Do Democrats Have a Redistricting Plan?

gettyimages-464686108-640x480At long last, Democrats have a national redistricting strategy.  Or so they claim.  On Friday, former Attorney General Eric Holder announced the formation of the National Democratic Redistricting Committee (NDRC) which aims to combat GOP legislative majorities by waging court challenges and utilizing ballot initiatives to create nonpartisan commissions to draw legislative and Congressional lines. Democrats have long blamed gerrymandering for the GOP takeover of 2010 but are loathe to acknowledge the GOP won 66 seats in 2010 under old lines that FAVORED Democrats.

The NDRC is Democrats answer to the GOP’s Republican State Legislative Committee’s REDMAP (Redistricting Majority Project).  Launched in 2009, REDMAP was a well funded joint project between the party and third party groups that spent millions on data infrastructure and the 2010 election results.  Since that time, the GOP has locked in its majorities in many states (though some gerrymanders have been undone by the courts and citizen initiatives).

According to the NDRC’s website “Republican gerrymandered districts after the 2010 Census have put Democrats at a massive structural disadvantage. That’s why the most important turning point for the future of the Democratic Party will take place in 2021: when states redraw their Congressional and state legislative lines.”  Additionally, “The National Democratic Redistricting Committee (NDRC) is an organization of Democratic leaders enacting a comprehensive, multi-cycle Democratic Party redistricting strategy over the next 5 years and beyond.”  Beyond ballot initiatives and court challenges the NDRC will also focus on winning legislative contests in the years ahead.

Missing from the NDRC is any answer for how they will confront the non-gerrymandering aspects of their coalition. Democrats are good at arguing at how Republicans disenfranchise urban and minority voters but they refuse to admit these voters tend to do it to themselves.  By this I mean the majority of the Democratic votes in many states is locked into urban and dense suburban areas and is hard to find anywhere else.  While this makes gerrymandering for the GOP easier it also makes gerrymandering harder for Democrats to accomplish even if they are in control.

Take for example the state of Minnesota. After the 2016 elections the GOP controlled both chambers of the state legislature under a court drawn map favorable to Democrats.  The GOP lost their initial majority in the state legislature in 2012, regained the house in 14 and retook the state senate last year.  The GOP did not really have to do anything to facilitate this advantage.  Democratic policies like MCare (the state exchange) and the party becoming more cosmopolitan has cost the party seats just about everywhere else. Currently, Democrats do not control a single state senate district Romney won while the GOP does not control a single, urban Minneapolis seat.  The GOP gets the better end of the deal.

The Democratic argument that gerrymandering and voting laws are the reasons why the GOP has such a strong advantage in the states is partly true.  But, it is only partly true.  The polarization, both racial and geographical, in our politics means that Democratic voters pack themselves into areas where millions of votes are wasted (see an example here).  This means for Democrats to have any hope of establishing a decade long majority in many states they will have to practice their own form of gerrymandering.  And it will likely be far worse than the GOP’s.

To see an example of this dynamic take a look at Illinois legislative districts. Until last year, Democrats had veto proof majorities in the legislature to stop Bruce Rauner.  Democrats built this advantage by creating incredbly ugly House and Senate districts that mixed rural, conservative areas with dense, urban and Democratic suburbs (ironically, no liberal complains about this).  The Congressional Democratic gerrymander has already started to fall apart because the party could not fit down-state, rural areas into urban districts.  Democrats aimed to create a 13-5 majority in the Congressional delegation.  It now stands at 11-7 with a Democratic district being carried by Trump by double-digits.

Of course Democrats are silent on their partisan gerrymanders.  Maybe it is because they fall apart as we have seen in Illinois and in Minnesota.  But, even in purple Colorado they have fallen apart as well.  The state has a split legislature (even with term limits).  The current map, drawn by a Democrat appointed district judge, did everything to give Democrats a majority in the state senate.  It created huge GOP vote sinks in rural areas and unified Democratic leaning suburbs.  Urban Denver was kept intact while trending GOP Douglas County districts were merged with liberal Araphoe county precincts.  Yet, despite this, the GOP holds a slim one seat majority in the state senate because of the Democratic insistence on appealing only to cosmopolitan voters.

