The political future after 2018

The 2018 midterm elections, viewed in terms of future politics, were a clear victory for the Republican Party and President Trump.  That fact is obscured by the single accomplishment of Democrats: recapturing the House of Representatives. 

The margin of that majority is tiny, and the freshman Democrats in that chamber were elected from districts largely gerrymandered by Republican state legislatures to elect Republicans.  They won their elections during a midterm, in which the party out of power traditionally has an advantage. 

That means that if 2020 is a Republican year, then these freshmen House Democrats, who will have no seniority and no campaign war chest, in an unfavorably drawn district, will have a hard time holding their seats.  Moreover, because Democrats now have a share of power, they will own responsibility in voters' eyes for problems the nation faces in 2020.

Will 2020 be a Republican year?  President Trump will be doubtless seeking re-election with a united Republican Party behind him.  Democrats, however, are likely to have some battle for the nomination, which will divide the party and cause fractures that will linger after the nominee is chosen. 

All the potential Democrat nominees so far are aging leftists, including a number of fairly stupid old feminists.  Virtually all come from safe Democrat states, and most have been in politics for a long time.  They are all, in short, utterly predictable and pathetically boring.  Trump, in contrast, is anything but boring. 

In the last century, only three presidents seeking re-election have lost:  Hoover in 1928, Carter in 1980, and Bush in 1992.  Seven presidents in the last century have won re-election: FDR in 1936, Eisenhower in 1956, Nixon in 1972, Reagan in 1988, Clinton in 1996, Bush in 2004, and Obama in 2012.  Moreover, each of the seven presidents re-elected won by wider margins than when he was first elected. 

The bottom line is that Republicans at this point are favored to both hold the White House and recapture the House of Representatives in 2020.

What about the Senate, governorships, and state legislatures – the other three majority-elective offices in our federal system?

The Senate elections in 2014, which comprised the Senate class facing voters in 2020, favored Republicans.  There were 21 Republicans elected in 2014, and with the exception of Susan Collins in Maine, all these 21 Republicans came from conservative Republican states in the South, Midwest, and Rocky Mountains regions.  Only 11 Democrats won Senate elections in 2014, but all except Warner in Virginia and Sheehan in New Hampshire came from leftist Democrat states.

Republicans will almost certainly hold the Senate in 2020.  There is a permanent structural advantage, and as of two years ago, 47 of the 50 states had more conservatives than liberals.  This conservative majority is a resilient political fact that the left has not been able to wish away.

Republicans did suffer losses in governorships and state legislatures in 2018, but the Republican dominance in state governments was overwhelming.  Democrats controlled both houses of state legislatures in only 14 states, while Republicans controlled both houses of state legislatures in 32 states (really 33, because Nebraska is technically "nonpartisan").  Today, Republicans control 30 state legislatures, while Democrats control 18.

Worse, for Democrats, is the fact that the seats in the lower chambers of state legislatures, whose members are elected every two years, which were won in 2018, are from state legislative districts gerrymandered by Republicans, so these districts, like congressional districts, will face rough going in the 2020 election cycle.

Moreover, the state legislatures elected in 2020 will draw congressional and state legislative districts for the next ten years.  If Republicans increase or even just hold their majorities in state legislatures in 2020, which is likely if President Trump provides a modest Republican breeze, then Democrats will be locked into a decade of Republican control of the House of Representatives and state legislatures.

Gubernatorial elections also favored Democrats but left Republicans with a majority of governorships.  Few governors are elected during the presidential election cycle, and those few elected in 2020 actually present more opportunities for Republican gains than Democrat gains. 

The 2018 midterm looks, superficially, like a split decision, but that assumes that the two political parties were evenly matched going into the election.  In fact, these were elections Democrats desperately needed to win decisively, with anything less a critical defeat.  Strategically, 2018 may well turn out to be a watershed election in American political history and the beginning of the end of the old Democratic Party.

