Democrats have now gone 0-4 in special elections in Kansas, Montana, Georgia, and South Carolina, and Republicans are gloating. Donald Trump used the results in Georgia and South Carolina, where Democrats narrowly lost in heavily Republican districts, to argue that Democrats had to acquiesce to his agenda:
Newt Gingrich, meanwhile, made the case that the results showed that you had to buy his book:
The reality, unsurprisingly, is much different. Despite the goose egg in the win column, Democrats showed that the momentum remains on their side by dramatically outperforming both past results and expectations:
This is a pretty good place to be, heading into a crucial midterm election. But if, broadly speaking, things look roughly the same for Democrats, there are still lessons from these losses. The faith that some Democrats have placed in the suburbs as the easiest ticket to future Democratic majorities may be misplaced. Back in April, former Hillary Clinton press secretary Brian Fallon tweeted that these districts represent the Democrats’ best path forward:
Ossoff’s strong showing in Georgia suggests that Democrats can play in some suburban districts, but also that these voters may not be the natural allies that many in the Democratic establishment believe them to be. The media coverage of Trump’s campaign often downplayed his support in suburbs. There’s no reason to believe, from these results, that Democrats can’t compete in suburbs. But the best path to retaking the House almost certainly starts with districts that elected Democrats fairly recently.