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The Sky Is Not Falling

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In one of the comment threads last week, commenters were flipping out because of one weird Monmouth poll that showed a significant improvement in Republican polling numbers. And yes, Republican poll numbers have improved slightly from their depths a couple of months ago. But let’s keep things in perspective: it’s one poll 9 months from the midterms. That said, we have much better data than polls to suggest what is going to happen in November: special election results. And these overwhelming, election after election, at the local, state, and congressional levels, demonstrate a deeply bleak picture for Republicans. Take last night’s special election results in Missouri:

Democrats on Tuesday pulled off another surprising special election upset, this time capturing a Missouri statehouse seat in a deep-red district that President Donald Trump easily carried in 2016.

Democratic candidate Mike Revis defeated GOP nominee David Linton on Tuesday night by a 4-point margin in a seat Trump carried with 61 percent of the vote just over a year ago, and which former President Barack Obama lost by 12 points in 2012. That’s a major swing — and the latest time Democrats have vastly over-performed their previous numbers this year as they look toward a potential wave election in the fall.

Democrats have now picked up 35 state legislative seats across the country in special elections, while Republicans have picked up just four since Trump took office. This is the latest deep-red seat that Democrats have flipped and, like the party’s recent victory in a Wisconsin state senate election, indicates how revved up the Democratic base is.

There will undoubtedly be higher overall voter turnout in the 2018 general election, making it harder for progressive base enthusiasm alone to power a major wave. But this win, as well as Democrats’ improved numbers in a trio of other Missouri special elections they lost Tuesday night in heavily Republican areas, are the latest signs that white-hot liberal enthusiasm is creating new opportunities across the country for Democratic candidates, even in areas that have moved hard against their party in recent years.

There were actually 4 races for the Missouri legislature last night. Republicans held onto the other three. But not in way that should make them feel good.

Next week, there are 5 special elections for state seats. One is a Democratic seat in a Minnesota district Trump won by 1. The other are all Republican seats. One is a Florida seat Trump won by 5, one is a Minnesota seat Trump won by 16, one is a Georgia seat Trump won by 24, and won is an Oklahoma seat Trump won by 73. OK, Dems probably aren’t going to take that Oklahoma seat. But there is a real chance to win every other race, although I know nothing about the candidates. Even the Georgia race has potential. Democrats have moved a lot of a districts more than 24 points in these elections. Keep watching these special elections. There are lots of them and they are as telling as any poll. How important is this data? Really important.

So quit freaking out about a single poll!

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