The most important, earth-shattering, stupendous special election of all time (at least according to media) is over. The result is that the Republican beat the Democrat by 3.8%. The media have billed this as a referendum on Trump. If that is the case then Trump is more popular now than ever as he only won the district by 1.5%. Democrats certainly went all in on this election. They spend 50 million on one congressional seat. The most expensive race in history with nothing to show for it. Very similar to the last presidential election if you think about it. With all these well-funded races Democrats do run the danger of exhausting their donor base before the midterms.
There was also another election in South Carolina which was supposed to be an easy win for Republicans but was only won by 3.2%.
For the Democrats
The first question anyone ever asks is why Democrats lost. Make no mistake this was a very winnable race for them. Trump only won the district by 1.5% and previous Democrats running in the district were doing so with almost no funding. So what went wrong?
The Democrats lost the minute they started spending all that money on the district and advertising it as a referendum on Trump. Reports on the ground say the residents were inundated with mail, volunteers and advertisements on tv. People in the area are most likely breathing a sigh of relief now that the torrent is over.
The reason Democrats do all these things they believe in the conventional wisdom that higher turn out benefits Democrats while lower turnout benefits Republicans. The problem with relying on conventional wisdom is that you never take the time to understand why it came about and instead rely on it blindly.
The theory is that Republicans vote no matter what and that Democrats need to be led to the voting booths by hand. This could not be further from the truth in this environment. Democrats are angry. They would have come out to vote whether you spent money or not. Republicans on the other hand are divided between the regular conservatives and the Trumpian nationalists. There is friction between the two as there have been some issues where they have not been able to compromise on. For all intents and purposes Handel was a regular conservative. By making the issue a national referendum on Trump the Democrat strategists forced the nationalists to come out as well and vote for her.
In this environment a lower turnout helps Democrats as they are the side that is more energized. The race in South Carolina is a perfect example. The district was leaned a lot more Republican than the one in Georgia. The turnout was lower so the Democrats did better.
It is very sad that with 50 million the Democrats could not afford better strategists.
For the Republicans
I have a confession to make. I wanted Ossoff to win. I believe Republicans have not figured out that they either hang together or hang separately. An Ossof win would have forced them to learn that.
Luckily the South Carolina contest happened on the same day so we can still learn the same lesson. For better or worse conservatives have to realize that they are not the only ones in the Republican party anymore. Nothing frustrates me more than conservative thinkers like Ben Shapiro refusing to support Trump when he enacts policies that the nationalist faction wants him to enact. I understand that it may not be exactly what you want but having the other members of your coalition there lets more of your people get elected so you do get some of the stuff you want. It is literally a difference between getting some of the things you want and nothing. What Ben Shapiro and the rest have not figured out is if nationalists get nothing from Trump then there is no reason for us to support the Republicans in the future.
The Georgia race should be an object lesson for Republicans. The opponent spent unlimited amounts of money and lost by a bigger margin than Clinton did. The different factions in the party united has the potential to score even greater majorities in 2018.