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. (more…)