republicans are nervous after Tuesday’s election blowout—and they should be. Donald Trump’s Republican critics are only too happy to give juicy quotes like “The canary in the coal mine didn’t just pass out; its head exploded,” and the white supremacist wing of the party is on the defensive, with a Steve Bannon associate saying “Establishment Republicans are blaming Trump and talking about Armageddon, but what is their alternative?” But it’s cases like this that show the real danger for Republicans in 2018:
Rep. Ryan Costello (R-Pa.) conceded that the election results present challenges for incumbents like him. He represents a suburban Philadelphia district that Democrats are targeting aggressively in a region where Democrats won some local and county races for the first time in more than a century.
“We don’t know if it’ll be a wave. What we saw yesterday suggests that hypothesis has some merit, but remember, congressional districts are still one by one,” Costello told reporters on Capitol Hill. “I’m very confident that I’ve given 110 percent effort to this job.”
Congressional districts are still one by one! I’ve given 110 percent! Those are the hackneyed cliches of a politician shaking in his shoes. And hey, Virginia state House districts are still one by one, too, and on Tuesday Democrats won more of them than anyone imagined. One by one.
“The White House isn’t paying attention to the suburbs, and there has never really been a political operation there,” said Edward J. Rollins, the strategist for the Great America Alliance super PAC, a pro-Trump group. “They have to develop a strategy where it’s not just Trump alone winning, where the whole party is able to win.”
Republican fear is delicious. But don’t get over-confident. They’ll still have gerrymandering and voter suppression and a flood of dirty ads fueled by dark money on their side. Democrats have to be fighting every day from now until November 2018.