House: 2017 Special Elections Portend a 2018 Wave

December 15, 2017

Of the six federal special elections contested by both parties this year, Alabama's Senate race was the first Democrats won. But taken together, they point to an alarming trend for the GOP: the Trump base isn't showing up for Republicans other than Trump — not even when the president actively urged support for Roy Moore. This is a mirror image of Democrats' conundrum with the Obama base in 2010 and 2014.

Moore was certainly an extreme and unique case — the allegations against him caused suburban Republicans to abandon him in droves. However, more troubling for other Republicans in 2018 was that turnout in Alabama's bedrock Trump/Moore rural counties was abysmal — just 55 to 60 percent of 2016's — compared to 72 to 77 percent of 2016's in upscale suburbs and African-American majority counties.

Consider this: in the six 2017 special elections, Democrats have won an average of 71 percent of the votes Hillary Clinton received in their states/districts, while Republicans have won an average of just 55 percent of President Trump's votes. If those percentages were applied to

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