Tuesday’s Big Story: Moderates Switched From the Republican Party to the Democratic Party

How do you illustrate a blog post about moderates? Beats me, but I gave it a shot by searching our photo service for "moderate" to see what I could get. This one popped up because it's a picture of Kashmir after "moderate snowfall." Good enough!Saqib Majeed/SOPA via ZUMA

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So what happened on Tuesday? Vox’s Ella Nilsen provides the nutshell version:

Moderate Democratic candidates were the big winners of swing congressional districts in the 2018 midterm elections, flipping most of the 28 key House districts from Republicans’ control and winning key gubernatorial races, including Michigan, Wisconsin, Kansas, and Illinois. Democrats’ net gain in the House was 26 seats.

Progressive candidates flipped few of those seats. For the most part, the biggest upsets for the left occurred during the summer primaries; most of those districts were already blue and primed to elect Democrats. Many of the left-wing candidates who tested the theory of turning out their base, even in more conservative districts, lost on election night.

The New York Times provides a little more, focusing specifically on the Midwest:

On Tuesday, there were signs of a shift back toward the politics that had long defined the region. Though Republicans remain the more powerful party in the center of the country, voters flipped governor’s offices back to Democrats in those four states and sent Democrats to Congress in several suburban districts that had long been firmly Republican. Moderation plays well in the Midwest.

….What happened in the Midwest this week, bringing an end to total Republican control in three state capitals, was in some cases less a sharp shift on matters of national ideology and more a return to the once-familiar political middle. For at least some voters, the choices seemed less about fiery debates over illegal immigration or who ought to be on the Supreme Court and more about meat-and-potato matters like repairing potholes and paying for schools. Some voters said they simply did not care for too much of one thing — red, blue or otherwise.

This is what I was talking about a couple of days ago. When parties expand, they almost always expand into the center, thus becoming a bit less conservative or progressive in practice. The opposite happens to the losing party. Democrats have been more progressive since 2010 after losing all the blue dogs, and are now set to become a bit more centrist with the addition of lots of new moderate members. Likewise, Republicans became a nearly ungovernable coalition after 2010 thanks to the addition of lots of moderates, and now they’re set to become “more Trumpian”—as many reporters put it—with the loss of all those moderates.

This is the eternal conundrum: your party can be small and pure or large and noisy. In a two-party democracy like America there’s not really a third option unless you can somehow convince more than half the country to adopt extreme political views. Good luck with that.

SIX TRUTHS

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Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

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SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

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