Does Dem Win In Penn Mean A Blue Wave Headed For NC? Not Quite

RALEIGH – A leaked email sent to the NC House Republican Caucus has been making its rounds in the press, making Democrats salivate and Republicans quiver in the process.

The email points to the recent election results in Pennsylvania, in which a Democrats edged out a victory in a district that voted for President Trump by a nearly 20 point margin in the 2016 election. Politicos have chewed on whether it is a sign of things to come in the wider 2018 midterms, and whether it represents a threat to the Republican super-majority here in North Carolina.

Political director for the N.C. House Republican Caucus Matt Bales suggested to members via email that not only does it portend a loss of a super-majority in November, but Democrats could be the one with a super-majority when the dust settles.

“The outcome is yet another example of the Democratic base being fired up and the Republicans not turning out their voters. The momentum on the Democratic side is real. Our fate will be determined by how hard we work and the effort we put into defending our majority and supermajority in the next six months.

Based on last night’s results, here is the 2019 makeup of the NC General Assembly.

Democrat Seats = 74

Republican Seats = 46″

The email goes on to urge members to work with the caucus’ fundraisers to raise collective campaign money (and fees) in order to combat the massive Blue Wave that is coming. Stoking fears in an attempt to get candidates raising more collective money may be the real reason a Democrat super-majority was floated.

Applying the percentage point swing from one congressional district in Pennsylvania to all legislative districts in North Carolina is more than a stretch. The notion that it is an apples to apples comparison doesn’t pass muster.

Dr. Michael Bitzer agrees. The Catawba College professor of politics and history with an veteran feel for North Carolina and national political winds doesn’t see a Blue Wave, though he does think Republicans should be concerned.

“I’m not surprised by the e-mail, because the Pennsylvania 18th congressional election should be a significant wake-up call to Republicans: for a Democrat to win a district that gave Trump 58 percent of the vote just eighteen months ago is not small feat. But while there could be some comparisons to NC on various dynamics, I’m not sure the Democratic wave has turned into the kind of tsunami, as of right now, in this state that may be causing significant heartburn in the GOP ranks.”

Bitzer points out that of the N.C. House, N.C. Senate, and N.C. congressional districts, the N.C. House districts have the lowest correlation to the previous Trump election numbers.

Even so, any proper comparison would require Democrats to field candidates that are far more conservative than the Far Left position the NCDP and legislative minority leaders have staked out. The winner of P.A. 18, Conor Lamb, is a pro-gun rights Blue Dog Democrat that attracted blue collar votes in the rust belt. Where are these moderate Democrats in North Carolina?

Further, Democrats on the state level evidently don’t share the same ballot advantages edge generated from enthusiasm disparities that exist on the national level.

“As far as Democrats are concerned, Pennsylvania’s contest shows that a suburban/rural kind of a district can be competitive, if Democrats have the right kind of local candidate who fits that district. That, along with several other dynamics, will need to play out in the Old North State as well for a successful blue wave, but the one fundamental that Democrats seem to be lacking so far in this state is the “generic” ballot advantage; both Meredithand High Point polls have the generic as a dead-even, unlike most national polls that give Democrats an advantage.”

How are Democrats going to break the ballot advantage tie, and win a majority when Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper is in the news every other day with another lawsuit, railing against gun rights, fear mongering about oil exploration, or getting his hand caught in a $58 million cookie jar?

They’re not. Any Blue Wave is more likely to lap gently upon to the shores of Jones Street, than to crash with anywhere close to the force required to wash away Republican majorities.

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