Monday, November 14, 2016

Musical Monday - Anthem by Kate McKinnon

Despite having a higher vote total than any U.S. Presidential candidate in history other than Obama, Clinton didn't get the votes in the right places, and did not win the Presidency. Instead, a man so completely unprepared for the position that he was apparently shocked when he was told he would have to hire new people to staff the West Wing will take the office in a little less than three months and thinks that the job is one that he can do from his preferred home in New York.

But, as McKinnon says, there is hope and reasons to keep fighting. I'm not going to sugar-coat the bad part here: A Trump administration is going to be horrific in many ways. If he is able to implement the policies he ran upon, the country will be damaged immensely. If his seemingly all-encompassing ignorance and incompetence hobbles his administration to the point where the government is running like it has an absentee landlord, a lot of people will discover in the harshest possible way just how much they rely upon a functioning Federal government. I'm predicting a substantial economic downturn and both domestic and international instability will ensue no matter whether the Trump administration is mendacious or incompetent. Either way, the next four years are going to be pretty lousy for everyone, including the people who voted for him.

That said, we should not give up. Trump may hit all of the marks of a neo-fascist, but he hasn't transformed the country into his own image yet, and he may be too much of a bumbling buffoon to get that done before things can be turned around. We still live in a republic, and we still get to vote. The question is where to aim our efforts. I think that the 2018 midterm elections are not really where Democrats should look. The House of Representatives is still gerrymandered to such an extent that Democrats can get six figures more votes overall in House races and still wind up vastly outnumbered in terms of numbers of representatives elected.

The Senate doesn't look great for Democrats either in 2018. Only a third of the Senate is up for election in each cycle, and the next time around there will only be eight Republican senate seats up for reelection, and twenty-three Democrats. The other two seats that will be up for reelection are independents who caucus with the Democrats, so they are also functionally Democratic seats. The Republican seats are also mostly in "safe" states for them, with the only one that could likely be threatened being Dean Heller's seat in Nevada. The other Republican seats are all in states like Texas, Arizona, Tennessee, and Mississippi, which makes reelection for those Senators seem likely. The Democrats, on the other hand, are not only defending a lot more seats, but are defending many of them in unfavorable states like Montana, North Dakota, and Indiana. To pick up seats, the Democrats would need to not only not lose any of the twenty-five seats they are effectively defending, but pick up at least two. At this point, I believe this to be improbable. On the other hand, who knows? The Trump administration may turn out to be such a disaster that it realigns the political landscape in a major way.

realistically, I don't think the 2018 midterm elections are really going to be the turn around that the Democratic Party needs. Where the Democratic Party needs to put is efforts is the State legislatures. This is the strategy that the Republican Party has pursued for the last decade or so, and it has paid off in big dividends for them. The real power State legislatures have is to draw Congressional districts and set voting rules. Because Republicans control so many State governments, they have gerrymandered the districts for representatives from the House of Representatives to heavily favor Republicans. Every State legislature that can be changed from a Republican one to a Democratic one before the 2020 census requires redistricting means one less State Congressional delegation that has been designed to favor Republican candidates. Every State legislature that can be changed from a Republican one to a Democratic one is a state in which the election laws can be crafted to encourage Americans to vote, rather than trying to keep them away from the ballot box. Plus, every state that flipped from a Republican legislature to a Democratic one would get the benefit of having a sane political party in control of the apparatus of government. There are going to be elections in every state in the union between now and 2020. Let's get out there and work to make sure that as many Democratic legislators as possible are put into office. It's what Hillary would do.

Subsequent Musical Monday: Fiddler on the Roof Pogrom Scenes

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