WASHINGTON — The photo-finish outcomes of Ohio’s 12th Congressional District election are proof of an important issue in front of November’s midterms: President Trump and the Republicans have a big suburban problem.
Republicans’ midterm way of months is to target their geographic and demographic strongholds that propelled Trump to his presidential victory in 2016: white voters in suburbs, exurbs and rural areas. By touting the Trump-backed tax cut law and his awesome hard-line stance on immigration, the reasoning went, Republican House candidates could possibly stop a blue wave.
That didn’t happen Tuesday night in Ohio, in the district that was so solidly red for therefore long, the race shouldn’t have even been competitive. Support for state Sen. Troy Balderson from the suburbs north of Columbus wasn’t sufficiently strong to get the race away Tuesday night, despite his strong support while in the rural areas that define high of Trump’s more inelastic base.
The race won’t be considered necessary days, and Balderson could very well wind up the declared winner. But in other districts the place that the suburban areas compose a better share, the GOP most likely are not so lucky.
This is primarily true if Trump, as promised, turns into a mainstay about the campaign trail. Democratic strategists told the Herald Trump’s decision to campaign in Ohio for Balderson contributed to turnout inside the Democratic strongholds inside the southern area of the district, eliminating the boost his visit gave him inside the solidly red regions.
And the GOP want to galvanize the Trump base with tough talk on immigration, being focused on toughening border enforcement and accelerating deportations, fell apart after Trump’s zero-tolerance border crossing policy led to many children being separated using their company parents — leaving GOP candidates to seize on other challenges, for instance some Democratic candidates’ support of abolishing ICE.
There is also factors at play. Republican strategists said there is certainly concern that this upcoming confirmation hearings for Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh can certainly make some key voters — particularly suburban and exurban women — sour on pro-life GOP House candidates. As you move the House plays no role inside the confirmation of justices, the hearings will focus on Kavanaugh’s abortion views as Democrats scrutinize whether he’ll be a vote to overturn Roe v. Wade. Polls consistently show strong bipartisan support for keeping abortion legal, particularly among women voters.
Without a new GOP plan to energize waning suburbanites, victory for Balderson is great news for Democrats.
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