The path to majority

The November 2020 general election was not a great one for the Republican party in Shelby County. It’s going to take a vast amount of work for the party to reclaim a majority.

The party’s candidates for U.S. President and Vice President were selected by 34% of Shelby County voters.

The party’s candidate for U.S. Senate did slightly better, picking up an additional 5,228 votes. And the Democratic Senate candidate fared worse than the top of their ticket, pulling in 17,825 fewer votes. Taken together, that helped Senator Hagerty capture an additional 2 percent of the vote.

If we combine the totals the Shelby County electorate gave to both of the Republican candidates for U.S. House (in Districts 8 and 9), there were an additional 174 votes for the GOP.

The party’s Presidential ticket won the second-fewest votes since 1976, beating only its worst showing in that period – 2016.

Comparing 2020 to 1976, the Republicans picked up 1,169 votes and the Democrats gained 98,212 – nearly 84 times as many voters.

In that span, Republicans only carried a majority twice: 1984 and 1988.

Total votes were up 37%, from 279 thousand in 1976 to 383 thousand in 2020. It was the second highest year for turnout after 2008.

Both of those years, the Democratic ticket included an historic first, and Shelby County voters responded.

Reaching majority

For the Republican ticket to reclaim the majority won by Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush in the 1980s, it will need to reverse the downward trend, consolidate its base, and win over independents and Democrats.

In 2020, the party would have needed 187,961 votes to win a majority of our county’s electorate. Here’s a look at the party’s performance since 1976 in comparison to that total.

That’s a difference of 58,146 votes, equivalent to the total population of the City of Bartlett. The party’s total will need to increase by 45 percent.

How do we get there?

Here’s what Republicans will need to do, in order of difficulty:

  1. Keep the 129,815 voters who supported the 2020 Republican ticket.
  2. Consolidate Republican support, adding the 5,402 votes that other Republican candidates collected down ballot.
  3. Claim a sizeable number of independent voters, who have multiplied in recent years, for an additional 5,124 votes.
  4. Return to the average total that Republicans have enjoyed over the past 20 years, for 2,389 extra votes.
  5. Win over hearts and minds like President Reagan did in the four years between 1980 and 1984, giving Republicans a 29,560 vote boost.
  6. Convince at least 15,671 additional Democratic voters.

That’s our path to 187,961.

What do you think it will take for us to get there?