The 2018 midterm elections, viewed in terms of future politics, were a clear victory for the Republican Party and President Trump.  That fact is obscured by the single accomplishment of Democrats: recapturing the House of Representatives. 

The margin of that majority is tiny, and the freshman Democrats in that chamber were elected from districts largely gerrymandered by Republican state legislatures to elect Republicans.  They won their elections during a midterm, in which the party out of power traditionally has an advantage. 

That means that if 2020 is a Republican year, then these freshmen House Democrats, who will have no seniority and no campaign war chest, in an unfavorably drawn district, will have a hard time holding their seats.  Moreover, because Democrats now have a share of power, they will own responsibility in voters' eyes for problems the nation faces in 2020.

Will 2020 be a Republican year?  President Trump will be doubtless seeking re-election with a united Republican Party behind him.  Democrats, however, are likely to have some battle for the nomination, which will divide the party and cause fractures that will linger after the nominee is chosen. 

All the potential Democrat nominees so far are aging leftists, including a number of fairly stupid old feminists.  Virtually all come from safe Democrat states, and most have been in politics for a long time.  They are all, in short, utterly predictable and pathetically boring.  Trump, in contrast, is anything but boring. 

In the last century, only three presidents seeking re-election have lost:  Hoover in 1928, Carter in 1980, and Bush in 1992.  Seven presidents in the last century have won re-election: FDR in 1936, Eisenhower in 1956, Nixon in 1972, Reagan in 1988, Clinton in 1996, Bush in 2004, and Obama in 2012.  Moreover, each of the seven presidents re-elected won by wider margins than when he was first elected. 

The bottom line is that Republicans at this point are favored to both hold the White House and recapture the House of Representatives in 2020.

What about the Senate, governorships, and state legislatures – the other three majority-elective offices in our federal system?

The Senate elections in 2014, which comprised the Senate class facing voters in 2020, favored Republicans.  There were 21 Republicans elected in 2014, and with the exception of Susan Collins in Maine, all these 21 Republicans came from conservative Republican states in the South, Midwest, and Rocky Mountains regions.  Only 11 Democrats won Senate elections in 2014, but all except Warner in Virginia and Sheehan in New Hampshire came from leftist Democrat states.

Republicans will almost certainly hold the Senate in 2020.  There is a permanent structural advantage, and as of two years ago, 47 of the 50 states had more conservatives than liberals.  This conservative majority is a resilient political fact that the left has not been able to wish away.

Republicans did suffer losses in governorships and state legislatures in 2018, but the Republican dominance in state governments was overwhelming.  Democrats controlled both houses of state legislatures in only 14 states, while Republicans controlled both houses of state legislatures in 32 states (really 33, because Nebraska is technically "nonpartisan").  Today, Republicans control 30 state legislatures, while Democrats control 18.

Worse, for Democrats, is the fact that the seats in the lower chambers of state legislatures, whose members are elected every two years, which were won in 2018, are from state legislative districts gerrymandered by Republicans, so these districts, like congressional districts, will face rough going in the 2020 election cycle.

Moreover, the state legislatures elected in 2020 will draw congressional and state legislative districts for the next ten years.  If Republicans increase or even just hold their majorities in state legislatures in 2020, which is likely if President Trump provides a modest Republican breeze, then Democrats will be locked into a decade of Republican control of the House of Representatives and state legislatures.

Gubernatorial elections also favored Democrats but left Republicans with a majority of governorships.  Few governors are elected during the presidential election cycle, and those few elected in 2020 actually present more opportunities for Republican gains than Democrat gains. 

The 2018 midterm looks, superficially, like a split decision, but that assumes that the two political parties were evenly matched going into the election.  In fact, these were elections Democrats desperately needed to win decisively, with anything less a critical defeat.  Strategically, 2018 may well turn out to be a watershed election in American political history and the beginning of the end of the old Democratic Party.