Wednesday, September 11, 2019

Dan McCready and (lack of) Democratic Enthusiasm in the 9th Special Election

Dan McCready and Republican winner last night,
Dan Bishop
I'm sorry that Dan McCready lost, but I'm not surprised. Full disclosure -- I contributed to the McCready campaign, not enough to buy a billboard, but I wanted him to win. However, I never believed in the McCready strategy of going soft on progressive issues to appeal to "soft" Republicans. Election numbers from yesterday suggest that a sizable number of 9th District Democrats didn't believe in it either.

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:

Mecklenburg County 
2018 vote for McCready 51,856
2019 vote for McCready 36,986
Cumberland County 
2018 vote for McCready 13,452
2019 vote for McCready 7,441
Richmond County 
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.

1 comment:

Anonagain said...

I agree. McCready seems like a really nice guy, and he's a veteran so he has my respect for that. However, this "I'll reach across the aisle" baloney never works. He probably turned off more Democrats saying that, instead of winning over some mythical Republicans who would listen to a Democrat. Why aren't Republicans ever pressured to be bipartisan? Who are these "consultants" who constantly tell Democrats to be more moderate and more accommodating to Republican ideas? Whoever they are, campaigns need to stop hiring them. Special elections are all about motivating your OWN voters, instead of trying to woo the other side.