To be sure, the NDRC is not a policy orientated organization.  It cannot dictate to the party what legislative policies the party should pursue.  But it should recommend to the party a change of course in rhetoric.  Democrats have a systematic weakness in the states because their party appeals only to urban interests and rural and suburban voters have noted.  This helps lock Democratic votes into districts that waste votes while GOP voters are better distributed in suburban/rural areas.  Democrats can draw districts, like in Illinois, that merge urban/rural but they are incredibly ugly, non-compact and not very full-proof.

Until Democrats come up with a way to solve these issues no amount of gerrymandering will be able to help a party beholden to interests out of touch to voters in many states. This partly helps explain why Republicans since 2012 have consistently had about a +4 percent edge in the number of seats they control in the House compared to their popular vote total.  Democrats, even if they got every map they wanted, could never accomplish the same.

The GOP’s Northeastern Resurgence

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Vermont Governor-Elect Phil Scott captured a state Clinton won by 27 percent over Donald Trump

In 2001, Jim Jeffords, the Republican Senator from Vermont announced his intentions to break from his party and become an Independent.  He cited the party’s rightward shift on social and fiscal issues for his switch.  Nearly 7 years later, Northeastern Republicans would practically be an extinct species at every level; federal,  statewide executive offices and legislatures.  The Northeast, the ancestral home of the GOP, had become a no-man’s land for the party by the time Obama was elected President.

The numbers were startling.  Republicans did not control a single legislature in the Northeast at the start of 2009, they held a meager single US Senate seat (New Hampshire) and less than half a dozen Congressional seats in a region with over 60.

It did not always use to be this way.  The Northeast, combined with the Midwest, used to be the base of the modern GOP.  Without the Northeast Richard Nixon would not have been elected President in 1968.  Ronald Reagan in 1980 would have struggled to win the popular vote without its margins and of course there is Abraham Lincoln.

But as the parties shifted their ideological and geographical allegiances starting in the 60s so have voters.  The result has been the Northeast becoming a solid shade of blue not just for President but also in Congressional and legislative delegations as moderate Republicans have left the party while the South has become solidly red.

But starting in 2010 the GOP has seen a resurgence in the region.  Fueled by the Tea Party wave Republicans captured both chambers in New Hampshire and Maine and made gains in many others.  They even broke Democratic rule in New York State by winning enough state senate seats to force legislative Democrats to agree to a power-sharing arrangement in the upper chamber.

It was not just at the legislative level where Republicans made gains.  The party gained both Congressional seats in New Hampshire, a whopping 4 seats in New Hampshire and 5 seats in Pennsylvania.  Still, the party failed to make significant inroads at the state and Congressional level in deep blue states like Maryland, Massachusetts and Connecticut.

Barack Obama’s reelection thinned the GOP herd’s numbers in the region.  New Hampshire flipped back congressionally and several Republicans disappeared in New York due to Romney’s anemic performance.

The 2014 midterms changed that.  For the first time since 2002 Republicans captured the Maryland Governor’s mansion, deep blue Massachusetts and (not in the Northeast) Illinois.  The party very nearly captured Connecticut as well (for the second time in a row).

Republicans did this by performing even better in the suburbs than they did in 2010.  For example, in Maryland, Larry Hogan ran far ahead of prior Republicans performances in suburban Baltimore and Howard counties.  He won Howard with 51 percent and Baltimore with 59 percent.  Despite the drop in turnout from 2010 he gained a combined 23,000 additional votes from the counties.  In exurban Carroll County he garnered 7,000 additional votes relative to 2010.   In Massachusetts, Charlie Baker improved on his 2010 performance by thousands of votes in conservative friendly Hampden and Bristol counties.  These bedroom counties gave him his narrow 40,000 vote margin.

