Anal­y­sis of US midterms needs more com­plex­ity

The Guardian Weekly - - Opinion -

I found the ar­ti­cles on the US midterm elec­tions by Chris McGreal and Jeffrey Isaacs (16 Novem­ber) most en­gag­ing, if in­com­plete. McGreal’s take on the ru­ral-ur­ban di­vide seems to sup­port the ar­gu­ment that Demo­cratic ne­glect of “the ru­ral places” was a sig­nif­i­cant rea­son for the elec­tion of Don­ald Trump, and that beat­ing Trump in 2020 de­pends on pay­ing more at­ten­tion to the needs of ru­ral Amer­ica. Any se­ri­ous can­di­date needs to ad­dress ru­ral de­cline, but ne­glect of those is­sues was hardly the rea­son for Trump’s vic­tory in 2016.

Isaacs’s anal­y­sis bol­sters the emerg­ing Demo­cratic con­sen­sus that the party should be­ware of “mov­ing right”. Still, the anal­y­sis omits some de­tails that favoured Demo­cratic can­di­dates. Chief among these is de­mo­graphic change. For ex­am­ple, in re­view­ing the lib­eral Beto O’Rourke’s strong show­ing in Texas, Isaacs says it is “per­haps the ‘red­dest’ state in the na­tion”. This ig­nores de­mo­graphic changes such as the in­creas­ing in­flu­ence of mi­nor­ity vot­ers, some­thing likely to have an even stronger im­pact in 2020. John Gef­froy Las Ve­gas, New Mexico, US

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