Preliminary 2024 Electoral College Outlook
Taking the Dobbs Effect Seriously
If it’s worth being proud of the mistakes you make, the pundit class across America has much to be appreciative of after their coverage of the 2022 elections. Despite a mountain of evidence telling them that a generationally monumental court decisions would, in fact, have a political impact, they refused to even consider that it could be the case. They insisted on a certain conception of politics, one rooted entirely in the way things had always gone instead of the reality on the ground, and it failed them miserably.
The silver lining of such a catastrophic cycle is that it should inevitably lead to course corrections that make political coverage more robust and accurate. This is, after all, what happened after 2016. Commentators realized that they had made both specific mistakes, such as not accounting for education in polling, and had a larger attitudinal issue of generally underestimating Republicans, and they adjusted for both—perhaps to a fault in the case of the latter. There was also a recognition that a new political map had been created: in that case, one that was biased towards Republicans. That recognition has served as the basis for which nearly political decision made since then has been judged.
The 2022 results warranted such a reckoning just as much as the 2016 results, if not even more. There were specific mistakes, the most predominant being the downplaying of abortion as a major issue. There were attitudinal mistakes, as Democrats were broadly underestimated. And there was an inability to see the creation of a new electoral map underneath their feet: in this case, a map that is much less biased towards Republicans than the one that existed post-Trump and pre-Dobbs. In fact, it is a map that may very well be outright slanted in favor of Democrats.
I will address issues like the downplaying of abortion and underestimation of Democrats in due time. But it is this final point, the question of how Dobbs v. Jackson changed the electoral geography of America, that I will address in this article. Even at this early stage, there is no reason hide behind the safety of crude precedent when forecasting 2024. There is much you can say about it already if you know where—and if you are willing—to look.
And it does not look good for Republicans.
Ettingermentum Prediction Map: 3/24/2023. No tossups.
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