Now, joining the mix after 2016 are John Sununu and Phil Scott.  Sununu captured New Hampshire’s Governorship, the first time the party has held it since 2002.  Phil Scott had arguably the bigger challenge.  He triumphed by 9 points in deep blue Vermont.  The same Vermont Clinton carried with 57 percent of the vote.

Republicans also made inroads in state legislatures.  For the first time since 2004 the party did not lose a legislative seat in Massachusetts and they even tied the Connecticut state senate (though Democrats still control the chamber due to the Lt. Governor’s partisan affiliation).

What has driven this shift at the state level is the increasing proclivity of some voters to base their votes for Governors or legislature on a separate criteria than federal contests.  This is not just a Northeastern, or until 2016, Midwestern phenomenon.  In 2015, Louisiana elected a Medicaid Expansion supporting Democrat over a died in the wool conservative Republican.  This year, while New Hampshire and Vermont backed Clinton they elected GOP Governors, red West Virginia, Montana and North Carolina elected Democratic Governors even as they gave Trump massive margins.

Perhaps most surprising is how popular many of these Governors are.   Both Baker and Hogan have stratospheric approval ratings in the 70s while Steve Bullock never dipped below 50 percent approval in his reelection battle in Montana.

Manifesting the partisan realignment that has occurred at the Congressional level many Congressional Republicans won reelection in Obama/Trump districts in the Northeast.  Standout examples of this include Brian Poliquin in ME-2 and John Katko in NY-24, Elise Stephanik in NY-21.

Part of the GOP resurgence in the Northeast has been being able to field strong candidates (see Charlie Baker and Larry Hogan) and facing weak opponents (see Martha Coakley in Massachusetts).  But, part of it has also been voters preferring a check on Democratic legislatures.  Likewise, some voters prefer a Democratic Governor to be a check on GOP legislatures outside the Northeast.

Not everybody shares this view however.  Former RGA Executive Director Michael Cox, a Massachusetts native who ran New Jersey Governor Chris Christie’s Presidential super PAC, sees this as more an outlier than a trend.

While Cox acknowledges the GOP does well when they run on “kitchen-table” issues, he is hesitant to say this represents a permanent resurgence for the party.  Rather, he describes “Our party’s success is situational.  It has more to do with great candidates, campaigns and a favorable political environment than an overarching trend.”

Certainly to some degree this is true.  But 2016 was not the best political environment for the party and successful candidates still outran Trump.

If 2009 represented the low-point for Northeastern Republicans 2017 might represent their high-point.  It’s clear many of the voters in the region lean clearly left and in the near future the GOP will always be swimming upstream to win in the area.  But, for now, the GOP’s resurgence in the region, compared to where it was in 2009, is nothing short of remarkable!

Of Democratic Dreams and 2018

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Heidi Heitkamp, (D-ND) is one of those 2018 Senators up for reelection in a ruby red, Trump state.  As a result, she has said she would work with Trump on areas they agree on.

Chuck Schumer incensed his base last week when he said he could work with Trump.  The liberal blogosphere went crazy, particularly here, arguing that working with Trump is a recipe for disaster for Senate Democrats.

Of course, if you look at the Senate map for 2018 the map is downright horrific.  Ten Democrats sit in states Trump won and only a single Republican sits in a Clinton state.  By default, you would think this means some of these Democrats, particularly in MO, MT, WV, IN and ND would want to distance themselves from the party’s national brand.

Running counter to this belief is Democratic dominance from the 50s to the 90s in Congress.  For the most part Republicans worked with moderate GOP Presidents and a Democratic Congress to pass major legislation.  The result was permanent minority status.  But, as soon as Newt Gingrich and his “revolutionaries” came around in the early 90s the GOP gained continual power power in Congress for a decade.  Indeed, since 94 the GOP has held the House in 9 of the last elections and the Senate 6-11.

This cycle for the first time in modern electoral politics, not a single Senate D/R candidate won a state of the opposite party’s Presidential nominee.  Democrats came up short in Indiana, Missouri, North Carolina, Florida (just to name a few) while Republicans lost in Nevada and an agonizingly close race in New Hampshire.

