TPM Reader JL is right. This is a big deal.
Based on 538’s forecast which just got posted, if every race goes the way 538 is calling it (insert caveats here), the following states among others will have a Democratic governor: WI, MI, PA, FL. That’s a whopping 75 electoral votes right there.
If that holds, it has massive implications for 2020. Primarily with regard to massive voter suppression that would almost certainly otherwise take place. I don’t think Trump has really dug in on the voter suppression front. Not that there isn’t voter suppression going on, but I firmly believe that barring very active Democratic resistance, Trump will up the GOP voter suppression game by an order of magnitude over the next two years. Democratic victories in MI and PA are all but assured. WI and FL are not, but the outcomes there are arguably more important in the bigger scheme of things than the tossup Senate races.
We need to get to a politics and a jurisprudence in which controlling a governor’s mansion doesn’t have this decisive an impact. Throughout American history this has had some impact. A governor has a bull horn, a bully pulpit. There’s some ability to govern in advantageous ways and distribute patronage. But in the present environment it’s really the only effective bar against massive voter suppression shenanigans. It is arguably just as important for 2022 when redistricting will take place, a point Allegra Kirkland reported on here.