|Dan McCready and Republican winner last night,|
You might be forgiven for believing -- given national media attention and McCready's aggressive fundraising -- that Democratic enthusiasm was running high down along the border with South Carolina. Actual election results suggest something very different when polling numbers for McCready yesterday are set side-by-side with numbers from 2018:
2018 vote for McCready 51,856
2019 vote for McCready 36,986
2018 vote for McCready 13,452
2019 vote for McCready 7,441
2018 vote for McCready 7,138
2019 vote for McCready 4,276
I could go on, county by county, but the point seems clear enough: Democratic enthusiasm for McCready sagged like a soft mattress. (I heard last night on MS-NBC that McCready was actually doing better in Meck than he did in 2018, but Steve Kornacki must have been talking percentages rather than actual numbers. Anyway, the numbers above are actual votes.)
Would a Stacey Abrams have won that district? Would a Democrat not afraid of embracing Democratic issues have won? McCready always struck me -- going back into the 2018 campaign -- as a man walking a mine field, fearful that every step was going to blow him sky-high. I don't believe that "soft" Republicans -- shorthand for Republicans who are disgusted with Trumpism -- necessarily want a soft Democrat. They want strength of conviction the same as Democrats do.
What does this special election say about Trump's chances next year? Probably not what Trump thinks it says, and which he's already strutting about.