It is the New Hampshire race that stands out though and shows how electoral history can be made by a few hundred votes.  Flip 250 votes in New Hampshire and Ayotte would have won reelection and a state Trump lost.  So despite the argument politics is increasingly polarized there are signs a good candidate can still win or at least be competitive.

Not more than 4 years ago we witnessed a Presidential contest that featured plenty of ticket-splitting.  Democrats won Senate contests in Missouri, West Virginia, Montana, Indiana and North Dakota.  All states Romney won by hefty margins.  Republicans won an open Nevada Senate seat.  A state Obama won.

These candidates all had things in common.  They ran away from their national party’s worst tendencies and showcased their best.  Admittedly, many of these candidates had the luxury of running against flawed opponents but still.

All this is a round-about way of saying that having a party leader who stresses pragmatism, as Reid once did, and Schumer does now, is not necessarily a bad thing for a party facing a daunting Senate map.  If Trump is popular come 2018 at least vulnerable Democrats can say they worked to make the system better.  If Trump is not, they are sure to benefit from voters turning out against him.  They might even get a few 2016 Trump voters to boot.

Contrary to the belief that undying opposition to the incumbent party in the White House stands the Democrats of 2006 and 2008.  Believe it or not, Democrats worked with Bush in 05 to pass immigration reform.  It was Republicans who derailed it.  Meanwhile, Democrats were smart and attacked Bush on corruption and reforming Social Security.  In 2007 and 2008 Democrats, even while in control of Congress, again worked with Bush to provide funding for the War in Iraq and domestic programs.

Ironically, this might be the only route available for Democrats to avoid losing seats in 2018.  Undying opposition to a Trump Presidency might make liberal voters swoon and GOP voters sour on Trump but if you are sitting in a Trump +20 state you need a lot of liberals to vote and a lot of sour Republicans not to.  And I hate to break it to Democrats but the odds of that happening are really, really small.

 

Minnesota: The One Midwestern State Where Democrats Outran The Trump Wave

minnesota_2016_presidential_election_results_by_congressional_district_-_twitterDonald Trump came closer than any modern Republican to winning Minnesota’s 10 Electoral College votes.  He fell a mere 45,000 votes short out of almost 3 million cast.  Still, Republicans did retake the state senate and add to their then narrow house majority.  But, it was Congressional Democrats that found the greatest success.

Not a single Congressional seat switched parties in the state, though 5 contests were close.  The GOP narrowly held the suburban Minneapolis based 2nd CD and by a larger margin the 3rd while Democrats managed to hold the rural 1st, 7th and 8th districts.

Despite losing the state Trump actually managed to win 5 of the state’s 8 Congressional districts (3 of them held by Democrats) by wide margins.  Trump won the 1st by 15 points, the 7th by a whopping 30 points and the 8th by 15 points.  Clinton actually won the 3rd by about 9 points.

What Minnesota gives Democrats is hope that they can outrun the GOP tide in the future.  This is the second election in a row Tim Walz has held his 1st district by a point in a GOP wave.  Rick Nolan in the 8th fended off another stiff challenge from a repeat opponent.  Collin Peterson, an institution in the 7th district, won a district by 7 points that Trump won by 30.

It is not just that these Democrats outran the Trump wave but they have consistently outrun GOP waves over and over again.  If anything, these Congressman offer Democrats a route forward to winning competitive districts in unfriendly territory.

Even if you discount the fact the GOP did not target the 1st or the 7th this year and only the 8th it is clear that Minnesota stands as an aberration to the rest of the Midwest (and the nation for that matter)  Out of the 100 or so districts the Daily Kos has compiled final numbers for only 8 have split their ticket for Congress and President.  Half of them can be found in Minnesota and none showed such stark margin differences as Minnesota (indeed, the C/P results have all been within 2-5 points of each other).

