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The Democratic Road Map for 2024
A look back at the 2022 midterms shows how Democrats overperformed -- and can do so again next year. Also, an extra long musical interlude to get you ready for the weekend!
I’m Michael A. Cohen, and this is Truth and Consequences: A no-holds-barred look at the absurdities, ’ absurdities, hypocrisies, and surreality. If you were sent this email or are a free subscriber and would like to become a paid subscriber, you can sign up here.
What Happened in 2022?
The data firm, Catalist, published a fascinating report this week analyzing the results of the 2022 midterms. So I wanted to take a few minutes today to look at the more interesting takeaways. To quickly summarize, however …. there’s a lot of good news for Democrats.
The first point is one that we already knew: “The 2022 election defied conventional wisdom and historical trends.” Quite simply, Democrats, as the incumbent party, should have been walloped in last year’s midterms. That usually happens in the first election after a party wins the White House. Instead, Democrats narrowly expanded their Senate majority, limited their losses in the House, won a host of tough gubernatorial races, and took control of four state legislative chambers.
How did Democrats do it? First, they overperformed in highly contested races. The higher the stakes, the better Democratic candidates did. Second, voters penalized extreme MAGA candidates. Third, Democrats dominated with Gen Z and millennial voters — and continue to dominate with women voters.
Lastly, in heavily contested races, Democrats maintained their 2020 coalition. According to Catalist, “Turnout and support among voters by race, education, gender, and other demographic factors remained relatively stable in heavily contested races.” That doesn’t usually happen, and it should give Democrats plenty of hope heading into 2024 and a likely Biden-Trump rematch.
Let’s dig into some of the data.
Young People Are The Future
This chart should scare the hell out of the Republican Party.
Democrats already had a significant advantage with younger voters. In 2022, they improved those numbers, and that segment of the electorate increased from 2018 to 2022. According to Catalist, in 2022, the Gen Z and Millennial cohorts grew from 23% to 26% of voters, while the Silent and Greatest generations fell from 14% to 10%.”
Republican support is still consolidated among elderly voters and baby boomers. That is, to put it gently, not a viable long-term electoral strategy, and it’s hard to see anything that has happened in the past seven months — on abortion, gun rights, or LGBTQ+ rights — that is likely to stanch the flow of younger voters to the Democratic Party. There’s an old saw that as younger voters get older, they tend to get more conservative, but there’s not much evidence that’s happening now. Republican extremism on social issues is so intense that I suspect these voters will continue supporting Democratic candidates. This chart (courtesy of friend of the newsletter Elliot Morris) makes the point quite well.
As baby boomers and members of the silent and greater generation die off, the share of the electorate defined by demographic groups that vote more consistently for Democrats will only get more pronounced. Over the long term, for Republicans, this is a path to permanent minority status unless they can find a way to win these voters back. Re-nominating Donald Trump and continuing the war against women, minorities, and LBGTQ+ Americans will not get them there.
Women Are Smarter
Along these lines, in 2022, Democrats improved among women voters — and not just college-educated women, but also non-college-educated women.
Indeed, the continued shift of women voters — over the past three electoral cycles — is perhaps the most important political development of the past six years.
Women now make up a majority of the electorate — and vote more than men across practically every demographic group. And based on current trend lines, Democrats are consolidating their support among female voters. It’s difficult to imagine that the Supreme Court’s decision overturning Roe v. Wade didn’t play a decisive role in this outcome in 2022 — and won’t continue to play a decisive role in the future.
Case in point …
Paying A Price For Extremism
There’s one more piece of good news for Democrats (and Americans who care about democracy). Voters punished Republican candidates who denied the results of the 2020 election.
In highly competitive Senate races, election deniers did 1.5% worse than Trump. As the chart below shows, those Republicans who did not embrace Trump’s lies (John Sununu, Brian Kemp, Mike Dewine, etc.) significantly outperformed those who did (Doug Mastriano, Herschel Walker, JD Vance, etc.). And even more important, these Republicans did better than Trump in 2020 (and more likely than not, he will be at the top of the 2024 GOP ticket).
One Last Thing …
For all the talk about Democrats losing support among Latino voters, there was no significant drop in Latino support for the party from 2020 to 2022.
The major exception is Florida, but as the Catalist report points out, that is primarily because of strong GOP support among Cuban-American voters. In places where Latino populations are mainly of Mexican-American descent, Democrats held their own. In fact, in Arizona, Senator Mark Kelly outperformed Biden by four points. One interesting question is whether Latino support for Republicans is Trump-centric. If it is, these numbers could shift slightly to the GOP in 2024 (assuming he’s the nominee). But one thing is clear, Trump or no Trump, while Democrats have lost some support among Latino voters, they are still winning a solid majority of this key demographic group.
If you put all this data together, it’s easy to discern Joe Biden and the Democratic Party’s path forward in 2024: mobilize young voters and women in competitive states with a focus on abortion rights and hammer Republicans for their fealty to Trump and his 2020 election lies. Of course, other issues will also play a role — gun control, LGBTQ+ rights, and, obviously, the economy. But based on the results from 2022 (and 2018 and 2020), Democrats have a clear road map for how to win in 2024. Thanks in large part to the Supreme Court and Donald Trump, Democrats have amassed an electoral coalition that has sustained it through three election cycles, and there is ample reason to expect that this trend will continue.
What’s Going On
This Washington Post story about one woman’s pregnancy in Florida — and her inability to abort a fetus that had no chance of surviving outside the womb — amounts to state-sanctioned torture.
Going to war with a giant mouse has its downsides.
Republicans in Florida fetishize parents’ rights … unless a parent wants their child to receive gender-affirming therapies. In that case, the state of Florida will take their child away. And no, I’m not exaggerating.
I’m legitimately not sure why Rep. Clay Higgins has not been charged with assault based on this video.
Smart Ron Brownstein piece on how strong women scare Trump — and his voters.
Scientists have put together an absolutely fascinating 3-D scan of the Titanic shipwreck.
Good for Martha Stewart.
Florida is investigating a teacher who showed a Disney movie with a gay character to a 5th-grade class. Sometimes I need to remind myself that we’re living in the year 2023.