I keep seeing this everywhere: “2018 is set to be a great year for Democrats,” “Anti-Trump furor will drive Democratic candidates in 2018”, and “No Republican district is safe in 2018”. Let’s calm down for a second here.
On Election Day, 2016, I woke up with a pit in my stomach, which didn’t go away for weeks. But I sat there and said to myself, “Oh, Hillary has this won, there’s nothing Trump can do to win”. And I wasn’t alone. The whole political world thought what I did. But here was the problem: Democrats got overconfident. Now, I personally have fallen to overconfidence many a time. This happens when I go into tests, a new class I think will be easy, when applying to programs or jobs; it’s very easy to get ahead of oneself and think it’s easy to accomplish something. But at the scale that Democrats (and myself included) got ahead of themselves in 2016 is bizarre to me.
And they’re on track to do it again.
Last night, in the 4th congressional district of Kansas, GOP candidate Ron Estes only won by 7 points. In contrast, Trump won the district 5 months ago by 25 points. Almost immediately, my Twitter feed began to read full of tweets that said this was a sign that a Democratic swing in 2018 was in full effect. And that very well could be.
But they might be wrong.
Now, it’s not like Trump has gotten himself off to a good start with his presidency. The failure to come through with a repeal/replace plan for the Affordable Care Act (I will not call it by its other, demeaning name) was not a good start for the GOP-led congress and White House. And historically, unpopular presidents don’t help their parties in midterms.
If the Democrats are going to go for a full swing election next year, they need to look at 2016 as an example of what NOT to do. They need to promote exciting candidates with a platform that working class Americans can get behind (they are the party of the working class, so they should support them). They should go into election day believing they may not do well, because we saw what happened when they got cocky last year. And they need to present themselves as open to all Americans, not just the ones who may seem to embrace the majority of their policies. With this in mind, they should be on a better track.
But let us remember 2016 for a long time. Let us remember what didn’t go well. Let us understand that hateful speech like that of Trump’s rhetoric is very appealing to people who haven’t had much economic success of late. Let us be prepared to better serve the American people come the results of the 2018 election. And then, hopefully, Democrats will be back on their political track.