It will likely only get harder for Democrats to replicate this kind of success in the future however.  It takes long-time Congressmen with strong connections to their districts to outrun their party’s nominees over and over again.  Once a Walz or Peterson retire odds are good Democrats will lose these increasingly red, non gerrymandered districts.

Worse, the increasingly young and urban coalition fueling Democrats makes it even harder for their party to find successors to a Walz or Peterson.  As the party drifts left it remains unlikely a new candidate will be able to distance him/herself from the national brand.

Republicans would be smart to note these shifts and run candidates accordingly.  The GOP threw millions into the 8th but their candidate, Stewart Mills, was a Romney in a younger skin competing in a district with a strong union, populist voting base.  Republicans did not throw any money into the 7th and 8th this cycle.  Perhaps they should in 2018.

Early Voting Numbers Are Not All They Are Cracked Up To Be

Democrats are ecstatic over news that early voting among their party faithful is well ahead of 2012 numbers.  In fact, short of Florida and Iowa, the party is outpacing Republicans.  This has the party optimistic they can take marginal seats in Colorado and elsewhere.

But 2016 is not 2012.  Romney ran up significant margins in virtually every battleground state in 2012 yet still lost almost every single one of those states.  Additionally, the advent of new campaign technology makes the victories and defeats of former campaigns largely irrelevant.

Sure, you cannot dismiss the fact Democrats are using their organizational advantage to great effect.  But, the vote totals among partisans are really not that great.  Plus, it’s clear that the Trump and Clinton campaigns have taken divergent paths in getting voters to the polls.

Clinton has invested in an extremely data driven and micro targeting focused campaign.  This makes sense considering she is targeting low turnout voters and her campaign is uninspiring.  Trump, on the other hand, has eschewed data and campaign infrastructure (leaving it to the RNC) and focused on leveraging his celebrity and rhetoric to bring supporters to the polls.  In the primaries he used free media to significant effect and he has tried to do the same of late.

Historically, the conventional wisdom has followed a linear line of logic; Republicans win mail-in ballots, Democrats in-person early voting and Republicans win Election Day, in-person voting.  The elections are determined by the margins.

But this logic has always been far too simplistic.  Just because one identifies as a Republican or Democrat does not mean they will VOTE that way.  For example, many solid Republicans in Northern Florida still identify in voter rolls as Democrats.  Many moderate Republicans in New England vote solidly Democrat now.

Certainly, campaign software and technology has tried to keep apace of these changes.  They’d be foolish if they did not.  But, even the most sophisticated software cannot always be right.

In our hyper-partisan campaign cycles where party stalwarts have always lined up on two sides and Independents have preferred their personal leanings the theme for the parties has been to get their partisans out in force.  For the most part it probably has benefited the parties.

But this is not 2004, 2008 or even 2012.  This is 2016, an election year where evidence abounds registered Democrats are defecting to Trump and many white-collar, up-scale, white Republicans are defecting for Clinton.  Again, evidence abounds these voters might split their tickets down-ballot as well.  In New Hampshire and Pennsylvania Clinton has established solid leads.  Yet, in some polls both GOP Senate incumbents are pulling 15-20 percent support among Democrats. A vote for Clinton does not automatically equate to a vote for other down-ballot Democrats.

Add all this up and you find the numbers could mean many things.  But, it also is an indication that early voting numbers are not the end all be all.  Democrats would be wise to remember this.

Trump Made A Wise Move By Picking Pence

isLast Friday, Donald Trump announced he was choosing former Congressman and the current Governor of Indiana, Mike Pence, as his running mate.  Pence was a smart, pragmatic and safe choice.  A choice that smooths Trump’s rough edges and gives him an in with Congress.

Last week, it was clear Trump had 4 choices; Alabama Senator Jeff Sessions, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich and Pence.  While Sessions and Christie were close friends with Trump they would have added little to his candidacy.

Trump is attempting to expand his appeal to women and minorities.  You don’t do that by nominating an immigration die-hard like Sessions.  Christie has experience and a temperament similar to Trump but he remains dogged by Bridgegate and is yesterday’s conservative star.

