Tuesday was primary election day in several more states. The big news came from Georgia, where I congratulate Stacey Abrams for her historic win of the Democratic nomination for Governor. She’s Georgia’s first-ever female gubernatorial candidate from either major party, and if she wins in November, she’d be the first black woman to serve as a state governor.
But that’s still a longshot. Georgia is a pretty conservative state, and Abrams is a very liberal candidate who exemplifies the issue the national party has in trying to convince its far-left base to pick moderate candidates with a better chance of winning. Abrams believes she can win by turning out more young and minority voters, but she also thinks that she can win back white, working class Georgians who’ve abandoned the Democrats by really pitching liberal policies to them. In Georgia. We’ll see how that works out.
On the GOP side, the race is not yet settled: after a grueling primary campaign, neither Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle nor Secretary of State Brian Kemp topped 50%, so they’re expected to keep waging brutal campaigns until a runoff in July. They should both bear in mind that the most important goal is not to inflict irreparable damage on each other and do the opposition’s work for them, but that whichever Republican prevails wins in November. And by July, Ms. Abrams will already have a six-week head start.
Another upset took place in Kentucky, where high school math teacher Travis Brenda beat House Majority Leader Jonathan Shell for the GOP nomination for his Congressional seat. Shell was under fire for orchestrating a last-minute change of the pension system for teachers, who marched on the Capitol by the thousands to protest, shutting down 30 school districts. As in Oklahoma, Kentucky teachers have been demanding increases in pay and benefits. There are a number of teachers running for office nationwide this year, but most are Democrats. This shows they exercise quite a bit of power at the primary level, even in GOP races. Republicans hoping to hang onto that seat should pray that the teachers can muster the same turnout in November.
Finally, speaking of November’s election, the much-vaunted “blue wave” has turned into a mud swirl down a storm drain. Democrats once had a 14.5-point advantage in the Reuters weekly “generic preference” tracking poll. This week, for the first time in this election cycle, the GOP has pulled ahead of the Democrats by 6 points. The Real Clear Politics polling average still has the Dems ahead by 4, but that’s down from 13 points. Of course, neither side should take anything for granted: the Reuters poll still shows 15% undecided.
And that’s as it should be, because as someone who understands politics and polling well once pointed out, there has never been a race in history between “Generic Democrat” and “Generic Republican.” This expert also noted that polls taken months before the election are useless for anything other than giving the media something to jawbone about. As the 2016 Presidential race proved, even polls taken the week of the election can’t be relied on. In fact, I believe that expert didn’t just point it out once, but has pointed it in every election going back for over a decade, and the media keep flogging these useless polls anyway.
I also seem to recall that that fount of wisdom was me.
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