With record-breaking small-donor GOP contributions, all-time high stock market numbers, recent passage of a $4 trillion budget, sweeping tax reform making big progress in Congress, and new revelations about the sketchy Uranium One deal and possible DNC-Russia collusion, it’s safe to say that the Republican Party is gaining momentum while the Democratic Party is self-destructing heading into 2018.
Hillary Clinton’s decision to try to remain relevant has been the single greatest gift to the Republican Party in the history of politics. Despite all the evident success of the current administration, she had the audacity to say that “the Republican Party is imploding.” The reality, however, is quite the contrary as Republicans have been gaining representation and power ever since Barack Obama became president in 2008.
Only eight states (plus D.C.) have become more Democratic since 2008: Utah, Alaska, California, Arizona, Texas, Massachusetts, Maryland, and (barely) Georgia.
The other 42 states have become more Republican since 2008. 33 of these states saw Republican gains in 2012 as well as in 2016. John McCain won 22 states in 2008, Mitt Romney won 24 states in 2016, and Donald Trump won 30 states in 2016.
West Virginia has seen the largest Republican shift since 2008 at 29 percent. That is, John McCain won the state by 13 percent in 2008 compared to Donald Trump’s 42 percent margin in 2016.
Looking at a map of the United States, it’s clear that the greatest voting shift can be seen in Midwestern states. Ohio, once considered a swing state and “bellwether” for presidential elections, can hardly be classified as a swing state in the current political climate as Trump won it by over eight percentage points. Television pundits and reporters largely misled the American public in 2016, effectively convincing Americans (and the world) that Hillary Clinton would win the presidency. These folks should probably reconsider their classifications on certain swing states given the recent election trends or they’ll make the same mistakes in 2018 and again in 2020.
The Midwestern states of Michigan, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, Iowa, and Ohio were all won reliably by Barack Obama in 2008. Since then, the states have shifted by a combined total of more than 74 points, an average Republican shift of almost 15 percent in each state. Even Illinois and Minnesota, which have been blue states since 1992, have both seen a Republican shift in over eight percent since 2008.
Heading into the 2018 midterm elections and 2020 presidential election, a new group of swing states has emerged that were once considered reliably Democratic: Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, Michigan, New Hampshire, Minnesota, Nevada, and Maine. Barack Obama won all these states by ten points in 2008. In 2016, they were all won by at most a three-point margin.
The Republican Party has succeeded in cracking the so-called impenetrable “Blue Wall” as well as making these once-safe Democratic states competitive. Whoever the Democratic presidential nominee is in 2020 will need to campaign in the Midwest, or will suffer defeat as Hillary Clinton did in 2016. Winning the support of the Midwest will be increasingly difficult for Democrats to do as President Trump is restoring hundreds of thousands of jobs to the Midwest and is making it easier for businesses to thrive there. Working-class Midwesterners appreciate the business moves Trump is making, and the Midwest may very well be starting to form a Red Wall for 2020 and beyond.