So that left Pence and Gingrich.  It was clear Gingrich wanted the job.  He went out of his way to campaign for Trump and sing the presumptive nominee’s praises.  Pence wanted the job too.  He tepidly endorsed Trump during the Indiana primary and began circulating to his staff and family he would gladly accept the VP slot if asked.

Ultimately, Pence had several things Gingrich could not match.  The first was a strong, steady temperament.  Pence had been a steady hand in Congress for Republicans in the Republican Study Conference.  He also has been a strong Governor for his state.  Unemployment is low and the Indiana’s economy is growing.

Secondly, Pence is far more conservative than Gingrich.  Unlike Gingrich, Pence has never done a commercial to advocate for Climate Change with Pelosi on a park bench.  Additionally, Pence has not proposed to build a base on the moon (kinda expensive).  Most importantly for Trump though, Pence has a history of fighting for less spending and government.  He pushed back against his party during the Bush years on No Child Left Behind and on Medicare Part D.  Trump is seen as liberal to many conservatives so this can only help on that front.

Lastly, Pence is not dogged by a complicated ethical history.  Gingrich is the only former Speaker to be censored by the House.  When you are running against “Crooked Hillary” you don’t pick somebody who has a sorta “crooked” history.  Additionally, Pence actually practices what he preaches on family values.  Gingrich is a thrice divorced man who left a women who had cancer.  Pence, well, his history is much more simplistic and ethical.

Finally, Pence has strong relations with Congress.  He served with Ryan and over 70 other current Republicans in the House.  He has ties to the RSC and knows how to build bridges on Capitol Hill.  That is probably his biggest selling point in DC.

Still, he has downsides.  Pence’s conservatism got him in hot water last year over LBGT and religious freedom issues.  Additionally, Pence is relatively unknown to a large majority of the nation.  Further, he is not perfectly in sync with Trump ideologically.  Pence supported the Iraq War and pushed for immigration reform in 05 and 06.

Pence did embrace Obamacare’s Medicaid Expansion but with a conservative twist.  He successfully turned the expansion into a conservative reform by making enrollees pay premiums and these same enrollees if they are above the poverty line could be locked out of coverage if they don’t pay premiums.  The state charges up to $25 in co-pays for individuals who visit the doctor inappropriately and the program is exempt from retroactively covering enrollees medical costs up to three months before they applied for coverage.  Additionally, coverage is provided through private insurers and not CMS.

For all these faults and benefits however Sean Trende at RCP made a good point.  Right now, the tightening in polls, at least nationally, is due to Clinton dropping and Trump staying steady.  Voters are not yet sold on Trump as he is attacked non-stop on the airwaves by Clinton for his volatility.  Picking Pence, a steady hand, won’t solve this problem but it can start to help.

Trump’s campaign has been beset by issue after issue.  The way the VP selection was handled is not at all reassuring.  That said, Pence was a smart, solid, and safe choice for Trump to make as VP.  At the Convention and beyond he now has to build on that selection.

Brexit Is A Sign That Culture Is Replacing Ideology As The Key Political Divide

brexit-beckons-as-97-of-britons-think-david-cameron-cant-get-a-better-eu-deal1Barely a week ago the voters of the United Kingdom narrowly approved a referendum to leave the EU.  The result underscored how economic pressures and demographic change is shifting the political paradigm in much of the industrialized, Western world.

Initial speculation on the result of the referendum somewhat favored how it benefited Trump.  In reality though, while Trump mimics many of the anti-globalization and nationalistic trade tendencies of the “Leave” campaign it underscores just how much tougher a road Trump has to travel to succeed with the same theme in the US.

Brexit did crystallize the deepening political fault lines in UK politics though.  It also highlighted some of the factors driving the Trump-Clinton contest.  More importantly, it foreshadowed a likely long-term realignment of the electoral base of both Republicans and Democrats and perhaps a reshuffling of critical swing states.

