Don’t Get Cocky about state legislatures.

I am slightly skeptical about this Cook Political Report article by Amy Walter on the importance of state legislatures, the Democrats’ poor showing in them lately, and how it’s going to be a long term disaster for them.  Specifically: I am slightly skeptical about the third part of that sentence.  Obviously, state legislatures are important, as we’ve been discovering lately; and just as obviously, the Democrats have been getting their clocks cleaned in them for the last few cycles. Those points are not really in dispute.

But what causes me to hesitate here is the idea that we can safely assume that the 2020 redistricting process will allow the GOP the same opportunities for redistricting reform that the 2010 one did.  I mean, let’s face it: in 2010 and 2014 the American electorate came to the collective realization that Barack Obama and their local Democratic state senator were somehow entangled with each other, and the American electorate voted accordingly.  It’s not going to work like that in 2018 and 2020.  To begin with, at the moment the safe bet is that in 2018 we’ll be halfway through the first term of a Republican President.  What if he or she – much like Barack Obama – turns out to be an idiot*?  What happens, in fact, if said President is so much of an idiot that we don’t re-elect him or her in 2020? – One-term Presidents have happened three times in my lifetime, so it’s not that unusual a scenario.

That’s just one possibility; there are others.  It’s certainly true that the situation is a short-term disaster for Democrats, if only because their pool of potential reliable candidates keeps shrinking. But the easiest way in the world to lose your majority is to assume that you’ll always have it. Most of the people involved with political parties – note: not the same as ‘interested in politics’ or ‘who have strong political beliefs’ – have at least a small desire to win. Eventually they will learn to adapt.  Probably by first sitting on their own progressive base, which should promise to be entertaining…

Moe Lane

*For given values of ‘idiot,’ of course.  While Barack Obama was never a super-genius he’s pretty smart for a modern American President (I’d peg him as having an IQ of about 125 or so).

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  • Catseyes says:

    I don’t know the modern Democratic party doesn’t really seem interested in rural voters anymore and suburban voters barely register as somewhat important. They seem to be retreating into a purely urban party.

  • bensdad00 says:

    One-term Presidents have happened three times in my lifetime – – That pegs you as being born during the Johnson administration….or you are not counting Kennedy as a one-termer?

    • garfieldjl says:

      It also could be that he’s referring to Presidents Gerald Ford, Jimmy Carter, and George H.W. Bush.

      • bensdad00 says:

        Could be, I didn’t count him that way, what with the whole unelected thing meaning he didn’t even serve one term.

  • bensdad00 says:

    Could be, I didn’t count him that way, what with the whole unelected thing meaning he didn’t even serve one term

  • Finrod says:

    The Republican Party tends to lose power when it loses touch with its base; the Democratic Party tends to lose power when it gets too close to its base.

  • Greg Q says:

    Remember, Moe, that the State legislators who get elected in 2018 and 2020 will be doing so, largely, in districts created by the Republicans elected in 2010. If 2018 and 2020 are pro-Dem blowouts, we’ll be in trouble. But if not, not.

    Ford lost on normal 8 year itch. Carter lost “out of season”. Bush won “out of season” in 88 before losing in 92.

    If we elect an incompetent in 2016, we’ll get what we deserve in 2018 and 2020. Short of that, well, we’ll probably get to see in 2022 just how well we gerrymandered in 2021. 🙁

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