Unsurprisingly, UK politics tends to correlate with American elections.  That’s why the Brexit election day surveys mimicked the results of a US election.  The Leave campaign carried over 60 percent of those without college degrees, a majority of seniors and whites overall.  The Leave campaign was strongest in rural areas outside of major cities.  The Remain camp won a majority of college graduates, the young, ethnic minorities and urban voters.  Short of Northern Ireland and Scotland, the only other region to vote to Remain was London with almost 60 percent support.

This voting pattern replicates many American elections.  Republicans are increasingly becoming the party of older, non-college educated whites, men and the religiously devout.  The Democratic Coalition is growing among single women, the urban, the young and minorities.  Obama won in 2012 by amassing a 5 million vote advantage in the country’s most urban areas.

British voters pessimistic abut the economy and next generation’s chances, hostile to unchecked immigration and multiculturalism as well as changing cultural norms were most likely to support Leave.  A full 80 percent of Leave voters said immigration negatively impacted the UK.  That closely mimics the number of Trump supporters in a new survey.

Brexit showed the power of anti-immigration, anti-globalization, older whites who are rural and non-college educated.  The problem for Trump in replicating Brexit is that these voters are less of the American electorate.  In the UK, about 90 percent of referendum ballots cast were from whites.  In November, most experts predict whites will cast just over 70 percent of ballots.  In the UK, 53 percent of whites voted to leave.  Due to racial and ethnic cleavages in US politics Trump will likely need 60 percent or more of whites support to win.

Resistance to the Leave campaign came strongly from college-educated and urban UK whites.  It is hard not to see a similar dynamic playing out in the US.  The loss of the GOP’s managerial wing is not a new phenomenon.  Since 2000, Democrats have carried more college educated voters than non-college educated.  But, historically, Democrats have struggled to hold a majority of college-educated whites in Presidential elections.

There is evidence this election could see that change.  Numerous national surveys have shown Clinton leading among these voters.  However, Trump leads among white men and Clinton among white women and with fewer men attending college it is likely this is benefiting Clinton.

The Trump-Clinton contest is certain to accelerate the party’s long term resorting and shift it from a primarily geographical and demographical shift to a cultural one as well.  Democrats will increasingly become the party of urban cosmopolitanists comfortable with cultural and economic changes while the GOP coalition will become more traditionalist and resistant to change.  We could see this immediately in the 2016 contest’s swing states.

Historically, Democrats have run extremely well in the older, more white Rust Belt.  This has occurred even as the heavily white South has shifted firmly to the GOP.  Since 1992, Republicans have only carried Rustbelt states 3 times out of 30 chances.  Contrast this with the GOP carrying Sunbelt States 17 times out of 30 chances.

However, these results do not tell the whole story.  Since 2000, GOP vote totals have increased in the majority of Rust Belt states while Democrats were able to carry many Sun Belt states in 2008 and 2012 including GOP bastions such as North Carolina and Virginia.  This has occurred as globalization has benefited many Sun Belt states and caused many Rust Belt voters to feel globalization has left them behind.

Party and ideological loyalties were scrambled during the Brexit vote.  A full third of Labour voters (far more than initially thought) voted to Leave.  A majority of Conservatives voted to leave but the breakdown of their votes was interesting.  Labour dominated London overwhelmingly voted to stay but rural, labor strongholds voted to leave.  Likewise, Conservative suburban and urban enclaves voted to remain but were overwhelmed by Conservative votes to Leave.

Much as Labour has done since the 90’s to pivot to a more urban, inclusive, demographically welcoming party Democrats have done the same.  The result has been domination in the US’s urban enclaves.  But, in doing so, they have ceded their ancestral base to the GOP.  To incorporate these voters the GOP may be sacrificing many of its college educated supporters.

Brexit points towards a reshaped UK political order that revolves more around cultural affinities and values-particularly immigration and globalization-than economic class.  Trump’s campaign has mimicked this shift and doubled down on it.  As a result, the Clinton-Trump race could usher in a new, defining divide in American politics.